Start ‘Em Sit ‘Em Week 14
We are in the final weeks of the fantasy football regular season as we now approach week 14. That means each lineup choice has that much more behind it and everyone counts that much more. With that, let’s dive in and look at the players to start and sit for this weekend.
Recapping last week
It was a so-so week for our picks. Taylor Heinicke and Joe Burrow both finished inside the top-16 but Justin Herbert was QB3 in week 13. Elijah Mitchell had another top-15 performance while Javonte Williams was RB1 in half-PPR leagues and Saquon Barkley finished just inside the top-24. Rashod Bateman, unfortunately, dropped a goose egg but Van Jefferson finished inside the top-20 but Mike Williams had a top-18 week himself. Logan Thomas had a top-five week but T.J Hockenson was TE4 and Gerald Everett was a disaster with two fumbles. With that, we are on to week 14!
Teams on bye: Colts, Dolphins, Patriots, Eagles
Start ‘Em Sit ‘Em Week 14 QB’s
Panthers vs. Falcons
ESPN Starting Percentage: 1.5%
Newton is coming off a horrid performance in week 12 (5-of-21 passing, 93 yards, two interceptions, and five rushing yards with a touchdown). The bye was certainly well-needed as the Panthers now face the Falcons in week 14 with a big change on offense. Their offensive coordinator, Joe Brady, was fired during the bye and now are seemingly making a bigger commitment to the run game, which should work to Newton’s specialty. He faces Falcons’ defense that has given up the ninth-most fantasy points-per-game to opposing quarterbacks over the last three weeks. They’ve also been susceptible to scrambling quarterbacks as they’ve given up at 29+ rushing yards to six different quarterbacks this season. Despite Newton’s flaws as a passer, he has a rushing touchdown in all three games he’s playing in this season. Newton will be a low-end QB1 in a game where we could see him run even more than we have.
Saints vs. Jets
ESPN Starting Percentage: 20.5%
It’s insane to think that a quarterback who throws four interceptions in a game can still finish as QB6 that week. But that’s exactly what Hill did as he ran for 101 yards on top of his 264 passing yards, two touchdowns, and four picks. He did suffer a finger injury in that game that he will continue to play through. Even though Hill had a rough game in real-life football, it’s clear that he gives the team a better chance to compete than Trevor Siemian at this moment. Hill now faces a Jets’ defense that’s given up at least two passing touchdowns in each of their last eight games and just got picked apart by Gardner Minshew in week 13. Hill is an automatic low-end QB1 when he takes the field and he now has a plus match-up against him.
Raiders vs. Chiefs
ESPN Starting Percentage: 36.3%
The Raiders have fallen on hard times ever since their strong start to begin the season. They are 1-3 over their last four games and now face a suddenly resurgent Chiefs’ squad. Carr hasn’t been playing terribly but after having at least 382 passing yards and two touchdowns in each of his first three games, he’s been struggling to hit those numbers. He has only thrown multiple touchdowns in a game once in his last five and only has one 300+ passing yard performance during that span. The Chiefs’ defense has turned it around as of late and have given up the fourth-fewest fantasy points-per-game to opposing quarterbacks over the last three weeks. They haven’t allowed a quarterback to throw for more than 270 yards in any of their last seven games and they’ve only allowed three quarterbacks to score more than one touchdown during that time. With Kenyan Drake out for the season and Darren Waller potentially out for another game, Carr could be playing with a bare cupboard against a hot defense. He’s a sit this week.
Start ‘Em Sit ‘Em Week 14 RB’s
Panthers vs. Falcons
ESPN Starting Percentage: 12.3%
With Christian McCaffrey out for the rest of the season, we should expect to see a lot of Hubbard once more. When filling in for McCaffrey from weeks three through eight, Hubbard had at least 15 touches in all but one of those games (with the lone one being 14). And with the Panthers’ new re-commitment to the run, that should only help Hubbard especially with defenses having to focus so much on Newton. Hubbard may lose passing down looks/snaps to Ameer Abdullah but there should still be plenty for Hubbard in this matchup. Hibbard had 91 scrimmage yards and a touchdown against the Falcons back in week eight and has given up at least 92 scrimmage yards to an opposing running back in each of their last two games. Hubbard is a mid-tier RB2 this week until we see more of how the backfield will shake out.
Texans vs. Seahawks
ESPN Starting Percentage: 22.4%
This is not the most inspiring pick but this is where we are this late in the season. After two straight games of 15+ touches, Burkhead only nine against a tough Colts’ defense. But he does face a Seahawks’ defense that has given up the fourth-most fantasy points-per-game to opposing running backs over the last three weeks. They’ve given up four touchdowns in the past three games to running backs and have allowed 56+ scrimmage yards to six different running backs over their last four games. If David Johnson is forced to miss another game, Burkhead could be in line for another 15+ touch day against a much weaker opponent than the Colts. Burkhead could have low-end RB2 appeal in a half/full-PPR league this week.
Lions vs. Broncos
ESPN Starting Percentage: 56.2%
Starting in place of the injured D’Andre Swift, Williams unfortunately disappointed even with 18 touches. He finished with 80 scoreless scrimmage yards against one of the weaker defenses in the Vikings. Williams only saw one of four running back targets in week 13 even with 17-of-24 rushing attempts. He now faces a tough Broncos’ defense that has only given up one touchdown to an opposing running back over their last five games. While they’ve given up 80+ scrimmage yards to five different running backs in their last three games, it’s looking like Williams will need hit paydirt to be fantasy-viable without a passing-down role. He’s no better than a volume-based mid-tier RB3/FLEX this weekend.
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Start ‘Em Sit ‘Em Week 14 WR’s
Falcons vs. Panthers
ESPN Starting Percentage: 10.5%
Gage had his best game of the season with 130 yards on 11 receptions (12 targets) against the Buccaneers in week 13. He has taken over as the team’s number one wide receiver in lieu of Calvin Ridley. Because of that, he has been averaging more than seven targets a game over his last five. He now faces a Panthers’ defense that has actually given up the fourth-most fantasy points-per-game to opposing wide receivers over the last three weeks. They’ve given up four touchdowns to opposing wide receivers over the last two games and have given up 100+ receiving yards to a wide receiver in each of their last two games. Gage is in a prime spot to continue racking up targets in a game that may not feature much defense.
Broncos vs. Lions
ESPN Starting Percentage: 28.0%
Since his return, Jeudy has seen at least six targets in four of six games. His arrival has nullified Courtland Sutton’s earlier dominance as Jeudy has taken over as the number one wide receiver for the Broncos. He hasn’t scored a touchdown this year but he has a chance to have his best game of the season this weekend. The Lions just gave up a combined 15 receptions, 229 yards, and two touchdowns in week 13 to Justin Jefferson and K.J. Osborn despite coming away with their first victory of the season. They also allowed Darnell Mooney to make big play one after another with his 123 receiving yards on five receptions in week 12. Jeudy is in a prime spot to deliver for those pushing to make the fantasy football playoffs as an upside WR3/FLEX play.
Texans vs. Seahawks
ESPN Starting Percentage: 53.2%
After seeing 13 targets in week nine, Cooks has 14 targets over his last three games combined. He hasn’t hit 50+ receiving yards during that span and has only one touchdown to show for it. He has been almost completely nullified by this inept Texans’ squad that now has Tyrod Taylor dealing with a serious wrist injury to his non-throwing hand. It’s unknown if Taylor or Davis Mills will be under center in week 14 but it doesn’t make a difference at this point. The Seahawks haven’t given up a touchdown to an opposing wide receiver in each of their last four games and have only allowed two wide receivers to go for 75+ yards in their last six combined. Cooks is still a high ceiling play due to his ability to take over a game but he has a low floor with a scary quarterback situation in a bad matchup. He’s a mid-tier WR3/FLEX at least.
Start ‘Em Sit ‘Em Week 14 TE’s
Texans vs. Seahawks
ESPN Starting Percentage: 0.2%
Even with what I just said about the Texans’ offensive woes, Jordan is simply a streaming option this week. The Seahawks have given up the most fantasy points per game to opposing tight ends over the last three weeks. They’ve allowed Zack Ertz to go for 88 yards and two touchdowns on eight receptions and George Kittle to go for 181 yards and two touchdowns on nine receptions over the last three games. Jordan has two games over his last five with three receptions, 23+ yards, and a touchdown as the team’s top receiving tight end. Jordan is a desperation play in a very good matchup with those without Mike Gesicki or Dallas Goedert this weekend. He has top-15 potential based on the opponent alone.
Giants vs. Chargers
ESPN Starting Percentage: 8.1%
Much like Jordan, Engram is not much of an appealing play but rather a streaming option in a sneaky solid matchup. However, he could have Jake Fromm throwing passes to him with Daniel Jones on the mend and Mike Glennon in concussion protocol. Maybe he gets lucky and Glennon clears protocol? Nevertheless, the Chargers have given up four touchdowns over their last four games to opposing tight ends. Engram is coming off one of his better games with 61 receiving yards on four receptions (five targets). Plus, he does have at least five targets in each of his last three games. If Kenny Golladay can’t play with his ribs issue and Sterling Shepard and Kadarius Toney both continue to sit, Engram may literally be one of the only players Fromm (or Glennon) can target. He’s a dart throw option this weekend.
Cardinals vs. Rams
ESPN Starting Percentage: 21.5%
In Kyler Murray’s first game back, Ertz faceplanted with only one ten-yard reception on two targets. He had been providing a safe floor up until Murray’s (and DeAndre Hopkins) return with at least three receptions and 42 yards in four of his last five games. Murray only threw 15 times in week 13, so that could mean more looks for Ertz this weekend in what should be a tougher matchup. Regardless of that, the Rams have only given up a combined six receptions for 30 scoreless yards to opposing tight ends over their last two weeks. That could have something to do with the level of competition they faced but between Ertz’s small target share with Murray and Hopkins back as well, it’s shaping up to be a shaky matchup for Ertz.
Doug Moore is a fantasy football writer for Gridiron Experts. He has previously written for sites such as ESPN, SBNation, FFToday & Inside The Pylon. He also was the co-host for the highly-rated fantasy football podcast Overtime Ireland for several years. You can find him on Twitter at @DMooreNFL