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10 Lineup Busts and Avoids for Week 14

It's time to turn up the pressure! Week 14 is here and that means the playoffs have probably begun in your leagues. If you made it, congrats! If you didn't, there's always next year! Or there's the consolation bracket, which comes with a tiny, tiny amount of bragging rights. Or there's daily fantasy. Fantasy football never ends! (Unless it's after the Super Bowl. There's probably some arena football fantasy leagues that you can play in, but I'm not sure we can help you much with those here at Rotoballer, though if anyone reading this wants to put one together feel free to shoot me an email because that sounds like the kind of weird fun I'd enjoy.)

A couple of changes to the column this week and for the rest of the regular season: no more recap of last week. Instead, the 200 or so words that usually comprise that are going to be redistributed to the rest of the column so you can have more information to use for making your lineup calls this week. We're talking about playoffs! You've got to have as many chances as possible to not screw it up!

Below are ten lineup busts and avoids for Week 14 of NFL action.

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Top 10 Busts - NFL Week 14

Eli Manning (Quarterback, New York Giants)

This one feels obvious since Manning has played poorly enough this season that former head coach Ben McAdoo benched him for Geno Smith last week, but McAdoo has been fired and Manning has returned to the starting lineup. It feels like people often expect a player to receive a bump in production in a situation like this, but that's a flawed narrative, especially in this particular situation. The Giants still have an extremely weak receiving core, Manning is still the same guy who didn't throw a touchdown in the two weeks before his benching, and didn't throw for a touchdown in Week 1 against the Cowboys.

Cam Newton (Quarterback, Carolina Panthers)

It took a lot of thinking to not put Russell Wilson here, since he plays against the league's best defense. I ultimately decided that Seattle relies SO much on Wilson that he's unlikely to post a complete dud. Cam Newton against Minnesota? I don't feel nearly as confident about that. The Vikings are the fourth-best defense against opposing quarterbacks and Newton's thrown for 200 or more yards just once in his past five games. Newton will need to use his legs this week to find fantasy value, but the Vikings are allowing less than five rushing yards per-game to quarterbacks. I don't like Cam this week.

Jordan Howard (Running Back, Chicago Bears)

As someone who has Howard in a ton of leagues, his recent production has worried me. 13 carries for 38 yards against a 49ers defense that is currently ranked as the third-worst against running backs. Seven carries for six yards against the Eagles. Before Chicago's bye week, Howard had run the ball 18 times or more for six consecutive games. In four games since the bye? Not a single with that large of a workload. The Bengals aren't necessarily a top defense against running backs, but if Howard can't succeed against the 49ers then I'm not sure I trust him against a better defense this week. Factor in that the Bears could be without guard Kyle Long and this is a risk I'd rather avoid.

Mike Davis (Running Back, Seattle Seahawks)

Like the rest of the fantasy football world, I like Mike Davis and think the Seahawks found a pretty good running back. The Seattle backfield has looked terrible most of this year, but a Chris Carson/Mike Davis combo could be really intriguing in 2018. That's beside the point right now, though, because Mike Davis plays Jacksonville this week. They aren't as good against the run game as they are against the passing game, but they're good enough that I'm not at all sold on Davis being successful.

Leonard Fournette (Running Back, Jacksonville Jaguars)

I've spent a lot of time talking about the other side of this match-up, but let's not sleep on the Seattle defense, which is currently allowing the third-fewest points to opposing running backs. Obviously Fournette has value down around the goal line, but without a touchdown? After a great start to the season, Fournette has only one 100-yard game in his past four outings. In two of those games, he ran for 33 yards or less. T.J. Yeldon's usage is trending upwards as well as the Jags look to keep Fournette fresh.

T.Y. Hilton (Wide Receiver, Indianapolis Colts)

Look, it's T.Y. again! Hilton found the end zone last week (oops!), but he's followed every double-digit fantasy performance this season up with a complete dud (30 yards against Seattle, 19 yards against Tennessee, and 23 yards against Pittsburgh). I understand that anecdotal evidence is a bad thing to base real decisions off of, though, so here are some statistical reasons to avoid him: the Bills have been one of the league's best defenses against opposing wide receivers, the Bills are at home, and Jacoby Brissett is still the quarterback for Indianapolis.

Devin Funchess (Wide Receiver, Carolina Panthers)

I hate how much of my fantasy team is ending up on this list this week! I have Newton on here, so it makes sense that I have Newton's number one option, Funchess, here as well. The Vikings are a team that shuts down opposing wide receivers on a fairly consistent basis, and Funchess took awhile to get involved last week against New Orleans. Tight end Greg Olsen is back too, though who knows how that will end up affecting Funchess.

Doug Baldwin (Wide Receiver, Seattle Seahawks)

I called Baldwin a potential bust last week and wasn't right, but I feel better about that call this week against the Jaguars, who allow the least points to wide receivers but are just in the middle-of-the-pack against tight ends. Expect Jimmy Graham to be Russell Wilson's top target in a low-scoring game, which really hurts Baldwin's upside. I know there's this narrative about Baldwin being a must start in the final quarter of every season, but the numbers don't support that narrative this week.

Jared Cook (Tight End, Oakland Raiders)

HA HA HA HA HA HA WHAT IS HAPPENING HERE. Cook was expected to be the primary beneficiary of Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper missing last week's game against the Giants (the worst team against tight ends!) and finished with one catch for nine yards. The week before, against a Denver team that allows the second-most points to tight ends, he finished with one catch for two yards. Now he plays a Chiefs team that is actually good at defending tight ends. There's no way he even gets close to any of my lineups.

Eric Ebron (Tight End, Detroit Lions)

Just for old times sake, here's Eric Ebron. The Buccaneers defense has struggled this year, but one position they haven't struggled against the tight end position. Ebron has caught four passes in each of Detroit's last three games, so it wouldn't be a shock to see him creeping back into lineups. Don't do it, though, because again: Tampa Bay is allowing the least points to tight ends.


More Week 14 Lineup Prep


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