This article is part of our FanDuel Fantasy Football series.
We get a three-game slate on Christmas, though it may be more of a lump of coal rather than a present, given the teams taking the field. As we'll see momentarily, the Packers-Dolphins game has the highest total, and there are paths to it becoming a shootout. Otherwise, we have a matchup of two dreadful offenses (Broncos-Rams) and a game where the Buccaneers won't be pushed offensively by the Cardinals.
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At first glance, the solution to this position seems to be click Tua Tagovailoa ($8,400) and move along. A little more digging will expose the fact that he has only four games of 23 or more FD points for the season. Add in a relatively tough matchup against a run-funnel Packers' defense, and Tagovailoa's path to a score that separates him from the other viable quarterback choices narrows.
The problem with passing on Tua is the other quarterback choices are also uninspiring. Tom Brady ($7,500) and Aaron Rodgers ($7,300) are the best choices. As their price suggests, the duo have been quite comparable in their performances as Brady has averaged 15.9 FD points per game and Rodgers 14.9. In a somewhat unbelievable stat, Brady has topped 20 FD points just once this season and that came in Week 4. Rodgers hasn't reached that mark, as his best performance of the season was 19.36 FD points. When considering matchup, price and game environment, I prefer Rodgers. There's a decent chance the Packers are chasing points, whereas Tampa Bay should be able to take a lead and run out the clock against Trace McSorley and the Cardinals.
We have a group of six running backs priced at $7,000 or above, which includes most of the workhorse backs. That group is: Aaron Jones ($7,800), James Conner ($7,500), Raheem Mostert ($7,400), Latavius Murray ($7,200), Leonard Fournette ($7,100) and AJ Dillon ($7,000). I'd only want to roster one of the Packers' backs, and given the projected game script – Miami is a slight favorite – I'd prefer to pay up for Jones thanks to his consistent involvement as a pass catcher in recent weeks. Of the group, Conner has the most secure workload, though the Bucs have been a fairly tough rush defense and the Arizona offense isn't likely to move the ball effectively to give Conner many chances to fall into the end zone. Of the remaining group, I'd opt to play Mostert. It's possible that Jeff Wilson ($6,000) returns, but Mostert should remain the lead back in the short term. He has a positive matchup against a subpar Packers run defense that has allowed more than 20 FD points in three of its last five games.
Denver remains a strong defense against the pass, but they have become a positive matchup for opposing running backs in recent weeks. Cam Akers ($6,300) has the majority of the volume of the Los Angeles backfield, though of course there is some risk given the terrible overall state of the offense. Nevertheless, Akers is the best pay-down option at the position.
As usual, we'll look to target high-powered offenses and offenses with condensed target shares. Miami boasts both. Very few receivers are capable of matching Tyreek Hill's ($9,200) consistent ceiling this season, and that's certainly true on this slate. The Packers have done a solid job of limiting big performances to wide receivers overall, but both Justin Jefferson and CeeDee Lamb scored two touchdowns against them. Jaylen Waddle ($7,800) has topped 11 FD points just once in his last five games, but he is capable of providing explosive plays.
From there, I'd look to Tampa Bay, where Chris Godwin ($8,000) and Mike Evans ($7,200) have accounted for 37 percent of targets this season. Arizona is the 20th ranked pass defense as measured by DVOA, so while this isn't the Buccaneers offense of the past, there should be opportunity for some points. If Julio Jones is out, Russell Gage ($5,700) will be a strong value option.
After those two teams, I would target individuals value rather than potential stacks or game environment. Courtland Sutton ($6,500) looks to be in line to return and is priced very reasonably. Romeo Doubs ($5,500) had a very limited snap count in his return from an ankle injury, but he did show rapport with Rodgers by hauling in all five of his targets in Monday's win over the Rams.
It's certainly not unique to say that the tight end position is populated primarily by poor options, but the available group on Sunday takes things to a new level. Greg Dulcich ($5,700) is the highest-priced player at the position, and he should get a boost from the return of Russell Wilson. Still, with the return of Sutton and Denver's insistence on throwing to everyone but Dulcich last week, the risk level is high. I'd rather turn to two pay-down options in Trey McBride ($4,800) and Cameron Brate ($4,500). McBride has played on more than 75 percent of snaps in every game since Week 9 and showed chemistry with McSorley in Week 15. Brate has earned at least four targets in each of his last three games. Finally, there's no statistical basis to playing Mike Gesicki ($4,700), but coach Mike McDaniels did share regret in the way he's used Gesicki leading up to this game.
Tampa Bay ($4,800) and Denver ($4,500) stand out as the pretty obvious options at the position due to matchup, but not coincidentally they are the also the highest priced. The Rams ($4,000) are also a decent option due to the struggles of Russell Wilson and the entire Denver defense.