After 13 long weeks, it all comes down to this. The fantasy football playoffs are here.
Hopefully you have a bye in your league and you’re just here to stash players but regardless, there are new players that need to be owned. Much like last week, I’m not sure we have a league-winning addition in this group but a ton of depth pieces who will add value in good situations. Let’s jump in.
Ryan Fitzpatrick at NYJ
Jacoby Brissett at TB
Devlin Hodges at ARI
Drew Lock at HOU
Gardner Minshew vs. LAC
Are we seriously starting Ryan Fitzpatrick in our fantasy football playoffs? Well, maybe. Kyler Murray and Dak Prescott have tough matchups in Week 14 while Matt Ryan has been inconsistent. Fitzpatrick has started the past seven games for the Dolphins, finishing as a top 10 fantasy quarterback in four of those games. In Week 13 he handled the Eagles defense for 365 passing yards, three touchdowns, and one interception. The volume will always be there for Fitzpatrick because the Dolphins defense is among the worst in the league. They’re allowing a league-high 31.4 points per game, which leads to shootouts for Fitz. He’ll face the New York Jets in Week 14 and, if you remember, he threw for 288 yards and three touchdowns in Week 9. I know it’s scary but it’s safe to trust Fitzpatrick in this game. If you want to pivot off him, take a look at Jacoby Brissett facing the Tampa Bay Bucs. Brissett struggled since returning but I believe he’s in a position to bounce back. While the Bucs have been better against quarterbacks recently, they’re still allowing the second-most passing yards (305.5) and second-most passing touchdowns per game (2.4). The Colts want to run the ball but seeing as how the Bucs are strong against the run, I’m not so sure they’ll be able to. That will force Brissett and the Colts to throw more in this matchup.
If you play in superflex leagues, there’s a few quarterbacks that just earned jobs and are playing relatively well. While Devlin ”Duck” Hodges only threw for 212 yards and one touchdown in Week 13, he faces the porous Arizona Cardinals in Week 14. Not only are the Cardinals allowing the most fantasy points to quarterbacks this season, they just allowed Jared Goff to throw for 424 yards and two touchdowns.
Drew Lock made his debut against the Chargers on Sunday, tossing two touchdowns in the win. While your expectations on him should be realistic, he has a receiver in Courtland Sutton that can easily elevate his game. Facing the Houston Texans in Week 14 doesn’t hurt either. Last but not least, Gardner Minshew is back. Minshew has been named the starting quarterback for the rest of the season and we saw what his upside can be. He makes plays with his legs and has a strong receiving group that features DJ Chark, Dede Westbrook and running back Leonard Fournette.
Patrick Laird at NYJ
Darwin Thompson at NE
Raheem Mostert at NO
Peyton Barber vs. IND
Patrick Laird has developed a following in the daily fantasy sports industry and it’s time for season-long players to jump on the bandwagon. Kalen Ballage left in Week 13 with a non-contact leg injury and that leaves Laird and Myles Gaskins as the last men standing. While Laird rushed for just 5 yards on 10 attempts, he scored a goal-line touchdown and added four receptions for 43 yards against the Eagles. He played a season-high 42 snaps this past week, including five as a wide receiver. That’s where most of his value lies. This team struggles to run, but they can use Laird as a pass catcher on short routes. With nobody else left for the Dolphins, Laird is in the mix as a PPR flex. No backfield has been more fun to figure out than the Kansas City Chiefs so why would it stop now in Week 14? Darrel Williams hurt his hamstring on Sunday, joining Damien Williams as injured Chiefs running backs. Over the past month or so, we’ve seen the Chiefs make LeSean McCoy a healthy inactive, which leaves Darwin Thompson as an upside pickup. Thompson posted season highs across the board in Week 13, rushing 11 times for 44 yards and a touchdown. Considering the Chiefs have the third-highest scoring offense in the NFL, we want to use their running backs. There are a lot of moving parts because of injuries but Thompson should be owned because of that.
To a lesser extent, the 49ers backfield has also been a fun one to figure out. Since Tevin Coleman’s four-touchdown performance back in Week 8, he hasn’t rushed for more than 40 yards in a single game. In Week 13, he took a backseat to Raheem Mostert, who ran 19 times for 146 yards and a touchdown. While Matt Breida is expected to return in Week 14, Mostert may have surpassed Coleman on the depth chart. Kyle Shanahan could go with a hot-hand approach but right now, that’s Mostert. Last but not least we have Peyton Barber. Barber once again ran inconsistently in Week 13 but did score two touchdowns. Barber has a decent matchup against the Colts and role in the red zone. That puts him in the flex discussion.
Anthony Miller vs. DAL
Zach Pascal at TB
James Washington at ARI
Allen Lazard vs. WAS
Anthony Miller was dominant on Thanksgiving against the Lions, hauling in nine receptions for 140 yards on 13 targets. He’s now had at least nine targets in three straight games and, during that time, leads the team with a 26 percent target share, 21 receptions, and 271 receiving yards. Miller faces the Cowboys on Thursday night in Week 14, a defense that has struggled against slot receivers recently. Over the past two weeks, they’ve allowed receiving lines of eight catches for 93 yards and six catches for 110 yards and a touchdown to Julian Edelman and Cole Beasley, respectively.
Miller has played 78 percent of his snaps in the slot this season. He’ll make for a solid WR3 play in that matchup. Things are still up in the air with TY Hilton but if he can’t go again in Week 14, Zach Pascal has an optimal matchup against the Tampa Bay Bucs. Pascal just played a season-high 70 snaps against the Titans, finishing with seven receptions and 109 yards on 10 targets. On the season, the Bucs are allowing the most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers, which includes the most targets and receptions per game to the position.
Devlin Hodges and James Washington went duck hunting together this week, which furthered their bond both on and off the field. Washington has scored in back-to-back games with Hodges as his quarterback and it’s clear they have a connection together. Washington finished Week 13 with four receptions, 111 yards, and a touchdown and now gets the pleasure of facing the Arizona Cardinals. The Cardinals defense just allowed Rams wide receivers to combine for 25 receptions, 300 yards, and a touchdown … in one game. Washington will be in play once again in that matchup. It feels like a long time ago we were touting Allen Lazard, but he reminded us of his upside in Week 13 against the Giants, finishing with three catches for 103 yards and a touchdown. He’s more of a deeper league target but Lazard and the Packers host the Redskins in Week 14, a defense that just allowed both Curtis Samuel and DJ Moore to score touchdowns on Sunday.
Mike Gesicki vs. NYJ
Jason Witten at CHI
First and foremost, check to see if Jack Doyle is available. He should be the top waiver wire priority at the tight end position but is likely already owned in your league. If he isn’t, congrats. If he is, you have to find somebody to stream. It took a while but Mike Gesicki is finally turning all of those targets into fantasy production, scoring touchdowns in back-to-back games. He now has at least six targets in five straight games. That kind of usage is borderline elite at the tight end position.
If you want to go in a different direction, check out Jason Witten who faces the Bears on Thursday night. While the Bears have been strong against wide receivers this season, they have struggled against tight ends. On the season, they’ve allowed the seventh-most fantasy points to the position, which includes the fourth-most receptions to the position. Witten is proving he can still get the job done when given the opportunity.
If you’re looking for streaming defenses, look no further. The top adds for Week 14 will be the Packers (vs WAS), the Texans (vs DEN) and the Titans (at OAK). Good luck.
This column was provided to The Associated Press by SportsGrid Inc., www.sportsgrid.com