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Daily fantasy football: Best buys for Week 14
A number of star players who had quiet games last week make excellent plays in Week 14 including Jameis Winston.
Sometimes, rankings and columns just aren’t enough to help you decide which player should go in your lineup. If you’re still not sure about that final spot before Sunday’s games kick off, send us a question on Twitter using the hashtag #startsitESPN, and you just might get yours answered below.
Each week, ESPN Fantasy analysts KC Joyner and Jim McCormick will provide advice for players just like you stuck with tough choices to make.
The fantasy playoffs are upon us in many leagues, so making the correct lineup decisions becomes that much more important. So let’s get started on answering your fantasy football questions for this week’s games.
– Todd Mayster (@tmayster82) December 11, 2016
It’s difficult to trust Kaepernick after last week’s debacle, but he does have a 93 score in my matchup points-total system that grades matchup favorability (with 100 being the most favorable). That is slightly higher than Dalton’s 80 in that category. Add in that the Bengals will want to lean on their ground game against a horrible Cleveland rush defense that places next to last in points allowed per game to opponents’ running backs, and Kaepernick is the pick. — KC
– Spencer Cohen (@Srcohen24) December 11, 2016
It’s a close call between these two, so let’s consider an upside tiebreaker. The Bills have allowed 20 or more fantasy points to the opposing quarterback in four of their last five games. The Bears have allowed that mark only once in their last five games. Weather could be a factor in Buffalo, but light snow won’t stop Roethlisberger, so he would be the go-to option here. — KC
– Daniel J Sustaita (@Daniel_sus8) December 11, 2016
Neither the Bills nor the Browns have been very good at stopping opponents’ tight ends this year, but Cleveland has allowed opponents’ tight ends to rack up a double-digit reception mark on four occasions this year, versus zero games for Buffalo. Combine that with Eifert being more central to the Cincinnati offense with A.J. Green still out with injury and Eifert would be the preferred choice in this one. — KC
– daniel affourtit (@edrevONLINE) December 11, 2016
Baltimore is first in rushing yards allowed and yards allowed, second in interceptions, tied for second in points allowed and first in ESPN Stats Information’s special teams expected-points-added metric that measures special teams impact in an expected-points framework. Add that to Tom Brady ranking 23rd in yards per attempt since Week 9 (6.9) and the injuries to the Patriots’ pass catchers, and the Ravens are the selection. — KC
– Orlando Diaz (@orlydiaz) December 11, 2016
Witten’s goose egg last week is very concerning, but a matchup against a Giants secondary that has allowed nine or more points to opposing tight ends in four of the last five weeks should make that a one-week anomaly. Walker’s matchup against Denver may be the most unfavorable of the week, as he gets a zero in my matchup points system that grades matchup favorability on a 0-100 scale (with 100 being the most favorable). Put those together, and Witten is the pick. — KC
– John Ellsaesser (@JDE_pilot) December 11, 2016
As noted earlier, Brady ranks 23rd in yards per attempt since Week 9. The Patriots also have injuries to their pass catchers, as Danny Amendola has been ruled out of the game and Martellus Bennett is questionable with ankle and shoulder injuries that have held him to limited practices all week. Prescott does have a difficult matchup against the Giants, but New York has been inconsistent against tight ends (see the earlier question about Witten). Add in that Prescott has Dez Bryant and Brady has no receiver of that caliber, and Prescott would be the choice. — KC
#StartSitESPN Newton or Brees?
– My5sons❤ (@TweetingLaurenX) December 11, 2016
Tampa’s pass defense has been quite suspect this year, something evidenced by its No. 26 ranking in vertical yards allowed per attempt (12.3 yards on aerials thrown 11 or more yards downfield). The Buccaneers also won’t have starting free safety Chris Conte, who has been ruled out of this game with a chest injury. That should allow Brees to get back on track, and it makes him a higher-percentage option than the hit-or-miss Newton. — KC
– frank pentaris (@maddenhead) December 11, 2016
Ajayi faces a Cardinals defense that ranks second in fantasy points allowed per game to opponents’ running backs, but as noted in an ESPN Insider article I wrote this week, Ajayi’s value could improve, since Miami has started utilizing him more often in the passing game. That gives him a slight edge over Blount, who is facing a Ravens defense that is the best in the league against the rush. Crowder would be the pick over Sanders, because the Eagles’ mediocre pass defense should allow him to score 10 or more points for the sixth time this season. — KC
– Fransua Durazo (@Fransua_D) December 11, 2016
It’s not a given that Jones will play this week, as Adam Schefter has reported that Jones will have to post an acceptable showing during warm-ups to avoid being inactive this week. Jackson is more than a reasonable substitute, given that he faces an Eagles secondary that has allowed opponents’ wide receivers to rack up 26 or more points in five of their last six contests. That’s enough upside to warrant not playing Jones, so the suggestion would be to start Jackson. — KC
– Ramos (@livingwater71) December 11, 2016
An ESPN Insider piece I wrote this week detailed how Brock Osweiler’s vertical passing woes have all but crushed Hopkins’ fantasy value. Cooks doesn’t have that issue with Drew Brees, who ranks second in vertical passing yards (1,742 on aerials traveling 11 or more yards downfield). That makes Cooks the better option here. — KC
– Ho Ho Hoey (@djjoeyg3) December 11, 2016
Williams gets the nod, given the softer matchup against a young and generous Carolina secondary. Save for some down outings against Denver this season, Williams has been a production peer of Thomas in every regard, so the matchup advantage is enough to sway the call. — J.M.
– KobeDropped60 (@G_Lpz94) December 11, 2016
Since Week 6 — when Miami started featuring Jay Ajayi — Parker has been a near-even target peer of Jarvis Landry when healthy, thus his opportunity rate and the ability to match up with exploitable corner Marcus Cooper proves inviting. — J.M.
#StartSitESPN Do I start Micheal Thomas or Richard Matthews in a PPR league?
– Frank Fanelli (@f_fanelli18) December 11, 2016
Going with Thomas here, as Rishard Matthews faces a Denver secondary that has yielded the fewest yards and fantasy points to receivers this season. — J.M.
– Meg Crawford (@Postgrad) December 11, 2016
Gurley remains the high-floor option here, while his ceiling is actually increased against a young Atlanta front that proves to be overly aggressive in space. — J.M.
– Will (@wildwilliec) December 11, 2016
Digging Crowder here, as the Redskins are second in passing yardage and yards per play, signs of an elite offense. The Philly secondary was picked apart against the Bengals last week. — J.M.
#StartSitESPN Kaep or Stafford? And also I got T. Rawls, Forte, and Freeman I need 2! Thanks
– Julian Gonzalez (@JulianG61403466) December 11, 2016
Gotta go Stafford, while Forte and Freeman is a strong pairing. — J.M.
– El Chapo (@Str8E45T_Mig0) December 11, 2016
I’ll take Brate with no Kenny Vaccaro for the Saints and his sizable share of targets and red zone attention. — J.M.
Diggs or Ginn #StartSitESPN
– Jarrod Hildebrandt (@Jrodhildebrandt) December 11, 2016
Not sure how this is close — gotta go Diggs and his remarkable target share. — J.M.
– Tom Sauer (@remhuck) December 11, 2016
Prefer Green here, as he’s hauled in five catches at least 15 yards downfield over the past two games — Roethlisberger has four such completions to other tight ends over the past two seasons. It also helps that Green has 24 percent of Pittsburgh’s passing market the past two games. — J.M.
– Miguel (@iMiguel_G) December 11, 2016
Moncrief has the best touchdown pattern, while Booker’s workload is curbed by the presence of Forsett and his struggles with efficiency of late. — J.M.
Rob Kelley or J. Stewart in half pt PPR? What about bengals or vikes D? #StartSitESPN
– Paul McMurry (@spaulmcmurry) December 11, 2016
Sticking with Kelley, as this is a common dilemma today, and prefer the Vikings’ defense just slightly, given their elite pass rush (third in pressuring opposing passers per dropback). — J.M.
– jerry sanchez (@drtysanc) December 11, 2016
Still riding with Brady at home here. We often overrate the influence of weather on scheme. — J.M.
#StartSitESPN Blount or Steve smith sr?
– brady (@bradypags) December 11, 2016
Gonna go Blount, as he’s second in the league in goal-to-go touches and has such an enduring role as the short-yardage weapon on a top offense. — J.M.
– Adam Garland (@hokietect) December 11, 2016
Would rather have Martin, who’s tied to the stronger offense at home with a massive point total. — J.M.
Cobb or Pryor? Weather, new QB factor for Pryor? #StartSitESPN
– David E. Schwartz (@schwartzy98) December 11, 2016
Cobb is a tertiary target in that offense now, while Pryor remains the top read in his. I’ll assume any risks for the sheer volume of Pryor’s share. — J.M.
– Jake Harrison (@JakeCLT) December 11, 2016
Still sticking with Olsen, given the talent and upside; we’re betting on a touchdown with Gates either way. Riddick for me at tailback. — J.M.
– fyihyd (@fyihyd) December 11, 2016
Going with Edelman and his 30-plus percent share of the passing game over the past three games, which proves ideal for PPR. — J.M.
Landry or Shepard? Choose 1 as WR3 #StartSitESPN
– Corey Dempsey (@cordemps) December 11, 2016
Landry still has a 20 percent share of the Dolphins’ passing offense and should get moved around enough to evade Peterson’s/Cardinals’ top coverage. — J.M.
#StartSitESPN In a ppr flex. L. Green or E. Sanders?
– Jerry Bevil (@menofsteel87) December 11, 2016
Sanders has a 30 percent share of the Broncos’ passing game over the past three games, and the Titans’ pass defense has proved suspect throughout the season. — J.M.
– Jeff Schultz Jr (@Jeffschultzjr) December 11, 2016
Let’s ride with Gabriel and any uptick in routes and targets he might merit with Julio Jones ailing. — J.M.
– David E. Schwartz (@schwartzy98) December 11, 2016
I have Lewis higher of the two in flex ranks, mostly because Lewis looks great on tape and should see around 10 touches on Monday. — J.M.
Dion Lewis or Asiata.. #StartSitESPN
– Rudy Guerrero (@AreGee408) December 11, 2016
Have Lewis higher for total yardage with a similar workload. — J.M.
– K.Curtis (@kcurtis093) December 11, 2016
I’d start Dalton, as he connected on five of six deep balls last week and was nearly perfect from a clean pocket against Philly. The Browns, meanwhile, have the fifth-lowest pressure rate and have allowed the most points per drive and a touchdown on a third of opposing drives since Week 4. — J.M.
– Nathan Dilts (@Dilts22) December 11, 2016
Pryor for me. I do like Britt’s vertical usage but prefer Pryor’s heavy share, and game script could trend pass-happy for Cleveland. — J.M.
– DatManCuzzin (@DJ_Blvck) December 11, 2016
Cousins is on pace for 5,000 yards and faces a Philly defense that has allowed a top-12 fantasy quarterback performance in five of the past six. — J.M.
– Steve (@_stephendugan) December 11, 2016
There are more mouths to feed in Tampa now, but I still prefer Doug Martin’s stake in meaningful short-yardage/goal-line scenarios to Coleman’s receiving prowess. The inviting implied point total in that Tampa game is a solid touchdown higher than the total in L.A. today, per the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook. — J.M.
– Jordan Breeding (@J_Chapman_Music) December 11, 2016
Crowder has the highest floor of this group, and with the Eagles’ secondary proving suspect, his outcome spectrum is more reliable than that of Watkins or Mathews. I understand the appeal for Watkins’ big-play ability, but Taylor’s struggles from the pocket (just three touchdowns since Week 7) are a factor. — J.M.
#StartSitESPN start Ingram or J Stewart at flex?
– Kelly Carr (@kellypcarr) December 11, 2016
Given Ingram returned to practice to end the week, I’ll side with him in that potential shootout in Tampa over San Diego’s solid rush defense matchup for Stewart. — J.M.
#StartSitESPN Luck or Cousins? Thx
– IU (@itumo30) December 11, 2016
The Texans’ defense doesn’t travel nearly as well as it plays at home, ceding the 12th-most points per drive on the road, and their pass rush is bottom 10 in pressure rate since Week 4 (when J.J. Watt was first sidelined). Add this up, and Luck is positioned to produce a strong volume-driven line. — J.M.
Should I start Ben roethlisburger or russel Wilson #StartSitESPN
– Bob moss (@Bobmoss16) December 11, 2016
Prefer Wilson here, as the Packers’ pass coverage rates 31st on Pro Football Focus and Green Bay has ceded the most points per drive in the NFL over the past month. — J.M.
– Mohammed Mclovin (@MohammedMclovi4) December 11, 2016
I do think Rodgers gets some work, but Martin still appears to claim a valuable enough share to earn RB2 status. That said, I have Rawls a good bit ahead of Martin today and consider him a strong start for a Seattle offense that could move the ball in Lambeau. — J.M.
Riding with Diggs and Moncrief. I do respect Robert Kelley‘s role, and when game flow (as in competing/leading) favors the Washington offense, he gets valuable work. The Eagles’ rush defense, however, has proved respectable with Bennie Logan back in the middle. Diggs is a target hog who will get moved around a ton to avoid Jalen Ramsey, while Moncrief is a touchdown machine in that Indy offense. — J.M.
Better running back to start this week in PPR Riddick or Stewart? Also TE McDonald or Ebron?#StartSitESPN
– Luke Schutt (@lucasschutt) December 11, 2016
Gotta go Riddick in PPR, especially with the decimated Chicago front seven — particularly their depleted interior linebackers. I prefer Ebron, as well, given the matchup factor and the higher volume passing offense. — J.M.
– Ben (@Ben_Skolnick) December 11, 2016
Siding with Rudolph and his red zone appeal and Gore’s steady workload. — J.M.
– sino (@feelthetrill) December 11, 2016
Good deal of Kelley interest today, which makes sense, since he was a free-agent fantasy find and has earned consideration. Let’s go with Kelley, who has a much better shot at a heavy workload and less competition for work on the goal line, while Stewart still contends with Cam Newton and Mike Tolbert in close. — J.M.
– Weeyamish (@weeyamish) December 11, 2016
I prefer Dixon in standard, as his upside in the rushing phase is legit and his ability to build total yardage — at least 72 yards from scrimmage in three of his past four — is impressive. The game script could prove pass-heavy if the Pats pull ahead, as well. — J.M.
– Sam Moore (@raidernationyvr) December 11, 2016
I prefer the Falcons, who are facing an L.A. offense that ranks last in the league in points per drive and have a raw rookie behind center. — J.M.
– Tee (@just_tee77) December 11, 2016
I have Roethlisberger higher this week; even as the Steelers’ offense produces stronger rates at home, the sheer floor of his established weapons and emergence of Ladarius Green is enough to earn him the nod over Palmer. — J.M.
– Ali (@AlltheWire123) December 10, 2016
Based on workload upside, I prefer McKinnon, as he could see 15 touches and some passing work to build a worthy day from scrimmage. — J.M.
– Tommy Meena (@FollowThatGrizz) December 10, 2016
Ertz has such a low-end scoring profile over the larger sample, while Reed remains an elite red zone threat and is simply the better player with a similar market share of his offense. — J.M.
#StartSitESPN Ladarius green or walker?
– Ryan Balsei (@Ryan_Balsei) December 11, 2016
Still riding with Walker, even as the Denver secondary is imposing. The floor for targets between the painted numbers is valuable. I do like Green’s emerging vertical role, I but trust Walker’s 20 percent share of his offense more. — J.M.
S Watkins Buff or D Jackson Phil #StartSitESPN
– John Harris (@harrisj2016) December 11, 2016
Let’s go with Watkins here, as we can assume three to four vertical shots and less competition for meaningful targets than Jackson on that deep D.C. passing offense. — J.M.
Start Rawls or Hyde? #StartSitESPN
– Tanner (@thecommoncox) December 11, 2016
I trust the Seattle offense here more and, thus, the goal-line back attached to it (Thomas Rawls). — J.M.
#StartSitESPN D. Inman, T. Pryor or D. Martin, 1/2 PPR for flex.
– Mike Oney (@mike_oney) December 11, 2016
Going with Pryor here, as his 27 percent market share of the team’s targets remains steady and he established a valuable rapport with RG III earlier this season. — J.M.
Ebron or cj fed? Standard. #StartSitESPN
– Eva Key (@emk264) December 11, 2016
I prefer C.J. Fiedorowicz to Ebron, as he has consumed the second-most targets and leads the team in yardage since Week 4. It also helps that he set a career high in yardage against the Colts in their first meeting and Indy is missing key depth at linebacker and safety. — J.M.
– A. M. (@AaronMayDay) December 11, 2016
The Rams’ defense has proved respectable in most outings, save for that debacle in the Superdome. I prefer Stafford at home against an ineffective Chicago defense. — J.M.