Week 14 Fantasy Football Matchup Rankings | Playoff Strength of Schedule
Reminder: Fantasy Points Adjusted for Defense (FPAD) is a calculation that can be the difference between celebrating a win or cursing a high-scoring option on your bench. I developed it years ago, and it accounts for defensive quality of play by position, adjusts for game situations and strength of offenses and spits out an adjusted Fantasy Points allowed. Using Fantasy Football Points allowed is valuable in itself to help make lineup decisions, but it’s imperfect, as a team facing Aaron Rodgers and the Packers should give up more points and passing yards than one facing Case Keenum and the Rams. This isn’t a tool to argue benching Odell Beckham for Mike Wallace, but it provides Fantasy Football Matchup Rankings to help you decide which RB3 is a better play or which WR4 could put up a WR2 type week.
Make sure you check out the tail end of this week's piece. Each position shows the strength of schedule for the Fantasy Football playoffs by position.
Week 14 Quarterback Matchups
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Carson Palmer vs. Blake Bortles
Palmer is certainly having a disappointing year compared to last season, but it's not all bad. Palmer does have five games with 300 or more passing yards and six games with two or more touchdown passes. Those two overlapped three times for Palmer's three high scores of the year at 24.3, 23.5 and 23.9. The Dolphins pass defense has fallen apart the last four weeks with three touchdowns given up to Philip Rivers, three to Colin Kaepernick and four to Joe Flacco. The only team they stopped was the Rams, and in those three other games, the average yardage was 336. Palmer's receivers have been inconsistent and hurt much of the year (outside of Larry Fitzgerald… and David Johnson), but the FPAD of 21.1 shows that Palmer has the potential to surprise in Week 14.
Palmer is certainly a better play than Bortles, as only Marcus Mariota has a tougher matchup according to FPAD. The Vikings haven't allowed more than two touchdown passes in a game this year and no quarterback has topped 271 passing yards. They have also limited opponents to zero or one touchdown passes in eight of their games, which includes the Packers, Panthers, Giants, Lions (once) and Cowboys. Do you want to bet on Bortles being the first to do either? I didn't think so. In fact, Bortles' last three games are 202, 126 and 181 passing yards… somehow throwing for two touchdowns against the Lions and Bills. However, you can't count on touchdowns with yardage totals that low and last week Bortles had none with two interceptions. That kind of performance is more likely this week.
Other Matchup Boosted QBs: Andy Dalton, Eli Manning, Colin Kaepernick, Russell Wilson, Jameis Winston
Week 14 Running Back Matchups
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Lamar Miller vs. LeGarrette Blount
Miller is another player with a disappointing season, but it's hard to sit a lead running back with a matchup this favorable. The Colts held the Jets under 10 Fantasy points at the running back position, but it was only the third time this year, and the game was out of control early. In the Colts other nine games of 13-plus points allowed, five of them were 20 or more. Seven of those games included 100-plus rushing yards and six of them were with a rushing touchdown. In fact, Miller is one of those performances, as he had 149 rushing yards, 29 receiving and a touchdown rushing and receiving. That game was Miller's best at 29.8 Fantasy points, and while it's hard to expect a game that good for Miller this time around, even half of that is worthy of Top 15 status.
As for LeGarrette Blount, he's been terrific this year, scoring with regularity. The problem is that this matchup presents Blount with his toughest matchup to date, and it will be difficult to find the end zone. After all, the Ravens not only have a 9.8 FPAD with the Patriots backfield being a true committee, but they also have allowed just three rushing touchdowns and none since Week 7. The Ravens have allowed just 277 rushing yards over the last five games, which includes 97 from Ezekiel Elliott and shutting down Le'Veon Bell. Blount could be the fourth running back to score against the Ravens, but that's a risky play to make, and it would be wise to find better options at running back.
Other Matchup Boosted RBs: Jeremy Hill, Todd Gurley, Spencer Ware, Matt Forte, Le'Veon Bell, LeSean McCoy
Week 14 Wide Receiver Matchups
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Tyler Lockett vs. Marqise Lee
Hopefully, you don't need to dig this deep at receiver, but just in case, I want to cover some of the WR4 types. Lockett is a rather talented receiver with speed to spare, and his early-season poor performance was due to health and lack of snaps. Now that he's healthy and the Seahawks are using him more, Lockett's potential is clear. He has weekly WR2 upside and a decent floor given his explosive ability. On top of that, Lockett and the Seahawks get to face the Packers this week, and it doesn't get much better than that. Those concerned for the weather need to realize that it actually benefits offensive players, especially ones with the speed of Lockett. The Packers have seven games of 20-plus receiver points allowed and five with two or more touchdowns allowed to them. This week is set up to be a big one for Lockett.
With Lee, his downside ties directly back to Bortles and his matchup. As mentioned, the Vikings stifle the passing game with only five games of more than 15 receiver points allowed. Only the Broncos have a lower FPAD, and while Lee has been the most consistent receiver for the Jaguars, he has just 173 receiving yards over the last four games. Lee will also see a good amount of Terence Newman, who has been one of the better corners this year with an 85.6 grade on PFF. It would be wise to avoid the Jaguars offense altogether, and if you are looking for Lee types, aim for one with a higher ceiling and better matchup.
Other Matchup Boosted WRs: Demaryius Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders, Brandon LaFell, Mike Evans, Tyrell Williams, Dontrelle Inman, DeAndre Hopkins, Odell Beckham, Jordan Matthews
Week 14 Tight End Matchups
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Zach Ertz vs. Martellus Bennett
Seems the theme of this week's piece is frustrating players. While I didn't buy in to Ertz this year, I'm going to join the pool of suckers(?) being interested in Ertz… at least for this week. Ertz has just one double-digit game, and it came last week with 79 yards and a touchdown… and 15 targets! Ertz has only two other games with more than six Fantasy points this year, one coming with a touchdown and one with 97 yards. Those games were his other two highest target totals of eight and 11. The good news is that the Redskins have allowed the sixth most targets and receptions to tight ends over the last four games. In addition, Ertz has a knack for showing up late each season, and Week 14 is about the time he makes everyone think he can break through the next season.
As for Bennett, his problem is twofold. Not only do the Ravens have the second lowest FPAD for tight ends, but Bennett is better with Rob Gronkowski on the field. The Ravens have given up just two tight end touchdowns this year and held nine teams to five tight ends points or less. Bennett isn't seeing as much work in the passing game without Gronk, as he's a terrific blocker and being asked to block more without Gronkowski in the lineup. The Patriots ran more three receiver sets last week, and the simple lack of opportunities was enough to dampen Bennett's outlook, but with the Ravens on tap, he's outright benchable.
Other Matchup Boosted TEs: Tyler Eifert, Antonio Gates, C.J. Fiedorowicz, Jason Witten, Jimmy Graham
Quarterback Playoff Strength of Schedule
Running Back Playoff Strength of Schedule
Wide Receiver Playoff Strength of Schedule
Tight End Playoff Strength of Schedule
Main Image Credit: Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire