Frank Stampfl offers his Week 14 Fantasy Football lineup ranks
It doesn’t matter that Mark Sanchez is his quarterback. It doesn’t matter that he ran for a 90-yard touchdown on Monday Night Football and still didn’t top 100 yards. How old is he again? IT DOESN’T MATTER! Despite all the ups and downs, the naysayers, Adrian Peterson is still RB13 overall this season… at 33 years old. The reason why all those things above did not matter is because of his matchup against the New York Giants. Since Damon “Snacks” Harrison left, the team’s run defense has departed with him. They’ve allowed at least 113 rushing yards to running backs in five straight games, allowing at least one touchdown (last week it was a receiving touchdown for Tarik Cohen) to running backs in every single game this season. Hell, this is a defense that made Jordan Howard look adequate last week! AP torched the Giants the last time he faced them as well, totaling 156 yards and two touchdowns on 27 touches. He finished as RB5 overall that week. He’s ranked higher in standard and half PPR because he doesn’t catch many passes but should be trusted as a mid-range RB2 in this matchup.
Coming into Week 14, I didn’t think I’d be this high on Justin Jackson, but here we are, with Jackson inside the top 24 at running back. It doesn’t hurt that Anthony Lynn revealed Austin Ekeler is “wearing down” because of his usage on special teams. That should only lead to more touches for Jackson, and there was already a lot to like this week. Since Melvin Gordon went down, Jackson has carried the ball 15 times for 110 yards (7.3 YPC) and a touchdown. Jackson was also a huge part of that comeback win against the Steelers, touching the ball the same amount of times (nine) as Ekeler in the second half of that game. On top of all that, the matchup can’t be better, literally: the Cincinnati Bengals are allowing the most fantasy points to running backs this season. They allow 126 rushing yards per game and 5.10 yards per carry to running backs. I’m willing to bet Jackson is closer to 15 touches in this matchup. That will be enough for him to return low-end RB2 value.
First and foremost, we want to wish a healthy and speedy recovery to Emmanuel Sanders who was enjoying a fine season but tragically tore his Achilles on Wednesday. Unfortunately, the show must go on. The player likely to step into his slot role will be rookie Daesean Hamilton, who occupied the slot during college as well at Penn State. He should pick up some of the slack, but Sanders had a 25 percent target share (98 targets), which will be spread out among multiple receivers. Courtland Sutton was already a receiver trending in the right direction, leading the team in targets (seven), receptions (four), receiving yards (85) and touchdowns (one) in Week 13. Sutton will now face the 49ers who have allowed the most fantasy points to wide receivers over the past month. Just last week, they allowed four touchdowns to Seahawks wide receivers. If there’s one thing you want Sutton for, it’s his size and ability in the red zone. Because of the opportunity and matchup, he checks in as a low-end WR2.
“Frank, have you lost your damn mind?” Maybe. At first glance, that’s what fantasy owners might think when they see Dante Pettis ranked inside the top 30 at wide receiver this week. Hear me out. Please go back watch Pettis’ highlights against the Seahawks. Now tell me with a straight face that it doesn’t remind you of a young Odell Beckham. It’s a lofty comp, but I like what I’ve seen from the kid. He’s had at least six targets in three straight games. He has at least 77 yards and a touchdown in each of his past two games. He’s also played the most snaps among 49ers receivers during that span. I’m not scared off by the matchup against the Broncos either. Over the past month, they’ve allowed the eighth-most fantasy points to wide receivers. Additionally, they just lost talented slot corner Chris Harris Jr. to a broken fibula. You guessed it: Pettis has been playing mostly in the slot this season. Even if Marquise Goodwin returns, I’m not worried. Nick Mullens doesn’t like to take chances deep down the field or to the outside. That’s why he’s targeted guys like Pettis and George Kittle over the middle so much. If you’re looking for that WR3 with guys like Doug Baldwin, Corey Davis, and Alshon Jeffery in tough matchups, Pettis is the play. Thank me later.
You’ll notice a theme here when it comes to the wide receivers I like in Week 14: they’re all first or second-year players. Similar to Pettis, Zay Jones is a player who has popped off the screen the past few weeks. Here is your annual reminder not to write off a young player just because they have a rough rookie season. Remember, Jones has legit talent and pedigree. He was drafted 37th overall in the 2017 draft and broke all-time receiving records in college. This past week against the Dolphins, Jones was easily the most targeted receiver for the Bills with nine targets (27 percent target share), catching four for 67 yards and a touchdown. The team was so sold on his performance that they decided to cut both Kelvin Benjamin and Andre Holmes. This receiving game now officially runs through Jones. The matchup is a great one as well, as the Jets have allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to wide receivers over the past month. Jones faced the Jets a few weeks ago, burning them for eight receptions (11 targets), 93 yards and a touchdown. Similar to Pettis and many other young wide receivers in the NFL, Jones has been manning the slot for the Bills. Jets slot corner Buster Skrine has consistently been beat there this season. Jones is a legit WR3 in Week 14.