Fantasy football sit-and-start advice should always be relative and league-dependent. Note that some players are targeted for DFS. Good luck with your Week 14 lineups!
Minnesota Vikings @ Detroit Lions
Start: Kirk Cousins, Jared Goff
Cousins is having easily the least efficient (6.5 YPA) season of his career since he became a full-time starter in a truly bizarre Minnesota season when they’re somehow 10-2 despite a measly +10 point differential. The Vikings would be an NFL-worst 1-11 if every one-score game were flipped this season.
The Lions also have a fast-improving defense that ranks third against the pass in DVOA over the last five weeks. However, this looks like a favorable setup that should force Cousins to throw a ton in a matchup indoors and with the second-highest total of the week (51.5 points).
Detroit is averaging the second-most points (31.9) at home this season, where Goff has posted a 17:3 TD:INT ratio. Only the Bills have a higher implied team total than Detroit this week, when Goff is a fantasy must-start while facing a Vikings defense allowing the most YPA and passing yards this season. DJ Chark is also a sleeper this week.
New York Jets @ Buffalo Bills
Start in DFS: Garrett Wilson ($22)
Sit: Devin Singletary
Wilson saw the third-most air yards in any NFL game this season last week and is getting an elite 2.5 yards per route run without Zach Wilson this year, producing top-five WR fantasy production with Joe Flacco and Mike White. Wilson will be busy this week against a Buffalo team that should put up points on offense but has allowed the 11th-most fantasy points to wide receivers this year.
I dare you to draft Wilson higher than me next year.
Singletary saw a season-low 44 percent of the snaps last week and five fewer opportunities than rookie James Cook, who may have surpassed him on Buffalo’s depth chart. Even if the carries remain divided equally, Cook is clearly the better receiving option. Moreover, the Bills get a stingy Jets defense this week that’s allowed just one running back to reach 90 rushing yards in a game all season. Given their roles and difference in explosive ability, Cook looks like the superior fantasy start moving forward.
Cleveland Browns @ Cincinnati Bengals
Sit: Deshaun Watson
Start: Bengals D/ST
Watson had the lowest EPA/dropback during his first action since 2020 last week, finishing as fantasy’s QB30 with an ugly -13.5 completion percentage over expectation (7th percentile) against a shaky Houston defense. He was also lucky a possible (unforced) fumble returned for a touchdown was ruled an incomplete pass. Watson will likely improve the more he plays, but he travels again this week to face a surging Cincinnati defense that just held Patrick Mahomes to season-low production.
The Bengals haven’t allowed a quarterback to throw for 300 yards and have given up multiple TD passes in a game only once all season. With Watson asked to throw more in obvious passing downs this week, you’ll want the Bengals D/ST in your fantasy lineup.
Houston Texans @ Dallas Cowboys
Sit: Dameon Pierce
Start: All Cowboys
Dallas has one of the highest implied team totals (31.0 points) of the season, while Houston has one of the lowest (13.0). Pierce has a bright future and should be targeted in 2023 fantasy drafts, but he’s a bench candidate in a matchup that’s likely to produce a poor game script. Kyle Allen was so bad the Texans have turned back to Davis Mills, and backup RB Dare Ogunbowale has stolen goal-line touchdowns in each of the last two games. The Cowboys enter with the No. 1-ranked defense in DVOA, making Pierce a shaky fantasy start in Week 14.
Game script could lower passing volume, but all Cowboys are strong starts this week, as the team is the biggest favorite of the 2022 season. Dallas is the clear top D/ST start of the week facing a QB who’s posted an 8:13 TD:INT ratio over 11 career road games (and will be missing Nico Collins and Brandin Cooks). Meanwhile, both Tony Pollard and Ezekiel Elliott can easily finish as top-12 RBs against a Texans defense allowing the most fantasy points to the position.
Philadelphia Eagles @ New York Giants
Start in DFS: DeVonta Smith ($16)
Sit: Daniel Jones
Smith has benefited from a big spike in target share since Dallas Goedert went down in an incredibly condensed Philadelphia passing offense. Smith is a strong DFS play this week with 23 wide receivers sporting higher salaries.
Jones has quietly been a top-12 fantasy QB this season (averaging the same number of fantasy points as Dak Prescott) thanks to being on pace to finish with a top-15 rushing season ever by a quarterback. But he belongs on fantasy benches this week facing a tough Eagles defense allowing the fewest YPA, yards per play and fantasy points to quarterbacks. Philadelphia has also recorded an NFL-high 15 interceptions, limited running QBs and remarkably hasn’t allowed any quarterback to throw for more than 250 passing yards in a game this season.
Baltimore Ravens @ Pittsburgh Steelers
Start in DFS: Mark Andrews ($24)
Start: George Pickens
Andrews has been a fantasy disappointment having not scored a TD since Week 6, but he gets a fantasy boost with Tyler Huntley likely feeding him targets this week. Andrews has seen his target share jump from 19.1% to 28.4% with Huntley on the field since last season, and he gets a favorable matchup this week against a Pittsburgh defense that ranks top-five in YPC but has been gashed for the most passing touchdowns this season. Andrews is a DFS option this week with a salary that’s 33% cheaper than Travis Kelce’s.
Pickens could be looking at extra targets this week with Diontae Johnson being limited in practice and gets a Ravens secondary allowing the most fantasy points to his primary side over the last month. Pittsburgh’s D/ST is also a solid fantasy start.
Jacksonville Jaguars @ Tennessee Titans
Fade in DFS: Travis Etienne ($20)
Start: Chigoziem Okonkwo
Etienne remains a borderline top-15 RB after seeing a career-high in snap rate last week, but he’s still playing through a foot injury and gets one of the league’s toughest rush defenses Sunday. The Titans rank first in run defense DVOA and haven’t allowed a running back to reach 70 rushing yards in a game since Week 1. Trevor Lawrence also ranks toward the bottom among QBs in target% to running backs (and could be limited while playing through a sprained toe). D’Andre Swift’s DFS salary is 20% cheaper.
Okonkwo leads all tight ends in yards per route run this season and was far more involved after Treylon Burks went out last week. With the rookie WR missing Sunday’s game, Okonkwo should see plenty of targets with Tennessee becoming more pass-heavy as Derrick Henry has struggled over the last month. The Jaguars have allowed the third-most yards per play over the last three weeks, and the intriguing Okonkwo is the DFS minimum ($10).
Kansas City Chiefs @ Denver Broncos
Start: JuJu Smith-Schuster, Greg Dulcich
The Broncos have shut down outside receivers this season but have allowed the seventh-most fantasy points to the slot over the last month. The role is split in Kanas City, but Smith-Schuster leads the team in route% from the slot this season.
Dulcich led all tight ends last week in air yards (91) and target share (38%), including 60% of Denver’s first reads. Courtland Sutton is out Sunday and Jerry Jeudy could be limited, so Dulcich should be treated as a top fantasy tight end this week.
Carolina Panthers @ Seattle Seahawks
Start: D’Onta Foreman & Chuba Hubbard, Geno Smith
Foreman and Hubbard can be started in a matchup against a Seahawks defense allowing 4.9 YPC, the third-most rushing scores and the second-most fantasy points to running backs this season.
Seattle seemingly has no healthy running backs and sports the second-highest pass rate over expectation over the last month. Smith has multiple TD passes in nine of the last 10 games, has improved his YPA every month this season and remains a fantasy must-start Sunday.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ San Francisco 49ers
Sit: Tom Brady
Start: 49ers D/ST
Brady tossed two late touchdowns Monday night (including the latest go-ahead TD pass of his career), but he mostly struggled while failing to surpass 5.7 YPA for the third time over the past four games. It’s not necessarily Brady’s fault, as Tampa Bay’s coaching and inability to run the ball have been big problems. Brady’s average depth of target was also possibly historically low Monday night. Brady’s production drops on the road, and this week he gets an extremely tough defense in a matchup that projects to be low-scoring thanks in part to Brock Purdy starting for San Francisco. Remarkably, only the Texans have a lower implied team total than the Buccaneers this week … Chris Godwin gets a boost this week, however, as SF’s main vulnerability on defense is against the slot (where he’s run 75% of his routes this season).
The 49ers defense has been dominant lately, including holding opponents to seven combined points after halftime over the last five games. Tampa Bay has surpassed 22 points once all season and will be traveling during a short week, so start San Francisco’s D/ST despite facing the GOAT.
Miami Dolphins @ Los Angeles Chargers
Start: Jeff Wilson Jr. & Raheem Mostert, Gerald Everett
Last week was a weird game that featured just eight total rush attempts by Miami against a stingy San Francisco run D. Miami’s “hot-hand” approach could easily feature both backs Sunday night in a matchup with the week’s highest total (54.5). With Tua Tagovailoa and Jaylen Waddle both banged up (along with both tackles), Miami could go run-heavy facing a Chargers defense that ranks 30th against the run in DVOA and has allowed an NFL-high 5.4 YPC and the fourth-most fantasy points to running backs this season.
Mike Williams and Keenan Allen are set to play Sunday night, but the health of both wideouts remains in question. LA will also likely struggle to run the ball with multiple injuries across its offensive line. Miami is a funnel defense that ranks top-10 against the run but bottom-10 versus the pass, allowing the third-most fantasy points to tight ends. The Chargers have the fastest pace in neutral situations this season, and this matchup has the highest total (54.5 points) of the week.
New England Patriots @ Arizona Cardinals
Start: Hunter Henry, Kyler Murray
Henry led all New England pass catchers in snaps and targets last week, while Jonnu Smith has totaled two targets over the last two games (and Jakobi Meyers is out). Henry can be started Monday night against a Cardinals defense allowing the most targets, catches, yards and fantasy points to tight ends this season.
Bill Belichick defenses frequently struggle to contain running quarterbacks, and Murray finally has a healthy DeAndre Hopkins and Marquise Brown together (and the QB’s hamstring should be closer to 100% following the team’s bye). Arizona will admittedly be at a coaching disadvantage Monday night, but Murray still belongs in fantasy lineups.
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