Austin’s Fantasy Train: Week 14


Austin West, Staff

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, it is here. The fantasy football playoffs have arrived! Maybe not for everyone but for some Week 14 is the first week of the fantasy playoffs. If you’ve made it into your league’s playoff bracket, congratulations, this is what you’ve been waiting for all season. If you didn’t make it, thankfully there’s always next year and if you’re in a dynasty league, let the rebuild begin. If you’re one of those that haven’t started your playoffs yet, you better make sure you’ve clinched a spot or you’re playing your best ball to get yourself in even if it is as the bottom-seeded team. Yours truly is sitting on the cusp of making the playoffs in a few leagues, scratching and clawing to make my way into the four or five seed. These weeks are absolutely crucial for the playoff push so let’s try to set everyone up for some crucial victories. 

First, let’s take a look at last week’s predictions. Trevor Lawrence and Dameon Pierce both are unable to meet their projections and causing me to take myself off of the Dameon Pierce hype train as he has just been disappointing down the stretch for fantasy managers. Foster Moreau continues a streak of going over and under his projections every other week as he also unfortunately underperforms. Keenan Allen is the only one of my overperforming projections to come true. Christian McCaffrey is the only one of the under-projection predictions to overperform as his workload increased after Brock Purdy stepped in for the injured Jimmy Garroppolo and will be the starter from here on out. Deshaun Watson, Treylon Burks, and Hayden Hurst all underperform as predicted due to Treylon Burks exiting the game early and Deshaun Watson having a rough first game back against his former team. Now, let’s gear up for the playoff push. 

Teams on BYE: New Orleans Saints, Atlanta Falcons, Chicago Bears, Green Bay Packers, Indianapolis Colts, and Washington Commanders

Tickets to Ride

Quarterback, Trevor Lawrence: According to the statistics and trends, Trevor Lawrence should be on the opposite half of this article as he spends two weeks below projections before jumping up above them for two more weeks. Currently, he is set for another week below projections but facing off against the Tennessee Titans offers a nice fantasy day for Lawrence. The Titans give up the second most points to quarterbacks this season allowing 10 total touchdowns over the last five games. Lawrence has been a touchdown machine this season, scoring at least one touchdown in every game this season. While he did leave the game for a brief time against the Lions, he was able to return and should be cleared to go for this week.

Running Back, Isaiah Pacheco: After Clyde Edwards-Helaire went to Injured Reserve, Isaiah Pacheco has taken the over as the lead back for Kansas City. Averaging 16 rushing attempts these last four games and a top-20 fantasy finish at running back the last two games, Pacheco may be the boost your playoff team needs in the FLEX spot. This week he takes on the Denver Broncos who rank 28th in the league in fantasy points given up to the position, making it a harder matchup. However, the Chiefs have played two other bottom-half-ranked defenses in points allowed: the Los Angeles Rams and the Cinncinatti Bengals. In both those games, Pacheco rushed for over 65 yards and a touchdown as well as at least one reception for 16 yards.

Wide Receiver, Devonta Smith: After a season-high in receiving yards against the Titans, Devonta Smith was also able to find the endzone for a season-high fantasy finish. The last four games have seen his target consistency stabilize allowing him to average 14 points per week with his two touchdowns over that span. Facing the New York Giants in their first meeting of the year, the Eagles will want to get everyone involved. The Giants haven’t been great at stopping the run, allowing the possibility of a lot of Miles Sanders but the Giants will try to force the Eagles to become one dimensional relying on either the passing game or the run game. Racking up yards after the catch for Devonta Smith will be the key to keeping his fantasy streak alive. 

Tight End, Hunter Henry:  A slight desperation play this week with Hunter Henry against the Arizona Cardinals. While he has garnered five targets in each of the last two games, it’s all about whether he hauls them in as with those ten total targets, he only has five catches. The Cardinals provide ample opportunity for Hunter Henry to change his narrative this season. This defense has allowed the most receiving yards, the most receiving touchdowns, and the second-most fantasy points per game to tight ends. So for those who are in a must-win situation and just need to shoot for the stars at tight end, Hunter Henry could be the answer. 

Missed the Train

Quarterback, Daniel Jones: Just like Trevor Lawrence, based on the trends since Week 7 of Daniel Jones against his projections, he should be set for a huge game this week. This would be great for those of you using him to fill in for a quarterback on BYE, one’s that injured, or just the one you’re stuck rolling with but unfortunately his matchup most likely will not allow for it. This week the Giants face their division rival, the Philadelphia Eagles. The Eagles are giving up the least amount of fantasy points to the quarterback position this season, thanks to only giving up four passing touchdowns following Week 9, three of which came from the Packers’ quarterbacks. Unless the Giants somehow acquire Odell Beckham Jr. before Sunday, good luck to Danny Dimes.

Running Back, Dameon Pierce: I told you all that I was off the Dameon Pierce hype train. He faces one of the scariest defenses in the NFL in the Dallas Cowboys, who are only allowing an average of 17 points to running backs per game for the fourth lowest in the NFL. Last week, the Cowboys held Jonathon Taylor under 85 rushing yards and just 13 fantasy points. Unfortunately, for Pierce, his offensive line is not nearly as good as the Indianapolis Colts. Behind his offensive line this season, the Texans’ run game is averaging -.08 expected points added per rushing attempt. Unless Pierce is able to score or continually get into the open field, expect a subpar game this week.

Wide Receiver, DJ Moore: Coming off a BYE week after fielding over 100 receiving yards and a touchdown against a strong Broncos defense, DJ Moore now faces another tough passing defense in the Seattle Seahawks. Allowing an average of around 24 fantasy points per game to wide receivers, but only have allowed one touchdown through the air over the last three games. Moore’s last game is also looking more like a fluke than anything else as he averaged two fantasy points over the three games prior to his performance against the Broncos. The Seahawks also give up some of the most rushing yards per game, slightly skewed by Josh Jacobs in the Raiders’ overtime win over Seattle, so expect the Panthers to get D’Onta Foreman going. 

Tight End, Greg Dulcich: A great game by Greg Dulcich last week in the Denver Broncos’ fourth straight loss, as he had been much less than ideal in the three weeks prior. In those three weeks, Dulcich averaged two receptions and 17 receiving yards with no touchdowns. Similar to DJ Moore, this game could be the start of an upward trend or it could have been a fluke. This week’s opponent the Kansas City Chiefs has allowed a total of 49 yards over the past three games and no touchdowns to the position since Week 7. Broncos’ tight ends are also the least targeted position group in the offense with only 19.8 percent of the target going to the position. Fewer targets than the running backs and a stout Chiefs defense spells disaster for Dulcich.