Fantasy Football: Who to start in Week 14

Pete Davidson
December 07, 2019 - 9:00 pm
Categories: 

In Week 13, you may have played my Tyler Higbee recommendation.  If you did, you were loving my blank.  However, if you decided to play my Nick Foles stack, you probably have my face on your dartboard.  That's the life of a fantasy analyst.  It's all good.  I can handle it.  I'm ready to put my head back in the Lion's mouth.

Week 14 is a great week to jump into DFS because 50 percent of us are no longer in the seasonal hunt.  Having said that, the Week 14 pricing on DraftKings is challenging--to put it mildly.  As I have been saying, in recent weeks, it's challenging pricing, not bad pricing.  We all have to put our rosters together with the same restrictions and limitations.

I think most of us remember this scene from Hoosiers.

First of all, this is what good coaching looks like.  You don't ignore the elephant in the room.  You deal with it.  You demystify it.

So we have tough pricing this week and a lot of tough game environments.    That's our elephant.  So, rather than focusing on that "problem", we understand that it's the same for every entrant.  The best lineups win as always.  Don't waste your time worrying about the enormity of the challenge.  Attack it.  Break it down.  Make the problems smaller.  Move on to solutions.  Get ahead of the pack.

Looking for seasonal advice instead?  It's a huge playoff week for those of us still in the mix.  For my take on every relevant skill player for Week 14 fantasy purposes, check out my lineup rankings at Rotobahn.com.  It’s completely free.  No registration.  No signing in.  Just follow the link and enjoy.  They get updated on Saturday evening.

All pricing in this article was sourced from DraftKings.

Lamar Jackson, QB, Ravens at Bills, $7,400

A lot of smart people are running away from Jackson this week due to the matchup.  I get it, but I'm seeing this game a bit differently.  Yes, the Bills are a good team and a strong defense.  Yes, the Bills are on a bit of a roll.  Yes, the Ravens are on the road, and their besting of top defenses have occurred in Baltimore most of the time.  It was only the Rams game where they trashed a strong defense on the road.  There are plenty of reasons to be impressed with the Bills, but I'm not buying them collectively.  Mike Tyson used to say that everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face.  In my view, the Ravens are the NFL embodiment of that paradigm.  Teams plan for them, but then the punches start flying.  Sure, I respect the Bills, but have they shut down anybody or any offense in a way that would give us confidence that they will do what the Patriots, Rams and 49ers could not?  Again, I'm not buying it.  I'm more into the idea that it's really hard to prepare for what the Ravens hit you with.  I'm using Jackson this week and he's even in consideration for my cash lineup.  Only cost concerns will keep him out.  What I am not doing with Lamar this week, is stacking him.  I'll be leaving both Hollywood Brown and Mark Andrews off my rosters.

Christian McCaffrey, RB, Panthers at Falcons, $10,300

The matchup is a good one.  I want to play him.  I am going to play him.  The question is, how much and in which lineups.  I want to use him in cash but it's a challenge to fit him in on a week with so much tough pricing.  Still, when you look at the gap between this guy and the pack, it's hard to just brush him off due to cost.  Just look at the PPR points per game.

  • McCaffrey 29.5
  • Dalvin Cook 22.5

All other running backs are below 20 points per game.  This is why we are willing to pay more.  Because we get more.  The trick to playing McCaffrey this week is finding value in other places.  I'll endeavor to help you in this area.  Just keep reading.

DeVante Parker, WR, Dolphins at Jets, $6,900 

I was slow to warm up to him because he's been so injured and inconsistent as a professional, but if you go back and look at my original scouting report on Parker, it was titled, "The Sure Thing."  I was that confident in his talent.  I've had to defend that take a fair amount over the years, and in 2019, we are finally seeing what I was yammering about.  Parker is a major talent.  Injury-prone?  Maybe.  Questionable work ethic?  Perhaps.  On fire right now?  Definitely.  Parker is playing for his next contract and he is, by far, the number one target on his team.  This week, he faces a Jets secondary that has no player to cover him.  Moreover, if safety help was part of the plan, the Jets will have to adjust because their best player, Jamal Adams, will, very likely, be out this week with a sprained ankle.  This puts both Parker, and tight end Mike Gesicki ($4,000) very much in play.  Parker is one of my favorite options on this slate.  Him striking out in a non-injury scenario is hard to even fathom.  I'll be heavily exposed to Parker this week and I intend to use him in my cash lineup.  He's a great stacking piece with both Sam Darnold (as a correlation stack) or with Ryan Fitzpatrick.

Parris Campbell, WR, Colts at Bucs, $3,200

Parris is, on the surface, a risky proposition, but if we look deeper, there's a lot to like.  First off, we are getting a potential every down player at 3,200 units.  He is, quite simply, mis-priced.  No way Campbell should be under 4K in this spot.  So right off the bat we like this because we're getting value near the price floor on a week where we want to open up salary cap space.  T.Y. Hilton is out.  Eric Ebron is out.  Devin Funchess remains out.  Chester Rogers has been placed on IR.  Meanwhile, the Colts are matched up with a team that you really need to throw on to beat.  The Colts are either going to find a way to pass, or they are going to lose, most likely.  I think Frank Reich will see this clearly and find the best path forward, and I think said path will involve Parris Campbell.  Here's the best part.  Even if Campbell fails to lift our scores as much as we want, he still serves a purpose, because he helps us get some crucial talent into our lineup.  My feeling is that you are getting about a six point floor here, and at cost, you'll be fine if he posts a floor performance.  On the other end, if things break well, you are tethered to Campbell's breakout game.  In that scenario, his ceiling is as high as any receiver on the slate.  Of course, we can't say which Parris we'll get or which game script we'll have, but the risk is well worth the potential reward in this case.

Ian Thomas, TE, Panthers at Falcons, $2,500

Welcome to the cost floor.  On DraftKings, flex eligible players can't get any cheaper than this.  So why get involved with a guy who is practically off the board?  Because Greg Olsen has been ruled out, and it's only because of Greg Olsen that 90 percent of football fans don't know who Ian Thomas is.  I think he could break out in 2020 if Olsen retires, but let's not get ahead of ourselves, because Thomas is hugely relevant this week.  He's not a guy you can lock in for TE1 performance, because it's hard to know how he'll be used or what kind of day we should expect from quarterback Kyle Allen.  What we do know is that Thomas is good, and he's more likely to make the big play than Olsen, because he has youth, size and speed on his side.  What we don't know is how involved he'll be.  Last week, after Olsen left, Thomas filled in for most of the second half.  He caught all four of his targets for 24 yards.  Not thrilling, but certainly solid, and he'd pay off this week at those digits.  Can he do better playing the full 60 minutes?  I think so.  But again, as with Parris Campbell, we only need a little production to justify the cost.  I will have plenty of exposure to Thomas this week.

For an even deeper look at this week's slate, check out Rotobahn's Week 14 DFS Podcast, which will be released later today.  Additionally, Jimmy Hackett and I will get into some lineup construction and all of our favorite Week 14 plays on the Fantasy Football Hour, live on 93.7 at 8 a.m. on Sundays.  Join us!