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Under-the-Radar Booms/Busts: Week 14

This is arguably the most important week of the fantasy football regular season.

Week 14 is the last week of the regular season in many if not most fantasy leagues. Postseason berths and playoff positioning are up for grabs during this week, and fantasy players do not have to worry about any of their superstars or kickers being on bye. So if there was ever a week for me to choose the correct under-the-radar booms and busts, it’s this week.  Gulp!

Here are some under-the-radar booms and busts for the 14th week of NFL action to help you set a winning lineup. Good luck RotoBallers!

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Week 14 Under-the-Radar Booms

Baker Mayfield (QB, CLE) vs. CAR

After five consecutive multiple-touchdown games, Mayfield may have ruined the playoff hopes of millions of fantasy owners last week with his three-interception trainwreck against Houston. While he did throw for a career-high 397 yards in the game, the trio of turnovers and one lone touchdown toss probably hurt fantasy players more than the extra yardage helped.

Somebody call the rebound police! Mayfield is going to rebound this week better than Moses Malone did back in his Houston Rockets days. Carolina’s pass defense has fallen steadily to 22nd in the league and has allowed 14 touchdown passes over its past five contests. Now the Panthers have reshuffled their defensive coaching staff, which is never a good sign. I think 280 passing yards and three touchdown heaves is certainly within Mayfield’s wheelhouse this week.

Chris Godwin (WR, JAX) vs. NOR

Fantasy owners have waited patiently while Godwin has had to deal with Tampa Bay flip-flopping its quarterbacks all season long while allowing Mike Evans, DeSean Jackson, Adam Humphries, O.J. Howard, Cameron Brate and Godwin to fight over the targets.  Godwin started the season with touchdown catches in four of his first five games, but having to fight and claw for attention with five other above-average pass catchers slowed his fantasy growth. He went six straight games without a touchdown before his past weekend and averaged just 50 yards per game during that juncture.

Godwin had his second 100-yard-game of the season against Carolina last Sunday with Jackson sidelined with an injured thumb and Howard out for the year with an injured knee. Do not be surprised if Godwin repeats his performance this week against New Orleans’ 30th-ranked pass defense in a game shaping up to be a shootout. The Saints have had problems with their No. 2 and No. 3 cornerbacks throughout the season, and acquiring Eli Apple from the New York Giants at the trade deadline has actually made things worse. Godwin is a great low-priced buy this week, especially if Jackson misses the game.

Randall Cobb (WR, GB) vs. ATL

Green Bay’s offense is in a state of flux, and it is hard to tell what direction it will go now that longtime head coach Mike McCarthy was fired after the Packers’ embarrassing loss to the Arizona Cardinals. You would think Aaron Rodgers and company should turn things around with fresh voices running the show and the urgency to win games ASAP. This comes at a welcomed time for Cobb, who since racking up nine catches for 142 yards and a touchdown in the opening game of the season has fallen off the fantasy map. He has not had more than 40 receiving yards in a game or scored a touchdown since.

Cobb is now an afterthought in a passing attack that revolves around ultra-skilled Davante Adams and younger receivers with much longer names than Cobb’s. But I think the Packers will go back to the basics and get their veteran slot receiver more involved in the offense this weekend against Atlanta’s injury-riddled 25th-ranked pass defense. Look for Cobb to have his second-best game of the season this week and be an underrated help in PPR and DFS leagues.


Week 14 Under-the-Radar Busts

Eli Manning (QB, NYG) at WAS

Dr. Phil says the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior. If that is the case, Manning’s future is looking bleak this week. He is facing a Washington defense that has owned him in recent years. In Manning’s last half-dozen games against the Redskins, he had a five-to-nine TD-to-INT ratio and had three stinkers where he threw for 180 yards or less.

Manning and the Giants are playing the best ball of the season while Washington is freefalling faster than Kareem Hunt’s fantasy value these days. But just because Mark Sanchez is quarterbacking for the Redskins, that does not mean that Manning will have an easier time on his side of the field. Manning has yet to throw for multiple touchdown tosses against a division rival this season (three TD in four games) and could be a clunker away from Kyle Lauletta getting some snaps. Look for Washington’s defense to step up in a must-win home game and clamp down on Manning and his receiving corps…again.

Doug Baldwin (WR, SEA) vs. MIN (Monday)

Baldwin has ceded his spot as Seattle’s No. 1 wideout to Tyler Lockett this year. He has had more problems below the belt this season than a boxer who gets punched repeatedly in the groin. Lower-body injuries have sapped Baldwin of some of his speed and kept him off the field a lot, although his fantasy value has been on an upturn recently with touchdowns in two of his past three games.

Baldwin has to find open areas against Minnesota’s ninth-ranked pass defense, which will not be an easy chore. In four games against Aaron Rodgers (two games), Drew Brees and Tom Brady this season the Vikings only allowed a combined four touchdown passes. Even though his target totals have been increasing and Lockett is not a hard receiver to surpass to become No. 1 again, this is not the week for Baldwin to have his first 100-yard-game of 2018.

Chris Conley (WR, KC) vs. BAL

Conley has thrived while Sammy Watkins and his perennially sore foot have been sidelined the past two games. Conley caught 10 passes for 99 yards and three touchdowns while Watkins was away and could be in line for another start this weekend if Watkins does not get healthy real soon, which has never been his forte. With Kansas City’s running attack severely downgraded in the wake of the Kareem Hunt fiasco, you would assume Conley could have another eight targets and a resulting touchdown coming his way this Sunday.

This weekend’s Baltimore-Kansas City contest is going to be one of the most interesting and entertaining of the season since the Ravens’ top-ranked scoring defense will be up against the Chiefs’ top-ranked scoring offense. Between Baltimore’s penchant for bottling up pass catchers (no receiver has had more than 80 yards against the Ravens in their last four games) and the possibility of Watkins returning (his status is questionable), there are other receivers at the same price in DFS leagues I’d rather hang my helmet on.

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