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Inside the Matchup

Week 14

By: Andy Swanson | Jason Katz | Nick Caron | HC Green



Sunday Early:



Sunday Late:





- Green highllight indicates plus matchup (top eight)
- Red highlight indicates negative matchup (bottom eight)

Patriots at Rams - (Caron)
Line: LAR -4.5
Total: 44.0

Passing Game Thoughts: It’s been an off-and-on season for Patriots quarterback Cam Newton, but if you have to make a prediction on whether it’s going to be one of Newton’s strong games or his weak games here in Week 14, it’s probably wise to bet on the latter. Newton’s matchup against the Rams defense is the most difficult one possible given the Rams’ top-ranked fantasy defense against opposing quarterbacks and he’s been ice cold as of late anyway. Newton has failed to reach even 100 passing yards in back-to-back games and he hasn’t thrown multiple touchdowns in any game this season.

The only reason that Cam has had any real value is because he continues to be used as the team’s primary goal line back and that’s allowed him to reach the end zone an impressive 11 times. That type of production as a runner is practically unprecedented and it’s allowed Newton to remain a QB1 most weeks. Here in Week 14, however, we’re going to suggest avoiding Newton in normal single-quarterback leagues, although he remains a must-start mid-range QB2 with upside due to his rushing in 2QB or SuperFlex leagues.

Because Newton simply has not been proficient throwing the ball, that’s meant some truly devastatingly bad fantasy performances for his pass catchers. At this point the only player who could even be considered for fantasy purposes is wide receiver Jakobi Meyers. Unfortunately, he draws one of the most difficult matchups in all of fantasy football as he’ll likely be blanketed by superstar Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey. Ramsey has shut down much more talented receivers throughout this season and Meyers hasn’t exceeded seven targets since Week 9 so we’re going to suggest avoiding him in normal leagues this week.

LAR FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.32
LAR FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.26
LAR FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.32
LAR FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.16

Running Game Thoughts: The three-headed situation in New England continues to be a major problem for fantasy purposes, making New England one of the league’s lowest-upside backfields. While Damien Harris has been the most productive runner, he’s conceded nearly 40 percent of the team’s running back rush attempts to Sony Michel in Week 13’s game against the Chargers. While the 45-to-0 scoreboard in New England’s favor might’ve led to the team using Michel more than they normally would, it should still be an indication that it’s going to be difficult to trust Harris - or any member of this backfield - even in games where we expect a significant positive game script. For that reason, we can’t trust Michel at all and we shouldn’t be relying on Harris as anything more than a Flex option at this point, preferably in non-PPR leagues.

James White remains the team’s primary pass catcher out of the backfield, but Newton doesn’t target his backs enough for us to look at him as a viable starter other in the ugliest of PPR situations.

Value Meter:
QB2: Cam Newton
Flex: Damien Harris
Bench: James White, Sony Michel, Jakobi Meyers, Damiere Byrd, N’Keal Harry, Ryan Izzo

Passing Game Thoughts: A truly horrible Week 12 fantasy performance from Jared Goff is now in the rear view mirror as the Rams quarterback got back to some fantasy success in Week 13. He threw for 351 yards and a touchdown while also adding a rushing touchdown against the Cardinals, so we should be back to considering him a high-end QB2 / low-end QB1 in most matchups.

Unfortunately this is a difficult matchup on paper for Goff as he’ll be up against a Patriots defense that has been the seventh-strongest fantasy defense against opposing quarterbacks this season. New England has held Kyler Murray and Justin Herbert to zero combined passing touchdowns over their past two games, so this is not the time where we want to be relying on Goff. He’s still a low-end QB2 given the other situations throughout the league, but he should probably be on your bench this week in a tough matchup.

From a pass catcher standpoint, Robert Woods also has a difficult situation this week as he’s likely to be shadowed by 2019 NFL Defensive Player of the Year Stephon Gilmore. Gilmore has been lockdown again this season and while Woods is a good enough player to still make something happen, his upside is very limited in this one. Normally we’d consider Woods a borderline WR1, but this week he’s more of a mid-to-low-level WR2. Fellow outside receiver Josh Reynolds should be on benches this week as he also has a difficult matchup if he’s up against J.C. Jackson and he’s just not seeing the volume that would warrant us putting him in our lineups even in good matchups.

A player who should actually see a bump in upside this week is slot receiver Cooper Kupp. Kupp should mostly avoid Gilmore and Jackson and he’s seeing a ton of targets as of late so look for that to continue here in Week 14. Although this is a difficult matchup for the Rams overall, Kupp has high-end WR1 upside in this matchup. We’re going to rank him as a low-level WR1 because it could just end up being a low volume day overall for the Rams offense, but if they do get in any sort of a competitive shootout then Kupp could see double-digit targets in this one.

Tight ends Tyler Higbee and Gerald Everett are just not high enough volume plays to trust them as anything more than a touchdown-or-bust option, so we’re going to avoid ranking them as TE1s.

NE FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.26
NE FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.19
NE FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.22
NE FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.29

Running Game Thoughts: We may have finally seen a changing of the guard in the Rams backfield in Week 13, as rookie Cam Akers saw a huge boost in his opportunity share when he took 21 of the team’s 27 backfield carries. While he only turned that into 72 yards on the ground, he did get into the end zone and we should be viewing him as the team’s primary back going forward. Of course, the Rams have been pretty noncommittal about things this season so we could very well see them return to a full three-headed split and we need to be aware of that when we’re ranking him, but Akers is pretty clearly the most talented player in the backfield and the only one who really has much upside from a fantasy standpoint.

The really unfortunate thing is that the Rams just continue to avoid passing the ball to their running backs, so the entire backfield remains limited to some degree. Still, the Rams could see a positive game script in this game which would allow Akers to again approach 20 or so touches and that would almost certainly make him a solid RB2 even without much passing game usage

Value Meter:
QB2: Jared Goff (low-end)
RB2: Cam Akers (low-end)
WR1: Cooper Kupp (low-end)
WR2: Robert Woods
Bench: Darrell Henderson, Malcolm Brown, Josh Reynolds, Van Jefferson, Tyler Higbee, Gerald Everett

Prediction: Rams 24, Patriots 17 ^ Top

Chiefs at Dolphins - (Katz)
Line: KC -7.0
Total: 50.0

Passing Game Thoughts: It feels a bit laughable now that just a few weeks ago, there was debate as to whether the MVP favorite was Russell Wilson, Kyler Murray, or Josh Allen. It’s Patrick Mahomes and for the next decade, it will likely be Mahomes every season. Mahomes has 31 touchdown passes against two interceptions. He’s the most talented quarterback of all time.

It’s definitely impressive that the Dolphins have only allowed 14 passing touchdowns thus far, but they also play an AFC East schedule. Mahomes doesn’t care about your defense and neither does elite WR1 since 2017, Tyreek Hill. Fantasy’s second highest scoring wide receiver has been a dud just once all season. He’s scored at least 14.8 fantasy points in 12 of his 13 games. 71% of the receiving yards the Dolphins allow goes to wide receivers and Hill has double digit targets in four straight games. The math checks out.

It also checks out for Travis Kelce. Although just 18% of targets against the Dolphins go to tight ends, Kelce is more wide receiver than tight end. The biggest question surrounding the Chiefs passing attack is always who the third option is going to be: Sammy Watkins or Mecole Hardman? The answer is it doesn’t matter, you shouldn’t be starting either of them. Watkins hasn’t surpassed 43 yards in his last four games. Hardman barely plays when Watkins is active posting snap shares of 33%, 30%, and 22% the past two three games.

MIA FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.21
MIA FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.21
MIA FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.17
MIA FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.26

Running Game Thoughts: Clyde Edwards-Helaire was a fake active last week dealing with an illness. It was abundantly clear after Le’Veon Bell was out there the first play of the game that CEH would not play a single snap. While that was hugely frustrating for fantasy managers and definitely didn’t directly cost me a playoff spot in a league, expect CEH to go right back to his usual role this week. Bell is an all-time fantasy asset, but his time has passed. He looks slow and lethargic with the football. Even with CEH out, Bell played just 52% of the snaps. If he can’t produce without CEH in the lineup, it’s safe to say he has no fantasy value at all. The bad news for CEH is you shouldn’t expect much in the way of passing game production. Just 16.5% of targets against the Dolphins go to running backs and CEH has just one target each of his past two games played. The Dolphins allow 122 rushing yards per game, but CEH has just two games all season over 70 and his high yardage total is 69 since Bell arrived. He’s a touchdown or bust RB2.

Value Meter:
QB1: Patrick Mahomes (high end)
WR1: Tyreek Hill (high end)
RB2: Clyde Edwards-Helaire (low end)
TE1: Travis Kelce (high end)
Bench: Sammy Watkins, Mecole Hardman, Le’Veon Bell

Passing Game Thoughts: I don’t care about the outcome of the game – it was a mistake to bench Ryan Fitzpatrick for Tua Tagovailoa. Fitzpatrick is the better quarterback right now and it’s not close. As for us, all we’re interested in are the fantasy implications and Tagovailoa brings everyone down. DeVante Parker’s highest yardage total with Tagovailoa is 64 yards. In Fitzpatrick’s spot start two weeks ago, Parker posted 8-119. While it was encouraging to see Tagovailoa toss it up 39 times last week and almost hit 300 yards, he attempted between 20 and 28 passes in his four previous starts.

The Dolphins don’t want him to throw but against the Chiefs, he may have no choice. The one area where the Chiefs struggle the most is against the tight end. Teams attack them using the position 23% of the time. Mike Gesicki is coming off his second best game of the season and although he’s been unreliable, so has the entire tight end position outside of the guy on the other side of the field. Gesicki is just fine this week. As for other Dolphins’ pass catchers, there is no one even remotely close to fantasy relevance.

KC FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.19
KC FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.14
KC FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.31
KC FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.12

Running Game Thoughts: Myles Gaskin returned last week and played 71% of the snaps. He handled 23 touches and racked up 141 total yards. He’s a must start against a Chiefs defense that is a bit of a run funnel. While running is never preferable to passing, keeping the clock moving and Mahomes off the field is the optimal strategy and the Chiefs have proven vulnerable on the ground. The Chiefs allow 132 rushing yards per game and 18% of the receiving yards they allow go to running backs. Gaskin had at least four targets in every game prior to last week. The Dolphins like him in the passing game and expect that to continue this week. Gaskin is immune to game script.

Value Meter:
RB2: Myles Gaskin (high end)
WR3: DeVante Parker
TE1: Mike Gesicki (low end)
Bench: Tua Tagovailoa

Prediction: Chiefs 30, Dolphins 20 ^ Top

Texans @ Bears - (Green)
Line: HOU -2.0
Total: 45.5

Passing Game Thoughts: A year ago, Deshaun Watson had DeAndre Hopkins, Will Fuller and Kenny Stills as his top three wideouts. This past Sunday, those slots were filled by Brandin Cooks (454 career receptions), Keke Coutee (56) and Chad Hansen (9). That didn't stop Watson, though, who made chicken salad to the tune of 26-for-38, 341 yards and an interception. He also ran for 38 yards and a score while nearly leading the Texans to an upset win over the Colts before a late fumble snuffed out their hopes.

He'll take the field with that same group of receivers in Week 14 with Cooks (5-65) being by far the most accomplished option; he was removed last week to be checked for a concussion but was cleared and returned. Coutee (8-141) had the biggest impact and has flashed at various times throughout his two-plus seasons. You can pencil in Cooks as a solid WR2 and Coutee as a WR3/flex option. Hansen (5-101) also delivered versus Indy, but he's too much of an unknown.

Meanwhile, things are going south on the south side these days with the Bears having allowed 613 yards and seven TDs over the last two games; prior to that, Chicago had given up just 12 TD passes in its first 10. The pass rush has also been largely dormant with just two sacks on more than 70 dropbacks in those games. Despite the weapons he's missing, Watson rates as a QB1 this Sunday.

CHI FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.28
CHI FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.25
CHI FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.28
CHI FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.3

Running Game Thoughts: David Johnson returned last weekend after missing three games with a concussion, rushing 10 times for 44 yards and a score. With him back, Duke Johnson slid into a third-down role again, gaining 32 yards on eight total touches. Chicago ranks 17th in the NFL in run defense at 116.1 yards per game, which isn't enough of a plus matchup to elevate the league's worst rushing offense. For Johnson value, David is an RB3 with Duke as a shaky flex in PPR formats.

Value Meter:
QB1: Deshaun Watson
RB3: David Johnson
Flex: Duke Johnson
WR2: Brandin Cooks
WR3/Flex: Keke Coutee
Bench: Randall Cobb (IR), Darren Fells

Passing Game Thoughts: For 58 minutes, Mitchell Trubisky played solid football. He seemed poised to guide the Bears to an important win over Detroit; then he fumbled inside his own 10-yard line to set up the Lions for a game-winning TD. It was another brutal moment in a career full of them for Trubisky, who doubtless will be playing for another franchise in 2021. His final line (267 yards, 1 TD, 0 INTs) was mediocre, and the team continues to marginalize his athleticism (six yards on three runs). This Sunday he'll share the field with Watson, drafted 10 spots lower in 2017, in what will be yet another painful reminder of what could've been.

Allen Robinson (6-75) continues to function as the alpha in Chi-Town, leading the team in targets, receptions and yards. On the other side it appears as though Jimmy Graham may have become the omega. He was targeted just once last Sunday while fellow TE Cole Kmet (5-37-1) saw seven looks and scored the only TD. Kmet could be worth a late-season look if you're hurting at the position. Anthony Miller (5-56) and Darnell Mooney (4-43) continue to flash, but each siphons enough value from the other that neither of them is really playable at this point.

Houston, ranked 21st against the pass, is dead last in the NFL with just three INTs on the season compared to 22 TD strikes; it's a big reason they're also last in opponents' QB rating. They're a bit dinged up, but only Phillip Gaines (hamstring) would be an absence of any significance. Robinson is a WR1 this week, and Trubisky could hold QB2 appeal based on the matchup.

HOU FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.18
HOU FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.2
HOU FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.12
HOU FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.17

Running Game Thoughts: After struggling for most of 2020 on the ground, the Bears took it to the Lions with David Montgomery (17-72-2) and Cordarrelle Patterson (10-59-1) combining for three rushing TDs -- the team entered Week 13 with two all year. Only the Cowboys' incompetence has kept the Texans out of last place in run defense as they rate 31st at 150.9 yards per game. That gives Montgomery legit RB2 value and even gives Patterson some upside appeal as a low-end flex.

Value Meter:
QB2: Mitchell Trubisky
RB1/RB2: David Montgomery
Flex: Cordarrelle Patterson (low-end)
WR1: Allen Robinson
Bench: Darnell Mooney, Jimmy Graham, Cole Kmet

Prediction: Texans 24, Bears 20 ^ Top

Titans @ Jaguars - (Swanson)
Line: TEN -7.5
Total: 52.5

Passing Game Thoughts: Ryan Tannehill and the Titans head to Jacksonville to take on Mike Glennon and the Jags. Through 12 games, Tannehill sits as the No.9 fantasy quarterback with 23.4 points per game. He is coming off a monster three-touchdown day last week in a surprising loss at home to Baker Mayfield and the Browns.

Tannehill posted arguably his best game of the season against the Jags back in Week 2, with 239 passing yards and four touchdowns, while completing 75% of his passes.

What do Tyreek Hill, Davante Adams, and Justin Jefferson all have in common? They are the only three wide receivers in fantasy football who have scored more fantasy points than Corey Davis over the last three weeks. Davis caught a career-best 11 passes for 182 yards and a score last week to finish with 24.2 fantasy points. It was his third 100-yard game since Week 8, making him someone who is now in must-start consideration.

A.J. Brown should also be in lineups this week. With at least one touchdown in seven of ten games played, Brown is one of the most consistent fantasy performers of the season.

The team used a committee approach at tight end last week against the Browns with Jonnu Smith injured. Anthony Firkser saw the most targets with five catches for 51 yards on seven targets, while MyCole Pruitt scored a touchdown on his lone reception of the day.

Smith had a monster two-touchdown game vs. the Jags back in Week 2, and the Jags have given up the seventh-most points to tight ends on the season. Although it is a nice matchup, it would take some guts to start Firkser in the playoffs when you consider the emergency of Corey Davis and Derrick Henry should have a field day.

JAC FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.4
JAC FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.4
JAC FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.5
JAC FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.11

Running Game Thoughts: It is unfortunate for Derrick Henry fantasy managers that his worst game of the season came in the final week of the regular season in many league formats. King Henry scored a mere 6.9 points against a difficult Cleveland run defense in what turned out to be a terrible, one-sided game script that limited Henry to a season-low 15 rush attempts.

Those fantasy managers will get a nice bounce-back week from Henry against a Jacksonville defense that gives up the sixth-most points to opposing running backs. Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt combined for over 200 rushing yards and a score in Week 12, and Dalvin Cook posted 17.9 fantasy points last week despite fumbling on the goal line.

The King will have a feast this week, and he will be dining on Jaguar.

Value Meter:
QB1: Ryan Tannehill (Low-End)
RB1: Derrick Henry (Elite)
WR1: A.J. Brown (Low-End)
WR2: Corey Davis (Low-End)
TE2: Anthony Firkser (High-End)

Passing Game Thoughts: It might come as a surprise to learn that Mike Glennon, the giraffe-necked journeyman quarterback, has averaged more fantasy points per game over the past three games than Kyler Murray, Cam Newton, and Matt Ryan. Glennon put up 20 fantasy points against the Browns and followed with 18.9 last week against the Vikings.

While we are certainly not advocating starting Glennon, he has been competent enough to keep defenses from keying in on the run game and James Robinson, and he does put up enough attempts and yardage for his pass catchers.

The problem for Jags fantasy wide receivers is there are too many options and Glennon is spreading the ball around too much to make any of them viable. D.J. Chark led the team in targets last week, while rookie fifth-round pick Collin Johnson continued his impressive play with four catches for 66 yards.

Keelan Cole and Chris Conley each saw two targets, while Laviska Shenault garnered three catches for 38 yards and the only touchdown in the group on a pass that was actually targeting Chark, but Glennon missed Chark by a mile, and Shenault caught the deflection that should have been intercepted.

To make things even worse for Jags wide receivers was the crazy volume of passes to tight ends. Glennon threw the ball 13 times to his tight ends, with Tyler Eifert and James O’Shaughnessy each getting six targets and Eric Saubert sneaking in one.

The matchup against the Titans is excellent based on the fact that the game script projects to be very one-sided early, and the Jags will need to pass a ton to keep up. It also does not hurt that the Titans rank fifth in fantasy points allowed to QBs and sixth to wide receivers.

Look for Glennon to throw the ball at around 40 times, especially late in garbage time. All of the wide receivers are threats to score a garbage TD, but the fact that Glennon spreads the ball around negates the value of all of them.

TEN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.5
TEN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.8
TEN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.2
TEN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.9

Running Game Thoughts: There are only three running backs in fantasy football who have more fantasy points than undrafted rookie James Robinson. Dalvin Cook, Derrick Henry, and Alvin Kamara - three players taken in the first round of drafts are the only players to score more than Robinson, a relatively unknown product from Illinois State.

Chances are if you picked up Robinson off waivers, you are in the playoffs. The great news is this matchup is excellent, as the Titans are terrible against all fantasy positions, especially running backs. The bad news is they are likely going to be up big early and could limit Robinson to fewer carries than one would like.

Regardless, Robinson is an RB1 and a must-start. He has been one of the most reliable assets in fantasy and should come through again with around 80 total yards and a score or two.

Value Meter:
QB2: Mike Glennon (Low-End)
RB1: James Robinson (Low-End)
WR2: D.J. Chark (Low-End)
WR4: Keelan Cole (Low-End)
WR4: Laviska Shenault (Low-End)
WR4: Collin Johnson (Low-End)
TE2: Tyler Eifert (High-End)

Prediction: Tennessee 34, Jacksonville 14 ^ Top

Broncos @ Panthers - (Swanson)
Line: N/A
Total: N/A

Passing Game Thoughts: In a battle of 4-8 teams, Drew Lock and the Denver Broncos head to Charlotte to take on Teddy Bridgewater and the Carolina Panthers. Lock has been a disappointment this season for fantasy managers, with 1.7 points per game to enter Week 14 as the No. 33 quarterback. His 13 interceptions are second behind Carson Wentz, and he ranks 27th in passing touchdowns.

One player who has suffered from a poor Denver passing attack is rookie Jerry Jeudy. Despite being arguably the top-ranked WR in this year’s talented rookie class, he is tied with Sammy Watkins and Laviska Shenault as the No.60 wide receiver in fantasy points per game. Jeudy has just eight receptions in his last four games and caught just one pass for five yards last week against the Chiefs.

Not all is gloom and doom in the Broncos pass offense. Tim Patrick ranks 36th in points per game over the last five weeks and has average most points during that span than Julio Jones, Chris Godwin, Cooper Kupp, and CeeDee Lamb. Patrick is the defacto No.1 WR in this offense and should continue to be a solid low-end No.3 or flex play.

The Panthers rank 14th in fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks. Eight opposing quarterbacks, including Kirk Cousins back in Week 12, have posted 20 or more points against this unit. That does not mean that you should start Drew Lock, but it does give more confidence on starting Patrick and tight end, Noah Fant.

Fant is an interesting option here, but he will take a bit of intestinal fortitude to start based on the fact that he has not scored a touchdown since Week 2. The Panthers rank 11th in points given up to tight ends, and Jerry Jeudy is questionable with an ankle injury. Could this be the Noah Fant breakout game?

CAR FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.14
CAR FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.6
CAR FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.18
CAR FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.8

Running Game Thoughts: The Panthers are not a good run defense and currently sit as the 8th-worst defense in stopping the run. The Broncos would love nothing more than running 100 times his this game if they could pull it off, making both Melvin Gordon and Phillip Lindsay interesting plays.

Both of Carolina’s starting defensive tackles, Derrick Brown and Zach Kerr, were placed on the COVID-19 list on Monday and are likely out. Joining them on the list are defensive end Yet Gross-Matos and linebacker Shaq Thompson. The Panthers are a team currently ravaged by COIVD-19 players, and the Broncos should take advantage of that weakness by running the ball a ton on Sunday.

Safety Sam Franklin is also questionable and could miss this game, giving another boost to the Denver rushing offense.

The Broncos have a few injuries of their own that could affect the outcome of this game. Starting guard Graham Glasgow is questionable with a toe injury, and starting right tackle Demar Dotson is also questionable. Dotson is more likely to play than Glasgow, but both have not yet been ruled out.

QB2: Drew Lock (Low-End)
RB1: Melvin Gordon (Low-End)
RB3: Phillip Lindsay (High-End)
WR2: Tim Patrick (Low-End)
WR3: Jerry Jeudy (Low-End)
WR4: KJ Hamler (High-End)
TE1: Noah Fant (Low-End)

Passing Game Thoughts: The Carolina Panthers enter Week 14 off of a rare Week 13 bye. We all hoped that the extra week would give Christian McCaffrey time to heal and be a league-winning play in the playoffs, only to learn on Wednesday that he is now dealing with a new thigh injury that could cost him a chance to play.

The chance of being without CMC is not the only setback for the Panthers. Wide receiver D.J. Moore tested positive for COIVD-19 and will be out, with fellow wide receiver Curtis Samuel on the COVID-19 list for proximity to Moore. Samuel has not been ruled out and could play if he meets the league’s testing rules, but we do not know for sure at this time.

Those two players missing the game could be a massive boost for Robby Anderson owners just in time for the playoffs. Anderson is coming off a solid 4/94/1 game against the Vikings before the bye and should be in line for around ten targets in this game.

To make things even more bright for Anderson managers, the Broncos secondary is down a few starters, include A.J. Bouye, who has been suspended for violating the league’s PED policy, and Bryce Callahan, who was placed on injured reserve with a foot injury.

Duke Dawson and rookie Michael Ojemudia will start at cornerback for head coach Vic Fangio not - exactly a stellar secondary. Dawson has played in a total of 62 snaps this season in a reserve role, and Ojemudia is the No.103-ranked CB according to

The Broncos did a solid job of limiting the Chiefs to just 22 points last week in what turned out to be a closer game than many thought, but with the injuries and suspension in the secondary, this defense is not the same.

DEN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.20
DEN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.17
DEN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.25
DEN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.19

Running Game Thoughts: The Broncos defense has been someone of a Jekyll and Hyde unit when it comes to stopping the run. They gave up over 200 rushing yards to the Saints back in Week 12, but limited Miami to under 50 yards, and the Chiefs managed just 84 yards rushing.

James Conner, Derrick Henry, and Josh Jacobs managed 100-yard games, while Tampa Bay, New England, and the Jets could not do much on the ground.

If Christian McCaffrey is out again this week, Mike Davis once again becomes a viable option as a No.2 running back. In addition to providing around 60 rushing yards, look for Davis to come through with around five targets and 40 receiving yards, and a possible score. With Moore and possibly Samuels out, Davis could be a PPR machine.

QB2: Teddy Bridgewater (High-End)
RB1: Mike Davis (High-End)
WR2: Robby Anderson (High-End)
WR2: Curtis Samuel (Low-End)
TE2: Ian Thomas (Low-End)

Prediction: Panthers 28, Broncos 17 ^ Top

Cowboys @ Bengals - (Green)
Line: DAL -3.5
Total: 43.0

Passing Game Thoughts: While no one would call Andy Dalton's play spectacular during the team's Week 13 loss to Baltimore, he was generally solid in moving the offense between the 20s and was let down by a terrible game from Greg Zuerlein, who missed three FGAs. He finished with a season-high 285 yards passing and two TDs; he also threw at least one interception for a fifth straight game. The subplot, of course, is Dalton's return to the Queen City where he spent the first nine years of his career. The numbers say keep Dalton benched, but if you're looking for an X factor...

For most of Dalton's tenure in Dallas, Amari Cooper (5-43-1 in Week 13) has been the clear top target, but on Tuesday night his nine targets tied for second behind Michael Gallup (7-86-1), who had 11. It was Gallup's first notable showing since arguably Week 3 against Seattle so don't feel obligated to get him in your lineup. CeeDee Lamb (6-46) continues to see a decent number of touches most weeks, but it seems like they've started to feature him almost exclusively on screens and quick hitters. Against Cincinnati you can view Cooper as a solid WR3 with Lamb as more of a low-end WR3 or flex.

During the offseason, the Bengals handed CB Trae Waynes a three-year, $42 million contract to help stabilize the secondary. He injured his pec in camp and hasn't played a snap this season. That about sums up Cincy's luck in pass defense where they currently rank 25th in the NFL (257.3 per game) despite also being one of the worst run defenses. They'll also be without Shawn Williams, who will serve a one-game suspension. We'll see if Dalton can exercise some demons this Sunday.

CIN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.17
CIN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.15
CIN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.16
CIN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.2

Running Game Thoughts: In a normal year, Ezekiel Elliott's 18-carry, 77-yard effort on Tuesday night against the Ravens would've elicited groans from the fantasy world. In 2020, though, it was one of his better showings; well, except for the part where he got stuffed at the goal-line repeatedly, extending his streak without a rushing touchdown to an unfathomable seven games. Elliott has a solid chance to break it in Week 14 with the Bengals 29th against the run (134.3 yards per game). That makes Zeke a RB1/RB2.

Value Meter:
RB1/RB2: Ezekiel Elliott
WR3: Amari Cooper
WR3/Flex: CeeDee Lamb
TE1: Dalton Schultz (low-end)
Bench: Andy Dalton, Tony Pollard, Michael Gallup

Passing Game Thoughts: Making his second start for an injured Joe Burrow, Brandon Allen connected on a 72-yard touchdown to Tyler Boyd late in the first quarter to give the Bengals a 7-0 lead. They never scored again. Allen completed just 10 more passes for 81 yards before departing with a chest injury, and Boyd was ejected in the second quarter for exchanging "punches" with Xavien Howard. While Ryan Finley took over for Allen, the latter is reportedly fine and should start in Week 14.

From a fantasy perspective, it doesn't much matter. The loss of Burrow has gutted the Bengals' passing attack and robbed Boyd, Tee Higgins (5-56) and A.J. Green (0-0) of much of their value -- or all of it in the case of Green, who was been held without a catch in three of his last four games. While you can feel justified in jettisoning Green, Boyd remains a viable WR3 thanks to his short-area skills and ability after the catch. Higgins now straddles the realm of WR3 and flex.

One name of note for those in PPR formats is Drew Sample, who caught seven balls last week and has been targeted 16 times in the past three weeks. On the Dallas side they're currently sixth in the NFL in passing yards allowed (215.8 yards per game), but that's not representative of their talent level. It's simply that teams run right over them so they don't pass as much; to wit, despite facing a league-low 368 pass attempts this year the Cowboys have yielded an NFL-high 27 TD passes.

DAL FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.12
DAL FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.7
DAL FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.10
DAL FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.21

Running Game Thoughts: There were rumblings that Joe Mixon (foot) might return from IR this week, but Zac Taylor nipped those in the bud and ruled Mixon out. That means Gio Bernard (12-30) should continue serving as the primary back. Bernard put together some solid work when Burrow was running the show, but without him teams have held the veteran to 80 yards on 2.8 per carry in the last three games. As such, Bernard is only an RB3 this weekend even against a Dallas defense that is dead last defending the run, allowing 167.8 yards per game -- that amounts to 2,014 yards for the year, which is 203 yards more than the second-worst club.

Value Meter:
RB3: Giovani Bernard
WR3: Tyler Boyd
WR3/Flex: Tee Higgins
Bench: Brandon Allen, Joe Mixon (inj), A.J. Green

Prediction: Cowboys 24, Bengals 16 ^ Top

Cardinals at Giants - (Katz)
Line: ARI -2.5
Total: 45.0

Passing Game Thoughts: Fantasy’s number one quarterback is coming off back to back underwhelming performances and now gets a surprisingly tough Giants defense. Through 11 weeks, Kyler Murray was a QB1 every week of the season. The past two weeks, Murray finished QB25 and QB16. This obviously is no reason to panic, but it’s a reminder that no one is immune to poor performance.

The Giants allow just 15 fantasy points per game to quarterbacks and just completely shut down Russell Wilson. The Cardinals need a bounce back and I think they get it, but I can’t just recommend things based on my instincts. The data does not necessarily support it. DeAndre Hopkins has finished as a WR4 or worse in three of his last five games. He’s been quite erratic this season and while you’re obviously starting him, he’s not the elite force he was supposed to be.

Christian Kirk disappeared after a four game run of strong outings. His past four games have seen him fail to exceed six targets, four catches, or 50 yards in any of them and he hasn’t scored since Week 9. The Giants allow 34.2 fantasy point per game to wide receivers. The tight end position is an afterthought for the Cardinals. Dan Arnold had a long touchdown last week, but caught just one other pass. The only other player of relevance could be Larry Fitzgerald if he returns from the Covid list this week, but he will only matter to the extent that he has a decent PPR floor.

NYG FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.29
NYG FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.10
NYG FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.19
NYG FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.24

Running Game Thoughts: The Giants aren’t easy to run on either, they’re more middle of the pack in rush defense. Kenyan Drake was game scripted out of last week’s contest but since his return from injury, despite continuing to split snaps, he’s been dominating touches. He had 25 the week prior against the Patriots. Meanwhile, Chase Edmonds has no more than eight carries in a game in the past four weeks. He is being targeted heavily with 15 over his past three games, but it’s not enough to make him a reliable start. You could worse as a deeper flex play though. It’s also worth noting that 24% of targets against the Giants have gone to running backs. It remains to be seen if Kliff Kingsbury follows suit and draws up some passes to Edmonds, but it adds to the intrigue of an Edmonds start.

Value Meter:
QB1: Kyler Murray (high end)
RB2: Kenyan Drake (low end)
WR1: DeAndre Hopkins (low end)
WR3: Christian Kirk
Flex: Chase Edmonds
Bench: Larry Fitzgerald, Dan Arnold, Andy Isabella

Passing Game Thoughts: There is still some ambiguity regarding who will start at quarterback for the Giants as Daniel Jones works his way back from a hamstring strain. If Colt McCoy has to make another start, he is at least competent, but the Giants are clearly going to ask him to do as little as possible. He threw for just 105 yards last week and even though Jones isn’t particularly good, at least he pushes the ball to his receivers a bit.

With McCoy, it’s going to be tough for any Giants’ pass catcher to have any value given the lack of volume. Sterling Shepard did see six targets, but he caught just one pass last week. 68% of the receiving yards allowed by the Cardinals go to wide receivers. Look for Shepard to have a high percentage of the Giants’ receiving yards, but the total pie might remain small as the Giants look to win this with defense. Darius Slayton and Golden Tate are completely off the fantasy radar. Evan Engram remains in the TE1 conversation because of his upside and the state of the position, but he hasn’t played particularly well this season and McCoy doesn’t complete passes. Engram has 17 targets over the past two games, though and the Cardinals are middle of the pack against the tight end.

ARI FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.15
ARI FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.16
ARI FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.11
ARI FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.25

Running Game Thoughts: We live in a world where Wayne Gallman is an every week, must start RB1. Over his past six games, Gallman has two mid RB2 finishes and four RB1 finishes. The Giants have been better with Gallman than with Saquon Barkley. How is that possible? Because running backs don’t matter. Barkley does not benefit the Giants at all. But that’s neither here nor there. The point is you must start Gallman this week. The Cardinals are an average rush defense and they don’t concede much to the position through the air, just 14.7% of receiving yards allowed, but Gallman’s volume is undeniable. He rattled off 135 yards on 16 carries last week and it was his first game without a touchdown since he took over as starter, but not because the Giants suddenly threw for touchdowns – Alfred Morris just stole both of them. Gallman has had a nose for the end zone and is the clear primary back. Start Gallman.

Value Meter:
RB2: Wayne Gallman (high end)
WR3: Sterling Shepard
TE1: Evan Engram (low end)
Bench: Colt McCoy, Darius Slayton, Golden Tate

Prediction: Cardinals 26, Giants 19 ^ Top

Vikings @ Bucs - (Swanson)
Line: TB -6.5
Total: 52.5

Passing Game Thoughts: What do Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson have in common? In addition to being two of the best young quarterbacks in the league and franchise QBs for the next decade, they are the only two quarterbacks who have more fantasy points than Kirk Cousins over the past three weeks.

Cousins has been on fire as of late, with three-straight 300/3 passing performances against the Cowboys, Panthers, and Jags - three of the worst pass defenses in the National Football League.

To the joy of Cousins managers and those looking to start Adam Thielen and Justin Jefferson, the Bucs have given up the most points to opposing quarterbacks during that span. Cousins should be an excellent play this week, and the two wide receivers are must-starts in all formats.

According to, the cornerback/wide receiver matchups of Thielen on Carlton Davis and Jefferson on Sean Murphy-Bunting are two of the most attractive matchups to exploit in Week 14.

Look for the Vikings to take a page out of the Chiefs’ playbook at attack those two young cornerbacks over and over again on Sunday.

The Bucs are the second-best run defense in fantasy this season and the worst pass defense over the past three weeks. It doesn’t take a genius to see how the Vikings and Kirk Cousins will attack Todd Bowles’ defense on Sunday.

Both tight ends for the Vikings, Kyle Rudolph and Irv Smith Jr. were held out of practice on Wednesday with foot and back injuries, respectively. Neither are great options for fantasy, but not having one of them on the field could lead to more receptions and targets for running backs. It appears Rudolph is going to miss after sitting out practice on Thursday.

TB FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.9
TB FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.27
TB FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.6
TB FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.10

Running Game Thoughts: Dalvin Cook is a must-start player regardless of opponent, even when matched up against the Bucs’ No.2 rush defense. Fantasy managers should temper their expectations with regards to rushing yards, but a touchdown in the air or on the ground is not out of the question for a player as talented as Cook.

Alvin Kamara, Christian McCaffrey, and Aaron Jones each reached pay dirt vs. the Bucs despite posting below average yardage totals.

Some injuries to keep an eye on in this matchup are outside linebacker/defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, who was limited in practice on Wednesday with a knee injury. Defensive tackle and stud run-stopper Steve McLendon is listed as questionable as well. If those two players miss the game or are limited, the Bucs will be without their best pass rusher and top run-stopping lineman.

Value Meter:
QB1: Kirk Cousins (Low-End)
RB1: Dalvin Cook (High-End)
WR1: Adam Thielen (High-End)
WR1: Justin Jefferson (Low-End)
TE2: Irv Smith (High-End)

Passing Game Thoughts: Tom Brady has been terrible over the past three weeks. There is no other way to say it, but the six-time Super Bowl champion has looked lost and continues to put up subpar performances despite having the best wide receiving corps in the league.

From a fantasy perspective, Brady has been serviceable as the No.9 QB during that span, primarily due to some garbage points scored against the Chiefs in a game in which Kansas City was clearly the best team on the field.

But a closer examination of Brady’s play reveals an aging QB who does not have the arm strength to throw the ball down the field, an offensive line that protects him up the middle, and a running back he can count on like James White to catch passes out of the backfield.

When under pressure, Brady has struggled. He is down his starting guard in Ali Marpet and starting center in AJ Shipley, and starting left tackle Donovan Smith is questionable. The good news is the Vikings are the ninth-worst team at forcing sacks on the quarterback and are forced to blitz if they want to bring pressure.

After starting the season as one of the worst pass defenses in the league, Mike Zimmer’s defense has been much improved as of late. The Vikings have given up the fifth-fewest points to opposing quarterbacks over the past five weeks, with only one player posting over 20 fantasy points.

Despite these many negatives, this game projects to be a high scoring game, and Brady will likely need to throw the ball over 40 times for the Bucs to come out on top. Look for around 300 passing yards and a couple of touchdowns, but hopefully, for Brady managers, he can break his recent string of multiple interceptions in three of his last four games.

According to, the slot matchup of Chris Godwin against Jeff Gladney is the second-best matchup to exploit in Week 14, behind only Tyreek Hill going against Nick Needham of the Dolphins. Godwin did miss practice on Tuesday to get the pin removed from his injured finger but should be back on the field and play this week.

Rob Gronkowski has been a hit or miss play as of late, with two double-digit performances sandwiched between two games of 2.5 points or less. The matchup against the Vikings is neutral, with Minnesota giving up the 18th-most points to opposing tight ends. If his trend is a strong performance every other week continues, he is due for a solid game. But it may make sense for the Bucs to try and attack the week slot corner of the Vikings with Godwin and Antonio Brown.

MIN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.13
MIN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.18
MIN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.4
MIN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.18

Running Game Thoughts: The Vikings are not the run-stopping force of previous seasons that we all came to expect from Mike Zimmer. Their defensive line has lost multiple key pieces from the past few seasons, but their linebacking group led by Eric Kendricks has been impressive.

The Buccaneer running back room has combined to score the 16th-most points, with Ronald Jones leading the group with 134.1 fantasy points. Jones has been up and down as of late, with two games of over 16 fantasy points mixed in with four games of fewer than ten, including ten carries for 24 yards to weeks ago against the Rams.

The Bucs will want to run the ball for a number of reasons, including to limit the exposure of their beat-up offensive line and Tom Brady to pressure, while also limiting the number of possessions for the red-hot Vikings pass offense.

Look for Jones to get around 20 total touches, assuming this game does not go sideways from a game-script perspective like Tampa Bay’s last two matchups against the Rams and Chiefs.

I’m not sure at this point why anyone would want to start Leonard Fournette in the fantasy playoffs, but he will get around ten touches and could see the end zone.

Value Meter:
QB1: Tom Brady (Low-End)
RB2: Ronald Jones (Low-End)
WR1: Mike Evans (Low-End)
WR1: Chris Godwin (Low-End)
WR3: Antonio Brown (High-End)
TE1: Rob Gronkowski (Low-End)

Prediction: Tampa Bay 28, Minnesota 17 ^ Top

Colts at Raiders - (Caron)
Line: IND -3.0
Total: 51.0

Passing Game Thoughts: A surprisingly big week from T.Y. Hilton really helped boost the Colts passing game in Week 13 as the veteran caught a season-high eight passes on 11 targets, converting them for 110 yards and a touchdown. The end zone trip was his second in as many weeks and we may finally be seeing him become fantasy relevant again here down the stretch. Of course, we’ve seen many more disappointing weeks from Hilton than we have big weeks, but it’s still nice to see him getting back onto the fantasy scoreboard, even if it’s just giving Philip Rivers another option in the passing game.

Speaking of Rivers, he’s now finished with at least 15 fantasy points in six of his past seven games. This week he’ll be against a Raiders defense that ranks in the top 10 matchups for opposing fantasy quarterbacks and they’ve allowed at least two passing touchdowns to five of the past six opposing quarterbacks they’ve faced. With Rivers running as strong as he has been as of late, this is a good matchup and one we should feel pretty confident that he won’t have a dud game in. He’s one of the more reliable high-level QB2s on the board even if he lacks the upside to be considered a true QB1.

The only other pass catcher in this offense that we should have much interest in is rookie Michael Pittman. Pittman has really only been usable in two weeks this season and while he’s still probably the highest upside receiver in this offense, he’s probably not someone we’d be relying on in anything other than deep PPR leagues.

LV FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.10
LV FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.5
LV FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.13
LV FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.20

Running Game Thoughts: The Colts backfield has been a difficult one to understand this season, but we’ve been starting to see more clarity as of late, especially in Week 13, when rookie Jonathan Taylor saw more than 50 percent of the team’s backfield carries while continuing his excellent season in the passing game. While Nyheim Hines and Jordan Wilkins were still involved, there was this feeling as you watched the game that the team is beginning to finally view Taylor as the star running back they drafted him to be.

Week 14 will give us a better understanding of just how confident they are in him, but we don’t want to be a week late on a potential Taylor breakout performance. He and the Colts will be facing a Las Vegas defense that has been awful against opposing running backs this season. This past week it was fill-in Jets running back Ty Johnson who ran the ball 22 times for 104 yards and a touchdown against the Raiders and the previous week it was the duo of Ito Smith and Brian Hill who combined for over 100 rushing yards and a score against this defense. Needless to say, there’s some serious upside in this one for Taylor. If he can remain involved in the passing game then he has the potential to be a strong RB1 this week. We’ll rank him as a low-end RB1 given the relative uncertainty in the Indianapolis backfield, but it’s now or never for Taylor and his fantasy owners.

Nyheim Hines has some appeal in PPR leagues as he’s continued to be heavily utilized in the passing game. He’s caught at least three passes in six of his past seven games and he’s also getting some carries out of the backfield so he could still be a contributor even if Taylor is becoming the primary back.

Value Meter:
QB2: Philip Rivers (high-end)
RB1: Jonathan Taylor (low-end)
WR3: T.Y. Hilton
Flex: Nyheim Hines (PPR only), Michael Pittman Jr. (low-end)
Bench: Jordan Wilkins, Zach Pascal, Trey Burton

Passing Game Thoughts: A truly bizarre finish to the Raiders’ Week 13 game against the Jets helped boost Derek Carr to his best fantasy performance of 2020. He threw for 381 yards and three touchdowns against the Jets while also adding a goal line touchdown as a runner. It was an excellent bounce-back after a truly ugly performance in Week 12.

Now the Raiders will be facing a significantly more difficult matchup against the Colts here in Week 13. Indianapolis has conceded the sixth-fewest fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this season, including giving up just five touchdown passes over their past five games combined.

They’ve been excellent against opposing passing games in general, but the Colts have been particularly strong against opposing tight ends here in 2020. In fact, as of right now, they’ve given up the fewest fantasy points to opposing tight ends this season. Only two tight ends have reached even 50 yards against the Colts and they’ve only given up one total touchdown to the position on the season. Still, tight end Darren Waller has been absolutely red hot and this is a great example of a time where we’re still going to treat a player as an elite option even in a difficult matchup. The tight end position is so depleted and Waller is seeing way too many targets for us to consider benching him even against the league’s best defense at stopping tight ends.

The wide receivers in Las Vegas have a little bit better of a matchup than what Waller is up against, but it’s still not great. More importantly, none of the Raiders receivers have truly set themselves apart from the rest of the pack on any sort of a consistent basis. Hunter Renfrow has probably been the most consistent option, but he isn’t seeing nearly enough volume to be considered a strong fantasy play given his low yards per reception numbers. Rookie Henry Ruggs scored the game-winning touchdown on a bizarre broken play in Week 13, but he’s otherwise failed to find the end zone since Week 5 and he’s only exceeded 50 yards in four games so far this season so he’ll remain a fantasy afterthought. Nelson Agholor might be the team’s best fantasy wide receiver still as his usage has been relatively strong and he’s found the end zone a number of times this season. Still, this offense spreads the ball out too much to its receivers other than Waller, so none of them are players we should be very confident in.

IND FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.27
IND FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.20
IND FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.26
IND FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.30

Running Game Thoughts: With Josh Jacobs looking likely to play this week, Devontae Booker will head back to his change of pace role. Jacobs (ankle) was limited in practice Thursday but is expected to play according to beat writers.

The Colts rank in the top 12 in fewest fantasy points given up to opposing running backs this season. They got absolutely demolished by Derrick Henry in Weeks 10 and 12 when he rushed for 103 yards and 178 yards along with three touchdowns against them, but other than those stumbles they’ve been excellent at stopping running backs. In fact, no other back they’ve faced has reached even 75 rushing yards against them this season.

Value Meter:
QB2: Derek Carr
RB2: Josh Jacobs
TE1: Darren Waller
Flex: Devontae Booker (if Jacobs is out)
Bench: Jalen Richard, Henry Ruggs III, Nelson Agholor, Hunter Renfrow, Bryan Edwards

Prediction: Colts 27, Raiders 24 ^ Top

Jets at Seahawks - (Caron)
Line: SEA -13.5
Total: 47.5

Passing Game Thoughts: Sam Darnold’s first multi-touchdown game of the season came in a surprisingly competitive matchup against the Raiders in Week 13, but the Jets QB has still only exceeded 200 passing yards in two games this season. He’s just not a serious option in really any game - even against bad defenses - but that doesn’t mean that his pass catchers can’t be intriguing.

Wide receiver Jamison Crowder has six double-digit PPR performances in the eight games he’s played this season so he’s been remarkably consistent despite being stuck in a horrible Jets offense. With rookie Denzel Mims having been ruled out for this weekend’s contest, look for Crowder to remain a big part of whatever passing attack the Jets do roll out this week. The Seahawks have given up more fantasy points to opposing wide receivers than any team in the league this season so there may be some sneaky upside for Crowder to finish as a top-20 WR in back-to-back weeks for the first time this season. Unfortunately the other pass catchers in the Jets offense just aren’t worth looking at here in Week 14 even in this excellent matchup.

SEA FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.2
SEA FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.9
SEA FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.1
SEA FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.22

Running Game Thoughts: It’s hard to get too excited about anything in the Jets offense this season, but a concussion suffered by veteran Frank Gore in Week 13 led to Ty Johnson getting some unexpected playing time. Johnson wasn’t in any fantasy lineups, but he’ll likely be in some this week if Gore is not cleared from the concussion protocol.

Seattle is only a middle-of-the-pack fantasy defense against opposing running backs so this is a situation where Johnson could actually deliver some fantasy value. He’s a physically talented player who was productive in college, particularly in the passing game. That skill set should fit in well on a team that is likely to face significant negative game script against the Seahawks. Look for Johnson to be heavily involved as a runner while the Jets remain close, then transition into a pass catcher out of the backfield if and when they fall behind. He’s certainly not a sexy name, but there’s some potential in this one - enough that he can be called a low-end RB2 assuming Gore misses the game.

Value Meter:
RB2: Ty Johnson (low-end, PPR only)
WR3: Jamison Crowder
Bench: Sam Darnold, Breshad Perriman, Braxton Berrios, Ryan Griffin, Chris Herndon, Frank Gore

Passing Game Thoughts: It’s difficult to be too critical of Russell Wilson given the red hot start he had to the 2020 season, but at this point it’s probably time for us to give up on the idea of him being a weekly top five play at the position. While he’s remained consistently decent enough to finish as a borderline QB1, Wilson hasn’t thrown more than two touchdown passes in a game since Week 8 and he’s had just one game of over 270 passing yards during that stretch. This week he faces a Jets defense that is admittedly horrible, but it’s also a game that the Seahawks may end up getting far enough ahead in to keep Wilson from truly reaching his ceiling. The Seahawks have already throttled back their pass attempts in recent weeks so don’t be surprised to see Wilson right around the 30 attempt mark again which should be enough for him to be a QB1, but it probably keeps him from having true high-level QB1 upside.

Thankfully for investors in this Seattle passing game, Wilson’s relatively low volume as of late hasn’t meant much of a change for wide receivers DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett. Those two players are still seeing gigantic target shares and are among the best duos in the league from a fantasy standpoint. While Lockett hasn’t had another truly big game since his monster performance in Week 7 against Arizona, he’s averaged over seven targets per game since and still has to be viewed as a strong WR2. Metcalf, meanwhile, has truly broken out as one of the game’s top young wideouts. He’s reached at least 13 PPR fantasy points in five of his past six games while sprinkling in a few week-winning performances for fantasy owners in there. He’s a mismatch against practically any cornerback but especially this lesser-skilled Jets secondary and should be viewed as a strong WR1.

NYJ FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.3
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.13
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.9
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.1

Running Game Thoughts: Now at least mostly healthy after missing time with a foot injury, Chris Carson is back to being the bell cow back in Seattle and that could mean a pretty heavy workload here in Week 14 against a truly awful Jets team. The Jets haven’t won a game this season and their opposition has had some significant positive game scripts. While they’ve surprisingly only conceded one 100-yard rushing game so far in 2020, a quick look at their schedule will show you why. The Jets have almost exclusively played against teams that have committee backfields and/or situations wherein the normal starter is injured.

Carson may not be fully healthy, but he’s looking good enough that he has to be considered an RB1 for fantasy purposes in what could be a game where he sees 20-plus touches.

Value Meter:
QB1: Russell Wilson
RB1: Chris Carson
WR1: DK Metcalf
WR2: Tyler Lockett (high-end)
Bench: Carlos Hyde, DeeJay Dallas, David Moore, Will Dissly

Prediction: Seahawks 31, Jets 16 ^ Top

Packers @ Lions - (Green)
Line: GB -8.0
Total: 55.0

Passing Game Thoughts: Facing a third straight quality defense, Aaron Rodgers simply went about his business, connecting on 25 of 34 passes for 295 yards and three TDs; the last of which being the 400th of his career. His receivers left some plays on the field as well that could've push Rodgers close to 400 yards and four TDs. Back in Week 2, the veteran passed for just 240 yards and two scores in a 21-point win over Detroit, but he's still a QB1 this Sunday.

Early last month, Davante Adams (10-121-2) was asked if he considered himself to be the top WR in football. He said he did. Who are we to argue? Despite missing two full games and part of another, Adams tops the NFL in touchdown catches (13) and is fourth in receptions (84). His first meeting with Detroit ended after just three catches and 36 yards when he hurt his hamstring so he'll doubtless be looking to atone in Week 14. Robert Tonyan (4-39-1) is probably the No. 2 target on the team and has emerged as a TE1 with his eight TD grabs matching Travis Kelce for most among tight ends.

Allen Lazard (3-50) and Marquez Valdes-Scantling (0-0) each have a little upside, but the consistency is missing. Lazard got injured while having a huge game (6-146-1) in Week 3 and is still working his way back. As for MVS, he had three TD grabs in Weeks 9 and 10 but fumbled in OT against the Colts in Week 11 and hasn't caught a ball since -- that includes dropping an easy 55-yarder last Sunday. Detroit is 26th against the pass amid season-long issues with cornerback play.

DET FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.11
DET FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.1
DET FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.8
DET FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.27

Running Game Thoughts: With the Packers monitoring his workload all season long Aaron Jones (15-130-1) has just two 100-yard games under his belt. One was last week, but the first came against Detroit in Week 2 when he ran for 168 yards and two TDs. Jamaal Williams (5-26) saw his snaps dip a bit last week, which might be a sign that the Packers will feature Jones a little more down the stretch. Detroit has a bad run defense, sitting 28th at 133.9 yards per game, and just allowed three TDs to a Bears team that entered play with two all season. Play Jones as an RB1 and Williams as a flex.

Value Meter:
QB1: Aaron Rodgers
RB1: Aaron Jones
RB3/Flex: Jamaal Williams
WR1: Davante Adams
Flex: Allen Lazard
TE1: Robert Tonyan
Bench: Marquez Valdes-Scantling

Passing Game Thoughts: Following the firing of Matt Patricia, Matthew Stafford came out and played his best game of 2020, passing for 402 yards and three touchdowns in a Week 13 win over the Bears. We'll see if the post-Patricia bounce lasts beyond one week for Stafford, who was 20 of 33 for 244 yards, 2 TDs and a pick-six in a Week 2 loss to the Packers. Let's split the difference and go with Stafford as a low-end QB1 in the rematch.

It certainly appears Kenny Golladay (hip) will miss a sixth straight game this Sunday as he hasn't practiced this week. His absence means Marvin Jones (8-116-1) will continue serving as Detroit's No. 1 receiver. Jones, who looked washed up during the first two months of the season, has enjoyed a renaissance, averaging 68 yards per game in his last seven while scoring five times. He's a borderline WR2/WR3. T.J. Hockenson (7-84) is the steadiest play in Detroit's passing game and has emerged as a solid fantasy TE1.

Green Bay is currently 11th against the pass (224.7 yards per game) and is coming off a stifling performance against the Eagles -- the combination of Carson Wentz and Jalen Hurts completed just 11 of their 27 passes. Darnell Savage has three INTs in the last two games, which is an encouraging development for a secondary that already includes one of the league's better cornerback duos in Jaire Alexander and Kevin King.

GB FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.25
GB FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.3
GB FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.27
GB FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.28

Running Game Thoughts: D'Andre Swift has missed Detroit's last three games, two due to a concussion and one because of a non-COVID illness. He's been a limited participant in practice this week, so it's unclear if he'll be active; and if he is what kind of a workload he can shoulder. Adrian Peterson (16-57-2) would get most of the work if Swift sits or is limited. To be safe, consider Swift an RB3 if he's up with Peterson as a flex; if Swift is down, AD can move to RB3 status. Despite a respectable 14th-place rank (114.6 YPG), run defense is widely considered to be Green Bay's weakness.

Value Meter:
QB1: Matthew Stafford (low-end)
RB3: D'Andre Swift (inj)
Flex: Adrian Peterson
WR2/WR3: Marvin Jones
TE1: T.J. Hockenson
Bench: Kenny Golladay (inj)

Prediction: Packers 38, Lions 27 ^ Top

Falcons at Chargers - (Caron)
Line: ATL -2.5
Total: 49.5

Passing Game Thoughts: With only three touchdown passes and a completion percentage narrowly exceeding 50 percent over his past three games, things have not been so great for Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan as of late. Some of that has been due to them facing an excellent New Orleans defense in two of those three contests, but Ryan has also just not looked quite the same. This week he faces a Chargers defense that has been pretty bad this season against opposing quarterbacks, but a deeper dive will show you that they’ve actually been pretty good against the position as of late. Josh Allen and Cam Newton rushed for three total touchdowns against them over the past two weeks which helped inflate their numbers a bit, but the Chargers haven’t allowed an opposing quarterback to throw for more than 250 yards against them since all the way back in Week 5. The Falcons remain a pass-heavy team so it wouldn’t be surprising to see Ryan break that 250 mark, but the point is that this defense has been playing better than their overall numbers might indicate so don’t be afraid to bench him if you have another good option this week.

Calvin Ridley and Julio Jones, of course, remain weekly must-starts as long as they’re healthy, but Jones has been dealing with a hamstring injury that’s held him out of practice as of Thursday. We’ve seen situations like this happen with Jones in the past and he’s one of the few guys who has a possibility of playing even if he doesn’t practice all week, but it’s still something we need to be aware of. We’ll view him as a low-end WR1 if he does play, otherwise we’re going to see an uptick in ranking for Calvin Ridley to become an even stronger WR1. Receiver Russell Gage may also see an increase in target share should Jones miss the game and Gage has been quietly seeing a heavy target volume as of late anyway. He’s been targeted 25 times over the past three games and is a sneaky WR3 if Jones ends up being ruled out.

Tight end Hayden Hurst remains a borderline TE1 and may also benefit from Jones being out of the lineup, but there’s a good chance that you have someone better rostered by this point in the season.

LAC FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.8
LAC FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.11
LAC FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.30
LAC FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.14

Running Game Thoughts: Todd Gurley returned in Week 13 after a one-game absence but did not immediately reassert himself as the team’s bell cow back. Instead, he split carries with Ito Smith and Brian Hill, creating a truly ugly situation as we head into Week 14’s game against the Chargers.

We have to expect that Gurley will be the team’s primary back, especially near the goal line, but if he’s conceding even 40 percent of the team’s backfield touches to the duo of Smith and Hill then he’s significantly capped from a fantasy standpoint. It’s enough of a concern that he certainly has to be out of the RB1 conversation for the moment and he may not even be an RB2 unless we hear reports that he’s no longer being limited in practice.

Gurley’s value right in Week 14 is as a Flex against a Chargers defense that has allowed just two 100-yard rushers all season and has held opposing backs out of the end zone in each of the past two games.

Value Meter:
QB1: Matt Ryan (low-end)
WR1: Calvin Ridley, Julio Jones (low-end)
WR3: Russell Gage (if Jones is out)
TE1: Hayden Hurst (low-end)
Flex: Todd Gurley, Russell Gage (if Jones plays)
Bench: Brian Hill, Ito Smith

Passing Game Thoughts: The Chargers offense has been crushing all expectations this season, but they ran into a brick wall in the form of the New England Patriots in Week 13. The Patriots defense looked like the 2019 version as they shut out the Chargers, including holding rookie quarterback Justin Herbert out of the end zone for the first time this season.

While we have to be aware that stumbles like this are possible for any quarterback, the overwhelming evidence we’ve seen is that Herbert has excellent potential and he’s someone whom we’ve been able to rely on for most of the fantasy season. That should be the case again here in Week 14 as he faces a terrible Atlanta defense - one that’s given up more fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks than any other defense in the league this season. The Falcons even gave up 232 yards and a pair of touchdowns through the air to Taysom Hill this past week so things should be looking pretty strong for Herbert and the Chargers pass catchers.

Keenan Allen has been excellent this season but it is worth noting that he’s been held to fewer than 50 yards in three of his past four games. Of course, the other game in that stretch was a 16-catch, 145-yard performance, so we shouldn’t be overly concerned about him. He’s also been targeted at least 10 times in all but three games this season, making him one of the highest-floor players in the entire league. Allen is a strong WR1 play this week.

Mike Williams remains boom-or-bust, but this game against the Falcons looks like one that he could potentially “boom” in. If Atlanta is able to keep up on the scoreboard, and they’ve been able to most weeks, then the Chargers should continue to throw the ball heavily which should give Williams more opportunities than he usually gets to beat defenses down the field, particularly in jump ball situations where he is among the best in the league. He’s still a risky play given his potential to deliver a total dud, but he’s someone who you could look to as a low-end WR3 or Flex this week.

Tight end Hunter Henry had been delivering at a decent rate prior to the Chargers’ Week 13 stinker against the Patriots so we’re going to give him another shot to be a TE1 for fantasy this week against the Falcons. Atlanta has given up the sixth-most fantasy points to opposing tight ends this season, including nine total touchdowns to the position, so Henry has some potential to have a strong Week 14.

ATL FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.1
ATL FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.29
ATL FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.3
ATL FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.6

Running Game Thoughts: The only player in the Los Angeles offense who really delivered an acceptable fantasy performance in Week 13’s loss to New England was running back Austin Ekeler. Ekeler’s 36 rushing yards on eight carries were certainly nothing to be excited about, but he caught another four passes after an 11-catch performance in Week 12, so it’s looking increasingly likely that he’s going to remain the team’s bell cow back through the remainder of the season.

Assuming the Chargers don’t completely fall apart again, look for Ekeler to approach 20 touches again here in Week 14 and that has to make him a solid RB1 for fantasy, especially in PPR formats. The Falcons have been mostly quite good against opposing running backs this season, but their down performances have mostly come against multi-dimensional backs like Alvin Kamara, Ezekiel Elliott, Aaron Jones and Mike Davis. Expect a solid day from Ekeler.

Value Meter:
QB1: Justin Herbert
RB1: Austin Ekeler
WR1: Keenan Allen
TE1: Hunter Henry (low-end)
Flex: Mike Williams
Bench: Joshua Kelley, Kalen Ballage, Jalen Guyton

Prediction: Chargers 27, Falcons 24 ^ Top

Saints at Eagles - (Katz)
Line: NO -7.0
Total: 43.5

Passing Game Thoughts: There was some talk that Drew Brees might be able to return this week, but that’s not going to happen. I maintain that the next start Brees makes will most likely be in the postseason. That means another week of Taysom Hill. There should be no concerns from fantasy managers starting Hill. He’s coming off a 232-yard, two touchdown game with 83 rushing yards. He’s rushed for at least 35 yards in six straight games and at least 44 yards in each of his three starts.

Hill has revived some of Michael Thomas’ value as Thomas has gone over 100 yards in two of his last three games. The Eagles defend the slot receiver very well so that should funnel more of the targets to the outside, which is where Thomas lines up.

Emmanuel Sanders and Tre’Quan Smith are the next two options in the passing game, but neither is fantasy viable. Eagles’ opponents target the tight end 22% of the time, but Jared Cook is completely off the fantasy radar, even in a favorable matchup. Cook was targeted five times last week, but in the three games prior, he caught just one total pass. He’s also seen his snap count hover at around 35% for the past month or so.

PHI FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.23
PHI FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.24
PHI FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.15
PHI FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.7

Running Game Thoughts: Alvin Kamara saw a significant uptick in his receiving volume last week. He caught two passes! Yes, that is significant because it’s one more than he caught in Taysom Hill’s first two starts combined. Kamara was efficient on the ground and found the end zone, which is what will need to happen for Kamara to return fantasy value. He’s essentially a souped up Damien Harris. To make matters worse, the Eagles only allow 6.7 fantasy points per game to running backs via receiving and have not allowed a receiving score to a running back all season. Last week was a heavy Kamara game, but I would not be surprised if this week was more Latavius Murray. After consecutive 20 touch games, Murray returned to a pure backup role last week with just five carries and two targets. That type of floor makes him impossible to trust, but just know that I do think what we saw in Hill’s first two starts is more representative of what I think Murray is than what we saw last week.

Value Meter:
QB1: Taysom Hill (low end)
RB2: Alvin Kamara (mid-range)
WR1: Michael Thomas (low end)
Flex: Latavius Murray
Bench: Emmanuel Sanders, Tre’Quan Smith, Jared Cook

Passing Game Thoughts: It’s the dawn of a new era in Philadelphia. Mercifully, and months too late, Carson Wentz finds himself planted firmly on the bench. Unfortunately, the Saints are about as bad of an opening matchup as it gets for rookie Jalen Hurts. The Saints allow just 0.9 fantasy points per game to quarterbacks via the ground. With that being said, Hurts played less than half a game last week and rushed five times for 29 yards. If you’re starting a rookie making his first career start in the first round of your playoff matchup, more power to you. With that being said, Hurts’ rushing ability gives him a reliable floor so even in a bad matchup, I expect him to be fine.

What we really have no way of knowing is how the move to Hurts will impact Dallas Goedert and the rest of the Eagles’ pass catchers. Hurts was spreading the ball around after entering the game. Jalen Reagor is not fantasy viable with just one target last week and Travis Fulgham somehow lost his job to Alshon Jeffery. Greg Ward is nowhere near fantasy relevant. That brings us back to Goedert. With tight end lacking in high end options aside from Travis Kelce, you likely can’t afford to wait and see what Goedert looks like. Start Goedert as usual.

Last week, some people were asking about what happens to Goedert with Zach Ertz back. The answer is nothing. The talent gap between Goedert now and prime Ertz would’ve been a chasm so you can imagine what the talent gap between Goedert and 2020 Ertz looks like. 22% of the receiving yards allowed by the Eagles have gone to tight ends and they allow 13.9 fantasy points per game to the position. It’s Goedert only in this passing attack until we get a better idea of Hurts’ tendencies.

NO FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.30
NO FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.32
NO FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.20
NO FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.23

Running Game Thoughts: It is extremely difficult to trust Miles Sanders right now. Many people touted Sanders early this season based on talent. I was in on him based on projected volume. To be clear, I think Sanders is just your standard replacement level running back. Give him volume and good blocking and he will produce. Give him what the Eagles currently call an offensive line and one of the worst quarterbacks in the league (Wentz, not Hurts), and you get what we’ve seen the past few weeks. Sanders hasn’t scored since Week 5 and is coming off back to back games of paltry rushing production (16-46 combined). Sanders already wasn’t a factor in the passing game and it’s hard to envision that improving with a quarterback prone to taking off rather than checking it down. Sanders’ 56% snap share last week was his second lowest number of the season.

To make matters worse, Jordan Howard is back in the fold and he was more efficient than Sanders last week while playing a respectable 18% of the snaps. The Saints allow just 8.5 fantasy points per game to running backs via rushing, which is best in the league. Their 16.5 fantasy points per game allowed to running backs overall is also best in the league. If you made the playoffs with Sanders, credit to you, but he is not a fantasy starter anymore.

Value Meter:
QB2: Jalen Hurts (viable streamer)
TE1: Dallas Goedert (low end)
Bench: Miles Sanders, Boston Scott, Zach Ertz, Jalen Reagor, Travis Fulgham, Alshon Jeffery, Greg Ward

Prediction: Saints 27, Eagles 16 ^ Top

Football Team at 49ers - (Caron)
Line: SF -3.5
Total: 43.5

Passing Game Thoughts: Alex Smith may have just secured himself the NFL Comeback Player of the Year award with his 296-yard, one touchdown performance in a victory over the previously undefeated Steelers. While a win over Pittsburgh doesn’t give us anything for fantasy football, what it should do is solidify that Smith is indeed the quarterback for the remainder of the 2020 season in Washington and there’s certainly some value in that. Unfortunately, despite Smith’s “big” week, though, he’s still not much of a fantasy quarterback right now. He doesn’t yet have a game with multiple touchdown passes and while he’s avoiding interceptions, he also failed to reach even 200 yards passing in back-to-back weeks prior to the Pittsburgh contest, even though he was up against Cincinnati and Dallas in what should have been smash spots. Smith is a low-end QB2 at best, but his upside is probably not even high enough to rank him there.

While Smith himself isn’t much of a fantasy commodity, he has been doing a decent job of delivering the ball to his top pass catchers. Particularly it’s been second-year wide receiver Terry McLaurin who has benefited most, as he’s averaging 80 yards per game in Smith’s five starts. He’s only scored once over that span, but he’s been a reliable PPR WR2 and someone who we should have confidence starting this week against the 49ers. San Francisco has been horrible at defending opposing top outside receivers as of late, having been exposed for an average of nearly 10 catches for 106 yards to McLaurin’s position over their past four games. McLaurin is in a great spot to succeed this week and should be viewed as a high-end WR2 if not a low-end WR1.

The other pass catcher in Washington who we need to be aware of is tight end Logan Thomas. Thomas was an offseason darling who started off slow and was dropped in most leagues, but he’s making a late-season push to finish as a top-12 fantasy TE this season. Smith is well known for targeting the tight end throughout his career so it should come as no surprise that Thomas has seen his opportunities increasing with Smith behind center. He’s now scored in back-to-back games and his nine catch, 98-yard performance in Week 13 should be an indication that he’s the de facto No. 2 option in this passing game and one who can be started at a weak tight end position.

SF FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.16
SF FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.28
SF FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.14
SF FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.32

Running Game Thoughts: Rookie running back Antonio Gibson appears unlikely to play in this week’s contest so the Washington backfield is one we’ll need to keep an eye on. The player who stands to gain the most from Gibson’s absence would likely be backup Peyton Barber who saw 14 carries and scored a touchdown in relief of Gibson when he was knocked out in Week 13. Barber’s lack of usage in the passing game really limits his upside but he’s a grind-it-out player who will almost certainly see double digit touches if Gibson does end up missing the game and that’s enough that we need to at least value him as a RB2 this week. He is, however, facing a 49ers defense that has remained stout against the run this season despite the fact that they’ve faced some pretty ugly negative game script situations.

While Barber will likely see the biggest increase in work this week if Gibson is out, it might actually be J.D. McKissic who ends up leading this backfield in fantasy points, particularly in PPR formats. McKissic was quite active catching passes out of the backfield even prior to Smith taking over as QB, but since that point he’s been on fire. McKissic has caught 31 passes in Smith’s five starts, including a whopping 10 catches for 70 yards this past week in the game that Gibson left early. Look for Gibson to be heavily utilized out of the backfield once again this week and he’s someone who could find himself as high up as a low-end RB2 this week in PPR leagues.

Value Meter:
RB2: J.D. McKissic (if Gibson is out, PPR only), Antonio Gibson
WR2: Terry McLaurin (high-end)
TE1: Logan Thomas
Flex: Peyton Barber (if Gibson is out, non-PPR only)
Bench: Alex Smith, Cam Sims, Steven Sims

Passing Game Thoughts: The 49ers remain hopeful that Jimmy Garoppolo will make his return at some point this season, but it won’t be this week as the team will again turn to Nick Mullens to lead them in what is an extremely important conference game with playoff implications for San Francisco. While he’s certainly not an exciting name and can’t be looked at as a starter even in two-QB formats, Mullens has actually been quietly getting the ball to his top targets despite injuries across the offense.

Rookie Brandon Aiyuk’s past few games - three of which had Mullens behind center - have been absolutely tremendous from a fantasy standpoint. He’s averaging 10 targets per game over that stretch, which he’s converting at a pace of 6.5 receptions for 94 yard and he’s scored three times. That kind of pace is extremely difficult for practically any player to keep up so we should expect some sort of regression, but it goes to show that the 49ers are utilizing him as their alpha WR1 despite his relative inexperience.

The other top pass catcher in San Francisco has been Deebo Samuel, who himself has looked electric since returning from injury in Week 12. Samuel is getting absolutely peppered with targets near the line of scrimmage which typically doesn’t lead to much from a fantasy standpoint but he might very well be the best YAC receiver in the NFL right now. The vision, the moves he makes and the strength he displays when avoiding defenders after the catch is incredible and it’s something that the 49ers have relied heavily upon since he’s returned because getting him the ball quickly after the snap is a low risk, high opportunity play. Look for more of that this week, provided that he’s able to get onto the field. He’s currently dealing with a foot injury that has kept him out of practice, although the team sounds optimistic that he’ll be able to suit up.

While Samuel and Aiyuk have been excellent as of late, they do face a tough matchup this week against a Washington defense that has been equally as good at shutting down opposing wide receivers, having given up the second-fewest fantasy points per game to the position over the course of the season thus far. The Washington Football Team matchup is a tough one so we do need to bump these pass catchers down a bit, but Samuel and Aiyuk are good enough to still be in fantasy lineups here in Week 14.

WAS FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.22
WAS FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.30
WAS FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.29
WAS FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.13

Running Game Thoughts: Raheem Mostert has been back from injury for two weeks and now we’re starting to realize that he might no longer be a bell cow back. Whether it’s because he’s just not fully healthy or if the 49ers are simply worried that he might get hurt again, Mostert has been conceding backfield touches to Jeff Wilson. Mostert has carried the ball 25 times over the past two weeks, whereas Wilson has 19 over the same stretch. While Mostert is clearly the more explosive, higher upside option in this backfield, giving up roughly 40 percent of his team’s backfield opportunities is startling from a fantasy standpoint.

This week the 49ers backs will be facing a Washington defense that has been rock solid against opposing running backs so far this season. Only one back - Nick Chubb back in Week 3 - has reached the 100-yard mark on the ground against Washington and they’ve only conceded five total running back rushing scores on the season.

While Mostert is a player who’s capable of delivering a huge splash play even on minimal touches, it’s going to be tough to trust him in this difficult matchup especially when he’s splitting carries. We’ll still rank him as a Flex this week but he’s going to remain a low upside, low floor player until he fully reestablishes himself as the unquestioned top back in San Francisco.

Value Meter:
WR2: Brandon Aiyuk
Flex: Raheem Mostert, Deebo Samuel
Bench: Nick Mullens, Jeff Wilson, Jerick McKinnon, Kendrick Bourne, Trent Taylor, Jordan Reed

Prediction: Football Team 24, 49ers 20 ^ Top

Steelers at Bills - (Katz)
Line: BUF -2.0
Total: 47.5

Passing Game Thoughts: We have a perfect confluence of narratives for this game. The Bills are off a big road win while the Steelers are off a bad home loss. Expect Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers to bounce back in a big way here. The Bills allow 19.1 fantasy points per game to quarterbacks and Roethlisberger has really been chucking it over the past month with no fewer than 46 attempts in his last four games. His primary target is the best receiver on the team, Diontae Johnson. Except for a fluke dud against the Ravens, Johnson has double digit targets in every game he hasn’t left due to injury. He definitely has a drops issue and will need to fix that long term, but it has had exactly zero impact on Roethlisberger’s desire to throw to him.

Chase Claypool might have the most raw talent, but he’s only about a 60% snap player and needs a touchdown to produce. JuJu Smith-Schuster is not a true X receiver. He did see 10 targets last week, but managed just 28 yards on seven receptions. He has yet to post a 100-yard receiving game.

James Washington had a long touchdown last week, but he’s playing fewer than 50% of the snaps and is barely targeted. A sneaky play this week is Eric Ebron. 25% of the receiving yards allowed by the Bills go to the tight end position and Ebron has been a favorite of Roethlisberger recently with 11 targets in each of his past two games. This has the makings of a high scoring affair and given the Steelers’ inability to run the ball, there’s a lot of volume to go around.

BUF FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.6
BUF FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.12
BUF FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.24
BUF FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.4

Running Game Thoughts: James Conner was activated from the covid list and will return this week. Benny Snell rushed for five yards on eight carries last week. There’s just nothing appealing about starting Snell. With Conner back, he’s probably worth a start as neither Snell nor Anthony McFarland did anything to warrant eating into Conner’s workload. The Bills have allowed 16 rushing touchdowns this season and we know the Steelers will be able to move the ball so there scoring upside is there. They have been a bit pass heavy at the goal line recently on account of the running game simply not working. Conner would help that, but not by much. This remains a passing offense.

Value Meter:
QB1: Ben Roethlisberger (mid-range)
RB2: James Conner (low end)
WR1: Diontae Johnson (low end)
WR3: Chase Claypool
WR3: JuJu Smith-Schuster
TE1: Eric Ebron (mid-range)
Bench: Benny Snell, James Washington

Passing Game Thoughts: Josh Allen opened the season with six straight multi-touchdown games. He followed that up with just a single touchdown over his next two games. In his last four games, he’s back to his multi-touchdown ways. Last week, Allen threw for 375 yards and four touchdowns. The Steelers allow just 199 passing yards per game and 1.4 passing touchdowns per game. They are the second best defense against fantasy quarterbacks. This is a bad matchup for Allen, but he has the tools to overcome it, particularly via his rushing ability.

Despite the bad matchup, Stefon Diggs remains a must start due to his immense talent and volume. Diggs is averaging 10 targets per game and has at least 92 receiving yards in four of his last five games. With John Brown on IR, Cole Beasley has stepped up big time. Beasley has been a WR1 in two of his last three games. No team sees opponents target the slot more than the Steelers. With Dawson Knox not really a threat from the tight end position and the Steelers allowing 71% of their receiving yards against them to go to wide receivers, Allen’s targets should be largely consolidated between Diggs and Beasley. The volume can overcome the bad matchup. Gabriel Davis also found the end zone last week and he’s been an every down player without Brown. This is not the matchup to take a stab at him though.

PIT FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.31
PIT FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.31
PIT FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.21
PIT FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.31

Running Game Thoughts: Just forget about the Bills running game. The Steelers are a stout defense, allowing just seven rushing touchdowns all season. On top of that, after it looked like Zack Moss was taking over this backfield, he fumbled last week, which led to Devin Singletary playing 85% of the snaps. Could Moss get another chance this week? Of course. He probably will. He’s also not very good. The Bills are a pass first offense with a running quarterback and an uncertain backfield split. You can’t trust either Singletary or Moss in a playoff matchup.

Value Meter:
QB1: Josh Allen (mid-range)
WR1: Stefon Diggs (low end)
WR3: Cole Beasley
Bench: Devin Singletary, Zack Moss, Gabriel Davis, Dawson Knox

Prediction: Steelers 30, Bills 24 ^ Top

Ravens @ Browns - (Green)
Line: BAL -2.0
Total: 47.0

Passing Game Thoughts: For at least one evening, the Ravens were able to turn back the clock to 2019. Baltimore ran around and through the Cowboys, leaving a returning Lamar Jackson to complete just 12 of 17 passes for 107 yards, 2 TDs and an INT. The reigning MVP added 94 yards on 13 rushing attempts and got the scoring started with a 37-yard touchdown run that set the tone. Ironically, Jackson's best game as a passer probably came in Week 1 against the Browns when he threw for 275 yards and three touchdowns in a 38-6 win. He's a midrange QB1 this week.

Marquise Brown (5-39-1) was targeted on nearly half of Jackson's throws, and he has now caught a touchdown pass in back-to-back games for the first time in his career. His best game of the season in terms of yards came against Cleveland as he caught five passes for 101 yards. Mark Andrews also did work, posting a 5-58-2 line back in Week 1 versus the Browns. He missed the last two games on the COVID list but was activated this week and is playable as a TE1 on Sunday. As for Brown, he has fringe flex appeal.

Don't give much credence to the 389 yards and three TDs that Cleveland gave up last Sunday against the Titans as Tennessee trailed by 31 at halftime and did most of their work in 30 minutes of glorified garbage time. For the year, the Browns sit 23rd against the pass and are tied for 12th in sacks.

CLE FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.7
CLE FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.22
CLE FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.7
CLE FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.5

Running Game Thoughts: With all of their top backs available it was surprising to see both J.K. Dobbins (11-71-1) and Gus Edwards (7-101-0) work ahead of Mark Ingram (6-28). It's pretty obvious that Dobbins is the team's most talented back, and the 21-year-old should be plenty fresh down the stretch. He ran for two TDs against the Browns in Week 1 and is a borderline RB2/RB3. After that it's a coin flip, though we'll take Edwards as a flex and keep Ingram on the pine. Cleveland is eighth (104.3 YPG) against the run and did yeoman's work is limiting Derrick Henry last weekend.

Value Meter:
QB1: Lamar Jackson
RB2/RB3: J.K. Dobbins
Flex: Gus Edwards
TE1: Mark Andrews
Bench: Mark Ingram, Marquise Brown

Passing Game Thoughts: In his four games leading up to last Sunday, Baker Mayfield had passed for 716 yards and two touchdowns... combined. With everyone anticipating a battle of running attacks with Tennessee, Kevin Stefanski went against the grain and put his trust in the former No. 1 pick. It paid off. Mayfield established season highs in completions (25) and yards (334) while tossing four first-half touchdowns. Whether he can build on that momentum -- or if he'll even be asked to -- is debatable; that should keep Mayfield on your bench.

While Rashard Higgins (6-95-1) and Donovan Peoples-Jones (2-92-1) had big games last Sunday, Jarvis Landry (8-62-1) remains the only playable option among the Browns' receivers. He's coming off a pair of good games and was decent in Week 1 against the Ravens with 61 yards on five grabs. Austin Hooper (2-24-0) continues to underwhelm, however, and has just eight receptions in four games since returning to the field after an emergency appendectomy back in October. Start Landry as a WR3, forget the rest.

Baltimore largely neutralized Cleveland's passing attack back in Week 1, holding the Browns to 189 yards despite protecting a big lead for most of the second half. Their cornerback depth could be compromised with Jimmy Smith (groin) and Tramon Williams (thigh) banged up, but they still have Marcus Peters and Marlon Humphrey to line up against a mostly unproven receiving corps.

BAL FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.24
BAL FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.23
BAL FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.23
BAL FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.15

Running Game Thoughts: With the passing game humming along, Nick Chubb (18-80-1) and Kareem Hunt (14-33) had middling performances in Tennessee. It's a continuation of a downward trend for Hunt, who has averaged just 2.9 yards per carry on 37 rushes in the last three games. Deploy him as an RB3. Chubb has been a beast since returning, averaging 131 total yards per game over the last four. He's a solid RB1 in Week 14 versus a Ravens D that allowed 4.3 yards per carry to Ezekiel Elliott behind a patchwork offensive line Tuesday night.

Value Meter:
RB1: Nick Chubb
RB3: Kareem Hunt
WR3: Jarvis Landry
Bench: Baker Mayfield, Rashard Higgins, Austin Hooper

Prediction: Ravens 27, Browns 23 ^ Top