Fantasy Football Sleepers: Week 14
Congratulations on making it this far. August was a long time ago, but that grueling research paid off an you’re still alive in your fantasy football playoffs. This isn’t the time to start over-analyzing things. Generally, you want to stick with you studs- the players that performed the most consistently and are responsible for getting you here.
Of course, there are injuries and other circumstances that might mean you have a flex spot to fill or have to decide between a group of players on your bench that have a favorable matchup. If that’s you, then these sleepers might be worth a look in your lineup. Good luck.
Josh Freeman (QB)- It’s been a surprisingly good season for most of the Tampa offense. Freeman has been a solid contributor, but still only ranks as the 13th best fantasy signal-caller. Since Doug Martin‘s emergence, Freeman hasn’t eclipsed 300 yards in any game, but has been a solid producer, best utilized in a rotation when there’s a favorable match-up. Speaking of favorable match-ups, it doesn’t get much better than playing a Philadelphia Eagles secondary that looks totally out of sync and like they’ve completely quit on Andy Reid. Over the last five weeks, that defense has surrendered a 76.4% completion percentage, 15 touchdowns (2 rushing) and has zero interceptions.
Vick Ballard (RB)- Donald Brown has already been declared out for this game, so that means Ballard will be a full-time starter against the third-worst fantasy football run defense. The Tennessee Titans are allowing 22.4 fantasy points-per-week to opposing running backs, so Ballard has an excellent chance at making a fairly significant impact as a flex-play this week.
Shonn Greene (RB)- Over the last month, the Jets seemed firmly committed to a time-share in the backfield between Greene and Bilal Powell. But last week, Greene seemed to re-emerge, receiving 24 totes and rushing for his first 100+ yard game since Week 6. Much to his fantasy owner’s chagrin, Greene intentionally cost himself a touchdown versus the Cardinals by stopping his momentum at the one yard line to ice the game. Since the Jets passing attack has been struggling so badly, there’s a good chance that New York will once again be committed to establishing a ground n’ pound offense. That should be especially true this week as the Jets take on a Jacksonville defense that is the fifth-worst unit, allowing 22.1 points-per-game to opposing running backs.
Mike Thomas (WR)- This late into the season, it’s rare to have a full-time skill-position starter from a high-octane offense be available for a waiver-wire claim. Thomas is now in that company, an injury to Ryan Broyles and a self-sabotaging attitude by Titus Young have thrust Thomas into a positon as the immediate starter opposite of Calvin Johnson. That guarantees that Thomas will see lesser coverages as team’s will constantly assign double-coverage to Megatron. Meanwhile, the Packers rank in the second-half of the league with a defense that’s allowing over 23 fantasy points-per-game to opposing wide receivers.
Kenny Britt (WR)- Britt isn’t seeing a ton of targets, but he does finally appear healthy and has scored in two straight games. The Titans are two weeks in to installing a brand new offensive scheme and are having major problems all along the offensive line. This could be good news for Britt owners, as he’s coming off of the most targets he’s had since Week 6 and was on the field for a season-high number of snaps. Even better news is Tennessee’s opponent, the Indianapolis Colts, are the fifth worst defense in terms of allowing fantasy points to wide receivers and have really struggled against number one wide-outs.
Dennis Pitta (TE)- Over the last two months, Pitta has been consistently inconsistent, ala Vincent Jackson. Since Week 6, Pitta has seen his numbers peak, only to dramatically fall off the next week. If that trend continues, Week 14 should see an increased contribution from the Baltimore tight end. Further adding to the appeal of considering Pitta this week is the tasty matchup the Ravens have with fantasy football’s last-ranked tight end defense, the Washington Redskins.
Jody Smith has been the #1 rated fantasy football analyst at fantasypros.com for the past eight weeks. Be sure to check his, and the other Gridiron Experts’ rankings here and follow him on twitter at @gridironexperts and @JodySmith_