It seems like it was just a couple of weeks ago that I was rolling out the Week 1 edition of this column for the 2019 campaign. And yet, here we are — at the end of the fantasy football regular season.
Ladies and gentlemen, it’s fantasy playoffs time.
Yes, coach — the playoffs.
In more leagues than not, Week 14 is the first week of the postseason. In others, it’s the final week of the regular season. There are a few people this week who are playing out the string and/or looking to ruin someone else’s fun with some spoiler action (misery, as they say, loves company), but for most folks still playing in Week 14, the edict is clear.
Win and move on to Week 15. Lose, and the season’s over.
That’s right, we’re busting out all the greatest hits this week.
As such, just as it did last season this column is changing formats for the season’s last few weeks. There won’t be any more “Spot Starts of the Week.” This isn’t to say that I won’t still point out some second or even third-tier options who have favorable matchups and could be valuable assets — those come in handy no matter what week it is.
But there aren’t many fantasy squads searching for hidden gems at this point in the season. It’s more valuable (in my opinion) to point out more players who are already kicking around lineups who could be set to blow up or fall flat than to try to get cute and recommend a quarterback ranked outside the Top 20 who might have a puncher’s chance at a good game.
This is most assuredly not the time of year to get cute.
There also won’t be any more changes to the “Studs” list from here out — given that it also serves as the “can’t cut” list at My Fantasy League, stability there would seem advisable the rest of the way.
Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City (at New England)
Deshaun Watson, Houston (vs. Denver)
Lamar Jackson, Baltimore (at Buffalo)
Russell Wilson, Seattle (at Los Angeles Rams)
Matt Ryan, Atlanta (vs. Carolina)
Dak Prescott, Dallas (at Chicago)
ROLL THEM OUT
Jacoby Brissett, Indianapolis (at Tampa Bay)
Brissett (and the Indianapolis offense) has struggled quite a bit of late. But this week a desperate Indianapolis team faces a Tampa Bay team that ranks 31st in the NFL in pass defense and fourth in fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks in Sharks League Scoring.
Kirk Cousins, Minnesota (vs. Detroit)
It really wasn’t Cousins’ fault, but Mr. “Can’t Win the Big Game” came up short again on Monday night in Seattle. Minnesota doesn’t have much margin for error now, so it is going to have the pedal to the floor Sunday at home against lowly Detroit.
Sam Darnold, New York Jets (vs. Miami)
To be fair, a certain amount of intestinal fortitude would be required to consider starting Darnold after the Jets fell apart in Cincinnati last week. But from a matchup perspective he’s set up to rebound in a big way — the Miami pass defense has been well and truly awful all season long.
Baker Mayfield, Cleveland (vs. Cincinnati)
From all indications, the hand injury Mayfield suffered last week in Pittsburgh won’t affect his Week 14 status. That’s good news for both Cleveland and fantasy owners ahead of a matchup with a Cincinnati team giving up the seventh-most fantasy points to quarterbacks in 2019.
Ryan Tannehill, Tennessee (at Oakland)
Since making his first start for Tennessee against the Los Angeles Chargers, Tannehill has tossed 12 touchdown passes against just three interceptions and ranks fifth among all quarterbacks in fantasy points. And in a favorable Week 14 matchup in Oakland, and the good times should keep rolling along.
SIT THEM DOWN
Josh Allen, Buffalo (vs. Baltimore)
Allen’s made real strides in the second season of his professional career — especially as a passer. He’s a Top 5 quarterback in Sharks League scoring for the year. And he draws a Bottom 5 five fantasy matchup Sunday against a Baltimore defense that has been lights-out over the past several weeks.
Drew Brees, New Orleans (vs. San Francisco)
Drew Brees is a Hall of Fame quarterback playing at home Sunday for arguably the best team in the NFC. But he’s also put up rather pedestrian stat lines twice over the past four weeks, and only New England has surrendered fewer fantasy points to quarterbacks in 2019 than San Francisco.
Dak Prescott, Dallas (at Chicago)
I’m well aware that the last thing fantasy owners want to see in the “Sit” section of this article is a who’s who of fantasy quarterbacks. But Prescott’s not the same quarterback on the road as at Jerruh World, and Chicago has been a tough matchup for opposing quarterbacks this season.