What you need to know for Fantasy Football Week 14: Waiver-wire RBs and the Broncos playing without Emmanuel Sanders
Heath Cummings has eight things you need to know for the first round of the Fantasy playoffs, starting with Thursday night's ugly Fantasy matchup.
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Overall, the Thursday night games have been better than usual this season, but the trend doesn't continue in Week 14. Jacksonville is starting Cody Kessler at quarterback, which all but eliminates the passing game, and their defense looked incredible last week against the Colts, so I'm forgetting the Titans.
Mariota is a fine No. 2 quarterback in a two-QB league but I wouldn't expect his recent success to continue against Jacksonville. Corey Davis is a No. 3 receiver, but he'll see a lot of Jalen Ramsey and that's never a good thing. If you somehow made the playoffs with multiple players in this game, here's how I'd rank them as flex options in PPR:
- Leonard Fournette
- Corey Davis
- Dede Westbrook
- T.J. Yeldon
- Dion Lewis
- Derrick Henry
- Donte Moncrief
- Jonnu Smith
The waiver wire running backs are startable.
We've written a lot of words about these guys this week. Most recently, Dave covered them in his Jaylen Samuels may be on some sites, and what that might mean for his Fantasy value.and Jamey in Start 'Em & Sit 'Em. I even talked about the possibility that
My favorite of the group in Week 14 is Jeff Wilson, because I feel more certain about his touches. Yes, he has the most difficult matchup against the Denver Broncos, but he saw nine targets last week, so I expect him to be involved even if the team falls behind. A San Francisco running back has finished in the top-10 at the position each of the least four weeks in PPR. I'm not sure Wilson gets there, but I do expect him to be top-15.
As for the Chargers and Steelers, there is risk of the unknown but I'm generally starting Austin Ekeler, Justin Jackson and Samuels. I expect all three to see double-digit touches against absolute dream matchups where their team should be playing with a lead. Stevan Ridley could steal carries from Samuels, but he's more of a desperation flex.
Some of the best DSTs are in bad spots.
The Rams and Bears play on Sunday Night. The Vikings have to travel to Seattle to take on Russell Wilson. The Ravens are in Kansas City facing Patrick Mahomes. It's not a great week for some of the best defenses in the league.
If you're looking for a replacement defense you should look to Buffalo. Both the Bills and Jets are decent plays against turnover-prone rookie quarterbacks in a low-scoring game. I also like the Chiefs defense at home against Baltimore. They've been very good at Arrowhead and rookie quarterbacks have a dicey history in that building.
Cam Newton's shoulder might be a problem.
This is just something to keep an eye on. He looked like he strained it on a running play in Week 13 and they didn't let him throw the final Hail Mary play. He's been limited in practice so far this week. Newton says he's going to play, but that doesn't mean he'll be as active throwing or running. I haven't downgraded him yet, but if he's still limited on Friday I'll strongly consider it.
Emmanuel Sanders is out for the Broncos.
Sanders tore his Achilles on Wednesday and may have played his last game for the Broncos. This is obviously a big hit to their passing game, but I'm not sure how much they'll need to throw against San Francisco anyway in Week 14. The new No. 1 receiver in Denver will be Courtland Sutton, a very talented rookie who should see more targets, but also more attention from the defense. I like Sutton as a low-end No. 2 receiver this week against San Francisco, though he has more upside than that.
Matt LaCosse, Daesean Hamilton and Tim Patrick will all have more opportunity as well, but I would mostly expect the Broncos to lean on Phillip Lindsay and the running game. Hamilton is the best sleeper to own and LaCosse is the best starting option, simply because he's a tight end.
The Chargers can do whatever they want against Cincinnati.
The Bengals give up the most Fantasy points per game to both quarterbacks and running backs. That's hard to do. It also makes it hard to guess how the Chargers will choose to attack them. I already talked about Ekeler and Jackson earlier, but Philip RIvers is really interesting. He's our , and a top-10 quarterback for me. The only concern I would have about Rivers is that the Chargers may not need to throw much, so he could be touchdown-dependent.
Oh yeah, the Chargers defense is our No. 1 DST as well.
Rodgers has been dreadful in Fantasy as of late. We're expecting a bounceback in Week 14. He's at home against the defense allowing the second-most Fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks. The Falcons should score enough to keep Rodgers passing and Rodgers should be more efficient against this matchup. I know it doesn't feel great to let your season ride on a quarterback who has score 30 points in his last two games combined, but you should trust Rodgers.
It's tough to trust the Bears' or Eagles receivers.
It's not so much that we're doubting Mitchell Trubisky or Carson Wentz — Okay, we're doubting Carson Wentz. The Cowboys defense has been awesome and Wentz has been hot and cold. More importantly, the targets in this offense have been hard to trust for the receivers. Golden Tate is getting six to eight targets a week, but last week Nelson Agholor saw more targets than Alshon Jeffery.
As for the Bears, I actually like Trubisky. But he has way too many weapons. Allen Robinson, Taylor Gabriel and Anthony Miller chop up the targets pretty evenly. Tarik Cohen and Trey Burton get their fair share as well. Robinson is my favorite receiver on either team but I wouldn't want to use him as more than a No. 3 receiver.
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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