The 2016 Fantasy Football playoffs are in full swing, so I wanted to provide an outlook for the Week 14 Sunday games.
Let’s jump right in…
Pittsburgh Steelers at Buffalo Bills
Ben Roethlisberger has had two solid performances in a row, with five touchdown passes from Weeks 12-13. However, he’s averaging under 300 passing yards per game for the first time since 2013.
He’s averaging 275 per game, and he’s only had four games this season with 300 or more yards.
The Buffalo Bills only allow the 22nd-most Fantasy points per game to quarterbacks, which means this isn’t going to be an easy game for Big Ben.
Even if Roethlisberger is having a down year in terms of passing yards, Antonio Brown is still the top wide receiver in Fantasy Football right now. He has 10 touchdowns on the year, and I know he’s already in your lineup.
But Fantasy players are debating whether or not to start tight end Ladarius Green. That’s because in Week 13, Green posted a 6-110-1 stat line against the New York Giants. After missing most of the season, this was his most productive game since making his first appearance in Week 10.
Le’Veon Bell doesn’t have an easy matchup, with the Bills only allowing the 18th-most Fantasy points per game to running backs. However, he’s obviously in your lineup, just like Bell.
For the Buffalo Bills, Tyord Taylor needs to be more productive with his arm if the Bills have any chance of winning. He’s only averaging 191 passing yards per game.
He’s also thrown just 11 touchdowns, while also throwing five interceptions.
Because of that and constant injuries, receivers on the Bills have not been worth starting in 2016 Fantasy Football leagues. Sammy Watkins was able to return in Week 12, and he had a decent Fantasy performance with three receptions for 80 yards.
Running back LeSean McCoy has been one of the best backs heading into the 2016 Fantasy Football playoffs, having posted two 100-yard performances running the ball in Weeks 12-13.Embed from Getty Images
In Week 13, he also caught seven passes for 61 receiving yards.
The Steelers are allowing the seventh-most Fantasy points per game, which should help his productivity.
Denver Broncos at Tennessee Titans
This game looks like a snooze fest with such a low Over/Under, but a lot of Fantasy players are relying on a few key players from each team.
For the Denver Broncos, Fantasy players are hoping Trevor Siemian can start over Paxton Lynch. Unfortunately, it still looks like it will be a game-time decision. With Lynch as the starter, he only completed 12 of 24 passes for 104 passing yards in Week 13.
He didn’t throw any interceptions, but he also didn’t throw any touchdowns.
At least with Siemian, Demaryius Thomas has the 18th-most Fantasy points in PPR leagues.
Emanuel Sanders also has been productive with Siemian, and he’s actually ranked ahead of Thomas with the 17th-most Fantasy points in PPR leagues.
The running back situation for Denver right now is a mess. Justin Forsett, who was just claimed off of waivers on Dec. 5, could actually split carries with Devontae Booker in Week 14.
Booker has had the opportunities to be the starter, averaging 18.6 carries since Week 7. He just hasn’t done enough to keep the job.
Marcus Mariota has been very effective over the last several weeks, throwing 11 touchdowns and just two interceptions in his last four performances. During that time frame, he’s also averaging 281 passing yards per game.
But he gets his toughest test of the year with the Broncos, a defense allowing the fewest Fantasy points to quarterbacks per game.
Mariota’s receivers will also have a tough time, as the Broncos are allowing the fewest Fantasy points to wide receivers. Rishard Matthews is having the best year of his career, but he’s going to be hard to trust in this matchup.
However, DeMarco Murray owners should be excited for this matchup. The Broncos are allowing the 11th-most Fantasy points per game to running backs, and Murray is coming off a bye week.
He should have fresh legs.
Washington Redskins at Philadelphia Eagles
In Week 12, Aaron Rodgers scored 23.1 Fantasy points against the Eagles. In Week 13, Andy Dalton scored 22.2 Fantasy points.
Kirk Cousins should have an opportunity for equal success. He had a decent performance against this team in Week 6, completing 18 of 24 passes for 263 yards and two touchdowns. He also threw an interception and rushed for eight yards.
For this game, I’m watching the revenge factor for De‘Sean Jackson. He hasn’t had memorable performances against his former team recently, but he has caught four passes in each of his last two games against the Eagles.
The success of Pierre Garcon, Jamison Crowder, and Vernon Davis will depend on if tight end Jordan Reed plays.
For the rushing attack, coach Jay Gruden said he wants to get rookie Robert Kelly more involved. Kelly hasn’t been utilized as a pass-catching back, so his value is completely tied in to how many carries he records.
Carson Wentz is hoping for a better outcome in this matchup, as he only completed 11 passes for 179 yards against Washington in Week 6.
However, it won’t be easy with his receivers banged up. Dorial Green-Beckham will most likely sit in Week 14, and Jordan Matthews is questionable. Nelson Agholor may have an expanded role, but you don’t want to rely on him in the 2016 Fantasy Football playoffs.Embed from Getty Images
Because of these injuries, keep an eye on Paul Turner who was called up from the practice squad and posted a 6-80-0 stat line in Week 13. Tight end Zach Ertz should also have an expanded role if Matthews is ineffective.
Ryan Mathews should be able to start, but you already know how risky he’s been this season. Hopefully, you have other options. Darren Sproles will keep his pass-catching role, but he will have less opportunities to carry the ball if Mathews is effective.
Arizona Cardinals at Miami Dolphins
With the tough defense of the Cardinals and Carson Palmer’s lack of effectiveness this year, Vegas doesn’t believe there will be a lot of points on the board in this matchup. In fact, some betting sites have Arizona as just one-point favorites.
You’re starting David Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald, and the defense for Arizona.
For the Dolphins, it’s a similar story. You’re starting Jarvis Landry unless you have a better option. But just keep in mind he could be matched up with Tyrann Mathieu.
Jay Ajayi is an automatic start.
San Diego Chargers at Carolina Panthers
Favorite: Carolina Panthers
Vegas predicts there will be ton of points scored in this game, which is great news if you own any player on these teams.
San Diego is allowing the 18th-most Fantasy points per game to quarterbacks, which is middle of the road. But San Diego is allowing the fifth-most Fantasy points per game to running backs, which Cam Newton should be able to exploit.
Newton has only averaged 8.3 rushing yards per game in his last three performances, so he should be able to bounce back in Week 14.Embed from Getty Images
Kelvin Benjamin is an interesting case study this year, because he’s actually not far off from replicating his rookie season. But his perceived value is he’s playing worse than his first season in the league.
Benjamin averaged 63 receiving yards per game in 2014, and he’s averaging 62.8 this year. He needs roughly six catches per game the rest of the season to match his 73 receptions from 2014.
But his touchdown production has dipped, and he will need four more to match his nine from his rookie year. It’s possible he can tie that total, but it looks unlikely.
If you don’t have a better option, you’ll be forced to start him. Fantasy players are also looking at starting Ted Ginn, but I’m hoping you don’t have to start a boom-or-bust receiver in the playoffs.
This team is filled with boom-or-bust players,and Jonathan Stewart is no different. He hasn’t rushed for more than 95 yards all season, but he has three games in which he’s scored two rushing touchdowns.
Like Newton, he has a good matchup in terms of running the ball.
Philip Rivers is only the 15th-highest scoring quarterback in the 2016 season, but he makes certain receivers relevant from week-to-week.
Tyrell Williams is a top-20 receiver, and he’s averaged 5.25 receptions per game and 76.75 receiving yards per game since Week 9. He’s also caught a touchdown pass in every game during that time frame.Embed from Getty Images
Dontrelle Inman has been decent in PPR leagues, but he only has three touchdown receptions on the season. That gives him a lower floor than Williams. Travis Benjamin hasn’t been worth starting since Week 8, so you need to look elsewhere for a consistent wide receiver.
Tight end Antonio Gates is recording more receiving yards, but rookie Hunter Henry has two touchdown receptions in two out of his last three performances. It’s hard to trust either player.
Cincinnati Bengals at Cleveland Browns
A.J. Green is out, so it’s time to play the guessing game of who will step up for the Bengals in Week 14.
In Week 13, it was Brandon LaFell, who posted a 5-95-1 stat line. Tyler Boyd was behind him with four receptions for 66 yards. Tight end Tyler Eifert hauled in one of Andy Dalton‘s touchdown passes, but he only caught a total of two passes in that game.
Jeremy Hill finished with a terrible 1.4 YPC average, but he has a much friendlier matchup this week against Cleveland. The defense for the Browns is allowing the third-most Fantasy points per game to running backs.Embed from Getty Images
Rex Burkhead has somewhat filled in as Giovani Bernard‘s replacement, and he’s an appealing play in Week 14 DFS contests because of a nice matchup and low ownership.
For Cleveland, RG3 will get the start. He didn’t look good in his Week 1 performance, but he’s an upgrade over the quarterback carousel in Cleveland in 2016.
But just because he’s the starter, that doesn’t mean I’d shy away from starting the Bengals as my defense. Remember, the 26-year old quarterback hasn’t played since Week 2, and most of his Fantasy value is because of his dual-threat abilities.
He may be reserved in terms of wanting to take off and run the ball.
Terrelle Pryor should be in your lineup. In terms of the rushing attack, I own Isaiah Crowell, but he’s on my bench right now.
I’m still debating on whether or not to start him.
If the Bengals are able to get an early lead, RG3 will need to throw the ball. Cleveland may rely more on Duke Johnson than Crowell if that happens. I also don’t like the fact this game has one of the lowest score projections for Week 14.
Chicago Bears at Detroit Lions
Matthew Stafford is a top-10 quarterback this season, but he may only have a medicore performance against a defense that’s allowing the 22nd-most Fantasy points to quarterbacks.Embed from Getty Images
And with the Over/Under only at 43.5 points, Fantays players should keep their expectations in check if they plan to start Stafford. The last time he faced the Bears, he only threw for 213 yards.
He also threw two interceptions and no touchdowns.
Wide receiver Marvin Jones and tight end Eric Ebron are questionable, but both are expected to play. That could affect Golden Tate‘s performance, but he’s still the best receiver to start on the Lions.
Running back Theo Riddick is listed as questionable, but he’s also expected to play. However, he will have a tough matchup, as the Bears have allowed the sixth-fewest Fantasy points per game to running backs.
The last time he faced the Bears, Riddick wasn’t effective for Fantasy players. He caught four passes for 27 yards and rushed for 31 yards off of 11 carries.
There isn’t much to look at for Chicago other than the rushing attack.
Jordan Howard had a monster performance against the San Francisco 49ers in Week 13, rushing for 117 yards and three touchdowns. Since Week 8, he’s averaged 106.2 rushing yards per game.
Houston Texas at Indianapolis Colts
Lamar Miller was reportedly limited at practice on Thursday, and he’s let his owners down the past two weeks. The Colts are allowing the ninth-most Fantasy points to running backs, but Miller may not be able to take advantage of this matchup.
DeAndre Hopkins has averaged 5.14 receptions per game since Week 6, but he only has one touchdown catch from Weeks 6-13. In his defense, Brock Osweiler only has 14 touchdown passes on the season.
Tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz has been one of Osweiler’s favorite targets for touchdown passes, as Fiedorowicz has caught 21% of Osweiler’s 14 touchdown passes.
Not much to cover for the Colts. You know who you’re starting.
Minnesota Vikings at Jacksonville Jaguars
This is going to be an ugly game. For the Vikings, Stefon Diggs is worth starting.
That’s about it.
For the Jacksonville Jaguars, I’m benching Blake Bortles in favor of Colin Kaepernick. Bortles hasn’t recorded a 300-yard performance since Week 8, and he’s only averaged 169.66 passing yards in his last three performances.
It’s hard to trust any player on this offense right now.
New York Jets at San Francisco 49ers
Favorite: San Francisco 49ers
Bryce Petty, a fourth-round pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, will get the start this week at quarterback. In his limited performance in Week 13 against the Colts, he threw two interceptions and one touchdown.Embed from Getty Images
So even though the 49ers are allowing the third-most Fantasy points per game to quarterbacks this season, the 49ers could be worth starting because of Petty’s limited experience in the NFL.
Of course, there’s a lot of other Fantasy players right now thinking the same exact thing.
Petty’s favorite target in Week 13 was 23-year old Robby Anderson, who caught four passes for 61 yards and a touchdown. Brandon Marshall finished with just four catches for 43 yards, and it remains to be seen how well he will do with Petty as the official starter.
Matt Forte hasn’t rushed for more than 27 yards since Week 10, but he has a great matchup in Week 14. Petty may look to dump the ball off to Forte often if he gets in trouble, and the 49ers are allowing the most Fantasy points to running backs this season.
For the 49ers, if you’re brave, foolish, or desperate, you may be starting Kaepernick.
I’m a little bit of all three.
Even though he only scored 2.2 Fantasy points for me in Week 13, I was able to squeak out a win in Week 13 mostly because of Dennis Pitta.
I’m hoping Kaepernick just doesn’t like the snow and that’s the reason for his lack of production.
After battling injuries, running back Carlos Hyde has redeemed himself the last several weeks. He’s the 10th-highest scoring running back from Weeks 11-13.
New Orleans Saints at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Favorite: Tampa Bay
This has all the makings of a trap game with a high Over/Under. The Saints are allowing the 30th-most points per game, and the Buccaneers are allowing the the 19th-most points per game.
It almost seems too good to be true, especially in the first week of the 2016 Fantasy Football playoffs.
Drew Brees had a good game the last time they met, throwing for 312 yards and touch touchdowns. However, Jameis Winston only threw for 182 yards and one touchdown.
But the biggest question marks in this game will be the rushing attack for both teams. Mark Ingram practiced on a limited capacity on Friday, so Tim Hightower could have an increased role.
As a Doug Martin owner, I hope the talk of Jacquizz Rodgers having a bigger role is just to motivate Martin. Since his return in Week 10, Martin has only averaged 57 rushing yards per game.
It looked like Charles Sims would be ready to play in Week 14, but that’s now questionable. Keep track of Sims’ status for the rest of Saturday. If he can’t play, that’s good news if you own Martin.
Atlanta Falcons at Los Angeles Rams
Favorite: Atlanta Falcons
I’m intrigued by this matchup because the Falcons are allowing the most Fantasy points to quarterbacks.
Will Jared Goff take advantage of that fact, or will he squander the opportunity?
Either way, I’m still starting Kenny Britt. He could clear 1,000 receiving yards for the first time in his career, but people still don’t want to give him credit. That’s okay, because he’s helped my Fantasy teams out this season.
If you have a better option at tight end, I would consider fading Lance Kendricks. He’s a tight end I’d take a flier on in my 2017 Fantasy Football draft, as hes been on the field for 85% of the offensive snaps this season.
But he hasn’t been consistent over the last four weeks.
Seattle Seahawks at Green Bay Packers
Favorite: Seattle Seahawks
Because of injuries, Russell Wilson hasn’t been as effective on the ground this season. That’s limited his Fantasy production.Embed from Getty Images
But with increased focus on the aerial attack, Doug Baldwin is the 12th-highest scoring wide receiver in Fantasy Football right now. He’s a beast in PPR leagues, with at least four catches in every game except for Week 2.
Jimmy Graham has also been a nice surprise after a slow start to the season. He’s currently the third-highest scoring tight end in Fantasy Football, and he’s caught four touchdowns in his last five performances.
The rushing attack showed signs of life for Seattle in Week 13, with Thomas Rawls recording his best game of the year. On 15 carries, he rushed for 106 yards and scored two touchdowns.
The Packers have struggled to find an answer at the running back position, ranking 24th in rushing yards per game. This backfield can’t be trusted, with Ty Montgomery, James Starks, and Christine Michael in the mix.
You know what to do with Aaron Rodgers and Jordy Nelson. If you’re not afraid of risk and are looking for upside, roll the dice on Davante Adams this week.
Just keep in mind his performances have been very sporadic.
Dallas Cowboys at New York Giants
Favorite: Dallas Cowboys
In Week 1 against the Giants, Ezekiel Elliott rushed for 51 yards and scored one touchdown. Since then, he’s been a Fantasy stud, averaging 107 rushing yards per game.
Hes also averaging 26.8 receiving yards per game as an extra bonus.
There are some concerns the Cowboys may let the starters rest with the playoffs locked, so that’s something to be mindful of. If Dallas gets a huge lead, we might see a lot more of Alfred Morris.
Of course, there’s no way you’re sitting Zeke.
It took some time, but it looks like Dez Bryant and Dak Prescott are on the same page. Since Week 10, Bryant has averaged 5.25 receptions per game and 88 receiving yards. He’s also caught four touchdowns in that time frame.
For the Giants, Sterling Shepard caught a touchdown against the Cowboys in Week 1. Even though he didn’t catch any passes in Week 12, he also has four touchdown catches in his last five performances.
The rushing attack is messy for Fantasy players, and you can’t trust Rashad Jennings. Rookie Paul Perkins has been cutting into his workload.
Also, Shane Vereen could make an appearance. I spent some of my list bidding dollars on him in Week 13 if there is the off chance he is productive during the Fantasy playoffs.
I’ll cover the outlook for Monday Night Football in another post, but hopefully that gets you all caught up with Week 14. For the 2016 Fantasy Football playoffs, I will be covering a lot of topics and providing updates.
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