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Whos Hot Whos Not 2016 Week 14
By Jen Ryan
First of all, congratulations are in order. If you are reading this there is a good chance you made it to the fantasy football playoffs! If you did not make it, maybe you are reading this for daily fantasy purposes, or are still in the fight for draft position next year. Maybe you are looking for my accountability section to yell at me for where I screwed up, because it was a rough week with the calls. Either way, keep grinding and playing. We love this game, and it is coming to a close soon. Here’s that accountability section I just mentioned…
I Blew It
Alex Smith, QB – 25 att, 21 comp, 270 yds, 1TD – QB18
Well, at least he wasn’t as bad as Colin Kaepernick, so much so he was benched.
Tim Hightower, RB – 2 att, 5 yds, 1 rec, 4 yds, RB61
It looks like Hightower is actually the play this week, not last.
Andy Dalton, QB – 31 att, 23 comp, 332 yds, 2TD – QB5
I should have swapped my quarterback picks last week.
Latavius Murray, RB – 20 att, 82 yds, 2TD, 3 rec, 23 yds – RB5
This was my least confident call of the week, and rightfully so.
I Knew It
Malcolm Mitchell, WR – 8 rec, 82 yds – WR16
He didn’t make a trip to the end zone, but Mitchell was a high end WR2 last week and is looking like a big piece of the New England Patriots’ offense.
Brandon Marshall, WR – 4 rec, 43 yds – WR51
If you haven’t already, you can go ahead and drop Brandon Marshall. It no longer matters where you drafted him, his ceiling is gone.
ON THE FENCE
Jermaine Gresham, TE – 5 rec, 52 yds – TE14, Vernon Davis, TE – 5 rec, 47 yds, TE15
I loved Gresham and hated Davis last week. Both finished sort of average but were still useful in PPR, so I’ll consider them a wash. I’m on the fence as to whether I knew it or blew it on these two.
…now that we got that out of the way, we’re on to Week 14. I’ll try not to completely overload you with players from the juiciest matchup of the week in Tampa Bay, where the Buccaneers will hose the New Orleans Saints.
Fire Starter: Jeremy Hill – Cincinnati Bengals @ Cleveland Browns
This may feel like an obvious start on the surface, but Hill is outside of the top 20 in PPR scoring so those who own him understand how frustrating it has been dealing with him this season. The good news is, you drafted him and hung onto him for this matchup in the fantasy football playoffs against the miserable Browns. With Giovani Bernard on IR, there is little in Hill’s way, except for Rex Burkhead of course. He has been nipping at Hill’s heels, and last week played 27 snaps to Hill’s 37, but Hill had 23 carries to Burkhead’s eight. Burkhead is seeing the targets, but as long as Hill carries the load and gets the red zone looks, he is the back you will want to play this week against the 30th-ranked Browns run defense.
Cam Newton, QB: Carolina Panthers vs. San Diego Chargers
We can all agree that Newton was a top-three quarter back drafted this summer. As the current QB15 he has largely disappointed, and you (like me) are probably cringing at the thought of relying on Newton to help you advance to the semi-finals. Neither of us should worry about Newton in this home matchup against the Chargers. Newton has been on a recent yoyo-trend since Week 10, scoring 27 points, 14 points, 25 points, and 14 points. He’s due to bounce back this week, and at home with a soft matchup, I’m looking for Newton to not only have a big day but for him to score multiple touchdowns and eclipse the 300-yard mark for the third time this season. Bold, I know, but Newton owners will need the bold effort from him this week.
Randall Cobb, WR: Green Bay Packers vs. Seattle Seahawks
Have you read Gary Davenport’s Shadow column yet this week? If not, shame on you, but here is the link: http://www.footballdiehards.com/fantasy-football-columns/html/The-Shadow-Knows-2016-week-14.cfm. Gary is the expert here at Football Diehards when it comes to matchups, and I love what he wrote about the Packers’ receiving corps this week. Be sure to read it, but in a nutshell, we want anyone but Davante Adams this week. You don’t need me to tell you to start Jordy Nelson, but Gary has influenced me to tell you to fire up Cobb this week.
Jason Witten, TE: Dallas Cowboys @ New York Giants
Last week, Witten gave you a PPR goose egg for the first time in eight years. Forgive him for that, and recognize the fact he has scored 13 touchdowns in 27 career games against the New York Giants. For comparison, he has played against the Philadelphia Eagles 26 times and the Washington Redskins 28 times and has eight career touchdowns against them both respectively. The Giants are Witten’s juice and he performs well against them. Do not get caught up with emotions of last week’s blanked stat line and play him with confidence this week.
Ice Cold: Allen Robinson, WR: Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Minnesota Vikings
I really wanted to say Julio Jones here, as I am 90% confident he will decoy, but with news that Julius Thomas and Allen Hurns will both be out this week, life just got even more difficult for Robinson. Xavier Rhodes has earned the title of the top shut down corner this season and, with essentially no one else to worry about, Robinson will be easily taken out by this defense. With just six touchdowns to his name this season, he has fallen way off from his 2015 effort of 14 touchdowns, and he is proving to be a massive flop in terms of his ADP. I implore you to look elsewhere this week.
Lamar Miller, RB: Houston Texans at Indianapolis Colts
I am a victim of Miller as well, and I’m not happy about it. Since kicking off the season with 20+ carries three games in a row, he has toted the rock 20+ times just twice since then. He has three 100-yard games this season. He has scored more than 20 PPR points once. Miller has been a huge disappointment and you do not want to be disappointed in such a crucial week. The Colts, somewhat quietly, rank 14th against the run which makes them a top half team against backs. It will be hard to bench Miller and you might not be able to, but if you can then you should.
Aaron Rodgers, QB: Green Bay Packers vs. Seattle Seahawks
This is not to prop up the Seahawks defense or the Legion of Boom, this team can be thrown on. This is also not a knock on Rodgers, I recognize he is the QB2 in fantasy football. He just has this track record of severely under-performing during the fantasy football playoffs, and as a long time Rodgers owner I am buying into that. This is a gutsy call, no doubt, but I have Rodgers outside of my top ten this week.
Coby Fleener, TE: New Orleans Saints @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
With the unfortunate injury to Josh Hill, Fleener is now the lone soul at tight end in New Orleans. Drew Brees has historically made studs out of his tight end, but Brees cannot control the fact that Fleener struggles. He will be so tempting against the Buccaneers this week, especially due to his opportunity and his stat line last week, but keep in mind he could not manage to score on the friendliest defense to tight ends. It is a temptation I am personally resisting, but I understand if you cannot.
This article begins each week with me taking a hard look at our Ease of Schedule tool (http://www.footballdiehards.com/eosforecast.cfm). Matchups are crucial in making these sort of calls or recommendations. As always, go with your gut, but play the matchups. Good luck this week, I hope you get one step closer to the promise land!