Lineup Prep: Week 14

2017-12-06 10:18:30
By JEFF PAUR
Sr Fantasy Writer
RealTime Fantasy Sports

Jones looks good for Week 14

It really is hard to believe, but this is the last week of the regular season in most fantasy leagues. This means it is make or break for many fantasy teams. It is win or go home for many of you, so good luck in all your leagues in this crucial week of games. We will do our best to get you ready for all the action. Keep an eye on the player notes for the latest injury and position news. Make sure your lineup is in order before the games start Sunday. Now for my random thoughts for the week. . . . .

I really thought Jordan Matthews was going to have a good first season with the Bills. He battled injury all year, though, and never got going when healthy. He was placed on Injured Reserve on Tuesday, ending his season. It was a lost year for Matthews. I wouldn't count him out, though. He can help fantasy teams as the No. 1 receiver in the Bills offense going forward. Don't forget about him come next year. Injuries were the issue in 2017.

The Giants make the playoffs last year and coach Ben McAdoo seems like a great hire. Well, that sure went south in a hurry. This season has been a mess, leading him to get fired before the year is even out. This shouldn't come as a surprise with the way he handled the Eli Manning benching and other disciplinary actions during the season. The team clearly didn't like playing for McAdoo anymore. This is a good situation to land for coaches, though. The pieces are there for the Giants to be pretty good in a hurry. Don't be surprised if Josh McDaniels lands here.

Wow, that Monday night game was out of control. I really thought more players were going to go down with the way it was headed. There were a ton of cheap shots. Just not fun to watch. It was actually scary. Hopefully, that is the last we see of that this year. You never want to see a player get seriously hurt because of a cheap shot.

Rob Gronkowski sure picked a bad time to lose it. His suspension is likely to be a big factor in deciding playoff teams for many, many leagues. Hopefully, if you are a Gronk owner, you have already secured that playoff spot. If not, good luck in trying to overcome his loss. It is a huge one.

Russell Wilson is on some kind of role. He has looked unstoppable in recent weeks and is carrying many fantasy teams right into the playoffs. He kind of did the same thing last year, producing huge down the stretch. This is becoming a trend for Wilson. He is clearly an elite fantasy quarterback and is making as strong case to be the first quarterback off the board in 2018. Remember, he is carrying this offense because the Seahawks have little to no running game and an offensive line with some holes. Wilson just gets it done. He is a special talent.

I still can't get over the production of Alvin Kamara. This guy is getting around 10 to 15 touches per game but is still third overall in fantasy running back scoring. His season high in touches is 17. Can you imagine his numbers if he was the lead back and getting 20-plus touches per game? Wow. Kamara is setup to be a top fantasy back for years to come.

You forget about him at times but Andy Dalton has been pretty solid for fantasy teams after a slow start to the year. The Bengals are playing better and he is producing, having multiple touchdowns four straight games and six of his last seven. He also hasn't thrown an interception since Week 7. Consistency matters and Dalton has been very consistent for fantasy teams these last several weeks.

The running back spot sure has been a mess this year. It is as top heavy as I have seen it in a long time. Plus, the position keeps fluctuating on almost a weekly basis. Guys move up and down a lot more than past seasons. James White is 23rd in running back scoring but I wouldn't touch him in fantasy lineups right now. This is just an example about how things have changed at the position as the season progressed this year. It has been a strange year at the running back position.

News and Notes: Steelers receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster has been suspended for Week 14 for his illegal block and taunt after the block. . . . .Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski was suspended for one game for a cheap shot in last week's game. . . . . .After getting benched last week, the Giants changed coaches and the new coaches are making a change at quarterback. Eli Manning has been named the starter for Week 14.

HOT PLAYS

Derek Carr, QB, Raiders. Carr was without his top two receivers last week but still managed to throw for 287 yards and a touchdown without a turnover. He has been playing his best football of the season the second half of the year, having 300-yard games three of his last six. He plays the Chiefs this week, a team he threw for 417 yards and three touchdowns against in Week 7. Kansas City allows the fourth most fantasy points to quarterbacks and has been a mess against the pass all year.

Jamaal Williams, RB, Packers. If you can believe this, Williams is third in fantasy running back scoring his last three games. Williams had his first 100-yard game as a pro last week and has touchdowns two straight and three of his last five games. Aaron Jones is back and could cut into his work, but Williams is the starter for now and should produce well in that role. Williams gets the Browns this week, a team that has allowed seven rushing touchdowns and struggled against the run in recent weeks.

Marvin Jones, WR, Lions. Jones is sixth in fantasy receiver scoring his last three games and 11th overall for the season. He has 85 or more yards three straight games and scores in two of those games. Jones is producing on a weekly basis, making plenty of big plays in the passing game for the Lions. Expect more of the same this week giant the Bucs. Tampa allows the most fantasy points to receivers on the season, making Jones an elite play for Week 14.

Kenny Stills, WR, Dolphins. Stills just keeps producing. He had five receptions for 98 yards and a touchdown last week. He has scores two of three games and at least three receptions eight straight games. He is eighth in fantasy receiver scoring his last three games and is now 19th overall for the season. He gets his weekly work and has become the second best receiver to use in this offense, moving ahead of DeVante Parker. Stills has a favorable matchup for more good numbers this week, playing the Patriots. New England has been better defensively in recent weeks but still struggle to stop the pass. The Patriots allow the eighth most fantasy points to receivers.

Lamar Miller, RB, Texans. Miller isn't having a huge season but has been consistent for fantasy teams. He is 12th in fantasy running back scoring and has double-digit carries every game. He had 94 total yards last week and gets a great matchup for success this week against the 49ers. San Francisco allows the third most fantasy points to running backs and rank 29th overall against the rush, allowing 123.9-rushing yards per game. Miller is a low-end No. 1 back in Week 14.

COLD PLAYS

Martavis Bryant, WR, Steelers. Bryant has returned to the starting lineup but his numbers still aren't much of a help to fantasy teams. He has fewer than 45 yards four straight games. He could have a little bigger role this week with JuJu Smith-Schuster suspended, but we still wouldn't take a chance on him. He has done little to warrant a fantasy start. Plus, Bryant plays the Ravens, a team that allows the second fewest fantasy points to receivers and are third overall against the pass. Bryant had three receptions for 48 yards against the Ravens in Week 4.

Jonathan Stewart, RB, Panthers. Stewart found the end zone last week and has scores two straight games. We still wouldn't get too excited, though. The rest of his numbers are not very good, rushing 26 times for 71 yards his last two games. He is not gaining many yards, being a very touchdown dependent player. And we aren't sure he finds the end zone this week against the Vikings. Minnesota is second overall against the run and allowed just six rushing touchdowns all season. Go with other options.

Josh McCown, QB, Jets. McCown had been a huge surprise for fantasy teams. He ranks eighth overall in fantasy quarterback scoring. He has two straight 300-yard games and multiple scores eight games this season. He has been a consistent force all year. He isn't immune to the poor showing, though. Heh as struggled al little in tougher matchup, most notably the Bills. He was held to fewer than 190-passing yards each of his game against Buffalo and one touchdown pass in those games. He also failed to throw a touchdown pass against the Jaguars in Week 4. He will struggle against better pass defenses, which is what he faces in Week 14. Denver is fourth overall against the pass. This is a very tough road matchup for McCown.

Tevin Coleman, RB, Falcons. Coleman isn't having quite the season as expected. He has done well when getting a chance to start but his numbers outside of that haven't been great in recent weeks. Devonta Freeman returned last week, leading to less work for Coleman. He ran eight times for just 22 yards. The biggest issues for Coleman is a lack of work in the passing game, hurting his overall fantasy numbers. He has one or no receptions seven of his last eight games. If he isn't catching the ball, he isn't going to be much of a help to fantasy teams with Freeman healthy. You might want to leave him on your bench in Week 14 against the Saints. New Orleans allows the 10th fewest fantasy points to running backs.

T.Y. Hilton, WR, Colts. Hilton found the end zone against the best pass defense in football last week, catching three passes for 51 yards and a score. It was good to see him produce once again. But his overall numbers still weren't great and he has fewer than 30 yards five of seven games. Hilton is a hard guy to put much faith in at this point of the season. We wouldn't get too excited about him after last week, especially with a matchup against the Bills. Buffalo can't stop the run but do very well against the pass, allowing the eighth fewest fantasy points to receivers. Buffalo has allowed just 10-passing touchdowns all season. If you have safer options, go with them.

SLEEPERS

Corey Clement, RB, Eagles. The three-headed rushing attack for the Eagles didn't do much for fantasy owners last week, but had a tough matchup against the Seahawks. Even with that said, Clement still had 37 total yards on six touches. He gets around double-digit touches per game, giving him weekly potential to help fantasy teams. Expect the Eagles to lean heavily on all their backs this week against the Rams. Los Angeles allows the most fantasy points to running backs and rank 27th against the rush.

Jimmy Garoppolo, QB, 49ers. Garoppolo didn't find the end zone last week but played well, going 26-of-37 for 293 yards. He led his team to a road victory, mounting a drive late to setup the game-winning score. It was an impressive first game. He has a much easier matchup in Week 14, playing the Texans. Houston allows the most fantasy points to quarterbacks. Expect Garoppolo to find the end zone in this one and produce a good overall fantasy day.

Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE, Jets. Seferian-Jenkins has cooled some in recent weeks, catching just two passes for seven yards last week. But even with that said. He has multiple catches every game this year. He also had six receptions for 67 yards just a few week back against the Bucs. Seferian-Jenkins is still worth using in the right matchup. And a game against the Broncos is a good time to use him. Denver is pretty good overall against the pass but struggle to stop the tight end, allowing the third most fantasy points to tight ends for the season.

Mike Wallace, WR, Ravens. Wallace suddenly has fantasy value once again. He had his second 100-yard game of the season last week and has at least four receptions four straight games. He also has touchdowns two of those four games. He is getting more consistent work and producing well with his chances. Wallace plays the Steelers this week, a team that is good against the pass but couldn't stop A.J. Green last week. Their secondary is showing some more holes in recent weeks against the opposition's No. 1 receiver, which bodes well for Wallace in Week 14.

Frank Gore, RB, Colts. Gore just keeps chugging along. His overall numbers are pretty mediocre for the season but very consistent. He has double-digit carries all but a game and at least 60 total yards five straight games. He can still help fantasy teams, especially this week against the Bills. Buffalo allows the second most fantasy points to running backs and rank 25th overall against the rush. Don't forget about Gore in Week 14.

High/Low Scoring Games

Each week we will take a look at some of the high and low scoring games for the coming week. In high scoring affairs, get your marginal players on those teams in your lineup to take advantage of the possible points barrage. And in the low scoring games, keep those marginal players on the bench and make sure to have your defenses involved in those contests.

High Scoring Games: Saints/Falcons, Raiders/Chiefs, Lions/Bucs, Redskins/Chargers, Eagles/Rams.

Low Scoring Games: Jets/Broncos.

Jeff Paur is a two-time finalist for FSWA Fantasy Football Writer of the Year and won the FSWA award for Best Fantasy Football Article on the Web in 2011. He also was the most accurate expert in 2012, winning the FSTA Fantasy Football Accuracy Award. If you have any questions for Jeff, email him at jeff@rtsports.com. Follow Jeff on Twitter @jeffpaur.

jeff@rtsports.com