Week 14 fantasy sleeper candidates and guys who could exceed expectations
Hopefully you’ve advanced to your league’s fantasy playoffs, but if not, you can still play for pride in the consolation ladder. Or perhaps you’re just looking to play some DFS. No matter what’s at stake this weekend, you’ll need to find some players who are poised for breakout games. That’s where this article comes in handy.
Each week, I use our unique fantasy points per opportunity data to help identify some breakout candidates. An opportunity is defined as a rush attempt or a pass route run, so PPO is calculated by dividing total points scored by carries plus routes run. This stat can help you uncover which players are too reliant on volume, and which players could become fantasy studs if they get more opportunities.
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We’ll look to use our unique PPO data to attempt to identify some players who will break out in Week 14.
Jeremy Maclin, Kansas City Chiefs
Maclin is far from a slam dunk — but that’s mostly because the Chiefs are incredibly unpredictable in terms of how they will use their offensive weapons. But he’s been removed from the injury report and is slated to suit up on Thursday night against the Oakland Raiders, who have given up the fourth-most fantasy PPO to opposing wideouts so far this year. Maclin has been out of the lineup for four weeks, so he’s definitely flying under the radar at this point. I’d trust him in my flex this week.
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Brandon Marshall, New York Jets
I was expecting a Marshall breakout last week, but alas, Ryan Fitzpatrick Ryan Fitzpatrick’ed and brought Marshall down with him. But Marshall gets the best matchup he’ll get for the rest of the season in Week 14 against the San Francisco 49ers, who have given up the most fantasy PPO to enemy wideouts this year.
DeSean Jackson, Washington Redskins
The Philadelphia Eagles have been low-key bad against receivers recently. Their hot start to the season has masked this fact, which means Washington’s passing attack is going largely unnoticed as we head into Week 14. I like most of Kirk Cousins’ options this week, but I’m hitching my wagon to Jackson. I made my case for Jackson earlier in the week in the DFS Week 14 preview, noting both the most obvious factor (revenge game – duh) and the most important: “Jackson should face Leodis McKelvin on the majority of his routes, and McKelvin has given up the most fantasy points per route run among all cornerbacks this year.” On the year as a whole, the Eagles have given up the seventh-most PPO to opposing wideouts.
Lamar Miller, Houston Texans
Miller has been limited in practice this week, but he’s expected to go on Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts, who have given up the sixth-most fantasy PPO to enemy backs this year. A dinged up Miller has still averaged 21 touches per game over the past three weeks. Miller could find success through the air as well, as the Colts have given up the (tied for) most receiving touchdowns to running backs this year, with five. They have given up the most fantasy PPO to running backs through the air as well.
Jeremy Hill, Cincinnati Bengals
If you have only one fantasy football flow chart for the 2016 season, it likely involves “Is your guy playing against the Browns? -> Yes -> Play him.” Cleveland has given up the second-most PPO to opposing running backs so far this year. Hill has averaged a woeful 1.5 yards per carry over the past two weeks, but he remains Cincinnati’s goal-line back and has seen more work in the receiving game with Giovani Bernard out. He also compiled 25 total touches last week. If he gets 20-plus again against the Browns, he should do some damage.
Spencer Ware, Kansas City Chiefs
Ware saved his fantasy output in Week 13 by scoring twice, but owners had to be disappointed by his yardage totals — 29 on the ground and 23 through the air. Last week’s pair of touchdowns notwithstanding, Ware has been a letdown in recent weeks. Prior to the low-yardage but multi-touchdown game in Week 13, he hadn’t found the end zone since Week 7. He should be able to build off of last week’s momentum against the Oakland Raiders, who have given up the fifth-most fantasy PPO to opposing running backs this year.
Gary Barnidge, Cleveland Browns
There’s no way around this fact: Barnidge has not been good this year. However, he has some streaming appeal this week against the Cincinnati Bengals, who have given up the third-most PPO to opposing tight ends this year. The Bengals were just gashed to the tune of 14-132-1 by Philadelphia’s tight ends in Week 13.
Will Tye, New York Giants
I feel like I keep suggesting Will Tye, and it keeps almost-but-not-quite working. But I’m determined to not miss out when he actually has a big game, and that could come in Week 14 against the Dallas Cowboys, who have given up the ninth-most fantasy PPO to opposing tight ends this year. Tight end has been Dallas’ weakest link in the PPO department this year — by a long shot. For comparison, they are a top-eight defensive unit in terms of fantasy points per opportunity given up to both wideouts and running backs.
Antonio Gates, San Diego Chargers
I like old man Gates to shine in Week 14 against the Carolina Panthers, who have given up the fourth-most fantasy PPO to opposing tight ends on the year. Among tight ends who have seen at least 20 targets this year, Gates ranks 13th in terms of fantasy PPO — ahead of studs like Greg Olsen and Travis Kelce. He’s remarkably inefficient in terms of yardage — his 5.8 yards per target is tied for 52nd out of 61 qualifying tight ends — but he has scored on about nine percent of those targets, which ranks 11th among tight ends.
Below is a chart showing the top 20 players at each position in terms of fantasy PPO scored so far this season (minimum 25 percent snaps).
|2016 Season PPO Leaders (min. 25% snaps)|
|Tyreek Hill||WR||0.47||Damien Williams||RB||0.6||Rob Gronkowski||TE||0.42|
|Taylor Gabriel||WR||0.45||Mike Gillislee||RB||0.58||Hunter Henry||TE||0.36|
|Julio Jones||WR||0.39||LeGarrette Blount||RB||0.52||Anthony Fasano||TE||0.34|
|Mike Evans||WR||0.38||Tevin Coleman||RB||0.52||Delanie Walker||TE||0.33|
|Russell Shepard||WR||0.38||John Kuhn||RB||0.51||Levine Toilolo||TE||0.32|
|Antonio Brown||WR||0.37||Ezekiel Elliott||RB||0.5||Jordan Reed||TE||0.31|
|A.J. Green||WR||0.36||LeSean McCoy||RB||0.5||Vernon Davis||TE||0.3|
|Rishard Matthews||WR||0.34||Latavius Murray||RB||0.47||Jimmy Graham||TE||0.29|
|Dez Bryant||WR||0.33||Rob Kelley||RB||0.47||Martellus Bennett||TE||0.29|
|Brandon Coleman||WR||0.33||Jamize Olawale||RB||0.47||C.J. Fiedorowicz||TE||0.29|
|Odell Beckham Jr.||WR||0.32||Mark Ingram||RB||0.45||Vance McDonald||TE||0.28|
|Cole Beasley||WR||0.32||Jay Ajayi||RB||0.43||Tyler Eifert||TE||0.28|
|Kendall Wright||WR||0.32||Jalen Richard||RB||0.43||Cameron Brate||TE||0.27|
|T.Y. Hilton||WR||0.3||DeMarco Murray||RB||0.41||Dwayne Allen||TE||0.27|
|Jamison Crowder||WR||0.3||Jeremy Hill||RB||0.41||Erik Swoope||TE||0.27|
|Kelvin Benjamin||WR||0.3||Terrance West||RB||0.41||Rhett Ellison||TE||0.27|
|Darrius Heyward-Bey||WR||0.3||Tim Hightower||RB||0.41||Antonio Gates||TE||0.26|
|Michael A. Thomas||WR||0.29||David A. Johnson||RB||0.4||Mychal Rivera||TE||0.26|
|Tyrell Williams||WR||0.29||Devonta Freeman||RB||0.4||Greg Olsen||TE||0.25|
|Sammie Coates||WR||0.29||Isaiah Crowell||RB||0.39||Travis Kelce||TE||0.25|
|Bennie Fowler||WR||0.29||Jack Doyle||TE||0.25|