Your Targets and Touches Report for Week 14
Welcome to Week 14, where you’re either starting a playoff run or in the final week of the regular season fighting to assure yourself of a postseason spot. Even if you’re not, you owe it to the league to finish it out. Yes, a 2-11 record is well below average, but 3-11 at the expense of knocking a team out of the playoffs has a sweeter feel to it.
There’s plenty of touching and targeting to behold. Let us begin….
Made in Japan
The Broncos lost nearly a third of their production at receiver when Emmanuel Sanders went down with an Achilles injury on Wednesday. Sanders also accounted for nearly a quarter of Denver’s targets along with nearly a third of its big plays from the passing game. Enter rookie DaeSean Hamilton, a Japanese-born receiver who comes into Sunday’s game against the 49ers with five catches for 61 yards on eight targets who saw 80 percent of the offensive snaps in last week’s win over the Bengals and had begun asserting himself as the team’s third wideout. While fellow rookie Courtland Sutton becomes the focal point of the Broncos’ passing attack, Hamilton will see his share of targets in his new role as Denver’s WR2. The 49ers are 27th in Fantasy points per game allowed to opposing receivers, so if you’re in the gambling mood, Hamilton—provided you got him off the waiver wire — makes for a worthy play as a WR3/Flex, especially in deeper leagues.
I Believe in Tevin Coleman (Sort Of)
Tevin Coleman had 14 carries in his previous two games. Tevin Coleman rushed for 14 yards in his previous two games. That’s right: one yard per carry. In his defense, Coleman was up against the run defenses of the Saints and Ravens, who happen to be the first and third stingiest against opposing runners, respectively. At the same time, Coleman’s touchdown drought—five games and counting—has seen his Fantasy value plummet like penny stocks. But, like said penny stocks, Coleman has a chance to see his worth take a climb to better heights when the Falcons go against a splintered Packers team that is 25th against the run in temps that may not inch above 25 degrees. The Falcons will look to get the ground game going early, so if Coleman does what almost every other lead back does to Green Bay’s defense, then there’s upside in putting faith in Coleman as an RB2.
Hanging With Mr. Cooper
Since his arrival to the Cowboys, Amari Cooper has averaged eight targets per game, including 10 against the Eagles in Week 10. At that time, the Philadelphia secondary was just banged up. Entering Sunday’s rematch at Dallas, their secondary consists of safety Malcom Jenkins and a host of WWF Wrestling Challenge-like jobbers that are tailor-made for Cooper to feast upon. In his last two games, Cooper has caught 16 of 17 targets for 256 yards with two scores. He looks like a borderline WR1 facing an Eagles defense that is 30th in Fantasy points per game allowed to opposing receivers.
Dual (Fantasy) Citizenship
There is reason to pump the brakes when it comes to Steelers running back Jaylen Samuels, who gets the start at the Raiders in place of injured James Connor. Coach Mike Tomlin stresses that the team will go RBBC with Samuels and Steven Ridley slated to play the game of Caring is Sharing. However, I’d still go all-in with Samuels, who also happens to have eligibility at tight end in some leagues (Yahoo!). Rare is the chance a Fantasy owner can stream a tight end who might end up with 12-15 touches as a runner while adding a few targets in the passing game, meaning that Samuels is a hell of a streamer play against Oakland’s 31st-ranked run defense that allows 153.3 yards per game. If you get away with that, do so by all means, but even if you can’t, Samuels presents more upside than Ridley and belongs as a viable Flex option.
Yes, No, Maybe (Subtitled: Die Hard and Rocky IV ARE Christmas Movies)
Yes: Gus Edwards, RB, Ravens: He’s playing against the Chiefs. Lest we forget, Kansas City is second-worst in Fantasy points per game allowed versus opposing running backs. He’ll be effective if Joe Flacco does return to the lineup, but the thought of him and Lamar Jackson RPOing a beleaguered Chiefs D may be the jumping off point to an accidental offensive free for all.
No: Any Eagles Pass Catcher Not Named Zach Ertz: Alshon Jeffery is on Fantasy football milk cartons these days, Golden Tate still hasn’t received Carson Wentz’s complete trust, and if Nelson Agholor is the answer, you’re asking the wrong damn questions. The Cowboys are sixth in fewest receiving yards allowed and are third with just 16 touchdown passes yielded, more reason to believe that #FlyEaglesFly does not extend to their receiving corps.
Maybe: Trey Burton, TE, Bears: Wait, wait, wait…the Bears gave him $$$ to catch passes, right? Then explain why the hell Burton has recorded two one-target games in the last three weeks. It’s not that hard, Matt Nagy, especially against a Rams defense that has seen opposing tight ends celebrate in the end zone in four of the last six weeks. Soldier Field will be nice and frigid on Sunday night, and in what should be a low-scoring affair, remembering why Burton gets game checks with lots of zeroes behind them will be the difference in winning or losing.
Come On, Come On, Come On, Come On Now Touch (and Target) Me, Baby
David Arnold, WR/TE, Saints: Drew Brees is getting him more involved in the offense, a trend that can work wonders against a Buccaneers defense that ranks 30th in Fantasy points per game allowed to opposing wideouts. Arnold is more of a deeper league/DFS plunge, but one that has a good chance to pay off.
James White, RB, Patriots: He’s a must-play RB2 who will thrive in PPR formats, having been targeted at least seven times in eight of his last nine games. White will steal just enough touches from Sony Michel to make him more valuable against the Dolphins’ ground defense that ranks 30th in yards allowed while giving up more than five yards per carry.
Lamar Miller, RB, Texans: The workload will remain heavy for Miller, who has four 100-yard outings in the last six weeks. Indianapolis is 12th against the run, but Houston’s offense has thrived since Bill O’Brien committed to giving Miller a more extensive role. D’Onta Foreman looms in the background, but Miller is holding a hot hand worth playing at least one more week.
Adam Humphries, WR, Buccaneers: It’s been a winning ticket between Humphries and Jameis Winston, as the duo have connected for scoring strikes in each of the last three games. Points will be easy to come by against a Saints defense that is last in Fantasy points per game allowed to opposing receivers, and it’s not too hard to envision Winston attempting 45-50 passes. If so, Humphries could be in line for double-digit targets and a chance to score in a fourth straight game.
Dante Pettis, WR, 49ers: Matt Breida is out, and Marquise Goodwin’s status remains in question, leaving Pettis as the team’s second-best option besides tight end George Kittle. The Broncos are 25th in receiving yards allowed and give up 12 yards per catch, numbers that play into the hands of the speedy Pettis, who has nine catches for 206 yards and three touchdowns in the last two games.
Justin Jackson, RB, Chargers: Jackson was the more effective runner than Austin Ekeler during last week’s win over the Steelers and should see an increase in touches against a Bengals defense that is the worst in Fantasy points allowed per game to opposing running backs. Consider Jackson a good streaming option, as Melvin Gordon is due back next week.
Aaron Jones, RB, Packers: Interim coach Joe Philbin should free Jones for a heavier workload against a Falcons defense that is 27th against the run. Jones has touchdowns in four straight games and is a strong bet to crack the 20-carry barrier for the first time this season.
Gimmie A Sleeper!
The Cowboys are beginning to get an idea on how to use rookie receiver Michael Gallup, who had 76 yards in last week’s win over the Saints. Against a leaky Eagles secondary, Gallup has the speed to maximize his volume of targets, making him a very intriguing play.