As a good friend of mine said after last Sunday’s whirlwind of points, “apparently anyone can throw six touchdown passes.” It’s a good line but maybe a little heavy-handed for Ryan Fitzpatrick’s career performance. Twenty-eight different players scored at least 20 points in standard leagues in Week 13, which tied Week 8 for the most in one week this season. We saw career performances from Donte Moncrief, Tre Mason and Colt McCoy, while breathing easily as Fantasy stalwarts Calvin Johnson, Julio Jones, and Keenan Allen returned to elite form.
We rarely take a bow, but you’re welcome for DeAndre Hopkins and Boom Herron, though, we’re not quite as ecstatic about Cam Newton and Larry Donnell’s struggles. With the Fantasy playoffs upon us, we’re going to light this candle and find a few more gems – it’s the Sneaky Plays for Week 14.
Colin Kaepernick vs. Raiders – It’s best just to throw the Seattle start in Week 13 right out the window, it was a horrible game and it was an anomaly. While I don’t consider myself a Kaepernick fan, it is fair to say that he rarely posts a dud; his ‘floor’ is relatively high given his ability to make plays throwing and running with the ball. My biggest concern is that he rarely brings a really huge game to the table (only three career 300-yard passing efforts in 44 contests). The Raiders may have shown to have one of the worst run defenses in the league but have still yielded 10 passing touchdowns in their last four outings. The 6.9 yards per pass attempt ranks 25th in the league and they’ve picked off only five passes which is near the bottom of the league as well. With opposing Raiders QB Derek Carr coming into his own, the 49ers desperation for a win will likely have to manifest through the quarterback that they have invested a lot of time and money in making plays any which way he can. His performance in the Seattle game may have a lot of Fantasy owners looking the other way but he is worth considering in a pinch, in daily formats or in 2QB leagues.
Stepfan Taylor vs. Chiefs – Taylor was named the starter this week against Kansas City due to starter Andre Ellington’s injury. Having to bench Ellington may actually be a relief to some frustrated owners, and hopefully they handcuffed him with Taylor. Sometimes, the perception of a particular player or squad can cloud the facts of the case and I feel that the Chiefs’ defense is a prime example. The Chiefs rank an abysmal 30th in the league in rushing yards allowed and dead last in the league in yards per carry (4.9). The relatively low ranking against opposing Fantasy RBs has been their ability to stop runners shy of the end zone, as they’ve only given up two scores to backs on the ground all year (hello, Latavius Murray!). With Taylor stepping into a role in which the lead back is seeing over 20 touches per game, we think this is someone that can have an impact in a flex position in your playoff matchup. There’s a risk as, conversely, Arizona is at the bottom of the league in yards per carry but something has to give; we’ll take all of those touches to the bank.
Chris Ivory/Chris Johnson vs. Vikings – If there is one thing the Jets proved on Monday night against the Dolphins; it’s that they don’t trust their passing game. Chris Ivory and Chris Johnson will be facing a Vikings’ defense that ranks in the Bottom 10 in the NFL in rushing yards, rushing attempts and yards per carry. Last week, the two backs split snaps and touches right down the middle, so it makes them a risky play in daily formats. But assuming you only have one of them on your roster, a solid sneaky play is in order. If picking between the two, we’ll lean on “CJ2K” as he had better burst and a better overall performance against Miami last week.
Davante Adams vs. Falcons – When Aaron Rodgers goes up against one of the worst statistical defenses in the NFL you need to take advantage of it. The Pack shredded New England in Week 13 and Adams was the big beneficiary, setting career highs with six receptions for 121 yards. The Falcons have given up the most passing yards in the league as well as the highest yards per attempt (7.7). Their inability to contain receivers like Adams should spell a solid day. We would not hesitate to put him in a WR or flex spot for this matchup considering the recent trend of increased snaps and targets from Rodgers.
Stedman Bailey vs. Washington – It has been a bit of a guessing game trying to find out who will see the most targets in the Rams’ passing attack but, as of late, it’s been Bailey. Washington has struggled against all profiles of wide receiver and ranks 30th in the league, having given up 26 passing TDs thus far, and their five interceptions ranks 28th in the league giving them an abysmal TD-INT ratio. Bailey is still available in a majority of leagues and could give your roster a boost throughout the playoffs. We would not bench any regular starters but in deeper leagues, Bailey should get a look.
Kyle Rudolph – Two weeks removed from seeing only 13 snaps against the Bears, Rudolph caught a touchdown spiked up to 44 snaps, which represented 92 percent of their snaps against the Panthers. With the Jets allowing the second-most points to opposing Fantasy tight ends and Rudolph getting back to full health, we think this is more than a longshot. For a position that has created some head-scratching moments this season, we at least can see some trending evidence that Rudolph will get worked into the offense more each week.