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Lets Overthink This-Week 14 Recap

David Lorenz, PT, DPT

December 15, 2022

Week 14 was pretty crazy, and it was a do or die week for a vast amount of people. Some studs had fantastic games, such as Justin Jefferson, Jalen Hurts, Tony Pollard, Ja’Marr Chase, and others. Some others disappointed us greatly. These included Ceedee Lamb, Stefon Diggs, Tee Higgins, and Dalvin Cook. If you were able to survive these disappointments, then congratulations are in order and you can take a collective sigh of relief. Okay, now that that’s done, it’s time to focus. The fantasy playoffs. If you made it this far, you’re one step closer to reaching your ultimate goal. They key to advancing? Knowing the matchups and making smart, calculated plays. If you want to plug in a risky play in your flex spot, go for it, but be prepared to get burned. This is not the time to get cute. Let’s take a look at how week 14 unfolded, discuss the top fantasy performances, and what we can expect moving forward. As always, let’s overthink this. Week 14 Results/Performances Rams 17, Raiders 16 Rams top performer(s): Baker Baker, the 98-yard game-winning touchdown maker?! Even if you are a casual NFL fan, or not a fan of the Rams, you have to admit that was pretty magical on Thursday night. A dude who just got into the building TWO DAYS AGO ultimately led a 98 yard game winning touchdown drive for the win, and the throw on the game-winning pass to Van Jefferson was an absolute thing of beauty. As far as other big performances, Cam Akers continues to be the lead dog in this backfield, which is crazy to think after his mid-season trade request. Could he be a viable flex play for the fantasy playoffs? Ben Skowronek had a nice game with 7/89 as well, and Jefferson caught the game winning score as previously mentioned. Raiders top performer(s): Again, I surely thought I would be writing Josh Jacobs and Davante Adams in this spot, just like every week. Well, Jacobs continued to cook with 99 yards rushing and a score. While Adams looked well on his way to having a monster day in the first half, the Raiders completely abandoned the passing attack in the second half. I understand they were winning, but 20 total passing attempts against a poor passing defense? C’MON! Josh McDaniels could be another one and done coach this year as that loss was crippling for the Raiders and their fans who were hoping to sneak into the postseason after their poor start. Bills 20, Jets 12 Bills top performer(s): In a game that featured each team's strong defense and inclement weather, Josh Allen was the top fantasy scorer in this one, primarily due to his 10/47/1 rushing stat line in addition to his one passing TD without turning the ball over. Most were expecting a low scoring affair in this game, and that's exactly what we got. The good news? Allen remains a top 3 option at QB, and Stefon Diggs is one of the top WR options weekly. The bad news? The forecast is looking very snowy for this weekend's game in Buffalo against Miami. Not ideal for those in the fantasy playoffs. You're starting Allen and Diggs, but be prepared for another low scoring game. Jets top performer(s): Zonovan "Bam" Knight continues to reward fantasy owners that scooped him off the waiver wire a few weeks ago. Another strong performance with a 17/71/1 stat line, and he is clearly a RB2 moving forward. Garrett Wilson posted another strong game as well with 6/78. Up next for the Jets is the ever-improving Lions, but Knight and Wilson are must-starts. Bengals 23, Browns 10 Bengals top performer(s):I think it's safe to say Ja'Marr Chase has fully recovered from his hip injury earlier this season. A monster 10/119/1 stat line with 15 targets, as he was tasked with even more work once Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd left this one with injuries. It's very likely that Higgins and Boyd will miss this week as well, so expect another monster performance from Chase. Joe Mixon had a strong game as well with 96 yards rushing against the poor Cleveland run defense, and Mixon continues to be a must start as well due to his volume of work. Browns top performer(s): For those that were expecting this offense to suddenly take off with Watson under center, you were disappointed yet again. To be fair, I did try to warn you last week that this was going to take at least 3-4 weeks for the offense to gel. The good? David Njoku continues to provide solid TE production in what is largely a barren wasteland (7/59/1) and Donovan Peoples-Jones posted a 8/114 line as he continues his strong play recently. Njoku is a must start at TE, and Peoples-Jones is a risky flex play. I would fire up Amari Cooper this week as well, even though he disappointed with 2 catches for 42 yards in this one. Cowboys 27, Texans 23 Cowboys top performer(s): Cowboys fans, take a breath. But, that would've been ugly if they took the L in this one. Dak looked pretty bad, but had the game-winning drive when it mattered most. Tony Pollard continues to look like a league winner due to his volume in the rushing and passing attack, as he had a TD rushing and receiving, as he has done so often this year. Even with the down performance from some of the stars, multiple players on this offense are must starts, such as Lamb, Zeke, Pollard, Schultz. Texans top performer(s): The Texans didn't play that bad! But, they still lost. Sound familiar? Dameon Pierce had a strong game with 78 yards rushing and a score, but suffered a high ankle sprain and is now expected to miss a few weeks. Avoid this offense from a fantasy perspective moving forward. Houston is playing for that #1 draft pick. Lions 34, Vikings 23 Lions top performer(s): There hasn't been many better stories in the NFL this year than the resurgence of Jared Goff. Most of us wrote him off after the Rams traded him to Detroit, and LA added in 2 first round picks to take on his salary! Of course LA got a Super Bowl, but Goff looks better and better with each week. He is a top 10-12 option every week at the QB position. Other strong performances were had by DJ Chark (6/94/1), Amon-Ra St Brown (6/68) and Jameson Williams, who had a 41 yard TD. I would continue to play Jamaal Williams, D'Andre Swift, and St-Brown in addition to Goff just about every week, but try to temper your expectations this week as Detroit has a tough assignment versus the Jets. Vikings top performer(s): Kirk Cousins threw for over 400 yards, with over half of them going to the all-world Justin Jefferson (11/223). Dalvin Cook continues to show signs of regression, and he disappointed with 15 carries for 23 yards, but saved his fantasy performance with a score. As I've stated before, this offense is elite from a fantasy standpoint with multiple viable fantasy starters each week including Cook, JJ, Hockenson, Cousins, and Adam Thielen. Jaguars 36, Titans 22 Jaguars top performer(s): Trevor Lawrence has made an astronomical jump in year 2, and it helps that he has a real coach in Doug Pederson instead of the massively overrated Urban Meyer. A clean performance from Lawrence saw him throw for 368 yards, 3 scores, & no turnovers. This is even more impressive as Lawrence was playing banged up after suffering that scary looking ankle injury the week prior. Evan Engram had a huge game with 11/162/2. The assignment is a little more difficult this week as they go against Dallas, but I would still play Lawrence, Christian Kirk (flex), and Engram. Titans top performer(s): King Henry is still the king. Even though he disappointed the week prior against Philly, he bounced back with 121 yards and a score. Henry is a must start as a clear cut RB1, but that's about it from this offense. Eagles 48, Giants 22 Eagles top performer(s): Another elite fantasy offense, especially in recent weeks as this team is peaking at the right time. Jalen Hurts continues to put up MVP numbers and is the top QB option each week. AJ Brown and DeVonta Smith are must starts as well, with Brown as a WR1 and Smith as a flex. Miles Sanders is having a career year as well, and is a high-end RB2. What's even scarier is that Dallas Goedert is eligible to come off IR this week against a poor Chicago secondary, and if he is active, you need to play him. Giants top performer(s): Down performance from the Giants in this one, although it was largely expected against the tough Philly defense. The star in this one was Richie James with a 7/61/2 stat line. Saquon Barkley continues to fade down the stretch after his torrid start. Barkley was limited to 9 carries for 28 yards, and he came into this contest with a questionable tag due to a neck injury. I would still play Barkley this week as a low end RB2 in a must-win game Sunday night against the Commanders. Fade all other Giants. Ravens 16, Steelers 14 Ravens top performer(s): The Ravens rushing attack was the star in this one as they racked up over 200 yards rushing as a team. JK Dobbins rushed for 120 yards and score, although his running mechanics looked a little iffy, which is to be expected as he continues to work his way back from his recent knee scope to remove scar tissue. Gus Edwards had 66 yards rushing as well. As long as Lamar Jackson is out, I would play Dobbins and Edwards as flex plays moving forward, especially this week against the poor Cleveland run D. Steelers top performer(s): Down performance from the offense, which had some tough sledding after Kenny Pickett was removed due to a concussion and his replacement, Mitch Trubisky, tossed 3 INTs. Diontae Johnson and George Pickens had modest receiving totals, but outside of Najee Harris, I would advise to fade all Steelers. Chiefs 34, Broncos 28 Chiefs top performer(s): The Chiefs offense seems to be peaking at the right time, and that's scary for the rest of the league. Even with Patrick Mahomes throwing 3 INTS they still managed over 420 yards of total offense. Jerick McKinnon was the star in this one, and he did most of his damage as a receiver with a 7/112/2 stat line. This is another elite offense with multiple starters each week. This includes Isiah Pacheco and McKinnon as flex plays, as well as Juju Smith-Schuster, and you're clearly starting Mahomes and Travis Kelce as well. Up next is a matchup against the Texans. Start all Chiefs with confidence. Broncos top performer(s): The Russell Wilson to Jerry Jeudy connection was strong in this one, as Russ threw all three of his TD passes to Jeudy. Wilson played his best game of the season, and it was unfortunate to see him suffer a scary looking concussion. Courtland Sutton missed this game with a hamstring strain, and it's possible he misses this week as well. Outside of Sutton and Jeudy as WR3/flex plays, fade all other Broncos. 49ers 35, Buccaneers 7 49ers top performer(s): Run CMC run. This is exactly the performance the 49ers were hoping for from Christian McCaffrey when they acquired him from the Panthers. 119 yards rushing with a score, as well as another score receiving. Deebo Samuel suffered a 2 for 1 injury (sprained MCL and high ankle sprain) that will have him out 3-4 weeks most likely. Expect the Niners to lean more on CMC, and I could see George Kittle and Brandon Aiyul benefitting with more targets. Bucs top performer(s): Putrid performance offensively from the entire Bucs in this one, but they were going against the top ranked Niners defense. At this point, how can you trust any Bucs players in your lineup? I know I sure as hell can't, especially against the Bengals this week. Panthers 30, Seahawks 24 Panthers top performer(s): The Panthers formula for winning games the rest of the way is simple. Run the ball and timely play action passes. The running game churned out 223 yards in this one, as Chuba Hubbard and D'Onta Foreman both rushed for 74 yards, and Hubbard found the end zone. Hubbard and Foreman are flex options moving forward. Will the Panthers win the NFC South? Seahawks top performer(s): Big loss for the Seahawks in this one, and there's no other way to sugarcoat it. Could potentially have a devastating impact on their playoff push, as they face the Niners on a short week this week. The passing attack continues to produce results, with Marquise Goodwin, DK Metcalf, and Tyler Lockett all scoring. Lockett and Metcalf are must starts even against the Niners. If Kenneth Walker returns, he is worth a start as well, but cross your fingers and hope for a score. Chargers 23, Dolphins 17 Chargers top performer(s): Welcome back Mike Williams! Impressive performance from the Chargers in this one as they are getting healthier at the right time. Keenan Allen also had 12 catches for 92 yards, and Allen is going to go down as one of the most consistent PPR players the fantasy football universe has ever seen. Continue starting Williams, Allen, Ekeler, and Herbert. Gerald Everett is a middling TE, but he's better than most options out there. Dolphins top performer(s): Poor performance from the Dolphins, and this loss could also be significant down the stretch here as well. The only performer here was Tyreek Hill, who had a fumble recovery in addition to a long TD reception. Tua really struggled, and it doesn't get easier this week going to Buffalo in expected inclement weather. You almost have to start Hill and Waddle unless you have better options, which you probably don't. Hold your breath. Patriots 27, Cardinals 13 Patriots top performer(s): Rhamondre Stevenson got banged up early in this one with a high ankle sprain, and Pierre Strong and Kevin Harris stepped up in his absence, each scoring a TD. Hunter Henry had 70 yards receiving, as the Cardinals are the worst team defending TE's. If Damien Harris returns this week, I would start him against a weak Raiders defense. Cardinals top performer(s): The awful season for the Cardinals just got worse with Kyler Murray suffering a torn ACL in the third play from scrimmage. He will now miss 9-12 months, and the Cardinals will almost surely fade down the stretch. Outside of James Conner and Deandre Hopkins, you shouldn't consider any other Cardinals.


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