Fantasy Football Week 14 Start ‘Em and Sit ‘Em: Philip Rivers will continue vintage production against Redskins

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Wow, when did Week 14 get here?

It seems like just yesterday we were debating David Johnson vs. Le’Veon Bell, waiting for an initial progress report on Andrew Luck’s shoulder and trying to figure out who would be the best rookie running back this season.

It goes by fast.

This week is the start of the Fantasy playoffs in the majority of leagues, and if you’re reading this then you are probably alive in the postseason tournament. All your draft preparation, free agent moves and tough lineup decisions over the past 13 weeks have paid off in a big way.

Congratulations. And now it’s time to win the whole freaking thing.

Your team is hopefully set with only a few lineup decisions to deal with, although injuries (Joe Mixon and Zach Ertz, for example) and suspensions (Rob Gronkowski and JuJu Smith-Schuster) could make for some tough choices. What, did you expect winning in the playoffs to be easy?

We’ll do our best to steer you in the right direction. And hopefully you’ll be setting your lineup for at least one more time in Week 15. 

For now, we’ll just wish you good luck. Because as much as skill and being a good Fantasy player got you to this point, it will take a little bit of luck to win a championship.

Editor’s Note: Projections are provided by CBS Sports and not Jamey Eisenberg.

Start of the Week 

Philip Rivers


QB
/ Chargers

Week 14 projection: 21.1 Fantasy points

The Chargers looked like they were headed for a disastrous campaign when the 2017 season began. They lost their first four games, including two because of missed field goals, and some NFL pundits were questioning if Philip Rivers was done at 35 years old.

Fast forward to Week 13, and the Chargers look like the best team in the AFC West. Although they are tied with the Chiefs and Raiders at 6-6, the Chargers have passed the eyeball test of late with their recent level of play. And a big reason has been Rivers.

He comes into Week 14 against the Redskins averaging 343 passing yards in his past three games, with six touchdowns and no interceptions over that span. The Chargers are 3-0 in those games.

Rivers is averaging 24.3 Fantasy points in those outings against Buffalo, Dallas and Cleveland, and he’s scored at least 19 points in four of his past five games. He’s taken advantage of some plus matchups, and he should do the same thing this week against Washington.

The Redskins are allowing an average of 19.5 Fantasy points a game to opposing quarterbacks, and three of their past five opponents have scored at least 25 points, with four quarterbacks scoring at least 18.

Rivers has played well at home this season, and he’s averaging 20.8 Fantasy points in his past four games in Los Angeles. And he should have another strong performance this week against the Redskins to help the Chargers in their quest to win the AFC West.

For what it’s worth, I expect the Chargers to win the division. And I expect Rivers to help Fantasy owners win their playoff matchup this week.

I’m starting Rivers over: Carson Wentz (at LAR), Russell Wilson (at JAC), Jared Goff (vs. PHI), Cam Newton (vs. MIN) and Drew Brees (at ATL)

Quarterbacks

Sleepers

  • Jimmy Garoppolo (at HOU): The Texans allow the most Fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks, and Garoppolo is worth using as a streaming option. He fared well in his first start for the 49ers at Chicago in Week 13 when he passed for 293 yards and completed 70.3 percent of his passes, along with an interception. He should have a better Fantasy performance this week, and I like him as a low-end starting option in all formats.
  • Josh McCown (at DEN): This might seem like a tough matchup against the Broncos, who are getting cornerback Aqib Talib back from his one-game suspension last week at Miami, but Denver has allowed four of the past five opposing quarterbacks to score at least 20 Fantasy points. McCown has 62 Fantasy points combined against Carolina and Kansas City in the past two games, and this is now seven games this year with at least 18 points. McCown is worth trusting in this game on the road.
  • Brett Hundley (at CLE): Hundley let us down last week in a major way given his matchup with the Buccaneers at home, and he only scored seven Fantasy points. But he’s still worth a look in two-quarterback leagues this week with the matchup at Cleveland. The Browns have allowed an average of 20.3 Fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this season, and only Marcus Mariota in Week 7 and Blake Bortles in Week 11 failed to score at least 17 points against Cleveland this year. This is likely Hundley’s last start this season with Aaron Rodgers (collarbone) expected to return in Week 15.

Bust Alerts

Wilson being listed here does not mean sit him. I have him ranked No. 11, which makes him a starter in the majority of leagues. But I don’t like him as much as Rivers, Dalton or Winston this week, among others. And I am nervous about the matchup against Jacksonville. While Wilson has scored at least 22 Fantasy points in seven games in a row and has put himself in the NFL MVP discussion, this will be his toughest matchup to date. The Jaguars allow the fewest Fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks, giving up an average of 9.3 points a game to the position. Blaine Gabbert in Week 12 is the lone quarterback to score 20 Fantasy points against Jacksonville, including matchups with Roethlisberger, Goff and Rivers this season. You can argue that Wilson is better than those guys, and I would agree, but this could be a letdown game for him on the road. 

Carson Wentz


QB
/ Eagles

Week 14 projection: 19.0 Fantasy points

Wentz being listed here is similar to Wilson. You don’t have to sit him because he’s been exceptional this year, but he might not have a blow-up game given the matchup with the Rams, who allow the fourth-fewest Fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks. Brian Hoyer in Week 3 and Prescott in Week 4 are the only quarterbacks with 20-plus Fantasy points against the Rams, who allow just 13.8 points to the position per game. Wilson, Keenum and Drew Brees have all struggled against the Rams, and I expect Wentz to play like he did in Week 13 at Seattle when he scored 18 Fantasy points. It also hurts Wentz that Ertz could be out. I have Wentz ranked No. 12.

Running backs

Sleepers

  • Peyton Barber (vs. DET): We’ll see if Doug Martin (concussion) is able to play in Week 14 against Detroit, but it might not matter. The Buccaneers might make Barber the starter after his performance in Week 13 at Green Bay when he had 23 carries for 102 yards and four catches for 41 yards on four targets. It was the first 100-yard rushing game for Tampa Bay this year, and he has a tremendous matchup against the Lions, who have allowed a running back to score in 10 games in a row. 
  • Giovani Bernard (vs. CHI): The Bears are banged up defensively, and Mixon will likely be out with a concussion. If Mixon plays then don’t plan on using Bernard, but he played great in Week 13 against Pittsburgh after Mixon got hurt with 13 carries for 77 yards and two catches for 19 yards on three targets. Bernard has the chance to be a top-15 Fantasy running back in all formats if Mixon is out this week. 
  • Frank Gore (at BUF): The Bills run defense has been awful since trading Marcell Dareus to Jacksonville, and Gore should have the chance for a good game this week. In the past five games, Buffalo has allowed 970 total yards and 11 touchdowns to running backs, with seven scoring double digits in Fantasy points in a standard league over that span. Gore only has one game with double digits in Fantasy points in a standard league in his past nine outings, but this is a great week to trust him as at least a flex option. 
  • Bilal Powell (at DEN): One of the reasons I liked Drake last week was the Broncos run defense, which has fallen apart of late and has key injuries along the defensive line. Denver has allowed 10 touchdowns to running backs in the past five games, and the Jets just got a good Fantasy performance from Powell and Matt Forte in Week 13 against the Chiefs. Powell had 10 Fantasy points in a standard league on 20 total touches, and Forte had 14 points on 18 touches. I like Powell better in standard leagues, and Forte is better in PPR. Both are strong flex options this week. 
  • Kerwynn Williams (vs. TEN): If Adrian Peterson (neck) is out again this week then Williams should be in line to start, and hopefully he’ll perform like he did in Week 13 against the Rams. Williams had 16 carries for 97 yards, and he’ll have the chance to be a flex option in Week 14 against the Titans. The workload should be there for Williams since the Cardinals have given their starting running back at least 15 touches in five games in a row. And the past three running backs against the Titans with at least 15 touches has scored a touchdown or gained 90 total yards.

Bust Alert

Jordan Howard


RB
/ Bears
(at CIN)

Week 14 projection: 9.0 Fantasy points

The Bears are struggling to run the ball lately, and losing right guard Kyle Long (shoulder) won’t help matters. In three of their past four games, the Bears rushed for fewer than 65 yards, including Week 13 against San Francisco. And in the past two games for Howard, he has a total of 44 rushing yards on 20 carries. He’s been a non-factor in the passing game lately with three catches for 8 yards in his past four games. And the Bengals have only allowed one rushing touchdown in their past three games. Now, if linebacker Vontaze Burfict (head) is out this week then that will certainly help Howard, who should still be considered a low-end No. 2 running back in the majority of leagues. But if Burfict plays you should be concerned about Howard’s production given his recent level of play, as well as Long being out.

Wide receivers

Sleepers

  • Martavis Bryant (vs. BAL): Bryant will start for the Steelers with Smith-Schuster out, and we just had this scenario in Week 12 when Smith-Schuster had a hamstring injury against the Packers in a prime-time home game. Bryant had four catches for 40 yards and a touchdown against Green Bay on six targets, and he played well the last time he faced the Ravens when Jimmy Smith (Achilles) didn’t play. It was 2014, and Bryant had three catches for 44 yards and two touchdowns, and we’d love to see a repeat of that performance in Week 14. 
  • Sammy Watkins (vs. PHI): In two games since Robert Woods (shoulder) got hurt, Watkins has seven catches for 120 yards and two touchdowns on 13 targets. Woods isn’t expected to play this week, so Watkins has the chance to be a No. 2 Fantasy receiver in the majority of leagues. Watkins also has a touchdown in four of his past five games, so after a slow start he’s finally starting to deliver for Fantasy owners, especially since Woods went down. 
  • Nelson Agholor (at LAR): With Ertz not expected to play this should be a good spot for Agholor to help Fantasy owners. He’s scored in each of his past two games against Chicago and Seattle, and he has 10 catches for 173 yards and two touchdowns on 18 targets over that span. He now has a touchdown in 5-of-6 games when he has at least five targets, and his targets should be up if Ertz sits because of his concussion. 
  • Kenny Stills (vs. NE): Stills didn’t slow down in Week 13 against Denver even though Jay Cutler was back under center in place of Matt Moore. He had five catches for 98 yards and a touchdown on 13 targets, and he’s clearly ahead of DeVante Parker as the No. 2 receiver behind Jarvis Landry. Stills has at least 13 Fantasy points in two of his past three games, and the one down performance was at New England in Week 12 when he only had three catches for 47 yards on six targets. But he scored in his previous two games against the Patriots, and he should be considered a No. 3 Fantasy receiver this week. 
  • Jermaine Kearse (at DEN): Kearse has played great of late, and hopefully he will keep it going for another week at Denver. He comes into Week 14 with 16 catches for 262 yards and a touchdown on 21 targets in his past two games against Carolina and Kansas City, and he and Robby Anderson have formed a formidable tandem. Kearse is worth using as a No. 3 Fantasy receiver this week, and the Broncos have allowed four touchdowns to receivers in their past three games.

Bust Alert

Devin Funchess


WR
/ Panthers
(vs. MIN)

Week 14 projection: 7.2 projected points

Funchess has been awesome since the Panthers traded Kelvin Benjamin to the Bills. In his past four games, Funchess has 21 catches for 346 yards and three touchdowns on 33 targets, and he’s clearly been the No. 1 receiver for Newton. Greg Olsen (foot) is expected to return this week, which should take away targets from Funchess, and he has a brutal matchup against the Vikings. Only five receivers have scored double digits in Fantasy points in a standard league against Minnesota, and Funchess will likely see plenty of standout cornerback Xavier Rhodes. Consider Funchess just a No. 3 Fantasy receiver in the majority of leagues this week.

Tight ends

Sleepers

  • Jason Witten (at NYG): Witten has a great track record against the Giants, and they have been awful against opposing tight ends all season. He comes into this matchup with three touchdowns against the Giants in his past five meetings, including seven catches for 59 yards and a touchdown on nine targets in Week 1. The Giants haven’t allowed a tight end to score or go over 100 receiving yards in two games in a row, but they were miserable against tight ends for the first 10 games of the year. 
  • Ricky Seals-Jones (vs. TEN): Seals-Jones saw his two-game scoring streak end in Week 13 against the Rams when he finished with just two catches for 44 yards on five targets. But he still got at least five targets for the third game in a row, and he has a favorable matchup in Week 14 against Tennessee. The Titans have allowed a tight end to score or gain 90 receiving yards in three games in a row, and you can feel confident starting Seals-Jones in the majority of leagues this week. 
  • Trey Burton (at LAR): Ertz could be out this week at the Rams, and that would make Burton a solid streaming option in most formats. Ertz was out in Week 9 against Denver with a hamstring injury, and Burton had two catches for 41 yards and a touchdown on four targets. He had four catches for 42 yards on seven targets against Seattle after Ertz got hurt, and it’s clear Wentz will continue to feature his best pass-catching tight end no matter who is there. 

Bust Alert

Jared Cook


TE
/ Raiders
(at KC)

Week 14 projection: 6.1 projected points

Cook is the lone tight end to have success against the Chiefs this year, and we’ll see if he can do it again in the rematch in Week 14. He went off for six catches for 107 yards on seven targets against Kansas City in Week 7, and he’s the lone tight end with double digits in Fantasy points in a standard league against the Chiefs. Kansas City has also allowed just one touchdown to a tight end this year. It will be hard to trust Cook this week since he has three Fantasy points combined in a standard league in his past three games against New England, Denver and the Giants, and those last two matchups are as good as it gets for a tight end. I would only start Cook in deeper leagues this week.

Defenses/Special teams

Start ‘Em

Patriots (at MIA) – 13.7 projected points

You knew, despite a slow start, that the Patriots defense would turn things around as the season went on. And here we are, in December, and New England’s defense has quietly been among the best in the NFL. The Patriots haven’t allowed an opponent to score more than 17 points since Week 5, and they’ve held two teams (Oakland in Week 11 and Buffalo in Week 13) to fewer than 10 points in their past three games. The Patriots DST comes into this matchup at Miami with at least 11 Fantasy points in four games in a row, including 17 points against the Dolphins in Week 12 when they had seven sacks, two interceptions and a fumble recovery with Matt Moore under center. It won’t change much against Jay Cutler, and Miami has allowed the past three opposing DSTs to score at least 14 Fantasy points.

Sleepers

  • Jets (at DEN): The Jets don’t have a great defense, and the Jets DST has one game with double digits in Fantasy points in their past seven games. But the Broncos don’t have a good offense and come into this matchup with an interception streak of eight games in a row. They have allowed 11 sacks in their past three games, and Denver has scored more than 20 points just once since Week 2. This is a great week to gamble on the Jets DST.
  • Bills (vs. IND): The Bills DST has struggled of late with only one game with double digits in Fantasy points in their past five outings. But it has been better at home this year than on the road with at least 11 Fantasy points in three of six games, and two of their failures came against New Orleans and New England. The Colts come into this game allowing the most Fantasy points to opposing DSTs this year, and six DSTs in a row have scored at least 11 points against them.
  • Colts (at BUF): We’ll see if Peterman starts for Taylor this week, and we all saw what happened the last time Peterman was under center in Week 11 at the Chargers. He had five interceptions, and the Chargers DST scored two touchdowns. The Colts DST is not good with only one game this season with double digits in Fantasy points, so this is a strictly a play against Peterman, which could work out great based on his last start.

Sit ‘Em

Eagles (at LAR) – 11.1 projected points

The Eagles DST has been great this year and a big reason the team is dominating the NFC East. But the defense struggled last week at Seattle with no turnovers and just two sacks, and this should be another down performance at the Rams. The Rams have only allowed one opposing DST in their last six games to score double digits in Fantasy points, which was Minnesota in Week 11. Jared Goff has just six interceptions on the season, and he’s only been sacked 20 times. The Rams also score an average of 30.1 points per game. This is a good week to avoid the Eagles DST.

Kickers

Start ‘Em

Travis Coons


K
/ Chargers

Week 14 projection: 8.7 Fantasy points

Coons had a great debut with the Chargers in Week 13 against the Browns. He made 4-of-5 field goals and one extra point, and he was among the best Fantasy kickers last week. Hopefully the encore will be just as successful against the Redskins, who have allowed six kickers to make multiple field goals this season. The Chargers offense is playing great right now, and Nick Novak, who Coons replaced because of a back injury, also made four field goals in Week 11 against Buffalo.

Sleepers

  • Dan Bailey (at NYG): The Cowboys offense got back on track in Week 13 against Washington, and Bailey had one field goal and five extra points. Dallas should again be able to move the ball against the Giants this week, and New York is among the league leaders in Fantasy points allowed to kickers. Seven kickers have made multiple field goals against the Giants this year, including Bailey in Week 1 when he scored 13 Fantasy points.
  • Randy Bullock (vs. CHI): Kickers have been exceptional against the Bears of late, and Bullock will hopefully follow suit. In the past five games, Chicago has allowed 13 field goals on 14 attempts, along with 11 extra points. Bullock also has done a nice job of late with five field goals and five extra points in his past two games for a combined 20 Fantasy points.
  • Steven Hauschka (vs. IND): Hauschka only has one game in his past five outings with double digits in Fantasy points, and the offense could struggle with Peterman if he starts. But the Bills should be able to run the ball against the Colts, who allow the most Fantasy points to opposing kickers, which is why Hauschka should have a successful day. Three kickers in a row have made multiple field goals against Indianapolis coming into Week 14.

Sit ‘Em

Kai Forbath


K
/ Vikings

Week 14 projection: 8.0 Fantasy points

Forbath has been an excellent Fantasy kicker this season, and he could play well this week, although it should be a low-scoring game based on the over/under of 42 points in Las Vegas. But the numbers of late are working against him. Forbath hasn’t made multiple field goals in four games in a row, including three missed field goals over that span. And the Panthers haven’t allowed a kicker to score double digits in Fantasy points since Week 4, and only two kickers have made multiple field goals against Carolina over that span.



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