The B/R Guide to Dominating Fantasy Football in Week 14

Gary Davenport@@IDPSharksFeatured Columnist IVDecember 8, 2022

The B/R Guide to Dominating Fantasy Football in Week 14

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    Chris Godwin
    Jason Miller/Getty Images

    After over three months of setting lineups and making waiver claims and swinging trades and pondering the injustice of a world where Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp gets hurt, we have reached the end of the line.

    OK, the end of a line. A new line will begin next week when the fantasy playoffs begin, but this week (in most leagues) is the finale of the regular season.

    And for many fantasy managers, that means it's do or die. Put up or shut up. Win or go home.

    Sure, there are those who have already locked up a spot in the postseason—the insufferable jerks. And there are those for whom the matter is settled and all that's left is playing out the string. But for a lot of folks, the Week 14 edict is clear. They must milk their lineup for every possible point. Suck every ounce of upside from the roster.

    There are but two options in Week 14.

    Dominate—or be destroyed.

Week 14 Smash Starts

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    Tony Pollard
    George Walker/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

    There isn't a week in the fantasy football season when managers more desperately want to hit on a smash start than in Week 14.

    OK, the fantasy regular season.

    This is when rolling out Seattle wide receiver Tyler Lockett's 9/128/1 stat line from last week can save the season. When trotting out Lions quarterback Jared Goff's 340 passing yards and two scores from Week 13 can make all the difference in the world. When having Green Bay running back AJ Dillon's 119 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown can mean moving on to the postseason.

    The playoffs may not have officially started, but for many they essentially have. Win and move on. Lose and it's game over.

    No pressure.


    Quarterback

    Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings (at DET) (DraftKings DFS Value: $6,100)

    Cousins hasn't been an especially good fantasy option in 2022—he's 15th in points among quarterbacks for the season. But the Detroit defense tends to make opposing quarterbacks look good—the Lions are 27th against the pass and first in fantasy points per game allowed to quarterbacks.

    Justin Herbert, Los Angeles Chargers (vs. MIA) (DraftKings DFS Value: $7,200)

    Among Week 14's games, only the aforementioned tilt between the Lions and Vikings has a higher over/under at DraftKings than Sunday's matchup between the Dolphins and Chargers in Los Angeles. Who's up for a good old-fashioned shootout?


    Running Back

    D'Onta Foreman, Carolina Panthers (at SEA) (DraftKings DFS Value: $5,400)

    Foreman has been solid for fantasy managers since entering the starting lineup, topping 100 rushing yards three times in five starts. Assuming he's active (he missed Wednesday's practice with a foot injury), he'll make it four out of six Sunday against a Seahawks run defense allowing over 155 rushing yards per game.

    Tony Pollard, Dallas Cowboys (vs. HOU) (DraftKings DFS Value: $6,700)

    Pollard has been on quite the rip over the last month—since Week 10 no running back in the NFC has more PPR fantasy points. There's no reason to think Pollard's prodigious production won't continue in Week 14 against the worst run defense in the NFL.


    Wide Receiver

    Chris Godwin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (at SF) (DraftKings DFS Value: $6,700)

    Godwin has been on a roll—he has at least six catches and 70 yards in three straight games and scored in two of those contests. The 49ers aren't a bad matchup for receivers, as they have allowed the 10th-most PPR points per game to wideouts in 2022.

    Christian Kirk, Jacksonville Jaguars (at TEN) (DraftKings DFS Value: $6,600)

    Kirk has been as advertised in his first season with the Jaguars—he's on pace to top 1,100 receiving yards and ranks among the top 12 receivers in PPR points. That career year should continue Sunday against a Titans secondary that was just embarrassed by A.J. Brown and the Eagles.


    Tight End

    Gerald Everett, Los Angeles Chargers (vs. MIA) (DraftKings DFS Value: $4,300)

    Everett caught five passes last week against the Raiders for a season-high 80 yards. The sixth-year veteran is set up well for another good effort this week against a Dolphins defense allowing the most fantasy points per game in the AFC to tight ends this season.

    T.J. Hockenson, Minnesota Vikings (at DET) (DraftKings DFS Value: $5,100)

    Hockenson's return to Detroit has everything a fantasy manager could ask for. In addition to a matchup with a leaky Lions defense allowing the fifth-most PPR points to tight ends, there's the revenge factor of Hockenson facing the team that sent him packing earlier this season.

Week 14 Must-Fades

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    Dameon Pierce
    Peter Joneleit/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

    No time is a good time for a player to bust.

    There's no good time for Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa to post one of his worst fantasy outings of the season—as he did last week in San Francisco.

    There's no good time for Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry to manage just 30 rushing yards on 11 carries—as he did last week in Philadelphia.

    There's no good time for Jaylen Waddle of the Dolphins to join his quarterback in Bustville with just one catch for nine yards—as he did a week ago against the Niners.

    But the later we get into the season, the worse the timing for that sort of face-plant gets.


    Quarterback

    Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys (vs. HOU) (DraftKings DFS Value: $6,500)

    Prescott has been a decent weekly starter for fantasy managers—he's ninth in points among quarterbacks since Week 7. But for all the Texans' issues, they have allowed the fewest fantasy points to QBs in the AFC.

    Deshaun Watson, Cleveland Browns (at CIN) (DraftKings DFS Value: $6,400)

    Any illusions that Watson could go right back to being a valuable fantasy commodity were quickly wrecked by a miserable 2022 debut against the Texans. A rusty quarterback in a bad matchup is not how fantasy matchups are won.


    Running Back

    James Conner, Arizona Cardinals (vs. NE) (DraftKings DFS Value: $6,900)

    Conner has been Arizona red-hot the past several weeks—he's a top-five back in PPR points per game over the past month. But that hot streak is in jeopardy this week against a New England defense that has allowed the fewest fantasy points per game to running backs in the AFC.

    Dameon Pierce, Houston Texans (at DAL) (DraftKings DFS Value: $6,000)

    Pierce has been in quite the funk over the past several weeks, although he was serviceable last week against the Browns. That mini-rebound will end before it really started—Dallas has surrendered the fifth-fewest PPR points per game to running backs this season.


    Wide Receiver

    Gabe Davis, Buffalo Bills (vs. NYJ) (DraftKings DFS Value: $5,300)

    Davis was targeted seven times last week and found the end zone, but he also managed just two catches for 15 yards. Davis is a high-variance, matchup-dependent fantasy option—and this week's date with "Sauce" Gardner and the Jets isn't a good one.

    JuJu Smith-Schuster, Kansas City Chiefs (at DEN) (DraftKings DFS Value: $5,600)

    The Chiefs offense continues to roll, but Smith-Schuster has been quiet over the past few weeks. The slump isn't particularly likely to end this week in Denver—for all their issues, the Broncos are 31st in PPR points per game allowed to wideouts this season.


    Tight End

    Tyler Conklin, New York Jets (at BUF) (DraftKings DFS Value: $3,100)

    Much like the Jets wide receivers, Conklin has benefited from New York's change to Mike White under center. But this week has the makings of a letdown game—the Bills have given up the seventh-fewest PPR points per game to tight ends in 2022.

    Noah Fant, Seattle Seahawks (vs. CAR) (DraftKings DFS Value: $3,100)

    Fant helped lead fantasy managers to victory last week, catching four passes for 42 yards and a touchdown. Don’t get caught chasing last week's numbers though—Carolina ranks 23rd in PPR points per game allowed to tight ends after 13 weeks.

Week 14 Mastering the Matchups

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    Latavius Murray
    AP Photo/Jacob Kupferman

    In a perfect world, fantasy managers wouldn't need a matchup play in Week 14. Everyone could just roll out high-end fantasy options at every position and bask in their own greatness as the points roll in.

    Sunshine and happiness all around. Joy to the world. So on and etc.

    But we do not live in a perfect world. Injuries continue to mount across the NFL, with Seattle running back Ken Walker III just the latest big name to get banged up. Some players continue to fail to meet expectations. And for reasons known only to God and Roger Goodell, the NFL thought a six-team bye week would be groovy in Week 14.

    Thanks for nothing, y'all.

    Whatever, the reason, plenty of managers need an under-the-radar play to come up big in Week 14.


    Quarterback

    Tyler Huntley, Baltimore Ravens (at PIT) (DraftKings DFS Value: $5,500)

    Huntley showed quite clearly last year that he can be a fantasy-relevant quarterback filling in for Lamar Jackson. Huntley is essentially a poor man's Jackson—similar skill sets, just not quite as good. The Ravens won't change their offense, which should mean quite a few designed QB runs.

    Mac Jones, New England Patriots (at ARI) (DraftKings DFS Value: $5,100)

    Jones doesn't inspire a ton of fantasy enthusiasm, but the second-year pro has shown the ability to light up shaky secondaries. On Thanksgiving against the Minnesota Vikings, Jones threw for a career-high 382 yards and two scores.


    Running Back

    Raheem Mostert, Miami Dolphins (at LAC) (DraftKings DFS Value: $5,400)

    Last week against the San Francisco 49ers, Mostert served as Miami's clear No. 1 running back. The Chargers have been shredded with regularity on the ground this season, allowing 151.6 yards per game and the fourth-most PPR points per game to running backs.

    Latavius Murray, Denver Broncos (vs. KC) (DraftKings DFS Value: $5,200)

    That Murray may well be the most reliable offensive player for the Broncos this season says a lot about how terrible they have been on that side of the ball. Murray is Denver's clear-cut lead back ahead of a favorable RB matchup.


    Wide Receiver

    Mack Hollins, Las Vegas Raiders (at LAR) (DraftKings DFS Value: $4,400)

    Over the last three weeks, Hollins has piled up 23 targets, posting double-digit PPR points twice over that span. Now Hollins faces a Rams defense that has allowed the seventh-most PPR points per game to wide receivers this season.

    George Pickens, Pittsburgh Steelers (vs. BAL) (DraftKings DFS Value: $5,000)

    Pickens walked back his complaints about his role in the Steelers offense, but players who grouse about targets sometimes see a bump in looks the following week. A plus matchup with the Ravens' 25th-ranked pass defense would be a good week to get that bump.


    Tight End

    Hunter Henry, New England Patriots (at ARI) (DraftKings DFS Value: $3,200)

    Henry hasn't been nearly as productive in 2022 as he was in his first season with the Patriots. But this week the Pats face an Arizona defense that tends to make every tight end it faces look like Rob Gronkowski meets Tony Gonzalez.

    Jack Stoll, Philadelphia Eagles (at NYG) (DraftKings DFS Value: $2,800)

    Stoll had his best game since taking over for Dallas Goedert in last week's win over the Titans, catching three passes for 41 yards. This week the Eagles take on a Giants team that has surrendered the eighth-most PPR points per game to tight ends.

Week 14 Fantasy Stock Market

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    Travis Kelce
    Ian Johnson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

    In the vast majority of redraft fantasy leagues, there's no more dealmaking in 2022—the trade deadline has passed.

    However, dynasty fantasy football leagues are like 7-11—open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. With the playoffs just around the corner, there are two distinct camps. There are the buyers—the contenders looking to fortify the roster ahead of a postseason run. And there are the sellers—teams looking to add either draft picks or players whose value could see a major boost next season.

    With that in mind, this final round of the Fantasy Stock Market will focus on dynasty formats—on players who should either be stashed with an eye toward next year or moved while their value is still at its apex.


    BUY LOW

    Matthew Stafford, QB, Los Angeles Rams

    The Rams have been a disaster this season, and Stafford has been a disaster along with them. But while it seems like Stafford has been in the NFL forever, he will still only be 35 when the 2023 season begins. Last year, Stafford was seventh in fantasy points among quarterbacks. And right now, he can probably be had for a bag of Combos and a six-pack of Dr. Pepper.

    Kareem Hunt, RB, Cleveland Browns

    Hunt has been mostly invisible as the No. 2 running back in Cleveland this season, but he's slated for free agency in the spring and will be the top running back who actually has a realistic shot at changing teams (Saquon Barkley isn't going anywhere). Hunt is 27, hasn't suffered a ton of wear and tear the past few years and has a rushing title on his NFL resume. Imagine him in, say, Miami.

    Parris Campbell, WR, Indianapolis Colts

    The class of wide receivers set to hit free agency in 2023 is short on marquee names. But there are quite a few players who could see a huge boost in value with a change in scenery. Campbell has finally been able to stay healthy this year and has flashed the talent that made him a second-round pick. Were he to sign with a team that has a functioning passing game, he could break out next year.

    Kyle Pitts, TE, Atlanta Falcons

    Pitts' second season was less breakout than breakdown. He wasn't very productive when healthy, and then he got hurt. His talent didn't evaporate, though. Take the temperature of the Pitts' manager in your league. If they are put off enough by this year's fiasco, you might be able to get Pitts at a discount.


    SELL HIGH

    Geno Smith, QB, Seattle Seahawks

    Smith's resurgence is one of the best feel-good stories in the NFL this year—the 32-year-old has gone from the scrap heap to a legit fantasy QB1. But there's no guarantee that this year was the beginning of a trend and not a one-shot deal. With injuries hitting the quarterback position the past few weeks, now could be the ideal time to get a good return for Smith.

    Derrick Henry, RB, Tennessee Titans

    Henry is the most punishing running back in the league. He has rebounded from a slow start to once again post high-end RB1 numbers. But he's also a soon-to-be 29-year-old running back who has carried the ball over 1,600 times in his career. Maybe Henry will continue to put off the ravages of age and workload next year. But maybe he won't. Rebuilding teams shouldn't roll those dice.

    Mike Evans, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

    Evans remains on pace to record a ninth straight 1,000-yard season, but we're already seeing his numbers dip a bit—he hasn't posted 11 PPR points in a game in a month. Add in that the Buccaneers could be headed for a franchise reset if Tom Brady retires, and if you can get a WR1 return for a player who is becoming a WR2, it's a good idea.

    Travis Kelce, TE, Kansas City Chiefs

    Kelce is the unquestioned king of fantasy tight ends. The top scorer at his position in fantasy by a wide margin. But he's also 33 years old and could command a king's ransom from a contending team looking for a final piece to put it over the top. If you're rebuilding, Kelce is exponentially more valuable on the market than in your lineup.

Week 14 Reading the Defense

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    Micah Parsons
    Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images

    Generally speaking, defenses are an afterthought in fantasy. Few fantasy managers spend much time or effort deciding on a starter at the position. And there are reasons for that. Defense is a high-variance position, and the No. 1 defense for the season (the Dallas Cowboys) ranks 65th overall.

    But at a time of year when every point matters that much more, several defenses reminded us just how valuable having the right defense can be.

    Thanks to three non-offensive touchdowns, the Cleveland Browns were the sixth-highest-scoring player overall in Week 13. Thanks to three sacks and five takeaways, the Cowboys were 15th. And the San Francisco 49ers parlayed three sacks, four takeaways and a touchdown into finishing No. 22.

    Getting a big number like that can be the difference between a win and a loss for fantasy managers.

    Defense matters.


    Strong D/ST Plays

    Kansas City Chiefs (at DEN) (DraftKings DFS Value: $3,900)

    Just as with the Browns facing the Texans last week, this call is all about the matchup—the Broncos are 27th in total offense, dead last in scoring offense and have given up the sixth-most fantasy points per game to defenses this season.

    Seattle Seahawks (vs. CAR) (DraftKings DFS Value: $3,600)

    The Seahawks disappointed in a prime matchup with the Rams last week, although the team's four sacks and two interceptions salvaged a serviceable stat line. Still, a second straight top-10 fantasy matchup with the Panthers makes it tempting to give Seattle another chance.

    Las Vegas Raiders (at LAR) (DraftKings DFS Value: $3,400)

    The Raiders defense has shown improvement over their three-game winning streak, but this is all about who the Raiders are playing. The Rams are last in the NFC in total offense and have surrendered the most fantasy points per game to defenses in the NFC.


    Weak D/ST Plays

    San Francisco 49ers (vs. TB) (DraftKings DFS Value: $3,200)

    The 49ers sport one of the league's best defenses—no team has allowed fewer yards per game, and only the Cowboys have more fantasy points. But Tom Brady and the Buccaneers don't allow points to the position—27th in the league after 13 weeks.

    Pittsburgh Steelers (vs. BAL) (DraftKings DFS Value: $2,800)

    Starting the Steelers against a Ravens offense that managed just 10 points last week with a backup quarterback may appear a good idea. But the Ravens offense didn't backslide that much with Tyler Huntley under center in 2021, and Baltimore hasn't been a good fantasy matchup in 2022.

    New York Jets (at BUF) (DraftKings DFS Value: $2,500)

    The Jets defense carried the team during the dark days of the Zach Wilson era, and New York ranks fourth in total defense, sixth in scoring defense and eighth in fantasy points. But Buffalo is a bottom-five fantasy matchup for defenses—and a team looking for payback after losing to the Jets earlier this season.

Week 14 Fantasy Mailbag

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    Marquise Brown
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Every week during the 2022 season, I'll be pulling a handful of fantasy football questions from the Bleacher Report app and answering them here. Hopefully, those answers will aid not only the managers making the query but others as well.

    Have a question you want answered? Head on over to the fantasy football section of the app and make with the asking.


    My questions for this week…Start Josh Jacobs on the short week? Najee Harris or D'Andre Swift to start with him? And do I bench Amari Cooper for Swift, Harris or Marquise Brown? -- @cclaypool

    Given that Austin Ekeler is the only running back with more fantasy points than Jacobs, he's an every-week start. Swift vs. Harris is a close call—if you need every possible point, go Swift, but he's nicked up and workload fluctuation is a concern, making Harris a safer play. Cooper is about to make an appearance in this column for all the wrong reasons. Assuming your league is PPR, Brown gets that spot. In standard scoring, the other running back should.


    Demarcus Robinson or James Cook? -- @NotDamienHarris

    First off, @NotDamienHarris definitely is Damien Harris. This is an easy call—Cook logged a season-high 20 touches for 105 yards last week, and while his matchup with the Jets isn't great, he's a much safer bet for touches than Robinson. With the latter, you're hoping that a backup quarterback for one of the league's most run-heavy teams will target him in the red zone. Hope is not a strategy.


    Can't believe I'm asking this…I know the answer, but should I start Tua Tagovailoa or Jared Goff? This is for a playoff spot. -- @phinatik

    I get it. You need a win, so you start ruminating on every possible lineup combination. Yes, Goff had a better game than Tagovailoa last week. Yes, Goff has a better matchup this week in terms of fantasy points allowed. And, yes, Vikings-Lions has the highest over/under at DraftKings in Week 14. However, Tagovailoa's matchup isn't bad (the Chargers have allowed the 11th-most points per game to quarterbacks), and Dolphins-Chargers has the second-highest over/under of the week. Assuming Tagovailoa's sore ankle isn't a major problem and he practices, don't overthink this. Overthinking is bad. Roll with Tua time.


    I have been streaming tight ends most of the year, and I can't decide which way to go in Week 14. Foster Moreau or Hunter Henry? @MaxxRax77

    This is a very close call—and a matter of ceiling vs. floor. In the latter regard, I tend to give the edge to Moreau—he's averaging five targets per game over the last month. But if you are willing to roll the dice in the pursuit of a higher potential ceiling, go with Henry against a Cardinals team that has allowed over 19 PPR points per game to tight ends in 2022.


    I'm set on starting CeeDee Lamb and Garrett Wilson at wide receiver this week. Who gets the third spot—Diontae Johnson, Josh Palmer or Tyler Boyd? -- @Sammy26

    Boyd is an easy player to pass on here—with Ja'Marr Chase healthy again, he's back to third in the wideout pecking order for Cincy. There was a time when Johnson would have been an easy call here, but times change—Johnson has two games with 10-plus PPR points over the last seven and has yet to score a touchdown. With Mike Williams out, Palmer has become a big part of the Chargers offense—he's hit that same 10-point mark in five of his last six outings. Even with Williams back at (estimated) practice, Palmer gets the call.

THE Fantasy Bust of Week 14

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    Amari Cooper
    Nick Cammett/Diamond Images via Getty Images

    Generally, no single player can make or break an entire season. Even cataclysmic injuries to top-five picks can sometimes be overcome with some waiver-wire magic and/or a trade or two.

    However, at this time of year it's a different story. Many fantasy managers are up against it. They simply cannot afford another loss. If a player lays an egg and said egg leads to a defeat, that's it. The season's over. It's despair and doom and gloom and misery.

    Because all of those things are unpleasant, we're going to conclude each edition of the B/R Guide to Dominating Fantasy Football with one player who will define the week to come, for better or worse. The Boom (or Bust) of the Week.

    In Week 14, it's a bust—a big name set to be an even bigger disappointment.


    Amari Cooper, WR, Cleveland Browns (at CIN) (DraftKings DFS Value: $6,200)

    Cooper has been everything the Browns hoped he would be when they traded for him—the eighth-year veteran has recorded four 100-yard games. He's one touchdown away from tying his career high of eight. Cooper is on pace to flirt with 1,200 receiving yards. And he ranks among the top 12 wide receivers in PPR points for the season.

    That's the good news. Now here comes the bad news—and there's rather a lot of it.

    For starters, almost all of that production came with Jacoby Brissett under center for the Browns. Last week was Deshaun Watson's first start of the 2022 season, and it did not go well—12 completions in 22 attempts for 131 yards, Cooper saw nine targets in that game, but he caught just four for 40 yards. The receptions and yardage were both under his season average.

    In addition to diving for worm-burners from a rusty quarterback, Cooper also has to contend with a bad matchup in Week 14—the Bengals enter the week surrendering the fifth-fewest PPR points per game to receivers this season.

    Given those circumstances, after spending most of the season as a WR1, Cooper's fantasy ceiling is likely a so-so WR2 in Week 14. His floor looks a lot like last week's WR53 finish. And the latter is sadly more likely than the former.


    Looking for fantasy rankings? Check out Gary's Week 14 Big Board!

    Eligibility restrictions apply. See draftkings.com for details.

    Gary Davenport is a two-time Fantasy Sports Writers Association Football Writer of the Year. Follow him on Twitter at @IDPSharks.

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