Start 'Em, Sit 'Em Week 14: Smart Matchup Plays, Sleepers and More
With Week 13 done, the fantasy playoffs have arrived in many season-long leagues. From here on out, every wrong lineup decision could end an otherwise fruitful fantasy campaign.
Finding the right fantasy matchups in Week 14 won't be easy. Players such as Lamar Jackson and Kenneth Walker III are dealing with injuries, while six teams—the Atlanta Falcons, Chicago Bears, Green Bay Packers, Indianapolis Colts, New Orleans Saints and Washington Commanders—are on bye.
We're here to help, though, by diving into some of the best and worst plays for Week 14. We'll also examine some potential waiver-wire targets to consider.
All picks are based on points-per-reception (PPR) scoring.
Start 'Em: Trevor Lawrence at Tennessee Titans
Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence didn't have a particularly great outing against the Detroit Lions in Week 13, and he briefly left with a leg injury. He did return to finish the game but went 17-of-31 for 179 yards and a touchdown.
Expect a better performance this week against the Tennessee Titans, which have allowed an average of 21.1 fantasy points to opposing QBs.
Managers should expect Lawrence to have a performance closer to what he had in Week 12, when he finished with 321 passing yards and three touchdowns. Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts just torched the Titans for 380 yards and three scores.
Tennessee is vulnerable to the pass and is a very familiar foe for the Jaguars. This should be a bounce-back week for the second-year man out of Clemson.
Sit 'Em: Daniel Jones vs. Philadelphia Eagles
While we're talking about the Eagles, it's worth noting that they've become a very tough matchup for opposing quarterbacks.
Philadelphia has not allowed more than 250 passing yards in any game this season, and it has allowed an average of just 11.7 fantasy points to opposing QBs.
This is why New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones is best avoided in Week 14. He does bring some rushing upside to the table—he rushed for 71 yards in Week 13—but Philadelphia has started to tighten up its run defense as well.
Over the past three weeks, the Eagles have allowed no more than 106 rushing yards in a game. Jones will need to break a couple of long runs to justify a start in Week 14, and that's something managers shouldn't be eager to bet on happening.
Waiver Target: Kenny Pickett, Pittsburgh Steelers
Managers looking for a deep-sleeper fill-in for Week 14 should consider Pittsburgh Steelers rookie Kenny Pickett.
While the 24-year-old hasn't really wowed this season, he's been playing clean football in recent weeks. He hasn't thrown an interception since Week 8 and is coming off of a 197-yard, one-touchdown performance.
This week, Pickett and the Steelers will host the Baltimore Ravens, which are banged-up and struggling. They narrowly escaped the Denver Broncos on Sunday, a week after being upset by the Jags.
Baltimore has surrendered an average of 17.7 fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this season. Pickett is rostered in only 13 percent of Yahoo leagues and 10 percent of ESPN leagues.
Start 'Em: Tony Pollard vs. Houston Texans
If Dallas Cowboys running back Tony Pollard is in your lineup, his matchup with the Houston Texans is one of the smartest of the week.
The concern, of course, is that the 25-year-old shares the backfield load with Ezekiel Elliott in Dallas. However, the Cowboys have done a nice job of feeding both backs.
Against the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday, Elliott led the team with 17 carries, but Pollard still finished with 91 rushing yards, two receptions, 15 receiving yards and two touchdowns for a fantastic fantasy outing.
Expect both players to shine against a Texans defense that has surrendered an average of 26.7 fantasy points to opposing backs in 2022.
Sit 'Em: James Conner vs. New England Patriots
When we last saw Arizona Cardinals running back James Conner, he was slicing through the Los Angeles Chargers defense in Week 12. He finished that game with 120 rushing yards, three catches, 20 receiving yards and a touchdown.
However, the 27-year-old hasn't been particularly consistent this season. He's failed to reach 60 rushing yards in seven different games and has only found the end zone in four different contests.
It's likely to be another down week for Conner, as the Cardinals host the New England Patriots, which have allowed an average of just 15.3 fantasy points to opposing backs in 2022.
Waiver Target: James Cook, Buffalo Bills
Rookie running back James Cook and the Buffalo Bills will face a stingy New York Jets defense in Week 14.
However, the 23-year-old saw a fairly heavy workload in Week 13 and should remain a big piece of the Bills offense moving forward.
After not logging more than 11 carries in any previous contest—and then only in blowout wins—he had 16 carries for 54 yards against the Patriots in Week 12. He also caught six passes for 41 yards.
Cook has enough PPR upside to justify a start this week, and he should be a solid flex option moving forward. He is rostered in only 23 percent of Yahoo leagues and 25 percent of ESPN leagues.
Start 'Em: Amon-Ra St. Brown vs. Minnesota Vikings
The Lions are suddenly in a very intriguing position. While they're still long shots to make the playoffs at 5-7, they have a forgiving schedule if they can get past the Minnesota Vikings and the New York Jets over the next two weeks.
Expect Sunday's game against Minnesota to be a highlight of Week 14.
This game should also be a stellar one for top wideout Amon-Ra St. Brown. The Vikings have surrendered an average of 32.2 fantasy points to opposing receivers this season, and the passing attack will flow through the 23-year-old.
Against the Jags on Sunday, St. Brown caught 11 passes for 114 yards and two touchdowns. He could have similar numbers this week against Minnesota.
Sit 'Em: Amari Cooper at Cincinnati Bengals
Let's be honest, the Cleveland Browns offense didn't look very good in Deshaun Watson's first start of 2022. It tallied just 130 passing yards, and top receiver Amari Cooper had four receptions for only 40 yards.
This week, Cooper will visit a Cincinnati Bengals team eager to avenge its upset loss in Cleveland on Halloween. That's a problem, as is a Bengals defense that thrives on limiting yards after the catch.
The Alabama product should have a decent PPR floor this week, but bit plays are likely to be few and far between. The Bengals have allowed an average of just 23.2 fantasy points to opposing receivers this season.
Consider Cooper a low-end flex option at best.
Waiver Target: Corey Davis, New York Jets
Despite losing to the Vikings and throwing a pair of interceptions, Jets quarterback Mike White showed again that he's a superior starting option to Zach Wilson.
With White likely to start against Buffalo, wideout Corey Davis is worth an add.
Davis is coming off of a five-catch, 85-yard performance against Minnesota. While Garrett Wilson has become New York's clear-cut No. 1 receiver, the 27-year-old is still a valuable contributor.
The Bills are a decent matchup for Davis managers, as they have allowed an average of 28.2 fantasy points to opposing receivers this season. The Western Michigan product is rostered in only 13 percent of Yahoo leagues and 11 percent of ESPN leagues.
*Fantasy roster and scoring information via FantasyPros.