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THE DIVE: Week 14 (Playoffs…don’t talk about playoffs!)

Are you in? Did you earn a playoff berth in your fantasy football league? Week 13 was full of surprises, blowouts, and a few surprisingly strong performances. If you decided to start Joe Flacco or Dwayne Allen in your league, then you were rewarded handsomely with monster performances.

Hopefully, your team is on vacation this week with a bye. If you are not that lucky, then take a dive with me as we discuss a few players that may help you earn a “golden ticket” to the semifinal round of your league.

QB Andy Dalton

Fantasy owners of Andy Dalton were likely uncertain about their quarterback’s future this season after top wideout A.J. Green went down. Although the veteran quarterback has not “torched” any opponents, he also has not crashed and burned either. In fact, he has been serviceable against several tough opponents including the Buffalo Bills, New York Giants, and Baltimore Ravens defenses. Thankfully, he should have one of his better performances in Week 14 when the Cincinnati Bengals visit the putrid Cleveland Browns defense who has allowed the second most fantasy points including most touchdowns to opposing quarterbacks. Dalton threw for two scores and 308 passing yards in Week 5 against Cleveland, and has thrown for more touchdowns against Cleveland than any other opponent. Start Dalton with confident in Week 14.

Week 14 projection: 225 passing yards; 2 TD


RB Doug Martin

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ starting running back role has been a carousel this season with Doug Martin, Jacquizz Rodgers, and Peyton Barber, but with each “horse” being relatively effective. Their top running back Doug Martin recovered from his early season injury and has struggled, but is still progressing and finding the end zone. Martin should find running room in Week 14 when the division rival New Orleans Saints visit Tampa Bay. With the Saints allowing the 7th most fantasy points to opposing running backs and Martin has averaging over 100 total yards against New Orleans in his career, the “Muscle Hamster” should be considered a must-start this weekend.

Week 14 projection: 100 total yards; 1 TD


WR Malcolm Mitchell

When it was announced that Rob Gronkowski would miss the remainder of the season, Martellus Bennett was expected to receive a major boost in targets and fantasy value. Bennett has been relatively a non-factor since Gronkowski’s injury, but rookie wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell has provided a major spark for the New England Patriots’ receiving corps. Mitchell has averaged 74 receiving yards per game and scored three times over the last three games. His targets have also risen over the last three games. The Patriots will welcome the Baltimore Ravens to Foxborough on Monday Night Football. Although Baltimore’s defense has been solid this season, they have been vulnerable to wide receivers by allowing the 9th most fantasy points to opposing defenses. Look for Mitchell to play even more snaps and continue to be a top target for Tom Brady this Monday night.

Week 14 projection: 80 receiving yards; 1 TD


TE Vance McDonald

Before Week 13, San Francisco 49ers tight end Vance McDonald was trending upward as he has already recorded career highs in most offensive categories. Consider Week 13 a fluke as Colin Kaepernick struggled mightily in a cold, snowy defeat against the Chicago Bears at Solder Field. Look for McDonald to rebound in Week 14 against the New York Jets who have surrendered the 8th most fantasy points to opposing tight ends. In fact, they just allowed three touchdowns to Indianapolis Colts’ tight end Dwayne Allen and nearly another score to Jack Doyle which was fumbled in the end zone. If your tight end is injured or faces a tough matchup, consider McDonald this weekend.

Week 14 projection: 50 receiving yards; 1 TD


DST Cincinnati Bengals

The Cincinnati Bengals defense has been a major disappointment in the fantasy football world this season. However, they have improved slightly over the last two games by forcing four turnovers. They have a dream matchup against the winless Cleveland Browns who will be starting Robert Griffin III. RGIII was rusty to begin the season and will likely remain off the mark in his return from injury this weekend. Cleveland has surrendered the most points to opposing defenses and allowed 15 sacks, 5 turnovers, and 2 defensive touchdowns in just the last two games!  This is the week to grab the Bengals defense for a plug-and-play.

Week 14 projection: 11 points


Week 13 Results….Pretty Good!

QB Alex Smith.

Week 13 forecast: 225 passing yards; 2 TD

Week 13 results: 270 passing yards; 1 TD (ok call)

RB Jordan Howard

Week 13 forecast: 100 total yards; 1 TD

Week 13 results: 117 total yards; 3 TD (best call of the season!)

WR Taylor Gabriel

Week 13 forecast: 100 receiving yards; 1 TD

Week 13 results: 44 receiving yards (bad call)

TE C.J. Fiedorowicz

Week 13 forecast: 50 receiving yards; 1 TD

Week 13 results: 44 receiving yards (bad call)

DST Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Week 13 forecast: 11 points

Week 13 results: 12 points (good call)

Good luck in Week 14!

About Marc Griffis

Marc Griffis has competed in fantasy football, baseball, and basketball leagues since 2005. Marc has written "The Dive" for Fantasy Sharks since 2010. Additionally, his expertise is featured in David Gonos' E-books "101 Fantasy Baseball Tips" and "101 Fantasy Football Tips". Lastly, Marc competed in the Fantasy Sports Trade Association SiriusXM Fantasy Baseball experts' league from 2012-2014.