Welcome to the post-season.
Phase two of the fantasy football season is where mistakes are felt for weeks and victories advance you to the next round of the playoffs in hopes of hoisting your leagues championship trophy.
You’ve earned a right to be here, and it’s now time to prove to the rest of your league that you’re the team nobody wants to face moving forward.
Fantasy Playoff Advice
Normally, I would never recommend starting “sleepers” or players outside of your regular trusted core group in the post-season, yet with a high number of NFL injuries lately, many fantasy owners are finding themselves limping into the post season and scrambling to find starters.
Experts usually try to avoid advising people on taking any sort of risks in the playoffs, mainly because we don’t want to get a nasty tweet about you starting the wrong guy, but more or less because we know that this time of year you need to play smart, but not too smart. What I mean by that is, a fantasy owner can over think a situation and bench a productive player.
A fantasy owner can overdo it when it comes to matchups, and talk themselves into benching a productive member of their roster for a one week wonder. While an “all or nothing” sleeper may get you burnt if you’re not careful, a fantasy owner can’t ignore the obvious bad matchups.
The best example I can give you in week 14 is the Oakland Raiders and Denver Broncos. The Raiders have been a pleasant surprise in 2015, with guys like Derek Carr, Amari Cooper, and Michael Crabtree all stepping up into starting roles and becoming trusted members of your fantasy roster. Yet, this week an owner has to be concerned about the trip to Denver to take on the leagues best passing defense. The Broncos rank 1st in the NFL against the pass in yards per game and are tied for 1st (with the Seattle Seahawks) for Passing Touchdowns allowed with 11.
What do you do?
It really depends on what you have in the form of replacements. If you’re in a 16 man league and quarterbacks are hard to come by, you should probably just stick with starting Derek Carr. The same could be said for starting Cooper or Crabtree. They don’t have the best matchup, but that doesn’t mean you bench them and take a shot on a waiver wire player.
Best Advice to Live By
If you have two players that have similar statistics on the season, and are seeing roughly the same amount of targets per game (use Gridiron Experts Target Tracker for research), you should start the player with the better matchup.[the_ad id=”58835″]
Week 14 Sleepers
While I strongly advise you to stick to your studs, the following are solid fantasy football sleepers to consider if you’re in a jam for week 14.
Giants at Dolphins
The Miami Dolphins have been a major disappointment this season. Many proclaimed Ryan Tannehill as a must-have fantasy QB target in the summer, but have since benched or dropped the 4th year pro. The coaching meltdown is the ultimate scapegoat for Tannehill to earn another opportunity next season, but the pressure is mounting.
This week the 5-7 Dolphins get a chance to keep their season alive as they play host to the league’s worst passing defense in yards per game allowed. Tannehill should also have more time to throw than usual, as the Giants have only 15 sacks on the season (31st ranked).
Playoff hopes at home in a prime time atmosphere should give the fish something to swim for.
49ers at Browns
It sounds crazy, but Manziel does have a solid matchup in week 14 and could be considered a decent fantasy start in a 2 QB league format or in a Hail Mary situation this week.
The San Francisco 49ers rank 6th worst in allowing passing yards per game, and are depleted on offense with many starters either banged up or out in this matchup. If the 49ers can’t get their offense rolling, Manziel should get a ton of opportunities to get his offense moving this Sunday.
49ers at Browns
The 49ers will try to lean on their running game in week 14, as they square off against the Cleveland Browns defense who are a dreadful 31st ranked unit in rushing yards against per game. The Browns have had a lot of trouble stopping the run and have been known to give up more than a few big plays on the ground. Cleveland is tied for 31st in allowing runs of more than 20+ yards.
Chargers at Chiefs
The carries have been split fairly evenly as of late in the Kansas City backfield, making it hard to pick a front runner in a starting fantasy lineup. Ware touched the ball nine times whereas West saw the ball 11 times last week. West out-snapped Ware 35-19, but Ware was the one seeing the scoring opportunities with three looks inside the red zone. Regardless of carries, the Chiefs should be able to give each RB a heavy dose in Week 14, especially with news breaking about Philip Rivers being hit with a “pretty severe” flu. If this game gets out of control, both RB’s should see a ton of carries.
Giants at Dolphins
DeVante Parker is expected to be the Dolphins’ starting X receiver Week 13 against the Ravens with Rishard Matthews out with a rib injury. Parker had a break out game last week catching 4-of-10 targets for 80 yards and a touchdown. Going along with my Dolphins Prime time pick, I like Parker to repeat similar numbers this week against the New York Giants.
Patriots at Texans[the_ad id=”58837″]Hopefully Gronk can suit up and take some of the pressure off this injury-plagued group of nobody wide receivers for Tom Brady. The Patriot’s receiving unit has been so banged up and terrible that the team actually invited standout CFL receiver Eric Rogers in for a tryout.
Amendola needs to step up, and he knows it. Tom Brady is going to send a lot of targets his way so the opportunity should be there, it’s just a matter of Amendola coming through with the catch.
Patriots at Texans
The Patriots always try to take away a team’s top offensive weapon, so DeAndre Hopkins owners may have to lower their expectations Sunday night. To counterbalance the added coverage that is expected to be on Hopkins, fantasy owners should expect Nate Washington to see more opportunities. Cecil Shorts and Washington have been evenly matched as of late, but the veteran experience will be needed if the Texans want to beat the Pat’s on Sunday Night Football.
Bills at Eagles
The Eagles already love to lean heavy on their tight ends, but with the recent news of Jordan Matthews questionable status popping up late for the game Sunday, I expect the team to target Ertz and Celek even more than usual. Ertz is only a tight end by position, he is easily one of the best receiving athletes on the Eagles roster.
New Orleans at Buccaneers
Seferian-Jenkins was eased back on to the field at the slowest rate possible. His week 3 injury took far longer than anyone had expected, yet his first two games of the season were impressive. ASJ was targeted six times last week and should see a heavier dose of reps and targets this week against the division rival New Orleans Saints.
Prediction: 7+ Fantasy points
Call the Eagles win over the Patriots last week a fluke, call it an off-week for Tom Brady, whatever excuse you want to use, but expect the Philadelphia Eagles to come out flying high with a new found confidence boost. I’m sure Kiko Alonso wants to make Eagles fans believe he was worth the trade for Shady McCoy. Buffalo is a great team, but I expect the big win from last week to spill over against the Bills Sunday.
James is a diehard fantasy football fan who has been playing for over 20 years. He doesn’t have a favorite team, mainly from moving around a lot when he was a kid. This has to lead to many fantasy championships as James drafts with his head, not with his heart. James also plays heavily in Dynasty Football and loves DFS and Picking games. He’s excited to see where he can go writing for Gridiron Experts