For some fortunate and ill-fated NFL fantasy football managers, Week 14's matchup is already over.
Nothing epitomizes the futility and volatility of this game quite like Derrick Henry deciding a playoff round. The Tennessee Titans running back had compiled 230 total yards and four touchdowns over the last five games before dismantling the Jacksonville Jaguars for 238 rushing yards—exceeding his previous season high of 58—and another four scores.
Yet only a select few reaped the rewards of his week-altering performance:
Barring a barrage of bad luck to even out the karmic scales, those 18 percent of Yahoo participants would really need to mess up the rest of their lineup to not procure a Week 14 triumph. Those facing an active Henry, meanwhile, must manage accordingly by eschewing safer options for high-upside dynamos.
Let's accordingly break down a few big names with the ceiling (and floor) to also swing some postseason bouts. First, here are odds and final-score projections for all 15 remaining games to put the full slate into perspective.
NFL Week 14 Odds and Picks
Baltimore at Kansas City (-6.5, 51 O/U) | Pick: 27-20 KC
Indianapolis at Houston (-4.5, 50 O/U) | Pick: 30-28 HOU
Atlanta at Green Bay (-4.5, 51 O/U) | Pick: 28-24 ATL
N.Y. Jets at Buffalo (-3.5, 38 O/U) | Pick: 19-17 NYJ
N.Y. Giants (-3.5, 41 O/U) at Washington | Pick: 23-16 NYG
New Orleans (-9.5, 54.5 O/U) at Tampa Bay | Pick: 38-28 NO
New England (-7.5, 48 O/U) at Miami | Pick: 27-14 NE
Carolina (-1.5, 47.5 O/U) at Cleveland | Pick: 24-23 CAR
Denver (-3.5, 45 O/U) at San Francisco | Pick: 26-17 DEN
Cincinnati at L.A. Chargers (-14, 48 O/U) | Pick: 31-13 LAC
Detroit (-2.5, 40.5 O/U) at Arizona | Pick: 17-16 ARI
Philadelphia at Dallas (-3, 44.5 O/U) | Pick: 27-20 DAL
Pittsburgh (-10, 51.5 O/U) at Oakland | Pick: 35-17 PIT
L.A. Rams (-3, 51 O/U) at Chicago | Pick: 28-23 LAR
Minnesota at Seattle (-3, 45.5 O/U) | Pick: 27-24 MIN
Betting information, updated as of Friday evening, is courtesy of OddsShark.
Fantasy Stars to Watch
Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers
As long as he's healthy, Aaron Rodgers is a premier fantasy (and, of course, actual) quarterback. Gamers now find themselves questioning that constant.
The Green Bay Packers superstar has submitted one touchdown in back-to-back weeks while tallying a pedestrian 962 passing yards in his last four games.
He enters Week 14 as the 11th-highest scoring quarterback under standard Yahoo scoring. He's also averaging fewer points per game than Ryan Fitzpatrick and Mitchell Trubisky.
In the fantasy realm, Rodgers is now just another guy. Yet that doesn't mean investors should sit him this weekend.
Each of his past three opponents (Seattle Seahawks, Minnesota Vikings and Arizona Cardinals) reside among the top 12 in fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks. He can turn the tides and snap out of his funk against the Atlanta Falcons, who have ceded the second-most points to quarterbacks (22.9) after the Cincinnati Bengals.
If he fires close to his average 38.6 pass attempts, he's in line to broach 300 passing yards for just the fourth time this season. Seven opponents have already burned the Falcons for three or four touchdowns through the air. Turnovers also aren't a concern for Rodgers, who has surrendered only one pick.
An exploitable defense makes him a relatively safe play despite his struggles, and he's capable of returning to elite QB1 territory in Green Bay's first game since relieving Mike McCarthy of his head-coaching duties. This is the wrong week to consider benching the icon.
Projections: 27-of-40, 310 passing yards, 2 TDs, 0 INTs, 15 rushing yards
Dalvin Cook, RB, Minnesota Vikings
The Vikings, who trailed only the Jacksonville Jaguars with 501 rushes last season, have orchestrated the third-most passes (491) and fourth-fewest rushes (253) through 12 games. As a result, Dalvin Cook has settled for nine or 10 carries in each of his last six games.
That limited running volume shouldn't ruin his Week 14 viability.
He'll make the most of his opportunities against the Seahawks, who have relinquished 5.1 yards per carry. Even if he just settles for 50 yards on 10 handoffs, he should ride a heavy pass-catching workload into RB2 value.
Per ESPN.com, only the Kansas City Chiefs have permitted more receiving yards per game to running backs than Seattle's 62.3. The Seahawks have also surrendered 6.4 catches per game after yielding eight receptions for 73 yards to undrafted rookie Jeff Wilson Jr.
Cook has flashed big-play upside with runs of 70 and 32 yards since returning from a hamstring injury, but he also threw in a 10-yard dud against the Chicago Bears. While his one touchdown is also troubling, the matchup gives him a clear path to surpassing 100 total yards and especially delighting point-per-reception (PPR) stakeholders.
Projections: 12 carries, 65 yards, 5 catches, 45 yards
Josh Gordon, WR, New England Patriots
It has taken a long time to earn everyone's full trust, but Josh Gordon is gradually shredding his boom-or-bust status.
The 27-year-old wideout has posted at least 12 PPR fantasy points over each of the last four games, during which he has accumulated 339 yards. He has yielded at least 42 yards in every game with the New England Patriots since settling for 32 yards on a limited snap count (18) in his team debut against the Miami Dolphins.
Per Mark Daniels of the Providence Journal, Gordon credited his success to improved conditioning with his new squad.
"It's night and day. Huge difference," Gordon said. "Coach [Moses] Cabrera and the strength staff have been amazing, been patient with me, helping me out through my injuries. The training staff, as well, bringing me along where I'm safe and mobile. So, I think I'm as good as I've been."
He enters Week 14's rematch against Miami as a healthier, more integral part of New England's passing attack. This time he also won't have to encounter cornerback Xavien Howard, whom the Dolphins officially ruled out due to a knee injury.
Without fretting Howard's coverage, Gordon's investors can instead target a defense permitting 8.1 yards per pass attempt. Although he's hardly a slam dunk after drawing three targets with his lowest snap percentage (64.9) since Week 5 in Rex Burkhead's Week 13 return, the easier matchup fortifies him as a borderline top-20 receiver with immense big-play potential.
Projections: 7 targets, 5 catches, 65 yards, 1 TD
Note: Fantasy stats courtesy of Yahoo Sports unless otherwise noted.