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In this article, we take a look at the list of games for Week 14 in an effort to give you options that we think can help you get the most out of your lineup. We are looking to maximize your lineup by giving you a few cheaper options that can help you to get your lineup loaded up in other areas.
We give consideration to the script of each of the games to determine how these games will likely play out. We also evaluate the play of the wide receivers and tight ends and how they will match up with the defenses they will face. We also look at players that are injured, or those coming back from injury. We then target plays that we like and a few that we don’t.
With the help of our defensive guru Aaron Rudnicki, let’s take a look at players that we both like and a few that we would avoid this week.
Sammy Watkins, WR, Buffalo @ Philadelphia ($6,100)
Bischoff: Watkins has emerged as a very potent weapon and has had very big games over the past five weeks. He is doing it without receiving a giant amount of volume and has been somewhat inconsistent, but he is capable of huge stat-lines and this matchup is very juicy as the Eagles are really struggling to stop the pass right now. Watkins is volatile to be sure, but his floor is relatively high in this matchup. His ceiling is very high and his path to GPP value is attainable at this price.
Rudnicki: The Eagles lost their best corner Nolan Carroll to a season-ending broken ankle, which leaves them with Byron Maxwell and Eric Rowe on the outside. These are two corners that Watkins should have little difficulty taking advantage of. He’s also been heating up with 267 yards and 3 TDs over the last 2 games.
Demaryius Thomas, WR, Denver vs. Oakland ($6,800)
Bischoff: Thomas has been quietly effective for the Broncos with new starting quarterback Brock Osweiler but this matchup is one that Thomas should really be able to exploit. The Raiders have had tremendous difficulty against the pass recently and they simply aren’t equipped from a personnel perspective to handle players like Thomas.
Rudnicki: After benching D.J. Hayden for a game, he was back as the Raiders nickel back last week but they lined him up outside. That should leave Thomas matched up against him quite often, but he won’t have too much trouble with the other CB options either. Things have cooled off for Thomas since Osweiler took over, but he does still have a TD in 2 of the last 3 games.
Danny Amendola, WR, New England @ Houston ($5,200)
Bischoff: The Patriots are limited from a personnel perspective at the receiver and tight end positions and it is obvious that it has been a problem for them on offense over the past few weeks. This week they draw a Texans defense that has had their share of issues recently. Amendola is going to be a target-hog in this game and he should be rostered from a sheer volume perspective. Amendola has been targeted 41 times over the past four games, converting those targets into 30 catches for 282 yards and a score.
Rudnicki: The Bills torched rookie CB Kevin Johnson last week to the point where the Texans had to bench him in favor of veteran Kareem Jackson. The formerly tough defense gave up 3 passing TDs to the Bills with several breakdowns in coverage, and now they will try to slow down a Patriots team coming off a loss. Amendola may wind up as the only reliable option Brady has here and should be a very safe option with 26 catches over his last 3 games.
Eric Decker, WR, New York Jets vs. Tennessee ($6,400)
Bischoff: Decker has been a fantastic option out of the slot for the Jets in 2015 as he causes mismatch issues because of his size and route running ability. He’s been targeted 43 times over the past four weeks and will continue to see that kind of volume in Week 14. This matchup is one he should dominate as the Titans are struggling in coverage and they can’t match him out of the slot. I expect outside receiver Brandon Marshall to draw significant attention which will allow Decker room to operate.
Rudnicki: The Titans benched struggling corner Blidi Wreh-Wilson in favor of B.W. Webb as they are still looking for answers in their secondary. Starters Perrish Cox and Coty Sensabaugh are both inconsistent as well, but Decker should have a very winnable matchup in the slot vs Webb. He’s also been one of the most consistent WR options all year.
Martavis Bryant, WR, Pittsburgh @ Cincinnati ($5,700)
Bischoff: Bryant is one of the most electric receivers in the game and he has the ability to score on every snap. The Steelers offense is absolutely rolling right now and at this price he is a “set it and forget it” option. This has the makeup of a high-scoring game although a lot of these AFC North matchups don’t play out that way, but Bryant’s ability to convert one target into double-digit points remains and he should be rostered without fear of any matchup.
Rudnicki: Bryant mostly lines up on the right, which means he should face off against Dre Kirkpatrick for most of the game. The Bengals secondary has played well all year, but Kirkpatrick is a weak spot so expect the Steelers to go after him here. There is a chance Adam Jones won’t be ready to play, but that should mean the solid Leon Hall moves outside to match up with Antonio Brown most of the time.
Allen Robinson, WR, Jacksonville vs. Indianapolis ($8,000)
Bischoff: Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles and Robinson have quite a thing going as Robinson has 65 catches for 1065 and 11 touchdowns through 12 games in 2015. The Colts have issues in the secondary and they don’t generate much pressure via the pass rush and it’s easy to see a game-script that allows for a big day from Robinson in Week 14.
Rudnicki: There aren’t many hotter WRs in the league, and now Robinson gets a Colts defense that just gave up 4 TDs to the Steelers WRs last week. Vontae Davis is not playing at the same high level he did a year ago, and the Colts have almost no pass rush so Robinson should be in line for another big game here.
Anquan Boldin, WR, San Francisco @ Cleveland ($4,000)
Bischoff: Starting quarterback Blaine Gabbert has really injected life into what was a very poorly performing 49ers offense. One of the main beneficiaries has been Boldin as he’s dominating targets and this week he draws a team that has given up 25 touchdowns in 2015, good for third-worst in the NFL. I expect Boldin to get 10+ targets and to get into the end zone in Week 14.
Rudnicki: The Browns defense can’t seem to slow anybody down these days as they have allowed 6 touchdowns to opposing WRs over the past 3 games. Blaine Gabbert has provided a spark to the 49ers offense and Boldin has 24 targets over the past 2 games so he should have a great chance for a big game here.
Mike Evans, WR, Tampa Bay vs. New Orleans ($7,200)
Bischoff: The Saints have been tremendously poor versus the pass this year. They’ve given up 35 passing touchdowns and opposing quarterbacks have a rating of 116.6 against them. Quarterback Jameis Winston is in for a big day (provided the Saints can keep pace with the Buccaneers) and Evans should follow suit.
Rudnicki: Everybody is familiar with the struggles of the Saints defense at this point, but they just gave up 5 passing TDs to Cam Newton and the Panthers WRs that include the likes of Ted Ginn Jr, Jerrico Cotchery, and Devin Funchess. Evans doesn’t always make the most of his targets, but he looks like a safe play this week.
Greg Olsen, TE, Carolina vs. Atlanta ($6,900)
Bischoff: With Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski banged up, Olsen has stepped in to be the safest option at the position. This NFC South matchup should provide many points and Olsen draws a Falcons secondary that has been exploited at times by opposing tight ends. If you’re looking for a safe, high-floor play at tight end this week it is Olsen.
Rudnicki: The Falcons pass defense has been pretty good all year but their strength is on the outside. Most of the quality tight ends they have faced put up strong games this year, and Olsen should be one of the safest options at the position.
Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE, Tampa Bay vs. New Orleans ($2,700)
Bischoff: Following along the lines of Evans above, Seferian-Jenkins is another option in the Buccaneers passing game that draws a terrible pass defense in Week 14. At his price and with this matchup he is a great option in GPP play as his road to get to value is fairly easy. He gets there with a three catch, 50 yard game with a score, and his floor and ceiling are attractive as well.
Rudnicki: Tampa limited Seferian-Jenkins to just 21 snaps last week but he still posted 3 catches on 6 targets. He should be in line for a full workload this week, and will have one of the best matchups you could ask for against a Saints team that can’t seem to stop anybody.
Travis Kelce, TE, Kansas City vs. San Diego ($4,700)
Bischoff: The Chargers do a good job of limiting No. 1 receivers in coverage but they don’t fare as well with opposing tight ends. Kelce is an elite athlete for his size but he is struggling to find the end zone in 2015, but I see him scoring this week at home in this matchup.
Rudnicki: Kelce always seems headed for a big game, but for whatever reason the Chiefs don’t seem to throw to him as much as they could. With Jeremy Maclin expected to be slowed down considerably this week against Jason Verrett, Kelce should become the focal point of the passing game. This same defense has been beaten up pretty good by opposing TEs over the past month too.
Ben Watson, TE, New Orleans @ Tampa Bay ($4,400)
Bischoff: Watson is a super intriguing option in Week 14 as the Saints go on the road in this NFC South matchup. The Saints will be throwing to keep pace with the Buccaneers and it is Watson who will dominate targets as the Saints primary weapons are injured or limited. Expecting a multitude of points and the Saints throwing early and often, I’ll have Watson in my share of lineups this week.
Rudnicki: The Tampa defense has given up a lot of receptions to the TE position all year, and they will lose a key piece in MLB Kwon Alexander (suspension) this week. Meanwhile, the Saints could be without two or three of their top weapons, so Watson should be a focal point and see double digit targets.
Julio Jones, WR, Atlanta @ Carolina ($8,900)
Bischoff: The price to roster Jones is extremely prohibitive and there are other elite options with better matchups in Week 14. The matchup this week pits the best wide receiver in the game in Jones against the top-performing cornerback in 2015 in Josh Norman. Norman has obviously performed very well in 2015 and he’ll have to be at the top of his game Sunday. Jones is also going to have to be at the top of his game too, but at the end of the day this is a very tough matchup for both of them and the price is simply too much to pay to roster Jones.
Rudnicki: Jones may be the most matchup-proof WR in the league since he seems to average nearly 15 targets per game. He will have his work cut out for him this week, however, as he is expected to line up opposite Josh Norman. Brandin Cooks and the Saints had success against Norman last week so he’s not unbeatable, but he will make Jones work for most of the catches and yards he gets this week.
Jeremy Maclin, WR, Kansas City vs. San Diego ($5,500)
Bischoff: Maclin comes into this week’s matchup playing at a high level, but the matchup against the Chargers is a tough one for him. Chargers cornerback Jason Verrett has been fantastic this year as he’s locked horns with opposing No. 1 receivers each and every week and he’s held up fairly well. These teams went against each other a few weeks ago and Maclin was limited, and it’s easier to find better (and safer) options at the receiver position in Week 14.
Rudnicki: Maclin is on fire and moves around the formation quite a bit for the Chiefs, but the Chargers have two good outside corners in Jason Verrett and Patrick Robinson. Facing the same matchup back in week 11, Maclin only produced 3 catches on 6 targets for 29 yards so it may be risky to count on another huge game from him here.
Dez Bryant, WR, Dallas @ Green Bay ($6,800)
Bischoff: Bryant has had a very disappointing season. He has suffered from injuries to poor quarterback play, and Bryant hasn’t looked like the dominant receiver we all know he is in 2015. In Week 14 he faces a tough Packers secondary that has been playing very well recently, and complicating matter sis that it is backup quarterback Matt Cassel and not starter Tony Romo throwing the ball to him. It’s best to fade Bryant this week and find value elsewhere.
Rudnicki: Bryant just hasn’t looked like the same player since returning from his injury, and the downgrade at QB from Romo to Cassel also isn’t doing him any favors. Now he goes up against a Packers defense that has only allowed one touchdown to an opposing WR in the last three games. All three Packers cornerbacks are playing very well, so it may not matter much who he goes up against.
Amari Cooper, WR, Oakland @ Denver ($6,200)
Bischoff: The Broncos have the league’s best passing defense and they do it from multiple levels. First, they generate significant pressure on opposing quarterbacks and second, they have elite options at cornerback in Chris Harris and Aqib Talib. When it comes to the Broncos, it’s as simple as completely avoiding the matchup and this week is no exception.
Rudnicki: Cooper and his teammate Michael Crabtree get the dreaded Broncos matchup this weekend. Since he lines up mostly on the left, Cooper figures to draw the tougher matchup in Chris Harris, but with this defense and pass rush it may not matter a whole lot.
Kamar Aiken, WR, Baltimore vs. Seattle ($4,600)
Bischoff: The Ravens have been hammered with injuries in 2015 and this week they’ll have to deal with another one as backup quarterback Jimmy Claussen starts for Matt Schaub. The matchup is negative to begin with as Aiken will see plenty of Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman, but he also has to deal with Claussen. Overall, there is too much happening in this matchup and it’s very tough to find a way for Aiken to generate points.
Rudnicki: Over the past 4 games, Aiken has averaged 10+ targets per game so he may see enough balls thrown his direction to finish with solid numbers. Seattle has struggled in pass defense at times, but it mostly has come against slot receivers or lesser targets. Aiken could see plenty of Richard Sherman in this matchup, but perhaps the main cause for concern here is that it may be Jimmy Claussen throwing him the ball on Sunday.
Antonio Gates, TE, San Diego @ Kansas City ($4,600)
Bischoff: The Chiefs have consistently been on the list here as a bad matchup for just about any tight end in 2015. He was completely dismissed in Week 11 when the Chargers took on the Chiefs at home and I’d expect another poor statistical performance in Week 14 from Gates.
Rudnicki: The Raiders tight ends had decent success against them last week, but in general the Chiefs have dominated against opposing TEs this year. Only 2 TEs have gone over 50 yards against them all year, and they have only allowed 3 TDs to the position. Gates may get enough targets to be worth his price, but he just put up 1 catch for 6 yards against this same defense in week 11.
Delanie Walker, TE, Tennessee @ New York Jets ($5,600)
Bischoff: Walker and rookie quarterback Marcus Mariota have quickly developed a very nice rapport with Walker becoming a favorite target and a consistent weapon in the Titans passing game. This week, however, he’ll face a Jets secondary that is stingy to opposing tight ends. There are better matchups at the position this week and Walker is a player to be faded in Week 14.
Rudnicki: Walker has been one of the most consistent tight ends this year, but he’s also benefited from some very favorable matchups in recent weeks. This week, things should be more difficult for him as the Jets have only allowed 2 TDs to the position all year and none since facing Gronkowski in week 7. They are struggling at the corner position, so I’d expect Tennessee to attack them more on the edges.