First and foremost, congratulations to those who made the playoffs in their season-long leagues! Much like last week, we should continue to see a good bit of bed money in guaranteed prize pool (GPP’s) this week, a number that should continue to increase over the next two weeks. Make sure you are rolling out as many lineups as your budget permits.
We’ve got some running back shake-up this week with Kareem Hunt getting fired by Kansas City, Matt Breida going down and James Conner’s mileage finally catching up to him so there will be some “free squares” to be had – be sure to take advantage!
On to Week 14!
Baker Mayfield, QB, Cleveland (DraftKings $5,800 FanDuel $7,500)
Mayfield has made this list a number of times this season because he just has so much potential and gets such juicy matchups! Carolina has been ultra-leaky against opposing quarterbacks, allowing the sixth-most fantasy points per game to the position on the season. Over their last five games, Carolina has given up a whopping 14 touchdowns along with nearly 1,400 passing yards to enemy signal callers. Despite throwing three interceptions in the early going last week, Mayfield finished a tenth of a point shy of 20 points for the week. Averaging just better than 20 points per game over his last five contests against an opponent who is absolutely reeling at the moment, Mayfield looks like a safe spot to invest in Week 14.
Mitchell Trubisky, QB, Chicago (DraftKings $5,600 FanDuel $7,700)
Keep a close watch on the practice reports leading up to this contest but if Trubiksy plays, get him in your lineups! He’s been on the shelf with a shoulder injury since Week 11 but was lighting up the scoreboard prior to that, posting 30-plus point performances in four contests. You have to think Chicago was saving him for this huge game at home against the Los Angeles Rams, who should set the pace, forcing Trubisky and company to go all out if they want to keep up. The Rams are Bottom 12 in terms of average points allowed to opposing passers on the season which isn’t a dream matchup but it’s not bad when you consider the 14 touchdowns they’ve coughed up to the position in their last five games. We know what he’s capable of and he certainly has a worthy opponent this week. If Trubisky plays, he should be a steal at this price point.
Carson Wentz, QB, Philadelphia (DraftKings $5,400 FanDuel $7,300)
The idea this week is to save a bit of budget so we can spend it elsewhere and Wentz not only gives us a solid spot to save this week but he also might get us a quarterback with moderate ownership in GPP’s. He had a couple of rough outings in Weeks 11 and 12 where he accounted for a mere 17 total points across the two contests but even with those two games under his belt, he’s still averaging 18.3 fantasy points per game over his last five. He’s been north of 23 points in three of the past five contests including a 25.1-point effort against this very same Dallas team back in Week 10. Dallas hasn’t been a great match up on paper against opposing quarterbacks but they certainly can be beaten. The fact that Wentz has performed well against Dallas in recent weeks and he’s added a new weapon in Golden Tate certainly points to another solid outing at a solid price.
Matt Ryan, QB, Atlanta (DraftKings $5,600 FanDuel $8,200)
Atlanta at Green Bay could easily turn into the contest with the most overall fantasy implications in Week 14. On paper, Aaron Rodgers is a better start at $6,000 on DraftKings but his matchup is so good and his price is so moderate that his ownership is likely to be sky-high. I’ll be shocked if Rodgers isn’t the scratch quarterback in Week 14 GPP’s and as a result I’ll certainly have some exposure to him. Ryan, on the other hand, presents a solid pivot off of Rodgers in what equates to a play off of the Green Bay passing attack. Both teams have high-octane offenses and both quarterbacks know how to light up the scoreboard. The fact that Atlanta has performed so poorly against opposing quarterbacks (second-most fantasy points allowed per week) leads to the conclusion that Ryan will be passing early and often in this contest. He’s not a huge savings compared to Rodgers, but if spent well, that $400 could make all the difference.
Adrian Peterson, RB, Washington (DraftKings $4,800 FanDuel $6,500)
We’ve got a fair number of higher-priced options this week so we’ll need to find guys like Peterson and his sub $5,000 price point to balance things out. The old warhorse showed he’s still got some gas left in the tank with a career long, 90-yard scamper against Philadelphia last week. Philadelphia is considerably more stout against the run than the Bottom 5 New York Giants, who were smashed by Peterson for 30.6 points back in Week 8. With the quarterback situation in dire straights expect both Washington backs to get plenty of work. Given the matchup both are in play but with Thompson working his way back coming off of a lengthy absence, Peterson seems to be the safer volume play.
Sony Michel, RB, New England (DraftKings $5,900 FanDuel $6,900)
Speaking of volume plays, Sony Michel is averaging 17 touches per game over his last three contests and draws a matchup against the Bottom 7 Miami defense in Week 14. New England is projected to score 27 points in this contest and is currently favored by more than a touchdown. Predicting game flow and usage is often a fool’s errand when it comes to any New England running back but this one feels a little safer than usual. Michel carried the ball 25 times when New England routed Miami in Week 4, and Miami hasn’t exactly improved since then. He’s a solid bet for a big game if he doesn’t get his touchdowns vultured again this week and should easily provide four times value at his price point.
Jeffery Wilson Jr., RB, San Francisco (DraftKings $3,800 FanDuel $5,600)
His ownership should be high as he presents the coveted “free square” in daily (DFS) with Matt Breida sitting this contest out and his projected volume and matchup look too good to pass up. Denver is middling against opposing backs and Wilson Jr. should get the bulk of offensive snaps in this uber thin San Francisco running back corps. Coming off a game where he received 23 touches (which he turned into 20.4 points), he simply projects too well to pass on at this price point.
Austin Ekeler, RB, Los Angeles Chargers (DraftKings $6,200 FanDuel $6,700)
Ekeler has gotten his time to shine and he took the opportunity to allow Justin Jackson to outshine him in Week 13. I hope Jackson’s performance on Sunday night resonated with the masses and pushes Ekeler’s ownership down so the rest of us can benefit! Sunday night’s 33-30 shootout against Pittsburgh is not the same type of game we can expect facing toothless Cincinnati, who has recently lost Andy Dalton and A.J. Green for the year so Ekeler should get the bulk of the work as the primary two-down back with Jackson spelling him in some passing situations perhaps. I’d expect the opportunity arrow to tilt towards Ekeler over Jackson in this contest as the Chargers at home favored by 14. This week should be a bounce-back after a poor showing in Week 13.
Alvin Kamara, RB, New Orleans (DraftKings $8,100 FanDuel $8,300)
With all the budget we are saving, why not spend up a little? Coming off three straight contests where he failed to surpass 18 points, Kamara’s price is depressed a good bit despite his lovely matchup against Tampa Bay and its sixth-most generous defense for opposing running backs. It’s Alvin Kamara, so not much else needs to be said, but among the elite talents at running back, he easily presents the best price/matchup combo.
Spencer Ware, RB, Kansas City (DraftKings $5,200 FanDuel $6,400)
This is purely a contrarian play as Kansas City hosts Baltimore, who presents the absolute worst matchup on paper for opposing running backs. The idea here is to hope his ownership dips coming off a weak outing in Week 13 (12.2 points DraftKings) and facing a seemingly brutal matchup. Kansas City is at home in Arrowhead facing a rookie quarterback who isn’t particularly good at throwing a football at the NFL level yet. Kansas City is favored by 6.5 points with an implied point total of 29. All of these factors combined indicate a strong possibility that Kansas City puts Baltimore in a headlock early on in this one, creating ample opportunity to Ware to get rolling. If Kansas City wants to go deep in the playoffs this season it will need to get Ware up to speed. We know what he can do in this offense and we know that coach Andy Reid can get his backs rolling no matter their talent level. Ware should be semi-sneaky useful at this price point in Week 14.