Week 14 Starts and Sits
Philip Rivers (vs Cincinnati)
The three most consistent things in life: death, taxes, and Philip Rivers as a top 10 fantasy QB. Rivers continued his absolute tear in 2018 in phenomenal fashion Sunday night, leading the Chargers to a second-half surge against the Steelers while throwing for 299 yards and a touchdown without throwing an interception. Rivers has now thrown for over 3,400 yards and 28 touchdowns to 6 interceptions on the season. He draws a matchup against the Bengals in week 14, a defense coming off a strong effort against the Broncos (allowed 151 yards and a touchdown), but still ranking as the worst defense against quarterbacks allowing 22.5 points per week to signal callers this year.
Lamar Jackson (at Kansas City)
Lamar Jackson’s dual-threat ability continues to make him a must-start fantasy asset so long as the Ravens keep him as the starter. Jackson was inefficient as a passer against Atlanta, completing only 12 of his 21 throws for 125 yards, but he avoided throwing an interception for his first time as a starter. Beyond that, Jackson carried the ball 17 times for 75 yards and a touchdown. Jackson is fantasy viable thanks to his legs, although the status of Joe Flacco is worth monitoring (along with the fact that Jackson missed a series against Atlanta as he was checked for a concussion). If Jackson gets the week 14 green light, he will face a Kansas City defense allowing 21.0 points to quarterbacks this season.
Baker Mayfield (vs Carolina), Dak Prescott (vs Philadelphia), Case Keenum (at San Francisco)
Baker Mayfield had the first performance in a while where he looked like a rookie week 13. While Mayfield threw for 397 yards and a touchdown, he also added 3 interceptions in a poor performance against the stout Texans defense. All in all, the first year signal caller has had a solid first season, and the Texans defense can get after any quarterback, regardless of their experience. Mayfield gets a chance to rebound in week 14 against a Panthers secondary that is the 6th worst in the NFL against quarterbacks, allowing 20.2 points per week to the position. The Dak Prescott resurgence continued as the Cowboys continued to win, stunning the Saints on Thursday night football in week 13. Prescott wasn’t the sole reason the Cowboys won, accounting for 248 yards and only one touchdown, but he put together his 4th straight game with zero interceptions. Prescott gets a rematch against the Philadelphia Eagles in week 14, a team he beat 4 games ago while passing for 270 yards and a touchdown while adding a score on the ground. The Eagles stifled the Redskins on Monday Night Football, but that is misleading since the Redskins has to rely on 3rd string quarterback Mark Sanchez for a large chunk of the game and are still allowing 18.6 points per game to quarterbacks this season with their injury-riddled secondary. Case Keenum failed to exploit the Bengals secondary as the Broncos rushed out to an early lead on the back of Phillip Lindsay and the running attack. Keenum completed 12 of his 21 pass attempts for 151 yards and a touchdown while putting together his 4th consecutive game without an interception. He gets another fantastic matchup this Sunday against the 49ers secondary that has allowed 20.1 points per game to opposing quarterbacks (and allowed 22.9 points to the Buccaneers in week 12 to go with 24.8 points this past Sunday against the Seahawks).
Gus Edwards (at Kansas City)
Gus Edwards continued his emergence as the lead back in Baltimore, carrying the ball 21 times for 82 yards. Edwards has continued to get touches (61 over his last 3 games), even without a defined role in the passing game. Unfortunately, Edwards has not found the end zone since week 11 despite this heavy workload. Edwards is set up for a fantastic week 14 matchup against the Chiefs, a defense that is allowing 32.4 points per week to running backs (31st in the NFL) and was just gashed by the Oakland rushing attack to the tune of 163 yards and a touchdown.
Aaron Jones (vs Atlanta)
Aaron Jones disappointed to some degree in week 13, registering only 11 carries for 36 yards and a touchdown (while adding 4 catches for 16 yards) against a Cardinals defense that had been allowing 144 yards a game to running backs. Hopefully, interim head coach Joe Philbin recognizes the running back as one of his two best skill position weapons and gets his workload higher than former head coach Mike McCarthy. Jones has extremely high upside in week 14 as he faces a Falcons defense that ranks 30th in the NFL against fantasy running backs (31.3 points per week) and just gave up 132 rushing yards to the Ravens RB’s in week 13. Jones has added upside as the primary receiving back against a Falcons defense that still struggles against those kinds of dynamic weapons.
Sony Michel (at Miami), Chris Thompson (vs NY Giants), Tarik Cohen (vs LA Rams)
Fantasy teams with Sony Michel were undoubtedly disappointed with his performance on Sunday against the Vikings. Against a stout front 7, Michel was able to accrue only 63 yards on 17 carries while hauling in only 1 pass for 7 yards. More concerning, Michel saw a high volume of touches go the James White and Rex Burkhead as the Patriots backfield was at full strength for the first time since week 3 (when Burkhead went on IR). Michel enters a prime matchup in week 14 against a Dolphins defense that is weak up the middle, ranking 26th against the run in 2018 and allowing 27.9 points per week. Michel could be very productive given his double-digit weekly workload. Chris Thompson saw his first work since week 8 against the Eagles in week 14, rushing the ball 3 times for 3 yards while catching 3 passes for 18 yards. Thompson saw a decent amount of work in the 2nd half as the Redskins played catchup. Thompson will have an excellent opportunity to expand his role in week 14 against the Giants, a defense that was just destroyed by Tarik Cohen in week 13 as he caught the ball 12 times for 156 yards as the Bears fought from behind to get the game into overtime. Speaking of Tarik Cohen, he finds himself in a prime situation once again in week 14. The Bears can easily find themselves in a negative game script in the 2nd half, meaning Cohen will take a bulk of the workload from Jordan Howard and factor heavily in the passing game. The weakness of the Rams defense is their linebacking corp, which could mean an added emphasis from Mitch Trubisky in his first game back to make the safe throw.
Adam Humphries (vs New Orleans)
Adam Humphries has really exploded since Jameis Winston returned to the quarterback position, registering at least 6 targets, 50 yards, and a touchdown the past two weeks. His workload against the Panthers was impressive, catching 7 of 9 targets for 61 yards and a score. He gets a fantastic week 14 matchup against the Saints, a defense that despite back to back strong showings are allowing 46.6 fantasy points to wide receivers and are especially exploitable in the slot.
Tre’Quan Smith (at Tampa Bay)
The Saints mightily struggled against Dallas on Thursday Night Football as a whole, but that struggle was mainly highlighted by Tre’Quan Smith’s absolute no show. Smith was targeted just once and logged no receptions or yardage in the loss. Smith should have high upside in week 14 against the Buccaneers, an absolute sieve of a secondary allowing 40.9 points to wideouts this season and coming off a week where they allowed 13 catches for 186 yards against the Panthers, despite Cam Newton turning the ball over like it’s his job (it’s not).
Zay Jones (vs NY Jets), Calvin Ridley (at Green Bay), Curtis Samuel (at Cleveland)
Zay Jones continued his emergence as a viable receiving option for the Bills in week 13 against the Dolphins. While Jones only caught 4 of his 9 targets, he was able to register 67 yards and 2 touchdowns in the Bills surprising victory. That is 2 of 3 games now for Jones registering at least 9 targets and a touchdown. Jones should have high upside in week 14, facing the Jets 29th ranked secondary (40.7 points per week) that he torched two weeks ago to the tune of 8 catches for 93 yards and a touchdown. Calvin Ridley returned to Earth in week 13 against the Baltimore Ravens stout defense, registering 3 catches on 5 targets for a paltry 22 yards. Ridley has some intriguing upside in week 14 as he faces the Green Bay Packers 9th worst defense against fantasy wide receivers (38.9 points per week) coming off a day where the Cardinals skill players were able to register 7 catches for 123 yards. Curtis Samuel has emerged as a viable weekly option in the Panthers passing offense. Samuel led the Panthers in targets and catches against the Buccaneers in week 13 (6 catches on 11 targets) while setting a career high in yardage (88). While he didn’t find the end zone, he still has 3 touchdowns in his last 5 games and remains an explosive threat in the running game. Samuel should have an opportunity to build upon those numbers against the Browns, a secondary that is allowing 39.0 fantasy points to receivers this season and maybe rolling out a limited health version of fantastic rookie Denzel Ward.
David Njoku (vs Carolina)
The endless rollercoaster that is David Njoku’s 2018 season continued in week 13, the latest corkscrew provided by the Houston Texans. Njoku was targeted 6 times, catching 3 of those targets. The production was lackluster as those 3 catches only went for 8 yards. The good news is if past trends are any indicator, Njoku is a fantastic play in week 14 since he seems to alternate good and bad weeks. The next matchup comes in the form of the Carolina Panthers who are 30th in the NFL against tight ends (16.7 points per game) and are tied for the most touchdowns allowed to the position (9).
Mark Andrews (at Kansas City)
After a lull in targets the first two Lamar Jackson starts, Andrews had a mini-breakout against the Falcons week 13. Andrews was targeted 3 times, catching all 3 balls for 47 yards. While it doesn’t match his single catch output against the Raiders in week 13 (1/74/1), it is encouraging to see Lamar Jackson start to throw at his tight ends. On deck is a matchup against the 32nd defense against tight ends, the Kansas City Chiefs (allowing 17.2 points to tight ends).
Dan Arnold (at Tampa Bay), Eric Ebron (at Houston), Ian Thomas (at Cleveland)
I’m sorry Ben Watson, but my heart belongs to Dan Arnold now. Arnold was able to register 2 catches for 20 yards against the stingy Cowboys defense in week 13 and has gradually seen his role in the passing game expand the past several weeks. On deck are the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, a defense allowing 15.2 points to fantasy tight ends this season that also gave up 5 catches for 59 yards against the Saints in the first week of the season. It’s not you Ben, it’s me. In the wake of the Jack Doyle injury, Eric Ebron reminded the fantasy community that he is a must-start regardless of matchup. Against the usually stout Jaguars defense, Ebron flourished, catching 10 of 16 targets for 81 yards and proving that he doesn’t need to find the end zone to be productive. Ebron is a must play this week as he gets a much easier matchup against the Houston Texans, who are allowing 14.4 points to tight ends this season and gave up 5 catches and a score the last time they saw the Colts. Unless you have shares of Kelce, Ertz, or Kittle, you’re probably grasping at straws weekly at tight end. Help your playoff push now by getting Ian Thomas of Carolina off waivers. With Greg Olsen out for the game (and the season), Thomas was able to produce well on short targets (5/5 on targets for 46 yards). With the Panthers utilizing the explosive speed of Curtis Samuel and DJ Moore, Thomas should find plenty of room to operate on his short to intermediate routes against a Cleveland defense that have allowed success to tight ends in 2018 (15.1 points per week and 5/57/1 to the Texans in week 13).
Jared Goff (at Chicago)
Jared Goff struggled mightily in Detroit week 13, throwing for just over 200 yards and a touchdown (with an interception) against a middle of the pack Lions secondary (19th best secondary against the pass). These results were surprising given the hot streak Goff was on, his emergence from the bye, and the indoor game. Goff could find himself in a more precarious situation in week 14, facing the Bears stifling defense in a potentially cold Chicago Sunday night. The Bears are allowing only 14.6 points to fantasy quarterbacks in 2018 and were a Chase Daniels pick 6 and 40 yard Odell Beckham touchdown throw (yes, he threw it) away from winning short handed again.
Jeff Driskel (at LA Chargers)
The good from week 13: Jeff Driskel completed 67% of his passes! He had a touchdown! The bad: Against a Broncos secondary missing Chris Harris most of the game, he only threw for 237 yards. And had an interception. And lost AJ Green for the season. Driskel has his work cut out for him again in week 14, facing an overwhelming Chargers defense that completely shut down the Steelers offense in the second half on Sunday night football and averages only 15.4 fantasy points against them on a weekly basis.
Matt Stafford (at Arizona), Kirk Cousins (at Seattle), Jameis Winston (vs New Orleans)
Matt Stafford continues to be highly efficient with low totals this season, throwing for 245 yards and a touchdown with an interception in a surprisingly winnable game against the Rams. Unfortunately for Stafford, he draws a tough matchup against the Cardinals defense that is not only strong against the pass (15.4 points per week), but also held Aaron Rodgers to a paltry 15.3 fantasy points last week. Give the Cardinals weakness against the run (and the Detroit dedication to the run game), this could easily be a run heavy attack that doesn’t let Stafford get going. After an absolutely unconscious showing against the Packers in week 12, Kirk Cousins came back to earth against the Patriots in week 13. Cousins was able to muster 201 yards and a touchdown with 2 interceptions against a susceptible Patriots secondary. Unfortunately for Cousins, he gets a road game at Seattle in week 14, a defense that does it’s best to limit big plays and has largely succeeded, allowing only 16.3 points to quarterbacks this fantasy season. I’m calling my shot this week: despite two extremely strong games in a row for Jameis Winston (49-68 for 561 yards with 4 touchdowns and 0 INTERCEPTIONS!?! Against the 49ers and Panthers), Winston will struggle in week 14 against the Saints. Despite the easy matchup on paper (the Saints average 21.3 points per week against quarterbacks), the Saints have actually been solid against passing games the past few weeks. The New Orleans secondary has not allowed more than 21 fantasy points to quarterbacks since week 9 in the shootout against the Rams, which could be problematic for the Winston led Buccaneers. I may be wrong, but I’m benching Jameis this week.
Dion Lewis (at Jacksonville)
The Dion Lewis workload has been very disappointing lately. Against the Jets, Lewis totaled 8 total touches; 6 carries (36 yards) and 2 catches (-2 yards). At this point, Derrick Henry is the safer play of the two running back options (he had 10 carries with a touchdown and 2 catches in last weeks game). Both running backs provide significant risk in week 14 considering the fact that Jacksonville has one of the strongest run defenses in the NFL this season (allowing only 17.9 points per week). I wouldn’t start either option, but Lewis is clearly riskier given the gradual nature he has been phased out in favor of more traditional running options.
Spencer Ware (vs Baltimore)
Spencer Ware was never going to replicate Kareem Hunt’s big play ability, but all things considered, he performed admirably in the wake of the Hunt release. Ware took 14 carries for 47 yards and a touchdown while adding a catch for 5 yards in a running back by committee approach against the Raiders. It is clear the Chiefs plan on using various options to replicate the workload Kareem Hunt had, but the matchup is a greater concern this week as the Ravens are allowing a league-best 17.0 points per week to running backs this season.
Peyton Barber (vs New Orleans), Chris Carson (vs Minnesota), Doug Martin (vs Pittsburgh)
Peyton Barber has found the end zone 3 consecutive weeks and is handling a consistent, double-digit workload this season. However, he is averaging a paltry 2.7 yards per carry the last few weeks and has only one carry that’s gone for over 20 yards the past 5 games. The Saints have been great against the run this season (19.7 points per week) and have a tendency to force teams to throw the ball in the 2nd half given their explosive offense. Against the 49ers, Chris Carson rushed 13 times for 69 yards and added 3 catches for 39 yards. He left the game in the 4th quarter due to a finger injury and didn’t come back since the game was in hand. Carson faces an uphill battle this week against the stout Vikings run defense who have only allowed more than 21 fantasy points to running backs in 3 of their 12 matchups this season. Doug Martin had limited success against the Chiefs in week 13, carrying the ball 18 times for 61 yards and a touchdown while adding 2 catches for 6 yards. He also fumbled the ball once. Martin faces a difficult challenge in week 14 in the form of the Steelers run defense, a unit that is allowing only 101 rushing yards per game and ranks 7th in the NFL in terms of weekly fantasy points (20.8) allowed to running backs.
Alshon Jeffrey (at Dallas)
Alshon Jeffrey seems to be the weapon that struggles the most since the Eagles acquisition of Golden Tate. Jeffrey was only targeted 5 times against the Redskins, catching 3 balls for 31 yards. Jeffrey hasn’t reached the end zone since week 8, which significantly reduces his value on a weekly basis. Jeffrey’s life doesn’t get any easier in week 14 as he gets a rematch against the Dallas secondary that held him to 4 catches for 48 yards in week 10.
Corey Davis (vs Jacksonville)
Corey Davis found the end zone in week 13 for the second consecutive week as he logged 3 receptions (on 7 targets)for 42 yards. Davis continued his up and down role in the passing offense as he saw his highest target count in 3 weeks, but the scoring potential seems to be in his favor. Davis will undoubtedly draw the attention of Jalen Ramsey when the Titans play Jacksonville in week 14, which is problematic since the Jaguars defense is coming off their most complete game of 2018, allowing only 107 passing yards against what was an explosive Colts offense.
Doug Baldwin (vs Minnesota), TY Hilton (at Houston), Tyler Boyd (at LA Chargers)
Doug Baldwin was targeted only 4 times in a positive matchup against the 49ers, catching 2 of them for 22 yards and a touchdown. It continued a disappointing trend for Baldwin in 2018 as he has struggled to have his typical impact since healing from a preseason knee injury. While Baldwin is unlikely to get shadow coverage from Xavier Rhodes, that doesn’t mean he won’t struggle to find open space against the 6th best pass defense vs fantasy receivers (30.8 points per week). All things equal, TY Hilton performed admirably against the Jaguars as the Colts offense was shutout. Hilton collected 8 of his 13 targets for 77 yards despite a brief shoulder injury in a losing effort. It was an impressive effort against Jalen Ramsey even though Hilton wasn’t able to take the top off the defense. Hilton’s big play ability will be tested again against the Texans, a defense allowing only 32.2 points per week and boasting a pass rush that could force quicker timing passes. Tyler Boyd shined in the one game with AJ Green back in the fold, catching 6 of 8 targets for 97 yards with Jeff Driskel at the helm. However, it is worth mentioning that without AJ Green (and with Andy Dalton) earlier in the season Boyd struggled as the top receiving option in the Bengals offense. A difficult matchup against the Chargers looms as he enters a matchup against a top 10 fantasy defense against wide receivers (32.9 points per week).
Cameron Brate (vs New Orleans)
Cameron Brate was a disappointment in week 13 in what should have been a prime matchup against the Panthers. Despite being targeted 6 times, Brate was able to only generate 3 catches for 36 yards in a winning effort. Unfortunately, Brate’s value remains tied to his ability to get in the end zone, which is easier said than done against a Saints defense that has allowed only 1 touchdown to tight ends this year and boasts the second-lowest fantasy points to the position (8.0).
Charles Clay (vs NY Jets)
Charles Clay had a rather pedestrian day on Sunday, catching 1 of his 2 targets for 9 yards in a losing affair to the Dolphins. Unfortunately, he was about a foot away from a big fantasy effort as Josh Allen’s scrambling Hail Mary fell just short in the end zone with Clay standing all alone. Don’t expect anything to get any better for Clay this week as he comes into week 14 with a matchup against the Jets, a defense that has allowed 4 touchdowns to tight ends but despite that is only allowing 8.8 fantasy points per week to tight ends on the season.
Austin Hooper (at Green Bay), Kyle Rudolph (at Seattle), Gerald Everett (at Chicago)
Austin Hooper exploited a positive matchup in week 13 against the Ravens, catching all five of his targets for 44 yards and a touchdown. Hooper hasn’t always been reliable, but he has been able to exploit winning matchups while frequently disappearing in bad matchups. Unfortunately for teams with Hooper, this week is one of those negative matchups. The Packers have allowed only 1 touchdown to tight ends and are allowing 8.5 points per week to tight ends this season. The highly efficient Kyle Rudolph continued his rollercoaster season, catching all 3 targets against the Patriots for 38 yards. Unfortunately, his upside is highly limited as he isn’t highly targeted and hasn’t scored a touchdown since week 3. Rudolph draws a tough matchup against the Seahawks, a defense allowing only 9.7 points to tight ends on the year. It initially seemed that Gerald Everett would have some upside in the wake of the Cooper Kupp injury. Following the injury, Everett saw 3 or more targets in 3 of 5 games while recording 3 touchdowns over the last 2 games (not including Sunday). Against the Lions, Everett only converted 1 catch for 7 yards as he failed to make a significant impact. The Bears have been strong against tight ends (9.9 points per week) and the gameplan seems to shy away from Everett, making him a week 14 bench body.