Top fantasy takeaways from Week 14's action
That was quite a start to the fantasy playoffs. There were a number of surprise performances – both good and bad – in Week 14. Here are the biggest fantasy stats to know from this past weekend:
Pittsburgh at Buffalo
Le’Veon Bell went off
In a tricky week where scoring was down for some of fantasy’s biggest names, Bell ripped off one of the biggest performances of the season, touching the ball an insane 42 times and racking up three scores and 298 scrimmage yards. Since returning from suspension in Week 4, Bell leads all running backs with 278 touches and only Ezekiel Elliott has more rushing yards. Bell and Elliott are the only two backs to top 1,000 yards over that span.
Denver at Tennessee
Both Denver wide receivers see 14 targets
Trevor Siemian returned to action and looked to Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas early and often on Sunday, peppering each with 14 targets, which is tops among wide receivers for the week. They also both topped double-digit catches and 100-yards. Sanders ended up being the slightly better fantasy play thanks to a touchdown, but Thomas still managed to post top-five wide receiver numbers in PPR scoring.
Washington at Philadelphia
Zach Ertz continues to rack up targets
The Philly tight end was a strong play yet again this week, racking up 10 catches on 12 targets and going over 100 yards for the first time this season. That’s now double-digit targets in three of his last four games. Ertz really started this run of productivity in Week 9. Since then, he leads all tight ends in targets with 56 and he’s second to only Travis Kelce in yards. Ertz is locked in as a strong TE1 play for the remainder of the fantasy playoffs.
Arizona at Miami
Jay Ajayi struggles again
Like we predicted in Friday’s matchups column, Ajayi found little room to run on Sunday. He posted just 49 yards on 20 carries against a stout Cardinals defense. The good news for Ajayi owners is that he faces the Jets in Week 15. Carlos Hyde just scorched the Jets for 193 yards on 17 carries. Miami losing Ryan Tannehill certainly doesn’t help, but Ajayi will be in the RB1 conversation this upcoming week.
San Diego at Carolina
Jonathan Stewart was Week 14’s most elusive back
He isn’t known for his ability to make tacklers miss, but that’s exactly what Stewart did against the Chargers defense on Sunday. He led all running backs with nine forced missed tackles on 24 attempts, and only Le’Veon Bell created more yards after contact than Stewart’s 3.50 per attempt. Despite the elusiveness, Stewart managed just 66 yards on the ground. He did find the end zone, but finished as the No. 14 fantasy running back for the week. He continues to be a low-ceiling RB2 option.
Cincinnati at Cleveland
Jeremy Hill redeems himself
With just 33 yards on 23 carries in Week 13, Hill did little to inspire confidence in him as a fantasy play this week. But he managed to come through in a big way on Sunday, racking up 142 scrimmage yards and a score on 28 touches against the putrid Browns run defense. With Giovani Bernard on injured reserve, look for the Bengals to continue to lean heavily on Hill down the stretch. Up next is the Steelers, who just gave up 108 scrimmage yards and a score to LeSean McCoy.
Chicago at Detroit
Golden Tate continues to rack up targets
Marvin Jones was back on the field for the Lions on Sunday, but Tate still led the team in targets with 10. That’s fifth time in the last eight weeks that Tate has topped double digits. Since Week 6, Tate is top-10 among wide receivers in targets with 73, and he ranks fifth in receiving yards with 685. It wasn’t a huge fantasy week for Tate, but owners should feel confident about his healthy workload.
Houston at Indianapolis
Lamar Miller grinds out a 100-yard day
It wasn’t a flashy performance, but Miller managed to top 100 yards for the fourth time this season. On 22 touches, Miller posted a respectable 122 scrimmage yards and also found the end zone. He finished the week fifth among running backs in standard scoring and seventh in PPR formats. With the Jaguars and Bengals up next for Houston, Miller is set up for a strong stretch run for fantasy owners.
Minnesota at Jacksonville
Marqise Lee is on the rise
There wasn’t a ton of action in this field goal fest, but Marqise Lee’s performance is noteworthy. After floundering early in his pro career, Lee has emerged this season for the Jags. He’s seen six-or-more targets in eight of the last nine games and topped 100 yards for the second time this season on Sunday. Lee’s 3.32 yards per route run was second among wide receivers for the week. Allen Robinson is still the Jags’ No. 1 receiver despite his disappointing performance on Sunday. But with Allen Hurns banged up, Lee has become a viable fantasy option for the stretch run.
NY Jets at San Francisco
Matt Forte Bilal Powell runs all over the 49ers
This was supposed to be Forte’s big day, but the veteran exited Sunday’s contest early on with a knee injury and managed just three touches. Powell then assumed lead duties and racked up 179 scrimmage yards and two scores on 34 touches. Forte doesn’t sound likely to suit up in Week 15, and could be on the shelf for the rest of the season. Powell is guaranteed to be a top add in tomorrow’s waiver wire column.
New Orleans at Tampa Bay
The Bucs continue to ride Doug Martin
There was a lot of chatter out of Tampa entering Week 14 about the Bucs’ disappointment with their run game and the potential for Martin’s workload to be reduced. That didn’t end up happening, as Martin touched the ball 25 times. Jacquizz Rodgers saw just two carries, and recently activated Charles Sims had seven touches. Martin posted a disappointing 2.9 yards per carry, but he helped out fantasy owners with a touchdown. Despite the poor efficiency, he’ll continue to be an RB2 play in Week 15.
Atlanta at Los Angeles
Todd Gurley posts RB1 numbers
It wasn’t a massive day, but Gurley came through for fantasy owners in Week 14 with 61 yards and a score on 16 carries. He also chipped in three catches for 22 yards. The performance was good enough for ninth among running backs in PPR scoring and 12th in standard. Gurley gets a big downgrade this week against the Seahawks, but he’ll be back in play again as a fantasy option in Week 16 with a dream matchup against the 49ers.
Seattle at Green Bay
Aaron Rodgers comes through despite the matchup
This is why you start your studs in the fantasy playoffs. Rodgers had some fantasy owners second guessing the matchup against a tough Seahawks defense, but he came through in a big way with three scores and 246 yards through the air. His performance tied with Matt Ryan for tops among quarterbacks in fantasy scoring for the week.
Dallas at NY Giants
Rough night for Dez Bryant
And really a rough night in general for fantasy purposes from this game. Odell Beckham did almost nothing for much of the night, but ended up delivering thanks to his 61-yard score. Ezekiel Elliott also did what he does and topped 100 yards. But otherwise, this was a disappointing fantasy night. There was perhaps no bigger letdown than Bryant, who had just one catch for 10 yards and a fumble. In most scoring systems, that’s a negative-one. It’s tough to look on the bright side in the wake of such an ugly fantasy performance, but Bryant did lead the Cowboys with eight targets. He will continue to see heavy volume going forward.