Thumbs Up of the Week: Jared Goff (v MIN)
Goff has proven he can be the long-term answer for Detroit with an improved supporting cast helping him put up bigger numbers, and now he enters a possible shootout versus Minnesota that should lead to another QB1 performance. In addition to his strong play against the Vikings throughout his career (293.0 passing yards per game in five matchups), Goff has been lights up at home this season with a 17:3 touchdown-interception ratio. We have him as our overall QB7 for Week 14.
Thumbs Up: Geno Smith (v CAR)
The Seahawks had lost two games in a row to close out November, but Smith didn’t slow down at all, and a career day with 367 yards and three touchdowns (one interception) against the Rams has December looking just as promising. Geno has thrown for multiple scores in every game since Week 7, is still completing well over 70% of his passes of the year (72.7%), and might be asked to throw a little more this week if Ken Walker III (ankle) is out. Start him as a definite top-ten play.
Thumbs Up: Daniel Jones (v PHI)
Six teams being on a bye this week makes quarterback tough, so Jones—even for a difficult matchup versus the Eagles—is someone to consider based on the rushing upside. I’m sure Philadelphia will be selling out to stop Saquon Barkley, so Jones should have running room after Ryan Tannehill rushed three times for 34 yards last week despite being at less than 100% this season due to his ankle injury (he previously hadn’t surpassed 12 rushing yards in a game). After 12 carries for 71 yards against the Commanders, Jones should again use his legs this weekend.
Thumbs Up: Mac Jones (@ ARI)
The frustration for Jones came to the surface last week, and he’s clearly been frustrated with New England’s play-calling under Matt Patricia and Joe Judge. That said, I could see Bill Belichick having more influence on the offense to get things figured out, and the Patriots have the weaponry to do damage through the air versus an attackable Arizona defense that’s allowed the most touchdown passes in the league (24). Those in two-quarterback formats should play Jones as a strong QB2 option that put up 382 yards and two scores in a dome just a couple of weeks ago.
Thumbs Down of the Week: Kyler Murray (v NE)
Again, quarterback being limited this week might put fantasy owners in a bind, and Murray still ranks as a top-12 option at the position for us. The concern here is that he hasn’t been great this season, and the Patriots were able to hold the former No. 1 overall pick in check with 201 total yards and an interception when they faced off in 2020. Maybe the bye week will have the Cardinals more prepared for Bill Belichick’s defense, but Murray needs to show he can win from the pocket.
Thumbs Down: Tyler Huntley (@ PIT)
Huntley is another mobile quarterback that struggled in the matchup he has this week, as Pittsburgh limited him to 16-of-31 passing for 141 yards and two interceptions last season in place of Lamar Jackson—who is likely to be out with his knee injury. Those rolling with Huntley will need to count on rushing production to lift him into the QB1 ranks, and I’d view him as more of a clear QB2 for Week 14.
Thumbs Down: Mike White (@ BUF)
Buffalo not being close to as dominant on defense as they’ve been in previous years might lead to some taking a gamble on White—but he threw four interceptions against them last season, and the Jets have simply been unable to crack Sean McDermott’s defense (Zach Wilson had 154 yards and one touchdown in the Week 9 victory). I’d recommended looking ahead to the fantasy playoffs (v DET, v JAX, @ SEA) for those planning to stream White.
Thumbs Down: Tom Brady (@ SF)
He threw an interception on Monday night, but Brady has done an excellent job taking care of the ball this season despite facing constant pressure, and I think the Bucs would be able to throw on the Niners if TB12 is given time. Unfortunately, not having Tristan Wirfs (ankle) for a matchup versus Nick Bosa puts a struggling offensive line in a very difficult spot, and Brady is expected to see a lowered ceiling and floor on Sunday. I’d view him as more of a high-end QB2.
Thumbs Up of the Week: Jeff Wilson Jr. (@ LAC)
It’s a concern that Wilson only handled one touch last week, but I’m going to chalk it up to the Dolphins falling behind versus a stingy run defense—and this week will be a dream matchup versus a Chargers team allowing the most yards per carry in the league (5.4). I’d play Wilson as an optimistic RB2 option with 100-yard upside on the ground, and Raheem Mostert is also worth starting as a high-ceiling FLEX based on his big-play upside.
Thumbs Up: Latavius Murray (v KC)
The game flow will almost certainly be different if Denver trails early versus the Chiefs this week, but Murray just handled 21 touches in a low-scoring loss to Baltimore and is the clear lead back with Melvin Gordon III gone. For his career, Murray has performed well versus Kansas City with 5.2 yards per carry and six touchdowns in seven matchups, so he gets boosted into the RB2 ranks as the Broncos try to control the clock to keep Patrick Mahomes off the field.
Thumbs Up: James Cook (v NYJ)
Fantasy owners would probably like to see Cook be featured for two games in a row before having confidence in him as a start, but last week versus New England was somewhat of a breakout with 20 touches for 105 total yards—and I’m assuming the Bills will want more balance than they had in the previous loss to New York. Cook is a FLEX that’s narrowing the gap on Devin Singletary with 5.4 yards per carry and 10.1 yards per reception through 12 games.
Thumbs Up: D’Andre Swift (v MIN)
Swift saw a season-high 18 touches last week, was finally not listed on the injury report for the Lions in Week 13, and would currently have a four-game touchdown streak if a score wasn’t taken away on Thanksgiving (his knee grazed the turf). You should now have confidence in him as an upside RB2 that has an increased floor, and the chances of a shootout for a matchup versus the Vikings could lead to an explosive performance both on the ground and through the air.
Thumbs Down of the Week: Leonard Fournette (@ SF)
I thought Fournette looked as good as he has all season in Tampa Bay’s win over the Saints—as he seemed to be much more decisive and powerful (perhaps due to his anger about losing the starting job to Rachaad White). However, the rookie scoring the game-winning touchdown might have erased the chances of Fournette retaking the starting job, and he gets a difficult matchup this week versus a San Francisco defense allowing an NFL-low 75.6 rushing yards per game and 3.3 yards per carry. Fournette is a low-floor FLEX with a capped ceiling right now.
Thumbs Down: D’Onta Foreman (@ SEA)
Seattle is a tremendous on-paper matchup for Foreman, but he’s been extremely inconsistent with alternating games of 113+ rushing yards and fewer than 25 rushing yards in five games as the starter—and I think the Seahawks will be focused on stopping the run on Sunday. So, with the consensus having the veteran as a clear RB2, he’s more of a FLEX option for me that should split work with Chuba Hubbard (17 carries in the win over Denver before the bye).
Thumbs Down: J.K. Dobbins (@ PIT)
An opening could be there for Dobbins (knee) if he returns to action this week after Gus Edwards lost a fumble two weeks ago and then saw just six carries last week, but the Ohio State product has averaged just 3.5 yards per carry on the season and is unlikely to see a major workload in his first game back. Especially without Lamar Jackson, we could see the Ravens go with a four-man committee in the backfield with Kenyan Drake and Justice Hill also still contributing.
Thumbs Down: Alexander Mattison (@ DET)
Mattison scored last week and was able to find the end zone versus Detroit earlier this season, but he’s not handled more than five touches in a game since Week 5—and is averaging just 2.9 yards per carry since Halloween. In a game where the Lions are actually favored, Mattison doesn’t carry significant standalone value behind Dalvin Cook, and it might take an injury for him to make a meaningful fantasy impact down the stretch.
Thumbs Up of the Week: Mike Williams (v MIA)
There is risk in starting Williams (ankle) if he’s active on Sunday night (or waiting if he’s a game-time decision), but the risk is arguably greater to bench him because of the monster upside with a berth to the fantasy playoffs potentially on the line. I’d think Williams will be almost fully himself when back based on the previous setback, and the Chargers shouldn’t waste any time featuring him for what should be a high-scoring game versus Miami. He’s a high-upside WR2 that could move up the rankings if able to get in at least one full practice this week.
Thumbs Up: Brandon Aiyuk (v TB)
Aiyuk has given Brock Purdy a huge vote of confidence this week by saying he hopes San Francisco doesn’t pick up anyone on the waiver wire, and he also said Purdy told him “I’m going to feed you” ahead of his first career start. The seventh-round rookie showed he is a very capable signal-caller by throwing for over 200 yards and two touchdowns in relief of Jimmy Garoppolo (foot) last week, and Aiyuk shouldn’t be downgraded much as a low-end WR2 for Week 14.
Thumbs Up: Treylon Burks (v JAX)
The flashes for Burks have been consistent over the past three weeks—catching a 51-yard pass in back-to-back games and then following it up with a courageous touchdown grab from 25 yards out on his lone target last week. He’ll need to clear the concussion protocol, but Burks is a definite FLEX option on Sunday versus a Jacksonville defense that just allowed an 11/114/2 line to Amon-Ra St. Brown.
Thumbs Up: Laviska Shenault Jr. (@ SEA)
This is more of a DFS recommendation because of how deep of a play it would be in redraft leagues, but we’ve been able to hit on these recently (like Nelson Agholor on Thanksgiving), and I love how things set up for Shenault. Basically, I’d anticipate Carolina using him on crossing routes to get the ball underneath versus Seattle’s zone coverage with others clearing out, which opponents have been able to have success with this season. At a cheap $5,200 on FanDuel, you’ll have more salary to spend elsewhere if Shenault is a hit.
Others: Marvin Jones Jr. (@ TEN), Van Jefferson (v LV)
Thumbs Down of the Week: Gabe Davis (v NYJ)
There is always a volatility baked into the value of Davis, but after being limited to just two receptions for 33 yards in the first meeting against the Jets, he might be more “bust” than “boom” as the Bills work to get Stefon Diggs free from stingy perimeter coverage while keeping their No. 2 wideout on the perimeter. The hope for those sticking with Davis is that he and Josh Allen are able to connect on a deep ball and/or touchdown, but he’s a low-end WR2/FLEX option.
Thumbs Down: Nico Collins (@ DAL)
Brandin Cooks (calf) being out again would set up Collins to be the No. 1 wideout for Houston, but this is a matchup to avoid versus Trevon Diggs and the Cowboys. Just in the last three games, Dallas has been able to shutdown top targets Justin Jefferson (3/33) and Michael Pittman Jr. (2/16), so Collins doesn’t crack the WR3 ranks even with six teams out of action. The second-year wideout should have an easier time in the fantasy playoffs when the schedule lightens up (v KC, @ TEN, v JAX).
Thumbs Down: Darius Slayton (v PHI)
The Eagles continue to lead the NFL in pass defense (178.5 yards per game allowed), so Slayton—with 76.3 receiving yards per game over his past six outings—could finally be cooled off because of the matchup. Philadelphia will be even tougher in the secondary if slot cornerback Avonte Maddox (ankle) is able to return, which would give Slayton a challenging draw no matter where the Giants align him in the formation. He’s a risky FLEX.
Thumbs Down: Michael Gallup (v HOU)
Gallup was able to score twice last week, and those who missed out on the talented wideout might want to start him against the lowly Texans. However, the heavy zone coverage sets up favorably for CeeDee Lamb and Dalton Schultz to do damage rather than Gallup—who is more of a factor when opponents play man coverage that he can exploit with one-on-one matchups. And in general, Houston has quietly limited opposing wide receivers.
Others: Isaiah McKenzie (v NYJ), Corey Davis (@ BUF)
Thumbs Up of the Week: Hunter Henry (@ ARI)
Santa might be checking his list twice, but there is no need to double check whether you should feel confident about having a tight end versus the Cardinals as a “start.” Although Henry was quiet last week in a difficult matchup, he is an obvious TE1 with Arizona allowing 15.7 fantasy points per game to opposing tight ends, including six touchdowns over the past six games.
Thumbs Up: Greg Dulcich (v KC)
Dulcich should also be a TE1 for this week as the potential No. 2 option in the passing game with Courtland Sutton (hamstring) looking doubtful, and I wouldn’t weigh Justin Reid claiming he shutdown Hayden Hurst last week too heavily. Before leaving with a calf injury, Hurst caught two passes for 12 yards on nine snaps versus the Chiefs, and Dulcich brings a vertical skillset to the position that can give them problems in single coverage. Consider the rookie a top-ten option for Week 14.
Thumbs Up: Mike Gesicki (@ LAC)
It looked like Gesicki was trending up with a strong finish in October, but he’s combined for three receptions for 34 yards over the past four games—including just one target (and zero receptions) in each of the past two games. Still, I believe in the talent, and the Chargers often trying to eliminate the top receiving threat for opponents could result in favorable looks for Gesicki. Before playing 20% of the snaps last week, Gesicki had played at least 40% of the team’s offensive snaps in every game this year.
Thumbs Down of the Week: Tyler Conklin (@ BUF)
Conklin was limited to one reception for seven scoreless yards against the Bills in Week 9, and he really struggled to connect with Mike White last week by being held to two receptions (on seven targets) for nine yards. With the Jets getting C.J. Uzomah a bit more involved, I’d rather roll with someone like Mike Gesicki for upside or Daniel Bellinger for floor.
Thumbs Down: Austin Hooper (v JAX)
I have Hooper here under the assumption that Treylon Burks is able to clear the concussion protocol by Sunday, as he’s lost work to rookie Chigoziem Okonkwo (58% of the snaps played last week) and likely needs a touchdown to hit on a run-heavy offense. Other than monster games allowed to Kansas City and Baltimore, the Jaguars have been an average matchup for opposing tight ends.
Thumbs Down: Buccaneers TEs (@ SF)
Cameron Brate (illness) didn’t suit up last week to open the door for Cade Otton (6/28/1), but the matchup versus San Francisco is one to avoid for those streaming at tight end. Since Week 8, the Niners have allowed 24 or fewer yards in all but one game, and they’ve not allowed a touchdown to the position since Week 6. Even if Otton draws another start, there are other options to go with instead.