Even without his best wide receiver this week, Ben Roethlisberger has a fantastic matchup on Christmas day against the Houston Texans who are giving up the second-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks per week (19.2). Houston will have a big problem come Monday afternoon, and Ben should not have a problem extending his streak of scoring at least 18.0 fantasy points to 6 straight games.
For those desperate at running back, Jonathan Stewart is someone with an excellent matchup as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have given up a league-high 14 rushing touchdowns to running backs this season and the 7th-most fantasy points to the position. While Stewart isn’t the flashiest of players, he provides an okay floor and has a great chance to score a touchdown this week.
With Antonio Brown out of the Steelers offense until the playoffs, enter Martavis Bryant who has a chance to redeem himself after previously stating he wanted to be traded earlier in the year. Bryant had a great game last week against the Patriots in which he had 4 receptions for 59 yards and a score. The next game or two for Bryant are crucial to proving he can compete for a regular spot on the roster and will do this against one of the league’s worst passing defense. The Texans are giving up an average of 35.4 fantasy points to opposing wide receivers this year, the 5th-most in the league. Bryant should be started with confidence in what should be a high-scoring affair for Pittsburgh come Christmas day.
Antonio Gates is a suitable streamer at the tight end position for owners who lost Hunter Henry for championship week. The Chargers square off against the New York Jets who have recently been solid against TE’s, allowing a combined 4.7 fantasy points over the past two games, however, there are a few things that cannot be overlooked: Gates’ rapport with Philip Rivers and the targets that are now up for grabs. Henry was looked at often inside the red zone and Rivers will feel right at home with Gates filling in his role. Gates is one of a few tight end streamers that can be started knowing the targets will be there on Sunday.
This week the Eagles play the Raiders who give up the second-most fantasy points, on average with 10.01 being allowed to kickers this season. Jake Elliott has been a solid start this year and the Eagles are able to efficiently move the ball down the field and should have little-to-no problem doing so on Sunday. Elliott is averaging 12.0 fantasy points over his past two games and is in line to post double-digit fantasy points once again.
The Chicago Bears Defense has been sneaky-good this season and is currently ranked as the 7th-highest scoring this year. Streaming defenses against the winless Browns has rewarded fantasy owners so far, and we'll roll with this into the fantasy championship. The Bears have a fierce pass-rush and Kizer loves to turn the ball over - this matchup is a match made in heaven for the final week of the fantasy season.
Jimmy Garoppolo has been fairly decent in his 3 starts this season, scoring just over 15 fantasy points per week. This week is Jimmy’s biggest test yet - a Jaguars defense with two Pro Bowl cornerbacks that is giving up only 9.4 fantasy points on average to opposing quarterbacks. While the Seahawks proved the Jags defense does have weaknesses, as evidenced by Russell Wilson scoring 21.8 fantasy points against them in Week 14, championship week may not be the place to take a risk at the quarterback position with so many waiver wire adds available.
Isaiah Crowell received his lowest carry total (5) of the season during last week’s game against the Ravens and teammate Duke Johnson has seen a lot of work as of late. With the fantasy season on the line, Crowell can’t be trusted and faces a Bears run-defense that hasn’t been terrible as of late, holding opponent’s running backs over the past 2 games to less than 100 yards per game and the defense hasn’t allowed a rushing touchdown since Week 10.
Robby Anderson has more than surpassed expectations this year and is currently ranked the 16th ranked WR in full-PPR formats. With Bryce Petty at quarterback and Casey Hayward a threat to blanket-cover him all game, Anderson should ride the pine this week for fantasy owners. The Chargers, in general, are strong against opposing wide receivers and are allowing the 7th lowest fantasy points per game to the position (28.7).
Austin Hooper finds himself in a very tough matchup this week against the New Orleans Saints who held him two weeks ago to 2 receptions for 23 yards and enter championship week as the best defense against the tight end position, allowing an average of only 9.4 fantasy points. While Atlanta is pushing to secure a wild-card spot, it comes down to recent performances and Hooper cannot be trusted - look for other matchup-friendly tight ends this week to bring home the championship.
While it may be tough to move on from his 14.0 fantasy points scored last week, Ryan Succop had the privilege of being against a weak 49ers defensive team in which the Titans offense found themselves in-and-around the red zone quite frequently. This week will paint a different picture as the Titans play the Rams who are allowing the second-fewest fantasy points to opposing kickers, with an average of only 5.9.
The Buffalo Bills Defense is facing the New England Patriots again for the second time in four weeks. In their first matchup, the Bills defense scored 2.0 fantasy points. With the Pats playing meaningful football late in December, they’ll still be coming out with all guns blazing. When at their best the Patriots have held several defenses to negative fantasy points - the Bills defense should not be played under any circumstance come Sunday.
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January 18, 2018
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