Monday Football

4:30 PM ET Game

Pittsburgh @ Houston
Team Totals: Steelers 27, Texans 17

With nine-straight top-15 fantasy results and top-12 scores in six of his last seven, Ben Roethlisberger is a high-floor Week 16 start even without Antonio Brown (calf) beneath NRG Stadium’s retractable roof against a Texans defense that has been flamed for top-15 quarterback finishes in seven of its last eight games, including Jacoby Brissett, Jared Goff, Blake Bortles, Blaine Gabbert, and Russell Wilson’s top-ten weeks. On the season, Houston has allowed the NFL’s second-most fantasy points to quarterbacks and second-most touchdown passes (27). … Le’Veon Bell’s passing-game usage has room for growth in Brown’s absence, and his Week 16 matchup is favorable against a Texans defense that has let up 100-plus rushing yards in five of its last six games and a 109/515/4.72/7 rushing line to backs in the last month. Handling absurd usage, Le’Veon enters Week 16 with 20-plus touches in 13 straight games.

As Brown’s partial calf tear will sideline him for Weeks 16-17, the Steelers figure to start Martavis Bryant and JuJu Smith-Schuster on the perimeter with Eli Rogers in the slot. The Texans were torched for big games by Keelan Cole (7/186/1), Marquise Goodwin (6/106/0), and Jaydon Mickens (4/61/2) in the last two weeks. On the season, Houston has allowed the NFL’s seventh-most 20-plus-yard pass plays (49) and a league-high 16 completions of 40-plus yards. Bryant and Smith-Schuster are both upside WR2s. … As NFL targets leader Brown’s absence creates a massive opportunity vacuum, Jesse James is worth streamer discussion against the Texans, who have allowed the NFL’s sixth-most fantasy points and third-most touchdowns (8) to tight ends. Titans TEs (6/83/1) and 49ers TEs (4/77/1) both hurt Houston in Weeks 13-14. James (11) ranks fourth on the Steelers in red-zone targets behind Brown (21), Bell (15), and Smith-Schuster (12) and second behind Brown (10) in targets inside the ten-yard line (8).

Pittsburgh’s defense is a solid bet versus a Houston team that has yielded top-16 fantasy scores to seven straight D/STs faced, including five top-12 weeks. … Game script is Lamar Miller’s big concern; he got out-carried 12 to 9 by Alfred Blue in last week’s blowout loss to the Jags. Miller’s on-paper matchup is favorable against a Steelers defense enemy backs flamed for 63/342/5.43/5 rushing in the last three games. … Matchup and quarterback proof, DeAndre Hopkins is Houston’s lone surefire fantasy play with 80-plus yards and/or a touchdown in eight straight games. Pittsburgh’s secondary was rocked by Marvin Jones (6/128/0), Rishard Matthews (5/113/1), Chester Rogers (6/104/1), T.J. Jones (4/88/0), Golden Tate (7/86/0), Davante Adams (5/82/1), A.J. Green (7/77/2), Mike Wallace (3/72/0), Brandin Cooks (4/60/1), Donte Moncrief (1/60/1), and Chris Moore (3/48/1) in the last seven weeks.

Score Prediction: Steelers 28, Texans 17

8:30 PM ET Game

Oakland @ Philadelphia
Team Totals: Eagles 28, Raiders 19

Fresh off his four-touchdown start against the Giants, Nick Foles draws an even more favorable matchup versus the Raiders, who travel cross country for a primetime game allowing the NFL’s second-highest passer rating (102.6) and a league-high 69% completion rate while struggling to rush the passer with the league’s sixth-fewest QB hits (67) and tenth-fewest sacks (28). In full command of the same offense he learned from Andy Reid under Reid disciple Doug Pederson, Foles remains a quality streamer and DFS play in this plus draw. … Although Jay Ajayi’s Week 15 results underwhelmed, he continued to put his stamp on Philly’s backfield with a team-high 14 touches on 51% of the snaps, Ajayi’s highest playing-time clip in an Eagles uniform. Perhaps 20 touches are unrealistic on a team that insists on involving other backs, but this matchup as a home favorite keeps Ajayi in the RB2/flex mix.

Foles’ 2017 target distribution: Nelson Agholor 14; Alshon Jeffery 13; Zach Ertz 10; Torrey Smith 5; Ajayi and Trey Burton 3; Mack Hollins 2; LeGarrette Blount and Corey Clement 1. … As Foles’ favorite to-date target, Agholor belongs in fantasy lineups as a WR3 against a Raiders defense that yielded at- or above-expectation stat lines to fellow slot WRs Albert Wilson (5/72/0), Cody Latimer (3/48/1), Bennie Fowler (3/33/1), and Danny Amendola (8/66/1) in Weeks 11-15. … Jeffery is a mainstay WR2 with 60-plus yards and/or a touchdown in 10 of his last 13 games. … This is another strong spot for Ertz; the Raiders permitted 5/78/0 on six targets to Cowboys tight ends last week, 8/99/0 to Chiefs tight ends the week before, and big games to Evan Engram (7/99/1), Hunter Henry (5/90/0), Julius Thomas (6/84/1), Delanie Walker (7/76/0), AJ Derby (4/75/1), and Vernon Davis (5/58/1) over the course of the year. Ertz is this week’s No. 3 tight end play behind Rob Gronkowski and Travis Kelce.

Missing LT Donald Penn (foot) and struggling mightily regardless, Derek Carr heads to Philly as a broken player whose irresponsible end-zone fumble cost Oakland its Week 15 game. With fantasy results of QB14 or worse in 10 of his last 11 starts, it’s been months since Carr was a realistic play outside of two-quarterback leagues. … This is a tough spot for Marshawn Lynch as a road-dog back facing an Eagles defense yielding the NFL’s second-fewest fantasy points to his position. Lynch is at major risk of getting scripted out of Monday night’s game. Just four running backs have cleared 40 rushing yards on the Eagles all year. … Michael Crabtree is a volume monster and the lone playable Raiders wideout against an Eagles defense missing top CB Patrick Robinson (concussion). Giants WR Sterling Shepard torched Philly relentlessly (11/139/1) last week. With Amari Cooper inactive in last Sunday night’s loss to the Cowboys, Crabtree drew a career-high 17 targets and was peppered with footballs in scoring position. … The Raiders apparently believe Cooper will give it a go on Monday night, but he won’t be usable coming off a high ankle sprain. … Enigmatic Jared Cook has been held below 20 yards in three of his last four games. The Eagles are middle of the pack in tight end coverage, but I truly have no idea how to set expectations for Cook at this stage.

Score Prediction: Eagles 27, Raiders 20

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