Last updated: November 29th at 8:15am ET
Team Totals: Patriots 24, Texans 21
After playing their last two games in suboptimal conditions at windy Philadelphia and rainy Foxboro, the Pats visit Houston’s NRG Stadium dome for a pass-friendly environment. 8-of-11 quarterbacks to face the Texans have banked top-12 fantasy scores, while Houston’s J.J. Watt-less defense has plummeted to 29th in sacks (22) and 22nd in QB hits (60). Tom Brady’s supporting cast is too thin for full-fledged QB1 confidence, but he’s firmly in play on one-game DFS slates with a far-softer matchup than Deshaun Watson. … Sony Michel has managed single-digit PPR points in 7-of-8 games with Rex Burkhead active, but Sunday night’s plus draw combined with last week’s 20-carry workload keep Michel in touchdown-reliant RB2/flex play. Enemy backs trampled the Texans for 93/465/2 (5.0 YPC) rushing over the last four games, while Michel still ranks No. 4 in the NFL in rushing attempts inside the ten-yard line (21). … New England’s three-man backfield is destroying the season-long fantasy value of each member, but James White makes sense on one-game DFS slates as the Pats’ best pass-catching running back facing a Texans defense that’s allowed a league-high 81 receptions to his position. … Burkhead has logged uneventful touch counts of 4 > 5 > 7 > 4 on snap rates of 19% > 36% > 28% > 21% over the Patriots’ last four games.
Brady’s Week 12 target distribution: Julian Edelman 12; Jakobi Meyers 9; Burkhead 5; N’Keal Harry 4; White 3; Ben Watson and Matt LaCosse 1. … Edelman enters Week 13 with double-digit targets in six straight games. He should run circles around Texans late-season waiver claim Vernon Hargreaves, who took over at slot corner last week. Hargreaves was among the NFL’s worst cornerbacks for years in Tampa Bay. … Otherwise, Patriots wideout roles are up in the air with Phillip Dorsett (concussion) cleared for return but at some risk of sharing snaps with Harry, and Sanu (ankle) tentatively due back but not necessarily at 100%. Meyers filled in for Sanu last week, parlaying his nine targets into 74 yards. I’m going with Dorsett as Week 13’s best non-Edelman wide receiver bet based on Houston’s struggles to contain speed-oriented receives, namely Ted Ginn (7/101/0), Tyrell Williams (3/91/1), Calvin Ridley (5/88/1), Tyreek Hill (5/80/2), T.Y. Hilton (6/74/1), Chris Conley (4/73/0), and D.J. Chark (7/55/1). … Coming off a goose egg versus Dallas, Watson is a low-floor, matchup-based streamer on Sunday night. Texans opponents are an efficient 40-of-61 passing (66%) for 454 yards (7.4 YPA) and three TDs when targeting tight ends over the last seven weeks. Watson is still most appealing on one-game DFS slates.
The Texans host the Patriots after a mini-bye, having outlasted Indianapolis on Week 12 Thursday Night Football and not played since. This is a worrisome draw for Deshaun Watson; the Pats have allowed 14 points or fewer in 12 of their last 13 regular season games and silenced Watson for last Week 1’s QB22 fantasy score. Helpfully, Watson averages 1.5 more yards per pass attempt, 1.04 more touchdowns per game, and 6.6 more fantasy points with Will Fuller in the lineup than without him since entering the NFL. I’m standing by Watson as a season-long QB1 play but down ticking expectations based on New England’s to-date defensive dominance. … Carlos Hyde is catch-less since Week 6 with miserable PPR point totals of 6.7 > 14.0 > 8.3 > 3.5 > 10.4 > 9 > 9.5 in the seven games where Hyde has not hit pay dirt. Hyde is a touchdown-or-bust flex option facing a Patriots defense that has allowed one running back touchdown all year. … Duke Johnson remains a fantasy dud on 7.7 touches per game since Week 1.
Watson’s Week 12 target distribution: Will Fuller 11; DeAndre Hopkins 8; Jordan Akins 4; Kenny Stills and Darren Fells 2; Duke Johnson 1. … Following last Thursday night’s 140-yard bomb drop on the Colts, Fuller catches a much tougher draw versus New England, whose all-world secondary has manhandled big-play receivers by permitting the NFL’s third-fewest 20-plus-yard completions (23). Fuller’s stat lines in two career dates with Bill Belichick’s defense are 3/16/0 and 3/31/0. He’s a boom-bust WR3. … Albeit to not quite as great a degree, the Patriots have also historically contained Hopkins; beginning with most recent, Hopkins’ last five receiving lines versus New England are 8/78/0 > 7/76/0 > 6/65/0 > 4/56/0 > 3/52/0. Likely to attract Stephon Gilmore’s shadow, I’m downgrading Hopkins’ Week 13 expectation into WR2 range. … As Fuller returned and the Texans maintained heavy two-tight end usage, Stills tied his season low in targets (2), ran his third-fewest routes of the year (20), and was generally invisible in last Thursday night’s win over Indy. Outside of one-game DFS long shots, Stills isn’t playable against the Pats. … Fells was also quiet against the Colts (1/24/0) but was on the field for 90% of Houston’s offensive snaps compared to Akins’ 47% playing-time clip. No. 3 TE Jordan Thomas played 12% of the Texans’ downs in his season debut. This is a brutal matchup – New England has permitted the NFL’s sixth-fewest fantasy points to tight ends – but Fells remains the best opportunity-based dart throw of the group.
Score Prediction: Patriots 24, Texans 23