Fantasy Football Sleepers Week 14

Source: USA Today

Fantasy Football Sleepers Week 14

Here we are one week before the fantasy playoffs and some key players will now be out for multiple weeks.  Trevor Lawrence, Christian Kirk, Tank Dell, and Rhamondre Stevenson all suffered varying degrees of injuries and will likely be out for most or all of the fantasy playoffs.  No time is great to lose every week starters, but it’s especially inconvenient in a week that is make it or break it for many fantasy managers as they try to scrape their way into the playoffs.  If you find yourself reeling from the injury bug or if you were relying on any players on the Commanders or Cardinals (who are on bye this week) below are ten names that could help you get through the week and sail into the playoffs.  As always these are simply players that have the potential to drastically outperform their current projections.  In most cases, you should not be starting them over your normal starters, but if you’re in a pinch, these players could be great pivot options.  Good luck.  

Jake Browning (QB)

Cincinnati Bengals vs. IND (13% Start)

In week 13, Jake Browning had his best game since taking over for Joe Burrow, completing 32 of 37 passes for 354 yards, one touchdown, and no interceptions.  He also added 22 yards and a score on the ground en route to 28.16 fantasy points and a QB4 finish.  Browning looked incredibly sharp on Monday night against the Jaguars and should be able to keep pace with, if not surpass, Gardner Minshew when the Colts come to town.  The Colts defense has been solid but has not been a matchup to shy away from, and they could find it difficult to cover Ja'Marr Chase and the rest of the weapons at Browning’s disposal.  Minshew has also looked very inconsistent this year since taking over for the injured Anthony Richardson, but against the Bengals defense, he could find success moving the ball downfield which could lead to a sneaky shootout where points are abundant.  Browning has improved in each of his three games this season.  If that improvement continues he could be in a great spot to provide another 25+ points on Sunday.  If you are looking for QB help, Browning is not a bad option.  He has high-end QB2/low-end QB1 appeal this week in one QB leagues and should be started in two QB leagues or Superflex leagues.

Gardner Minshew (QB)

Indianapolis Colts vs. CIN (14% Start)

The QB on the other side of this game is also a potential sleeper in week 14.  In week 13, Minshew completed 26 passes for 312 yards and two TDs.  This was good enough for nearly 23 fantasy points and a top-12 finish.  There is a risk with Minshew.  As I mentioned earlier, he has been inconsistent.  Other than week 13, his only other top-12 finish was back in week 7.  He also has five games outside of the top-20 at the position.  However, the Bengals are a matchup capable of being exploited.  In their last six games, five QBs have scored at least 20 fantasy points.  While those QBs were Lawrence, Jackson, Stroud, Allen, & Purdy, the Bengals defense has begun to show signs of vulnerability which could allow Minshew to take advantage.  You don’t always know what you’ll get with Minshew but if the last two weeks are any indication, one thing you can count on is him passing a lot.  In the last two games, Minshew has thrown 83 passes.  In a game that could have little defense to speak of that trend should continue, and if Minshew does throw another 40 times this week, then another 20+ points is not out of the question. 

Roschon Johnson (RB)

Chicago Bears vs. DET (6% Start)

Admittedly, this suggestion comes with a bit of a caveat with the latest report that D’Onta Foreman is practicing in full this week.  Still, the 2023 season has gone downhill fast for the Bears and they would be wise to see what they have in some of their younger players.  The No. 1 player to evaluate is QB Justin Fields.  The Bears still seem very much undecided on his future with the organization, and it’s important to allow him to prove there’s been growth in those areas in which he has to improve.  Right behind him, though, is rookie RB Roschon Johnson.  Foreman is 27 years old and will be a free agent in 2024.  Khalil Herbert is currently signed through 2024, but there’s a growing sentiment that the Bears do not see him as a lead back in the NFL, so getting Johnson (who has looked explosive when given opportunities) more work makes perfect sense.  With five games left, there’s a possibility that the Bears still believe they have an outside chance to make the playoffs if they win out, and if that’s the case they could turn back to Foreman, or employ the dreaded three-headed committee.  But if they see what we all see and are looking toward 2024 they should see what they have in the rookie.  If that happens, it’s likely to happen sooner rather than later which could make Johnson very valuable down the stretch.

Dameon Pierce (RB)

Houston Texans vs. NYJ (23% Start)

I make this suggestion fully aware that the Texans, due to Pierce’s inefficiency, could easily turn right back to Devin Singletary in week 14.  But if Pierce leads the backfield this week, it could reap rewards against a Jets defense that is allowing the seventh most fantasy points per game to opposing running backs.  In week 13, after barely playing in week 12, Pierce nearly doubled up Devin Singletary in carries, rushing 15 times for 41 yards and a score.  It would be better if he was averaging more than 2.8 yards a carry in his last two games, but with the running back landscape as it is and all the injuries we’ve seen to the position, any running back who receives 15+ touches has value.  The Texans also just lost Tank Dell to a season-ending fractured fibula, and while Pierce has little to no involvement in the passing game, Dell’s injury could cause them to lean on the run a little bit more.  If that’s the case the Jets, as good as the defense has been, are vulnerable to the ground game (although it seems to be the only place they’re vulnerable.)  Three of the past four RB1s they have faced have scored at least 19 points.  Until his efficiency improves his ceiling will be capped, but if he continues to see this volume of work then Pierce seems like a safe, high-floor option.

Tyjae Spears (RB)

Tennessee Titans vs. MIA (12% Start)

Right now, as I write this article, Tyjae Spears’ is ranked outside of the top-35 at his position.  I expect that has a lot to do with the uncertainty surrounding RB Derrick Henry’s status.  There was some mystery surrounding Henry with conflicting reports about whether or not he was in concussion protocol.  But he did return to practice on Wednesday, and as such, with most people expecting him to play, Spears’ ranking has taken a hit.  The Titans are set to face off against the Miami Dolphins on Monday Night Football in Week 14, giving Henry an additional day to recover, if there is anything to recover from.  I expect Henry to be available, but even if he is there is a chance he is limited, or that the Titans just want to see what Spears can do with a slightly bigger workload.  At 4-8 the Titans’ playoff hopes are likely dashed, so giving their talented rookie a longer look makes sense.  If Henry has a setback and is out then Spears would warrant RB2 consideration, but even if Henry is active I think Spears is a useful flex option.  Spears is the better pass-catching option of the two backs, and the Titans could get behind early in this one.  In week 13, Spears rushed 16 times for 75 yards so he’s obviously capable of leading this backfield.  He might not get the chance to completely take the reins in week 14, but regardless, he has sleeper potential written all over him.

Romeo Doubs (WR)

Green Bay Packers vs. NYG (25% Start)

Romeo Doubs has had an up-and-down season up to this point, but his three most productive games came earlier in the season when teammate Christian Watson was either out or limited.  During the first four weeks, he had three top-15 finishes, scoring at least 14 points in each of those three games.  He also had two games of at least 12 targets.  With Watson dealing with a hamstring injury (the extent of which is still not known) Doubs could be called upon to once again carry a heavier load than in recent weeks.  It’s never good when a player suffers a non-contact injury, so while the Packers are hopeful about Watson’s status, there is a chance that he will miss a game or two, and even if he doesn’t completely miss any games, Watson being limited seems likely.  In week 14, the Packers will face a Giants defense that is giving up the fourth most fantasy points to wide receivers, meaning if Doubs returns to 8-12 targets he should be able to produce.  Consider Doubs a great flex play this week.

Elijah Moore (WR)

Cleveland Browns vs. JAX (21% Start)

The carousel of players taking snaps under center this season for the Browns has been uninspiring at best.  P.J. Walker, Dorian Thompson-Robinson, Deshaun Watson, and now Joe Flacco have all taken up the quarterback mantle in Cleveland to varying levels of success.  This has made it hard to rely on any playmaker on the Browns for any level of consistency.  Still, the combination of veteran QB Joe Flacco under center and an injury to lead WR Amari Cooper led to Elijah Moore receiving a ton of looks on Sunday against the Los Angeles Rams.  Moore saw a season-high 12 targets, which he turned into four receptions for 83 yards.  The chemistry between Flacco and Moore shouldn’t come as a huge surprise to anyone who understands the history of both players.  Having played together in New York it made sense for Flacco to continue to look Moore’s way as a safety valve of sorts in his first NFL action since week 18 of the 2022 season (a season in which he only played four games.)  Cooper’s status for Sunday is unknown but he has yet to practice this week, and if he’s out on Sunday then Moore could enter the top-30 conversation.  The Jaguars are seventh worst against opposing wide receivers meaning that if Moore is the guy in Cleveland this week he could be in a great spot to produce. 

Jonathan Mingo (WR)

Carolina Panthers vs. NO (7% Start)

Carolina Panthers wide receiver Jonathan Mingo is coming off his best game of the season. In Week 13, the rookie caught six catches on 10 targets for 69 yards. Mingo has been trending up as fellow rookie Bryce Young’s favorite target with at least six targets in each of his last four games, and over the last two weeks, he has 16 targets, 10 receptions, and 129 yards.  His fantasy stock has also begun to rise with at least 8 half-PPR points in his last two games.  Mingo is not a player who will win you the week, but he is a talented young player trending in the right direction.  Unfortunately, his production is tied to a rookie signal caller who is finding it difficult to adjust to the speed of the NFL game.  This adjustment will eventually come, but that may not happen until 2024.  Still, Mingo could provide some flex value this week when the Panthers travel to New Orleans.  The Saints are not a great matchup on paper, but Young could be asked to throw a lot in this one and as the player who has led all Panthers receivers in snaps played and routes run over the last two weeks, Mingo could reach double-digit fantasy points on volume alone. 

Isaiah Likely (TE)

Baltimore Ravens vs. LAR (23% Start)

Coming out of his week 13 bye, it’s possible fantasy managers will forget about Isaiah Likely.  Don’t.  The 2nd-year tight end has filled in admirably for star Mark Andrews, who will be out for at least three more games due to an ankle injury he suffered in week 11.  In the one game we saw without Andrews on the field, Likely saw six targets, catching four for 40 yards.  Those numbers don’t jump out at you but it’s encouraging to see him involved, and now with an extra week to game plan I expect him to be even more involved.  His opponent is a great one too.  The Rams are allowing the third most fantasy points to tight ends this season.  This is especially good news for a team that tends to feature the tight end in their passing attack.  Likely will never provide the same type of upside as Mark Andrews.  Andrews is in a league of his own at the position and it would be too much to ask of anyone to duplicate his production, but Likely is a much better option than a lot of the names you hear as potential fill-in candidates.  I would take Likely over players like Cade Otton, Gerald Everett, Pat Freiermuth, Evan Engram, and even Dalton Kincaid if Dawson Knox returns this week.  Consider Likely a low-end TE1 with upside for more if he finds the end zone.  

Brevin Jordan (TE)

Houston Texans vs. NYJ (6% Start)

As good as C.J. Stroud has been this season he could struggle against a very solid New York Jets defense.  The Jets do a great job of limiting the top pass catchers of their opponents so Stroud may find it difficult to get the ball outside to Nico Collins and Noah Brown.  This could prove especially difficult with no Tank Dell to stretch the field.  This may, however, provide an opportunity for Brevin Jordan.  Although it will be important to keep an eye on the status of Dalton Schultz who did return to a limited practice on Wednesday but then was not seen on Thursday.  If Schultz is available then just insert his name here, but if he is out again, Jordan has a chance to follow up his best game of the season with another solid outing.  We did see in a week 12 matchup against the Dolphins that under the right circumstances the Jets can be thrown on.  Both Jaylen Waddle and Tyreek Hill went over 100 yards in that game, but the Texans will be without their fastest wide receiver on Sunday, and as solid as Collins and Brown have been for Stroud, they are not in the same class as Waddle and Hill.  This should leave the middle of the field open for Jordan to operate.  He has low-end TE1 appeal this week against a Jets defense that gives up over 12 points a game to the position.  



Filed under: Free Articles