Welcome to Week 14’s Fantasy Football Rundown. What you’ll find here is at least one sentence on every fantasy viable player in each game this week. There’s a lot to talk about. I would highly recommending using your browser’s search function if you’re looking for a particular player.
Sunday 10:00am PST
Vikings QB Kirk Cousins heads to Tampa Bay carrying overall QB4 production over the last three weeks. The Bucs’ defense kicked the year off as one of the league’s top overall units but have faltered as of late, allowing big days from Teddy Bridgewater in Week 11, Jared Goff in Week 12, and Patrick Mahomes in Week 13. It’s possible Tampa Bay is able to turn things around but this game looks like a back-and-forth shootout. The likely absence of perimeter cornerback Jamel Dean (groin) boosts Cousins’ chances of connection with Adam Thielen and breakout rookie Justin Jefferson. Cousins is a high-end streaming option for Week 14.
Minnesota looks primed for a multi-year stretch of wide receiver dominance with Thielen and Jefferson working over opposing CBs — all they need is a change in the coaching department for things to really pop off. Regardless, the prospect of the top notch duo taking turns against a backup cornerback offers mouthwatering potential. In Week 12, when the aforementioned Dean got hurt, Chiefs’ receiver Tyreek Hill posted a historic receving stat line of 13/15-269-3. Thielen and Jefferson are both Top 12 plays at the position.
With starting slot corner Sean Murphy-Bunting likely head to the perimeter, in place of Jamel Dean, Vikings’ slot receiver Chad Beebe deserves decent DFS consideration while garnering boom/bust flex viability in season-long formats. The match-up is right for Beebe to make a little noise.
Olabisi Johnson is not seeing enough work to be fantasy-relevant right now.
Tight ends Kyle Rudolph (foot) and Irv Smith Jr. (back) both worryingly were unable to practice to start the week. Smith has since returned in a limited capacity, garnering streaming viability in the process. Tampa Bay is allowing the 12th-most .5PPR PPG to opposing TEs (10.7).
No. 2 back Alexander Mattison was out last week after having an appendectomy. Instead of elevating one of Ameer Abdullah or Mike Boone to a change of pace role, the coaching staff instead gave No. 1 back Dalvin Cook a season-high 87% snap share and an unbelievable 32-carry, 9-target workload. With Mattison expected to again sit out this week, Cook takes the No. 2 spot in this week’s Tiered RB Rankings.
Week 14 brings King Kong potential for Tampa Bay quarterback, Tom Brady. Minnesota’s inability to generate pressure on opposing QBs (19.5% QB pressure rate — 7th-worst) and a general lack of talent in their secondary has led to the allowance of 3,140 passing yards (6th-most) and 24 passing touchdowns (4th-most). Brady garners shoe-in QB1 potential this week.
Touchdown-machine, wide receiver Mike Evans, deserves WR1 valuation this week against a Vikings secondary allowing the 3rd-ost .5PPR PPG to opposing receivers (35.1). Slot receiver Chris Godwin is close behind him as a rock-solid WR2.
No. 3 WR Antonio Brown deserves high-floor flex consideration while No. 4 WR Scotty Miller can be fired up in contrarian DFS lineups.
While stud strong safety Harrison Smith will still be patrolling the back-end of the defense, do-it-all linebacker Eric Kendricks (calf) has registered back-to-back Did Not Participate practice designations this week, making it unlikely for him to play. The Vikings already suffered the loss of similar do-it-all linebacker Anthony Barr earlier this year to Injured Reserve. This gaping hole in the middle of Minnesota’s defense should be greedily exploited by Bucs’ tight ends and running backs alike. Fire up Rob Gronkowski as a high-end TE1. Cam Brate is up for DFS-only consideration.
Given the potential for a shootout, expected game script favors passing game running back Leonard Fournette to return flex value over Ronald Jones. That said, if Kendricks does indeed miss, both backs can be started as high-floor/high-ceiling flex plays.
Fantasy managers should probably look elsewhere at quarterback this week if they’ve been coasting to success on the shoulders of QB Kyler Murray. The 2nd-year quarterback hasn’t looked right since injuring his throwing shoulder in Week 11’s bout with the Seahawks. After averaging 264.4 passing yards through the first 10 games of the season, Murray’s per game average has dropped to 171.5 over the last two. More importantly, for fantasy purposes, his 61.9 rushing yards per game — again, through the first 10 games — has plummeted to a per game average of just 23. Perhaps biggest of all, Murray was averaging a rushing touchdown per game before the injury. Over the last two, he’s scoreless on the ground. Until we see Murray operating at 100%, it’ll be impossible to trust him to return QB1 value — especially true this week, facing the New York Giants’ defense that’s allowing just 15.7 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks, 3rd-fewest in the NFL. Murray is just a mid-to-high QB2, a few spots below this week’s high-end streamers.
For those paying close attention, stud wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins has been listed on the Cards’ injury report this week with the injury designation of “Not-Injury Related/Neck/Back” and was unable to practice on Wednesday and Thursday due to the “injury”. As it stands, there’s no need for fear on the injury front. Hopkins has played without practicing before — a luxury bestowed upon the most super of stars. That said, if he does play, he’ll face shadow coverage from lock-down cornerback James Bradberry, one of the NFL’s best offseason acquisitions. Given Hopkins’ sporadic box score production for the majority of the season, as well as the impending duel with Bradberry, fantasy managers must tragically consider Hopkins as merely a back-end WR2/high-end flex play.
Given the match-up and the general inability to produce, the remaining Arizona wide receivers are all far too risky to indulge in. Christian Kirk offers low-end boom/bust appeal but would really only garner flex consideration were Hopkins to miss the game. With the return of elder Larry Fitzgerald, fluky deep threat Andy Isabella is a non-starter in fantasy — as it Fitz.
Tight end Dan Arnold’s career-best game last week, bizarrely occurred when his snap rate hit a season-low. Consider it a flash in the pan. Arnold should be expected to slip back into fantasy irrelevance.
After some recent confusion, the workloads of lead back Kenyan Drake and change of pace back Chase Edmonds have been clarified. Drake is primarily a rushing running back, while Edmonds largely handled the higher valued, yet less frequent, passing game responsibilities. In what’s likely to be a low-scoring affair with the G-Men, Drake’s 18+ carry workload should bear more fantasy fruit. While it’s a concern that NYG has been more vulnerable, efficiency-wise, via the air than on the ground, to opposing backfields, Kyler Murray’s forfeiture of the red zone rushing work has given Kenyan Drake access to a fantasy ceiling that he lacked for much of the year. He’s a mid-to-high RB2. Edmonds is just a low-end flex play.
Giants’ QB Daniel Jones did enough in practice this week (hamstring) to get cleared to play. Although it’s tough to depend on the erratic passer, Jones’ rushing upside should be on display, facing a Cards’ front-seven missing linebacker De’Vondre Campbell (ankle), and defensive linemen Chandler Jones, Josh Mauro, and Cory Peters. Jones is a boom/bust QB2.
While great in real life, having all three starting wide receivers healthy (Sterling Shepard, Darius Slayton, and Golden Tate), lowers the fantasy ceiling of each player. That said, each man is a high-floor flex play with a shot at a touchdown. The Cards’ defense is allowing a generous 31.4 .5PPR PPG, 11th-most in the NFL. In order of likelihood for success: Shepard, Slayton, and lastly Tate.
Arizona solved their years-long difficulties with pass catching tight ends this year, limiting the position to just 8.2 .5PPR PPG, 7th-fewest in the league. As a result, boom/bust, back-end TE1 Evan Engram is much more likely to produce a letdown week than not.
Featured running back Wayne Gallman is a high-end RB2 play this week, with the aforementioned injury bug having ravaged the the majority of Arizona’s front-seven. Frankly, a mid-tier RB1 finish is firmly within his range of outcomes this week.
Kansas City Chiefs at Miami Dolphins
It’s likely that Miami’s brilliantly built pass defense units give KC a run for their money. But the fact of the matter is, Andy Reid’s play designs, as well as Kansas City’s pass catching corps can impose their will on anyone. KC QB Patrick Mahomes once again takes this week’s No. 1 ranking in our Tiered QB Rankings, and admittedly, he may not finish there. But when prognosticating over which quarterback has the best chance to post another elite, difference-making performance, Mahomes belongs at the top.
There are only six non-QBs who have outscored tight end Tavis Kelce (198.6) in .5PPR scoring this year; wide receivers Davante Adams (220.9) and Tyreek Hill (237.9), and running backs Dalvin Cook (257.9), Alvin Kamara (245.8), Derrick Henry (219.4), and James Robinson (202.8). Kelce remains a week-winning TE1 play, despite the tough match-up.
At the risk of forgoing nuance, Tyreek Hill was able to produce one of the best fantasy outings of all time against a talented, fellow Floridian squad, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 12. There is no secondary in the NFL capable of removing him from the elite WR1 ranks.
Both Sammy Watkins and Demarcus Robinson deserve boom/bust flex consideration this week as the duo who rounds out the team’s 3-wide sets, both spend a decent snap share running routes out of the slot, an area of weakness in Miami’s coverage.
Mecole Hardman is not seeing enough regular work to be deployed as anything other than a long-shot DFS option.
Running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire can only be trusted as a mid-tier RB2. The rookie back is undeniably talented but from time to time, the team just doesn’t need to do anything other than let Mahomes cook. With Miami’s secondary so strong, it’s possible KC schemes up a bit more work than normal for CEH.
Le’Veon Bell is the team’s preferred handcuff over Darrel Williams.
Rookie quarterback Tua Tagovailoa has a rough outing ahead of him as the Chiefs’ front-seven is generating pressure 23.4% of the time, 10th-best in the NFL. Stud defensive tackle Chris Jones has done much of the work himself, registering 34 pressures this year, 4th-best across the league. The work of Jones and Co. up front have helped the KC secondary en route to the league’s 3rd-highest interception total, 14. Part of the defense’s success comes from the KC offense’s high-scoring nature, which routinely puts opponents into obvious passing situations — a hole that Tua will undoubtedly have to dig himself out of this week. Look elsewhere for a fantasy starter as Miami’s signal caller fell to the QB29 spot this week.
Of Miami’s deep receiving corps, only DeVante Parker is seeing enough time on the field to be considered for a flex start this week. His ceiling is not one to rely on though.
The frequent deployment of tight ends Durham Smythe and Adam Shaheen have unfortunately eaten into stud pass catcher Mike Gesicki’s 2020 fantasy outlook. Gesicki’s prospects would be enhanced if Shaheen (foot) were to miss but the latter is trending in the right direction to play. That said, Gesicki did tie his season-high of 11 targets last week and KC’s TE coverage is allowing 10.5 .5PPR PPG, 13th-most in the NFL. Consider Gesicki a low-floor/high-ceiling TE1.
Update 12/12/20: Myles Gaskin has devastatingly been placed on the COVID-19/Reserve List. Based on prior usage, outlined here for 4for4’s John Paulsen, DeAndre Washington is the preferred replacement for Gaskin. The revenge game narrative is, of course, in play as well. Consider Washington a low-floor/high-ceiling flex play. It’s tough to state unequivocally that Washington will be the lead back but the chances of it are high. His dual threat skillset provides an opportunity for a hefty workload as Miami tries to keep pace with Kansas City.
In the two games that Myles Gaskin has played with Tua Tagovailoa at quarterback, the 2nd-year running back has been a featured part of the offense, seeing no fewer than 18 carries, while totaling 8 targets. With primary backups Salvon Ahmed (shoulder) and Matt Breida (COVID-19/Reserve List) out this week, Gaskin should feast via a high-volume, dual threat workload. Gaskin is a rock-solid, mid-to-high RB2 this week.
This AFC South battle should feature a number of high-potential players — look no further than the red hot Tennessee QB Ryan Tannehill who’s posted the 5th-highest fantasy point total (70.56) over the last three weeks. With slot receiver Adam Humphries (concussion) being placed on Injured Reserve, Tannehill has been “forced” to feature his dominant downfield WR duo of A.J. Brown and Corey Davis. With the Jaguars’ secondary allowing the 4th-most FPPG to opposing signal callers (22.6) on tap Tannehill offers week-winning upside, tipping the scales as our 5th-ranked QB on the week.
A.J. Brown continued his 2020 routine of taking a day or two off from practice during the week, before getting in a full participation on Friday. He’s an elite WR1.
Toggling through the drop-down menus at airyards.com, created by the brilliant Josh Hermsmeyer, fantasy managers can see that Corey Davis actually has a slightly higher Weight Opportunity Rating (WOPR) over Tannehill’s beastly three-game streak. Given that his production has been a bit more sporadic than Brown’s, it’s fair to ding him for his floor but fantasy managers should deploy Davis comfortably as a high-end WR2 with team-leading, Top 12 upside.
Following the aforementioned instructions for airyards.com, when viewing Weeks 9-12, the duration of Adam Humphries’ initial absence (concussion), Cameron Batson had a decent lead, in terms of WOPR, over fellow fill-in receiver Kalif Raymond. Although Batson is probably too risky for season-long purposes, he makes for a fine sleeper candidate in DFS.
No. 1 tight end Jonnu Smith (knee) looks like he’s ready to play this week against a Jaguars’ defense allowing 11.3 .5PPR PPG to opposing tight ends, 7th-most in the NFL. Although it’s a great get-right spot for the Top 12 option, it has to be mentioned that the Titans have coaxed out receiving game contributions from Anthony Firkser, MyCole Pruitt, and Geoff Swaim. It’s a crowded tight end room in Tennessee but Smith is the best bet to return usable production.
If Derrick Henry’s Week 13 game script-caused flop didn’t end your playoff hopes, he’s set to right his wrong in Week 14. From a pure rushing perspective, Jacksonville has allowed the 3rd-most rushing yards (1,643) and the 8th-most rushing touchdowns (14) on the year. It just so happens that Henry is Top 2 in both 2020 rushing yards and rushing touchdowns. He’s this week’s top ranked RB in our Tiered Running Back Rankings.
Jeremy McNichols remains the likely preferred handcuff option.
Top to bottom, the atrociousness of the Titans’ defense gives every prominent bit of Jacksonville’s offense a chance to return noteworthy fantasy value. Tennessee’s 17.2% QB pressure rate is just 0.3% away from being the league’s worst. Part of Tennessee’s issue is that their offense is so efficient in the point-scoring column, 29.9 points per game (3rd-highest in the NFL), that their offense barely spends any time with the ball in its hands. Their 28:13 (minutes) average time of possession ranks 4th-least in the NFL. As a result, Tennessee’s defense spends most of the day facing their opponent’s up-tempo, 2-minute drill offense which is typically designed to be as efficient and as lethal as possible. Tennessee’s 3,294 passing yards and 27 passing touchdowns allowed rank 5th-most and the most, respectively.
As a result, fill-in QB Mike Glennon finds himself firmly in the streaming conversation as a mid-tier QB2 this week.
Through Glennon’s two weeks as a starter, big-bodied rookie receiver Collin Johnson has emerged out of nowhere as Glennon’s go-to guy. With such a great match-up at hand, Johnson can (amazingly) be relied upon as a high-floor/high-ceiling flex play.
After Johnson, the crowded nature of Jacksonville’s receiver room renders D.J. Chark, Keelan Cole, Chris Conley, and Laviska Shenault as low-floor/high-ceiling flex plays with Chark — easily the most talented — as the best bet to return ceiling value.
The the aforementioned two-game stretch, tight ends Tyler Eifert and James O’Shaugnessy have seen a whopping 10 targets apiece. Eifert, the far more talented pass catcher, is firmly on the streaming radar as Tennessee’s defense is tied with the Jaguars, allowing 11.3 .5PPR PPG to opposing tight ends, the 7th-highest weekly total in the NFL.
One of the funnest NFL success stories this year, breakout rookie running back James Robinson has stormed his way to the 4th-highest .5PPR point total through first 13 weeks of the season. The Tennessee Titans are allowing 22.8 .5PPR PPG to opposing backfields, 7th-most in the NFL. Robinson is a Top 5 play at his position this week.
The dreadful Bengals’ defense is Top 10 in passing yards (3,087), passing touchdowns (23), and rushing yards allowed (1,611), setting the table for nice outing from Dallas. Fire Andy Dalton up as a high-end streaming option, ahead of players like Kyler Murray and Cam Newton.
Accordingly, No. 1 receiver Amari Cooper tips the scale as a Top 15 play while slot receiver CeeDee Lamb can be started as a high-end flex. Downfield receiver Michael Gallup garners boom/bust DFS viability but has been far too volatile this year, even in wondrous match-ups, to be started in season-long leagues.
Cincy’s allowing the 3rd-most .5PPR PPG to opposing tight ends, 13.3, and Dalton Schultz has maintained a decent share of Dalton’s targets. He’s a decent TE1 option.
Ezekiel Elliott (calf) was only able to manage limited practice partitipation this week. It’s likely that he plays, and pummels the Bengals’ front-seven en route to a Top 12 finish. But it’s important to note that once this game is, presumably, out of hand, Tony Pollard should see a 10+ touch workload. He’s a low-floor/high-ceiling flex option who has a decent shot at a touchdown. Consider him strongly in DFS.
The Dallas Cowboys’ defense, meanwhile, really isn’t much better than Cincinnati’s. Cincy’s offense though, isn’t in the same ballpark. If one wishes, dice can be rolled on QB Brandon Allen, given Dallas’s per game allowance of 19.6 FPPG to opposing signal callers, 9th-most in the NFL. But Allen is so lacking in talent that it’s tough to trust him. He’s this week’s last-ranked QB.
Perimeter receiver Tee Higgins could be started as a flex, if his balky hamstring doesn’t keep him out. Slot receiver Tyler Boyd is the best bet to return flex value though.
TE Drew Sample is just a TE2.
In defense of running back Giovani Bernard, Dallas is allowing 23.9 .5PPR PPG to opposing running backs, 6th-most in the NFL. The reality is that he’s a washed up running back, playing behind a terrible offensive line, in a league-bottom offense. Don’t trust him as anything more than a low-end flex play.
Even without Will Fuller and Brandin Cooks missing time in Week 13, being checked for a concussion, Deshaun Watson still willed his way to QB14 results against a tough Indianapolis Colts’ defense. On the year, Indy’s allowed the 5th-fewest FPPG (16.2) to opposing signal callers and Houston’s Week 14 foe, Chicago is just two spots behind them (16.7). That said, both Aaron Rodgers and a Kenny Golladay-less Matthew Stafford have lit up the Bears’ secondary in back-to-back weeks. Watson remains a QB1 for Week 14.
WR Brandin Cooks under-performed last week but some of that has to due with him missing time mid-game. Expect him to return to No. 1 receiver status for the Texans this week, bringing Top 12 fantasy value at the position with him.
Slot receiver Keke Coutee and Chad Hansen rounded out the 3-wide sets last week and both stunningly rose to the occasion. Rookie receiver Isaiah Coulter was expected to compete for the job alongside Coutee but Hansen’s sound 5/6-101 receiving line has done more than enough to stave Coulter off in the short term. Consider Coutee and Hansen solid flex options with Coutee the likelier candidate to produce a ceiling game, given his years-long rapport with QB Deshaun Watson. Coulter is just a bench stash.
Although Deshaun Watson has seemingly forgot about his pass catching tight end duo, Jordan Akins and Darren Fells, this is a bounce-back spot for at least one of them as the Bears’ defense is allowing 13.3, the 2nd-most .5PPR PPG to opposing tight ends. Given his general command of the snap share, Akins is the preferred, albeit low-floor, streaming option.
The absence of Will Fuller (PED suspension) is what finally — and bizarrely — got pass catching back Duke Johnson Jr. a decent role in the offense. That said, he still saw just 2 carries so we shouldn’t expect any real flex value to arise.
Lead back David Johnson retains his high-floor RB2 value in what should be a competitive outing. As seen in this chart, designed by the brilliant Sam Hoppen, DJ sees the majority of his work when Houston’s win-probability is in the low-to-moderate range. As Chicago should have no problem moving the ball against Houston’s paltry defense, a high-volume game can be expected for DJ, in an albeit tough match-up.
Mitchell Trubisky surprisingly flopped against Detroit last week, a team he typically performs well against. No matter, the welcoming Houston Texans’ defense is on tap for the Bears this week. Registering just 3 interceptions this year, worst in the NFL, and 38 passes defended, 3rd-worst, the Texans’ secondary is a great place for Trubisky to get his season back on track. Consider Chicago’s signal caller a mid-tier QB2 with moderate upside.
All-World wide receiver Allen Robinson could see an extra sprinkling of targets this week as downfield receiver Darnell Mooney has missed back-to-back practices for personal reasons. His Week 14 status is unclear. Houston is allowing the 12th-most .5PPR PPG to opposing receivers, 30.8, which helps cements Robinson’s status as a Top 5 option at his position.
Slot receiver Anthony Miller has a decent shot to return high-floor value as a deep-league flex play but his ceiling has been hard to find. Preseason baller Javon Wims is the best bet to step into Mooney’s potentially vacated role. Wims would draw sneaky DFS consideration were to he to get the start in 3-wide sets.
Stud rookie tight end has stormed past Jimmy Graham, the lead-legged veteran, hurdling past the 70% snap share marks three games in a row. In those three games, Kmet has out-targeted Graham 13 to 7, culminating in last week’s 5/7-37-1 stat line for Kmet. The breakout-rookie is a Top 12 option for the remainder of the season.
Bellocow back David Montgomery has blown up the box score in each of the last two weeks, being featured as a true dual threat in the wake of Tarik Cohen’s mid-season ACL tear. With a Texans’ front-seven that’s allowed the 2nd-most rushing yards (1,811) and 5th-most rushing touchdowns (16) on the year, Montgomery garners Top 12 consideration. He’s this week’s overall RB11.
WR/RB/KR Cordarrelle Patterson could see a little extra work, in place of Mooney, this week as the do-it-all burner is capable of lifting the lid off of any defense. As with all gadget players though, his floor is dangerously low. Patterson should only be started in contrarian DFS lineups and Hail Mary season-long situations, in very deep leagues.
QB Drew Lock has a great match-up here with a rookie-built Carolina defense that’s generating pressure on opposing quarterbacks at the league’s 6th-lowest rate (19.3%), while intercepting just 5 passes, 3rd-fewest. That said, it’s likely that Denver opts to stick with a ground’n’pound game plan that features running back Melvin Gordon against a Panthers’ defensive-front allowing 22.7 .5PPR PPG, 8th-most in the league. As a result, Lock is just a boom/bust QB3.
Perimeter receiver Tim Patrick has a great chance to return high-floor/high-end flex value, despite Lock’s potential let down. Patrick has established himself as the top dog in the Broncos’ pass catching corps while Jerry Jeudy continues to battle an ankle injury. Jeudy’s recent lack of production relegates him to the boom/bust realm of the flex world.
In two of the last three games, slot receivers facing Carolina have posted respectable outings, as evidenced by Chad Beebe (7/7-63-1) and Chris Godwin (6/6-92). As a result, K.J. Hamler can be considered for DFS contrarian purposes.
Tight end Noah Fant has fallen to the high-end TE2 ranks at this point. The Broncos’ offense just isn’t throwing the ball at a high enough clip to sustain multiple pass catchers.
No. 2 RB Phillip Lindsay has been battling a knee injury for a few weeks now, and although he practiced in full ahead of this week’s game, his complete inability to produce — 26 yards on 14 carries last week — renders him an ill-advised flex option. As referenced above, the Panthers’ defeense has been truck-sticked by opposing backfields this year, setting the table for a back-end RB1 performance out of lead back Melvin Gordon.
With Christian McCaffrey listed as Doubtful this week, QB Teddy Bridgewater will, once again, be asked to guide his team to victory. Denver’s defense is a well coached unit but a bevvy of injuries, and more importantly, the recent PED suspension of stud cornerback A.J. Bouye, have relegated this unit to the league’s bottom. Bridgewater remains a back-end QB1 option this week.
With wide receiver D.J. Moore stuck on the COVID-19/Reserve List, Robby Anderson and Curtis Samuel should see an enhanced workload in Week 14. Against Denver’s Bouye-less secondary, Anderson will be running free. Fire him up as a secure Top 15 option. Samuel, meanwhile deserves similar, if not higher, fantasy consideration. As Christian McCaffrey’s absence drew on, Sameul began eating into fill-in RB Mike Davis’s backfield workload as the team decided it was prudent to put Samuel’s dual threat capabilities on full display. With a likely target total in the 8-10 range on its way, as well as a handful of carries, Samuel bears a Top 12 ceiling firmly within his range of outcomes.
It’s unclear whether Pharoh Cooper or Brandon Zylstra will takeover No. 3 WR duties but either one garner long-shot DFS consideration. The duo shouldn’t be anywhere near season-long lineups though.
Regardless of whether or not tight end Ian Thomas’s knee allows him to play this week, he is not a starting option in any fantasy format.
Mike Davis will be the team’s Week 14 starter at running back. It’s been over a month since Davis put together a truly great performance in relief of CMC, an outcome most likely reached due to the drop in passing game usage. That said, 18+ touches against a ho-hum Denver defense should still return high-floor RB2 value — it just might not be the kind of high-ceiling performance one is looking for in crunch time. An performance yielding 8-12 .5PPR points is quite likely.
Now-No. 2 back Rodney Smith hasn’t done much with his change of pace role and should not be in any fantasy lineup this week.
Sunday 1:05-1:25pm PST
New York Jets at Seattle Seahawks
NYJ at SEA sets up for a fantasy gold mine as the two defenses have allowed the Top 2 highest passing yardage totals on the year. For foes of Seattle, their league-high mark of 3,717 passing yards allowed has been a golden ticket for quarterbacks and wide receivers. The Jets secondary isn’t far behind, having given up 3,492 passing yards of their own. As noted in one of this week’s top videos on the NFL’s Next Gen Stats page, Seahawks safety Jamal Adams has been the lifeblood of the Seattle defense. The do-it-all safety leads the team in QB pressures (20), getting the job done via the league’s 8th-highest blitz count (77). Adams offers week-winning potential in IDP leauges, as an aside. That said, Adams can’t shutdown the Jets’ passing game on every player — as evidenced by the aforementioned gaudy yardage total. And when Adams is phased out by the Jets’ blockers, QB Sam Darnold will find ample time in the pocket to throw. The young signal caller is a mid-tier QB2 with Top 15 upside.
The Jets’ receivers are an extremely underrated position group against the Seattle Seahawks in Week 14. Through 13 weeks, Seattle is averaging 38.4 .5PPR PPG allowed to opposing receivers, nearly three points more than any other team in the league.
Week 14 is looking like a blow-up spot for wide receiver Breshad Perriman with fellow perimeter receiver, stud rookie Denzel Mims (personal reason), and slot maven Jamison Crowder having suffered a mid-week calf injury, leading to a Questionable designation for Sunday afternoon’s game. With potentially 10-targets on their way to the big-bodied 4.26-second 40-yard dash blazer, Perriman’s range of outcomes has gone from a high-floor/high-ceiling flex play to a potential Top 12 finish. In his lone career game against Seattle, playing on Tampa Bay’s roster last year, Perriman posted a 4/8-42-1 state line, dusting the former Legion of Boom for a 15-yard score. Smoke ‘em, if you’ve got ‘em — and get Perriman into your lineup for Week 14.
Should Jamison Crowder play, he too would need to be in lineups wherever possible. In the 16-career games that Crowder and Darnold have played in together, Crowder has receiver double-digit target workloads in 6 of them. If active, against this hapless Seattle Seahawks defense, Crowder is a high-end WR2. And although his presence would take a target or two away from Perriman, the potential for multiple chunk gains and/or a long score is still firmly on the table for Perriman.
Should Perriman sit, the similarly built 5’9” backup slot receiver Braxton Berrious would be an immediate plug-and-play, high-end flex option. In Crowder’s four missed games this year, Weeks 2, 3, 7, and 8, Berrios has averaged 5.5 catches on 7.5 targets for 48 yards and 0.5 touchdowns. Finding 5+ catches, nearly 50 yards, and a 50/50 shot at a touchdown against the league’s worst pass defense on the waiver wire in Week 14, is a damn fine backup option, if Crowder is unable to go.
Fill-in perimter Jeff Smith is unlikely to see enough work to garner serious season-long consideration but Smith should absolutely be considered for DFS tournaments.
Tight end Chris Herndon is not a viable fantasy play.
We’ll know more as we get closer to kickoff but for now, the Jets’ backfield is up in the air. Ancient lead back Frank Gore is recovering from a concussion but head coach Adam Gase, who lies like the world turns, said he believes Gore will be good to go on Sunday. If not, fill-in back Ty Johnson would draw some flex appeal after a great Week 13 outing. The availability of Seahawks’ DE Carlos Dunlap will have an impact on either back’s outlook. Regardless, Gore would not be a recommended start, if active.
With the aforementioned horrid state of the Jets’ defense, fantasy managers should stick with their prominent Seahawks despite some recent bumps, as a high-efficiency outing is likely on tap. Russell Wilson is a Top 3 option this week.
New York’s getting manhandled by wide receivers at a rate of 32.9 .5PPR PPG, 9th-most in the NFL. As evidenced by the performances of downfield threat Henry Ruggs (3/4-84-1) and slot receiver Keenan Allen (16/19-145-1), in recent weeks, both D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Locket have outrageous blow-up potential this week. Both are Top 15 options with sky-high ceilings.
Given the match-up, No. 3 receiver David Moore could be considered for DFS purposes.
If anyone was wondering whether or not the Jets’ 14.6 .5PPR PPG allowed to tight ends was a fluke, Raiders’ tight end Darren Waller closed that case last week, handing a stat line of 13/17-200-2. Both Jacbo Hollister and Will Dissly need to be in DFS lineups and either one should be strongly considered for streaming purposes in season-long leagues. Hollister is the more talented and more frequently targeted of the two but Dissly owns a strong snap share.
Registering full participation in practice on Friday, both Chris Carson and Carlos Hyde are good to go for Sunday afternoon. Although both are not likely to be fully healthy, against a ho-hum Jets front-seven, both are usable fantasy assets. Consider Carson a locked-in RB1 and Hyde a garbage time-based flex option.
Indianapolis Colts at Las Vegas Raiders
Colts’ QB Philip Rivers carries a very high floor into his Week 14 bout, scoring between 17.8 and 21.4 points in each of the last three games. That trend should continue against an entirely unimposing Raiders defense that’s allowing 19.6 FPPG to opposing QBs, 0.14 points off of Rivers’ recent three-game average. He’s a high-end QB2 this week.
The up-and-down nature of Rivers’ two top receivers, T.Y. Hilton and Michael Pittman Jr., makes them tough to trust in season-long formats, given what’s likely on the line in a Week 14 bout. Hilton seems to have shaken off his early-season woes, posting back-to-back studly outings in Weeks 12 and 13. Given the match-up, Hilton can cautiously be started as a match-up-based flex option. Pittman, with all the play-making ability in the world, can also return value of a similar nature. His recent lack of success renders him a shaky play though.
Do not trust any of Rivers’ remainging wide receivers.
The three-headed nature of the Colts’ tight end group nukes the trio of any reliability. Trey Burton has born more fantasy-fruit than Mo Alie-Cox and Jack Doyle, as of late, but he soundly trails those two in the snap column. Best to look elsewhere this week.
While Las Vegas’s 1,453 rushing yards allowed this year are roughly league average, their 19 rushings touchdowns allowed sure aren’t. That’s the 2nd-highest total of 2020. Ignoring Jonthan Taylor’s COVID-induced absence in Week 12, his sturdy snap share in Weeks 11 and 13 provide reassurance for those wondering if they can trust him to be the man they drafted him to be. Posting results of RB13 and RB3 in those two outings, fantasy mangers can fire up Taylor as a back-end RB1/high-end RB2. With Jordan Wilkins fading further and further into irrelevance, the Colts’ backfield has finally become a more trustworthy unit. No. 2 back Nyheim Hines deserve strong flex consideration in this plus match-up.
With a few early-season gimmes, there were questions as to whether or not the Colts’ pass defense was as dominant as it appeard. Having kept Ryan Tannehill (twice), Aaron Rodgers, and Deshuan Watson from producing ceiling outputs through the last four weeks, Indy has proven that their 16.2 FPPG allowed to opposing signal callers, 5th-fewest in the NFL, is no joke. Derek Carr should not be in fantasy lineups this week.
Accordingly, downfield receivers Henry Ruggs and Nelshon Agholor shouldn’t be trusted to produce usable flex results. Slot reciever Hunter Renfrow’s ceiling could be in the single-digits.
The connection between Carr and tight end Darren Waller is too strong for Waller to be benched for just any old streaming option, but if one managed to add someone like Hunter Henry or Dallas Goedert in-season, the latter two would be the recommended starts. Indianapolis is allowing just 6.6 .5PPR PPG to opposing tight ends, 2nd-fewest in the NFL.
The Colts’ front-seven is a little more friendly to opposing running backs than the other fantasy-relevant positions. Should Josh Jacobs play (ankle), he’d be find himself in the mid-to-low RB2 ranks. His lack of real passing game utilization puts him in a tough spot, especially if Indy were to hop out to an early lead.
Fresh off betraying everyone in the fantasy football world after flopping in a can’t-miss, lead back opportunity against the hapless New York Jets in Week 13, Devontae Booker should be nowhere near a fantasy lineup even in Jacobs were to miss this week.
Jalen Richard gets just enough passing game work to hurt everyone else in the backfield.
Despite losing Nick Bosa, Dee Ford, Ezekiel Ansah, and Solomon Thomas to Injured Reserve this year, the 49ers are still able to manufacture a league-average QB pressure rate, 23.1%, via the league’s 11th-highest blitz rate. That said, it’s tough to cover running backs in the passing game when sending would-be coverage defenders after the quarterback. They’ve held up fairly well, allowing 4.7 receptions per game to opposing running backs, but for our purposes, this game sets up nicely for some usable fantasy production. While QB Alex Smith is unlikely to gunsling his way to fantasy success, but his expected top-receiving weapon, running back J.D. McKissic has a shot at a ceiling game. Although McKissic was seeing solid usage in Weeks 1-7, when Dwayne Haskins and Kyle Allen had their shots at being the team’s starting quarterback, his JDM’s target volume exploded when Smith tookover in Week 9. In that contest and the one that following the pass catching back saw a combined 29(!) targets. Stud rookie back Antonio Gibson had begun a breakout campaign around that time though and McKissic’s workload was drastically scaled back in the weeks to follow. Disaster struck in Week 13 though, as Gibson suffered the dreaded turf toe injury, potentially end his 2020 season. The coaches adjusted in-game and piled McKissic’s plate high, with a team-leading 10 targets. Expect Washington to stick to that script this week. Although McKissic may not get much red zone rushing work, as the team opted to role out the lead-legged Peyton barber to for one of their RZ rushing attempts, it’s not unreasonable to expect 7 or more catches for McKissic. Projecting 5-8 carries and 12+ targets for McKissic, while applying the average yards allowed by the Niners on those touches, it’s easy to see JDM clearing 80 yards from scrimmage with the potential for more. Add on whatever version of points-per-reception value one’s league uses and the veteran back is well on his way to 12-15 fanasy points. If looking for a won’t-lose-it-for-you RB2/flex option, J.D. McKissic’s your guy.
Peyton Barber shouldn’t be in fantasy lineups unless someone’s looking for an at-best Jordan Howard-esque box score, a la low yardage and a touchdown.
Wide receiver Terry McLaurin should get back on track this week. He’ll have to do battle with stud cornerback Richard Sherman from time to time but Sherman doesn’t travel so McLaurin should be a-okay. He’s a high-end WR2.
The Sims, Cam and Steven Jr., don’t offer much in the way of Week 14 viability. Cam has been boom/busty while Steven can’t find his ceiling. Same goes for Isaiah Wright.
Tight end Logan Thomas has had strong consecutive performances but overall, it’s possible that no tight end has produced at his level of wonky outcomes. Very few players are capable of posting multiple performances of 60-yards or more, while scoring 5 touchdowns on the year, yet also leaving managers with a 1-catch, 4-yard outing as he did in Week 5. Against the league’s best tight end-coverage — SF is allowing just 6.4 .5PPR PPG, fewest in the NFL — Thomas needs to be left on fantasy benches.
The one slight weakness that a quarterback could hope to exploit when facing Washington’s vaunted defense is their somewhat friendly allowance of 22.3 QB rushing yards per game, 8th-most in the NFL. Fill-in Niners’ quarterback, Nick Mullens, 2020 rushing stat line of 8 carries for 1-yard, does not bode well in terms of the likelihood that he seizes this opportunity. Like his Week 14 coutnerpart, Alex Smith, Nick Mullens is not a recommended start this week.
Brilliantly outlined here by the talented Pat Kerrane, Brandon Aiyuk has ascended firmly into the weekly start range, operating as the primary receiver in SF’s offense, despite Deebo Samuel’s recent return from injury. Consider the do-it-all player a usage-based back-end WR2/high-end flex play, even when facing the Washington defense. Sameul, meanwhile, reamins a high-end flex play thanks to head coach Kyle Shanahan’s committment to scheming the ball into his hands all over the formation.
The remaining SF WRs are not fantasy relevant this week.
Tight end Jordan Reed has safely secured the pass catching tight end job for as long as he’s healthy and Washington’s defense has actually played somewhat poor defense against his position. Reed is a viable TE streamer.
Washington is among the 10 best teams when it comes to stifling enemy rushing attacks. With Shanahan committed to deploying a Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson Jr. at a near even rate, neither back offers much upside in this one. Given his overall superior talent, Mostert would be the preferred flex play if forced to choose.
No longer receving the benefit of getting to play against the Atlanta Falcons’ jarringly bad defense, as they did last week, the Saints’ pass catching corps should come back down to Earth a bit this week. Michael Thomas is a high-end flex/sturdy WR2 though.
Downfield receiver Tre’Quan Smith emerged from the ether last week, tagging the tallon-less Falcons for a nice stat line, 3/6-42-1, before likely heading back to his Taysom-caused 1-2 target workload. Of course, the Eagles have been scorched by speedsters from time to time this year, so Smith is a viable option in DFS tournaments.
Slot receiver Emmanuel Sanders’ likely 5-targets arent enough to get the flex juices confidently flowing either.
Like Tre’Quan Smith, tight end Jared Cook slithered from obscurity and into the endzone last week, albeit against the 4th-worst team when it comes to covering tight ends. It’s fair to point out though, that Philly is an analyitically built team, willing to drop the priority of acquiring personnel that might stymie tight end production. They can be found just five spots south of Atlanta in the TE coverage department. Cook makes for a reasonable streaming option at the position this week.
The Saints thankfully ended this foolishness of having Latavius Murray takeover as lead back, relegating him to a seldom used afterthought last week, in favor of the future Hall of Famer, Alvin Kamara. The strength of the Philadelphia defense resides in its front-seven though, so managers can’t get too excited about Kamara’s return to reliability. Consider him more of a mid-tier RB1, rather than the slate beaking No. 1 RB contender that you drafted him as. Murray is a handcuff in season-long but a decent candidate for contrarian DFS lineups.
With Carson Wentz riding the pine for the foreseeable future, rookie QB Jalen Hurts gets the first start of his career this week. A serious dual threat in college, Hurts has a chance to provide the coveted rushing upside that routinely wins fantasy weeks. His Week 13 passing left a lot to be desired though, completing just 5 of his 12 passes for 109 yards, a pick and a score. His rushing ability was on display though, adding 29 yards on 5 totes. Perhaps unsuprisingly, it was slot reciever Greg Ward who was on the receiving-end of Hurts’ touchdown pass. For fantasy purposes, only tight end Dallas Goedert can be started with relative confidence this week. Ward’s potential for safety blanket usage, running routes out of the slot against the opponent’s typically lesser cornerbacks could return flex value though. Regardless, outside of DFS lineups, none of the remaining Eagles’ receivers (Travis Fulgham, Alshon Jeffery, Jalen Reagor, etc. should be anywhere near a season-long lineup). New Orleans is playing some of the best defense in football. Hurts’ potential for rushing production elevates him to the back-end of the QB2s.
As offenses go, so does the backfield. Lead back Miles Sanders is impossible to trust this week as anything more than a boom/bust flex option. The talented back barely cleared the 50% snap share mark last week with backfield-killer Jordan Howard joining lineup. Both Howard and Boston Scott simply cannot be started at all.
Atlanta Falcons at Los Angeles Chargers
Wide receiver Julio Jones is out this week, throwing almost the entire offense into a tail spin. QB Matt Ryan’s With Julio and Without Julio splits are jaw-droppingly bad. Do not start Ryan this week.
As an aside, The Fantasy Doctors’ Dr. Jesse Morse is extremely concerned about the long term ramifications for Julio Jones’ hamstring, given the way in which Julio has evidently neglected his rehabilitation.
The lone beneficiary from Julio sitting is breakout receiver Calvin Ridley. Ridley should push for double-digit targets this week. He’s a safe WR1.
Wide receivers Russell Gage and Christian Blake are not recommended fantasy options this week. Tight end Hayden Hurst has been extremely unproductive as of late. The extra target or two that should come his way with Julio out may make a difference but he’s awfully risky in season-long.
Lead back Toddy Gurley was simultaneously removed from the injury report on Friday, yet unable to practice (knee). Regardless of whether it’s Gurley, Ito Smith, or Brian Hill leading the way, this backfield is a complete avoid for season-long fantasy purposes.
Given the results of the last two weeks, faith in Justin Herbert has been understandably shaken in many a fantasy manager. That said, the Atlanta Falcons’ defense is fantasy football’ Elixir of Life. Savvy managers should zig, while the herd zags, and stick with the standout rookie quarterback against a Falcons’ defense allowing the most fantasy points per game to opposing signal callers (24.1). Herbert is a Top 10 option with Top 3 upside in Week 14.
Having allowed 3,423 passing yards (3rd-most) and 24 passing touchdowns (5th-most) on the year, fantasy managers can expect ceiling games for stud slot receiver Keenan Allen and his sidekick “Big” Mike Williams this week. Allen should contend for over WR1 honors while Williams, handling the team’s downfield role, has a great shot at producing chunk gains and/or a long touchdown. The latter is a high-end flex with easy Top 24 upside.
Atlanta’s 12.8 .5PPR PPG allowed to opposing tight ends (4th-most) likewise sets the stage for a big time showing in the box score from Hunter Henry. He’s a Top 5 play at the position this week.
No. 3 WR Jalen Guyton can be utilized for DFS purposes.
Bellcow runnning back Austin Ekeler should have no issue returning elite RB1 value this week. It’s a well-deserved get-right spot for the talented back.
Justin Jackson’s return from Injured Reserve potentially drops Kalen Ballage to the No. 3 RB spot. Both are just handcuffs this week though.
It’s difficult to overstate how great of a match-up this is for all of Green Bay’s fantasy-relevant players. With Lions’ cornerback Jeff Okudah out for the rest of the year, the team that was already lacking in talent is now even worse off than they were when these teams met in Week 2. Aaron Rodgers is a high-flying Top 5 option at quarterback this week.
Davante Adams is once again the highest ranked WR in fantasy for Week 14.
Although No. 2 receiver Allen Lazard has a great match-up on his hands, his body is still inching its way to full health after in-season core muscle surgery. Head coach Matt LeFleur has stated Lazard will not play a full compliment of snaps. Lazard could still return solid flex value but the better flex play this week might be the mildly talented deep threat Marquez Valdes-Scantling.
Best not to bet on any of the remaining WRs outside of DFS lineups.
The Lions has actually played tight ends fairly well but Packers’ tight end Robert Tonyan is playing too damn well for it to matter. Let’s not forget, the Week 2 DET at GB battle was Tonyan’s breakout performance. He’s a locked-in TE1 this week.
Detroit’s been eviscerated by opposing backfields all year. At this point their front-seven’s allowing running backs to score 29.9 .5PPR PPG on them — numbers that would make for an elite quarterback performance. The only thing keeping Aaron Jones out of the No. 1 spot this week is the fact that he’s going to have to split work with No. 2 back Jamaal Williams. Jones is this week’s 2nd-ranked running back. In a 10-15 touch role, Williams can return safe flex value.
Outside of stud cornerback Jaire Alexander, the Packers’ defense has been fairly mediocre this year. Although he’ll be without stud wideout Kenny Golladay (hip) once again this week — an issue that may be more related to his contract that his hip — there’s decent shootout potential here. Consider QB Matthew Stafford a back-end QB2 with high-end QB2 upside.
Unfortunately for fill-in No. 1 WR Marvin Jones Jr., Jones is like to draw shadow coverage from the aforementioned Alexander, lowering him from the WR2 that he’s been, to that of a flex option.
Danny Amendola, Quintez Cephus, and Mohamed Sanu are all just boom/bust flex plays.
Tight end T.J. Hockenson remains an elite TE1 play with his extra-large target market share.
The Lions’ backfield situation is extremely tough to parse. Stud rookie back D’Andre Swift was plagued by concussion issues for weeks, unable to play. As of now, he’s primed of a return, but it’s impossible to know what kind of a workload the coaches will feel comfortable giving him. Fortunately, this is a great match-up as the Packers are just two spots behind the Lions in the ‘RB production allowed’ column, giving up 25.5 .5PPR PPG to the position. If active managers could deploy Swift as a high-end flex play with real deal Top 12 upside. It’s quite likely, however, that veteran RB Adrian Peterson is splits the workload with Swift as the team eases the latter back into action. If so, Peterson would similarly taken on a high-end flex label with very nice upside.
Sunday Night Football: Pittsburgh Steelers at Buffalo Bills
Buffalo’s general inability to generate much of a pass rush with a QB pressure rate of just 21.5%, 11th-worst in the NFL, bodes well for Pittsburgh’s passing game prospects. QB Ben Roethlisberger remains a Top 12 option this week.
The Steelers’ crowded wide receiver rotation get even tighter last week as downfield receiver James Washington forced himself back into the mix, bumping stud rookie Chase Claypool down a peg. With No. 1 WR Diontae Johnson likely to do battle with lock-down cornerback Tre’Davious White for much of the day, life is made much easier of the two aforementioned rotational receivers. Consider both Washington and Claypool highend flex options/back-end WR2s. The Johnson, meanwhile, still maintains back-end WR1 consideration though, as the team will undoubtedly work to keep him involved this week.
Boom/bust slot receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster has a good chance for a boom week on Sunday, facing a Bills’ secondary that’s struggled to cover slot receivers. Both Cooper Kupp (9/10-107-1) and Keenan Allen (4/10-40-1) dished out solid outings against them this year.
Pass catching tight ends have disemboweled the Bills this season, posting an average of 12.7 .5PPR PPG (5th-most in the league) via a league-high 6.1 receptions per game mark. Eric Ebron is a shoe-in TE1 play.
Running back James Conner returns from his bout with COVID-19 this week but it’s somewhat tough to trust him. With the team operating via a high-flying passing attack, Conner was getting left behind in the box score. Even more concerning, his battle with cancer while in college left him in the high-risk category when it comes to the virus that’s currently plaguing our planet. Without knowing what kind of shape he’s in, we can’t know how much work Conner’s going to see. That said, it’s a decent match-up as the Bills are allowing the 10th-most .5PPR PPG, 21.6. He’s a back-end RB2.
Offensive coordinator Brian Daboll keeps the Bills’ offense humming, even in a tough match-up. QB Josh Allen is second only to Patrick Mahomes in our rankings this week.
Simply put, the opponent hasn’t mattered when it comes to the box score production of the Bills’ top two receivers, on a week-to-week basis. Stefon Diggs is a match-up-proof, elite WR1. Slot receiver Cole Beasley is a high-floor/high-ceilng WR2 who has a mind-meld connection with his quarterback.
Downfield play-maker Gabriel Davis has filled in very well for the injured John Brown, beating secondaries for long touchdowns in back-to-back weeks. Although he’s just a part time player, Davis has quickly climbed the red zone target ladder, trailing only Diggs and Beasley by a total of 4 targets. Facing a short-staffed Pittsburgh secondary, missing stud CB Joe Haden, Davis once again as the potential to produce at a Top 24 rate. He’s a high-end flex play.
No. 4 WR Isaiah McKenzie is only viable in DFS.
Tight end Dawson Knox, an ascending young talent, has banked back-to-back touchdown performances over the last two weeks, despite his meager target share. Although we love to see that kind of growth, deploying Knox in season-long leagues this week is an ill-advised endeavor. Pittsburgh is allowing just 6.7 .5PPR PPG, 3rd-fewest in the NFL.
Facing a Steelers’ front-seven missing three linebackers (Bud Dupree, Devin Bush, and Robert Spillane), Zack Moss is an intriguing flex play with touchdown upside. No. 2 back Devin Singletary will siphon away targets and carries though, lowering Moss’ ceiling. Singletary is not a recommended start.