You made the fantasy football playoffs? In this economy? Congratulations, you lucky SOB! Navigating this season of turmoil deserves a lot of respect — or a tip of the hat to lady luck. Either way, as the Roman philosopher Seneca once said, “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.”
Now that we’re heading into the Week 14 slate, let’s look at some lineup decisions at each position to help you advance to the semifinals. Today we’ll look at quarterbacks and running backs, with wide receivers and tight ends tomorrow.
Russell Wilson vs. New York Jets
Listen, I know Wilson has been disappointing you lately. Over the past three weeks, he’s only been the QB13, a far cry from his MVP-caliber start to the season… but this is the Jets. They’ve given up the fourth-most fantasy points per game to the QB position, and, according to PFF’s WR/CB tool, Tyler Lockett and D.K. Metcalf each have two of the seven-best matchups in the NFL this week. Wilson could easily be top-3 at the position this week.
Ryan Tannehill vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
Tannehill has quietly been the overall QB7 on the season, and has a juicy matchup this weekend. Coming off the beating the Browns put on them last week, and still fighting for the division title, I expect Tennessee to show up in a big way this weekend. Jacksonville generates the fourth-fewest sacks per game this season (1.2) and gives up the 3rd-most fantasy points per game to the quarterback position.
Jared Goff vs. New England Patriots
After a rough start to the year, the Patriots are starting to look like the Patriots again. In a rematch of the 2018 Super Bowl, Goff gets a Bill Belichick defense that just kicked the bricks off Justin Herbert and the Chargers. When Goff is good, he’s good. When he’s bad, he’s really, really bad. San Francisco held him to only 5.0 fantasy points two weeks ago. There is way too wide a range of outcomes for me to like this matchup. Start someone else if you can.
Derek Carr vs. Indianapolis Colts
The Colts are coming off a performance where they generated five sacks. The Raiders’ line isn’t stellar, and in an offense that relies on the run game and on its tight end play, both of which are strengths for the Colts defense, it could be a long day for Carr. The Colts give up only the third-fewest fantasy points per game to the tight end position.
Wayne Gallman vs. Arizona Cardinals
It might feel gross, but Gallman has almost silently been the RB11 over the last four weeks, averaging 16.9 fantasy points per game. The Giants defense has been ballin’ out lately, allowing them to run the ball and control the clock. Even if the game script starts to get away from the Giants, Gallman has shown he can catch, as well. Two weeks ago, he had five targets. Gallman is essentially free and you can plug him in as a high-end RB2 this week.
Giovani Bernard vs. Dallas Cowboys
Did you watch the Ravens game? Play every running back against Dallas, always. It was announced today that Joe Mixon won’t play this week, putting Bernard in line — again — for starting running back duties. Same thing as Gallman: plug him in as your RB2, or even in your flex, and he could easily finish as an RB1 this week. Also, there’s a good chance they shut down Mixon for the year in a lost season. Bernard could be viable for the duration of your playoffs.
Damien Harris vs. Los Angeles Rams
On the flip side of that Rams/Patriots matchup I talked about earlier, emerging talent Damien Harris has a brutal matchup. The Rams are allowing only the fourth-fewest fantasy points per game to the running back position. Harris had a couple decent games against good matchups (Buffalo, Houston) but has struggled otherwise. Let Harris hang out on your bench for this one.
Miles Sanders vs. the New Orleans Saints
Not only does Sanders go up against a team that hasn’t allowed an 100-yard rusher in 49 straight games since Nov. 19, 2017, and not only are the Saints allowing the fewest fantasy points per game to the running back position, and not only are the Eagles giving a rookie quarterback his first career start, and not only are the Eagles generating the fifth-fewest fantasy points per game from the running back position, and… you get the point. It’s gross. I want no part of this offense this week.
Come back tomorrow as we look at some wide receiver and tight end matchups for the first week of the fantasy football playoffs. Let’s go get those championships.