Bold NFL Predictions for Week 14
Ah yes, the bold predictions recap for Week 13 is here. As the great Kirk Cousins would say, “You like that?”. No, none of my predictions included Kirk Cousins, but it worked. Leave me alone. I’m calling last week a major success for the bold predictions and a relative six-for-six slate if you ask me. Let me start out with the lone “miss”. I predicted that Jacksonville and Detroit would combine for 55 and they scored 54 (Give me a break, it’s been a tough season). Now for the hits, Tom Brady threw for over 250 yards and two touchdowns, D’Andre Swift outscored Jamaal Williams, Cincinnati beat Kansas City with a nice game from Joe Burrow, Garrett Wilson continued to dominate without Zach Wilson, and Evan Engram found the endzone for just the second time this season. I’m relieved. What can I say, this has been a season full of bad beats so I’m going to stick my chest out with this one. Now that you know I’m a psychic or just hopped out of the DeLorean or whatever, let’s get into what will happen in Week 14.
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Tua Tagovailoa finishes inside the top 3 for the week
If it weren’t for Jalen Hurts, Tua would be my favorite to win the MVP this season. Despite some freak injuries, he’s still been able to produce at an extremely high level. He’s thrown two or more touchdowns in four of his last five starts with only two interceptions during that span. Sure, he’s been picking apart bad defenses, but that’s what good quarterbacks do. Over the last two weeks, his hot streak has slowed down but he’s had to face some tough defenses. This week, his matchup is with the Los Angeles Chargers who have given up the fifth most passing touchdowns per game. This matchup could be even better with the potential absence of Chargers All-Pro safety Derwin James. Several factors will come into play for Tua to be successful on Sunday Night Football. The availability of Jaylen Waddle is in question this week and that will drastically change how I feel about Tua. Assuming Waddle suits up, I’m predicting that the third-year quarterback will have another one of his monster performances and finish with one of the best fantasy performances of the week in the late game.
Tyler Huntley finishes inside the top 12 for the week
Despite a rocky start to his season, I believe Tyler Huntley could finish as a QB1 for the week against one of the worst passing defenses in the league. Last week, he wasn’t expecting to even see the field. All was well with Lamar Jackson and it was just going to be another week of being an understudy for Huntley. All of a sudden, Lamar gets hurt and the undrafted quarterback steps in to play three quarters against a really good defense and leads the team to a low-scoring victory with a poor stat line. For Week 14, he’s under much better circumstances. He’s had a full week of practice taking QB1 reps and he’s about off face against a division rival that happens to be very generous to fantasy quarterbacks. So while I don’t think Huntley is an elite-level talent at the position, I do think he’s good enough to take advantage of a defense that seemingly every quarterback has put up numbers against. He’s shown to have a rapport with Mark Andrews and he can run the ball really well. If we’re really breaking it down, that’s what Lamar Jackson’s bread and butter has been all season. If Huntley can stick to the gameplan and deliver the ball to his best playmaker, I think this defense is bad enough to give up just enough points for the Raven’s backup quarterback to finish inside the top 12 for the week and maybe prevent Lamar Jackson from rushing back onto the field.
Derrick Henry bounces back and finishes as RB1 for the week
Derrick Henry has not looked like Derrick Henry over the last two weeks. He was only able to muster 38 rushing yards on an abysmal 2.24 yards per carry against the Bengals in Week 12 and managed just 30 yards on the ground against a tough Eagles defense last week. What makes it even worse is that this is crunch time for fantasy managers. These are the do-or-die weeks for fringe playoff teams and Derrick Henery is needed more than ever. For Week 14, I see things turning around for the All-Pro running back. In what should be a positive game script for the hungry Titans, Henry faces off against the Jacksonville Jaguars who have been surprisingly decent against running backs this season. They’ve managed to contain pass-catchers out of the backfield and limit yards on the ground fairly well. However, what they don’t curb is touchdowns. Since Week 8, they’ve given up the seventh most rushing touchdowns per game. Enter, Derrick Henry, touchdown monster. He’s fourth in the NFL in rushing touchdowns through 13 weeks but hasn’t been able to find the endzone in two straight weeks. I don’t know if you all are into the “he’s due” thing or not, but I am. Derrick Henry is due for a bounce-back week and I think this is as good of an opportunity as any for him to deliver a touchdown or two for his fantasy managers and garner his first RB1 finish of the season.
Minnesota and Detroit combine for over 55 points in a shootout
Similar to Week 13, the Lions are in another shootout spot. Trevor Lawrence and company weren’t able to torch the Detroit defense, but I’m betting the Vikings will. Through 12 games so far, Minnesota has scored 27 or more points in seven of them. This is a good offense and they get to play a bad defense this week. Sometimes football is as simple as that. In their first matchup this season, the Lions were able to hold Justin Jefferson to 3 receptions for 16 yards with most of the coverage coming from Jeff Okudah. This week, Okudah is expected to line up against Jefferson again but has missed some practice with an illness this week. This might play a factor in the matchup, but if it doesn’t I still don’t expect Okudah and the rest of the Lion’s secondary to be able to keep Jefferson bottled up like that again. But even when they did, the Vikings still managed to score 28 points. They’ll be just fine. As for the Detroit offense, we just saw them score 40 points at home against Jacksonville last week. I don’t expect them to put up another 40-burger against a better defense this week, but they are matchup-proof at this point. They are sixth in the NFL in points per game and have scored 31 points or more six times this season, including two games of 40 or more. Needless to say, they know how to get into the endzone. I expect this game to be a high-scoring affair featuring two high-powered offenses.
George Pickens delivers against Baltimore
Ask and you shall receive should be the theme for George Pickens and the Steelers in Week 14. Last week he saw just two targets against the Falcons and made sure everyone knew he was unhappy about it. Since his outburst, he’s been getting nothing but support from the Steelers and that’s exactly what you want if you’re a receiver asking for the ball. Entering Week 14, I think Pittsburgh will make a point to feed Pickens the ball to ensure their future star is happy as the season winds down. Moreover, they might have to force-feed him as fellow receiver Diontae Johnson enters the weekend with a questionable tag. With less target competition and a real hunger for the ball, I think this is a perfect storm for a breakout game. His matchup this week is with the Ravens who have given up the fifth most yards to receivers this season. There are many factors that point to Pickens having a game this week and really bouncing back from a true dud in his last outing. Look for George Pickens to go for 75-plus yards and find the endzone against a generous Baltimore defense.
Hunter Henry finishes inside the top 5 for the week
If there’s one thing I’ve learned from this season so far, it’s that the Arizona Cardinals are horrible against tight ends and they make middling players at the position look like All-Pros. Through 13 weeks, they have given up the most receptions, yards, touchdowns, and of course, most fantasy points to tight ends. Enter Hunter Henry and the mediocre-at-best passing game of the New England Patriots. Yes, it can be scary to start a Patriot not named Ramondre Stevenson, but that’s a risk I’m willing to take in Week 14. Henry hasn’t been great this season by any means, but he has shown that he can make plays here and there. Out of 12 games played, he’s eclipsed 50-plus yards in four of them. Again, nothing special at all but serviceable. He’s definitely been a spot-start this season and there is no better spot for tight ends than getting to face off against the Cardinals. I mean seriously, they give up 73.3 yards per game to the position. That’s ridiculous. If you don’t have Travis Kelce or Mark Andrews on your roster, Hunter Henry should be locked into your lineups this week.
Will Holtz is a graduate of the University of North Texas with a degree in journalism. He has been playing fantasy football for 15 years and hopes to help fantasy managers become fantasy champions. When he is not writing about fantasy football, he writes about the NBA and spends time with his family and girlfriend.