It’s such a wonderful time of year! The fantasy playoffs have arrived for most leagues and the real journey toward a championship begins now. Every lineup decision is absolutely crucial from this point forward. Setting a lineup you like is as hard as it’s been all season with every healthy player at your disposal.
Which players are trending in the right and wrong directions? Week 14’s stock watch will examine 10 players you should take a long look at before deciding whether to play or sit them this week.
RB James White, New England Patriots
There’s no doubt that White saved some fantasy seasons with his monster performance against the Texans on Sunday Night Football. He scored a whopping 37.7 fantasy points in PPR formats, finishing with 8/98/2 through the air and 79 yards on 14 carries on the ground. It was truly a sight for sore eyes for White owners who suffered through a 0.9 point performance from him the prior week. He only had 12 touches in New England’s first two games coming out of a bye, but was more or less almost their entire offense against Houston. White has another great matchup against the Chiefs this week. Kansas City only moved out of last place for most passing yards allowed to RBs this season because of what White did to Houston. The Bengals are on tap for Week 15 and they too rank in the bottom third of the NFL against pass-catching running backs. Expect the Patriots to pick up where they left off and use White more as they fight for playoff positioning down the stretch.
WR Robert Woods, Los Angeles Rams
Fantasy managers are feeling a whole lot more comfortable about Woods after the last two games. After being a late scratch due to personal reasons in Week 11, Woods came back with a vengeance, catching six passes for 97 yards against the Ravens in Week 12 and snagging 13 passes for 172 yards against the Cardinals last week. It was the second 13-catch game of the season for Woods, taking full advantage of the 19 targets he received in a great matchup. Expecting another matchup-winning performance like that is asking too much, but his huge game was just the brightest spot of a favorable post-bye trend for the Rams receiver. After much debate about whether or not Woods was still a weekly must-start coming out of his bye, he’s received an average of 13 targets and pulled in 8.7 catches per game in his last three games. His worst performance in that timeframe is 15.7 fantasy points. The Seahawks are Woods’s next matchup and they’re nothing more than a league average defense against fantasy wide receivers. The 27-year-old is a solid WR2 this week and should be in nearly every lineup.
WR Alshon Jeffery, Philadelphia Eagles
Some may say that any player who just played the Dolphins should be exempt from this list, and that’s fair, but it’s important to make an exception here for a few reasons. First, Jeffery is returning from injury and last week was the first game action he’s received since Week 9. Second, putting up 9/137/1 is impressive against any team, anywhere and at any time. Third, he got 16 targets! Fourth, his schedule continues to be equally as favorable over the next two weeks. The Eagles draw the Giants and the Redskins next. The former ranks as the second-best defense to face for fantasy WRs. The latter is a little better, ranking as the 15th-best defense for fantasy WRs to face, but got demolished by Eagles WRs in Week 1 (Jeffery had two touchdowns in that game too). Carson Wentz should continue to lean on Jeffery down the stretch. High target volume plus great matchups equals fantasy success.
RB Chris Carson, Seattle Seahawks
That was a quick one-week turnaround from a stock down last week to a stock up this week. Fantasy managers were absolutely right to be concerned about what his latest fumble and the subsequent Rashaad Penny breakout meant for his fantasy value going forward. We saw the timeshare we expected against the Vikings on Monday Night Football, with Carson getting 24 touches and Penny getting 19, but both backs had plenty of success. The most encouraging stat for Carson, aside from his 102 rushing yards and a score, was seeing him get 23 carries to Penny’s 15. If fantasy managers can expect somewhere around 20 touches per game for Carson moving forward he’ll be an RB2 regardless of what Penny does. Carson has a matchup with the Rams this week. He rushed for 118 yards and caught a touchdown against them in Week 5. Then he gets to face the worst rush defense in the NFL against fantasy RBs, the Carolina Panthers, in Week 15. Any worries about having to bench him during the fantasy playoffs have been assuaged.
TE Jack Doyle, Indianapolis Colts
Sometimes things work out exactly the way you had hoped and that’s exactly what happened for everyone who picked up Doyle last week. With fellow tight end Eric Ebron on IR and T.Y. Hilton out of the lineup yet again, Doyle received 11 targets from Jacoby Brissett. He caught six of them for 73 yards and a touchdown. He has three touchdowns in his past five games, but two of them came from Brian Hoyer so it was nice to see him connect with Brissett for a score. The veteran tight end will have a chance to repeat his strong performance this week when he takes on a Buccaneers team that has allowed the second-most points to the position this season. He’s a TE1 this week.
RB Tevin Coleman, San Francisco 49ers
It’s going to be hard to trust Coleman (or any 49ers running back) as anything more than a flex play during the fantasy playoffs. Coleman got only six touches against the Ravens on Sunday and has quite frankly been nothing special since his three-touchdown game against the Panthers in Week 8. In the five games since, Coleman has 234 total yards, one touchdown and is averaging only 2.5 yards per carry. He’s scoring just 8.3 fantasy points per game in that timeframe, which ranks as the No. 44 RB (minimum three games played). Coleman has a tough matchup against a Saints team that ranks No. 4 in the NFL against fantasy RBs. In fact, the 49ers don’t face a team ranked in the bottom half of the NFL against fantasy RBs for the rest of the season. Kyle Shanahan is going to keep splitting carries in the backfield and limiting the upside of every 49ers back. You may not have a better option, but Coleman is not a Top 25 running back this week.
WR Tyler Lockett, Seattle Seahawks
Speaking of hard to trust, Lockett owners have to be pulling their hair out right now. You’re always told to play your studs. How do you bench a player who was the No. 5 overall WR in PPR formats over the first nine weeks of the season? But he’s played three games since then and scored 5.9, 4.8 and 0 points, respectively. His Sunday Night Football matchup this week against Jalen Ramsey and the Rams isn’t a walk in the park either. He had a solid 4/51/1 performance against L.A. in Week 5, but that was pre-Ramsey and pre-leg injury. I have him ranked as a low-end WR2 this week, so you likely have to start him for the potential upside. However, if you’re loaded at the position you might have to make a tough decision this week.
RB Ronald Jones, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Bruce Arians sent a message to Jones last week, benching the young running back after missing a blitz pickup. He had six carries for eight yards up to that point. It remains to be seen if that message got through to Jones, but the message that got through to fantasy managers is that you cannot trust any Buccaneers running back in the playoffs. This week’s matchup against the Colts isn’t good anyway, but given the uncertainty surrounding Jones’s usage he’s a borderline flex play at best. He’s worth holding onto incase Arians gives him a longer leash against the Lions and Texans—two below average rush defenses—in Weeks 15 and 16, but you can’t rely on him this week.
WR Tyrell Williams, Oakland Raiders
Many Williams owners were holding out hope that he would have a big game against the Chiefs’ secondary and regain his early-season form. That wasn’t the case. He caught just one of his four targets for nine yards and was completely invisible for the vast majority of the game. He’s been below eight total fantasy points in four of his past five games and hasn’t scored since Week 8. He had three straight favorable matchups and finished with a grand total of seven catches for 109 yards. He was never a volume guy and relied on touchdowns to keep him in borderline WR2/WR3 territory early in the season. Now that those have dried up with the Raiders being so out of sync on offense, Williams is no longer a Top 40 WR.
RB Jonathan Williams, Indianapolis Colts
The end of the Jonathan Williams Era came one week sooner than many expected. After rushing for more than 100 yards in back-to-back games, Williams was essentially benched in the second half of Indianapolis’s loss to the Titans in favor of Jordan Wilkins and Nyheim Hines. He had nine touches for 25 total yards in the first half. Head coach Frank Reich said it was more about what the other backs did rather than being upset with Williams, but the exact reasoning doesn’t matter. There’s a chance Marlon Mack will return from his hand injury this week anyway, but even if he doesn’t Williams can’t be in any playoff lineups. It’s hard to envision any Colts back aside from Mack being in your lineup this week against a strong Buccaneers rush defense, but it looks like Wilkins has leapt Williams on the depth chart and Hines will continue with his usual workload.
More Advice From SI Fantasy
—Jamie Eisner’s Waiver Wire highlights the players you should be picking up
—Dr. Roto’s Start ‘Em, Sit ‘Em can help with your tougher lineup decisions
—Frankie Taddeo’s Week 14 Injury Report on the players who got hurt in Week 13
—Frankie Taddeo’s Streaming Options could make or break your playoff run.
—Mark Deming’s Target and Snap Report pulls fantasy nuggets out of the Week 13 data