Fantasy Football Week 14 Rankings: Projections for Players with Matchups We Love

Zach Buckley@@ZachBuckleyNBAFeatured Columnist IVDecember 9, 2022

Fantasy Football Week 14 Rankings: Projections for Players with Matchups We Love

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    MINNEAPOLIS, MN - DECEMBER 04: Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson (18) celebrates catching a pass during the NFL game between the New York Jets and the Minnesota Vikings on December 4th, 2022, at U.S. Bank Stadium, in Minneapolis, MN. (Photo by Bailey Hillesheim/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
    Bailey Hillesheim/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

    A good matchup doesn't necessarily guarantee a fantasy football eruption, but it sure can get things moving the right direction.

    Just ask Baker Mayfield.

    The newest Los Angeles Rams quarterback, who was only claimed on Tuesday after being waived by the Carolina Panthers on Monday, practiced once with the club and promptly played one of his best games of the 2022 NFL season. He steered a pair of fourth-quarter touchdown drives, finishing his night 22-of-35 for 230 yards, a touchdown and zero interceptions.

    Those numbers don't jump off the screen, but they exceeded all reasonable expectations. Guess which defense was on the other end of that performance. The Las Vegas Raiders, who have allowed the third-most fantasy points to quarterbacks, per Yahoo.

    With favorable matchups on the mind, we'll follow our Week 14 rankings at the three marquee positions with a breakdown of the players with the best matchups at each spot.

Quarterback

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    MINNEAPOLIS, MN - NOVEMBER 24: Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) makes a pass during a game between the Minnesota Vikings and New England Patriots on November 24, 2022, at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, MN.(Photo by Nick Wosika/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
    Nick Wosika/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

    Top 10

    1. Jalen Hurts, PHI (at NYG)

    2. Josh Allen, BUF (vs. NYJ)

    3. Joe Burrow, CIN (vs. CLE)

    4. Patrick Mahomes, KC (at DEN)

    5. Justin Herbert, LAC (vs. MIA)

    6. Tua Tagovailoa, MIA (at LAC)

    7. Geno Smith, SEA (vs. CAR)

    8. Kirk Cousins, MIN (at DET)

    9. Dak Prescott, DAL (vs. HOU)

    10. Kyler Murray, ARI (vs. NE)


    Top Matchup: Kirk Cousins at Detroit Lions

    Trusting Cousins to deliver in fantasy isn't always the most comfortable option—he's had three different outings of fewer than 200 passing yards—but when the stars align, his stats can take off.

    On Thanksgiving, he put up 299 passing yards and three touchdowns. Two games prior, he threw for a season-high 357 yards. That came on the heels of a 265-yard, two-score performance.

    He has talent and playmakers around him. He should be able to take advantage of both against the Lions, who have allowed more fantasy points to quarterbacks—by a wide margin—than any other defense.

    Projected stats: 276 passing yards, two touchdowns

Running Back

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    ARLINGTON, TX - DECEMBER 04: Dallas Cowboys running back Tony Pollard (20) carries the ball during the game between the Dallas Cowboys and the Indianapolis Colts on December 4, 2022 at AT&T Stadium in Dallas, TX. (Photo by George Walker/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
    George Walker/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

    Top 20

    1. Austin Ekeler, LAC (vs. MIA)

    2. Saquon Barkley, NYG (vs. PHI)

    3. Christian McCaffrey, SF (vs. TB)

    4. Derrick Henry, TEN (vs. JAX)

    5. Joe Mixon, CIN (vs. CLE)

    6. Rhamondre Stevenson, NE (at ARI)

    7. Dalvin Cook, MIN (at DET)

    8. Kenneth Walker III, SEA (vs. CAR)

    9. Tony Pollard, DAL (vs. HOU)

    10. Nick Chubb, CLE (at CIN)

    11. Travis Etienne Jr., JAX (at TEN)

    12. Ezekiel Elliott, DAL (vs. HOU)

    13. D'Andre Swift, DET (vs. MIN)

    14. Miles Sanders, PHI (at NYG)

    15. James Conner, ARI (vs. NE)

    16. Isiah Pacheco, KC (at DEN)

    17. Dameon Pierce, HOU (at DAL)

    18. D'Onta Foreman, CAR (at SEA)

    19. Jeff Wilson Jr., MIA (at LAC)

    20. Latavius Murray, DEN (vs. KC)


    Top Matchup: Tony Pollard vs. Houston Texans

    Name five more electric players than Pollard. We'll wait.

    Look, maybe you could do it, but it would take a while. And that explosion is massively important, since Pollard continues sharing the backfield with Ezekiel Elliott. That should cap Pollard's fantasy output, yet it somehow doesn't. On Sunday, he only handled 12 carries and two catches, and he still exploded his way to 106 scrimmage yards and two scores.

    Turning moderate volume into major production isn't easy, but he seems to have it down. He should get a case to keep showcasing that ability, too, as the Texans have allowed the most fantasy points to the position.

    Projected stats: 81 rushing yards, 22 receiving yards, two touchdowns

Wide Receiver

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    DETROIT, MICHIGAN - DECEMBER 04: Christian Kirk #13 of the Jacksonville Jaguars runs in action against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field on December 04, 2022 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images)
    Nic Antaya/Getty Images

    Top 20

    1. Justin Jefferson, MIN (at DET)

    2. Tyreek Hill, MIA (at LAC)

    3. Amon-Ra St. Brown, DET (vs. MIN)

    4. Stefon Diggs, BUF (vs. NYJ)

    5. Ja'Marr Chase, CIN (vs. CLE)

    6. CeeDee Lamb, DAL (vs. HOU)

    7. A.J. Brown, PHI (at NYG)

    8. DK Metcalf, SEA (vs. CAR)

    9. Keenan Allen, LAC (vs. MIA)

    10. Amari Cooper, CLE (at CIN)

    11. Jaylen Waddle, MIA (at LAC)

    12. Tee Higgins, CIN (vs. CLE)

    13. Garrett Wilson, NYJ (at BUF)

    14. Deebo Samuel, SF (vs. TB)

    15. DeAndre Hopkins, ARI (vs. NE)

    16. Chris Godwin, TB (at SF)

    17. Christian Kirk, JAX (at TEN)

    18. Tyler Lockett, SEA (vs. CAR)

    19. Mike Evans, TB (at SF)

    20. DeVonta Smith, PHI (at NYG)


    Top Matchup: Christian Kirk at Tennessee Titans

    Kirk isn't quite as consistent as you'd like from a top fantasy target, but his opportunities are some of the best around. He has seen at least eight targets in four consecutive games and hasn't had fewer than seven passes thrown his way since the middle of October.

    He can capitalize on those chances, too. On Sunday, he turned eight targets into six receptions for 104 yards. Two games before, he had nine catches on 12 targets for 105 yards and two touchdowns. The week prior, he caught eight of his nine targets for 76 yards and a score.

    Look for another huge outing this weekend, when he locks horns with a Titans defense allowing the most fantasy points to wide receivers.

    Projected stats: Eight receptions, 98 yards, one touchdown

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