Underdog Battle Royale Picks: Week 14
The fantasy world was set afloat in Week 13 thanks to Denver Broncos rookie running back Javonte Williams. In his long-awaited start, and with sole possession of the Broncos' backfield, Williams led all fantasy running backs in half-PPR scoring with 26.8 fantasy points, topping the RB2 on the week, Jonathan Taylor by 4.5 points.
Week 14 also presents a unique challenge, or perhaps an edge, as the Colts and Jonathan Taylor are on a bye in Week 14, leaving the running back landscape somewhat wide open in terms of who could be the overall RB1 this week.
Joe Mixon is the projected RB1 on Underdog fantasy, projected at 18.9 points. But Mixon also gets a 49ers defense that our rankings suggest is only the 16th easiest matchup for running backs this week.
Our half-PPR rankings compared to Underdog's speak volumes about what could happen at the running back position this week, as we have Mixon projected as the overall RB7, with Austin Ekeler and Elijah Mitchell being projected as the top two backs on the Underdog slate with 21.6 and 17.8 projected points, respectively.
With five weeks left to build these tournament teams, here are some players I like for Week 14.
Week 14 Spread and Over/Under
- Tampa Bay (-3.5) vs. Buffalo - O/U 52.5
- Cincinnati (-1.5) vs. San Francisco - O/U 48.5
- Washington (+4) vs. Dallas - O/U 48
- Kansas City (-10) vs. Las Vegas - O/U 48
- Tennessee (-9) vs. Jacksonville - O/U 44
- Los Angeles Chargers (-10.5) vs. New York Giants - O/U 44
- New York Jets (+5) vs. New Orleans - O/U 43.5
- Carolina (-2.5) vs. Atlanta - O/U 42.5
- Cleveland (-2.5) vs. Baltimore - O/U 42
- Denver (-7.5) vs. Detroit - O/U 42
- Houston (+7.5) vs. Seattle - O/U 41.5
Taysom Hill, New Orleans Saints
The immediate risk to starting Taysom Hill is that he is reportedly working through a mallet finger injury, which means he has a ruptured tendon in the tip of his finger. The upside to starting Hill is that he faces the New York Jets, who our rankings suggest offer the third easiest quarterback matchup in Week 14.
Hill's Week 13 matchup against the Dallas Cowboys gave nostalgic memories of the days of Blake Bortles. He threw four interceptions on the day, while completing 19-of-41 passes for 264 yards and two touchdowns, but saw a long touchdown pass to Deonte Harris come in garbage time. Classic Bortles. Hill Finished the week with 20.7 fantasy points (QB6), and had his production boosted by the 101 rushing yards he provided us on 11 carries.
Even with his finger injury, Hill is difficult to avoid this week because of his rushing upside, and again, he's playing the Jets. The Jets are allowing 21.1 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks over the last five weeks, and are surrendering the fourth-most passing yards per game on the season (263.4).
Our rankings project Hill as the overall QB9 on the week with 18.4. Underdog fantasy projects him as the overall QB10 with 19.3 points, and in a six-team draft, there's a chance he is low-rostered this weekend. If he manages to outperform his projections, Hill could be a sneaky pick in drafts and offer an edge over the field who may not be as high on him.
The Jets are also allowing the third-most rushing yards per game (133.4), which could lead to a big day on the ground for Hill, who tends to run a number of power runs from the quarterback position. Our projections also have him going for 40.6 rushing yards on 7.3 rush attempts.
Tom Brady, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
We don't need to get into Brady being Buffalo's daddy for 20 seasons, but let's just say it wouldn't be surprising if he wanted to go out of his way to have one more big game against his old division rivals.
Defensively, the Bills are allowing the fewest passing yards per game this season (165.3), but will be without cornerback Tre'Davious White (ACL) who was injured in Week 12.
For Brady, it doesn't seem to matter who he is facing or what the score is. Last weekend against the Falcons, in a game the Buccaneers won 30-17, Brady threw 51 times for 368 yards and four touchdowns. It was the sixth time that Brady has thrown four or more touchdowns in a game this season, and the third time he attempted 50 or more passes.
Despite our rankings projecting Brady as having the most difficult matchup of any quarterback this weekend, he ranks as the QB4 with a projected 20.8 fantasy points on 207 yards and 2.3 touchdowns. He is also ranked as the QB4 on Underdog, meaning you will likely have to draft him in the second round to secure him, but with so many talented teammates, you should still be able to stack him with one of either Mike Evans, Chris Godwin or Rob Gronkowski.
Alvin Kamara, New Orleans Saints
If the return of Kamara isn't exciting enough for fantasy managers, consider also that in the Underdogs rankings-based system, Kamara is virtually off the board as the website currently projects him for 0.0 points. Hopefully, this is the case at the time you're reading this article, as Kamara could remain a sneaky pick in drafts until Underdog updates him in their weekly rankings.
As previously mentioned, the Jets are allowing the third-most rushing yards per game on the season (133.4), but even before going down, Kamara was performing at his normal elite level.
On the season, Kamara has averaged 17.8 points per game (RB4), rushing 146 times for 530 yards and three touchdowns, while also catching 32 passes for 310 yards and another four scores. Kamara is on pace to see career-highs in rush attempts, having never drawn more than 194 in any single season, and he's averaged 23.8 opportunities per game overall.
Our rankings project Kamara as the overall RB10 on the week with 15.1 fantasy points.
Leonard Fournette, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Buccaneers have made a conscious choice to simply focus Leonard Fournette in their offense as the premiere back. He has seen double-digit carries in each of the last four games, totaling 51 carries over that span for 226 yards and three touchdowns. Perhaps even more impressive, however, is that Fournette has been one of the top pass-catching backs in the league as well.
Over that same four-week span in which Fournette saw 51 carries, he also caught 28 passes for 163 yards and another two scores, as he's averaged 16.7 fantasy points per game over that span.
Fournette gets a matchup this week against the Buffalo Bills, who have struggled as of late against the run.
On the year, Buffalo is allowing 107.1 rushing yards per game but has allowed 122 rushing yards per game over the last five games. They are only allowing 3.4 receptions per game to opposing running backs for 28 receiving yards over the last five weeks, which ranks as the fourth-fewest receiving yards per game allowed to opposing running backs. But Fournette's usage as of late has been elite.
Our rankings project him as the overall RB6 on the week with 16.8 fantasy points.
Tee Higgins, Cincinnati Bengals
In his last two games, Higgins and Burrow seem to have re-gained a connection that felt somewhat lost at one point. Prior to Week 12, Higgins hadn't scored since Week 2, and he had yet to record a 100-yard game on the season.
Now, Higgins is riding back-to-back 100-yard games, where he scored in each of those games while drawing eight and 14 targets respectively. Of the 22 targets he has seen in the last two weeks, Higgins has caught 15 passes for 252 yards and two touchdowns, and is averaging 22.4 points per game in that short span.
The 49ers are allowing just 205.1 passing yards per game, but have allowed 226 or more passing yards in three of their last five games and six touchdown passes.
Cincinnati's passing attack ranks 10th in passing yards per game (245.0) despite ranking 23rd in pass attempts per game at 32.0.
Higgins' last two weeks are no fluke. It's the kind of production we came to expect of him after a stellar rookie season in which he caught 67 passes for 908 yards and six touchdowns.
Our rankings project Higgins as the WR18 on the week with 11.9 points.
D.J. Moore, Carolina Panthers
In Newton's two games as a starter, Moore has seen a total of 17 targets, which includes 10 targets in Week 12 against Miami, where he caught four passes for 103 yards. Moore has caught nine passes for 153 yards and a touchdown in Newton's starts and has been a focal point of the Panthers' offense as a whole.
He has 66 receptions for 854 yards and four touchdowns on the season, but ranks as the WR22 in fantasy points per game with 12.0. Lack of touchdowns has always been an issue for Moore, who has never scored more than four receiving touchdowns in any of his four seasons, despite having back-to-back 1,100+ yard season and being on pace for another 1,000-yard season this year.
He gets a generous matchup this weekend against the Atlanta Falcons, who have allowed the most fantasy points per game to opposing wide receivers in the last five weeks, and the fourth most targets to wide receivers (22.6) over that span.
Moore is our projected WR10 this week with 13.5 fantasy points.
Mark Andrews, Baltimore Ravens
Andrews is averaging 8.2 targets per game on the season, and has seen 10 targets in three of his last fives games, with his fewest targets over that span being the eight that he saw against the Dolphins in Week 10.
In Week 12 against the Browns, Jackson peppered Andrews with 10 targets which turned into four receptions for 65 yards and one touchdown (14.5 points).
Cleveland has struggled against tight ends in recent weeks, allowing four touchdowns to the position in the last five games, along with 8.4 targets and 61.6 yards which both rank as the sixth most in their respective categories.
Andrews is the projected TE4 in our rankings at 10.0 points, but with the volume he has been drawing this season, he could easily surpass that against the Browns again this week.
Foster Moreau, Las Vegas Raiders
Raiders tight end Foster Moreau remains one of my favorite tight ends to take a shot on in these tournaments as long as Darren Waller (day-to-day) is out. There is a chance that Waller could be back in Week 14 against the Chiefs, so that's something to monitor, but Raiders' tight ends have the sixth easiest matchup on the weekend according to our rankings.
Moreau fell flat on his face last week in a spot start against the Football Team, catching just one pass for 34 yards on three targets, but we know that Moreau can produce in a starting role.
In Week 7 against the Eagles, Moreau caught all six of his targets for 60 yards and one touchdown and now finds himself in a potential shootout this weekend.
Playing on a team that's devoid of much receiver talent, quarterback Derek Carr has targeted his tight ends 115 times on the year, which ranks as the fifth most of any team in the league.
If Moreau gets yet another start in Waller's absence, he has a chance to be a nice late-round tight end flier in a high-scoring affair.