Week 14 Fantasy Football Projections: Predicting Top Performers at Each Position

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistDecember 3, 2013

PHILADELPHIA, PA - DECEMBER 1: Quarterback Nick Foles #9 of the Philadelphia Eagles passes during warmups before the start of a game against the Arizona Cardinals at Lincoln Financial Field on December 1, 2013 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Rich Schultz /Getty Images)
Rich Schultz/Getty Images

In the course of a week, you scour the waiver wire, read the projections for your players, do your own research and eventually come up with a starting lineup. Then you get nervous, switch a few players around and finally decide to stop tinkering. 

And then Sunday morning comes, and you basically begin the whole process again. I know, it's essentially my weekly routine.

But sometimes, you just want to identify a few players who you should be starting, no questions asked, no fretting and no second-guessing. On this list, you'll find them. If you have the following players in your lineup, save yourself a bit of stress and leave them in that starting spot. 


Week 14 Quarterback Projections
RankPlayerTeamOpponentProj. Points
1Matt StaffordDetroit LionsPhiladelphia Eagles27
2Nick FolesPhiladelphia EaglesDetroit Lions25
3Peyton ManningDenver BroncosTennessee Titans23
4Tom BradyNew England PatriotsCleveland Browns20
5Tony RomoDallas CowboysChicago Bears19

Breaking Down Nick Foles

Nick Foles has arrived, folks. He has 19 touchdown passes, no interceptions and is 5-1 as a starter, helping the Philadelphia Eagles become relevant in the playoff picture. He's also been red-hot for fantasy owners savvy enough to add him, averaging 27.7 fantasy points in his past four games.

This week, he faces a Detroit Lions defense that has allowed 16 or more fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks in seven of the past eight weeks. If you own him, you absolutely should be starting him.

Running Backs

Week 14 Running Back Projections
RankPlayerTeamOpponentProj. Points
1Jamaal CharlesKansas City ChiefsWashington25
2Matt ForteChicago BearsDallas Cowboys23
3Adrian PetersonMinnesota VikingsBaltimore Ravens21
4DeMarco MurrayDallas CowboysChicago Bears20
5Knowshon MorenoDenver BroncosTennessee Titans17

Breaking Down DeMarco Murray

ARLINGTON, TX - NOVEMBER 28:  DeMarco Murray #29 of the Dallas Cowboys runs for a touchdown against the Oakland Raiders at AT&T Stadium on November 28, 2013 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

The issue for Murray isn't how productive he is when healthy. In seven of the nine games he's played this season, he's scored nine or more fantasy points and has reached double-digit tallies seven times. The talent is there, and when the Dallas Cowboys make him a focal point of the game plan, he generally makes fantasy owners very happy.

Injuries will always be a concern for Murray, but he seems to be healthy now and has accumulated 53 fantasy points in the past three games. This week, he faces a Chicago Bears defense that has given up 20 or more fantasy points to opposing running backs in seven of the past eight weeks.

Look for Murray to shred this defense and make his fantasy owners very, very happy.

Wide Receivers

Week 14 Wide Receiver Projections
RankPlayerTeamOpponentProj. Points
1Calvin JohnsonDetroit LionsPhiladelphia Eagles24
2DeSean JacksonPhiladelphia EaglesDetroit Lions20
3Vincent JacksonTampa Bay BuccaneersBuffalo Bills19
4A.J. GreenCincinnati BengalsIndianapolis Colts17
5Andre JohnsonHouston TexansJacksonville Jaguars16
6Josh GordonCleveland BrownsNew England Patriots16

Breaking Down Vincent Jackson

CHARLOTTE, NC - DECEMBER 01:  Vincent Jackson #83 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers runs a catch along the sideline as Drayton Florence #29 of the Carolina Panthers defends during play at Bank of America Stadium on December 1, 2013 in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Grant Halverson/Getty Images

Owning Vincent Jackson has always been a bit of a roller-coaster ride, as he'll absolutely blow up in certain weeks and disappear in others. In his past six games, he's had point totals of seven, one, two, 22, six and seven. 

Not exactly the picture of consistency.

Still, Jackson has a pretty tasty matchup against the Buffalo Bills this week, a team that just gave up 10 receptions for 143 yards to Roddy White. The Bills have given up 18 or more fantasy points to opposing wide receivers 10 times this season, so V-Jax should have a big afternoon.

Tight Ends

Week 14 Tight End Projections
RankPlayerTeamOpponentProj. Points
1Rob GronkowskiNew England PatriotsCleveland Browns20
2Jimmy GrahamNew Orleans SaintsCarolina Panthers17
3Jason WittenDallas CowboysChicago Bears16
4Julius Thomas*Denver BroncosTennessee Titans14
5Jared CookSt. Louis RamsArizona Cardinals14

Breaking Down Jared Cook

December 1, 2013; San Francisco, CA, USA; St. Louis Rams tight end Jared Cook (89) catches a pass against the San Francisco 49ers during the first quarter at Candlestick Park. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Jared Cook at No. 5? JARED FREAKING COOK?!

Yes, Jared Cook. I know he's been less boom and more bust this year, but a matchup against the Arizona Cardinals this week is just begging to be exploited.

Arizona has been dreadful against tight ends this year, allowing 14.5 fantasy points to opposing tight ends per week, by far the worst mark in the NFL. And remember, Cook torched this defense for seven catches, 141 yards and two touchdowns in Week 1. 

He's rarely a safe option. This week, he seems about as safe as it gets at the shaky tight end position.

Defense/Special Teams

Week 14 Defense/Special Team Projections
RankTeamOpponentProj. Points
1Kansas City ChiefsWashington16
2San Francisco 49ersSeattle Seahawks13
3Seattle SeahawksSan Francisco 49ers13
4Baltimore RavensMinnesota Vikings12
5Cincinnati BengalsIndianapolis Colts12

Breaking Down the Baltimore Ravens

Nov 28, 2013; Baltimore, MD, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Heath Miller (83) gets tackled by Baltimore Ravens safety James Ihedigbo (32) and linebacker Daryl Smith (51) during a NFL football game on Thanksgiving at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit:
Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

I've gone back and forth on this pick. The Ravens have been pretty inconsistent, with seven weeks of seven fantasy points or more, four weeks with double-digit points and five weeks of four points or less. They generally either really help you or really hurt you.

But even with Adrian Peterson, the Minnesota Vikings have allowed opposing defenses to score 10 or more points eight times this season. All Day will get his, but expect the Ravens to force turnovers when the Vikings are forced to pass and to really pressure the quarterback, as they have 37 sacks on the season, tied for fourth in the NFL.


Week 14 Kicker Projections
RankPlayerTeamOpponentProj. Points
1Stephen GostkowskiNew England PatriotsCleveland Browns16
2Matt PraterDenver BroncosTennessee Titans15
3Justin TuckerBaltimore RavensMinnesota Vikings14
4Dan BaileyDallas CowboysChicago Bears13
5Robbie GouldChicago BearsDallas Cowboys13

Breaking Down Justin Tucker

BALTIMORE, MD - NOVEMBER 28: Kicker Justin Tucker #9 of the Baltimore Ravens celebrates after defeating the Pittsburgh Steelers at M&T Bank Stadium on November 28, 2013 in Baltimore, Maryland. The Baltimore Ravens won, 22-20. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty
Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Folks, Justin Tucker had 19 fantasy points this week, which put him equal with players like Matt Stafford, Le'Veon Bell and Fred Jackson. Didn't see that one coming, huh?

Well, don't be surprised if he puts up big numbers against a Vikings team that has given up seven or more fantasy points 10 times this season and has given up double-digit points to kickers in five of the last six weeks.

That's right, folks—serious kicker analysis coming at you. Kickers are fickle beasts, but Tucker has been quite good for owners this year (nine weeks with eight or more fantasy points) and has a plus matchup, so keep him in that starting lineup.

Hit me up on Twitter—I'll answer your fantasy lineup questions, tweet random fantasy musings and try to discern if Josh Gordon is on a regimen of Super-Soldier Serum. 

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