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

Steve Silverman@@profootballboyFeatured ColumnistDecember 7, 2018

Deshaun Watson continues to rise up the fantasy football ladder.
Deshaun Watson continues to rise up the fantasy football ladder.Eric Christian Smith/Associated Press

Depending on the type of league that fantasy football players are involved in, NFL Week 14 could be the last week of the regular season or the first week of the playoffs.

No matter what the situation, it's quite critical. If it's the last week of the regular season, making the right choice in your lineup could lead to a spot in the fantasy playoffs or a ticket to watch the action the rest of the way.

If it's the start of the playoffs, winning this week could result in a share of your league's postseason pool, and that's the reason many fantasy players get involved.

Whether fantasy players are competing for cash, pride or both, we are here to help you. Here's a look at the five players at each position who have the matchups we love, as well as predictions on specific production outcomes and further details for one player at each position.

Quarterbacks

1. Deshaun Watson, Houston Texans vs. Indianapolis Colts, 325 yards, 3 TDs, 40 rushing yards
2. Philip Rivers, Los Angeles Chargers vs Cincinnati, 315 yards, 3 TDs
3. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers at Oakland Raider, 285 yards, 3 TDs
4. Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints at Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 275 yards, 3 TDs
5. Tom Brady, New England Patriots at Miami Dolphins, 265 yards, 2 TDs

     

Deshaun Watson had some excellent moments as a rookie prior to suffering an ACL injury, but he came into the 2018 season having to prove himself when he reported to training camp.

Watson has done everything he could to answer those issues this season, and the results have been sensational for the 9-3 Houston Texans. Watson has put together an excellent statistical season to this point, completing 242 of 364 passes for 3,031 yards with 21 touchdowns and nine interceptions.

He has also run for 375 yards and two touchdowns, making him a dual threat, and that factor has opened things up for head coach Bill O'Brien's offense.

Fantasy general managers and coaches should also realize that Watson has continued to demonstrate that he is a leader for the Texans, and that supplements his physical talents. While this kind of intangible would not seem to impact fantasy football, it is a huge factor.

When Watson calls a play in the huddle or barks out signals, he believes in himself, and that's something that could not be said about previous Houston quarterbacks.

"Ever since the start of the year, I have had my confidence and everything," Watson said, per John Newby of 247Sports, prior to the Texans' Week 13 win over the Browns. "I have felt fine and things have just been going our way the last eight weeks. I feel very comfortable. Just improving, trying to continue to build my craft and continue to stack these wins."

The Indianapolis Colts have also been an improved team this year, and they had won five games in a row prior to last week's head-shaking 6-0 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars.

The Colts are in playoff contention, so they are going to have to play their best football from this point forward, and Andrew Luck should respond with a big game against the Texans.

That means Watson is also going to have to be at his best, and we see a sharp and winning effort here from him.

Running backs

1. Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys vs. Philadelphia Eagles, 135 yards, 2 TDs, 35 receiving yards
2. Todd Gurley, Los Angeles Rams at Chicago Bears, 125 yards, 2 TDs, 30 receiving yards
3. Saquon Barkley, New York Giants at Washington Redskins, 125 yards, 1 TD, 30 receiving yards
4. Alvin Kamara, New Orleans Saints at Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 115 yards, 1 TD, 25 receiving yards
5. Phillip Lindsay, Denver Broncos at San Francisco 49ers, 95 yards, 1 TD

      

Ezekiel Elliott has heard all the football experts declare that Todd Gurley is the best running back in the NFL. That has not been music to his ears, because Elliott has been a game-changing player for the Cowboys for three seasons after a brilliant college career at Ohio State.

In addition to the declarations made about Gurley, Elliott has had to listen to all the praise that has been heaped on New York Giants rookie Saquon Barkley, and that's one more back that is climbing up the actual and fantasy ladders.

Elliott has been surging in recent weeks, and that coincides with the Cowboys winning four games in a row and vaulting to the top of the NFC East. Elliott has been running with power and urgency, and he has 1,149 yards on 240 carries and six rushing TDs. He has added 423 receiving yards and three more touchdowns.

Elliott has been hot recently, with 469 rushing yards and three touchdowns in the last four games. The first of those games was a 151-yard effort against the Eagles. The Cowboys play their most crucial game of the season Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles, and Elliott will need to be at his best.

The Eagles have not resembled the team that won the Super Bowl last season, but they have played better recently in wins over the New York Giants and Washington Redskins. Elliott will be the best player on the field in that game as the Cowboys earn their fifth straight victory.

Wide receivers

1. Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh Steelers at Oakland Raiders, 115 yards, 2 TDs
2. DeAndre Hopkins, Houston Texans vs. Indianapolis Colts, 110 yards, 1 TD
3. Keenan Allen, Los Angeles Chargers vs. Cincinnati Bengals, 105 yards, 1 TD
4. Michael Thomas, New Orleans Saints at Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 100 yards, 1 TD
5. JuJu Smith-Schuster, Pittsburgh Steelers at Oakland Raiders, 95 yards, 1 TD

     

It will take a lot more than a slight downturn in his statistical output for us to believe that Antonio Brown is not the best wide receiver in the NFL.

Brown has had a few ups and downs this season for the Steelers, but he has still caught 81 passes for 1,028 yards and 12 touchdowns. Teammate JuJu Smith-Schuster has two more receptions than Brown, and while that could indicate a lessening of Brown's impact or ability, we see it as something to trigger a tremendous stretch run by the All-Pro receiver.

Brown has explosive speed and body control when he runs his deep patterns, and he also has incredible footwork and hands when he goes towards the sidelines. His skill level is so high that the brilliant athletes on the other side of the ball are regularly getting outclassed by Brown's sensational ability.

The Steelers have dropped back-to-back games against the Denver Broncos and Los Angeles Chargers. The loss to Los Angeles was a painful one for the Steelers because they had played well early in the game and had a lead and let it slip away in the second half.

Pittsburgh's once-comfortable two-and-a-half-game lead in the AFC North is down to half a game, and that means the team should have a focused effort against the Oakland Raiders. There will be no letup in this game, and Brown should have a dominant game against Jon Gruden's struggling team.

The Steelers get back on the winning track and Brown has a huge game.

Tight ends

1. Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs vs. Baltimore Ravens, 105 yards, 1 TD
2. Eric Ebron, Indianapolis Colts at Houston Texans, 95 yards, 1 TD
3. Rob Gronkowski, New England Patriots at Miami Dolphins, 90 yards, 1 TD
4. Zach Ertz, Philadelphia Eagles at Dallas Cowboys, 100 yards
5. George Kittle, San Francisco 49ers vs. Denver Broncos, 75 yards, 1 TD

     

The Kansas City Chiefs are used to dominating because of their sensational offensive skill that has allowed them to rise to the top of the AFC.

While the Chiefs are 10-2, they are not assured of the No. 1 seed in the AFC or the AFC West title. They are being chased by the New England Patriots and Chargers as they prepare for their Week 14 home game with the Baltimore Ravens.

The Ravens can't compare with the Chiefs in terms of offensive production, but they have the No. 1 defense in the league in yardage allowed and scoring.

They will make it tougher on the Chiefs, and Kansas City will need its toughest offensive player to step up. That's Travis Kelce, who has moved to the top of the charts among tight ends. He can handle the physical play that the Ravens are known for and still make big plays consistently.

This game will be a tight one, and far more low-scoring than football fans are used to seeing from the Chiefs. However, Kelce will have a productive game and will lead all tight ends in production this week. 

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