Good players to start are plentiful across the NFL this week. Rookie running backs Jamaal Williams and Samaje Perine have both wrestled away control of their respective backfields, meanwhile veteran wide receiver Marquise Goodwin looks like fantasy football league winner based on advanced statis, metrics, and analytics player profiles.
Jamaal Williams, RB, Packers
While Aaron Jones may be the more talented rookie running back, it’s Jamaal Williams who has won the favor of Green Bay’s coaching staff. Since taking over as the starter in the second half of week 9, Williams has been an amazing workhorse for the Packers. He has finished as a top 20 back in the last three weeks after not placing in the top 20 once in the first ten weeks. This includes top 10 finishes in each of the last two weeks.
On paper, this is a bad matchup against a Browns defense that is currently allowing -3.14 (No. 25) fantasy points below the mean to running backs. However, in recent weeks Joe Mixon and Leonard Fournette have put in 100+ yard games against them. Mixon did so behind a Bengals offensive line that is currently offering a 41.3 (No. 30) Run Blocking Efficiency. Williams is supported by a Green Bay line that is currently producing a 118.4 (No. 2) Run Blocking Efficiency. Williams will continue to ride his hot hand into another good outing.
Samaje Perine, RB, Washington
Samaje Perine has quietly consolidated control in the Washington backfield over the past few weeks. With Rob Kelley and Chris Thompson both landing on injured reserve with leg injuries, Perine was handed the reigns and responded with back to back 120-plus yard games. In week 13 against the Cowboys, the game script fell out of Perine’s favor, but he was still able to manage 69 yards off of only 15 touches.
This week, Semanje Perine will face a Chargers defense that is allowing +2.66 (No. 8) fantasy points above the mean to opposing running backs. With a hot back like Perine getting 20-25 touches against a vulnerable run defense, good things are bound to happen. Let Washington’s lead runner carry you to victory.
Rex Burkhead, RB, Patriots
Rex Burkhead has been a new man in the second half of the season. Since the Patriots week 9 bye, Burkhead has been on an absolute tear, scoring 5 total touchdowns over the past four games. One of his best games of the year came against Miami two weeks ago when Burkhead produced 53 yards and two touchdowns on only 15 touches.
Miami has been gashed by running backs fairly consistently this year, allowing +1.96 (No. 10) fantasy points above the mean. Another aspect working in Rex Burkhead’s favor is the absence of Rob Gronkowski. With Gronk out, that mean’s Tom Brady will have to find new ways to distribute his 7.7 targets per game. With Burkhead’s good receiving skills, he is almost guaranteed a larger role with Gronk out. Start Burkhead against a team that he touched up just two weeks ago.
T.Y. Hilton, WR, Colts
T.Y. Hilton will benefit the most from facing a banged up Tre’Davious White. White was placed into the NFL concussion protocol this past week after receiving a late hit from Gronkowski, which landed the latter the aforementioned suspension. While White has passed the protocol, there is a chance he still struggles returning from injury.
The dream scenario for Hilton is to get some one on one match ups with Buffalo’s other starting cornerback, E.J. Gaines. Gaines is among the slowest players at his position in the league, as noted with his 4.56 second (29th-percentile) 40 yard dash, and his 86.6 (23rd-percentile) Speed Score. Meanwhile, Hilton is one of the fastest players in the league with his 4.39 second (95th-percentile) 40-yard dash. Week 14 shapes up to be a waking nightmare for Gaines.
Marquise Goodwin, WR, 49ers
As the current No. 1 wideout in San Francisco, Marquise Goodwin’s prospects now look totally changed ever since Jimmy Garoppolo entered the fold. In Garoppolo’s first start, Goodwin managed to have his best game of the season. He set season highs in receptions, fantasy points scored, weekly rank in his position, and managed his second highest yardage output of the season.
This week, he will face a Houston Texans defense that is currently allowing +1.48 (No. 10) fantasy points above the mean to wide receivers. The Chicago Bears defense that Goodwin had a great outing against last week is allowing +0.48 (No. 16) fantasy points above the mean, by comparison. Reap the benefits of the growing Garoppolo-Goodwin connection now.
Kenny Golladay, WR, Lions
Kenny Golladay’s supremely efficient rookie season continues to roll along. Golladay has been a great member of the Detroit supporting cast this season. He currently has a +37.6 Production Premium, +20.9-percent (No. 15) Target Premium, and a sparkling 118.6 (No. 9) QB Rating When Targeted.
This week, Golladay faces an atrocious Tampa Bay pass defense. The Bucs have allowed over 500 fantasy points to wide receivers in just 12 games this season. To put that in perspective, that is equivalent to allowing 13.9 points to the top three receivers on the opposing team, every week. Golladay finds himself across from nickelback Ryan Smith, who has a ghastly 110.3 Passer Rating Allowed. The numbers speak for themselves on this one. Start Golladay and win.