Fantasy Football Sleepers: Week 14
Week 14 Fantasy Football Sleepers
Last weekend might not have been the best time of the year to dive into the bag of tricks, but considering how advanced leagues are getting with multiple flex spots and the excessive number of big-name injuries in the NFL this season, finding a few fantasy football sleepers could be exactly what you need to advance to the post-season in your league.
This article also works great for those of you who are calling it a year and are looking for some DFS Sleepers for DraftKings or Fanduel. I would also suggest checking out our Week 14 Fantasy Football Rankings for more tips and advice.
Week 13 featured a pair of sleeper quarterbacks to finish in the top five of the overall fantasy football scoring leaderboard. First, Jets QB Josh McCown finished at the two spot with 31.1 fantasy points on a 331-1-0 QB stat line while completing 72.2 percent of his passes and adding another 17 yards with two scores as a rusher. Despite playing for the Jets, McCown has proven to be a reliable fantasy asset. Now for the shocker, Jaguars QB Blake Bortles. Say what you will, but once again, Bortles is showing us that he can efficiently play quarterback at the pro level. Perhaps, all he needed was confidence. Finishing Week 14 ranked fourth in overall fantasy production with 25.1 points on a 309-2-0 QB stat line while completing 74.3 percent of his passes, Bortles should be trusted in plus matchups moving forward. Though, facing the Speakers in Week 14, Borltes is better left on the bench.
Most-Productive Players from Week 13
Sleepers Week 13: Full-Disclosure
|Player||Position||Rank||Points||PPR Rank||PPR Points|
The following is a recap of the players from my Week 13 Fantasy Football Sleepers article. You can read that here.
Entering Week 14, some fantasy owners may be forced to shop the waiver wire due to a handful of notable injuries around the league. With players that include Tyrod Taylor, Zach Ertz, and Joe Mixon all succumbing to injuries last week, be sure to check out Andrew Erickson’s Waiver Wire Pickups for Week 14 to assist you with filling the vacant holes on your fantasy rosters. You can read that here.
Week 14 QB Fantasy Sleepers
ESPN Start-Percentage: 36.7%
It’s been difficult to trust Dak Prescott since Ezekiel Elliott began his six-game suspension back in Week 10. How bad has it really been? Well, after starting the year as the QB4 with 172.2 fantasy points from Weeks 1-to-9 with Elliott, his production has substantially regressed. So much so that he’s plummetted to the QB29 spot with 30.1 points in a four-game time span from Weeks 10-to-13 without the elite rusher, averaging a pedestrian 7.5 FPPG. However, in the first three contests in which Prescott struggled, all Dallas losses, the Cowboys were dealing with injuries on their offensive line, primarily at left tackle with Tyron Smith and at right guard with Zack Martin. But with the front five healthy for their Week 13 matchup against the Redskins, the Cowboys not only won in blowout fashion — the beat the Redskins 38-14 — but Prescott played well in the effort.
Coming off a game in which he completed 11-of-22 passes for 102 yards and a pair of touchdowns — he didn’t throw an interception after totaling five in the two previous contests — Prescott is poised to maintain his recent success moving forward, especially now the offense is beginning to click with Alfred Morris leading the backfield. Now, don’t get me wrong, Prescott’s numbers weren’t jaw-dropping last week, but his 14.9 fantasy points were just a third of a point less than his total in his previous three games leading up to Week 13.
Although Prescott hasn’t lit up the scoreboard in his previous three career meeting with the Giants, I believe he will have to produce QB1 numbers if the Cowboys intend to win and remain in playoff contention. Although he threw for a meager 392-1-2 stat line while completing 51.2 percent of his passes in his two matchups last year against New York, that was facing a different Giants defense, which played lights out football in 2016. Obviously, things have changed. The Giants are one of the worst teams in the NFL in Week this season, playing sub-par football in all three phases of the game. After averaging 12.5 FPPG versus the Giants in 2016, he threw for 268 yards and a touchdown in the 2017 season opener, finishing Week 1 as the QB11 with 17.1 points. Facing a Giants defense allowing the fourth-most fantasy points to QBs at an 18.9 FPPG pace, Prescott should be viewed a reliable sleeper QB, who holds back-end QB1 upside, in Week 14.
ESPN Start-Percentage: 7.8%
The Jimmy Garoppolo era has officially begun with the 49ers. While he completed 2-of-2 passes for 18 yards and a touchdown with less than a minute to play in Week 12’s loss to the Seahawks following C.J. Beathard’s knee and hip injuries which sidelined him for the final few plays of the game, Garoppolo followed up his brief but uplifting appearance with a solid outing in Week 14. Leading the 49ers to their second win of the season on the road in Chicago which was also his first victory with his new club, Garoppolo completed 26-of-37 passes (70.3 percent) for 293 yards and an interception, finishing Week 14 as the QB24 with 10.5 points. Now, while the Bears are sitting at the bottom of the NFC North with a 39 record, their defense isn’t terrible, especially at home. In fact, they are ranked 24th in fantasy points allowed to QBs allowing 14 FPPG, which is a reason why Garoppolo’s numbers were rather bleak in his first start.
However, in his upcoming matchup against the Texans, Garoppolo has an opportunity to shine. Not only will he face a Houston defense allowing the second most fantasy points to QBs at a 19.1 FPPG rate, but they’ve also surrendered at least 18.3 fantasy points to the position in five of their past six games since their Week 7 Bye. Now that Marquise Goodwin and Trent Taylor are starting to emerge as reliable pass-catchers, plus, with a sound running game led by Carlos Hyde, Garoppolo is poised to showcase exactly why the 49ers surrendered a second-round pick to the Patriots to acquire him amidst the trade deadline. While Garoppolo should be viewed a trustworthy QB2 streamer for Week 14, I’m starting him over other low-end QB options with more troublesome matchups who include Blake Bortles v. Seattle and Jacoby Brissett v. Buffalo.
Week 14 RB Fantasy Sleepers
ESPN Start-Percentage: 22.3%
As most of know about me, and if you’re a new reader, you’ll soon learn, that I a tremendous believer in matchup and opportunity, which leads me to Giovani Bernard. With Joe Mixon ruled out for Sunday’s matchup against the Bears with a concussion, Bernard is in line to draw the bulk of the workload at running back with only Brian Hill expected to be in the mix for the change of pace action. As a result, Bernard has double-digit fantasy point potential this week, a feat that he hasn’t accomplished since putting up 13.9 points in Week 4.
After Mixon exited last week’s heartbreaking 23-20 loss to the Steelers in the second quarter with his before mentioned head-injury, Bernard proved that he is a capable No. 2 back, as he had for most of his career. Rushing for 77 yards on 13 carries while adding another 17 yards on two receptions — he totaled 9.6 fantasy points in standard formats, finishing Week 14 as the RB25 against a stout Steelers run defense.
However, although his upcoming matchup versus the Bears is just as tough — Chicago’ defense is surrendering the 22nd most fantasy production to RBs at a 17.1 FPPG pace — their defense is entering the meeting a wounded unit. With NT Eddie Goldman (hip), S Adrian Amos (hamstring) and LB Pernell McPhee (shoulder) all doubtful or ruled out with their respective injuries — all three of the aforestated players are Bears starters — Bernard has an outstanding opportunity to produce for his fantasy owners. Facing a Bears defense that hasn’t allowed an opposing running back to accumulate greater than 9.7 fantasy points in three consecutive games, I’m confident that Bernard could break the streak. He is a quality Flex option with RB2 upside for Week 14.
ESPN Start-Percentage: 14.9%
Although Bilal Powell’s usage and production have been erratic in 2017, he is entering his upcoming matchup against the Broncos coming off of an uplifting performance. Rushing for 48 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries while adding two receptions for two yards as a receiver out of the backfield — he finished Week 13 as the RB18 with 11 points — he has tied or out-touched Matt Forte in each of the past two game. Though, the latter has out-performed the former by a mere 2.1 fantasy points in that two-game timespan — Forte is the RB33 with 17.7 points while Powell is the RB38 with 15.6 points since Week 12.
For the Broncos, their defense hasn’t been the same as they were in years past. While they were once considered a top-five shutdown defense versus the run and the pass, they are currently being exposed, especially on the ground. Although they are ranked 19th in fantasy points allowed to opposing running backs at a 17.6 FPPG pace, their defense against the run has been especially atrocious since Week 9. In that five-game time span, they’ve only surrendered less than 12.1 fantasy points to an opposing RB once. Moreover, they’ve allowed two of those rushers to score at least 20.1 points — Corey Clement in Week 9 (24.6) and Kenyan Drake in Week 13 (20.1). If Powell continues to be the featured rusher in the Jets’ backfield, he should thrive as both Clement and Drake have similar skill sets — all three RBs are reliable pass-catchers as well as rushers. Powell is a quality Flex option for Week 14. who could be safely employed in both standard and PPR scoring formats.
Week 14 WR Fantasy Sleepers
ESPN Start-Percentage: 32.2%
I’ll maintain my love for the Los Angels Rams by telling you why to trust Sammy Watkins in Week 14. Since the emergence of Robert Woods in Week 9, the pressure was taken off of Watkins to serve as the Rams WR1. And following a sluggish start to the 2017 season — he was the WR48 with 38.4 fantasy points from Weeks 1-to-8 — Watkins has picked it up of late. Not only has he found the end zone in four of his past five games, but he also caught 13-of -22 targets for 264 yards in that time span. The WR16 with 50.4 fantasy points since Week 9, Watkins is not only beginning to showcase his rapport with Jared Goff, but he is warranting every-week fantasy consideration, even when Woods returns.
Although Woods practiced for the first time since suffering his shoulder injury in Week 11 on Friday, he remains on track for an inactive designation for Sunday’s tilt versus the Eagles, while eyeing a Week 15 return. If Woods does, in fact, sit, and he’s fully expected to, Watkins could be in line for another productive outing. Anticipating a high scoring affair in a crucial NFC intra-conference battle between a pair of Super Bowl contenders, the Vegas over/ under is sitting at 48, which bodes well for Watkins’ fantasy value for this week as Goff is expected to be busy, especially if Carson Wentz and the Eagles high-octane passing attack comes out firing on all cylinders and put up points. In that scenario, Watkins should be heavily leaned upon to showcase his big-play ability and find the end zone to keep up. Facing an Eagles defense surrendering the 22nd most fantasy production to WRs at an 18.8 FPPG pace, Watkins is in the WR3 mix with touchdown upside for Week 14.
ESPN Start-Percentage: 24.4%hamstring injury, he practiced in a limited capacity on Thursday and Friday and remains on track to play in Sunday’smatchup against Dallas. Only being started in 24.4 percent of ESPN fantasy leagues as of this writing Friday, I believe Shepard should be inserted into ample lineups. 24.4 percent is an extremely low start-percentage for a wideout with his upside. Anticipating that the Cowboys will rout the Giants, jumping out to an early lead, considering all of the injuries and misfortunes that New York has dealt with in 2017, the projected game flow suggests that Eli Manning and Shepard are poised to hook up for quality fantasy production in garbage time while playing from behind for most of the game.
For Shepard, I’d like to look back to Weeks 9 and 10 after he returned from a three-game absence with an ankle injury. In that two-game time span, he caught 16-of-22 targets for 212 yards, racking up a total of 21.2 fantasy points in standard and 37.2 points in PPR. However, since that pair of outstanding outings, Shepard was sidelined for the next two contests with a migraine and was non-existent last week with Geno Smith under center — he only caught 3-of-6 targets for 56 yards, ending Week 13 with 5.6 points. Now, that Manning is returning as the starter after being benched for last week’s game against the Raiders, I believe Shepard will return to back-end WR2/ WR3 status for the remainder of the year.
Facing a Cowboys defense yielding the third most fantasy points to WRs at a 24.7 FPPG pace — they’ve surrendered at least 12.7 FPPG to an opposing wideout in five of their past seven games since their Week 6 Bye — Shepard is poised to add to his already impressive career numbers against the Cowboys — he’s totaled a 13-126-1 stat line against them in three games. Now, I know his production isn’t jaw-dropping, but in all three contests, Odell Beckham Jr. was active and efficient. He’ll be the clear-cut WR1 on Sunday, however. Shepard has boom WR2 upside in a plus Week 14 matchup.
Week 14 TE Fantasy Sleepers
ESPN Start-Percentage: 44.9%
Once again, I’m attacking the matchup against the Giants for one of my sleeper tight ends. This week, in the form of Jason Witten, a player whose historically destroyed them. In 30 career games against New York, Witten has accumulated a 160-1,629-14 stat line. I expect him to maintain his success in Week 14.
Why, well, like I mentioned above, matchup, matchup, matchup! Although the Giants’ defense has played better of late against the position — they’ve only allowed an opposing TE to score double-digit fantasy points in two of their past five games — they are entering the matchup surrendering the most fantasy points to TEs at an 11.7 FPPG rate. Facing a New York defense that has allowed an opposing TE to score a touchdown or accumulate at least 109 yards receiving in 9-of-12 games this season — they haven’t surrendered a TD in three straight, however — while entering the matchup scoring four TDs against them in their past four meetings, Witten has back-end TE1 upside for Week 14.[bctt tweet=”#Cowboys TE Jason Witten has destroyed the Giants in his Hall of Fame career. In 30 games, he’s accumulated a 160-1,629-14 stat line. #FantasyFootball” username=”GridironExperts”]
ESPN Start-Percentage: 10.6%
With C.J. Fiedorowicz (concussion), Ryan Griffin (concussion) and Bruce Ellington on the injured reserve list, plus, Braxton Miller (hamstring) already ruled out for Week 14 with a hamstring injury, Stephen Anderson is on track to enter Week 14 as Tom Savage’s No. 3 target behind DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller. Although he’s been involved in the offense throughout the year, Anderson hasn’t really ben a factor until last week when the opportunity arose. Catching 5-of-12 targets for 79 yards and touchdown against the Titans, Anderson finished Week 13 as the TE4 with 13.9 fantasy points.
Although Anderson’s upcoming matchup against the 49ers looks terrible on paper — they are allowing the 20th most fantasy production to TEs at a 6.9 FPPG pace — the San Francisco defense has been soft versus the position of late following a solid start to the year, which sways their FPPG average to appear greater than what it really is at this point in the season. In fact, they’ve surrendered at least 8.3 fantasy points to an opposing TE in five of their past six matchups since Week 7, which bodes well for Anderson’s fantasy outlook. Facing a 49ers defense that has allowed an opposing TE to find the end zone in five of their past six games, Anderson is a quality sleeper start at tight end for Week 14.
A player like Stephen Anderson is labeled a tournament-buster in DFS formats, especially with the opportunity he has in his upcoming matchup. For more extensive DFS knowledge, check out Mike Hauff’s Draft Kings Primer for Week 14. You can read that here.
Week 14 Deep Fantasy Sleepers (In Case You’re Desperate)
ESPN Start-Percentage: 3.3%
After returning from a groin injury last week, Mike Davis emerged as the Seahawks RB1, which was the expected outcome. While playing in a team-high 45-of-62 offensive snap (73 percent) — J.D.McKissic finished second amongst Seattle RBs with nine snaps followed by Thomas Rawls and Eddie Lacy each received three — Davis rushed for 64 yards on 16 carries while adding another 37 yards on 4-of-4 targets as a receiver. Totaling 101 yards on 20 touches, Davis finished Week 13 as the RB23 with 10.1 points.
However, although McKissic was expected to be the go-to back on passing downs — he caught 1-of-3 targets for 15 yards and a touchdown while being a non-factor on the ground — it appears that Davis has earned Russell Wilson’s trust in the passing game over McKissic. Why? Well, in the two games in which he was active (Week 11 and Week 13) — he missed Week 12 with a groin injury — Davis out-gained McKissic 77-to-38 in yards receiving with the same amount of receptions (6). He accomplished that feat while being out-targeted by McKissic 9-to-6. As a result, Daivs should be viewed an every-down RB1 for the Seahawks moving forward.
Now for the tough part of the equation, the matchup. Although Davis is entering a poor matchup against a Jaguars defense surrendering the 20th most fantasy points to RBs at a 17.1 FPPG pace — they’ve only allowed an opposing rusher to accumulate double-digit fantasy points in 6-of-12 games this season — I still believe Davis will be a productive fantasy asset. Why? His opportunity share.
It’s obvious that the strength of the Jaguars defense — as if they have may weaknesses — is their secondary led by A.J. Bouye and Jalen Ramsey. And while Wilson is bordering the elite tier at quarterback, Seattle’s pass-catchers outside of Doug Baldwin and Jimmy Graham, a tight end, aren’t exactly striking fear into the eyes of Jacksonville’s outstanding cornerback duo. Therefore, I expect Pete Carroll to attempt to establish a formattable rushing attack led by Davis and play into the most exploitable aspect of their elite defensive unit. Due to his anticipated opportunity-share, Davis is worthy of back-end RB2 consideration, despite the matchup, for Week 14. I’m starting him ahead of Kerwynn Williams v. Titans and Doug Martin v. Lions (if he’s active).
ESPN Start-Percentage: 1.3%
Digging in deep here, I believe Trent Taylor, whose flashed at times in his 2017 rookie season, to emerge now that Jimmy Garoppolo under center rather than Brian Hoyer or C.J. Beathard. In fact, he is coming off of a Week 13 outing against the Bears — Garoppolo’s first game as the starter in San Francisco — with career highs in receptions (six) and yards (92) on six targets. And that was against a Bears defensive unit that plays well at home.
However, because his upcoming matchup versus the Texans is an extremely favorable one — they are surrendering the fourth most fantasy production to WRs at a 24 FPPG rate — Taylor is poised to not only maintain his recent success, but he should also find his way into the end zone as well for only the second time this season. Facing a Texans defense that has yielded at least 15.1 fantasy points to an opposing WR in four of their past six games including three contests in which they’ve allowed one to accumulate at least 22.5 points since their Week 7 Bye, Taylor is a desperation Flex option, whose value peaks in PPR scoring formats, for Week 14.
Thank you for reading about my sleepers for Week 14. I hope you enjoyed it! Want more? Mike Hauff and I debate fantasy football news, notes and yes, sleepers, on our show, the Faceoff, a Gridiron Experts podcast. Check it out. Oh, and before I forget, we will answer your questions on our show! All you have to do is Tweet us with your question @FFfaceoff.
Thanks for reading and Good Luck!