Depending on your league rules, this could be the end of the regular season or you might already be into the playoffs. Either way, its crunch time and its as important as ever to get that line up spot on. With some tasty match ups ahead in week 14 that have ‘real’ playoff implications, I’ve had a dive into my favorite games from a fantasy perspective to help you achieve fantasy glory.
For the context I use in my game breakdowns, you can find my latest rankings via the below links:
RODS Team Rankings
ROPE Quarterback Index and
ROPED Pass Defense Index
RORD Rushing Defense Indexes
Here are my top match ups for week 14.
Seattle Seahawks (8-4) @ Jacksonville Jaguars (8-4)
RODS Rankings: Seahawks 11th, Jaguars 4th
This is a really intriguing match up given you have the top fantasy Quarterback in Russell Wilson, who leads my FPAA (Fantasy Points Above Average) rankings by a distance, up against the historic Jaguars pass defense who are on course to be the best I’ve ever recorded. Its because of this I’ve moved Doug Baldwin down from a must start to a solid option as he will likely be up against Jalen Ramsey, as shutdown a corner as their is in the NFL. Jimmy Graham however remains a must start with 9 touchdowns in his last 8 games as Seattle’s biggest Red Zone threat. Seattle have found a bit of a run game in the past couple of weeks and with Wilson, supported by J.D. McKissick and Mike Davis, have an opportunity to move the ball against my 18th ranked run defense (per my RORD Index).
For the Jaguars, they face a Seahawks defense ranked 9th against the pass and 6th against the run so its a strength on strength with the Jaguars’ 3rd ranked rushing offense (per my RORO Index). Leonard Fournette will need to rediscover his early season form as he has just one 100 yard rushing performance since week 7 and 1 rushing touchdown. Blake Bortles remains a fantasy liability and is one of only three quarterbacks (Joe Flacco and Cam Newton are the others) who have been a net negative in terms of their contribution to their team’s winning record. He’s the 14th highest scoring fantasy quarterback but against top 12 pass defenses, Bortles is averaging 2 points per game less than against the rest of the league.
Must Starts: Russell Wilson QB, Jimmy Graham TE, Seahawks D/ST
Solid Options: Doug Baldwin WR, Mike Davis RB
Deeper Leagues: J.D. McKissic RB, Paul Richardson WR, Tyler Lockette WR
Avoid: Eddie Lacy RB
Must Starts: Jaguars D/ST, Leonard Fournette RB,
Solid Options: Marquise Lee WR
Deeper Leagues: Chris Ivory RB, Marcedes Lewis TE
Avoid: Blake Bortles. Trust level - zero.
Minnesota Vikings (10-2) @ Carolina Panthers (8-4)
RODS Rankings: Vikings 5th, Panthers 8th
Another interesting match up and a pretty crucial one for both teams as the Vikings look to wrap up the NFC North and push for the number 1 seed and the Panthers look to capitalize on the Saints’ loss to the Falcons on Thursday night.
Its another match up of strength against strength as the Panthers’ 5th rated rushing attack is up against the Vikings’ 5th rated rush defense. I give the Vikings the edge as they can afford to go all out to contain Cam Newton as they can place Xavier Rhodes on an island against Devin Funchess and force Newton to throw. Greg Olsen is on track to return and a big game from him will be key to the Panthers’ success. Cam is the 22nd rated passer in my ROPE Index, but is 6th in my FPAA rankings due to his rushing prowess.
For the Vikings offense, the Panthers have the edge in the run game with the 7th ranked rushing defense against the Vikings’ 11th ranked rushing offense. However its the superb performances of Case Keenum that gives the Vikings the edge as he is my 4th ranked quarterback per my ROPE Index, compared toe the Panthers’ 17th ranked pass defense and has a higher ROPE rating and average fantasy points on the road (61.9%, 17.4 points per game) than he does at home (59.7%, 14.8 ppg).
Must Starts: Adam Thielen WR, Kyle Rudolph TE
Solid Options: Case Keenum QB, Jerick McKinnon RB, Latavius Murray RB, Stefon Diggs WR, Vikings D/ST, Kai Forbath K
Deeper Leagues: -
Must Starts: Christian McCaffrey RB
Solid Options: Cam Newton QB, Devin Funchess, Panthers D/ST, Graham Gano K
Deeper Leagues: Jonathan Stewart RB, Greg Olsen (if you’re desperate)
Baltimore Ravens (7-5) @ Pittsburgh Steelers (10-2)
RODS Rankings: Ravens 12th, Steelers 6th
The final game I’ve looked at this week also has massive playoff implications as the Steelers go for the number one seed in the AFC and the Ravens look to hold onto a wildcard place.
For me the game will be won and lost by the Ravens defense. If they’re able to keep the Steelers’ big three in check, and add to their league-leading 29 takeaways (20 interceptions, 9 fumbles recovered), then they can lean on Alex Collins and their run game to chew the clock and play keep away from their more explosive opponents. On the other side, how the Steelers defense adapts without Ryan Shazier at the heart of their defense will be key to them stopping Collins, as Joe Flacco remains the lowest rated quarterback in terms of FPAA, as he averages 3.81 fantasy points per game less than the league average passer.
Must Starts: Alex Collins RB, Ravens D/ST, Justin Tucker K
Solid Options: -
Deeper Leagues: Javorius Allen RB, Mike Wallace WR, Jeremy Maclin WR, Benjamin Watson TE
Avoid: Joe Flacco QB. One average game is not enough evidence to me.
Must Starts: Antonio Brown WR, Le’Veon Bell RB, Steelers D/ST, Chris Boswell K
Solid Options: Ben Roethlisberger QB
Deeper Leagues: Martavis Bryant. I don’t trust him this week but he has touchdown upside in JuJu’s absence.