For the majority of fantasy leagues, playoffs start in Week 14, so some owners might not have any “skin in the game” anymore. Luckily, for Daily Fantasy Sports players, they do not have to worry about fantasy playoffs. Every week is a new week.
As the NFL regular season is coming to a close, teams are making their final push for the playoffs. Below is a mix between consistently good fantasy producers and players that have great upside potential. The right combination could reap big rewards.
Elite, Expensive: Tom Brady, NE (Week 14 @ San Diego)
Despite the loss in Week 13, Brady and New England remain the favorite in the AFC to go to the Super Bowl. Brady should get back on track in Week 14 against a San Diego team that ranks in the top half of most generous defenses to opposing quarterbacks. Brady will bounce back as New England continues to push for home field advantage in the playoffs.
Middle of the Road: Matthew Stafford, DET (Week 14 vs Tampa Bay)
Stafford continued his Thanksgiving Day dominance with a crushing win over the Chicago Bears. He finished with 390 yards and two touchdowns. Week 14 brings the bad Tampa Bay defense into town. Detroit cannot afford to lose and Stafford should carry over his winning ways from Thanksgiving as Detroit continues to hold onto a Wild Card spot for the playoffs.
Cheap, High Upside: Colin Kaepernick, SF (Week 14 @ Oakland)
San Francisco and Kaepernick have been on quite a roller coaster ride this year. In Week 13, in the spotlight game on Thursday night, Kaepernick posted a dud of a game. He now gets a short travel to Oakland who look completely lost as an organization. Kaepernick will bounce back against this horrid defense, giving small hope for a playoff push.
Elite, Expensive: Eddie Lacy, GB (Week 14 @ Atlanta)
After a slow first half of the season, Lacy has turned it on these last few games playing like he did his rookie year. Lacy now gets Atlanta, who allows the most fantasy points to opposing running backs. I expect a high scoring game with Green Bay continuing to dominate. Lacy should easily top 100 rushing yards and at least one touchdown. Lacy is a must start.
Middle of the Road: Isaiah Crowell, CLE (Week 14 vs Indianapolis)
Crowell has taken over as the lead running back for Cleveland. The Cleveland run game was shut down in Week 13 against Buffalo, who is amongst the best for least fantasy points allowed to opposing running backs. However, in Week 14, the showdown with Indianapolis is a much better matchup as they rank within top five for most fantasy points allowed to opposing running backs. Crowell should get back on track this week.
Cheap, High Upside: Frank Gore, SF / Carlos Hyde, SF (Week 14 vs Oakland)
Oakland just gave up four rushing touchdowns, three to the running back and one to the quarterback. On the season, Oakland is allowing the second most fantasy points to opposing running backs. So, it is obvious the right play is to start the running backs going up against Oakland. Gore and Hyde should both have great days on Sunday. For their price, start them.
Elite, Expensive: Calvin Johnson, DET (Week 14 vs Tampa Bay)
It doesn’t look like Johnson missed a beat from missing time with injury. Johnson is showing why he is among the top wide receivers in the league. As mentioned above for Stafford, Johnson is facing a bad Tampa Bay defense, so I expect Stafford and Johnson to connect a lot. I see a huge game, possibly over 150 yards receiving and two touchdowns for Johnson.
Middle of the Road: DeAndre Hopkins, HOU (Week 14 @ Jacksonville)
With the return of quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, Hopkins has a career day in Week 13, finishing with nine receptions for 238 yards and two touchdowns. It is obvious that Hopkins has great chemistry with Fitzpatrick. Week 14 takes Houston to Jacksonville, where I fully expect Hopkins to continue to produce, but obviously not those amazing numbers. I project over 90 yards and a touchdown.
Cheap, High Upside: Stedman Bailey, STL (Week 14 @ Washington)
Over the last two week with Shaun Hill at quarterback, Bailey leads St. Louis in targets, catches and receiving yards. It’s obvious their time together during practices is paying off now. Washington ranks within the top ten for most fantasy points allowed to opposing wide receivers, so I expect Bailey to continue producing. He is a sneaky play, make sure you capitalize on him now.
Elite, Expensive: Rob Gronkowski, NE (Week 14 @ San Diego)
Over the last five games played, here is Gronkowski’s catches, yards, and touchdowns compared to Julius Thomas and Jimmy Graham COMBINED: 34 catches, 501 yards, and five touchdowns (Gronk) vs 38 catches, 357 yards, and 8 touchdowns (Graham + Thomas). It is obvious Gronk is the best tight end in the game, no argument. So, if the desire is to play the best tight end, go with Gronk. Only word of caution: Gronk was seen hanging out with Justin Bieber Monday night and any player seen hanging out with Bieber throws up a dud the following week, it is the curse of Bieber.
Middle of the Road: Jason Witten, DAL (Week 14 @ Chicago)
Following his disappointing season so far, if there was any week for Witten to prove he still has what it takes to stay competitive, this is the week. Chicago allows the most fantasy points to opposing tight ends. This is the perfect setup for Witten, he should produce.
Cheap, High Upside: Jordan Reed, WAS (Week 14 vs St Louis)
With Colt McCoy under center in Week 13, Reed proved to be McCoy’s safety valve. He finished with 11 targets, nine receptions, and 123 yards. In two games with McCoy, Reed has 16 catches (on 18 targets) for 163 yards. Reed should continue to see that production even against a good St. Louis defense.
Detroit Lions (Week 14 vs Tampa Bay)
Tampa Bay is not very good and Detroit has a very impressive defense. Detroit should roll in this game.
Denver Broncos (Week 14 vs Buffalo)
Denver has a very good defense but it is overlooked due to their high-powered offense. This might be the game where the defense steps up to prove they are just as good as the offense. Denver should easily take care of the Buffalo Bills.