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Matt Breida Returns to Form for Fantasy Football Playoffs

Fresh off back-to-back 100-yard rushing games, Matt Breida looks primed to help gamers win a fantasy football title. The 49ers lead running back struggled through an ankle injury that limited his touches and output in Weeks 7-9. But he bounced back in a big way against the Giants in Week 10, recording his best fantasy score (29.20) of the season. He followed that up with 140 total yards against the Bucs.

Breida rushed for 207 yards on 31 carries (6.7 yards per carry) over the past two games while scoring one rushing TD, and added six receptions for 65 yards and another score. He gets another exploitable matchup against Seattle with a full head of steam.

The Seahawks defense allows an average of 4.8 YPC to opposing backs, who’ve scored eight rushing TDs against them. Seattle also gives up an average of 26.1 fantasy points per game (FPG) to opponents running backs. Christian McCaffrey just torched the Seahawks for 125 rushing yards and a score, and added 112 receiving yards and another score.

Breida, who’s 5.2 true YPC ranks No. 5 overall, is primed for another big outing as long as he’s healthy. He was limited in practice to start the week, but the Niners could just be managing his reps. And if last week’s 27-9 loss to the Bucs is any indication, he looks game-script proof. With rookie quarterback Nick Mullens under center, the Niners, who rank No. 10 in team run plays per game, should lean on Breida.

Bank On

Running Back

Phillip Lindsay, Denver at Cincinnati. The Bengals have allowed a running back to total at least 100 scrimmage yards and/or score a TD in each of their past seven games. They rank No. 31 in rush defense, allowing opposing running backs to average 147.5 yards per game at a clip of 4.7 YPC. That translates into the second-most FPG (32.2) scored against them by the position. Lindsay has rushed for a TD in four of his past five games while averaging almost 15 carries per game. He ranks No. 7 in total rushing yards (780) and doesn’t cede many touches to Royce Freeman. With matchups against Cleveland and Oakland for the final rounds of the fantasy playoffs, Lindsay looks like a league-winner.

Wide Receiver

Emmanuel Sanders, Denver at Cincinnati. Sanders broke out of a three-game slump by dusting Pittsburgh and cornerback Joe Haden for seven catches, 86 yards and a TD. He draws the Bengals No. 31-ranked pass defense, which has yielded 25 TDs to opposing receivers this season. Only the Bucs have given up more (26). Cincinnati allows wide receivers to score an average of 39 FPG. With Courtland Sutton yet to break out after Demaryius Thomas’ departure, Sanders gets a big piece of the fantasy pie in this one.

D.J. Moore, Carolina at Tampa Bay. The rookie first-rounder from Maryland timed a perfect arrival for the fantasy playoffs. Over the past two games he’s caught 15-of-17 targets for an efficient 248 yards and a TD. Moore’s performance during that span earned him the No. 5 ranking in FPG among receivers. He draws a dream matchup against the Bucs, who have allowed a league-worst 26 TDs to opposing receivers. Carolina’s receiving corps is banged up, with Devin Funchess (back) and Curtis Samuel (hamstring) missing practice this week. If either or both players sit, Moore benefits from an increased target share.


Dak Prescott, Dallas vs. New Orleans. Thursday Night Football has been kind to the home team, which sports a 10-2 record this season. The Cowboys, led by Prescott’s improved play and boosted by the presence of Amari Cooper, have won three straight games. They regained their footing in the NFC East and are in first place. Prescott plays his best at home: his two most productive fantasy showings in 2018 came against the Jaguars (29.5) and Redskins (27.4). He benefits from a matchup against the Saints, who allow opposing QBs to average the fourth-most FPG (22). Vegas favors New Orleans in a game with an over-under of 51.5, meaning Prescott will need to throw the ball to keep up.

Tight End

Greg Olsen, Carolina at Tampa Bay. He failed to top eight fantasy points in his past three games, but draws a get-right matchup against the Bucs, who allow the fifth-most FPG to opposing tight ends. In Week 9 against Tampa Bay, Olsen caught all six of his targets for 76 yards and a TD in his best fantasy outing this season (19.6). He would benefit further from either Devin Funchess (back) or Curtis Samuel (hamstring) sitting out.


Indianapolis at Jacksonville. The Jaguars plan to start Cody Kessler at quarterback, and will be without running back Leonard Fournette. Kessler takes over for the flailing Blake Bortles, and brings with him a career TD:INT ratio of 7:4 in 13 NFL games. Without Fournette to dominate the ground game, Jacksonville’s defense figures to spend a lot of time on the field against a powerful Indy offense. These extenuating circumstances makes the Colts a great play.


Running Back

Tevin Coleman, Atlanta vs. Baltimore. Coleman, listed as a bench last week, delivered a meager 11 PPR points. He’s failed to top that number in the past three games and should remain on the bench this week. Coleman won’t find much room to run facing the Ravens third-ranked rush defense. Baltimore limits opposing backs to 3.5 YPC, and has allowed them to score five rush TDs. The Ravens give up the second-fewest FPG (18) to their opponent’s running backs.

Peyton Barber, Tampa Bay vs. Carolina. To his credit, Barber’s recent play dwarfs his efforts from earlier this season. He’s scored in two straight games and topped 100 rushing yards for the first time against the Giants. But his matchup against Carolina will be an uphill battle. The Panthers have won nine of the past 11 games against the Bucs, including a 42-28 drubbing in Week 9. In that game, Carolina limited Barber to 40 yards from scrimmage and no TDs. Carolina’s stout run defense ranks No. 6, and they limit opposing backs to 4.1 YPC.

Wide Receiver

Jarvis Landry, Cleveland at Houston. Now that the Browns offense doesn’t center around throwing 15 passes in Landry’s direction, he’s a much less appealing play. Prior to Hue Jackson’s firing, Landry averaged almost 12 targets per game and saw 15 targets three separate times. But in the past three weeks he’s seen seven or fewer targets per game. He hasn’t done much with them, either. Landry finished outside the top-25 at his position in PPR scoring during that span and didn’t score a TD. The Texans rank in the top-10 for fewest FPG allowed to opposing team’s receivers (30.8).

Allen Robinson, Chicago at New York Giants. Chase Daniel gets another spot start in place of the injured Mitchell Trubisky (shoulder). That doesn’t bode well for Robinson, who was targeted four times and caught two passes for 37 yards with Daniel under center in Week 12. Against those same Lions in Week 10, with Trubisky playing, Robinson notched his best fantasy performance of the season with 31.3 points. He’ll match up primarily with Giants CB Janoris Jenkins, who’s been better in recent games. Since Julio Jones lit him up in Week 7, Jenkins has allowed one TD over the past four games. He’s limited opposing receivers to an average of 9.9 FPG during that span.


Baker Mayfield, Cleveland at Houston. This will be a tough test for Mayfield, and one which he won’t pass. He enjoyed a stretch of three games playing against teams ranked in the bottom-five for total defense and put up solid numbers. Houston, however, ranks No. 8 in overall defense. The Texans limit opposing quarterbacks to an average of 16 FPG, which won’t cut it from Mayfield if you’re trying to make the playoffs.

Tight End

Chris Herndon, New York Jets at Tennessee. Herndon is putting together a solid second-half of the season. From Weeks 6-12 he ranks in the top-10 for FPG at his position. But he runs into an unfortunate buzz saw against the Titans this week. No tight end has scored this season against Tennessee, which holds opposing team’s tight ends to an average of 7.3 FPG. That’s the best mark in the league.


Jacksonville vs. Indianapolis. Jacksonville is in the midst of a seven-game losing streak in a lost season. All the reasons to start the Colts D/ST this week are the same reasons to sit the Jaguars D/ST. Aside from Jacksonville starting Cody Kessler and being without Leonard Fournette, the Jags face a team scoring the fourth-most points per game (29.5). The Colts have also done a much better job of protecting Andrew Luck, and while he might throw a pick or two it’s going to be tough for the Jaguars to score fantasy points.

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