- Everything you need to craft a winning fantasy football lineup in Week 14, with a special focus on potential playoff MVPs.
Every Sunday, the combined SI.com and 4for4 Football team will answer a question about the day that is to unfold before our eyes. The question will change every week. Some weeks, it will be quite specific, and others it will be broader in nature. No matter what the question is, though, we’ll strive to give you a last few pieces of wisdom before you officially set your lineups for the week, kick up your feet, and enjoy the football. Let’s get to it.
The fantasy playoffs have arrived, kicking off a three-week sprint to championships. When we look back three weeks from now, who will we be crowning as the playoff MVP?
Michael Beller (@MBeller): You can’t be a fantasy playoff MVP if your teams aren’t in the playoffs, so let’s start with that basic building block. Chances are good that most Phillip Lindsay teams are in the postseason. He was one of our early-season waiver wire darlings, and enters Week 14 as the No. 9 back in standard leagues, and the No. 12 back in PPR formats. You get a player like that at a price that cheap, and you’re almost certainly going to have a successful season.
Lindsay has only been getting better and taking on a larger role in the offense as the season has progressed. He’s had at least 15 touches in five of his last six games, and in the one he didn’t, he turned 14 carries into 110 yards and a touchdown. He has found the end zone in five of his last six games, as well, and has two straight 100-yard performances on the ground. Lindsay is one of the true breakout stars of the 2018 season.
Now take a look at his fantasy playoff schedule. The Broncos face the 49ers this week, the Browns in Week 15, and the Raiders in Week 16. According to 4for4’s schedule-adjusted fantasy points allowed metric (aFPA), that’s the easiest remaining schedule for any running back. Additionally, the Broncos will be favored in all of those games, which should lead to plenty of positive game script for the undrafted rookie out of Colorado. Lindsay had a huge hand in getting his fantasy teams to this point, and he’s going to carry them over the next three weeks.
John Paulsen (@4for4_John): He probably won’t be the fantasy MVP since that title will probably go to a running back who goes bonkers over the final three weeks, but I think Chris Godwin is primed to have an outsized (league-winning) impact on the fantasy playoffs, relative to where he stands right now. Heading into Week 13, he was the No. 35 WR, which was not bad after being drafted as the 59th receiver off the board in August. With DeSean Jackson sitting out last week because of a thumb injury, Godwin racked up 101 yards and a touchdown on five catches. In the three games over the past two seasons that Jackson has missed, Godwin has averaged 5.0 catches for 103 yards and 0.67 touchdowns, which are solid WR1 numbers in both standard and PPR formats. It’s certainly possible that the Bucs shut Jackson down for the rest of the season, and, if that were the case, Godwin’s snaps and targets should be there through the fantasy playoffs. This week he’ll square off with struggling Saints corner Eli Apple in a fantastic matchup, and he has posted lines of 3-41-1 (catches-yards-touchdowns) and 7-111-1 in his last two games against the Saints. Baltimore and Dallas will provide tougher tests in Week 15 and Week 16, but Godwin should still produce if he sees six-plus targets.
Chris Allen (@ChrisAllenFFWX): There are plenty of solid answers to this question. You’ve got players being considered for the real NFL MVP award like Drew Brees or Patrick Mahomes. We’ve also got to look at the fantasy MVPs like Todd Gurley or Christian McCaffrey. But this is about the playoff MVP, and who’s going to carry teams over the next three weeks specifically. For me, it’s Keenan Allen. The six-year veteran has shown yet again why he’s an asset to both redraft and dynasty GMs. He opened the season with an 8-101-1 stat line, but then faded as Melvin Gordon and the ancillary receivers took center stage. He maintained a 26% target share, but didn’t crack the century mark over the next six weeks. The fantasy community saw his blowup during the Chargers’ London game and, apparently, so did Philip Rivers. Allen has averaged 9.5 targets in Weeks 9 through 12, and then saw a whopping 19 last week. No, that’s not a typo, and remember that the team was playing without Gordon. Now, I’m not expecting Allen to have a 53% target share every week, but it is fair to assume Allen’s volume should see an uptick with Gordon sidelined. Prior to his injury, Gordon commanded a 19% share, and Allen apparently took all of it in his absence. The Chargers get the Bengals at home, Chiefs on the road, and Ravens back in Los Angeles in the fantasy playoffs. The additional volume and expected positive game scripts during most of the playoffs should boost Allen’s fantasy production, making him your MVP.