Advice for StatHero NFL Team Survivor Picks in Week 14

Andrew Gould@AndrewGould4Featured ColumnistDecember 10, 2020

Advice for StatHero NFL Team Survivor Picks in Week 14

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    The Tennessee Titans have a high-powered matchup and opportune Week 14 matchup.
    The Tennessee Titans have a high-powered matchup and opportune Week 14 matchup.Wade Payne/Associated Press

    A handful of unfortunate fantasy football managers have seen their schedule clear for Week 14.

    The playoffs are beginning in season-long leagues, but not everyone can make the cut. After three months of trying to hit the jackpot in daily fantasy tournaments, countless gamers could be growing weary of that grind as well.

    As for typical survivor pools, the New York Giants and Washington likely knocked out a handful of skilled participants who advanced all the way to Week 13.

    It's not too late to try out StatHero. The new contests create a simple game placing fantasy football into the survivor realm.

    Each week, players pick one NFL team. They then compose a lineup consisting of that squad's quarterback, three skill-position players and one MVP whose accrued points double. Rather than facing thousands of opponents in shark-infested waters, you're only up against one lineup created by StatHero.

    If you score more points than StatHero, you receive a portion of the pot and get a chance to keep earning more money in that same contest next week. Like in a survivor pool, you can only use an NFL team once per contest. Even though that team is back in play if entering a different contest, these weekly StatHero picks won't recommend the same squad twice.

    With all 32 teams scheduled for action, there are plenty of options to take down the house in Week 14.

Team: Tennessee Titans

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    Derrick Henry and Ryan Tannehill can both have huge games against a Jaguars defense that struggles in all facets.
    Derrick Henry and Ryan Tannehill can both have huge games against a Jaguars defense that struggles in all facets.Bruce Kluckhohn/Associated Press

    For the sake of this article, the Green Bay Packers are off the table after using them last week. Those who can deploy the NFC North leaders should definitely consider doing so against the Detroit Lions. In Week 2, they cruised to a 42-21 victory behind a monstrous performance (236 total yards, three touchdowns) from Aaron Jones.

    Everyone else has two other standout options in the Tennessee Titans and Seattle Seahawks, who each oppose a No. 1 draft pick finalist in the Jacksonville Jaguars and New York Jets, respectively.

    While the Jets are far more susceptible through the air, Jacksonville's NFL-worst defense welcomes everyone to the party. The Jaguars rank 29th against the pass and 30th versus the run, creating ample opportunities for a stacked StatHero lineup.

    According to DraftKings Sportsbook, the Titans are seven-point favorites with an implied team total of 30.5 points. The best-case scenario would entail Tennessee soaring to an early lead through the air before Derrick Henry pummels the one-win adversary into submission.

    Yet a shootout in line with the Titans' 33-30 victory over the Jags in Week 2 would work just fine. Heck, a Jacksonville upset wouldn't necessarily hurt anyone utilizing Tennessee. StatHero contestants will advance if their lineup beats the house regardless of their NFL team of choice's actual outcome.

    The Titans, who are trying to break a first-place tie with the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC South, enter Week 14's contest fifth in total offense and third in points scored. They should move the ball with ease, but a lackluster defense will prevent them from taking their foot off the accelerator too soon.

MVP: RB Derrick Henry

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    Derrick Henry trounced the Jaguars in meetings late in 2018 and 2019.
    Derrick Henry trounced the Jaguars in meetings late in 2018 and 2019.Mark Zaleski/Associated Press

    The main appeal to Tennessee is riding an MVP capable of carrying gamers to victory with little assistance.

    Back in Week 2's meeting against Jacksonville, Henry settled for 84 rushing yards on 25 carries. He also didn't offer a single catch or touchdown, making it one of the NFL rushing leader's few fantasy duds this season.

    There's little chance of a repeat. Henry has averaged 4.9 yards per run on his NFL-high 271 rushing attempts (22.6 per game) this season. The Jaguars, meanwhile, have relinquished 4.4 yards per carry and 136.9 rushing yards per contest.

    Keeping Henry outside of the end zone is also a tall task. Per Pro Football Reference, he leads the league in red-zone carries (50) and runs inside the 10 (28).

    He has also churned out eight rushes of 20 yards or more, second in the league behind Nick Chubb. If one of those big plays culminates in the end zone, he'd unlock an extra bonus of three (10-39 yards) or six (40 or more) on StatHero.

    Much has been made of Henry's late-season authority. Since 2019, he has registered 1,370 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns in 10 regular-season games from Weeks 10 and beyond. Furthermore, he has a chance to continue an annual trend of dominating the Jaguars after a subpar opening outing:

    • Week 3, 2018: 18 carries, 57 yards
    • Week 14, 2018: 17 carries, 238 yards, 4 TDs
    • Week 3, 2019: 17 carries, 44 yards, 1 TD
    • Week 12, 2019: 19 carries, 159 yards, 2 TDs

    Henry's limited pass-catching involvement stings in this point-per-reception format. StatHero actually projects more points from A.J. Brown, but don't forgo the realistic chance of another multi-touchdown outing with well over 100 yards in your MVP chair.

Quarterback: Ryan Tannehill

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    Ryan Tannehill is a steady producer for a team trailing only Kansas City and Green Bay in points scored.
    Ryan Tannehill is a steady producer for a team trailing only Kansas City and Green Bay in points scored.Wade Payne/Associated Press

    With Henry contained in their earlier encounter, Ryan Tannehill tossed four touchdowns without Brown at his disposal. Although Tennessee still spent most of the game on the ground, the rejuvenated quarterback completed 18 of 24 passes for 239 yards and a 145.7 passer rating.

    It's good to know Tannehill can make the most of a condensed workload if Henry gets another 25-plus handoffs. He almost certainly won't match last Sunday's season-high 45 pass attempts, a byproduct of the Cleveland Browns sprinting to a 38-7 advantage at halftime.

    While he's not always perceived as a top-tier fantasy quarterback, few signal-callers are more reliable than Tannehill. He has tallied at least two touchdowns (passing or rushing) in all but two matchups this season. In six games facing defenses currently ranked in the bottom 15 against the pass, he threw for 16 scores while averaging 290.5 passing yards.

    As a result, analysts are expecting another big day. Tannehill is currently ranked as this week's No. 4 quarterback behind Russell Wilson, Patrick Mahomes, and Aaron Rodgers in FantasyPros' Expert Consensus Rankings (ECR).

    The Jaguars have permitted an NFL-high 8.2 yards per pass attempt, so Tannehill should once again provide an economical bottom line.

Flex: WR A.J. Brown

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    A.J. Brown has scored eight touchdowns in 10 games this season.
    A.J. Brown has scored eight touchdowns in 10 games this season.AJ Mast/Associated Press

    Brown is the X-factor who could tie together a winning lineup or re-direct gamers to another team altogether.

    The star wideout left last Sunday's game with a right ankle injury, but he later returned. It's a situation to monitor as he did not practice Wednesday, according to Jim Wyatt of the Titans website.

    A "DNP" on Wednesday is no cause for panic. If he's good to go, Brown should still feast in this matchup.

    The second-year pro has posted at least one touchdown in seven of 10 games this season. He came just short of scoring his ninth of 2020 before fumbling short of the goal line in Week 13's loss to Cleveland.

    Just like with Henry, Brown doesn't make tremendous use of StatHero's PPR scoring system. He has collected just 44 catches this season with no more than four in a single game since Week 7. Yet the 23-year-old has gotten plenty of mileage out of those reps, delivering 16.5 yards per reception and an average of 7.8 yards after the catch.

    Brown is all about upside. Three of his touchdowns have unlocked the six-point bonus for 40 or more yards, and he manufactured another 40-yard play outside of the end zone last Sunday. He'll now go up against a Jaguars defense that has permitted a 100-yard receiver in each of their last eight games.

    If Brown doesn't reach triple digits in yards, his burgeoning teammate likely will instead.

Flex: WR Corey Davis

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    Corey Davis is emerging as a star wideout after years of underwhelming results.
    Corey Davis is emerging as a star wideout after years of underwhelming results.Wade Payne/Associated Press

    Corey Davis is no meager sidekick to Brown. In fact, he's quietly emerging as the more reliable option.

    Prematurely labeled a bust, the 25-year-old has more catches (53) and receiving yards (801) than Brown in the same number of games (10). He has stockpiled 432 yards in the last four bouts since getting boxed out entirely by the Chicago Bears in Week 9.

    Davis has secured 75.7 percent of his targets, many under duress. According to NFL Next Gen Stats, he leads the NFL in Catch Rate Over Expected (CROE), indicating stellar success making low-probability catches.

    Plenty of people formulating a traditional DFS lineup face a tough decision on whether to play Brown or Davis. In StatHero, you simply play both and reap the rewards regardless of the labor distribution.

    There's a good chance both Brown and Davis make a major impact anyway. Remember that note about an opponent spiking 100 receiving yards on Jacksonville weekly? Another teammate chipped in at least 58 yards and a touchdown in six of those eight games.

    Perhaps Davis hits triple digits for the fifth time this season while Brown finds pay dirt with a yardage tally around his 72.5 average.

Flex: TE Anthony Firkser (or Jonnu Smith)

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    Anthony Firkser could have a productive day if Jonnu Smith misses another game.
    Anthony Firkser could have a productive day if Jonnu Smith misses another game.Brett Carlsen/Associated Press

    As always, the final spot is the trickiest to fill. Brown and Davis are hogging all of the looks at wide receiver, leaving no viable third option. Barring an injury or a substantial blowout, Jeremy McNichols is highly unlikely to draw meaningful reps behind Henry.

    StatHero players choosing the Titans, therefore, will have to see Jonnu Smith's status before locking in a lineup. There's no avoiding it in a scoring system that awards 1.5 points for every reception made by a tight end.

    When a knee injury sidelined Smith in Week 13, MyCole Pruitt delivered two touchdowns. However, he scored one on his only catch among just two targets. The other occurred when he recovered Brown's fumble inside the end zone.

    Anthony Firkser didn't deposit any touchdowns last Sunday, but he caught five of seven targets for 51 yards. 

    Before expecting the same line, the New Jersey native collected most of those looks in garbage time. That same situation won't arise at Jacksonville. Luckily, it may not need to. According to NFL.com, the Jaguars have allowed nine touchdowns to tight ends this season.

    Smith accounted for two of them in Week 2 alongside a team-high 84 receiving yards. Even in an ancillary role, Firkser matched Smith's four receptions for 45 yards in that matchup. And although Firkser didn't shine too brightly in Smith's absence last week, he broke out for 113 yards and a score when his teammate exited Week 6 early with an ankle injury.

    Play Firkser if Smith is ruled inactive. While Smith was struggling before this injury, there's too much red-zone potential in this matchup to look elsewhere if he suits up.

                


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