Congratulations! You’ve (almost) made it through the NFL’s gauntlet of bye weeks, and (hopefully) you’re still set to tee off in your fantasy league’s playoffs. Of course, there’s one more week of byes and Week 14 will see some key names on the sidelines -- including two of the four highest-scoring players in fantasy football. Imagine if your team has been carried all season by Jonathan Taylor or Jalen Hurts, and you need a win this week to get into the playoffs. Talk about the blues. It doesn’t get much sadder than that—but we’ll do what we can to help.
Week 14 byes: Colts, Dolphins, Patriots, Eagles
What you’re missing
Colts: The leading scorer in fantasy, Jonathan Taylor, hasn’t tallied fewer than 18 points since Week 3, with three games over 30. No matter who’s on your bench or who you might get on waivers this week, there’s no replacing Taylor’s production. … Michael Pittman Jr. has been a little quiet of late, yet he’s still 17th in WR scoring, so he’ll be missed.
Dolphins: Just when rookie Jaylen Waddle was rounding into a top 10 fantasy WR, he’ll sit this week out. For fantasy managers with Waddle on their roster, the good news is that Waddle comes back from the bye with a plus matchup against the Jets if you’re in the playoffs. Mike Gesicki is quietly the TE6 this season.
Patriots: We’ve only talked about the skill positions in this series, but the Patriots happen to have the top fantasy kicker in Nick Folk and the top-scoring fantasy defense. Fantasy managers with Folk and/or the Patriots defense on their rosters haven’t had to deal with streaming this season, but this is the week to do it.
Eagles: Amazingly, Jalen Hurts has been the second-leading fantasy QB this season and stands at fourth overall in fantasy scoring. Hurts’ accomplishments are all the more impressive, considering that no other Eagles offer much fantasy value. Miles Sanders might be missed, especially after a breakthrough in Week 13, though his health and inconsistency have made him less valuable. DeVonta Smith and TE Dallas Goedert may be regular starters, but they won’t be terribly missed.
Week 14 waiver options
Some fantasy squads might be deep enough to have a satisfactory fill-in on their bench when it comes to bye week replacements. If not, you’ll need a short-term waiver add—and it’s not about fighting for the hottest waiver-wire candidates. You just want a stand-in who happens to have a favorable matchup in your week of need.
Here are some Week 14 options:
Now that it’s been reported Ben Roethlisberger is retiring after the season (as if we didn’t know that already), is he poised to go out in a blaze of glory? The odds are against it, but his Week 14 matchup against the Vikings could become a shootout. Minnesota has allowed the seventh-most fantasy points per game (FPPG) to opposing quarterbacks. Heck, they made Jared Goff look good in Week 13, and Roethlisberger has more weapons … Atlanta allows the third-most FPPG to opposing quarterbacks. The Falcons did just fine holding down Sam Darnold in Week 8, but Cam Newton at least has an opportunity for success if you’re desperate. … Trevor Lawrence’s third-best passing yardage game was in Week 5 against the Titans, who are the Jaguars’ Week 14 opponents.
Imagine needing a victory in Week 14 to make the playoffs and being forced to start Rex Burkhead. It could be worse, to be honest, because the Texans are facing a Seattle defense that allows the second-most FPPG to opposing running backs. … Between injuries and inefficiency at QB, the Saints might as well run the wishbone Sunday against the Jets, who allow the most FPPG to opposing running backs. Whether or not Alvin Kamara is back, it’s worth playing Mark Ingram (who is still available in 30% of leagues) -- and you can even take a chance on Ty Montgomery, who averaged 5.25 yards on four carries last week vs. Dallas and added four receptions on seven targets. … Now that Clyde Edwards-Helaire is back and healthy for the Chiefs, check to see if Darrel Williams’s backup has foolishly been dropped in your league. All Williams did was produce 144 scrimmage yards and a receiving TD two weeks ago against the Raiders, who are this week’s opponent.
The Titans have allowed the most FPPG to wide receivers this season. Laviska Shenault only caught one pass in a Week 5 game against Tennessee, but that was good for 58 yards. Shenault is worth a flier if you’re strapped at the position. … With Dallas getting 10 days off before Sunday’s game against the porous Washington pass defense, feel free to start any Cowboys receivers available on waivers -- take your pick between Michael Gallup and Cedrick Wilson. … The Saints, who have allowed the fifth-most FPPG to opposing receivers, take on the Jets. With Marshon Lattimore focusing on Jets rookie Elijah Moore, Jamison Crowder might be worth a flier.
Cleveland TE David Njoku hasn’t done much this season, but he did score a touchdown in Week 12 against the Ravens, who just happen to be this week’s opponent again. … Giants TE Evan Engram isn’t exactly a picture of consistency, but his Week 14 matchup is favorable, as the Chargers have allowed the fourth-most FPPG to tight ends. … Seahawks TE Gerald Everett has quietly averaged about five targets per game this season, and Seattle faces a Texans defense that allows the sixth-most FPPG to opposing tight ends.
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