The National Football League moves into Week 14, and many Fantasy leagues are into the wild-card round of the playoffs. It’s a very important week, and if you’re still alive and into the postseason, congratulations and thanks for your continued viewing.
Cleveland Browns QB Robert Griffin III (shoulder) is back as the starting signal caller on the shores of Lake Erie as the last winless club in the NFL looks for something positive. Fantasy owners won’t find many positives for RG3’s return, however, as he should have considerable rust. Unless you’re absolutely desperate in deeper leagues requiring two signal callers, there is little reason to pay him any mind.
The Denver Broncos are preparing both QBs Trevor Siemian (foot) and rookie Paxton Lynch to start Sunday’s game at Tennessee. Officially, Siemian is questionable due to the foot injury which shelved him last weekend. The Titans rank 26th in the NFL with 270.3 yards per game allowing with 21 touchdowns and 45 pass plays of 20 or more yards. Whichever player starts is a solid QB2 in leagues requiring two starters.
Philadelphia Eagles RB Ryan Mathews (knee) is trending in the right direction, although he is officially listed as questionable a concern for Fantasy owners. The Washington Redskins allow 114.3 yards per game and 17 rushing touchdowns, most in the NFL. If Mathews is active he is worth slotting in as a RB3 or ‘flex’ Fantasy play in most leagues of 12 or more teams. His active status would mean an end to the high snap count and double-digit touches for rookie RB Wendell Smallwood.
New Orleans Saints RB Mark Ingram (toe, knee) is dealing with a couple of injuries, and he is officially listed as questionable for Sunday’s battle with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Ingram will be facing the league’s 25th-ranked rush defense if he is active, so use him as an RB2 if he is able to play. If Ingram is inactive, RB Tim Hightower will re-emerge as a must-start Fantasy option with the favorable matchup.
Atlanta Falcons WR Julio Jones (toe) is battling a turf toe injury and he is expected to be a game-time decision for Sunday’s gme at Los Angeles. With WR Mohamed Sanu (groin) already ruled out due to a groin injury it might mean a significant bump in responsibilities for WR Taylor Gabriel, who has found the end zone five times (four receiving, one rushing) over the past five games. Even if Jones is active Gabriel is a nice sleeper WR3 or ‘flex’ play in most Fantasy formats.
Eagles WRs Jordan Matthews (ankle) and Dorial Green-Beckham (oblique) are considered questionable for Sunday’s game with the Redskins. While DGB isn’t much of a Fantasy option outside of deeper leagues, Matthews is a solid WR3 when healthy. The Redskins rank in the middle of the pack against the pass, allowing 255.2 yards per game with 17 touchdowns and 41 pass play of 20 or more yards, so if J-Matt is healthy you need to have him active.
Saints rookie WR Michael Thomas (foot) was listed as a limited participant in practice Friday due to a foot injury, and he is officially questionable for Sunday’s tilt in Tampa. Thomas has four or more receptions in every game so far this season, and he has four touchdowns over the past five games. If he is active he is a bona fide WR2 in all Fantasy formats. If he is on the shelf it would be great news for WR Brandin Cooks, who would likely absorb a few more targets.
Jacksonville Jaguars WR Allen Hurns (hamstring) has been officially ruled out for Sunday’s battle against the Minnesota Vikings, so it will be WRs Marqise Lee and Allen Robinson sucking up all of the targets. Lee has posted at least three receptions in 10 of the past 11 games, and he has been targeted at least six times in 10 of the past 11 as well with scores in two of the past three. Lee is an attractive WR4 in Fantasy leagues of 12 or more teams.
Buffalo Bills WRs Robert Woods (knee) and Sammy Watkins (foot) are each questionable for Sunday’s tussle with the Pittsburgh Steelers, although Watkins is expected to play. Fantasy owners of Watkins know this drill all too well, as he has a ton of talent but his propensity for injury is maddening. The Steelers rank 19th against the pass by allowing 256.3 yards per game with 15 touchdowns and six pass plays of 40 or more yards.
Washington Redskins TE Jordan Reed (shoulder) remains a question mark for Sunday’s game at Philadelphia. Officially he is questionable, although head coach Jay Gruden said Friday that Reed will be re-evaluated Saturday and things are “trending in the right direction” for the hulking tight end to be ready for Sunday. Fantasy owners will have to play it by ear, as he could very well be a game-time decision.
New England Patriots TE Martellus Bennett (shoulder) was limited in practice Friday and he is a question mark for Monday’s key AFC battle against the Baltimore Ravens. Even if he is able to suit up he is a shaky Fantasy option given his recent lackluster production coupled with the fact he will be facing a lockdown pass defense.
Jaguars TE Julius Thomas (back) has been ruled out for Sunday’s battle against the Vikings, so look for TE Neal Sterling to see a bigger role. He has nine targets over the past two games with Thomas dinged and TE Marcedes Lewis done for the season, but Sterling is only worth consideration in the very deepest of Fantasy formats out of desperation.
Carolina Panthers LB Luke Kuechly (concussion) is looking to receive clearance to play Sunday against the San Diego Chargers, and if he is active he is a must-have Fantasy option in leagues which use individual defensive players (IDPs).
Also, the Kansas City Chiefs lost LB Derrick Johnson (Achilles’) to a ruptured Achilles’ tendon in Thursday’s victory over the Oakland Raiders and he is obviously done for the season.