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Week 14 Matchups - Fantasy Football Game Breakdowns (Part 1)


Welcome to our Week 14 matchups analysis and starts/sits column for fantasy football. We'll be covering every matchup from every Sunday game to help you make the best decisions for your fantasy lineups. We'll also be updating this as injury reports come in so check back often.

This article will cover the early slate of games, beginning at 1 PM ET on Sunday. Also, check out our late game matchups analysis and our MNF matchups analysis.

Check back here each week to get advice for your toughest start/sit decisions and take a look at our consensus rankings each week. Find me on Twitter @ChrisMangano for more insight and help to your start/sit questions.

Editor's Note: All you early birds can get a full-season NFL Premium Pass for 50% off. Our Draft Kit, In-Season tools and over 150 days of Premium DFS. Sign Up Now!

 

Matchups Analysis - 1:00 PM ET Games

It's fantasy playoff time (for most of you) and there is a full slate of eight 1:00 PM games. Set those lineups in time by analyzing each matchup below to gain the best advantage and advance to the next round!

 

Jets at Bills

Matchups We Love:

LeSean McCoy (RB, BUF)
McCoy has 58 carries over the last three games and now gets a Jets defense giving up 4.5 yards per carry and over 100 yards per game. When the teams played in New York Week 10, McCoy racked up 118 total yards and two scores. Despite Josh Allen's increased running, McCoy remains a solid RB2 start with upside this week.

Zay Jones (WR, BUF)
Don't look now but Jones has emerged as the Bills number one receiver. He leads the team in targets over the last two weeks though he only has three catches, 52 yards, and one score over that span. He gets a great matchup this week, however, facing a Jets secondary allowing the third most receptions and 190 yards per game. The release of Kelvin Benjamin frees up even more targets for him. He is an upside WR3 play.

Matchups We Hate:

Sam Darnold (QB, NYJ)
Darnold is set to return from the foot injury that sidelined him for three weeks, and he'll be welcomed back by a Bills defense giving up the fewest yards to opposing passers. Darnold has only topped 200 yards four times all season and has thrown for more than one touchdown just three times. He is a risky start in any format.

Quincy Enunwa (WR, NYJ) / Robby Anderson (WR, NYJ)
In Week 13 Enunwa and Anderson led the Jets with six targets each but combined for just five catches and 41 yards. Now they face a Bills secondary allowing the seventh-fewest receptions per game and just 120 yards. Neither can be trusted in fantasy lineups.

Chris Herndon IV (TE, NYJ)
Over the last three games, Herndon leads the Jets in targets, receptions, and yards but has not scored over that stretch. He faces a tough test against a Bills defense giving up the second fewest receptions to tight ends and just 35 yards per game. He'll get the looks, but in this matchup, he is a risky start.

Other Matchups:

Isaiah Crowell (RB, NYJ) / Elijah McGuire (RB, NYJ)
Crowell out-touched McGuire 25 to seven and even had four catches to McGuire's one. While you can't count on that kind of usage every week, it appears Crowell has taken control of this backfield. The Bills are allowing 4.1 yards per carry and over 80 yards on the ground, so opportunity should be there. Still, he can't be considered more than a touchdown-dependent RB3. McGuire should not be started.

Josh Allen (QB, BUF)
Since returning from his elbow injury, Allen has thrown for just 160 and 231 yards but has 99 and 135 yards on the ground. He also has four total touchdowns over that span. Offering a safe floor, Allen has a huge ceiling facing a Jets defense that is middle of the pack against quarterbacks but over 10 yards per rush to Marcus Mariota. If you need a home run at quarterback Allen should deliver.

 

Giants at Redskins

Matchups We Love:

Sterling Shepard (WR, NYG) / Odell Beckham Jr. (WR, NYG)

UPDATE: It was announced on Saturday that Odell Beckham Jr. will not play this week, and is dealing with a quad injury.

Beckham leads the Giants with 12 catches, 194 yards, and two touchdowns over the last three games on 22 targets (24% share). Shepard is third with 14 targets (15% share) but has only 87 yards over that span. Beckham has a chance to put up a huge game against a Redskins secondary allowing the seventh most receptions and just under 200 yards per game. He remains a weekly must-start. Shepard should have chances as well and is a PPR flex play.

Adrian Peterson (RB, WAS)
Peterson showed that he still has plenty of speed last week as he outran the Eagles defense on a 90-yard handoff. Unfortunately, he only totaled eight yards outside of that one run. He should have much less trouble this week against a Giants defense that has been terrible against the run since trading Damon Harrison. Peterson is a safe RB2 play with some upside.

Jordan Reed (TE, WAS)
It remains to be seen how Mark Sanchez affects this Redskins offense, but Reed leads the team with 24 targets (24% share), 17 receptions, and 167 yards over the last three contests. He gets a Giants defense allowing the ninth most receptions and over 60 yards per game to the position. In the current tight end landscape, we are dealing with he is a solid TE1 start.

Matchups We Hate:

Mark Sanchez (QB, WAS)
It's 2018 and I'm writing about Mark Sanchez. What a wild year it's been. With Alex Smith and Colt McCoy both suffering broken legs, Sanchez has been thrust into the starting role. He relieved McCoy in Week 13 and completed 13 of 21 passes for 100 yards and an interception. Having a full week to practice should help, but the Giants are only allowing 260 yards and one touchdown to quarterbacks. Start him at your own peril.

Other Matchups:

Eli Manning (QB, NYG)
After throwing for 297 yards in Week 12, Manning could muster just 170 yards and one touchdown against a tough Bears defense in Week 13. He gets an easier matchup this week as the Redskins give up 280 yards through the air and just under two touchdowns. Manning is a low-end QB2 play.

Saquon Barkley (RB, NYG)
Barkley has three straight games with over 100 rushing yards and has caught 10 passes over the last two games. He should have little trouble against a Redskins defense allowing 4.3 yards per carry and just under 90 yards per game. They also give up over six receptions per game to backs. Barkley caught nine passes for 73 yards the last time these teams faced each other, and the Redskins run defense has fallen off a cliff since then. He is an easy RB1 start.

Evan Engram (TE, NYG)
Engram appears set to play this week for whatever that is worth. Engram has only seen more than five targets twice all year and is averaging just three receptions and 36 yards per game. The matchup is not overly tough, but his usage makes him little more than a TE2 this week.

Josh Doctson (WR, WAS) / Jamison Crowder (WR, WAS)
Crowder returned in Week 13, but Doctson still led the team with five targets. Crowder was second with four. It remains to be seen how the target share will shake out with Mark Sanchez under center, and the Giants are middle-of-the-pack against receivers. Neither can be considered more than flex starts.

 

Saints at Buccaneers

Matchups We Love:

Drew Brees (QB, NO)
Brees is coming off his worst game of the season, throwing for just 127 yards with one touchdown and one interception against Dallas on Thursday night. He gets a dream matchup this week, however, as the Buccaneers allow almost 300 yards and over two touchdowns per game to passers. When these teams met in Week 1, he lit them up for 439 yards and three touchdowns.

Michael Thomas (WR, NO)
Thomas has seen his target share drop over the last three games (21%) but is still catching at an incredibly high rate as he's caught 12 of 17 targets for 161 yards with one score. He should be heavily involved this week, however, as the Buccaneers secondary cannot hang with him. In Week 1 he torched them for 16 catches, 180 yards, and one score. While there's always a risk Drew Brees will spread the ball, this is a smash spot for Thomas, and he could finish as the overall WR1.

Dan Arnold (TE, NO)
Arnold has overtaken Ben Watson as the Saints pass-catching tight end, out-targeting him 10 to two over the last three games. While Darnold is not playing a ton of snaps, he is getting an opportunity when on the field. He gets a great matchup against a Buccaneers defense that allows the sixth most receptions to tight ends and just under 75 yards per game. If you're desperate at tight end, he makes for a viable streaming option.

Jameis Winston (QB, TB)
In the two games since reclaiming starter duties, Winston has thrown for 561 yards and four touchdowns. He has also added 72 rushing yards and has yet to throw an interception. He remains a top-10 option with tons of upside against a Saints defense allowing 300 yards per game and just under two touchdowns.

Mike Evans / Chris Godwin / Adam Humphries (WR, TB)
In Week 13 with DeSean Jackson out of the lineup, the Bucs target breakdown was Humphries eight, Evans and Godwin six. Godwin had a monster day catching five of his targets for 101 yards and a score. Humphries caught six for 48 yards but also added a score while Evans caught just four for 48 yards. The Saints give up the most catches, yards, and second most touchdowns to receivers, so all are in play this week. Evans remains a low-end WR1 while Godwin and Humphries are upside WR2/3 plays.

Matchups We Hate:

Peyton Barber (RB, TB)
Barber has 34 carries over the last two games, but has just a combined 92 yards, though he has scored in three straight. He faces a tough Saints run defense that is holding backs to the lowest yards per carry (3.2) and fewest yards per game (52). Barber is nothing more than a touchdown-dependent desperation play.

Cameron Brate (TE, TB)
Brate has 10 targets in the two games that O.J. Howard has missed, but he has yet to total more than 36 yards in either. He has scored once and dropped a sure touchdown last week, but will be facing a Saints defense holding tight ends to the third fewest receptions and just 35 yards per game. Brate will need a touchdown to pay off this week.

Other Matchups:

Mark Ingram / Alvin Kamara (RB, NO)
Ingram has 18 carries and four receptions over the last two games, while Kamara has 25 and nine. Neither has topped 100 total yards in either game. Both should have chances this week against a Buccaneers defense giving up 4.6 yards per carry and 92 yards on the ground, while also allowing just under six receptions per game. Kamara remains every week must-start RB1 while Ingram is a high-end RB2.

 

Patriots at Dolphins

Matchups We Love:

Sony Michel / James White (RB, NE)
Despite facing a tough Vikings run defense, and the return of Rex Burkhead, Michel still lead the Patriots with 17 carries. Burkhead had seven and White had six, but White also caught seven passes. Michel gets a much easier matchup this week against a Dolphins run defense allowing 4.7 yards per carry and 117 yards on the ground. White, meanwhile, should remain heavily involved in the passing game. Burkhead is nothing more than a desperation start.

Matchups We Hate:

None

Other Matchups:

Tom Brady (QB, NE)
Brady has 594 yards and three touchdowns over the last two games and faces a Dolphins defense that is average at stopping quarterbacks. When these teams met in Week 4, Brady threw for 274 yards and three touchdowns but also had two interceptions. With Xavier Howard unlikely to play Brady's outlook looks even better, and he is a solid QB1 option.

Josh Gordon / Julian Edelman (WR, NE)
Normally this would be a tough matchup, especially for Gordon, but Dolphins stud corner Xavien Howard looks more than doubtful to suit up this Sunday. That will leave rookie Mikah Fitzpatrick as the Dolphins best corner, and both Gordon and Edelman get a big upgrade. Both are upside WR2 starts in this one.

Rob Gronkowski (TE, NE)
Oh, how the mighty have fallen. Gronkowski has only topped 60 yards three times all season and hasn't gone over 100 yards since Week 1. He's also only scored two touchdowns. The Dolphins are middle-of-the-pack against tight ends, but they did hold him to four catches for 44 yards in Week 4. Still, it's unlikely you have better options, you just have to hope he rekindles the magic.

Ryan Tannehill (QB, MIA)
Tannehill has only thrown for 341 yards over the last two games but has five touchdowns in that span. The Patriots are allowing 273 yards and just under two touchdowns per game, so there is some hope for him. Still, he remains nothing more than a low-end QB2.

Kenyan Drake / Frank Gore (RB, MIA)
Gore continues to get the bulk of the carries, but Drake is heavily used in the passing game. The Patriots are giving up 4.4 yards per carry and 88 yards on the ground, but also allow over six receptions to running backs. This is good for Drake who makes for a low-end RB2 in PPR formats. Gore should not be started if possible and will need a touchdown to pay off.

Devante Parker / Kenny Stills (WR, MIA)
In Week 13 Parker led the Dolphins with seven targets while Stills had six. Both had four catches and a score but neither topped 45 yards. The Patriots secondary is average at defending receivers, but both Parker and Stills are tough to trust. Neither can be considered more than flex starts in this low volume passing attack.

 

Ravens at Chiefs

Matchups We Love:

Lamar Jackson (QB, BAL)
In Jackson's three starts he has yet to throw for more than 178 yards and has just one touchdown versus three interceptions. He's been doing damage on the ground, however, with 70 or more yards in all three and two rushing touchdowns. The Chiefs allow over 300 yards and just under two touchdowns to quarterbacks, but it's unlikely the Ravens will even give Jackson a chance to take advantage of that. His rushing gives him a relatively safe floor, however, and in such a good matchup he could finally surpass 200 passing yards.

Gus Edwards (RB, BAL)
Edwards has 71 carries, 315 yards, and one score in the three games with Lamar Jackson at quarterback, and gets a great matchup against a Chiefs run defense that gives up 5.1 yards per carry (most in the league) and 110 yards per game. Edwards is a solid RB2 start with upside in this one.

Mark Andrews (TE, BAL)
In Week 13 Andrews led the Ravens tight ends with three targets, catching all three for 47 yards. The Chiefs give up the third most receptions and the most yards per game to tight ends, so Andrews should have chances. He's worth a stream in deeper formats.

Matchups We Hate:

Patrick Mahomes (QB, KC)
Look, you aren't benching Mahomes. He's been fantastic regardless of opponent. Just know the matchup is less than ideal. The Ravens are holding opposing quarterbacks to 213 yards and one touchdown per game, and have only allowed four top-10 finishes at the position. That being said Mahomes has the highest weekly ceiling of any quarterback while offering a safe floor. Despite the matchup, he remains a must-start.

Spencer Ware (RB, KC)
In the first game without Kareem Hunt, Ware handled 14 of 19 running back carries and saw one of the team's three running back targets. While he disappointed from a yardage standpoint, he got both goal-line carries scoring once. With a full week to integrate into the offense, he should be better, but the matchup is brutal. The Ravens run defense holds opposing backs to just 3.4 yards per carry and 65 yards on the ground. Being the starter in an elite offense keeps Ware in the low-end RB2 discussion, but he has limited upside this week.

Tyreek Hill (WR, KC)
Hill has topped 90 or more yards four times this year but hasn't had more than 70 in any other game. The definition of boom/bust, Hill could bust this week facing a Ravens secondary allowing the third fewest receptions and just 125 yards per game. Hill is always one play away from booming, but you may want to temper expectations this week.

Other Matchups:

Michael Crabtree / Willie Snead / John Brown (WR, BAL)
The good for the Ravens receivers this week? The Chiefs give up the fourth most receptions and over 170 yards per game. The bad? Lamar Jackson has not completed more than 14 passes in three starts thus far. Perhaps the Ravens will fall behind and be forced to air it out, but that is a big gamble. While the matchup is great, no Ravens receiver can be trusted in such an important week.

Travis Kelce (TE, KC)
Kelce is coming off a monstrous 12 catch, 168 yards, two touchdown game against the Raiders. He now has 22 catches, 295 yards, and three scores over his last two games. With the Ravens secondary doing such a good job on receivers Mahomes could once again lean on him. He remains a weekly must-start and a top-two option at tight end.

 

Colts at Texans

Matchups We Love:

Eric Ebron (TE, IND)
Ebron had 10 catches for 81 yards on 16 targets against Jacksonville in Week 13, and if not for some bad drops would have had an even bigger game. Now he gets a Texans defense giving up the eighth most receptions to tight ends and over 60 yards per game. He is a solid top-5 option and a must-start.

Jordan Thomas (TE, HOU)
Need to stream a tight end? Thomas has a sneaky appeal against a Colts defense that allows the second most receptions to the position and over 66 yards per game. Thomas only has four catches for 38 yards over the last two games but has scored a touchdown. He comes with risk, but the matchup is right.

Matchups We Hate:

Marlon Mack (RB, IND)
Outside of playing the Jaguars, Mack has 80 or more yards in four of six games and has four touchdowns on the season. He missed the game the last time these two teams met, but he may struggle as the Texans hold opposing running backs to just 3.4 yards per carry and 70 yards per game. There is lots of opportunity in the Colts offense, so it is hard to bench Mack, but you should temper expectations.

Lamar Miller (RB, HOU)
Miller has over 100 yards in four of his last six games but will be tested against a Colts defense that holds running backs to 3.8 yards per carry and 87 yards per game. Miller is a solid RB2 start at this point, but you may want to temper expectations this week.

DeAndre Hopkins / Demaryius Thomas (WR, HOU)
Hopkins leads the Texans with 24 targets over the last three games (30% share), but the team has relied more on the run of late. Thomas is tied with Keke Coutee over that stretch with 11 targets. The matchup this week is tough as the Colts secondary is holding receivers to the sixth fewest receptions and just 132 yards per game. Despite the tough matchup, Hopkins remains a weekly WR1, while Thomas is a touchdown-dependent flex. If Coutee suits up he would be the preferred option over Thomas.

Other Matchups:

Andrew Luck (QB, IND)
Luck's streak of three or more touchdowns came to an end in Week 13 as he was shutout for the first time this season against a Jaguars defense that looked like the 2017 versions of themselves. On paper, this looks like a tough matchup, but the Texans have faced some of the weakest passing offenses this season. When these teams met in Week 4 Luck lit them up for 464 yards and four touchdowns. He remains a top-5 option at the position.

T.Y. Hilton (WR, IND)
Hilton leads the Colts with 32 targets over the last three (27% share) and has 24 catches, 357 yards, and two scores over that stretch. The Texans secondary is average against receivers and Hilton should have plenty of chances in this one. He is a fringe WR1 start.

Deshaun Watson (QB, HOU)
Watson hasn't been asked to do as much with the Texans run game performing so well of late, but chances are he'll need to air it out more against a Colts defense that allows 250 yards and 1.5 touchdowns per game. While he may not have a ton of upside in this one, he is a solid QB1 start.

 

Falcons at Packers

Matchups We Love:

Aaron Rodgers (QB, GB)
Over the last two games, Rodgers has just 198 and 233 yards with one touchdown in each game. Perhaps the firing of head coach Mike McCarthy will help, but will also help is a matchup with a Falcons defense allowing 273 yards and two touchdowns per game. Rodgers is a must-start this week.

Aaron Jones (RB, GB)
Jones had his worst game of the season with just 36 yards on 11 carries but saved his day with a touchdown. What was also troubling was the Packers got Jamaal Williams more touches once again. Still, with Mike McCarthy gone, you have to think cooler heads will prevail and Jones will be back to a workhorse role. He gets a fantastic matchup against a Falcons defense allowing 4.8 yards per carry and over 100 yards per game. He is a fringe top-10 option this week with plenty of upside.

Matchups We Hate:

Austin Hooper (TE, ATL)
Hooper ranks third on the Falcons with 18 targets over the last three games (17% share) and has caught 14 for 102 yards and a score. The Packers are a tough matchup for tight ends, however, allowing the fourth fewest receptions and just 43 yards per game. Hooper is involved enough to remain a TE1, but his upside is limited this week.

Other Matchups:

Matt Ryan (QB, ATL)
Ryan threw for a season-low 131 yards in a tough Week 13 matchup against the Ravens but is in a bounce-back spot against a Packers defense that gives up 240 yards and 1.5 touchdowns. While he may not have a massive ceiling in this one, he is still a solid QB1 start.

Tevin Coleman (RB, ATL)
Coleman has 14 carries for 14 yards over the last two games but does get a good matchup against a Packers defense giving up 4.5 yards per carry and 100 yards per game. He should be better in this one, but still can't be trusted as more than a low-end RB2.

Julio Jones / Calvin Ridley / Mohamed Sanu (WR, ATL)
Over the last three games, Jones leads the Falcons with 31 targets (29% share) while Ridley has 22 (20% share) and Sanu just 14 (13% share). The Packers are middle-of-the-pack against receivers so all three should have chances. Julio remains an every week must-start, while Ridley is an upside WR3 and Sanu a low-end flex.

Davante Adams (WR, GB)
Adams may be having the quietest top-3 wide receiver season ever, but he has been one of the most consistent fantasy producers week after week. He should continue to produce against a Falcons secondary that is just average against receivers. He is a top player at the position this week.

Jimmy Graham (TE, GB)
Graham looked all the way recovered from his thumb injury in Week 13, racking up eight catches for 50 yards on 11 targets. Now he gets a Falcons defense that that is average at defending tight ends. He is a low-end TE1 start.

 

Panthers at Browns

Matchups We Love:

Christian McCaffrey (RB, CAR)
McCaffrey has 402 scrimmage yards and three touchdowns over the last two games. In short, he has been a monster. That should continue this week against a Browns defense allowing 4.7 yards per carry, 113 yards on the ground, and over five receptions. He has a chance to be the overall RB1 this week.

D.J. Moore / Devin Funchess / Curtis Samuel (WR, CAR)
With Funchess back in the lineup in Week 13, the Panthers targets were Samuel 11, Moore eight and Funchess just three. Funchess should get more involved after a tough matchup last week, and all three are in a great spot against a Browns secondary that allows the fifth most receptions and 180 yards per game. Funchess and Moore are upside WR3 plays while Samuel is a solid flex start.

Ian Thomas (TE, CAR)
With Greg Olsen lost for the season with another foot injury, Ian Thomas will step back into the starter role. Thomas did next to nothing in previous games Olsen missed, so there is a risk here, but he gets a fantastic matchup against a Browns defense giving up the most receptions to tight ends and over 65 yards per game. If you're desperate, you could do worse.

Baker Mayfield (QB, CLE)
Mayfield was awful in the first half against the Texans in Week 13 throwing three interceptions but rebounded in the second half eventually ending with 397 yards and one touchdown. He's in a great spot this week against a Panthers unit giving up over 270 yards and more than two touchdowns per game. Mayfield is a fine streaming option and a fringe QB1.

Jarvis Landry / Antonio Callaway (WR, CLE)
Welcome back, Jarvis Landry! Landry had his first game with more than 50 receiving yards in the last five games, catching six passes for 103 yards. Callaway, meanwhile, has just three fewer targets than Landry over the last three games and has caught seven passes for 146 yards and one score over that stretch. Both get a great matchup against a Panthers secondary allowing the seventh most receptions and over 180 yards per game. Landry is an upside WR2 while Callaway is a nice flex play.

David Njoku (TE, CLE)
Njoku only has 11 targets over the last three games, but that still ranks second on the team over that span. He's caught eight of them for 71 yards and a score and has a great matchup against a Panthers defense giving up the third most receptions and over 60 yards per game. He is a solid TE1 start.

Matchups We Hate:

Nick Chubb (RB, CLE)
Since the Browns traded Carlos Hyde, Chubb has been one of the best running backs in the entire league. With the Browns in catchup mode in Week 13 he had only nine carries, his first start with less than 18, but caught three passes more than Duke Johnson (2). He should get back to 18 plus carries this week but faces a tough Panthers defense giving up just 4 yards per carry and 76 yards per game. Despite the tough matchup, Chubb is an every week must-start at this point though you should temper expectations.

Other Matchups:

Cam Newton (QB, CAR)
Newton is dealing with a shoulder injury but is expected to play on Sunday. He has 300 or more passing yards in two of the last three games and has thrown for two or more touchdowns in every game since Week 1. He gets a good matchup against a Browns defense allowing 290 yards and just over one touchdown per game. He is a top-five option and a must-start.

More Weekly Lineup Prep