I was nervous about recommending Cam Akers last week with how usage has broken down in the Rams’ backfield, but the rookie running back came through in a huge way for anyone confident enough to start him. He racked up 171 rushing yards on 29 carries and added 2 catches for 23 yards. That was good enough for 21.4 PPR points despite Akers not scoring a touchdown, and he now has 14+ PPR points in three straight weeks. Akers benefitted from a very positive game script against the Patriots last week, despite a middle-tier matchup, and the game script should remain great this week as Vegas has the Rams pinned as 17-point favorites. Akers has proven his talent with his 4.8 YPC this year, and he should be the Rams’ go-to guy for the remainder of the season. Last week, the Seahawks racked up 36 carries for 174 yards and a touchdown against the Jets, and similar rushing production should be in store for LA this week. That makes Akers a must-start flex play in just about every format.
When the 49ers drafted Brandon Aiyuk in the first round of the 2020 draft, Kyle Shanahan raved about his advanced route running, toughness, and incredible short-area burst. Those skills have translated to fantasy production earlier than most expected as Aiyuk has been electric as of late. He’s scored 17+ PPR points in each of his last five games. Last week, Deebo Samuel got hurt on the first play of the game, and Aiyuk dominated with 10 catches for 119 yards on a whopping 16 targets. He now has 11.2 targets per game over his past five outings, a pace that would make him the league leader in targets over the course of the whole season. This week, the Niners play the Cowboys who’s defense has been torched all season. Dallas has allowed the 2nd-most fantasy points per game to wide receivers this year. I lost a fantasy football quarter-final matchup with Aiyuk on my bench – don’t make the same mistake as me this week.
I was anxious about D’Andre Swift this past week as he was making his return from a long-term concussion that even had Adrian Peterson talking to the media and sounding like a concerned uncle. However, Swift saw 11 touches in his first game in four weeks as he racked up 24 rushing yards and a touchdown on seven carries and 4 catches for 26 yards. He has averaged 4.4 targets per game this season, and the Titans have allowed 5.3 catches per game to the running back position. Tennessee has allowed the seventh-most fantasy points per game to running backs this year, making this an above-average matchup for Swift. He had double-digit carries in two straight games before the injury, and I’m hopeful that he can get back to that territory this week. It’s hard to imagine many rosters wouldn’t start Swift this week, and his talent should shine through in a plus matchup.
After a massive 11-182-1 outburst in Week 13 against the Browns, Corey Davis fell back to earth last week with just 3 catches for 34 yards. However, that was just his second game all season with under 10 PPR points, so that was a clear outlier game. Davis is on a 16-game pace of 81 catches for 1,215 yards and 6 touchdowns – those would be career numbers across the board. This week, the Titans face the Lions’ secondary that has been destroyed all season. Detroit has allowed the fifth-most fantasy points per game to wide receivers this season and the most per game over the past three weeks. The Titans might be able to win this game with minimal passing as Derrick Henry will expose the complete lack of a run defense from Detroit, but I still expect Davis to get plenty of targets as the leader on the team in receptions. Davis is a solid WR 2/3 this week with top-15 upside.
Jeff Wilson Jr.
The 49ers have been hesitant to utilize either Raheem Mostert or Jeff Wilson Jr. as an every-down back, and Wilson has averaged 11 touches per game over the past three weeks. I’m in on both Mostert and Wilson this week as they face the Cowboys, who are allowing 162.7 rushing yards per game, the most in the NFL. Dallas has also allowed 17 rushing touchdowns, tied for the fourth-most. Dallas has also allowed the 2nd-most fantasy points per game to running backs and the 4th-most per game to running backs over the past three weeks. The 49ers will work hard to get the run game going in this game, and Wilson could easily get 15 touches against perhaps the worst run defense in football. He’s available in most leagues and has a great opportunity to be a spot start at your flex spot.
The Giants’ offense has been awful as of late, with under 20 points in three straight games, but that hasn’t mattered much as Gallman has scored 10+ PPR points in seven straight games. He hasn’t scored a touchdown in either of his last two games, but he had six touchdowns in five games before that. This week, the Giants face the Browns, who allowed the Ravens to rack up 231 rushing yards and 5 touchdowns last week. Cleveland has been pretty solid against the run this year, but Myles Garrett left the game on Monday with an arm injury and will be questionable this week. Gallman has emerged after Saquon Barkley’s season-ending injury, and he’s averaging 4.6 YPC despite the Giants’ offensive line not being excellent. He’s an easy start at the flex this week, although he gets a strong boost in standard leagues as his receiving work has been inconsistent.
Welcome back, T.Y. Hilton! The veteran wideout hadn’t topped 10 PPR points once all season, but he’s averaging 22.9 PPR points per game over the past three weeks. He has racked up 17 catches for 277 yards and 4 touchdowns over the past three games. That would be a 16-game pace of 90 catches for 1,480 yards and 21 touchdowns and would make him the WR3 in per-game PPR scoring this season. This week, he faces the Texans again, who he just put up 8 catches for 110 yards and a touchdown a couple of weeks ago. The Texans have allowed the ninth-most fantasy points per game to wide receivers this year, and Hilton has always dominated this defense. He’s a must-start this week and is a better play at your flex spot than several guys who I’m seeing on the start-sit radar this week. Stay in the flames with Hilton; he’s on fire.