Week 14 of the fantasy football season is finally here, and the Rotoworld crew has everything you need to leave the weekend with a win. Patrick Daugherty answers your lineup questions with his Week 14 Rankings, Nick Mensio tells you who to start and who to fade in Start ‘Em or Sit ‘Em, Ian Hartitz dives into which receivers are destined for production in his WR/CB Matchups Analysis, and Hayden Winks breaks down every matchup in his famous Fantasy Forecast Column.
I'm also here to shed some light on the most important injury situations facing fantasy owners heading into the weekend. The sister resource to this column is the Rotoworld News Page, which will have every single inactive and all the late-breaking news up to kickoff and beyond. I'll also join Josh Norris and a rotating member of the crew every Sunday morning at noon ET on the Rotoworld Fantasy Football Show to answer all of your pressing start/sit decisions.
Editor's Note: Looking for an added edge? Dominate all season long with our DFS Toolkit. Use our Lineup Optimizer to come up with winning lineups for DraftKings, FanDuel and Yahoo! Click here for more!
Panthers @ Falcons
*Greg Olsen’s (concussion) absence logically paves the way for 24-year-old second-year pro Ian Thomas (6’4/259) to handle a majority of Carolina’s snaps from the tight end position, but interim coach Perry Fewell did claim inline blocker Chris Manhertz and FB Alex Armah (?) would see reps in a committee, too. Fantasy players should still ignore coachspeak and chase Thomas’ four targets in place of Olsen from the fourth quarter of last week’s matchup against Washington as a low-end TE1 streamer and stone-minimum DFS cash game plug-and-play. Reminder Thomas finished No. 6 among tight ends in receiving yards (200) from Weeks 13-17 — as a rookie, nonetheless — last year, playing 84 percent of the Panthers’ offensive snaps in place of Olsen in that stretch. Their coaching shuffle also entails similar, if not an increased workload for Christian McCaffrey moving forward since he’s obviously anyone’s best bet at saving jobs heading into the 2020 season.
*He won’t play a heaping of snaps, but No. 14 overall pick Chris Lindstrom’s (foot) presence is enough to boost Atlanta’s offensive line play across the board since it moves swinging-gate Jamon Brown back to the bench. In his only showing this season, Lindstrom didn’t allow a single pressure, hit, or sack on 45 snaps before breaking his foot. That upgrade is enough to reliably depend on both Devonta Freeman and Austin Hooper in an all-too-obvious eruption spot for Atlanta’s offense. Hooper in particular previously ranked as the No. 1 tight end in fantasy before going down in Week 10 and, quite honestly, it would make zero sense to bring him back with only four (meaningless) games left to play if the Falcons didn’t intend on using him in the same exact role.
Colts @ Buccaneers
*Marlon Mack (hand) was cleared for Sunday but it doesn’t sound like he’ll return to his comfy workhorse gig. Coach Frank Reich made it clear that he’s “not thinking a big pitch count” for Mack, anticipating that “all four backs will [dress], so it might be a little bit more of a rotation involved.” In other words, Mack can’t be depended on as anything more than a low-end RB3 (if that) with Jordan Wilkins, Nyheim Hines and Jonathan Williams subbing in and out behind him. Parris Campbell’s role, however, should allow the rookie to flourish immediately since the team will still be without T.Y. Hilton (calf), Devin Funchess (collarbone), and slot wideout Chester Rogers (knee). Campbell confidently practiced in full throughout the week and previously saw 8 and 5 targets in place of Hilton in Weeks 4 and 9. His involvement on 62 percent of Indy’s snaps in those contests puts him firmly on the WR3/FLEX (and perhaps even DFS cash games) radar immediately.
*Fantasy players should expect both Chris Godwin and Mike Evans to bounce-back without Colts corners Rock Ya-Sin (ankle, doubtful) and Kenny Moore (knee, out) present to stump them. Known for their treacherous Cover 2 defensive scheme, the Colts have quietly allowed D.J. Chark (8/104/2), Will Fuller (7/140), DeAndre Hopkins (6/94/2), and Kalif Raymond (1/40/1) to burn them over the top in their last three games. Tampa Bay’s secondary, on the other hand, could be slightly upgraded as long as CBs M.J. Stewart (knee, questionable) and Jamel Dean (shoulder, questionable) return after getting in a full session on Friday.
Dolphins @ Jets
*As if New York’s secondary wasn’t already in disarray, starting secondary pieces Jamal Adams (ankle, doubtful), Brian Poole (concussion, out), and Arthur Maulet (calf, doubtful) are all unlikely to suit up. Adams is the key name there as he’s accounted for team-highs in pressures (15), blitzes (60), and sacks (6.5) from the safety position in DC Gregg Williams’ blitzkrieg scheme. Ryan Fitzpatrick should have a field day as a low-end QB1.
*Le’Veon Bell (illness, questionable) missed the final two days of practice with an illness, leaving coach Adam Gase “unsure” if the prized free agent acquisition would play. I would have argued four weeks ago that Ty Montgomery was the handcuff to own, but it’s since been made clear that Bilal Powell is Bell’s direct backup, out-snapping TyMont 56 to 36 all the while out-touching him 27 to 10 as co-reserves in New York’s last four games. Fantasy players who roster Bell shouldn’t fret dropping T.Y. Hilton or other questionable bench options to stash Powell ahead of the pack (for this week and rest of season).
Lions @ Vikings
*Interior linemen Da’Shawn Hand (ankle, out) and Austin Bryant (hip, doubtful) remain banged up. Fantasy players can also avoid T.J. Hockenson’s (ankle, IR) replacement since that position will be filled in a timeshare between Logan Thomas and Jesse James.
*Dalvin Cook (chest) was cleared from Minnesota’s injury report altogether. There’s obviously a chance for re-aggravation in the cards, but when and if that would even happen is complete guesswork. I would only bench him for Christian McCaffrey, Alvin Kamara, Derrick Henry, Ezekiel Elliott, and Nick Chubb (in that order) and chances are you don’t have the luxury of making that decision. Alexander Mattison’s two-score game script (-13) against a third-string quarterback at home remains the rookie’s best friend, keeping him as a low-end RB3/FLEX option with standalone value — the poor man’s Rashaad Penny, if you will. Out-touching Cook is certainly in his range of outcomes, but that shouldn’t be assumed. Kyle Rudolph should also keep involved as a streaming TE1 with Adam Thielen (hamstring, doubtful) sidelined for his fourth straight game. Rudolph has scored five touchdowns on 5.3 targets per showing in his last four outings sans Thielen, a vast improvement on his average 2.1/18.4/0.1 receiving in their first eight bouts together.
Ravens @ Bills
*Marquise Brown (ankle, questionable) was a full participant at Friday’s practice. His 16 routes in a competitive one-score contest against the Niners is much more worrisome than his ankle moving forward. He’s a low-confidence WR4, especially in this matchup opposite slot corner Taron Johnson and Buffalo’s menacing secondary.
*Ty Nsekhe (ankle, out) was the only listing on Buffalo’s injury report.
Redskins @ Packers
*Both Trey Quinn (concussion, out) and Paul Richardson (hamstring, out) won’t be available, but their roles have been siphoned by sixth-round rookie Kelvin Harmon on 81 percent of Washington’s snaps (and 5.7 targets per game) the past three contests, anyhow.
*Jamaal Williams (knee) couldn’t muster through Wednesday’s practice but did work the rest of the week before being removed from the injury report altogether.
Bengals @ Browns
*A.J. Green (ankle) remains perpetually sidelined.
*Olivier Vernon (knee, questionable) was obviously lacking burst on 10 snaps in his return against the Steelers and isn’t expected to fight through it this week. Joe Mixon is the likeliest beneficiary of that news since he handled 95 percent of Cincy’s backfield carries on a season-high 52 snaps (79%) with Andy Dalton back under center. David Njoku (wrist) was cleared to return, but he’s more of a forward-thinking stash for Week 15 than immediate plug-and-play given his lack of conditioning in his first regular season game action since Week 2. The Browns of course play the Cardinals’ ‘flow chart’ defense next Sunday.
Broncos @ Texans
*Coach Vic Fangio said Von Miller (knee, game-time call) will go through a pregame workout before determining his official status. In just being on the field (even if less than 100 percent), Miller’s more than capable of making an impact against backups Chris Clark and Roderick Johnson in the interim for sidelined Texans first-round OT Tytus Howard (knee, IR).
*Will Fuller (hamstring) should be a full-go despite getting slapped with a ‘questionable’ tag. He’ll square off against Devontae Harris while DeAndre Hopkins battles Chris Harris’ shadow coverage along the opposite sideline.
49ers @ Saints
*Good luck sorting through this backfield with Matt Breida (ankle) healthy. Odds are Tevin Coleman loses out completely following his 10-snap performance against the Ravens. I purged Coleman for Darwin Thompson (and would do the same for Bilal Powell and other high-upside league winners) wherever applicable.
*It’s obviously the worst possible spot to be missing OG Andrus Peat (forearm, out) and OT Terron Armstead (ankle, questionable) if both are inevitably scratched by kick-off. Fantasy players should also expect Emmanuel Sanders to have his way from the slot without LBs Kiko Alonso (thigh) and A.J. Klein (knee) available. Sanders notably played on all but one of San Francisco’s offensive snaps against Baltimore last week — his five-game high with the Niners — and New Orleans has permitted the second-most slot receptions to enemy wideouts.
Chargers @ Jaguars
*There are no excuses for the Chargers to flop here since only LB Nick Dzubnar (concussion, questionable) received a Friday designation.
Steelers @ Cardinals
*The Steelers are nearly favorited (-2.5) by a field goal in Glendale, entrenching Benny Snell as a usage-based RB3 sloth with two-touchdown upside for James Conner (shoulder, out). The fourth-round rookie has only seen two targets in the last two weeks — additionally running just 7 routes to Jaylen Samuels’ 30 — but has quietly handled 10-of-12 red zone touches as the team’s go-to ground-and-pound fallback. Without JuJu Smith-Schuster (knee, out) available, note James Washington’s team-highs in targets (33), air yards (539), and receiving touchdowns (3) as fantasy’s WR16 since returning from his shoulder injury (and duck hunting) in Week 8.
*Coach Kliff Kingsbury openly stated the Cardinals are “still working out” who will start opposite Patrick Peterson since CBs Byron Murphy (calf, questionable) and Kevin Peterson (shoulder, questionable) could both be shelved.
Chiefs @ Patriots
*Kansas City is expected to have LeSean McCoy, Darwin Thompson, and Spencer Ware active for Damien (ribs, out) and Darrel Williams (hamstring, IR) in Foxborough. Ware isn’t a threat since he was signed mid-week. It’s entirely possible McCoy’s leaned on as the workhorse here, but Andy Reid’s recent comments on managing the 31-year-old’s reps entails Darwin spell for backfield touches early and often — even in a crucial AFC tilt that could ultimately decide postseason hosts. I would start the sixth-round rookie over McCoy in a vacuum across PPR leagues this week.
*Julian Edelman (shoulder, questionable) and Mohamed Sanu (ankle, questionable) are fully expected to suit up. Perhaps Morris Claiborne’s (shoulder) and Rashad Fenton’s (hamstring) absences in the Chiefs secondary elevates Tom Brady and New England’s anemic aerial attack.
Titans @ Raiders
*Preseason standout Kalif Raymond will presumably start in three-wide sets for Adam Humphries (ankle, out) following the former’s 40-yard touchdown over the top of Indy’s secondary just last week. Assumption of rational coaching suggests the Raiders attack Tennessee’s secondary without either Adoree' Jackson (foot, out), and LeShaun Sims (ankle, out) available, but Derek Carr remains one of the league’s most conservative passers, hitting on 6-of-18 20-plus yard attempts — a comical 10.1 percent deep ball rate — since Tyrell Williams returned in Week 8.
*Oakland Tribune beat Jerry McDonald said his “guess” is Josh Jacobs (shoulder, questionable) will give it a go Sunday, but the rookie’s status is apparently way more iffy than it’s been in past weeks. Fantasy players would be doing themselves a disfavor by glossing over both DeAndre Washington (in standard and 0.5 PPR) and Jalen Richard (in PPR) on waiver wires when reading this. I would prioritize this week’s backups as Powell > Mattison > Darwin > Richard > Washington in order. Jon Gruden said FB Alec Ingold would also “see carries,” but that shouldn’t hinder either Washington or Richard. It doesn’t help that stud RT Trent Brown (pectoral) will also be absent. Jacobs is a top-12 option with obvious concerns surrounding immediate re-aggravation if he’s active.
Seahawks @ Rams
*Tyler Lockett wasn’t designated with an illness only one week after dudding on Monday night. He’s not officially dealing with an injury, but his total 4/64 receiving over Seattle’s last three games warrants his downgrade to a WR3 in Week 14. The Seahawks will also be a tougher opponent if Ziggy Ansah (neck, questionable) and Jadeveon Clowney (core, questionable) can make it back.
*Most will attribute Tyler Higbee’s (7/107/1) recent success to Arizona’s nonexistent tight-ends coverage, and while that may be partly true, his underlying 33 routes (on 44 dropbacks) and 18.6 percent target share on 72-of-79 snaps was that of an elite starter at his position. He projects for similar usage without Gerald Everett (ankle, out) available again.
Giants @ Eagles
*The stars have aligned for Eli Manning to budge his 116-116 career record in place of Daniel Jones (ankle, out), and he’ll do so with Golden Tate, Sterling Shepard, LT Nate Solder, and potentially even Evan Engram (foot, questionable) available at his disposal. Darius Slayton figures to take the largest hit in opportunity since he had buoyed seven consecutive starts for either Tate or Shepard into seven targets per game since Week 6. If Engram can’t go, fantasy players should have Kaden Smith on standby as a game-time pivot since he’s played 119-of-129 snaps and run 73 routes on 78 dropbacks in his last two starts for the Giants.
*Jordan Howard (shoulder) hasn’t been cleared for contact yet and should be outright dropped for a high-upside stash. Fire up Miles Sanders as a confident RB3 for the fourth straight week, as he’s handled 40-of-55 carries and 100 percent of Philly’s backfield targets in his three spots as their full-fledged starter. Jay Ajayi merely got eight snaps in his alleged “revenge game” last week. Nelson Agholor (knee) hadn’t practiced as of Friday, putting his status for Monday night in doubt. Note Dallas Goedert recorded season-highs in catches (7) and snaps (65, 88%) in an uptick from 12 personnel in Agholor’s lone absence this year. Assuming the latter’s out, I would rank this week’s backup tight end options as Higbee > Goedert > Ian Thomas > Kaden.