Burning Fantasy Questions and Answers for Week 14
RotoExperts Special for the Associated Press
Key Fantasy Football questions and answers for Week 14.
WHICH UNDER-THE-RADAR PLAYERS HAVE THE BEST CHANCES FOR BIG GAMES THIS WEEK?
Week 14 typically marks the start of the fantasy football playoffs. If at all possible don’t take too many chances when constructing your lineup this week. Try not to dig too far under the radar if you don’t have to this late in the season.
Browns QB Baker Mayfield had a tough time against a good Texans defense in Week 13, however he faces a Panthers defense that’s allowed the third most passing TDs and sixth most Fantasy Points Per Game (FPPG) to the QB position.
With 35 carries, 4.26 yards per carry (YPC) and two TDs in his last two games, LeGarrette Blount has filled in admirably for Lions RB Kerryon Johnson, who looks to be out again this week. He takes on the Cardinals, who give up an average of 141 rushing Yards Per Game (YPG).
Bills WR Zay Jones caught eight passes for 93 yards and scored a TD the first time he faced the Jets in Week 10. He comes into his rematch with “Gang Green” having scored three TDs in his last three games. The Jets have allowed the fourth highest FPPG to the WR position.
There’s not much out there as far as fantasy TEs are concerned, however Steelers TE Vance McDonald has a favorable matchup against the Raiders, who’ve allowed the most TDs to the position.
LAMAR JACKSON HAS A FAVORABLE MATCHUP AGAINST THE CHIEFS THIS WEEK. IS HE A GOOD START?
Jackson has won all three of his games as the Ravens’ starting QB and has been a serviceable fantasy producer. A good portion of Jackson’s fantasy points have come as the result of his 88 rushing yards per game. The Chiefs give up the fifth most FPPG to the QB position, however they’ve given up the fewest rushing yards to fantasy QBs on the season (95). If you have a better option consider using it.
STEELERS RUNNING BACK JAMES CONNER IS OUT THIS WEEK. WHAT CAN BE EXPECTED FROM HIS BACKUP, JAYLEN SAMUELS?
Steelers RBs have an excellent matchup against the Raiders, who give up the second-most rushing YPG (153). While Jaylen Samuels is expected to start, he was a TE in college and has never had more than 12 carries in a game. Will he have the stamina to carry the ball 20 times in Week 14 and how many carries will Stevan Ridley vulture away from him? There’s speculation that Samuels and Ridley could split carries. Based on the good matchup both could have fantasy value this week, but there might be a low ceiling on their fantasy production.
SPENCER WARE CARRIED THE BALL 14 TIMES IN WEEK 13. WILL WE SEE AN UPTICK IN HIS ACTIVITY?
Ware’s 14 carries came as a result of a 69 percent snap rate. Ware has been plagued by injuries and didn’t have that many carries since Christmas Day 2016. It may take at least another game or two before he is able to handle a full workload. Coach Andy Reid has suggested he might use a RB-by-committee including Damien Williams (27 percent Week 13 snap rate) and Darrel Williams (four percent snap rate). Ware should continue to get the majority of work out of the Chiefs backfield but Damien Williams will have a role this week as well. Sharing carries and facing a tough Ravens run defense (third fewest FPPG to RBs), could make Ware another RB with a low fantasy ceiling this week. Williams doesn’t have enough upside to have stand-alone fantasy value but as Spencer Ware’s primary backup he deserves to be rostered as his handcuff.
WHICH RUNNING BACK IS THE SAFER START THIS WEEK, JUSTIN JACKSON OR JEFFREY WILSON?
Jackson made the most of his limited snaps and carries (22 percent, eight) in Week 13 and there is speculation that his role may expand. With Chargers RB Austin Ekeler’s 2.52 YPC in the two games he’s replaced Melvin Gordon, Jackson could see more playing time against the Bengals, who give up the most FPPG to RBs.
Although he had a productive final two seasons at the University of North Texas (30 TDs and a 6.02 YPC), Wilson came out of nowhere in Week 13 and had a big game as oft-injured 49ers RB Matt Breida was forced to the sidelines yet again. He rushed for 61 yards on 15 carries (4.07 YPC) and also added eight catches for 73 yards.
Both have the opportunity to produce in Week 14 but Wilson is likely to have more guaranteed volume. Jackson will still be battling Ekeler for touches. Jackson has more upside potential this week, but in terms of playing time, Wilson is the safer start.
WITH BRONCOS WIDE RECEIVER EMMANUEL SANDERS OUT ON I.R. CAN YOU RECOMMEND ANY UNDER-THE-RADAR REPLACEMENTS?
Courtland Sutton had four catches for 85 yards and added a TD in Week 13 for the Broncos. Some speculate that DaeSean Hamilton could also have an expanded role for the Broncos and is likely to get his reps out of the slot.
Panthers WR Curtis Samuel has three TDs in his last five games. Devin Funchess was limited in Week 13 due to a back injury. If he continues to be limited Samuel will again be heavily utilized in Week 14.