It is the last week of byes and then we will be getting full slates of games and fantasy players won’t have to turn to names like Ryan Griffin and Kalen Ballage on a weekly basis. This is the time to prepare for the playoffs in fantasy. Make sure to pick up your handcuffs. If you play in a league with Team DST look at the playoff schedules and add them before they are a hot pick up.
Game of the Week: Green Bay @ San Francisco (SF -3)
This game is very important to the top seeds in the NFC playoff race. San Francisco with a loss would fall from the 1 see to the 5 seed if Seattle wins. Green Bay would give themselves the head-to-head tie breaker over San Francisco. After losing to Seattle and pulling out a tight game against Arizona, the 49ers come into this game looking much more beatable than they had previously. The Packers are coming off a bye and have had 2 weeks to prepare for this matchup. Kittle is a wild card with his injury status.
Players to Watch: Aaron Jones, Aaron Rodgers, Tevin Coleman
Fantasy Football X Factors: George Kittle, Emmanuel Sanders, Jamaal Williams
Prediction for Winner: Green Bay pulls off the upset. I don’t think the 49ers are as good as their record says and they are coming back to earth a little. A win by the Packers also makes the playoff picture more interesting which is always good for fans.
Indianapolis @ Houston (HOU -4)
A Thursday night match up for the top spot in the AFC South. This game is especially important for Houston, since they already lost to the Colts this season. A loss here basically puts them 2 games behind the Colts in the division since they would need to finish with a better record since they would lose the tie breaker. The Colts are a banged up team at the moment. Mack is out and Hilton looks like he will try to play. It will be interesting to see if Wilkins shows enough to be a factor as the fantasy playoffs approach.
Players to Watch: DeAndre Hopkins, Deshaun Watson, Jacoby Brisett, Jordan Wilkins
Fantasy Football X Factors: TY Hilton, Eric Ebron, Darren Fells, Duke Johnson
Prediction for Winner: Houston to win and cover. Hard to imagine Watson having as bad of a game as he did against Baltimore. The Colts offense is very banged up and it feels like it will be too much for them to overcome on the road this week.
Dallas @ New England (NE -6.5)
The NFL seems to want to feature this game with 2 of the larger national following as it is 1 of only 2 games in the late afternoon time slot. Both teams have an odd parallel, both are currently playoff teams but haven’t exactly played the toughest schedule. Which is partly because both teams play the NFC & AFC East this year. Dallas has only played 1 team that currently has a winning record and they lost. Patriots have played 2 teams with a a winning record, they lost to Baltimore and they beat Buffalo who are also a winning team with an easy schedule.
Players to Watch: Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott, Julian Edelman
Fantasy Football X Factors: Michael Gallup, James White, Phillip Dorsett
Prediction for Winner: Patriots to win and cover. Dallas has fallen behind early it seems every week before the offense gets going. This Patriots’ defense is too good for them to do that this week. Unless they come out strong, the Cowboys likely won’t be able to recover.
Seattle @ Philadelphia (-1.5)
The Russell Wilson vs Lamar Jackson MVP race is one of the most interesting things to monitor in the NFL on a week to week basis. On the other side, the Eagles have been tough to figure out and overall Wentz has been a bit of a disappointment. Previously the big question for him was staying healthy, but this year he hasn’t missed a game and his numbers are down from his career averages. The good thing is he has a very low interception rate, so he is at least protecting the ball. The NFC west is the team that will likely produce the over qualified 5 seed that will play the NFC East winner in the playoffs. This is a potential playoff match up preview during the Wild Card round.
Players to Watch: Russell Wilson, Chris Carson, Zach Ertz
Fantasy Football X Facotrs: Miles Sanders, Carson Wentz, Josh Gordon, Tyler Lockett
Prediction for Winner: Seattle to win. I know this game is in Philadelphia, but Seattle getting points seems wrong based on how these teams have played. The Seahawks are a better football team and Russell Wilson is more than capable of taking care of business on the road.