All right ladies and gentlemen, it’s time for arguably the biggest week in the fantasy football season. This, of course, is the last week of the regular season before we begin the playoffs. Many of you are facing must win scenarios in order to get into the playoffs, and others are either playing for a first round bye, or jockeying for seeding. At this point, there’s a fine balancing act to implement in order to maximize your chances of winning this week, while also setting you up for optimal success in the weeks to come. As we head into week 14, let’s recap week 13 and discuss the biggest fantasy performances, and what they may mean moving forward. Let’s get to the overthinking!
Bills 24, Patriots 10
Bills top performer(s): Coming into this game, most reasonable folks had an idea the Bills offense would be slightly slowed down by the Patriots defense. Even though they certainly were not as potent as usual, Stefon Diggs still managed a 7/92/1 stat line. Week in and week out this guy just produces. Josh Allen had a solid game statistically, but I’m sure his fantasy owners were bummed that he scored under 20 points. Is there a changing of the guard in the backfield? James Cook received 14 carries and Devin Singletary received 13. I believe at this point, both backs are flex-level plays. Singletary will get most of the goal line work, but Cook also contributed 6/41 receiving which is huge value in PPR formats.
Patriots top performer(s): After their offense looked rock solid against the Vikings on Thanksgiving night, they couldn’t get much of anything going against the Bills. Mac Jones was seen shouting on the sidelines, presumably to the coaching staff, to open up the deep passing attack. It didn’t work. Marcus Jones, a CB, scored the only TD of the game for the Pats. Rhamondre Stevenson continued his trend of double digit fantasy points however due to his 10/54 rushing line and 6/24 receiving line. A disappointing stat line for sure for Stevenson owners, but he still offers a safe floor, which is what you need out of a RB1.
Steelers 19, Falcons 16
Steelers biggest performer(s): In what ended up being a low scoring affair, the most relevant fantasy player, Najee Harris, had a respectable 86 yards rushing with one catch for 6 yards. Pat Freiermuth also contributed 76 yards receiving. At this point in the season, these two are the only Steelers you can plug into your lineup and rely on. Some games will be better than others due to Kenny Pickett going through his rookie season “growing pains”, but he has been playing better as of late. Continue playing Harris as a mid to low RB2 and Freiermuth.
Falcons top performer(s): Drake London had a nice game with 6 catches for 95 yards. He is a boom or bust flex play at this point, due to the subpar passing attack of the Falcons/Marcus Mariota. Cordarrelle Patterson continues to cede more time to rookie Tyler Allgeier, which regulates Patterson to low flex territory. Do not consider any other Falcons players in your lineup at this point.
Packers 28, Bears 19
Packers top performer(s): Aaron Jones was banged up in this one, which led to AJ Dillon having close to 100 yards rushing and a score. However, Jones is not expected to miss time, which caps Dillon’s ceiling. Jones is a must start each week. Christian Watson just won’t stop scoring TD’s, and as I stated last week, you HAVE to play him moving forward. The rookie WR is an entrenched WR2 from here on out.
Bears top performer(s): Justin Fields had yet another strong fantasy performance in this one. He continues to look better and better in year 2. He is a top 5 fantasy QB just about every week due to his rushing abilities. David Montgomery is a low-end RB2, but he gets a lot of goal line work, which his fantasy owners should be thankful for. Outside of these two, I would also start Cole Kmet each week due to the lack of quality options at TE.
Lions 40, Jaguars 13
Lions top performer(s): He was a league winner last year, and he certainly looks the part again this year. This, of course, is Amon-Ra St Brown. An absurd stat line of 11/114/2, St Brown continues to produce at a high level over the last few weeks. The bigger storyline? D’Andre Swift received more touches than Jamaal Williams. Swift averaged around 10 carries or so the last 4 weeks, he was finally let loose and provided a 14/62/1 rushing line as well as 4 catches for 49 yards. Those who have been patient with Swift are hopeful this trend continues, and I think it will. Jamaal Williams will still most likely vulture some goal line carries, but is it possible two Lions could be league winners? It looks that way.
Jaguars top performer(s): Okay, I have absolutely no idea how Trevor Lawrence avoided a serious injury on Sunday. That hit looked nasty, and I feared the worst. However, after a brief absence, he was able to return and finish the game. He ultimately suffered a foot injury and may miss this week’s game. Regardless, you should continue to roll out Christian Kirk (6/104 in this one) as well as Travis Etienne. Kirk continues to live up to the expectations the Jaguars were expecting when they signed him this off-season. On the year he has 829 yards and 7 TDs.
Vikings 27, Jets 22
Vikings top performer(s): Justin Jefferson was held relatively in check by Sauce Gardner and the Jets in this one, but he was still able to produce a 7/45/1 line. Just elite. Dalvin Cook also rebounded nicely after a disappointing Thanksgiving game as he produced 86 yards rushing and a score in this one. As stated frequently in these columns, this offense is elite as it pertains to fantasy. Cook & Jefferson are set it and forget it guys, and TJ Hockenson and Adam Thielen are worthy plays each week as well.
Jets top performer(s): The upset came up just short, but it was a hell of an effort. Zonovan “Bam Knight” looks like he is going to be the RB in this backfield moving forward, although he could lose some work when Michael Carter returns. Until then, play Bam as a flex. The emergence of Garrett Wilson this year (when Zach Wilson isn’t his QB) is massive. He produced 8 catches and 162 yards. He has earned must start status as a WR2. He could potentially be another league winner.
Giants 20, Commanders 20
Giants top performer(s): A tie. BLAH. This could get interesting in the NFC playoff picture as we come down the stretch here as well. Saquon Barkley continues to be the focal point of this offense and had 63 yards rushing with a score. Daniel Jones continues to offer some fantasy relevance, but his floor is too low to trust with these must-win week's upcoming for most of us. Darius Slayton is one to watch as he could be a viable flex play in the weeks upcoming. He had 6 catches for 90 yards in this one and seems to be the Giants leading receiver moving forward.
Commanders top performer(s): Multiple Commanders players had strong performances. Brian Robinson received 21 carries and churned out 96 yards rushing. It’s difficult to project who will be the lead back as they return from their bye week, so as of now Gibson and Robinson are flex plays. Terry McLaurin had a strong game and is a clear start each week. The other WRs, Curtis Samuel and Jahan Dotson, should be left on benches due to the inconsistent play of Taylor Heinicke. It’s maddening they, along with a few other teams, are on a bye this late into the season. It’s going to screw a LOT of folks over.
Eagles 35, Titans 10
Eagles top performer(s): Remember a couple weeks back when some were wondering, “What’s wrong with the Eagles offense?” Well, after hanging 40 points on the Packers and 35 on the Titans, it’s gotten awfully quiet. Jalen Hurts is a MVP front runner and had 380 yards passing after rushing for 157 yards last week. He can beat you in many ways, which is scary for the rest of the league. AJ Brown had the ultimate revenge game (8/119/2) and DeVonta Smith also had a strong game with 5/102/1. Brown is a clear-cut WR1 and top 10 play weekly. Smith is a flex play but has more upside as long as Dallas Goedert remains out with a shoulder injury.
Titans top performer(s): Treylon Burks had a nice TD grab early in this one, but he paid the price. He got absolutely nailed by the safety, Marcus Epps, and was forced to miss the rest of the game due to a concussion. Derrick Henry disappointed with only 30 yards rushing, but you are clearly going to play Henry each week. Right? Well, you better. Don’t overthink that one.
Ravens 10, Broncos 9
Ravens top performer(s): The big storyline is the sprained PCL to Lamar Jackson. He might miss 1-3 weeks, and the whole Baltimore offense will take a hit. Tyler Huntley should fill in admirably, and could be a decent streaming candidate at QB if you need one. I would expect Baltimore to lean on its running game and play action attack. However, it’s hard to project who will receive the majority of the carries each week. Will it be Kenyan Drake? Or Gus Edwards? Until it’s more clear, both are mid to low flex plays. Mark Andrews is still a must start at TE.
Broncos top performer(s): As I write just about every week, this offense is abysmal. They were held to under 300 yards of total offense, which is putrid. Courtland Sutton suffered a hamstring strain and was forced out of this one, and may miss this week. If he does, feel free to fire up Jerry Jeudy, although expect no more than flex level production. Greg Dulcich had a strong game in this one (6/85) and is a lower tier starting TE, again, due to the lack of quality options at TE from a fantasy perspective.
Browns 27, Texans 14
Browns top performer(s): If you just saw the score, you might think, “Okay, Deshaun Watson returned and the Browns started scoring more points!” Well, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Watson looked rusty, and that might be too nice. The Browns rode 3 defensive TDs in this one, so I’ll give the star performance to their D/ST unit. Nick Chubb was able to produce 80 yards on the ground and is a clear cut RB1. The offense should improve as Watson gets more comfortable, so keep firing up Amari Cooper as well. I would avoid playing Watson for now, unless you’re desperate for QB production.
Texans top performer(s): Man, can they just end their season now? The Texans are more than likely going to have the number one pick in the NFL draft. Welcome to Houston, either Bryce Young or CJ Stroud. Kyle Allen was bad again, and now they go back to Davis Mills. The lone bright spot was Dameon Pierce taking advantage of a poor Cleveland run defense, as he produced 73 yards rushing and 22 receiving. I like Pierce a lot, but he has an awful matchup against Dallas this week. It’s easy to see Dallas getting up early and forcing Houston to rely on their passing attack. Blowout anyone?
Seahawks 27, Rams 23
Seahawks top performer(s): The receiving attack of Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf FEASTED in this one. Lockett had 9/128/1 and Metcalf 8/127/1. Both are must starts at this juncture, as it’s clear Geno Smith’s career year is not a fluke (who should also be started weekly). They have a decent matchup against the Panthers this week, although I’m expecting a closer game than most would anticipate.
Rams top performer(s): The Rams kept it closer than I thought they would. Cam Akers was the star in this one as he had 60 yards rushing and 2 scores. Still hard to trust in fantasy lineups, though. But, if you want to scoop him off your waiver wire if he’s available, have at it. I’ve been saying for weeks, FADE ALL RAMS. Yes, they claimed Baker Mayfield on waivers, but did you see how bad he was playing in Carolina? He may be better than their other options, but that’s not saying a whole heck of a lot. Brutal year for the reigning Super Bowl champs.
49ers 33, Dolphins 17
49ers top performer(s): Run (and catch) CMC. Once Jimmy G broke his foot, the Niners leaned heavily on CMC, and he produced. 66 yards rushing and another 80 yards on 8 catches with a score. Jimmy G will be out about 6-8 weeks, which is a tough blow to the Niners, who now look to rely on rookie QB Brock Purdy, who actually played quite well in this one. I would expect Kyle Shanahan to get very creative with this development, and it’s possible we see more of Deebo Samuel playing the wing back position similar to last year. CMC is a must start, and George Kittle is by default, again due to lack of other quality TE options. I would start Deebo this week as well, but I’m leaving Brandon Aiyuk on the bench for now.
Dolphins top performer(s): It looked like the Dolphins offense was well on their way to producing another 30+ point performance when Tua threw a deep score to start the game. After that, the wheels kinda fell off. Tyreek Hill went off like usual (9/146/1) but Jaylen Waddle was forced to exit with an injury which is certainly something to monitor. If he’s active, you’re playing Waddle, no questions asked. The same goes with Tyreek Hill. This is another backfield that is tough to figure out, but Jeff Wilson Jr and Raheem Mostert are solid flex plays due to the ceiling of this offense as a whole.
Bengals 27, Chiefs 24
Bengals top performer(s): This was another classic. Joe Burrow is truly elite, as if there was any question about that after last year. Samaje Perine continued to fill in admirably for Joe Mixon and produced 106 yards rushing and 49 receiving. Ja’Marr Chase returned from his hip injury and had 7 catches for 97 yards. Expect more of that in the future as he continues to get in game shape. Another elite fantasy offense as Burrow, Higgins, Chase, Perine (if Mixon were to miss time), Mixon, and Tyler Boyd are all worth a spot in lineups.
Chiefs top performer(s): In a game where most were expecting another strong performance from Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce, it was the Chiefs running game that stood out. Isaiah Pacheco had 66 yards and a score, and Jerrick McKinnon had 51 yards rushing and a receiving score. Again, another difficult backfield to project on a weekly basis, so both Pacheco and McKinnon are flex plays, with Pacheco having the higher ceiling due to his goal-line work. Goes without saying, but keep playing Kelce, even if he let you down this past week.
Raiders 27, Chargers 20
Raiders top performer(s): Every monster game Josh Jacobs has, his price tag continues to increase in his impending free agency. He’s the steal of fantasy drafts this year. Another game over 100 yards and a score. Davante Adams had a monster game as well (8/177/2). Expect both to be heavily involved this week against the Rams on Thursday night as well. Fire both of them up (DUH!) and enjoy the results. Although, to be selfish, I’m playing against both of them this week, so it would be nice if they didn’t completely go off.
Chargers top performer(s): Austin Ekeler continues to be a PPR machine and added 5 catches for 67 yards in addition to his 35 yards rushing. Top tier RB1. The other Chargers pass catchers (Keenan Allen, Gerald Everett, and Josh Palmer) all had strong games as well. Allen is a WR2/flex, Everett a boom or bust TE (which they almost all are), and Palmer is a lower tier flex as well.
Cowboys 54, Colts 19
Cowboys top performer(s): This offense is in quite the groove. They certainly were stat padding in the fourth quarter, but if the defense ain’t stopping you, you keep putting up points. Tony Pollard, Zeke Elliot, and Ceedee Lamb all had strong games. This is yet another elite fantasy offense with multiple weekly plays (Dak, Pollard, Zeke, Lamb, Schultz, and now consider Michael Gallup a decent flex play as well).
Colts top performer(s): They kept it close, for three quarters at least. Then everything went to crap. Why is Matt Ryan still starting? They have Nick Foles on their bench and he has yet to get an opportunity yet. Could he really be any worse than what Ryan is offering them? JT had a decent game with over 80 yards rushing and 21 yards receiving, and Alec Pierce had 4/86/1. Michael Pittman was held to 2 catches for 16 yards. Yuck. Pittman at this point is a low WR2/WR3, and that may be generous. Outside of JT, I’m avoiding all Colts players.
Buccaneers 17, Saints 16
Bucs top performer(s): Nothing flashy from the Bucs offense in this one, as they continue their recent stretch of struggling against the Saints defense. Chris Godwin provided 8/63 and Rachaad White had 6 catches for 41 yards and the game-winning score. It’s hard to see the Bucs reduce White’s workload, but that ultimately hampers Leonard Fournette’s ceiling, as he is now more of a mid to low tier RB2. Godwin is a must start, and Mike Evans is a boom or bust flex. Temper your expectations this week, as they play the 49ers and their top rated defense. It has all the makings of a 16-13 kind of game.
Saints top performer(s): This offense is struggling big time, and it has most of the year. Outside of Chris Olave, who can you really rely on? Alvin Kamara has been a disappointment for the most part, especially since he was selected in the first or second round of most drafts. They’re another team on a bye week, but moving forward it’s hard to see big fantasy production from outside of Olave and perhaps Kamara.