Fantasy Football Rankings: Week 14 Matchups to Consider
The fantasy football playoffs are nearly here! The last week of the fantasy regular season is a chance to either punch your ticket to the playoffs or improve your seeding to make that run to a #FootClanTitle! The Ballers’ Week 14 rankings are out and I’m here to filter through and take a closer look at matchups from each position before setting your lineup.
Trevor Lawrence (JAX) vs Tennessee
Don’t look now, but Trevor Lawrence is the QB9 on the season. After one of the most disappointing rookie QB campaigns in recent memory, Lawrence has put a steady stream of solid QB play together that has turned into fantasy relevance. Since Week 6, Lawrence has finished inside the top-12 QBs in 71% of his games played and scored over 20 fantasy points three different times.
Lawrence wasn’t able to take advantage of a juicy matchup in Week 13, but the Titans present another chance for a big fantasy output. Tennessee allows the second-most passing yards per game in the league and has given up the fourth-most passing TDs. While the Titans give it up often enough through the air, they’ve only allowed two top-12 QB finishes since Week 7.
Fantasy managers should monitor Lawrence’s injury he picked up in the Jaguars game in Detroit, but he should be a solid QB play this week if healthy.
Kurt would play Lawrence over: Dak Prescott (QB8)
Kyler Murray (ARI) vs New England
While it doesn’t feel like it because the Cardinals haven’t been as great of a team in 2022, Kyler Murray has been as steady as any fantasy QB on the season. Murray has only finished outside the top 12 twice this year and is still the QB10 overall, despite missing two games. Of course, Murray’s rushing ability has provided such a good baseline for his fantasy output, averaging 41 yards per game.
Taking on New England poses a decent threat to Murray’s top-12 finish streak. The Patriots have been strong against opposing fantasy QBs for most of the season, only allowing four top-12 finishes on the year. However, New England has allowed top-5 QB finishes twice, and both times it came against QBs with the ability to run like Murray (Lamar Jackson in Week 3, Justin Fields in Week 7). If Murray is going to be productive this week, he’ll have to lean on his legs for a big fantasy output again.
Kurt would play Murray over: Kirk Cousins (QB10)
James Cook (BUF) vs NY Jets
Perhaps the James Cook takeover of the Buffalo backfield has finally started. The Bills spent a 2nd round draft pick on Cook in the 2022 draft, but Week 13 was the first time that the rookie saw more than 30% of snaps in a game. As Marvin Elequin points out in this week’s dynasty report, Cook saw the highest usage of any fantasy rookie last week, so fantasy managers are going to hope that’s a trend they’ll see continue down the stretch of the season.
The Jets’ defense has been as strong as any in the league after a terrible start to the year. If there’s one spot that New York’s defense has been willing to give consistent fantasy production, it’s been the RB spot. Over the last five weeks, the Jets have allowed a top-24 RB finish four times. The only time they didn’t give up a top-24 finish, Devin Singletary finished as the RB25.
Cook may be a risky play with playoff spots on the line, but at this point in the season, that’s the type of play that can make the difference in your fantasy finish.
Kurt would play Cook over: D’Onta Foreman (RB21)
Jeff Wilson Jr. (MIA) at LA Chargers
After arriving in Miami, Jeff Wilson Jr. exploded with consecutive top-10 finishes in his debut. Since then, Wilson hasn’t had the production to be a top-24 back, and only managed a total of three yards in Week 13. Luckily for Wilson, fellow RB Raheem Mostert didn’t do much better but did see seven carries compared to Wilson’s one.
If there’s a need to fix your running game, taking on the Chargers isn’t a bad opportunity to do so. LA’s defense is the third-best matchup for RBs adjusted for their schedule and is allowing the 4th most rushing yards per game. In their last six games, the Chargers have allowed a top-24 RB and five top-12 finishes.
Wilson should be a strong RB2 option with RB1 upside for fantasy managers in Week 14.
Kurt would play Wilson Jr. over: James Conner (RB16)
D’Andre Swift (DET) vs Minnesota
A few weeks ago I cautioned fantasy managers on trusting D’Andre Swift down the stretch of the season until further notice. Well, this is the notice. In Week 13, Swift saw more than 50% of snaps for just the second time after returning from injury in Week 8. His carries were the second-highest of the year and his 41 receiving yards set a season high. If Swift can continue to be involved in the Lions’ offense at this rate, he could be a huge boost down the stretch for fantasy managers.
The Vikings’ defense should be a great chance to see the Swift we all expected to start the season. In their last three games, Minnesota has given up four top-15 RB finishes. Any worries of there only being enough room for one effective fantasy RB this week should be dampened, as the Vikings gave up RB1 and RB8 finishes to the Cowboys in Week 11. Even with Jamaal Williams getting plenty of work still, Swift should be a great play this week.
Kurt would play Swift over: Miles Sanders (RB12)
Mike Evans (TB) at San Francisco
Mike Evans’ streak of 1,000 receiving-yard seasons may be in real jeopardy with just five games remaining. Over the last four games, Evans has averaged a WR49 fantasy finish and just 46 yards per game. While the Tampa Bay offense hasn’t been great, other players in that offense continue to emerge as more consistent options for fantasy managers.
Meeting the tough 49ers’ defense isn’t the best way to get back on track for Evans. San Francisco has only given up a combined 27 points over the last three weeks, a total that the Bucs’ offense hasn’t hit but once in a game all season. That said, if the 49ers are going to give up fantasy production, it’s going to be at the WR spot. In the last three games, San Francisco has allowed three top-20 WR finishes.
Fantasy managers might have to hope Evans scores his first TD since Week 4 to be happy putting him in their lineups.
Kurt would prefer to play: Joshua Palmer (WR27)
Jerry Jeudy (DEN) vs Kansas City
I’m not huge on condoning playing receivers in Denver this season, but Jerry Jeudy may have the opportunity to make a big difference down the stretch. Jeudy has finished as a top-20 WR just four times this season but has hit 60 or more yards in three of his last four games played. With injury looking to keep Courtland Sutton out this week, Jeudy may be the best receiving option for the Broncos.
Kansas City has scored 20 points in all but one game this year, a mark that the Broncos have only hit twice themselves. If Denver falls behind early, there should be plenty of passing work against the Chiefs’ defense which ranks as the tenth-best matchup for fantasy WRs based on their schedule played.
Fantasy managers searching for a high-upside play should consider Jeudy a FLEX option for Week 14 assuming he’s healthy to go.
Kurt would play Jeudy over: Diontae Johnson (WR32)
Nico Collins (HOU) at Dallas
While he’s on a passing offense that is extremely forgettable, Nico Collins is quietly emerging as a FLEX option for fantasy purposes. Since Week 10, Collins has averaged nine targets and nearly five receptions per game. Collins has also been a target in the red zone for Houston, seeing the ball thrown his way seven times in that same stretch.
Getting a tough Dallas secondary in Week 14 isn’t ideal for Collins, but the Cowboys are capable of giving up good fantasy weeks. Over their last four games, Dallas has given up a top-30 WR in three of those weeks. Collins stands a chance to see plenty of volume as the main receiving option, especially if fellow WR Brandin Cooks doesn’t take the field again.
Kurt would play Collins over: Darius Slayton (WR35)
Hunter Henry (NE) at Arizona[ffb_table]
Hunter Henry has been a far cry from the overall TE9 that we saw in 2021 for the Patriots, finishing outside of the top 30 TEs eight different times this season. What’s encouraging for Henry has been his increased usage over New England’s last four games. Since Week 9, Henry has seen 15 targets after seeing only 24 in the first eight weeks of the season.
The best thing about Henry in the fantasy world this week is his matchup against the Cardinals. In the four games prior to their bye week, Arizona’s defense gave up three top-six TE finishes. The Cardinals’ defense has given up double-digit fantasy points to opposing teams’ TEs in all but two games this season, so Henry’s chances of producing a top-12 week are high.
Kurt would play Henry over: Dawson Knox (TE11)
Tyler Higbee (LAR) vs Las Vegas
The revolving room at QB for the Rams has really hurt Tyler Higbee’s fantasy value. In the first five weeks of the season, Higbee finished as a top-12 TE in four weeks. Since then, Higbee has only been a top-12 TE option twice. A bright side to Higbee’s recent play has been the fact that his top 12 weeks were both with different QBs, so he’s not just producing when one particular player is under center.
Las Vegas is a great matchup for fantasy TEs on paper, but they’ve only given up a top-12 TE finish once in their last six games. In that stretch, opposing fantasy TEs are averaging just over nine points per game though, so there’s still room for a decent performance from Higbee this week.
Despite who’s playing QB for the Rams Thursday night, Higbee should provide a decent baseline with TD upside for fantasy managers.
Kurt would play Higbee over: Noah Fant (TE14)