2014 Fantasy Football: Week 14 Gold Mine
The Playoffs are HERE!! Or at least they are going to be here. With some leagues starting their playoff schedule this week and the rest starting in the next two weeks or so.
For those of us who have made the right calculated moves to put yourself in the perfect position for glory, there are still plenty of moves still to be made that can give you an even larger boost.
As the season winds down further and further into December and beyond so will the health of the players playing in it. The NFL season is an extremely long one and it certainly will take its toll on the players.
As always lets take a look into these guys owned in less than 40% of ESPN leagues that can help you get to the promise land. Don’t play on ESPN? Don’t worry because we have the percentages for Yahoo and NFL as well.
Ryan Fitzpatrick (HOU): Was it just as weird to you as it was to me to see Ryan Mallet take over the starting job in Houston during a bye week? I understand the “future” may very well be coming through Mallet, but Fitzpatrick (21.3 | 16 | 8.2) wasn’t playing poorly prior to moving to the pine. Fitzpatrick scored 20 plus fantasy points in two of his last four games before the switch to Mallet went through and had four straight double-digit fantasy performances. When Mallet went down for the rest of the season it was a no brainer that The Beard would make a return to the line up.
Fitzpatrick exploded back to prominence last week throwing for 358 yards and six touchdowns, good for 51 fantasy points. While Fitz clearly won’t put up the number of points he did last week, another solid match up for the Texans this week should make things easy. The Jaguars are the 18th worst ranked team in the league against opposing QBs, giving up nearly 20 points per game to them. Opposing QBs have scored a passing touchdown in five straight games, topping at least 230 yards in four straight.
Shaun Hill (STL): Another veteran QB who saw a younger quarterback take over early on in the season, this time due to injury, is making a pretty decent case for why he should continue to be the starting QB even into next season. Since returning to the lineup, Hill (2.7 | 4 | 0.4) has scored five times, and topped 180 yards passing in each game.
The Rams are traveling North East to take on the Redskins who are currently ranked dead last against opposing QBs, which bodes well for Hill. The Redskins, who are coming off giving up five passing touchdowns, have given up 80 fantasy points over the last three games to opposing quarterbacks and a total of seven touchdowns.
Zach Mettenberger (TEN): Mettenberger was on his way to a third consecutive solid fantasy performance this past Sunday before going down and not getting back up in the third quarter following a hard hit by Texan JJ Watt. Mettenberger (6.3 | 5 | 0.8) is still listed as questionable through Thursday but coach Ken Whisenhunt is optimistic that the rookie QB will return Sunday. Mettenberger finished with 183 yards and a touchdown through two and a half quarters before going down and, barring his injury, was on pace to hit the high teens / low twenties in fantasy points for the game.
If Mettenberger plays he will be a solid play this week as the Giants are coming to town who have been very susceptible to the pass so far this year giving up at least 33 fantasy points twice in their last five games. The Giants are ranked 23rd against the pass giving up more than 20 points per game this year which will only aide Mettenberger’s value heading into this week 14 match up.
Kyle Orton (BUF): Orton (9 | 13 | 1.6) has slowed down a bit as of late with two single-digit fantasy outputs in his last four games. However, a great match up against the 28th ranked Broncos pass defense puts him in good shape to return back to his earlier ways. The Broncos have given up at least two passing touchdowns in all but three games, including 12 in their last five games. With six teams in the NFL all tied at 7 – 5 for the final two playoff spots, the Bills have plenty of time to still make the push into the playoffs. If Orton can return back to his dominant ways from earlier in the year the Bills have just as good of a shot as the others to take one of those spots.
Reggie Bush (DET): Bush has missed the majority of his 2014 season due to injuries to both his ankle and his back. When he has played it has been an unceremonious 5.2 fantasy points per game, and he has not had more than ten touches in a game since week 4 at the Jets. Bush (42 | 71 | 77.9) was a full participant at practice Wednesday and should get a pretty decent dose of snaps this week, however, the full level of his participation is yet to be known due to Joique Bell‘s recent surge of production. But head coach Jim Caldwell has already named Bush the starter for the game.
The Buccaneers head to Detroit to take on Bush and the Lions. Despite being ranked 22nd in the league against opposing running backs, the Bucs have given up the third most receptions to running backs and are tied for the fourth most touchdowns to them as well. If Bush is truthfully healthy and can get a decent number of touches, he should easily put up points in his first game back since the first week of November.
Greg Jennings (MIN): Jennings (31.6 | 26 | 16.5), a 9-year veteran of the National Football League, has picked it up as of late scoring in back to back games with at least 12 fantasy points in five of his last six game. He has an extremely favorable match up when the Jets come to town. The Jets have given up 19th most fantasy points to opposing wide outs this year including double-digit receptions in four straight games. Jennings has been a very reliable veteran over the course of his career, but his time in Minnesota has not been nearly as good as it was when he was in Green Bay.
Kyle Rudolph (MIN): Another Viking who should benefit from a fortunate match up playing the Jets, Rudolph (20.8 | 55 | 50.3) scored his first touchdown this year since week 1 on Sunday. While Rudolph hasn’t received a lot of targets in Minnesota since returning a couple of weeks ago following injury, the Jets are even worse against opposing tight ends which should give Rudolph plenty of opportunities to put up points. The Jets are ranked 29th in the league against opposing tight ends giving up five touchdowns over the last five games including double-digit fantasy points in four of those contests. The Jets have been historically bad this year and it could absolutely get worse for them this week.
This time of year is an extremely exciting one. Holidays with great family and friends, football the way it was meant to be played – in the cold – and the fantasy football playoffs.
Your teams may be completely set for the final weeks of your season, but despite some injuries or roster efficiencies you might be on the inside looking for prominence and if you are there is ALWAYS room for improvement.
As always, check me out on Twitter @JustinMandaro for your start / sit questions.