Fantasy Football: Top Players to Start in N.F.L. Week 14

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The Cowboys, despite their recent offensive ineptitude, provide some intriguing possibilities for those in the fantasy football playoffs.

Quarterback

Dak Prescott (DAL at Giants) — He figured out how to throw touchdown passes again last weekend, with two against the Redskins despite injuring his throwing hand. The bruised right hand does not appear to be a problem, after Prescott practiced with no issues on Wednesday. Because of the Cowboys’ offensive struggles in the past month, Prescott has fallen off many fantasy radars heading into the playoffs. But there were encouraging signs last weekend regarding his chemistry with Dez Bryant and the running game, which finally got on track post-Ezekiel Elliott behind Alfred Morris. Don’t be surprised if Prescott puts up a big week against the Giants, who have given up the third most fantasy points per game this season (18.9).

Alex Smith (KC vs. Raiders) — After four consecutive disappointing fantasy performances, Smith roared back with one of the most impressive quarterback outings of the season, totaling 37.6 standard fantasy points (366 yards, four touchdowns). It’s difficult to trust him completely given how the Chiefs have played in the second half, but it’s tough not to like him against the Raiders, a team he scored 25 points against in Week 7. With the division title still a possibility despite four losses in a row, expect the Chiefs, led by Smith and receiver Tyreek Hill, to throw everything they have against the Raiders. These two teams put up a total of 61 points when they faced off in Week 7, and Vegas likes this game as the second highest scoring matchup this weekend (47.5).

Also consider: Marcus Mariota (TEN at Cardinals)

Running Back

LeSean McCoy (BUF vs. Colts) — If you’ve stuck with McCoy through the ups and downs this season, you should be rewarded this weekend with this matchup against the Colts, who have allowed 12 touchdowns to opposing backs in 12 games, and the fifth most F.P.P.G. (20.2). McCoy, who is fifth among all backs in touches this season, has topped 20 fantasy points in three of the last seven games. My money’s on him making it four of eight.

Lamar Miller (HOU vs. 49ers) — His high volume of usage — tied for second among backs in snap count, 53.5 per game, and seventh in total carries — should translate into another solid fantasy performance, with potential for much more against the 49ers. He has averaged nearly 12 fantasy points per game over the last three weeks, and San Francisco has yielded the third most F.P.P.G. (21.3) this season.

Also consider: Samaje Perine (WAS at Chargers)

Wide Receiver

Marvin Jones (DET at Buccaneers) — The Packers’ offense did something remarkable last Sunday: It failed to exploit the Buccaneers’ pass defense, which is the second worst in the N.F.L. based on passing yards per game (267.3). In fantasyland, it is the absolute worst, at 26.8 F.P.P.G. It’s safe to say that would not have been the case if Aaron Rodgers had been behind center. Assuming Matthew Stafford’s hand is in decent shape, the Lions should have a field day on offense, led by Stafford and Jones, who is second in the N.F.L. in touchdowns (eight) among receivers. Jones has 85 yards receiving or a touchdown, or both, in six of his last seven games.

Michael Crabtree (OAK at Chiefs) — He will be back on the field after serving a one-game suspension. Whether his teammate Amari Cooper will be is very much up in the air, as he is still dealing with an ankle injury after clearing the N.F.L.’s concussion protocol. Regardless, Cooper will not be 100 percent, if he does play, in this crucial division matchup, meaning Crabtree should be the No. 1 target for quarterback Derek Carr. Bolstering the case for Crabtree is the fact that the only Chiefs defensive back worth fearing, Marcus Peters, who shadowed Crabtree in their earlier matchup this season, is suspended for this game. On the whole, the Chiefs allow the second most F.P.P.G. to receivers (26.3).

Also consider: Josh Gordon (CLE vs. Packers)

Tight End

Austin Seferian-Jenkins (NYJ at Broncos) — He has underwhelmed over the last two games but is in a great spot this weekend against the Broncos, who have been exploited by opposing tight ends for 68.4 yards per game and the second most F.P.P.G. (10.8). In addition, tight ends have found the end zone in eight of 12 games this season.

Also consider: Cameron Brate (TB vs. Lions)

Defense/Special Teams

NE at Dolphins; LAC vs. Redskins

Kicker

Justin Tucker (BAL at Steelers); Matt Prater (DET at Buccaneers).

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