Week 14 NFL Matchup Preview Part One
Be sure to check out Part Two of our Week 14 NFL Matchup Previews. (out Friday)
THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL – December 8, 2016
8:25 PM EST
Oakland Raiders @ Kansas City Chiefs
QB Derek Carr: Carr didn’t have a great game in his last contest against the Kansas City Chiefs. He threw for 225 yards with 1 TD and 1 INT. It was his 2nd worst performance of the season, however, since Week 6 (last game vs KC) Derek Carr has thrown for 12 TDs in 6 games and has thrown for multiple TDs in 4 of those 6 games. Chances are if you have Carr on your roster, he is your starting QB. I would treat him as such Week 14 at Kansas City.
RB Latavius Murray: Murray has 39 carries for 127 rushing yards and 3 rushing TDs in the past 2 games. He has been hot the past few weeks adding more value in PPR formats. Insert Latavius Murray as an RB1 Thursday Night against a Chiefs defense that hover around the middle of the pack against the run.
WR Amari Cooper/ Michael Crabtree: Cooper has been up and down, for the most part, this season but faces a defense that has given up the most fantasy points to WRs. He posted 10 receptions for 129 yards vs the Chiefs back in Week 6. Amari Cooper is a WR1 this week. Crabtree and Carr have clicked in the last 2 games connecting on 15 of 24 targets for 184 yards and a TD. Crabtree is a reliable WR2 with WR1 upside Week 14.
QB Alex Smith: Although the Oakland Raiders defense ranks 15th in points given up to QBs this season, you can’t trust Alex Smith in your fantasy playoffs. He has only thrown for multiple TD in 3 of his 11 games this season and in those 3 games, he only threw for 2 TDs in each. Last time he faced Oakland in Week 6 he threw for 224 yards and ZERO TDs. Don’t play him.
RB Spencer Ware: Ware has been a solid fantasy option this entire season. He has only eclipsed 100 rushing yards in 1 game this season but he adds value as part of the pass game. Oakland has given up the 3rd most fantasy points to RBs so you can expect between a high-end RB2 to low-end RB1 type performance from Spencer Ware this week.
WR Jeremy Maclin/ Tyreek Hill: I would not consider playing Jeremy Maclin in your fantasy playoffs. He is not what he was expected to be this season. Tyreek Hill has stepped up with the lack of production from Maclin and has been the top WR for the Kansas City Chiefs this season, however, a top WR for the Chiefs is only equivalent to a solid WR2 at best. I would consider him as such this week vs the Raiders.
TE Travis Kelce: Tyreek Hill may be the top WR for the Chiefs but Travis Kelce is the top option for Alex Smith in this offense. Kelce has eclipsed 100 yards receiving 3 games in a row and 4 of the last 6 games. He is a TE1, no question.
SUNDAY – December 11, 2016
1:00 PM EST
Pittsburgh Steelers @ Buffalo Bills
QB Ben Roethlisberger: The Bills have been tough against the QB position this year but Ben Roethlisberger has been very tough on opposing defenses. He has thrown for multiple TDs in 7 of 11 games, 25 TDs on the season. You are not benching Ben this week at Buffalo. Play him as you normally would.
RB Le’Veon Bell: Bell has carried the ball 23 times or more in the past 3 games and has rushed for over 100 yards in each of those games. That volume alone is RB1 production. Add his involvement in the pass game and it places him in RB1 elite status. Expect Bell to take advantage of his workload once again against the Bills defense this Sunday.
WR Antonio Brown: Brown is the most consistent fantasy producer in the game. He will not disappoint you this week in your fantasy playoffs. Start him as you WR1 as you always do.
TE Ladarius Green: Connected with Big Ben for 110 yards and a TD last week with 6 receptions on 11 targets. If his targets continue to be at that volume this week he is a no question TE 1 vs the Bills. He did have 67 yards receiving the week before, however, it was on only 2 receptions. I would place Green somewhere in the TE2 conversation this week as his success has been such a small sample size this season.
QB Tyrod Taylor: The most interesting QB when comparing his real life QB stats to fantasy stats. He is a terrible QB in real-life but usually somehow makes up for it in fantasy points somehow. In 2 of the past 3 weeks, it looks like his real-life numbers are starting to catch up to his fantasy. TyFRAUD cannot be trusted vs the Steelers this week.
RB LeSean McCoy/ Mike Gillislee: Pittsburgh has given up the 6th most fantasy points to RBs this season. LeSean McCoy is an elite RB1 most weeks and you can expect nothing less this week. What “hurts” his value is this Mike Gillislee guy that is very much the goal-line back. So, unless Shady is going to score from 7 or more yards out, you can expect Gillislee to continue to vulture McCoy’s TDs, making Gillislee a desperate streamer/flex option.
WR Sammy Watkins: Is back and healthy but only has 3 receptions in each of his 2 games since returning. That will not turn into production against a Steelers defense that has allowed the 3rd least fantasy points to WRs this season. You can do better than Sammy Watkins this week.
San Diego Chargers @ Carolina Panthers
QB Philip Rivers: The good news, Philip Rivers has thrown for 12 TDs in the last 5 games. The bad news, he has thrown 10 INTs. This would normally be alarming heading into this week, however, he is facing the Carolina defense that has given up the 8th most fantasy points to QBs this season. If you have Rivers, you are likely going to start him. Tweet at me @DomiNateFF if you think you may have someone else that may be better than Rivers this week.
RB Melvin Gordon: Gordon has been a great RB this season. He does have a tough matchup vs the Panthers this week but has been matchup proof all year. Play him as you normally would and consider him a high-end RB2 this week.
WR Tyrell Williams/ Dontrelle Inman: Williams is averaging 9 targets a game in the past 4 weeks and had scored a TD in each of those games. Play him as a WR2 with WR1 upside against the Carolina defense that has given up the 2nd most points to WRs in fantasy this year. Inman has surpassed Travis Benjamin as the number 2 WR in this offense, catching for 168 yards and 2 TDs in the past 2 weeks. He should be able to carry his momentum into Week 14 vs the terrible Carolina Panthers pass defense.
TE Antonio Gates/Hunter Henry: Gates is clearly the TE to own from the Chargers right now. He has scored 3 TD in the last 4 games and has been targeted more than Henry. I would bench Henry but hold onto him in dynasty leagues. Gates can be considered a solid TE2 against a defense that has given up the 2nd most fantasy points to TEs this season.
QB Cam Newton: Has been a shell of himself from last year and faces a San Diego defense that has given up the 9th fewest fantasy points to QBs this season. I understand it is hard to sit a guy like Cam Newton but there are better options. Tweet at me @DomiNateFF if you need help deciding who should start over Cam Week 14.
RB Jonathan Stewart: Look for the Panthers to exploit the Chargers weak run defense this week with a heavy dose of Jonathan Stewart. Expect for Stewart to have 15-20 carries for 70+ yards and a score this week.
WR Kelvin Benjamin/ Ted Ginn Jr.: Benjamin, with the exception of last week, has been a decent low-end WR2. This is not what you expect from someone of Kelvin Benjamin’s talent. His production, along with others on the Panthers have been affected by Cam’s below average production and I do not see this going away against the 10th best defense against WRs this season. Consider Benjamin no more than a high-end WR2 this week. Ted Ginn Jr has fought his way back into the conversation of fantasy consideration by scoring in each of his last 3 games. Still, you may want to pump the breaks on Ginn Jr this week, in a tough matchup, while his QB is not playing good football. Ginn is nothing more than a desperate flex play at best for me this week.
TE Greg Olsen: With Newton playing as bad as he has been, it is hard to trust the production of Greg Olsen. I would look to the waiver wire this week for better options. Maybe Vance McDonald or Ladarius Green for example.
Cincinnati Bengals @ Cleveland Browns
QB Andy Dalton: After posting 332 and 2 TDs against the Eagles’ defense, you can consider Dalton a QB 1 this week vs Cleveland, a team that has given up the 2nd most fantasy points to QBs this year.
RB Jeremy Hill: Has been a big part of the game script in both the run/pass game. Expect Hill to get a giant workload vs the terrible Cleveland Browns putting him in the RB1 discussion for this week.
WR Tyler Boyd/ Brandon LaFell: Tyler Boyd has stepped into the A.J. Green role and should be considered a WR1 vs the Cleveland defense this week. Brandon LaFell has the big play potential and is worth a stream this week if needed. He is a high risk. high reward type player, however. I would not consider LaFell more than a flex consideration, even with the great matchup.
TE Tyler Eifert: A TE1 this week. He did only catch 2 balls last week but one of them was for a TD. He will do much better than that this week against the Browns that have given up the 4th most fantasy points to TEs this season.
QB Robert Griffin III: What a crazy season it has been when we are talking about RGIII as the starting QB for the Cleveland Browns in Week 14. Obviously, he is not a fantasy option but still worth bringing up for a conversation piece with your league-mates.
RB Isaiah Crowell: Very ineffective as a runner but finds a way to produce decent fantasy points most weeks through receiving yards and/or a touchdown. He provides some upside as a potential RB2 this week against the Bengals defense who’ve allowed the 10th most fantasy points to RBs.
WR Terrelle Pryor Sr./ Corey Coleman: Pryor has provided what little offense this team has. He enters this week in a tough matchup as nothing more than a solid WR2. Coleman has done next to nothing since returning, even when heavily targeted. He should be left on the bench or waivers.
TE Gary Barnidge: Has not gone over 42 receiving yards in the past 5 games. He is not worth a stream even in a plus matchup this week against the Bengals defense that has given up the 3rd most fantasy points to TEs.
Chicago Bears @ Detroit Lions
QB Matt Barkley: Matt Barkley will bounce back from his terrible performance in terrible weather. That does not make him a safe play this week or any week for that matter. There are too many other options out there.
RB Jordan Howard: Jordan Howard faces a tougher run defense this week but remains in the RB1 conversation as the only reliable offensive play for the Bears.
WR Cameron Meredith/ Marquess Wilson/ Joshua Bellamy: Truly no viable option at the WRs position for the Bears. Wilson could miss Week 14 giving a bump to Bellamy and Meredith hasn’t been converting his targets to production. Stay away from the Bears WRs.
QB Matthew Stafford: With no much going on in the Detroit backfield, expect Stafford to throw it a ton in a divisional game at home vs the Bears. The Bears have not given up too much to QBs this season but Stafford should have the ball quite a bit as the Bears offense is hurting for production at the moment.
RB Theo Riddick/Zach Zenner/Dwayne Washington: Until last week, Riddick was the only RB on the Lions to trust. Now, no one is to be trusted in this backfield. Who knows who will get the bulk of the carries in this pass first and often offense. Riddick is playing hurt and should not be in fantasy lineups this week vs a tough run defense.
WR Golden Tate: The only reason I like Tate this week is because Stafford has had no one else to throw to and as a result, Tate has produced in back to back weeks. Looks for Tate to push WR1 numbers this week as Stafford only true option at WR.
TE Eric Ebron: Ebron will also get volume due to the lack of production from the Lions’ WR collective group. He isn’t a bad stream if truly needed this week.
Houston Texans @ Indianapolis Colts
QB Brock Osweiler: Osweiler is coming off of one of his best games of the season heading into Week 14 in a favorable matchup against the Colts who have allowed the 3rd most fantasy points to QBs. Still, there are too many QBs you could play ahead of Osweiler. He caps off at a high-end QB2 in a best case scenario.
RB Lamar Miller: Miller has been a fantasy dud the past 2 weeks as he plays through injury. He is extremely hard to trust in your lineup this week. Consider streaming other RB options in place of Miller vs the Colts, Week 14.
WR DeAndre Hopkins/ Will Fuller: Both options scare me this week. I would not feel happy or comfortable playing either WR this week. If you must, play Hopkins as he is somewhat playing at a decent enough level where he should leave you with a zero. Don’t play Fuller.
TE C.J. Fiedorowicz: Has been a target monster since Week 5 and could provide your fantasy team solid TE2 numbers if you need to stream in the position. I do not see him going off enough to start him over a TE1 in a tough matchup this week. desperate stream only, more valuable in PPR.
QB Andrew Luck: The New York Jets gave up last week and Andrew Luck did not take his foot off the gas. He enters Week 14 after a 4 TD performance but slow your expectations against a much better defense in the Houston Texans. He is still a QB1 this week but just do not expect a repeat of last week.
RB Frank Gore: A steady RB2 option this week against a mediocre run defense. Gore may not dazzle in his rushing numbers but does add value as a pass catcher. You should feel happy with him as your RB2 or flex.
WR T.Y. Hilton/ Donte Moncrief: Tricky matchup for this WR pair this week. T.Y. Hilton is getting the volume and producing. He is a must-start even in a bad matchup. Moncrief doesn’t put up those 100 plus yard games but he just can’t help scoring a TD in every game he has played in except for one, Week 2 vs Denver. Play Moncrief this week and hope he can put some yardage up as well.
TE Jack Doyle/ Dwayne Allen: Doyle hasn’t done anything in weeks, stay away from him. Dwayne Allen had what I believe to be a fluke game last week as he and Luck took advantage of a team that was not mentally or physically in the game. Only play Allen if you have no other option and hope he can strike lightning in a bottle 2 weeks in a row. Prepare to be disappointed, however.
Minnesota Vikings @ Jacksonville Jaguars
QB Sam Bradford: Fully expecting this game to be all about defense. Combine that with Bradford who is not a great fantasy option and you should have your answer as to what to do with him this week.
RB Matt Asiata/Jerick McKinnon: Neither back is a producer and should not be in any fantasy lineup this week. Even when Asiata scores a 1 yard TD that’s about the number of total points he gets you in fantasy. McKinnon may be the more talented back of the two, but he does not get enough carries to truly turn it into anything worthy of a start.
WR Stefon Diggs/Adam Thielen: I like both of these WRs this week. Diggs, with his big play ability and targets, he should be able to do enough to make you happy. Thielen is a target machine for Bradford. Obviously, as I’ve mentioned, this will likely be a defensive game so I wouldn’t expect a ton of scoring from these two which is why I like Diggs as a solid WR2 and Thielen a great flex play. You can expect 80 or so yards from Diggs and 60-70 from Thielen.
TE Kyle Rudolph: 22 targets and 15 receptions in the past 2 weeks for Rudolph. Although not a great matchup, I do like Rudolph’s odds of scoring in this game as I expect the Vikings to get in the red zone area where Bradford throws to Rudolph from 7 or so yards out or they are forced to kick a field goal. He is a TE2 with TE1 upside if he can find the end zone this week.
QB Blake Bortles: Terrible option this week. Expect similar numbers to his performance last week vs Denver. Don’t even think about playing Bortles.
RB T.J Yeldon/Denard Robinson: Stay away from this backfield. They are not worth the headache any week, nevermind a week vs Minnesota.
WR Allen Robinson/ Marqise Lee: I would feel confident in my decision to bench any and all Jaguars this week and that does include Allen Robinson and Marqise Lee. If there is going to be a week you boycott an entire team, maybe even two teams, it would be this week with the Vikings and Jaguars.
TE Julius Thomas: I don’t even want to mention Julius Thomas anymore as he is not someone I would even think about picking up and streaming. I just had to put him in this article so no one would think I have forgotten about him. I do think everyone should forget about him as he was clearly part of a “system success” when he was with the Denver Broncos.
Arizona Cardinals @ Miami Dolphins
QB Carson Palmer: Has thrown for 7 TDs in his last 3 games heading into Week 14 against a Miami defense that has allowed the 11th most fantasy points to QBs. I like Carson Palmer as a low-end QB1 play this week so play him instead of trying to stream a QB unless he is your stream.
RB David Johnson: One of a small group of players that you can NEVER sit! Play him as your RB1 every week. He continues to put up 1/4 of your total team points, how could you ever sit that?
WR Larry Fitzgerald: The only reliable WR on the Cardinals this season so put him in your fantasy lineup as a low-end WR1. He will get you enough to be satisfied with playing him.
TE Jermaine Gresham: Palmer has increased his targets to Gresham over the past 2 games. Gresham will have a favorable matchup vs the Dolphins that have allowed the 8th most fantasy points to TEs. I like him as a solid TE2 Week 14.
QB Ryan Tannehill: Has not been terrible but does not perform well against tough defenses and Arizona is the 4th best defense against QBs this season. I would leave Tannehill on your bench this week.
RB Jay Ajayi: The Cardinals have given up the least fantasy points to RBs this season. Ajayi just put up 61 yards on 12 carries vs the stout Baltimore defense last week and added 6 catches as well. I would expect a similar game this week making him a low-end RB2. He will be involved in check downs and should get enough carries to have enough of an impact that it’s not a wasted week.
WR Jarvis Landry/DeVante Parker: Tough matchup but similar to how I like the Vikings WRs this week, I like Landry and Parker the same. Expecting both to be in the mid to low-end WR2 conversation. If one over the other I’m going with Landry but it’s close. I’m not crazy about either but would expect they both put up 60-70 yards receiving and both have chances to score with their big play ability.