Fantasy Football Week 14 BS Meter
Congratulations to all who made it this far in the season, especially if you survived the ugliness of Week 13. Between injuries, top players coming up short and way too many useless touchdowns, it was a week to forget. If you're still alive, it's time to focus on the fantasy playoffs.
It's easy to put your trust in Todd Gurley or Patrick Mahomes, but what about the players who are heading in the wrong direction at the most important time of the season?
Even though he's been the leader of the Atlanta Falcons backfield for the majority of the season, Tevin Coleman hasn't been a top fantasy option. You could blame the lack of quality touches, presence of Ito Smith or a shaky Falcons defense that limits Coleman's carries, but the bottom line is he doesn't have a lot working in his favor. Put some thought into any lineup decision involving Coleman. Don't let his name value carry too much weight.
You may have thought Spencer Ware was a lock to be in your lineup for the rest of the season. While he should be a mostly reliable RB2 down the stretch, he's a step down from who the Kansas City Chiefs had leading the backfield. The same could be said for Austin Ekeler with the Los Angeles Chargers. Handcuffs are important, but they won't necessarily replace all lost fantasy production.
The B.S. Meter breaks down 10 situations covering the most pressing issues in fantasy football heading into Week 14. The statements will be rated from 1 to 10 with 1 being completely true and 10 being total B.S.
Note: All fantasy stats used to calculate finishes are from FantasyPros. All advanced stats are calculated using data from Pro Football Reference. All stats are based on a points-per-reception (PPR) format.
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Phillip Lindsay Will Finish the Season as an RB1
The Denver Broncos have battled back into playoff contention on a three-game win streak with Phillip Lindsay continuing to lead the way. The team has every reason to stick with Lindsay as the focal point of the offense, which means you can expect more huge performances in the fantasy playoffs.
Lindsay seems to be getting better as the season goes along, as evidenced by his huge game against the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 13. He had season-highs in carries (19) and rushing yards (157) with two touchdowns, including a 65-yard romp through the Bengals defense. It marked his second straight game with 110-plus rushing yards and his fifth touchdown in three games.
Lindsay has hit the century mark three times and has at least 90 yards in five games. However, it should be noted he's hit at least 90 yards in four of his last six appearances. That's important because his two best games of the season came in the last two weeks with Royce Freeman back from injury.
Last week's Workload Watch covered how Lindsay has taken over the backfield in a big way with Freeman in more of a complementary role. In Week 13, Freeman was back up to 12 carries, but he had just 48 yards and didn't score or register a target. Freeman played 35.6 percent of the snaps compared to Lindsay's 42.4 percent, but some of that had to do with the lopsided score, as Lindsay's final touch came with 4:54 to go in the fourth quarter with Freeman taking over to finish the game.
Over the next three weeks, the Broncos face the San Francisco 49ers, Cleveland Browns and Oakland Raiders. The 49ers pose the toughest matchup by the numbers with just 108.2 rushing yards per game allowed, although the Seattle Seahawks got them for 168 yards in Week 13. Cleveland ranks fifth in rushing yards allowed (136.4) and Oakland is second (153.2).
For the season, Denver ranks fifth in rushing yards per game (132.5) and 23rd in passing yards per game (233.2). Riding Lindsay makes perfect sense since it's been successful, and the matchups dictate Lindsay should be able to continue his dominance. He scored 28.9 fantasy points in Week 13, which puts him inside the top 12 running backs for the season. He'll have a great chance to finish as an RB1.
B.S. Meter on Lindsay finishing the season as an RB1: 1/10
Jeff Wilson Jr. Should Be a Top Add off the Waiver Wire
Even though Matt Breida has battled a variety of injuries throughout the season, he's yet to miss a game and came into Week 13 fresh off back-to-back 100-yard performances against the New York Giants and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Breida came into last week with an ankle issue but was removed from the injury report following a full practice on Friday. He seemed like a strong RB2 option against the Seattle Seahawks.
According to Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle, head coach Kyle Shanahan said Breida aggravated the ankle injury during pregame warm-ups. That would explain why Breida was limited to just five carries for six yards and three receptions for 51 yards on three targets. In fact, Breida was only pushed into playing more because Jeff Wilson Jr. briefly missed time with a foot injury. Breida played just 10 snaps, his second-lowest total of the season.
The San Francisco 49ers made Alfred Morris a healthy scratch, so Wilson got the call after Breida was on the field for the first two plays of the game. Wilson turned 15 carries into 61 yards and caught eight of nine targets for 73 yards. He played 72.4 percent of the snaps and had a top-10 running back performance with 19.4 fantasy points.
Wilson's only other appearance of the season came in Week 12 when he carried seven times for 33 yards and caught his only target for eight yards. It's a small sample size, but with the 49ers clearly in evaluation mode, Wilson could see a featured role over the final month of the season. Opportunity matters enough to call Wilson a potential RB2 option since Breida is out in Week 14, according to Shanahan (via Nick Wagoner of ESPN.com).
B.S. Meter on Wilson being a top add off the waiver wire: 2/10
Josh Allen Is a Legit Streamer for the Fantasy Playoffs
Streaming quarterbacks for an entire season can make for some interesting lineup decisions when it comes to the fantasy playoffs. If you didn't get ahead on picking up a potential streamer for the next few weeks, the remaining options may not seem so appetizing, although you should keep an open mind.
That brings us to Josh Allen. The rookie regained the starting job in Week 12 and has been the team's leading rusher since with 234 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries in a win over the Jacksonville Jaguars and a loss to the Miami Dolphins. After completing just eight of 19 passes for 160 yards and a touchdown in Week 12, Allen connected on 18 of 33 attempts for 231 yards with two scores and two interceptions.
With 55 fantasy points in the last two weeks, Allen is the top-scoring fantasy quarterback. Obviously, much of that has come from Allen's legs, but his rushing production didn't start in Week 12. He rushed for at least 19 yards in six previous games and hit 20 rushing yards in six of total eight games. Much like Lamar Jackson, Allen has been able to produce strong fantasy numbers thanks to his legs.
Allen and the Buffalo Bills will face the New York Jets, Detroit Lions and New England Patriots in the next three weeks. That means he'll have solid matchups with two teams out of contention and will likely need to do everything possible to beat the Patriots. You may not need him for all three games, but Allen is doing enough to be on the streamer radar in the fantasy playoffs.
B.S. Meter on Allen being a legit streamer for the fantasy playoffs: 3/10
Corey Davis Is Titans' Only Must-Start Fantasy Option
The Tennessee Titans sit at 6-6, still in the mix for a playoff spot in the AFC, yet it's been hard to put a lot of trust in their offense as it relates to fantasy. Following losses to the Indianapolis Colts and Houston Texans, Tennessee needed a final-minute touchdown to beat the New York Jets.
Corey Davis salvaged his fantasy day by scoring that final touchdown, which gave him three receptions, 42 yards and a score on seven targets. That was enough for a top-20 finish with 14.4 fantasy points. Over the last four weeks, Davis is averaging 17.1 fantasy points per game, which puts him among the top 15 wide receivers. Despite the up-and-down nature of the Titans offense, he's been a reliable player.
Unfortunately, the same can't be said for any other member of the Titans. Over the last three games, Dion Lewis has just 68 yards on 23 carries and 10 receptions for 39 yards on 12 targets. During that same span, Derrick Henry has 27 carries for 116 yards and a touchdown with four receptions for 24 yards on five targets. Neither Lewis nor Henry is averaging even eight fantasy points in those three games.
Even though Davis has played well enough to be a strong WR2 in the last month, Marcus Mariota hasn't been able to crack the top 15 quarterbacks. Mariota is averaging just 17.2 fantasy points per game during that time, so he's been a risky streamer.
Even though the Titans remain in the hunt, the inconsistent nature of their offense makes it hard to feel good about anyone outside of Davis when it comes to your starting lineup.
B.S. Meter on Davis being the Titans only must-start fantasy option: 4/10
Chris Carson Is Still the Clear Leader of the Seahawks Backfield
Heading into Week 13, there was some optimism for Rashaad Penny's role against the San Francisco 49ers. According to Andy Patton of USA Today's Seahawks Wire, when offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer was asked about Penny, he said, "I expect that he will play well this weekend. Expect that we need to get the running game back going again, and I think he'll be a big part of that."
Typically, when the Seahawks talk up a running back, it's overly positive and doesn't necessarily translate to fantasy production. To their credit, Penny did come through with 65 yards on seven carries, including a 20-yard touchdown run on just 20.7 percent of the snaps. It wasn't Penny's busiest game of the season in terms of snaps or touches, but it was his second-best rushing effort.
Chris Carson still led the way with 13 carries for 69 yards and season highs in receptions (three) and receiving yards (39). Carson still outscored Penny 13.8-12.5 and was still the top Seahawks back, but Penny did enough to finish inside the top 25.
The question for Week 14 and the future of this backfield centers on Carson's finger injury. He has a dislocated finger, but according to head coach Pete Carroll, Carson "should be OK" (via John Boyle of Seahawks.com). Of course, this will still be a situation to monitor throughout the week, and even though there may be enough to go around if the Seahawks use Carson and Penny, it would bump Carson down to low-RB2 territory and bump Penny into a potential RB3/flex option.
B.S. Meter on Carson still being the clear leader of the Seahawks backfield: 5/10
Spencer Ware Is the Chiefs' Only Relevant Running Back
The Kansas City Chiefs needed Spencer Ware to step into the starting role on short notice for Week 13, but he had a couple of things working in his favor. Just two years ago, Ware led the backfield for the Chiefs and was a strong fantasy asset. Plus, Ware was lucky enough to face one of the worst run defenses in the league in the Oakland Raiders.
From a touch and snap standpoint, Ware was clearly the man in the Chiefs backfield. He played 71 percent of the snaps, which topped his previous season high of 33.9 percent in Week 10. He handled a team-high 14 carries but produced just 47 rushing yards, although that did include a touchdown. Unfortunately, he had just a single reception on his only target for five yards. He produced 12.2 fantasy points, which put him outside the top 25 running backs for the week.
Damien Williams also worked his way into the mix with five carries for 38 yards and two receptions for seven yards on his two targets. Williams was on the field for 27 percent of the snaps. He clearly played behind Ware, but the production was similar outside of the touchdown.
The Chiefs added Charcandrick West to the backfield this week, and while he likely doesn't have much fantasy value, he is familiar with the team and playbook after spending the first four years of his career with the Chiefs before getting cut in August. He adds depth to this backfield, but not much more.
While Ware is definitely the top fantasy option in this backfield, Williams could find his way into the mix a little more, especially in the passing game. Consider Ware a decent RB and Williams an emergency RB3/flex play.
B.S. Meter on Ware being the Chiefs only relevant fantasy back: 6/10
Dante Pettis Will Cool Off Down the Stretch
The San Francisco 49ers have been in evaluation mode for quite some time—although a lot of that has to do with injuries. The backfield was supposed to be all about Jerick McKinnon, but he was lost for the season before Week 1 with an ACL tear. Matt Breida has mostly led the way, although Alfred Morris was getting a bigger piece of the pie in the year's first half. Now, the 49ers will turn to Jeff Wilson Jr.
We're seeing similar turnover in the wide receiver corps. Marquise Goodwin was projected to be the top wideout, but injuries and personal issues have limited him to eight games. Pierre Garcon (knee) has also battled injuries that continue to keep him out of action. Goodwin and Garcon's absences in the last two weeks opened the door for Dante Pettis, and he's taken full advantage of increased opportunities.
After Pettis caught four of seven targets for 77 yards and a touchdown in Week 12, he followed that with five receptions for 129 yards and two scores on seven targets in Week 13. That gives him the top receiving performance of any 49ers receiver this season and only the fourth 100-yard effort on the team all year. He played more than 90 percent of the snaps in each of the last two games.
Pettis ranks fourth among wide receivers with 47.4 fantasy points in the last two weeks. According to Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area, head coach Kyle Shanahan said Goodwin is expected to return for Week 14. However, that still leaves room for Pettis to stay in an active role, especially since the team should want to get an extended look at him over the final month.
You don't have to set the bar at the WR1 level Pettis has been at for the last two weeks, but if he continues to get a solid target share, he'll have WR3 potential.
B.S. Meter on Pettis cooling off down the stretch: 7/10
Tevin Coleman Is Still a Weekly Starter
Frustrations with Tevin Coleman may have hit a breaking point in Week 13. While not considered a great starting option in a tough matchup with the Baltimore Ravens, Coleman had a season-low six carries for eight yards and just one catch for three yards on three targets. He was on the field for 54.7 percent of the snaps.
Meanwhile, Ito Smith was on the field for 45.3 percent of the snaps, his second-highest snap share of the season. For some reason, Smith ended up with more carries than Coleman (7) but had just 22 yards and one catch for no gain on his only target.
According to Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com, head coach Dan Quinn said it was not by design for Smith to have more carries than Coleman. There hasn't been much of a plan in this backfield all season. The Falcons rank 31st with 20.8 rushing attempts per game and last with 79 rushing yards per contest.
The inclusion of Smith hasn't helped the backfield and only steals touches from Coleman, which is a problem since the Falcons don't run the ball much. Over the last four weeks, Coleman is averaging just 8.6 fantasy points per game, which means he's not even a good RB3/flex option. Do not feel the need to keep playing Coleman based on his past reputation. He's in a bad situation with little hope of improvement.
B.S. Meter on Coleman still being a weekly starter: 8/10
Joe Mixon Is the Only Reliable Fantasy Option in Cincinnati
A bad season for the Cincinnati Bengals got worse when A.J. Green had a setback with the toe injury that kept him out for three contests. In his first game back Sunday, Green registered just a single catch for seven yards before he went down without any contact. According to Adam Schefter of ESPN, Green will have season-ending surgery on his torn ligaments. He'll join Andy Dalton (thumb) on injured reserve.
So where does that leave the Bengals for fantasy purposes? Even though he was limited to 11.5 fantasy points in Week 13, Joe Mixon remains on the RB1/RB2 borderline for the season at 17 fantasy points per game. He'll have an average matchup with the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 14 before easier games with the Oakland Raiders and Cleveland Browns the following two weeks.
Tyler Boyd may not be the top-15 fantasy wide receiver he was before Green's injury, but he's still doing enough to stay on the fantasy radar. Over the last three contests, he's had 17 receptions for 253 yards and a touchdown on 27 targets. It's hard to get too excited about Boyd's upside with Jeff Driskel playing in place of Dalton, but Boyd is the top option in the passing game. The volume alone makes him a solid WR3. He's averaging 14.5 FPG in the last month.
Any other Bengal aside from Mixon and Boyd is risky. You're better off steering clear of them for the rest of the year, especially with your season on the line in the fantasy playoffs.
B.S. Meter on Mixon being the only relevant fantasy option in Cincinnati: 9/10
A Coaching Change Will Immediately Boost the Packers Offense
The Green Bay Packers didn't wait until the end of the regular season to fire head coach Mike McCarthy. Offensive coordinator Joe Philbin will assume the interim head coach position. He served as the Packers offensive coordinator from 2007 to 2011 and then compiled a 24-28 record as the head coach of the Miami Dolphins from 2012 until his firing in 2015. Philbin spent the last two years as an assistant head coach and offensive line coach with the Indianapolis Colts.
Does this mean the Packers offense will get a boost for the season's final month? Probably not.
Aaron Rodgers has been playing with a knee injury since the first half of Week 1. Even though he hasn't missed a game, he's not 100 percent. He's completing just 61.8 percent of his passes, which would be his second-lowest mark since he took over as the starter in 2008.
While Rodgers is averaging 292 passing yards per game, he's averaging just 1.75 touchdowns. He's ninth among quarterbacks with 19.6 fantasy points per contest, but over the last four weeks, he's averaging just 16.7 FPG.
Perhaps the biggest example of coaching malpractice in Week 13 was the usage of Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams. Even though Jones has been the better back since he returned from his two-game suspension to open the year, it was a near even split in snaps, with Williams at 50 percent and Jones at 51.3 percent.
Jones carried 11 times for 36 yards with four receptions for 16 yards on four targets. Williams turned seven carries into 13 yards and had four receptions for 14 yards on four targets. Williams didn't have a target in his three previous games.
Other than Davante Adams, the Packers don't have a wide receiver with 30 receptions. Randall Cobb, who missed six games, still leads the rest of the wide receivers with 29 receptions. Marquez Valdes-Scantling leads the rest of the position with 432 receiving yards. After Adams, Jimmy Graham is second on the team in targets (72), receptions (44), receiving yards (536) and receiving touchdowns (2). Still, it's fair to call Graham a disappointment.
Considering Philbin has been part of this underwhelming team all year, he likely won't fix all the issues with just a month to go. What you see is what you get with the Packers, so don't expect the frustrations to go away with McCarthy out the door.
B.S. Meter on a coaching change immediately boosting the Packers offense: 10/10