Fantasy football playoff sleepers for Week 14

by KFFL Staff on December 5, 2013 @ 07:30:08 PDT

 

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In this article KFFL breaks down the fantasy football sleepers of the week. We will avoid marquee names because players of that caliber are rarely benched, regardless of their matchup. Instead, we will focus on the players that make your fantasy lineup decisions stressful each week. Read on to learn which midrange to low-end players you wouldn't necessarily consider that you need to get into your lineup.

Note: All statistics are from Week 10 through Week 13, unless otherwise stated.

Quarterback

Ryan Fitzpatrick, Tennessee Titans at Denver Broncos

The substitute for Jake Locker (season-ending foot injury) has averaged 22.5 standard fantasy points a game in what amounts to four starts in the past month. Fitzpatrick's athleticism has allowed him to tack on a couple of scores on the ground in that time, and the Titans have a diverse group of young receivers.

Fantasy owners should temper expectations a bit if neither of Tennessee's concussed tight ends -- Delanie Walker and Craig Stevens -- can go. The absence of both put a strain on the team's offense in Week 13. However, with a week to prepare and to adjust, and with a possible need to play catch-up, this O should give Fitzpatrick opportunities to post points.

Broncos vs. QB position ( per-game averages)

Rank
G
Avg Pts
Com
Att
Com%
PaYds
PaTD
Int
RuAtt
RuYds
RuTD
FumL
Sck
30
4
22.8
25
42
60.2
271.3
2.00
0.25
4.0
26.3
0.00
0.25
2.5

Robert Griffin III, Washington Redskins vs. Kansas City Chiefs

RG3 has put up some real duds in a few contests this season, but at least he's been a high-end QB1 in a handful of others. Unfortunately, he hasn't necessarily played soundly just because he's racked up fantasy points, and he's been a bit unpredictable. He's turned over the ball 15 times, too.

Thankfully, Griffin should get some reprieve in Week 14. KC's supposedly menacing defense has been whimpering in the last few weeks in the presence of quality opponents. Washington isn't categorically one of those, but Griffin should be thrilled to face a team whose pass rush -- which made the whole thing work -- evaporated in Week 8 and hasn't returned. It won't hurt if Jordan Reed (concussion) is cleared to play this time, either.

Chiefs vs. QB position ( per-game averages)

Rank
G
Avg Pts
Com
Att
Com%
PaYds
PaTD
Int
RuAtt
RuYds
RuTD
FumL
Sck
32
3
29.0
24
38
64.0
372.7
3.00
0.67
1.7
-0.7
0.00
0.33
0.3

Joe Flacco, Baltimore Ravens vs. Minnesota Vikings

This hasn't exactly been the kind of follow-up to a career year and Super Bowl MVP performance that Flacco imagined or that his owners, perhaps, expected.

But all hope isn't lost: Baltimore's offense is jelling as it aids the team's last-ditch effort to make the postseason. The Ravens have been forced to learn about their array of targets outside Torrey Smith. Heck, Dennis Pitta (hip surgery) might even return soon. And, of course, it never hurts to face Minnesota's awful secondary.

Vikings vs. QB position ( per-game averages)

Rank
G
Avg Pts
Com
Att
Com%
PaYds
PaTD
Int
RuAtt
RuYds
RuTD
FumL
Sck
31
4
25.8
22
37
60.5
297.0
2.00
0.00
4.0
26.5
0.25
0.00
2.8

Running back

Bobby Rainey, Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Buffalo Bills

It's been a tough go for Rainey since his breakout Week 11, as the sophomore has averaged just 2.8 yards per tote in 35 over his last two contests. Those came against the stalwart Detroit Lions and Carolina Panthers. This time, he gets Buffalo, who has a solid front but chiefly on the pass rush. It'll be a great bounceback to jump-start what some, including Nick, call the best playoff schedule for RBs.

Bills vs. RB position ( per-game averages)

Rank
G
Avg Pts
RuAtt
RuYds
YPC
RuTD
Rec
ReYds
YPR
ReTD
FumL
26
3
22.0
26.7
123.3
4.6
1.67
4.00
24.3
6.1
0.00
0.00

Roy Helu, Washington Redskins vs. Kansas City Chiefs

Expect Robert Griffin III to hand the ball off plenty against this defense, who got some teeth back despite eventually falling apart against Denver on Sunday. What makes KC more attractive is that Helu could have a Knowshon Moreno-type day in the receptions column as Washington calls plenty of no-huddles. PPR readers should take note.

Chiefs vs. RB position ( per-game averages)

Rank
G
Avg Pts
RuAtt
RuYds
YPC
RuTD
Rec
ReYds
YPR
ReTD
FumL
30
3
26.3
29.7
114.0
3.8
1.33
5.00
48.7
9.7
0.67
0.00

Fozzy Whittaker, Cleveland Browns at New England Patriots

Ben Tate gashed the Pats on Sunday, exposing the constant holes along the D-line after all the Patriots' injuries. With Aqib Talib expected to shadow Josh Gordon much of the day and the Browns' QB situation up in the air, all three RBs should get involved frequently. NE has limited RB receptions in the last month, but Cleveland will check down a lot one way or another, using Whittaker's shiftiness in the process. Flex value awaits.

Patriots vs. RB position ( per-game averages)

Rank
G
Avg Pts
RuAtt
RuYds
YPC
RuTD
Rec
ReYds
YPR
ReTD
FumL
28
3
22.7
29.3
145.3
5.0
1.33
2.33
15.0
6.4
0.00
0.3

Wide receiver

Nate Burleson, Detroit Lions at Philadelphia Eagles

In his second game back from injury, Burleson disappeared from the stats sheet and was targeted a single time. Don't let that discourage you, however. He should bounce back nicely against an Eagles' defense that has given up a lot of catches. Philly will do everything humanly possible to limit Calvin Johnson and Reggie Bush, which will force quarterback Matthew Stafford to look elsewhere.

Eagles vs. WR position ( per-game averages)

Rank
G
Avg Pts
Rec
ReYds
YPR
ReTD
RuAtt
RuYds
RuTD
FumL
24
3
24.7
15.67
203.3
13.0
1.00
0.25
3.0
0.00
0.00

DeAndre Hopkins, Houston Texans at Jacksonville Jaguars

Hopkins has big-play tendencies and looks to take advantage of a Jags' D that has given up the third-most yards per reception. Jacksonville needs to limit Andre Johnson to keep Houston's passing game in check, which bodes well for Hopkins' chances of reeling in a long pass or two. He's a risky play, although you could do much worse for a flex gamble.

Jaguars vs. WR position ( per-game averages)

Rank
G
Avg Pts
Rec
ReYds
YPR
ReTD
RuAtt
RuYds
RuTD
FumL
25
4
25.5
11.75
196.3
16.7
1.25
0.00
0.00
0.00
0.00

James Jones, Green Bay Packers vs. Atlanta Falcons

Quarterback Matt Flynn appears to be in line for another start with Aaron Rodgers (clavicle) failing to receive medical clearance. Jones has been his favorite target, if only by a hair, and should benefit from the healthy amount of yardage Atlanta is surrendering to wideouts. The Falcons should devote most of their defensive efforts toward stopping tailback Eddie Lacy and wide receiver Jordy Nelson.

Falcons vs. WR position ( per-game averages)

Rank
G
Avg Pts
Rec
ReYds
YPR
ReTD
RuAtt
RuYds
RuTD
FumL
15
4
19.3
10.25
159.5
15.6
0.75
0.00
0.00
0.00
0.25

Justin Hunter, Tennessee Titans at Denver Broncos

Hunter has 12 targets in the last two weeks and is becoming a more regular weapon in the passing game. If tight end Delanie Walker (concussion) sits, the rookie could see an increase in action. The Titans will have their hands full trying to keep up with Peyton Manning's high-octane attack, which means it's all hands on deck and Hunter's hands on the football.

Broncos vs. WR position ( per-game averages)

Rank
G
Avg Pts
Rec
ReYds
YPR
ReTD
RuAtt
RuYds
RuTD
FumL
17
4
20.0
13.25
154.5
11.7
1.00
0.25
0.00
0.00
0.00

Tight end

Jared Cook, St. Louis Rams at Arizona Cardinals

Cook burned this D for seven catches, 141 yards and two scores in the season opener. The ball was rolling from that point forward ... not for Cook's owners, unfortunately, but for Arizona's defense, which has been the season's premier fantasy matchup for tight ends all year.

Guess who's back? Cook has been involved consistently in five of St. Louis' past six games, and he's scored in two of their past four. He's in line for something close to a repeat performance.

Cardinals vs. TE position ( per-game averages)

Rank
G
Avg Pts
Rec
ReYds
YPR
ReTD
FumL
32
4
15.3
6.00
73.3
12.2
1.50
0.00

Rob Housler, Arizona Cardinals vs. St. Louis Rams

The Rams have typically defended tight ends well. But the numbers aren't in their favor recently, thanks to their blowout against the Chicago Bears, who were in catch-up mode, and then a faceoff with Vernon Davis.

St. Louis may have the TE formula again in Week 14. Physical corner Cortland Finnegan (eye) is on IR, and a few of the team's other DBs are hurting. The Rams' secondary will have to devote a lot of resources to Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd. Housler has become a legit threat in his own right, with at least five targets in each of his last four games.

Rams vs. TE position ( per-game averages)

Rank
G
Avg Pts
Rec
ReYds
YPR
ReTD
FumL
27
3
10.3
4.00
59.0
14.8
0.67
0.00

Place kicker

Garrett Hartley, New Orleans Saints vs. Carolina Panthers

Hartley has only attempted three field goals in game just once in his last four, and he's missed six of 26 on the year. New Orleans typically scores plenty of TDs, so he's relegated to XPAs more often. But the Panthers, one of the league's best defenses, typically holds near the red zone, so they've allowed a lot of trey tries (the third most over the past month, in fact). Expect more this weekend.

Panthers vs. PK position ( per-game averages)

Rank
G
Avg Pts
FG
FGA
XP Made
XP Att
Max Kick Pts
23
4
8.3
2.50
3.00
0.75
0.75
10

Josh Scobee, Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Houston Texans

The Scobes has missed two of 19 FGAs on the year (both coming in the last month) and has six attempts over his last two affairs. This offense has been moving the ball surprisingly well lately, which means he'll be a sneaky play for a quietly improving offense (yes, even without Justin Blackmon). Did you know that including this season, Scobee has connected on 65 of 72 field goal tries (90.3 percent)?

Texans vs. PK position ( per-game averages)

Rank
G
Avg Pts
FG
FGA
XP Made
XP Att
Max Kick Pts
18
4
7.5
1.50
2.25
3.00
3.00
10

Defensive team

Oakland Raiders at New York Jets

Sometimes, you just have to point out the obvious. Anyone facing Gang Green, who'll have Geno Smith under center, is an attractive fantasy rental. (Matt Simms wasn't much better.) With such an unreliable passing game, it'll once again be hard for them to move the ball with Oakland, who's averaging 2.25 sacks per contest, stacking the box.

Jets' offense ( per-game averages)

G
Int Thrown
Sacks Allwd
Fum Lost
TO/Gm
3
2.33
3.67
1.00
3.33

Minnesota Vikings at Baltimore Ravens

This recommendation skews toward those leagues where points allowed aren't heavily penalized, because Minnesota will definitely allow plenty of tallies and yards. They've recorded 2.5 sacks per game, though, and Joe Flacco has been brought down at least twice in each of his last four outings. He also threw five picks in Weeks 10 through 12. It's a fine opportunity for Jared Allen, Chad Greenway and the rest of the D to do ... something, and they stand out among desperation options.

Ravens' offense ( per-game averages)

G
Int Thrown
Sacks Allwd
Fum Lost
TO/Gm
4
1.25
3.50
0.25
1.50

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