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Fantasy Football Warning Signals for Week 14: C.J. Stroud, Tony Pollard, and Calvin Ridley

Week 14 of the fantasy football season is underway and while we may have drafted certain players at a premium, it is okay to consider benching them despite their name value. We often hear the phrase "start your studs" and it is a tried and true method, especially earlier in the season. When injuries, tough matchups, and/or questionable team situations arise, we must adjust. Today, I'll be looking at C.J. Stroud, Tony Pollard, and Calvin Ridley.

It may be difficult to stomach benching a player drafted within the top 100 for a possible free-agent acquisition, but sometimes such measures must be taken to ensure victory throughout the fantasy football season.

Here is a look at some fantasy football players who have shown warning signals recently, and you should think twice about putting them in your lineup in Week 14. Will they bounce back or continue to underperform? For any issues and/or concerns, contact @RotoSurgeon on X.

Editor's Note: Our incredible team of writers won two writing awards and received 12 award nominations by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association. A big congrats to our very own Byron Lindeque (Golf) and Jordan McAbee (NASCAR) for both winning Writer Of The Year awards! Be sure to follow RotoBaller's analysis and advice all year long, and win more. Win More With RotoBaller!

 

Quarterback Concerns - Sit 'Em for Week 14?

C.J. Stroud - Houston Texans @ New York Jets

New York's pass defense is great but typically, a high-end QB can mitigate a matchup with their skill set. What makes Stroud a bench option this week is the fact that the Jets' offense will not put much of an onus on the Texans to press offensively. Houston can play a conservative style of ball for 60 minutes and win the game with two scoring drives as teams have done against the Jets all season.

Also, losing Tank Dell for the season is a massive hit to the Texans' weekly offensive upside. Nico Collins has flashed WR1 ability throughout the season but beyond him, the Texans are working with a hodgepodge of solid, but unspectacular talent between Noah Brown, Dalton Schultz, and Robert Woods. Sit Stroud this week to get an idea of how the offense looks sans Dell.

Who To Start Instead?

Joshua Dobbs - Minnesota Vikings @ Las Vegas Raiders

With Justin Jefferson likely returning in Week 14, the enigmatic Joshua Dobbs is now surrounded by one of the league's best OL and offensive corps in Jefferson, Jordan Addison, and T.J. Hockenson. Dobbs is unlikely to elevate this offense to the heights it is capable of but the fantasy capabilities are strong, especially matched up against a Raiders defense below average against both the run and pass, according to DVOA.

Dobbs has rushed for 400 yards and six TDs on 72 carries this season and should have plenty of space on the field to operate this Sunday. This game is a must-win for him as the team is mulling over his status as the starter given recent struggles. Given the matchup and talent at hand, it would be difficult for him to not produce.

 

Running Back Concerns - Sit 'Em for Week 14?

Tony Pollard - Dallas Cowboys vs. Philadelphia Eagles

While the Eagles' run defense was gashed this past week against the 49ers, that can be forgiven due to the success SF has sustained throughout the season. Philadelphia still ranks as the best fantasy defense against rushing with just three games of 75 or more yards accumulated all year.

The last time Philadelphia and Dallas faced off, the Cowboys' RBs generated just 59 yards and no touchdowns on 14 carries. Pollard scored a mere 7.8 points in half-PPR despite touching the ball 15 times. Bench him if you have better options available.

Who To Start Instead?

Keaton Mitchell - Baltimore Ravens vs. Los Angeles Rams

With Baltimore off of a bye, we may see more Mitchell this week against a Rams run defense ranking 21st in DVOA. In Week 12, Mitchell played a season-high 46% of the snaps in a competitive game against the Chargers. He accumulated 89 yards on 11 touches and displayed the most juice of any Ravens RB since pre-ACL injury J.K. Dobbins.

While Gus Edwards remains a threat in short-yardage situations like valuable goal-line situations, Mitchell has the burst to score from 20-plus yards out on a given touch. With the weather likely heavy in rain and wind this Sunday in Baltimore, we could witness Mitchell's best fantasy performance since Week 9.

 

Wide Receiver Concerns - Sit 'Em for Week 14?

Calvin Ridley - Jacksonville Jaguars @ Cleveland Browns

With Trevor Lawrence likely out and star CB Denzel Ward scheduled to return this Sunday, Calvin Ridley is best left on fantasy benches as C.J. Beathard is under center for Jacksonville. Ridley's struggles this season are well-noted and sporadic. While he does seem to perform at his highest level with fellow WR Zay Jones active, the loss of slot WR Christian Kirk may impact how defenses attack the Jaguars.

Similar to the aforementioned loss of Tank Dell for C.J. Stroud, this week can be a good litmus test for fantasy managers to gauge Ridley's usage and performance without Kirk. It also does not help that the Browns lead all teams in time of possession and the weather in Cleveland this weekend is reportedly very windy.

Who To Start Instead?

Jayden Reed - Green Bay Packers @ New York Giants

With Christian Watson unlikely for Monday Night Football (according to him), Jayden Reed slides into borderline must-start territory as he is scoring 12.8 PPG since the Packers' Week 7 bye. Reed played less than half of the offensive snaps last week due to a chest injury and it impacted his fantasy performance greatly with just four catches and 16 yards on five targets.

Reed is expected back to full strength for the upcoming game against a mediocre Giants defense. Most importantly, Reed's QB Jordan Love is on a tear of late. Since the beginning of November, Love has posted 7.9 yards per attempt with 11 touchdowns and just two interceptions in five games. Reed is the de facto WR1 of the offense with Watson out and he should return to providing fantasy value immediately.



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