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FFL: Playoff Week 1 | NFL: Week 14

From The Godfather: Week 10

Sat Nov 9 2:48pm ET
By CHARLIE WIEGERT
Contributing Writer

Six teams are on a bye this week: New England, Philadelphia, Houston, Denver, Washington and Jacksonville.  Some premier fantasy will be missing in lineups, who can you replace them with?

The Colts get the gimme game with the Dolphins coming to town, but T.Y. Hilton is out and Jacoby Brissett looks doubtful.  Their defense remains a good play.  The other matchup of bad teams meet in the battle of New York with the Giants playing the Jets. There is very little to get excited about there.

There are two matchups where a lot of offense is predicted, so playing the guys on these four teams makes sense: Arizona at Tampa Bay, and Atlanta at New Orleans.  Not far behind will be Kansas City at Tennessee, and Minnesota at Dallas.  

In one of the better good versus bad team matchups, Baltimore plays Cincinnati.  This should be a very one sided game.

Three Bengals have one of the worst defenses in the NFL against both the pass and rush, so Cincinnati has no chance to stop the potent Ravens offense.  Lamar Jackson should have a big day both rushing and passing. And the other Ravens players should put up big numbers - Mark Ingram, Marquise Brown and Mark Andrews.  Play them all!

Quarterbacks: Kyler Murray and the Cardinals travel to Tampa. The prize the Cardinals get is the Bucs defense.  Their secondary is in shambles, having allowed 300-passing yards and two touchdowns the last six games.  The rookie quarterback has a great chance to have one of his best days as a pro in this one.  And on the other side of the ball, Jameis Winston could put the ball up 40 times playing catch up.  You can safely play both quarterbacks. Arizona is really bad defending against tight ends. Could this be the day everyone has been waiting for from O.J. Howard?  I say no. Tampa Bay coach Bruce Arians doesn’t make up plays that go to tight ends, and I doubt he’ll start against his former team.

Drew Brees gets an easy game against a pitiful Falcons defense at home in what should another very one-sided game.

My sleeper quarterback pick is whoever starts for the Colts at home against Miami.  I think Brian Hoyer might have better day than banged up Jacoby Brissett, and I don’t think the Colts need him to dispose of the Dolphins.  It’d be smarter to give home the week off to heal.  If Hoyer starts, he makes a great DFS play.

Running Backs: David Montgomery has averaged 110 yards his last two games, and the way Mitch Trubisky has been playing, the key to victory for the Bears is to run him early and often against the Lions.  You can expect the big five - Christian McCaffery, Saquon Barkley, Ezekiel Elliott, Alvin Kamara and Dalvin Cook - to all have the games you’d expect this week.

Devin Singletary has taken over the lead running back role in Buffalo, and he should have a really good day against a Cleveland rushing defense that is giving up over 120 yards per game.  

And the Colts are playing the Dolphins, so the Marlon Mack express should be chugging along.

Wide Receivers: Look at the quarterbacks above. The question is what receivers will they be throwing to?  I think Murray’s top receiver will be veteran Larry Fitzgerald, but Christian Kirk will have a good day, also.  It wouldn’t surprise me to see both top the century mark.  On the other side when James isn’t throwing to Arizona cornerbacks, I look for Chris Godwin to out-catch Mike Evans this week. The main reason is because Winston might want to stay away from Patrick Peterson, who likely shadows Evans.

The most consistent wide receiver this year has been Michael Thomas, and he’ll be Drew Brees’s favorite target this week.  To go with my sleeper pick with the Colts at quarterback, Zach Pascal will be on the receiving end for which ever quarterback plays.

Tight Ends: Travis Kelce should have a good day against a questionable middle linebacker group in Tennessee, especially if Patrick Mahomes does indeed play.  And if George Kittle is healed enough to play for the 49ers against the Seahawks Monday night, it’s a great matchup for him, but right now he looks really risky.  My top pick this week is Atlanta’s Austin Hooper, especially if Matt Ryan is back at quarterback.  New Orleans has allowed the sixth most yards per catch to tight ends this year.

Defenses: The obvious three are Indianapolis (vs. Miami), Baltimore (vs. Cincinnati) and New Orleans (vs. Atlanta).  The Bears at home against the Lions are a good call, too. Look for them to get a pick six.

Charlie Wiegert was the sixth person to be inducted in the Fantasy Sports Hall Of Fame in 2001. He is a founder of CDM Fantasy Sports and Fantasy Sports Trade Association. He has been playing and winning fantasy baseball leagues since 1984. If you have any questions for Charlie, email them to cwiegert@cdmsports.com. Follow him on Twitter @GFFantasySports.

Player Notes
Josh Jacobs Dec 5 2:50pm ET

Oakland Raiders rookie running back Josh Jacobs (shoulder) wasn't seen at the start of practice on Thursday. Jacobs revealed on Tuesday that he's been playing through a fractured shoulder since Week 7, so back-to-back missed practices are now more concerning for anyone that owns Jacobs. Despite his injured shoulder, Jacobs has remained productive in his first season and is fourth in the NFL with 1,061 rushing yards in 2019. He'll be a bit more of a risky RB1 this weekend if he suits up, but his fantasy owners will have their minds more at ease if Jacobs returns to practice on Friday. If he cannot play this weekend, Deandre Washington would be the obvious plug and play, with Jalen Richard mixing in on passing downs.

From RotoBaller

Von Miller Dec 5 2:50pm ET

Denver Broncos outside linebacker Von Miller (knee), who revealed he's dealing with an MCL injury, is in doubt for Week 14 against the Texans. "I'm already undersized. When you take away exotic movements that make me who I am it changes the type of player I am. I have to get that back to go out and play. If I don't have that back then I need to take time to get that right," Miller said. He was limited in practice on Wednesday, but that doesn't mean he'll play this weekend. Another Miller absence would be great news for Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson and the whole offense. Even if Miller suits up, the Broncos Defense should be avoided in fantasy.

From RotoBaller

Drew Brees Dec 5 2:40pm ET

San Francisco 49ers defensive end Arik Armstead, who leads the team with 10 sacks this year, walked off the practice field on Thursday with an undisclosed injury. Armstead's 10 sacks in 2019 are more than his combined total (9.5) in his previous four seasons. The Niners pass rush has been a strength of their defense all year, but they've had key injuries in recent weeks, although Dee Ford (hamstring) is on track to return after missing two games. Armstead has played 73 percent of the defense's snaps this year on the edge and inside. Solomon Thomas would likely replace Armstead if needed. Drew Brees and the Saints offense would receive a boost if Armstead cannot play.

From RotoBaller

Latavius Murray Dec 5 2:30pm ET

New Orleans Saints running back Latavius Murray will face the San Francisco 49ers in Week 14. San Francisco's defense ranks 22nd against the run despite being the best in the league against the pass, presenting Murray with a good matchup. The problem is, he's seen a steady decrease in snaps and touches over the last three games, including his second-lowest snap total of the season last week, 13. This usage makes Murray nothing more than flex play in deep leagues, even in a more run-friendly matchup.

From RotoBaller

James Conner Dec 5 2:20pm ET

Pittsburgh Steelers running back James Conner (shoulder) has been ruled out for Week 14 against the Cardinals despite getting in some limited practice this week. It will be his third straight missed game, and fantasy owners shouldn't be holding out much hope that he can help you the rest of the way if you've made the fantasy playoffs. A Pro Bowler in 2018, Conner has disappointed with 390 rushing yards and five missed games. Benny Snell Jr. should continue to carry the load on early downs in Conner's absence. He'll be an upside RB3 in the good matchup with Arizona, but Jaylen Samuels should continue to see more work in the passing game.

From RotoBaller

Dante Pettis Dec 5 2:10pm ET

San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Dante Pettis (knee) was back at practice on Thursday after being held out on Wednesday. Pettis is making progress, but he won't be back on the field for Week 14 against the Saints. The 24-year-old has been a second-year bust, catching only 11 passes for 109 yards and two touchdowns in his 11 games in 2019. With several 49ers rookies possibly passing him on the depth chart in 2020, Pettis is no longer a must-hold in dynasty/keeper leagues either. He posted 27 catches for 467 yards and five scores in 12 games in his rookie season.

From RotoBaller

Adam Vinatieri Dec 5 2:00pm ET

Indianapolis Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri (knee) is unlikely to play in Week 14 against the Buccaneers after the team claimed kicker Chase McLaughlin off waivers on Wednesday. Vinatieri will turn 47 years old this month and has missed 14 total kicks this year, so McLaughlin could take over for him this weekend and finish out the year as the team's kicker. McLaughlin made seven of his eight kicks in his time for the 49ers filling in for Robbie Gould, and he could become a viable kicking streamer down the stretch in fantasy. Vinatieri, who has been a legendary kicker in his career, could be nearing the end.

From RotoBaller

Trey Quinn Dec 5 2:00pm ET

Washington Redskins wide receivers Paul Richardson (hamstring) and Trey Quinn (concussion) did not practice for the second straight day on Thursday. They're both unlikely to play in Week 14 against the Packers. Neither receiver has moved the fantasy needle in 2019 either, so they should both be firmly planted on the waiver wire in your league. Outside of rookie Terry McLaurin -- and he's a risky fantasy proposition these days as well -- no Washington receiver is worth your consideration for a lineup spot. If Richardson and Quinn are inactive this Sunday, rookies Kelvin Harmon and Steven Sims Jr. will be in three-wide sets. That means all of the Redskins pass-catchers will be rookies with a rookie quarterback throwing them passes. Look elsewhere.

From RotoBaller

Nelson Agholor Dec 5 1:50pm ET

Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Nelson Agholor (knee) did not take part in practice on Thursday. Agholor returned in the Week 13 loss to the Dolphins and had an underwhelming three catches for 41 yards in the embarrassing defeat. He's not a lock to play on Monday night against the Giants, and even if he does, he's a low-upside WR4/flex in deeper leagues. Agholor just hasn't proven to be much of a producer unless Alshon Jeffery misses time with injury. If Agholor can't go this week, rookie J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, who caught his first touchdown of his career last Sunday, would see an even bigger role in the passing game.

From RotoBaller

Alvin Kamara Dec 5 1:40pm ET

New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara will face the San Francisco 49ers in Week 14. The 49ers rank first in the league in passing yards allowed per game but only 22nd in rushing yards allowed per contest. They've also been somewhat susceptible to big running plays, as they've allowed the ninth-most rushing plays of 20 yards or more. That bodes well for Kamara, who has been a fantasy bust despite garnering at least 20 touches in two of his last three games. Expect New Orleans to lean on the running game, giving Kamara another chance at 20 touches- and his first touchdown since Week 3. He'll have slightly more upside in PPR, though volume will allow him to put up low-end RB1 numbers this week.

From RotoBaller

Greg Olsen Dec 5 1:10pm ET

Carolina Panthers tight end Greg Olsen (concussion) is out of practice for the second straight day this week on Thursday. All signs are pointing towards Olsen sitting Week 14 out against the Falcons after suffering a serious head injury in Week 13. If you've been relying on Olsen in your tight end spot, it's time to make other plans for the first week of the fantasy playoffs. Ian Thomas should become the primary pass-catching tight end in Carolina if Olsen sits, and he'd have streaming TE2 appeal if that's the case.

From RotoBaller

Damien Williams Dec 5 1:10pm ET

Kansas City Chiefs running back Damien Williams (ribs) remained out of practice for the second straight day on Thursday. Unless Williams gets in at least a limited practice on Friday, he's headed for his second straight missed game after getting injured in Week 11. With Darrel Williams (hamstring) on Injured Reserve, we could be looking at a committee approach with LeSean McCoy, Darwin Thompson and Spencer Ware in Week 14 against the Patriots. Even if Williams is able to play, he'd be an RB3/flex to fade in the fantasy playoffs. Thompson might have the most fantasy upside this weekend with the Chiefs limiting McCoy's touches down the stretch.

From RotoBaller

Adam Thielen Dec 5 1:00pm ET

Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen (hamstring) is not practicing for the second straight day this week on Thursday. As of now, it's looking like Thielen can't be trusted to return in Week 14 against the Lions in a good matchup. Keep him locked to your bench unless something changes with his status on Friday. Stefon Diggs, Kyle Rudolph and Olabisi Johnson should remain the top three passing targets if Thielen misses another contest. Diggs went for seven catches and 143 yards in the last matchup with Detroit, so he'll be a high-end WR2 regardless of whether Thielen plays. Rudolph has become a touchdown hog with Thielen out of the lineup.

From RotoBaller

San Francisco 49ers Dec 5 1:00pm ET

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees will face an extremely tough test in Week 14 against the San Francisco 49ers. Here's where the 49ers Defense ranks in several key categories: 45 sacks, second in the league, 134.2 pass yards allowed per game, first in the league and 29.4 pass attempts allowed, second in the league. Brees will potentially have to take on this fearsome pass rush without his starting offensive tackles, Andrus Peat (forearm) and Terron Armstead (ankle). Even in the offensive-friendly Superdome, Brees isn't dropping back to pass 40 times against this defense. Expect a more run-oriented gameplan from New Orleans, making Brees more of a QB2 this week.

From RotoBaller

Golden Tate Dec 5 1:00pm ET

Updating a previous report, New York Giants wide receiver Golden Tate (concussion) is practicing in full on Thursday. Tate looks ready to return in Week 14 against the Eagles on Monday night after sitting out last week. With tight end Evan Engram (foot) also on track to make his return, Tate will be more of a PPR WR3 for fantasy owners with Sterling Shepard and Darius Slayton also being involved. Quarterback Eli Manning is also expected to get the start under center with rookie Daniel Jones (ankle) not expected to play.

From RotoBaller

Gerald Everett Dec 5 12:50pm ET

Los Angeles Rams tight end Gerald Everett (knee) did not practice on Wednesday. Everett missed the game last week and is in danger of sitting again in Week 14 against the Seahawks on Sunday night. If that is the case, Tyler Higbee, who caught seven of eight targets for 107 yards and a touchdown in Week 13, would be a low-end TE1 option again for fantasy owners struggling at the position in the first week of the fantasy playoffs. Everett will need to at least get in a limited practice on Thursday or Friday to have a shot at returning to the field this weekend.

From RotoBaller

Adam Vinatieri Dec 5 12:50pm ET

Indianapolis Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri (knee) is on the injury report for Week 14 against the Buccaneers after his knee flared up in warmups this past Sunday. Vinatieri missed all three of his attempts from 55, 52 and 46 yards on Sunday, with two of them getting blocked. With Indy claiming kicker Chase McLaughlin off waivers on Wednesday, Vinatieri's status is very much up in the air for this Sunday. Vinatieri was limited in practice on Wednesday and isn't a good fantasy option, even if he's active this weekend. McLaughlin could become a worthy streaming consideration if he fills in at all for Vinatieri in the last four games.

From RotoBaller

Austin Ekeler Dec 5 12:50pm ET

Jacksonville Jaguars linebacker Myles Jack (knee) is going on season-ending Injured Reserve on Thursday, according to a source. It's a big blow to Jacksonville's already weak run defense, especially with Chargers running backs Melvin Gordon and Austin Ekeler coming to town in Week 14. The 24-year-old Jack totaled 66 tackles, half a sack and one interception in his 11 games this year for Jacksonville. Fantasy owners shouldn't be using the Jaguars Defense in the first round of the fantasy playoffs despite facing a slumping Chargers offense.

From RotoBaller

Daniel Jones Dec 5 12:40pm ET

New York Giants rookie quarterback Daniel Jones (ankle) is not practicing on Thursday and is doing leg work in a boot with a trainer on the side. Dealing with a mild high ankle sprain, Jones is a long shot to suit up on Monday night against the Eagles and could also miss Week 15. It means that veteran Eli Manning will get another start in Week 14 against an old foe in the Eagles. Philly's secondary has plenty of concerns and was just roasted by the Dolphins. The G-Men could be getting both Evan Engram and Golden Tate back as well, but Manning remains a low-upside QB2 if he gets the start, as expected, on Monday.

From RotoBaller

Evan Engram Dec 5 12:40pm ET

New York Giants tight ends Evan Engram (foot) and Rhett Ellison (concussion) and wide receiver Golden Tate (concussion) are all practicing on Thursday. All three players have a chance of returning on Monday night against the Eagles, but they'll be tough calls in fantasy if they carry questionable designations and are game-time calls. Engram has disappointed this year because of injury, but he'll immediately return to being a TE1 if he's active. Tate's return would be good news for quarterback Eli Manning, who will likely start for Daniel Jones (ankle), but it will hurt Sterling Shepard's upside as a WR2 in a great matchup. Ellison would only be fantasy relevant if he starts and Engram sits. Philly's defense won't be as great of a streamer if New York gets all their offensive weapons back.

From RotoBaller