Fantasy Football Week 14: Sunday expert rankings update for QB, RB, WR, TE
Heath Cummings provides his thoughts for the rankings at each position for Week 14.
More Week 14:— — — — —
Editor's Note: All rankings updated as of Sunday at 10:30 a.m. EST to reflect the latest news and changes our experts have made.
Note: All rankings for Standard scoring.
Mid-Week Changes: Matthew Stafford and Tyrod Taylor are practicing so we're ranking them. But should you start them? That's a different question. The answer for Taylor is easier, probably not. For Stafford it's extremely difficult and I'll admit my ranking of him at 12 is a bit of a hedge for now (Dave has him 14th). If Stafford was 100 percent I'd rank him 4th, and if he practices fully on Friday that's where I'll move him. But as of Thursday I don't have the certainty to start him over the Thursday night quarterbacks.
Trusting Alex Smith? Dave and I have Alex Smith as a top-five quarterback, while Jamey has him down at No. 11. Still, that's higher than any of us had him ranked in Week 13. Smith torched the Raiders for 342 yards and three touchdowns earlier this season but that was on the road, where he's oddly been much better this season.
Benching Studs: It's tough to bench your studs in the playoffs, but that's exactly what we're suggesting with Cam Newton and Kirk Cousins. None of us have Cousins ranked inside the top 14 and only Dave thinks Cam Newton is a definite starter this week. Both quarterbacks rank inside the top six for the season, but they have miserable matchups in Week 14.
What's up with Jameis Winston? Dave and Jamey have Winston ranked 12th and 14th respectively. I have him third. That might be weird since I'm the guy that once compared Winston to Blake Bortles. All of my rankings start with the numbers, so here they are:
- I'm projecting Tampa Bay to score 27 points this week at home against the Lions. The Bucs have scored 79 percent of their offensive touchdowns through the air this season.
- Winston is averaging 7.5 yards per attempt. That's exactly what the Lions have allowed this year. Multiply that by the 38 pass attempts I expect (Tampa Bay has a 61/39 pass/run split this season) and you get to an expectation of 288 passing yards.
Running Back Rankings
Mid-week adjustments: Doug Martin has been cleared from the concussion protocol so we're slightly less bullish on Peyton Barber. We're still expecting Barber to be the best Bucs back, but he's no sure thing. Jamaal Williams is another back that has dropped in our rankings with the Packers listing Aaron Jones atop their depth chart and Mike McCarthy being cryptic about their usage. We still think Williams is the best Packers back, but there's significantly more risk attached to him than there was.
We love Lamar: Miller is a consensus top-eight back for us in Week 14 and that probably sounds weird. He hasn't had a lot of big boom games this year, but has been remarkably consistent, with only one game under seven Fantasy points all season long. He faces the 49ers in Week 14. While the 49ers did a nice job against Jordan Howard last week they've still given up the third most Fantasy points to running backs this season.
Bring on the backups: Giovani Bernard, Peyton Barber, Kerwynn Williams, Mike Davis. These were exactly the guys you expected to be targeting heading into the Fantasy playoffs, right? Well, assuming the starters stay out, they're all going to be relevant Fantasy options in Week 14. We all have Bernard and Barner in the top-24, and agree that Mike Davis is an excellent flex option. Williams is more of a wild card, but assuming Adrian Peterson is out again, I like him as a low-end No. 2 against a banged up Titans defense.
Is it Jay Ajayi week? I've been the low guy on Ajayi most weeks since he arrived in Philadelphia, but I sense the tide is starting to turn. My impression was that the Eagles preferred to save Ajayi's heavy workload for the playoffs and before Week 13 they hadn't really needed him. But after a jolting first half against Seattle, the Eagles went with more Ajayi and less Legarrette Blount, as Ajayi led the Eagles in snaps at running back for the first time all season. Here's what I expect:
- I'm giving Ajayi 40 percent of the team's carries in Week 14 at five yards per carry. That may seem like a lot, but he's averaged 7.9 since arriving. The Eagles as a team average 4.6 YPC and the Rams have been atrocious against the run, surrendering 4.8. That leads me to an expectation of 63 rushing yards for Ajayi. I also have an expectation of two catches for 15 yards.
- The Eagles have a Vegas-implied total of 24.5, I'm expecting them to score 24 points. The Eagles as a team have scored about a quarter of their offensive touchdowns on the ground. I have the team implied for 1.1 rushing touchdowns with Ajayi at 60 percent to score either a rushing or receiving touchdown.
- 78 total yards with a 60 percent chance to score puts him in a similar position to guys like Frank Gore and Mike Davis, with Ajayi having a slight edge in upside.
Wide Receiver Rankings
Mid-week adjustments: Chris Hogan is practicing and we're ranking him. He has huge upside this week in a great matchup without Rob Gronkowski. The choice will become more difficult if he draws a questionable tag on Saturday. With Matthew Stafford practicing I've also bumped Marvin Jones and Golden Tate up into No. 2 WR range. I am still pricing in some Stafford injury risk, so they move even higher by Sunday.
Looking for a good win in Week 14? Try Marquise. Marquise Goodwin is a top-25 wide receiver for all three of us and I have him the highest at No. 14. The 49ers receiver has at least six Fantasy points in each of his past four games and caught all eight of his targets in Jimmy Garoppolo's first game. In Week 14 he faces a Texans defense that surrenders 14.5 yards per reception to wide receivers, the third worst mark in the league. You can start him with confidence.
You ranked Sterling Shepard where?!?! Sterling Shepard is back. Eli Manning is back. And Shepard is back in my top 10. Dave and Jamey both have him ranked as a low-end No. 2, so they like Shepard, but they don't love him like I do. So why do I have him ranked this high? Again, the numbers:
- Manning and Shepard have played three full games together this season without Odell Beckham. In those three games Shepard has received 26 percent of the team's targets. Since I expect Eli Manning to throw the ball 38 times in this game, that gets him nine targets.
- Shepard has caught 75 percent of his targets from Manning this season and averaged 12.5 yards per reception. Maintaining those norms would put him around seven grabs for 90 yards.
- The Giants are implied for 18.5 points by Las Vegas this week and they've scored 78 percent of their touchdowns through the air. With Shepard projected to account for nearly 40 percent of the team's receiving yards, I have him at a 70 percent chance to get in the end zone.
Tight End Rankings
Mid-week adjustments: Greg Olsen is sounding optimistic about this week so we're ranking him as a borderline No. 1 tight end. There's nothing safe about him, but that's true of most of the TE rankings. The guys did talk me into moving Stephen Anderson up in my rankings. There are just too many targets available in Houston to avoid him at this position.
GROSS: Without Rob Gronkowski (suspension) and Zach Ertz (concussion) the tight end rankings look even worse than usual. What's worse, there's no consensus after Travis Kelce. I prefer Hunter Henry, coming off a season-high nine targets, against a good fantasy matchup at home against Washington. Still, I don't feel great at all about Henry (or anyone else on this list) being my No. 2 tight end.
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