Fantasy Football Week 14: Lineup mailbag has answers on Spencer Ware, Justin Jackson, and more
Chris Towers goes through reader questions to answer some of the most pressing heading into Week 14.
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Every game is a must-win these days, and you need all of the help you can get. All of our usual Week 14 coverage can be found to the right, but just like last week, we're heading into the weekend with a mailbag of your questions.
We took a handful of your most pressing lineup questions and I'm here to provide some answers. Let's get to it and get some wins.
Oh no ... I'm so sorry.
Henry had been a massive bust this season, entering play Thursday as the No. 34 running back in non-PPR leagues. 238 yards and four touchdowns later, and he's RB16. It was that kind of game, as he racked up 47 Fantasy points in the outing. That's the kind of performance that can sink your team if you find yourself unlucky enough to be going against one of the players who actually had the wacky idea to start Henry in an important game.
So, what can you do? It's time to go for high-variance plays. Target players with the ability to put up big plays and rack up big Fantasy points, while eschewing those predictable, but boring options. At quarterback, this means looking for low-owned quarterbacks in games with high projected scores — Derek Carr (31 percent owned in CBS Fantasy leagues) is probably your best bet there in his home matchup against the Steelers (Sunday, 4 p.m. ET, available on fuboTV). Failing that, a quarterback with the potential to rack up big rushing numbers like Josh Allen or Lamar Jackson could be surprise contributors.
At running back, I find Ty Montgomery to be a tempting high-upside play. He was targeted seven times last week, and seems to have settled in as the go-to back in passing downs for the Ravens. That could work out well for him in Week 14, with the Ravens likely to be chasing points against the Chiefs, who allow the third-most receptions and most receiving yards to running backs this season.
Wide receiver has a lot more options, but I would look at Kenny Stills as a potential starter. He has big-play potential, averaging 15.4 yards per catch on the season, and was targeted on six of Ryan Tannehill's 24 targets last week. The Dolphins will likely need to throw it quite a bit more than that to keep up with the Patriots, and Stills has the chance for a surprise big game.
It's not crazy, no. It depends on what kind of spot you're in. Mixon and Ware seem more guaranteed of healthy touches, so I wouldn't sit either for Samuels, but Drake is no guarantee for 15-plus touches with the ageless Frank Gore still around. In fact, he hasn't done that in a game since Week 6. Sure, Samuels' role is very much in question, too -- he admitted earlier in the week he will likely split series with Stevan Ridley -- he should get the touches that count. For the Steelers, that means work in the passing game and near the goal line. He's more touchdown dependent than I think most in the Fantasy world think right now, given the excitement around Samuels, but playing for the Steelers against the Raiders isn't a bad place to be if you need to find the end zone.
Speaking of Ware, I have to remark on how interesting the narrative on him is. Six days ago, he was viewed as a potential league-winning add as the lead back for the Chiefs. One week later, after getting 15 of the team's 22 running back touches and playing 69 percent of the offensive snaps, and he's not even a top-24 running back? I know he wasn't great against an easy matchup, but this feels like an overreaction. Ware should get plenty of work, and even against a tough matchup in Baltimore, I like his chances of finding the end zone in this offense.
That being said ... I'll start Ingram over Ware in Week 14.
No. Of course not. But how many backs can you trust as an RB1? Seven? Eight, if Melvin Gordon gets back to full health? What you can trust Johnson for is 20 touches every week -- a mark he has hit in four of his last five games, missing by just one in the fifth. Does that guarantee a strong Fantasy performance, week in and week out? No, he's not Todd Gurley. But, combine his consistent workload with , and there's no way you're sitting Johnson as long as your season is alive. Let's just hope they don't give Chase Edmonds two touchdowns ever again.
I'm going with Cousins. I know all about Cousins' struggles in "prime time" games, but I just don't think those matter too much; Andy Dalton is perhaps the most famous prime time-allergic passer in the league, and he tore the vaunted Ravens' defense apart for four touchdowns in a Thursday night game under the lights earlier this season. The matchup against the Seahawks is the bigger concern for me, but while this is a good unit, it's hardly the Legion of Boom in their heyday. They didn't exactly shut down Jared Goff, Cam Newton or Aaron Rodgers in recent weeks, so I would expect Cousins to be a fine starting Fantasy option.
Don't worry about who your opponent has. Jameis Winston is capable of having a good game without Mike Evans having a good game, anyway; he just did it last week. Focus on getting as many Fantasy points as you can, which means going with Winston in what should be a shootout. Anyway, Evans might be matched up against Marshon Lattimore this week, so don't be surprised if Winston picks on Eli Apple with Chris Godwin Sunday.
Let's get Ridley out of the conversation: He's failed to reach even 50 years in six of his last eight games. It comes down to Carson vs. Jackson, and it's an interesting question. I don't think there's much reason to be concerned about Carson's dislocated finger from last week -- Vikings, one of the toughest rush defenses in the league. Jackson should get more work than he did a week ago, and if he gets within three touches of Carson's total, I'd bet Jackson outscores him. I'll go with the unproven guy this week -- but you'll want to go back to Carson next week against the 49ers.-- so this one comes down to performance. Is Jackson a better rusher than Carson? Potentially. But Carson has the more assured role, with at least 16 touches in three straight. Unfortunately, he finds himself matched up against the
Congratulations on having such a tough decision to make; it means you've built a great team. You aren't going to feel good about sitting any of these three, but I think the right answer to start is Nick Chubb. His usage last week was a disappointment, but Baker Mayfield probably isn't going to throw three first-half picks and put them in that kind of early hole again. Chubb was averaging 23.0 touches in five games since becoming the starter before that, and he should get back to that kind of workload in what should be a more competitive game.
When you spent that early pick on Jordan Howard, I bet you didn't think you'd be making this kind of decision in the Fantasy playoffs. Like I said earlier, I like Montgomery, but I don't think I like him more than Howard. Similarly, I like Hines, who is coming off a nine-target game in Week 13, but he's so hit-or-miss; he had nine targets in his previous three games combined before last week. I know you're worried the Bears will fall behind early and have to abandon the run, but Howard still has at least 17 touches in two of the last three games, and is bound to fall into a goal-line touchdown one of these weeks. You're not excited about it, but you're starting Howard.
So who should you sit and start? And what shocking quarterback could win you Week 14? Visit SportsLine now to get Fantasy football rankings for every single position, and see which shocking QB finishes in the top 10 this week, all from the model that out-performed experts big time last season.
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