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THE DIVE: Week 14 “Contender or Pretender?”

Week 13 felt like a month long! It felt like there were more unexpected events through Week 13 than any other week this season. After a surveillance video surfaced showing Kareem Hunt assaulting a woman during an altercation in a Cleveland hotel from earlier this year, Kansas City released its star running back. This sent fantasy owners reeling to fill their running back slot, especially if they were fighting for playoff contention. New Orleans and Indianapolis were two of the hottest teams over the last several weeks. New Orleans’ 10-game win streak came to a screeching halt after scoring only 10 points in a Thursday night loss to Dallas. Indianapolis was blanked by division rival Jacksonville and marked Andrew Luck’s first game of his career being shut out. Lastly, Christian McCaffrey, Todd Gurley, Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce and Tarik Cohen delivered monster performances, which helped many teams earn a needed win in Week 13!

Take a dive with me as we prepare for Week 14, which is the first week of the fantasy football playoffs in many head-to-head leagues. If you are competing this week, let’s review a player at each position and defense that may propel you to the semifinal round. Although weather will be close to freezing or colder in Green Bay, Buffalo, Washington (D.C.), Kansas City, Cleveland and Chicago, it does not appear any snow, wind or rain will be a factor this week.

QB Baker Mayfield, Cleveland Browns

Before Cleveland’s Week 13 loss to Houston, quarterback Baker Mayfield was on fire with 13 touchdowns and two interceptions between Weeks 8-12. With a home matchup against Carolina, who has allowed the sixth-most fantasy points to quarterbacks (including two or more touchdowns in every game except for two), consider Mayfield if your quarterback is injured or has a difficult matchup.

Week 14 projection: 200 passing yards, 20 rushing yards, 2 TD

RB Jaylen Samuels, Pittsburgh Steelers

With James Conner declared out for Week 14 with an ankle injury, rookie running back Jaylen Samuels will be a top waiver add in many leagues. Samuels only has 12 carries and seven catches in his career, but has shown sparks especially with a touchdown catch last week. Samuels and Pittsburgh will visit Oakland, who has allowed the 12th-most fantasy points and most rushing yards to running backs. Also, Samuels has tight end eligibility on certain platforms, which should offer an intriguing option if you are shallow there. If you were fortunate enough to snag Samuels, he should produce with a high ceiling this weekend.

Week 14 projection: 75 total yards, TD

WR Adam Humphries, Tampa Bay

Tampa Bay has experienced a roller-coaster season including multiple “flip flops” between quarterbacks Ryan Fitzpatrick and Jameis Winston. However, its receiving corps has been relatively productive and consistent much of the season. Humphries has quietly posted a decent receiving line over the last eight games by averaging more than 63 receiving yards and scoring five touchdowns in that timeframe. With nine targets in Week 13, take a look at Humphries as a low-end WR3 or deep FLEX as Tampa Bay welcomes New Orleans, who allows the most fantasy points (including most receptions and receiving yards) to wide receivers. Although Humphries did minimal damage in its Week 1 tilt, he should rebound in this weekend’s matchup.

Week 14 projection: 65 receiving yards, TD

TE Mark Andrews, Baltimore Ravens

With tight end being excessively shallow and inconsistent this season, the Baltimore tight end has been more of a mystery than solution! Recently, tight end Mark Andrews has received the bulk of the snaps over Hayden Hurst and Nick Boyle, including averaging almost 50 receiving yards over his last four games. Baltimore visits Kansas City, who surrenders the most fantasy points to tight ends (including at least 101 receiving yards and two touchdowns over the last two games). Andrews should be considered a TE3 and only if you are desperate, but does have an intriguing matchup.

Week 14 projection: 50 receiving yards, TD

D/ST Tennessee Titans

Tennessee struggled with consistency on both sides of the ball this season. However, Tennessee has an attractive matchup, welcoming division rival Jacksonville on Thursday night. Although Jacksonville won in Week 13, it managed only six points as its offense has sputtered in recent weeks. With six sacks over the last two games, look for Tennessee to put pressure on Cody Kessler. Consider Tennessee if you need a defense this week.

Week 14 projection: 12 points

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.