Thursday - Jan 28, 2021
Home / Commentary / RED LIGHT, GREEN LIGHT: Week 14

RED LIGHT, GREEN LIGHT: Week 14

Welcome back for the Week 14 edition of “Red Light, Green Light”, your matchup guide for all of this weekend’s NFL contests. While the information conveyed below piece is not intended to be solely a start/bench list, it can be used to evaluate those decisions as well.

In each NFL Week 14 game profile below, players mentioned in the green light sections have a great matchup, and can be counted on as rock solid options. Players mentioned in the yellow light sections have just an okay matchup and/or usage concerns, meaning they are passable fantasy options but don’t expect them to set the world on fire. Players in the red light sections have serious matchup/usage concerns, require lowered expectations lowered for the week, and/or should be avoided if possible. Remember, seeing your stud listed in the yellow or red light section isn’t necessarily grounds to bench them, but more of an indication they may not be the guy(s) carrying your team to victory.

Note: Fantasy points allowed statistics are based off of the Fantasy Sharks default PPR scoring system. Point Spreads and Over/Unders are based off the Fantasy Sharks consensus analysis.

Carolina Panthers at Atlanta Falcons

Tale of the Tape – Ranks for Most 2019 Fantasy Points Allowed Per Game
Position Panthers Falcons
Quarterback 22nd 5th
Running Back 2nd 21st
Wide Receiver 10th 7th
Tight End 27th 19th
Defense/Special Teams 5th 9th
Vegas Line: Falcons -3
Vegas Over/Under: 48
green-light
  • Devonta Freeman – No matter how stagnant your team’s rushing attack is, the Panthers seem to be the cure. The Panthers have allowed the third-most rushing yards and by far the most rushing touchdowns (19) to opposing running backs.
  • D.J. Moore – His streak of scoring at least 17 PPR fantasy points has extended to five games. Atlanta has allowed the 5th-most receiving yards to opposing wideouts, including a 8-95-0 line to Moore in Week 11.
  • Christian McCaffrey – There’s talk of the Carolina head coaching change impacting McCaffrey’s monstrous workload (he leads the NFL in offensive touches), but we can’t simply assume that will happen. McCaffrey racked up 191 total yards in the last meeting between these two teams.
yellow-light
  • Matt Ryan – Hasn’t looked the same since getting injured in Week 8 and losing Mohamed Sanu (traded) and Austin Hooper (knee). However, things are looking up now with both Hooper and Julio Jones (shoulder) on the mend, so at least Ryan will be playing with closer to a full deck.
  • Julio Jones (shoulder) – As poor as Carolina has fared against opposing running backs, they haven’t been much better against wideouts, allowing the 6th-most receiving yards to the position.
  • Calvin Ridley – Over three games without Austin Hooper, Ridley has gone 22-319-1, though Hooper could return as early as this Sunday.
  • Kyle Allen – Atlanta’s pass defense is terrible, though I said that before the last time Allen went up against them in Week 11, and he wound up with four interceptions and no touchdown passes.
  • Curtis Samuel – It’s been feast or famine with Samuel all season long, though he should be able to bust a long one against Atlanta’s poor secondary.
red-light
  • Austin Hooper (knee) – Returned to practice this week, though faces a Panthers defense that hasn’t given up just three top-six fantasy performances to opposing tight ends this season.
  • Panthers D/ST – After being a strong play earlier in the year, this unit has wilted as of late, allowing at least 29 points in each of their last three games played.

Indianapolis Colts at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tale of the Tape – Ranks for Most 2019 Fantasy Points Allowed Per Game
Position Colts Buccaneers
Quarterback 21st 2nd
Running Back 27th 30th
Wide Receiver 12th 1st
Tight End 15th 4th
Defense/Special Teams 21st 7th
Vegas Line: Buccaneers -3
Vegas Over/Under: 47.5
green-light
  • Mike Evans – Has been held to exactly 4 catches and 82 receiving yards or less in each of the Bucs’ last four games. However, Evans sits 4th in air yards (499) over that same span, so its only a matter of time before another eruption happens.
  • Chris Godwin – Was just inches from scoring his 10th receiving touchdown of the season last Sunday against the Jaguars. Godwin is currently fantasy’s PPR WR2 through 12 games despite a few dud performances.
  • Jack Doyle – Surprise, surprise. In Doyle’s first start in nearly two years last Sunday where he hasn’t had to share snaps with Eric Ebron, the 29-year old tight end went 6-73-1 on 11 targets. Only two teams have allowed more tight end touchdowns than Tampa Bay.
yellow-light
  • O.J. Howard – The 5-61-0 on 6 targets last Sunday arguably represented Howard’s best game of the year that wasn’t against the Cardinals. Just maybe Howard can put together a streak against a susceptible Colts defense.
  • Zach Pascal – With T.Y. Hilton (calf) potentially on the fence about returning this season, and Devin Funchess (collarbone, IR) not being activated prior to the December 4 deadline, Pascal looks like the Colts no. 1 receiver to close out 2019. Tampa Bay has allowed the most receiving yards to opposing wideouts, and only the Dolphins have allowed more receiving scores to the position.
  • Colts D/ST – As usual, the Bucs’ offense can be a good source of turnovers, but they can also put points on the scoreboard. Tread lightly.
red-light
  • Peyton Barber/Ronald Jones – The Colts are actually ranked 21st in rush DVOA, but this committee will continue to be a tough nut to crack with Bucs’ head coach Bruce Arians determining usage on a whim.
  • Marlon Mack (hand) – A return to practice this past Wednesday puts Mack on track to play Sunday after missing two games, but he’ll have to contend with a Tampa Bay defense that has allowed the fewest rushing yards to opposing backfields.

Miami Dolphins at New York Jets

Tale of the Tape – Ranks for Most 2019 Fantasy Points Allowed Per Game
Position Dolphins Jets
Quarterback 3rd 17th
Running Back 3rd 13th
Wide Receiver 6th 9th
Tight End 12th 28th
Defense/Special Teams 1st 3rd
Vegas Line: Jets -5.5
Vegas Over/Under: 44.5
green-light
  • DeVante Parker – Needs to average just 36.4 receiving yards per game over the Dolphins next four in order to go over 1,000 receiving yards for the first time. Parker should continue capitalizing on his WR1 usage (9.3 targets per game since Week 7) against a porous Jets secondary.
  • Le’Veon Bell – Should be able to put together something useful against the NFL’s most generous defense in terms of rush yards allowed to opposing backfields. Update: Bell (illness) is legitimately questionable for Week 14. Backups Bilal Powell and Ty Montgomery would likely form a committee if Bell cannot go.
  • Sam Darnold – Was a colossal flop in Week 13, going 28 of 48 passing for 239 passing yards while averaging a meager 5.0 yards-per-attempt. Look for a rebound as Miami has allowed three passing touchdowns in each of their last three games.
  • Robby Anderson – With 11-187-1 on 15 targets over the Jets’ last two games, Anderson appears primed for another late-season surge à la 2018. The Dolpins have allowed a NFL-high 21 touchdown passes to opposing wideouts.
yellow-light
  • Patrick Laird – Call it a hunch, but Laird seems poised to see most of the Dolphins’ backfield work following the season-ending loss of former starter Kalen Ballage (leg, IR). Laird played a season-high 60 percent of the Dolphins offensive snaps last Sunday, and is a plus receiver (4-43-0 through the air in that contest). The Jets are tied for having allowed the third-most receptions to opposing running backs.
  • Mike Gesicki – Things appear to be coming together for Gesicki, as he’s now gone 8-107-2 on 14 targets over the Dolphins’ past two games. Gesicki managed a career-high 95 receiving yards when he last faced the ‘Phins back in Week 9.
  • Ryan Fitzpatrick – Went for a season-high 395 passing yards with three scores and a pick last Sunday against the Eagles, giving Fitzpatrick 6 total scores over his past two games played. The Jets allow 257.8 passing yards and 1.6 passing touchdowns per contest to opposing quarterbacks.
  • Jamison Crowder – On a major cold streak with 4-26-0 the last two weeks, though he’s been targeted 13 times over that span. Expect better results against the beatable Dolphins defense.
red-light
  • Jets D/ST – Starting S Jamal Adams (ankle) looks like a long shot to play, while LB C.J. Mosley (groin) was placed on season-ending IR last Tuesday. This unit is running out of play-makers, and the Dolphins’ offense is clicking right now.

San Francisco 49ers at New Orleans Saints

Tale of the Tape – Ranks for Most 2019 Fantasy Points Allowed Per Game
Position 49ers Saints
Quarterback 31st 10th
Running Back 32nd 29th
Wide Receiver 30th 11th
Tight End 31st 20th
Defense/Special Teams 27th 30th
Vegas Line: Saints -3
Vegas Over/Under: 44
green-light
  • None of note.
yellow-light
  • Alvin Kamara – The Niners had difficulty with shifty and elusive backs such as Kenyan Drake and Christian McCaffrey, so Kamara should be able to put up moderately useful fantasy numbers.
  • George Kittle – Laid an egg in Week 12 with just 2-17-0 on 4 targets as the 49ers opted to use him more as a blocker. The Saints’ are in the middle of the pack in terms of limiting opposing tight ends, so look for a mild rebound.
  • Deebo Samuel – Continues to remain relatively productive for fantasy purposes despite seeing just 6 targets over his last two games played. New Orleans has allowed the 9th-most receiving yards to opposing wideouts.
  • Emmanuel Sanders – Getting healthier after suffering a rib injury in Week 10, but he’s clearly not all the way back yet. Both Sanders and Samuel have been dominating the 49ers wide receiver snap shares though with Dante Pettis (knee) and Marquise Goodwin (coaches’ decision) on the sidelines.
red-light
  • Drew Brees – The 49ers have allowed just one QB1 (top-12) fantasy performance to a non-mobile quarterback this season, and that was Andy Dalton (of all people) finishing as the QB10 back in Week 2.
  • Michael Thomas – Finally looked human in Week 12, going for a season-low 6-48-0 against the Falcons. San Francisco’s suffocating secondary likely has what it takes to keep Thomas in check for the second week in a row.
  • Tevin Coleman – Went for a season-low 15 scoreless total yards on just 6 touches last Sunday against the Ravens while appearing to be benched in favor of backup Raheem Mostert (who smashed with 19-146-1 on the ground). If Matt Breida (ankle) returns as expected, all bets are off in terms of how the 49ers divvy up touches in this backfield. Oh, and the matchup is an unpleasant one as well.
  • 49ers D/ST – New Orleans’ explosive offense can score points at will, and has given up just the 5th-fewest sacks (21) with an NFL-low 7 turnovers all season.

Detroit Lions at Minnesota Vikings

Tale of the Tape – Ranks for Most 2019 Fantasy Points Allowed Per Game
Position Lions Vikings
Quarterback 8th 18th
Running Back 5th 25th
Wide Receiver 8th 4th
Tight End 14th 13th
Defense/Special Teams 18th 25th
Vegas Line: Vikings -13
Vegas Over/Under: 43
green-light
  • Stefon Diggs – The Vikes are likely once again without Adam Thielen (hamstring). Detroit’s pass defense as ballooned upwards to 4th in terms of most receiving yards allowed to opposing wideouts. Diggs went 7-143-0 on 9 targets when he last faced the Lions in Week 7, which was the same contest where Thielen initially suffered his injury.
  • Kirk Cousins – The Lions have allowed the third-most passing yards to opposing quarterbacks, and only the Cowboys have intercepted fewer passes. Cousins has thrown at least two touchdowns in 7 of the Vikings’ last 8 games.
  • Vikings D/ST – Expect head coach Mike Zimmer’s squad to feast at home against a rookie third-string quarterback making his first road start.
yellow-light
  • Dalvin Cook (chest) – Seems likely to play, but could see his snaps/touches dialed back in a contest the Vikings should win handily. Only the Panthers have allowed more touchdowns to opposing running backs than the Lions.
  • Kyle Rudolph – With a 4-50-1 receiving line last Monday night, Rudolph is up to six touchdowns over the Vikings last 6 games, and appears to be the third option in the team’s passing game so long as Thielen remains out.
  • Kenny Golladay – You’re hoping Golladay is assigned coverage by CB Xavier Rhodes, whose been a frequent burn victim this season. Detroit’s newly minted starting quarterback seemed hardly shy about heaving the ball downfield in Week 13’s loss to the Bears.
  • Marvin Jones – With or without Matthew Stafford, Jones keeps scoring touchdowns, as he’s now up to 9 on the season. Detroit figures to be throwing a ton as their run game gets shut down and the Vikings taking control early.
red-light
  • Bo Scarbrough – The Minnesota defense ranks 9th in rush DVOA. Scarbrough offers nothing as a receiver, so expect him to get scripted out of the Lions’ game plan early.

About Will Weiler

An NFL Red Zone addict and all-around data nerd, I've been obsessed with the NFL and stats ever since I started playing the virtual pigskin game in 2005.