For most, Week 14 was the first week in the fantasy playoffs, and
it brought some difficult lineup decisions. The choice on Miles Sanders was a struggle as he’s been used in such a poor and
limited fashion. He finally got it going against a good defense
and with a rookie quarterback in the game. He went off on many benches,
mine included. In case you are new around here, this game is tough.
This season continues to be perhaps the most difficult ever,
due to injuries and the Covid-19 fallout. If you are still in
your playoffs, with a chance to win the championship, congratulations.
You should wear that as a badge of honor. In order to try to help
you grab some trophies, we will take a look at snap and usage
data from Week 14, seeing what we can learn for the final two
The awful running back situation in New England continues.
Damien Harris was effective (11-50), but only played on 37%
of the snaps. Sony Michel played on 25% and took 7 carries,
and James White played on 46% but only got 4 touches. You simply
cannot play any of them in the last few weeks.
Cam Akers went off in Week 14, running away with the starting
job. He received a whopping 29 carries and 3 targets, and totaled
194 yards from scrimmage. It is Sean McVay so I cannot say for
certain if Akers will remain the workhorse, but it seems likely.
I will be starting him in the leagues where I have him.
With Christian McCaffrey out again, Mike Davis went 11-51-2
on the ground and also 5-42 through the air. For those who were
counting on getting McCaffrey back for the playoffs, this was
especially painful. It sounds like Davis will start again in
Week 15, and possibly the rest of the way.
David Montgomery continues to produce as the centerpiece
of the Bears offense (11-113-1 and 3-42 on Sunday). He has another
good spot in Week 15 against the Vikings, and I will continue
to ride him where I have him. He is getting consistent targets
in the pass game and has been effective running the ball of
Ezekiel Elliott played on 32 snaps and Pollard played on
19 snaps, but Elliott received only 1 more touch than Pollard.
They are essentially splitting touches, making neither a good
play the rest of the season.
James Robinson saw a concerning dip in usage on Sunday. He
played on only 56% of snaps, where he had been up around 90%
for most of the season. Dare Ogunbowale played on 31% and Devine Ozigbo played on 8%. He still received all but 5 touches among
the running backs, but this is a concerning development if you
have Robinson. Carefully consider your options for Week 15,
especially since the Jags play the Ravens.
Now that the dust has settled, Clyde Edwards-Helaire firmly
holds the starting job for the Chiefs. Le’Veon Bell is
purely a backup and occasional change-of-pace option. On Sunday
CEH played on 74% of snaps while Bell played on 18%, and CEH
out-touched Bell 21-4. Edwards-Helaire is difficult to trust
since he is not getting touches near the goal line and the Chiefs
have not been effective running the ball.
Lynn Bowden Jr., who was drafted by the Raiders, finally
saw significant action for the Dolphins on Sunday, playing 71%
of snaps. (He was traded to the Dolphins mid-season). He got
only 1 carry, but he received 9 targets, catching 7 for 82 yards.
If you are desperate for a running back, he is someone to consider
picking up, especially since it sounds like DeVante Parker,
Jakeem Grant and Mike Gesicki are all dealing with injuries.
Kenyan Drake played on 56% of snaps and Chase Edmonds played
on 51% of snaps. Drake got 23 carries to Edmonds’ 7, but
Edmonds received 5 targets while Drake only got 1. This split
diminishes the value of both backs, and I will avoid them both
if possible for the final weeks. If you need them, both can
be started, with Drake the slightly better play due to the higher
number of touches.
Ronald Jones injured his finger during the Week 14 game,
but played through it and finished with 18-80-1. Leonard Fournette
was a healthy scratch, perhaps meaning he has also worn out
his welcome in Tampa. The Bucs get the Falcons in Week 15, so
if Jones can play 67% of the snaps again, he could be one of
the top plays of the week.
Jonathan Taylor finally seems to have broken out. On 56%
of snaps he ran for 150 yards and two scores, on only 20 carries.
Nyheim Hines still got 11 touches and played on 36% of snaps,
but this finally feels like Taylor’s backfield. I would
play him with confidence against the Texans in Week 15.
Josh Jacobs did play in Week 14, and went 13-49 on the ground
against a good Colts defense. He also caught three passes for
25 yards. It’s been a hard stretch for Jacobs, but he
does get the struggling Chargers in Week 15. The only issue
is that he is not receiving enough snaps (only 43% on Sunday).
That should increase in Week 15, with another week to heal up.
Aaron Jones played on 70% of snaps on Sunday, and Jamaal Williams on 30%. This split is widening from the 55/45 we saw
in the first half of the season, but still Jones is not getting
any opportunities in the red zone. Perhaps Aaron Rodgers’
desire to win the league’s MVP award has played a factor.
The Packers get another golden opportunity against the Panthers
in Week 15, so Jones should have a chance to put up big numbers
D’Andre Swift returned and played on 53% of snaps.
He led the team in rushes and also received 5 targets, and he
looked healthy. He gets the Titans in Week 15, but his upside
will be capped with Stafford likely to sit.
Todd Gurley is done. He received only 6 carries and went
for 19 yards, while Ito Smith went 11-42. Gurley’s heart
appears to be in it, but it seems his body has declined. Avoid
him going forward.
Austin Ekeler played on 60% of snaps and made them count.
He went 15-79 on the ground, so over 5 yards per carry, and
then caught all 9 of his targets for 67 yards. He is a must-play
against the Raiders in Week 15.
Alvin Kamara was again involved in the passing game on Sunday,
even with Taysom Hill. He received 10 targets and went 7-44,
and also went 11-50-1 on the ground. He should remain very involved
in Week 15 against the Chiefs, no matter who starts at quarterback.
Miles Sanders played on 81% of snaps and received 18 touches
on Sunday, a week after playing on 56% of snaps and receiving
10 touches. Did the coaching staff finally figure out he is
a superior player to Boston Scott? It is hard to know. It’s
a frustrating team in every sense, but with this new-look offense,
he might be a good play against the Cardinals in Week 15.
Raheem Mostert (ankle) split snaps evenly with Jeff Wilson
(40 to 39). Mostert, predictably, was far more effective, but
Wilson received the goal line carry and scored. This is infuriating
for those who drafted Mostert, and is yet another example of
a coach who hands out touches seemingly without a solid reason
James Conner seems to have fallen out of favor with the coaching
staff. He played on only 40% of snaps and went 10-18 on the
ground. He should not be started in these final weeks unless
you are completely desperate.
In a reversal from last week, Zack Moss played more than
Devin Singletary in Week 14. He played on 59% of snaps, while Singletary
played on 40%. He also received 13 carries, compared to 7 for
Singletary. It is impossible to know who will lead the way each
week, meaning both players should be avoided.
With Mark Ingram seemingly phased out of the offense, J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards split the rushing work. Dobbins played
on 62% of snaps and Edwards played on 27%, with Dobbins getting
13 carries and Edwards 7. Both were effective. If Ingram stays
on the sideline, both players can be used in your flex, although
you must remember they can get you very little in any given
game given Lamar Jackson’s rushing ability.
Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt basically split snaps (53% and
47%), but Chubb got more work in the rushing game (as he should).
He finished with 17-82-2, and Hunt went 6-33-1, but Hunt also
led the team in receiving with 6 catches for 77 yards and a
score. Chubb remains the superior weekly play because his weekly
role is more secure, but Hunt remains a good option most weeks.
Robby Anderson received 12 targets on Sunday, going 8-84.
Curtis Samuel received 9 (7-68). Bot should be a bit less involved
if D.J. Moore returns against the Packers, but all three will
be decent options.
On 80% of snaps, Chad Hansen had his second decent game in
a row catching all 7 of his targets for 56 yards. You’d
have to be desperate to pick him up, but he is at least playing
and getting targets. Keep in mind that Brandin Cooks may return
to the lineup this week, which would limit the upside of Hansen.
A.J. Brown played on only 56% of snaps, as he dealt with
continuing challenges with his ankle. But he received 9 targets,
triple of anyone else on the team. He caught 7 for 112 and a
score. Although he is still a young player and will have ups
and downs, his ability to go off in any game means he always
needs to be in your lineup.
Keelan Cole received 12 targets on Sunday, playing on 86%
of snaps. He finished with 7-67 and a score. Meanwhile, D.J. Chark played on 90% of snaps and received 9 targets, but only
caught 2 for 16 yards. Laviska Shenault, their third receiver,
played on 75% and went 6-49 on 11 targets. It is not clear why
Chark is struggling, but he is. I would avoid all of these players
down the stretch, and hope they all take steps next season if
you have them in dynasty.
The Bucs played some excellent defense against Justin Jefferson
and Adam Thielen on Sunday, limiting them to a combined 7 receptions
on 12 targets, for 78 total yards. The Vikings offense should
have a bit easier time in Week 15 against the Bears, but that
is also not an easy matchup.
T.Y. Hilton continued his late-season surge, going 5-86-2
on 7 targets. He seems to have finally clicked with Philip Rivers,
and the whole Colts offense is cooking right now. He has always
been a boom or bust play, so I am thinking of him like the same
old T.Y. Hilton. If he is my best option for the final weeks,
I’ll play him.
Nelson Agholor is the No.1 wide receiver on the Raiders,
well ahead of Henry Ruggs. It is Waller and then Agholor in
target share, and again on Sunday Agholor received 9 targets,
going 5-100-1. He could be a good / sneaky play in Week 15 against
Tyron Johnson took over for Mike Williams after he left with
a back injury. He played on 74% of snaps and went 6-55-1 on
7 targets. Guyton played on more snaps but caught only 1 ball
for 8 yards. Johnson could be a desperation pick up for Week
15 against the Raiders, if Williams is out.
Michael Thomas caught all 8 targets for 84 yards on Sunday,
on 90% of the snaps. He has remains the No.1 receiver for the
Saints when healthy, but the big plays and huge scoring weeks
have not been there this season.
Brandon Aiyuk received 16 targets on Sunday, becoming a target
hog after Deebo Samuel went down with an injury. He finished
with 10 receptions for 119 yards. If he gets a good quarterback
in there next season, the sky is the limit for this guy. He
gets an excellent matchup in Week 15 against the Cowboys, especially
since Deebo could be done for the season with another hamstring
Diontae Johnson was benched for about half the game after
he dropped a couple of passes in the first quarter. He returned,
but only finished with 4 receptions for 40 yards, on 7 targets.
Meanwhile, JuJu Smith-Schuster played every snap and also had
7 targets, but went 6-55-1. Johnson has been struggling of late,
but it is clear he is the more dynamic player and should continue
to get opportunities during the Steelers push for one of the
Gabriel Davis received 8 targets (3-19-1) and Cole Beasley
received 10 targets (5-41) on Sunday night. They both played
over 80% of snaps. While Stefon Diggs is leading the way for
the Bills, both Davis and Beasley are involved and are worth
a look in your flex if needed. Keep in mind that John Brown
could return this week if they choose to activate him.
Rashard Higgins stayed involved in the passing game on Monday
night, and has taken a step forward with Beckham out for the
year. He received 10 targets and went 6-68-1. He is a risky
start for the final weeks since Cleveland prefers to run instead
of pass, but if you are desperate, you could do worse.
Tyler Higbee played on 87% of snaps. Although he only received
2 targets (going 2-34), his snaps are trending up and he is
playable if you need a tight end in the next two weeks - he
gets the Jets and the Seahawks next.
Noah Fant played 5 snaps on Sunday, crushing so many fantasy
owners who were depending on him. This was the dreaded “active
but no targets” game. The other tight ends went 8-73-1
in his absence, so presumably he would have had a nice day.
He’s not a good play in Week 15 against Buffalo.
This is more for next season, but Cole Kmet continues to
show growth. He received 7 targets on Sunday and played on 85%
of snaps. Jimmy Graham caught a touchdown but only received
4 targets, and I anticipate he will be gone next season. Kmet
has some nice dynasty upside.
Irv Smith and Tyler Conklin both had nice days for the Vikings
with Kyle Rudolph out. Smith went 4-63-1 and Conklin went 5-40.
However, it is almost impossible to trust any tight end in this
Vikings offense that wants to feed Dalvin Cook and the top receivers.
I would avoid them unless totally desperate.
T.J. Hockenson continues to be a favorite target of Matthew
Stafford (11 targets on Sunday), but with Stafford potentially
done for the season with a rib injury, you may want to look
elsewhere for the important final weeks. Chase Daniel is simply
not a good quarterback, and I don’t trust him to get any
of those receivers the ball consistently.
Even with Zach Ertz back for the last two weeks, Dallas Goedert
has remained the top tight end for the Eagles. They both played
a lot of snaps on Sunday – Goedert played on 86% of snaps
and Ertz on 72%. But Goedert received 6 targets and Ertz only
3. Goedert received the most targets on the team from Hurts,
so it seems likely he is at least a decent play the rest of
Logan Thomas again played almost every snap, and again he
led the team in targets and receptions. He is a must-start player
due to his involvement in the offense.
Mark Andrews played on 67% of snaps and got a team-high 6
targets (5-78). Play him if you have him.
Kevin Scott is a fantasy pro who is the co-host for The Lowdown
Fantasy Football Podcast. He plays in over 40 leagues annually and
has made over $100,000 playing fantasy football. You can follow