News & Analysis

Top fantasy takeaways from Week 14's action

By Jeff Ratcliffe
Dec 12, 2017

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FOXBOROUGH, MA - SEPTEMBER 7: Kansas City Chiefs running back Kareem Hunt (27) outruns the Patriots defense on a long gain for first down that set up the Chiefs' final touchdown, before New England Patriots free safety Devin McCourty (32) was able to force him out of bounds on this run. The New England Patriots host the Kansas City Chiefs in the NFL regular season football opener at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, MA on Sep. 7, 2017. (Photo by Barry Chin/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

Week 14 of the 2017 NFL season is nearly in the books and there are a number of major takeaways. Here’s what you need to know from every game on the Sunday slate.

Indianapolis @ Buffalo

LeSean McCoy surges in the snow.

Snow limited the pass game on both sides of this contest, but that wasn’t an issue for McCoy. The Bills back and posted 156 yards and a score on 32 carries. His performance tied for 10th among running backs in PPR and seventh in standard scoring. While you have to be happy with this productivity if you started McCoy, don’t expect this sort of volume going forward. This was the first time McCoy topped 30 carries since Week 1 of 2013.

Chicago @ Cincinnati

Jordan Howard goes off.

After back-to-back down weeks, Howard got back on track in a big way in a surprising contest where the Bears dominated the Bengals on the ground. Howard racked up 147 yards and two scores on 23 carries. That’s Howard’s fifth 100-yard performance of the season, and it came on his first 20-plus carry outing in six weeks. Howard remains a risky RB2 with a high weekly ceiling.

Green Bay @ Cleveland

Big day for Davante Adams.

Josh Gordon drew most of the attention from the fantasy community entering this contest, but it was actually Adams who put up the better fantasy numbers. The Packers wideout topped 10 catches for the first time this season and found the end zone twice. Adams has been Brett Hundley’s favorite target, but fantasy owners should keep in mind that Aaron Rodgers could be back under center next week. If that happens, Jordy Nelson will likely slot back in as the top fantasy option in the Green Bay wide receiver corps.

Oakland @ Kansas City

Positive regression for Kareem Hunt.

It took 10 weeks, but Hunt finally managed to get back in the end zone this week. He also topped 100 rushing yards for the first time since Week 14. Though much maligned in fantasy circles, Hunt is in the midst of a special season. He’s currently second in the NFL in rushing yards and ranks ninth among running backs in receiving yards. Hunt remains an RB1 for the remainder of the fantasy football playoffs.

Dallas @ NY Giants

Dak Prescott rebounds in a big way.

The Cowboys offense just hasn’t been the same without Ezekiel Elliott. His absence has had arguably the biggest impact on Prescott, who was essentially unstartable as a fantasy option. Those who did manage to start him this week were rewarded with 332 passing yards and three scores. Even though Elliott won’t be back next week, Prescott will be very tempting to use against the Raiders.

Detroit @ Tampa Bay

Peyton Barber out-carries and out-performs Doug Martin.

Martin returned to action after missing Week 13 with a concussion and served as the Bucs starter. While Martin did manage to find the end zone, he played just 19 snaps. Meanwhile, second-year man Barber was on the field for 31 snaps. Barber finished with a solid 58 yards on 12 carries, which trumped Martin’s line of 10 carries for 26 yards. Those who picked up Barber last week may still have something on their hands for the last two weeks of the fantasy season.

Minnesota @ Carolina

Jonathan Stewart excels despite tough matchup.

The Vikings were the worst fantasy matchup for running backs entering this week, but you wouldn’t know it by looking at Stewart’s stat line. The veteran back put notched his second 100-yard rushing performance in the last month and found the end zone three times. Typically a low-ceiling option, Stewart’s performance was one of the tops of the week at running back. That being said, He remains more of a flex option.

San Francisco @ Houston

Solid outing for Jimmy Garoppolo.

The recently acquired signal-caller made his second start and looked good yet again. After throwing for 293 yards last week, Garoppolo managed 334 yards and a score against the Texans. While that line didn’t set the fantasy world on fire, it was an encouraging performance. Garoppolo’s dynasty arrow is pointing up.

NY Jets @ Denver

Josh McCown falters and gets injured.

One of the biggest fantasy surprises at quarterback this season, McCown threw for just 46 yards and an interception before exiting Sunday’s contest with an apparent broken hand. McCown set career highs in passing yards (2,926) and touchdowns (18) this season, but he’s looking finished for the season. The Jets will likely turn to Bryce Petty with McCown unable to play.

Tennessee @ Arizona

Derrick Henry comes back to earth.

Last week on the PFF Fantasy Podcast, we warned against getting too excited about Henry’s Week 13 stat line because most of his production came on his final carry. That proved to be sound advice, as Henry managed just 20 yards on eight carries on Sunday. As much as the fantasy community may want a breakout to occur for Henry, that doesn’t appear to be a likely outcome in 2017. He shouldn’t be considered as a fantasy option down the stretch.

Washington @ LA Chargers

Kirk Cousins struggles.

With one of the toughest matchups on this week’s slate, Cousins struggled mightily and managed just 151 yards and a score. To be fair, this result isn’t an indictment of Cousins, but rather is yet another indication of the Chargers’ prowess on the defensive side of the ball. The Chiefs are next up for the Chargers, so fantasy owners will want to fade Alex Smith next week.

Philadelphia @ LA Rams

Worst-case scenario for Carson Wentz.

The season of the injury continued in Week 14 with Wentz going down with a torn ACL. The injury happened while Wentz was in the midst of yet another huge day, as he threw for 291 yards and four scores. Nick Foles will now assume the starting job for Philly. That’s an obvious downgrade in both real and fantasy football. Foles will only be an option in 2QB leagues.

Seattle @ Jacksonville

Russell Wilson shows why you start your studs.

Always start your studs in the fantasy playoffs. Case in point: Wilson. Many fantasy owners questioned whether they should start Wilson in a very tough matchup against the Jags. Those who did start him are likely happy with their decision after Wilson threw for 271 yards and three scores. Looking forward to Week 15, the same advice applies. Start those studs.

Baltimore @ Pittsburgh

Ben Roethlisberger goes big.

On paper, this looked like a tough matchup for Big Ben, but the Ravens secondary took a big hit with the loss of Jimmy Smith. Baltimore proved to be no matchup for Roethlisberger, who topped 500 passing yards for the third time in his career. After a slow start to the season, Roethlisberger has surged down the stretch and leads all quarterbacks in fantasy scoring over the last month. Next week he’ll face a tough test against the Patriots, but then gets a dream matchup against the Texans in Week 16.

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