The fantasy matchup stats you need to know for Week 14
Jeff Ratcliffe identifies the top stat to know in each of this weekend's games.
The fantasy matchup stats you need to know for Week 14
Play the matchups in fantasy football, and you’ll win more often than you lose. Now that we’re in the thick of the bye weeks, knowing the matchups to avoid and exploit becomes even more important. Bellow you’ll find the key matchup stats to know from each of the 15 remaining games this week.
Don’t forget to also take a look at the best and worst wide receiver matchups for the week. Also, new this week, we have our fantasy positional matchups chart, which allows you to quickly identify all of the best matchups each week for all offensive and IDP positions. You may also find our O-Line/D-Line matchup chart helpful.
Just a quick note about the recommendations: Downgrading a player is not the same as sitting a player. If an RB1 is downgraded, that means he moves to an RB2 for the week, and vice versa for upgrades. These matchup recommendations and others are reflected in our weekly rankings, which are an invaluable tool in lineup decision-making each week.
Pittsburgh @ Buffalo
LeSean McCoy is an elite play.
He was two vultured touchdowns away from a massive stat-line last week, and McCoy should continue to roll in Week 14. The Steelers have been extremely kind to opposing running backs this season, allowing multiple scores to the position four times and surrendering a 200-yard day to Jay Ajayi. The Bills plan to continue to give Mike Gillislee work in the red zone, but McCoy owners shouldn’t worry. He’ll see more than enough volume to produce a big fantasy day.
Denver @ Tennessee
Don’t fear the Broncos’ run defense.
You hear that, DeMarco Murray owners? Denver has an elite pass defense with a no-fly zone in full effect, but they’ve really struggled against the run this season. Opposing backfields average 112.8 yards per game against Denver, which ranks fourth for the season. Look for the Titans to pound the ball on the ground with Murray and Derrick Henry. Murray makes for a strong RB1 play.
Washington @ Philadelphia
Zach Ertz keeps on rolling.
There isn’t a lot to like about the Eagles’ offense right now. They’re a bottom-tier unit, but Ertz is surging. Over the last five weeks, he’s tied with Travis Kelce—entering Week 14—for the most targets among tight ends. Ertz makes for a rock solid TE1 option this week against a Redskins team that has been susceptible to tight ends this season. Washington gave up a 100-yard day to Jared Cook just three weeks ago.
Arizona @ Miami
Downgrade Jay Ajayi.
The Dolphins’ offensive line is nearly at full strength, but Jay Ajayi gets another rough matchup this week. Arizona fields one of the most complete defenses in the league, and they’ve really excelled against the run. The Cardinals surrender the second-fewest fantasy points per game to running backs, with just one backfield topping 100 yards on the ground this season. Ajayi is still in play as an RB2, but his upside is capped in this tough matchup.
San Diego @ Carolina
Antonio Gates is a TE1 option.
We never guarantee that a player will score a touchdown, but Gates has one of the best chances to find the end zone this week. Carolina has done an extremely poor job against opposing tight ends this season. The Panthers are tied for the league high with nine touchdowns yielded to the position, and have surrendered a receiving score to tight ends in each of their last three games. Gates is just two touchdowns behind Tony Gonzalez for the all-time lead among tight ends—there’s a good possibility he closes that gap this week.
Cincinnati @ Cleveland
Fire up Jeremy Hill.
Okay, so, Week 13 wasn’t pretty from a statistical standpoint. Jeremy Hill managed just 33 yards on 22 carries. That’s tough to do. Despite the abysmal line, fantasy owners should continue to start Hill this week. With Giovani Bernard sidelined, he’s the Bengals’ clear feature back. He also gets a delicious matchup against a second-rate Browns’ defense that surrenders the second-most standard fantasy points per game to running backs. Weather could also be in Hill’s favor, with the possibility of snow in the forecast.
Chicago @ Detroit
Daniel Brown is a desperation tight end play.
This one certainly isn’t for the faint of heart, but if you’re desperate at tight end in deep leagues, Brown is worth a look. The Lions give up the third-most fantasy points per game to tight ends. With Zach Miller on injured reserve, Brown has been the Bears’ primary receiving tight end. It’s an extremely risky play, but one that offers the potential for a strong return on investment if you have limited TE options on the waiver wire.
Houston @ Indianapolis
C.J. Fiedorowicz remains a TE1 play.
Brock Osweiler has done little to endear himself to fantasy players—or the Houston fan base—but he actually gets a decent matchup in this game. Osweiler should be able to deliver the ball to his receivers, and that includes C.J. Fiedorowicz, who has emerged as one of the most consistent fantasy tight ends. He has at least five catches in five of his last seven games, and gets a nice matchup against an Indianapolis defense that will be missing key pieces due to injury and/or suspension.
Minnesota @ Jacksonville
Fade Blake Bortles.
I’m stating the obvious a bit here, but just in case you were tempted. Bortles currently sits as a borderline QB1 for the season, but his play has been ugly. To make matters worse, the Vikings have held opposing quarterbacks to the third-fewest fantasy points per game. Bortles should be on fantasy benches this week.
New York Jets @ San Francisco
Everyone runs on the 49ers.
It’s true. San Francisco surrenders a league-high 5.0 yards per carry to opposing running backs. That means good things if you’re a Matt Forte owner this week. Forte has faded down the stretch, but he’s a strong play in Week 14. With Bryce Petty under center, expect the Jets to lean heavily on their veteran runner.
New Orleans @ Tampa Bay
Upgrade Jameis Winston.
The Saints’ defense has improved over the course of the season, but they’re still a plus matchup for Jameis Winston and the Tampa Bay passing game. New Orleans has given up at least two passing scores in four of their last five games, and just surrendered a 300-yard day to Matthew Stafford. Winston is a QB1 play this week.
Atlanta @ Los Angeles
Start Todd Gurley with confidence.
Sure, he’s been a disappointment this season. But Todd Gurley has a chance to redeem himself for fantasy owners in a juicy matchup against the suspect Atlanta defense this week. The Falcons surrender the second-most PPR points per game to opposing running backs. Only the 49ers have surrendered more touchdowns to the position this season. The Rams’ one-dimensional offense isn’t ideal, but Gurley is a borderline RB1 play this week.
Seattle @ Green Bay
Don’t sit Aaron Rodgers.
Don’t overthink this one. Yes, he’s facing the Seattle defense. The matchup isn’t ideal, especially since the Seahawks give up the fifth-fewest fantasy point per game to quarterbacks. But are you really going to sit the No. 1 fantasy quarterback with your playoff life on the line? Come on, man.
Dallas @ NY Giants
Avoid Rashad Jennings.
Running back options are sparse right now, but Rashad Jennings owners may want to look elsewhere this week. Dallas has been absolutely brutal on opposing running backs this season, with just a few backfields able to crack 100 yards on the ground. With the Cowboys often out to an early lead, opposing teams tend to abandon the run, which means the likelihood for heavy volume is slim for Jennings.
Baltimore @ New England
Tough matchup for LeGarrette Blount.
He’s coming off yet another strong performance in Week 13, but fantasy owners may want to temper their expectations for LeGarrette Blount this week. Baltimore currently sits as the third-worst matchup for running backs in PPR scoring, and the worst in standard formats. The Ravens haven’t surrendered a touchdown to the position since Week 7. The tough matchup actually bodes better for Dion Lewis, who could see an uptick in touches this week.
(Want a PFF subscription? Click here to sign up for Fantasy Gold, DFS Pro or All Access.)
(It’s PFF Fantasy’s free content week. Keep up with all our free offerings here.)
Jeff Ratcliffe | Director of Fantasy
Jeff Ratcliffe is the Director of Fantasy at Pro Football Focus. He produces all of our projections and is 2016's second-most-accurate ranker in the fantasy industry. Jeff also is the host of our show on SiriusXM fantasy sports radio and is one of the main hosts of our Fantasy Slant podcast.