Fantasy Football News & Views: Week 14 Warmup

Dec 1, 2019; Baltimore, MD, USA; San Francisco 49ers running back Raheem Mostert (31) runs with the ball while being pursued by Baltimore Ravens linebacker L.J. Fort (58) in the second quarter at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

Fantasy Football News & Views posts twice weekly: Warmup kick-starts your fantasy football planning, and Last Looks makes sure you’re ready to roll out your rosters.

Waiver mania is upon us.

So, let’s get right down to it. Three weeks remain. Remember those players you’ve been keeping on your bench while you wait for them to recover from injuries, get out of their slumps, or have a breakout week? Yeah, those players. Well, it’s time to move on and replace them with fresh feet.

Do you really bring me joy?

Yes, it’s difficult to cut ties with some of your favorites. Yes, they may have brought you joy in the past. Yes, if this were Week 4, we’d be having a different conversation. But with only three weeks to go, do you see yourself trusting the likes of [fill in the blank]?

Remarkably, Cardinals running back David Johnson is still owned in over 80 percent of NFL fantasy leagues. One word for his owners: why? Only one percent have him in their starting lineups, most likely those who packed it in long ago and haven’t changed their rosters since Week 4. Thank you, David Johnson, and goodbye.

Although things seem to be “trending up” for Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green (ankle), there are no guarantees that he’ll be suiting up any time soon. It already has been reported that he will not play Sunday against the Browns. Bye-bye, A.J. See you next season.

Colts wide receiver T.Y. Hilton (calf) had another setback. If he plays, do you trust him after what happened the last time he “recovered” and you started him? If you really need a wide receiver this week, you might want to thank Hilton for his contributions and set him free. There are more reliable options out there.

This doesn’t mean you should just drop Hilton willy-nilly and pick up a third tight end. As a matter of fact, you should really only have just one tight end at this stage of the game.

But I digress.

If you can afford to keep Hilton or want to take a gamble with him in Week 14 so you can say, “I told you so,” to the haters, then, by all means, keep him.

Or just drop him already, because that’s what you’ve wanted to do for weeks now but couldn’t muster the courage.

A few others who you may want to consider throwing back into the pool include:

  • Jaguars quarterback Nick Foles has been replaced (again) by Gardner Minshew as starting quarterback.
  • Chiefs wide receiver Sammy Watkins is not seeing many targets, is not hauling in the ones he’s getting, and has a tough remaining schedule.
  • Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald has a tough remaining schedule.
  • Dolphins running back Kalen Ballage (Achilles) has been placed on injured reserve. His season is over.
  • Seahawks wide receiver Josh Gordon just isn’t seeing the touches to justify a roster spot.
  • Bills running back Frank Gore no longer has fantasy relevancy with the emergence of Devin Singletary.

To trust, or not to trust?

Once you’re satisfied with your waiver choices, all that’s left is to decide who to start and who to bench. If you’re like many of us, you own one or more of those players who drive you crazy from week to week.

Maybe they were waiver wire darlings from a few weeks back, but now you’re not sure if they’ve thoroughly cooled down, had a bad matchup, or just had an unfortunate week or two.

Or maybe they were ranked high at the beginning of the season and just have not performed up to expectations.

Whatever the reason, they’re thorns in your side and it’s difficult to get anyone to commit to an opinion about what to do with them. So, I’ll just let the numbers speak and you can decide whether or not you want to buck the trends.

  • Ravens wide receiver Marquise Brown is owned in 82 percent of leagues, and is starting in 18 percent.
  • Redskins wide receiver Terry McLaurin is owned in 75 percent of leagues, and is starting in 10 percent. Quarterback Dwayne Haskins, admittedly, is not a number, but it’s worth mentioning that he negatively impacts McLaurin’s fantasy value. Just sayin’.
  • Patriots running back Sony Michel posted the following PPR points in the last five games: 7.40, 4.00, 6.40, 8.50 and 4.50. He’s owned in 91 percent of leagues and starting in 28 percent.
  • Broncos running back Royce Freeman is owned in almost 60 percent of leagues, and is starting in less than four percent.
  • 49ers wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders has scored 8.1 points or lower in each of his last three games. He’s owned in almost 90 percent of leagues but is starting in just nine percent.

Top Week 14 Waiver Picks

Oh, the choices! There are quite a few exciting players on waivers, but now that you’ve grabbed a few, or still are thinking about who to pick up, who should you actually start Week 14? Here are a few things to consider before you set your lineups.

Quarterback

Ryan TannehillTitans quarterback Ryan Tannehill has one of the most favorable schedules for quarterbacks through the end of the fantasy season.

Ryan Fitzpatrick — Is Dolphins quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick on a roll? He scored 23 and 26 points the last two weeks, and the next three games are against the Jets, Giants and Bengals.

Josh Allen — Bills quarterback Josh Allen is still available in almost 20 percent of fantasy leagues. If you can get him, do it. Allen has scored more than 17 points in all but two of his games (back in Weeks 1 and 4).

Running Back 

Alexander Mattison — If Vikings running back Dalvin Cook (shoulder) misses time, Alexander Mattison is primed to start against Detroit in Week 14. Even if Cook plays, he may not be at 100 percent, and Mattison should still see a decent share of touches.

Derrius Guice — Redskins running back Derrius Guice had a terrific game last week, but beware of Week 14, as the snaps will not necessarily be there for him.

Raheem Mostert — 49ers running back Raheem Mostert had a monster Week 13. Matt Breida (ankle) may be back Week 14, but Mostert likely will remain involved. Temper expectations for all 49ers backs, however. Mostert will be sharing touches with Breida (if he returns) and Tevin Coleman, and they are playing the Saints, who are tough against running backs.

Rashaad Penny — Seahawks running back Rashaad Penny is now healthy, explosive, and has seen an uptick in touches. Seattle is run-heavy so they have room for both Penny and Chris Carson. Penny is a decent fantasy option for Week 14.

Patrick Laird — Dolphins running back Patrick Laird is expected to see increased work now that Kalen Ballage (Achilles) has been placed on injured reserve.

Benny Snell — Steelers running back Benny Snell could lead the way against the Cardinals on Sunday if James Conner (shoulder) is out again.

Wide Receiver

Devante Parker — This one is a no-brainer. Dolphins wide receiver Devante Parker is still out there in 25 percent of NFL fantasy leagues. Grab him and start him if he is available.

Anthony Miller — Bears wide receiver Anthony Miller has had an impressive few weeks, logging 33 targets over his last three games. He will look to continue his streak on Thursday night against the Cowboys.

James Washington — Steelers wide receiver James Washington has made the most of JuJu Smith-Schuster’s (knee) absence. Smith-Schuster is making strides towards returning, but he has not been cleared to play and still is listed as questionable. If Smith-Schuster is out another week, Washington, Diontae Johnson and Tevin Jones will likely handle the majority of the snaps as a committee.

Zach Pascal — Colts wide receiver Zach Pascal has made the most of the absence of T.Y. Hilton (calf), Parris Campbell (hand) and Chester Rogers (knee). His fantasy value is tied to whether or not these players are active for Week 14.

Tight End

Jack Doyle — Colts tight end Jack Doyle has benefitted from the lack of Colts receiving options, and Week 14 provides a positive matchup against the Buccaneers. If T.Y. Hilton (calf), Parris Campbell (hand) or Chester Rogers (knee) return to action, they may cut down on Doyle’s targets.

Mike Gesicki — Dolphins tight end Mike Gesicki has come alive the past few weeks, scoring touchdowns in two consecutive games. He faces a tough matchup in Week 14 against the Jets, however, so temper expectations even though he is a starter option.

Thursday Night Football

Dallas Cowboys vs. Chicago Bears has an 8:20 p.m. kickoff. Don’t forget to set your lineup before kickoff, and start your studs, of course.

Cowboys

Start

Potential Bust

Bears

Start

  • Running back David Montgomery, unless you have better options such as Sa’quan Barkley or Miles Sanders. Consider starting Montgomery over Bills running back Devin Singletary, as Singletary is going against the Ravens this week. Think of Montgomery as a solid RB2 moving forward.

Potential Bust

Injury Update

  • Bears wide receiver Taylor Gabriel (concussion) is out, which should increase Anthony Miller’s usage.

Check back later this week for Fantasy Football News & Views: Week 14 Last Looks to get updated injury reports and start/sit advice, and have a great week.

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