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THE FIRE SALE: Week 14 Playoff Starts and Pickups

The fantasy playoffs have arrived. Thank God. I’ve been working for four months straight. I need a break.

I’m like the guys from Dumb and Dumber. I’m not interested in working 40 hours a week. That seems a bit much…

I’m glad some of my calls back in August like Alvin Kamara, Rex Burkhead and Dion Lewis are helping some of you make a playoff run. I appreciate those of you who thanked me on Twitter. I also appreciate you not mentioning A.J. Derby.

I love how everyone on earth “liked” Kamara now but conveniently forgot to tell you. Listen, if you didn’t have the guts to put it in writing, don’t come out four months later and tell us you loved him. That’s being a gutless turd. It’s easy to love Kamara now. He’s the best player in NFL history.

It’s like me saying I loved Deshaun Watson. Go back and read every Fire Sale I wrote this summer. I never mentioned Watson once. Obviously I love him now but I’m not going to come out and say I loved him this summer. I guess I’m not a gutless turd.

The other thing is just because someone may have mentioned they like Kamara once in their life doesn’t mean they hit on him. Let me give you an example. I once said the following to two friends during an Orange Bowl between Michigan and Alabama, “I like Tom Brady in the late rounds of the draft. I think he could be a decent backup in the NFL.” I mentioned Tom Brady and the word “like” in the same sentence. It didn’t make me right. I was dead wrong. I thought he would be Matt Moore.

Don’t be a phony. People hate phonies. At least I do.

You can follow my crazy ramblings and fantasy observations on Twitter @ThePigskinGuy. I never sleep and I respond to every tweet. Hit me up with fantasy questions or just to tell me I’m a remarkable human being.

Reminder: I changed up The Fire Sale format to focus more on fantasy playoffs. I’ll discuss the waiver wire and players to start during Weeks 14-16. As always, the final Fire Sale in Week 17 will look back at my hits and misses from 2017. Good luck in the playoffs everyone.

Now, on with The Fire Sale

Week 14 Start ‘em

Derek Carr, QB Oakland Raiders

The last time Carr faced the pathetic Chiefs pass defense he threw for 417 yards and three touchdowns. Even if Amari Cooper sits, Michael Crabtree will be back. Carr also has tight end Jared Cook. Okay, the last line was a joke but Carr is still a Top 10 quarterback play this week.

Dak Prescott, QB Dallas Cowboys

It pains me to admit that Dak is a mix between Alex Smith and Chad Pennington. Still, he gets a Giants defense just playing out the string. I’m sure the Giants will play hard under Spags and his 32nd ranked defense. He’s a great motivator. Spags’ defense quit on him weeks ago. I’m not sold that the Cowboys offense is “back” after beating the Redskins. However, I’d start Dak over someone like Marcus Mariota this week.

Jamaal Williams, RB Green Bay Packers

Williams proved last week he’s going to be the Packers feature back even with Aaron Jones in the mix. Williams rushed for 113 yards and a touchdown on Sunday. In his last three games, Williams has 236 yards on 60 carries and three touchdowns. The one thing the Browns do well is defend the run but Williams’ heavy workload makes him an RB2 for fantasy playoffs.

Jerick McKinnon, RB Minnesota Vikings

Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram just gashed the Panthers defense. Now, McKinnon isn’t the best player I’ve ever seen like Kamara but he’s a good receiver out of the backfield. That’s an area where offenses can exploit the Panthers defense. Carolina allows 5.2 receptions per game to opposing running backs. It’s tough to know which Vikings running back to start each week. I’m betting this is a McKinnon week based on the matchup.

Matt Forte, RB New York Jets

Forte gained 91 total yards, caught three passes and scored a touchdown Sunday versus the Chiefs. He’s still in a timeshare but Forte has scored at least 10 points in PPR formats six times this season, including five of his last six games. He remains the best fantasy option in a crowded backfield because of the way the Jets use him in the passing game. Forte faces a struggling Broncos defense this week that allows five receptions per game to running backs. He’s a strong Flex option.

Rex Burkhead, RB New England Patriots

I know everyone is starting Kamara this week. Actually, someone asked me last week if he should start Kamara. Seriously? One of my other sleepers isn’t on the same level as Kamara but Burkhead is close to an automatic start in fantasy playoffs.

Samaje Perine, RB Washington Redskins

I wrote back in early September that Perine would help owners win a fantasy title. Time to earn your bacon and defend my Oklahoma bias. Boomer. And Ohio State stinks. If you want to make the college playoffs, start Dwayne Haskins at quarterback. The committee knew Ohio State would get blown out because JT Barrett can’t throw a forward pass. That’s why Alabama is in and the Buckeyes are out.

Josh Gordon, WR Cleveland Browns

He looked good. As I already stated, I don’t take credit for things I don’t predict. I wasn’t completely sold on Gordon being a big fantasy factor but after watching him produce in a tough matchup, I’d start him with confidence this week.

Cooper Kupp, WR Los Angeles Rams

Kupp has been targeted heavily since Robert Woods got injured. In his last three games, Kupp has been targeted 24 times with 19 receptions for 248 yards. The Eagles are a tough matchup but in a big game, expect Jared Goff to continue to feed Kupp the ball.

Davante Adams, WR Green Bay Packers

Are Adams and Brett Hundley dating? Last week Hundley threw for only 84 yards and half of it went to Adams (4/42). Hundley and Adams are the new Aaron Rodgers and Jordy Nelson in Green Bay.

Ricky Seals-Jones, TE Arizona Cardinals

Seals-Jones didn’t have a big game against the tough Rams defense on Sunday. Things ease up a bit this week versus the Titans then Seals-Jones gets great matchups against the Redskins and Giants. I’m a big believer in Seals-Jones. Get ready for the “I guarantee he’s a Top 10 fantasy tight end” nonsense from me next summer. That’s not sarcasm. It’s true, it’s damn true.

Hunter Henry, TE San Diego Chargers

After a disappointing start to the year, Henry has heated up at just the right time for fantasy owners. He has 12 receptions for 157 yards and a touchdown on 14 targets in his last two games. This week Henry gets a Redskins defense that’s been in the giving mood when it comes to tight ends. He should continue to stay hot. You can also throw Keenan Allen in your starting lineup. The guy has a ridiculous 33 catches for 436 yards and four touchdowns on 41 targets in his last three games. He’s good. That’s called “expert” analysis.

Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE New York Jets

Seferian-Jenkins hasn’t been great lately but he faces the right defense to break out of that slump this week. The Broncos defense is one of the most disappointing units in the NFL. Denver has allowed the most passing touchdowns, including eight to the tight end position. Seferian-Jenkins needs to score to have fantasy value. There’s a good chance it happens this week.

About Thomas Casale

Thomas began playing fantasy football back when owners had to mail in their starting lineups and work out trades over the phone. He started writing The Fire Sale in 1998. Since then his articles have appeared on numerous web sites sites including Fantasy Sharks, USA Today and SI.com.