Step Your Game Up: FantasyFeud Week 14 Values & Top Plays
Welcome to Week 14.
We’re almost at that time of the year where teams start resting players and weird things start to happen, but we're still dealing with some normalcy (for now). Saints-Bucs and Steelers-Bengals are the two games I'll be trying to gets some exposure to this weekend, but let’s see what else Week 14 has to offer us.
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Step 1: Blaine Gabbert ($106,200) at CLE
I guess it’s time to stop making fun of Blaine Gabbert. Over the past three weeks, everyone’s favorite punching bag is averaging 19.31 points per game on FantasyFeud (it’s a small sample size, but it’s the same as Drew Brees’ season average). With a matchup against Cleveland and their 31st-ranked defense in aFPA allowed to quarterbacks, Gabbert makes for an interesting punt play as one of the cheapest starters available this weekend.
Step 2: Alex Smith ($121,900) vs SD
I don’t love the matchup (and I’m not sure I’ll ever fully trust him,) but Alex Smith may be one of the best values on FantasyFeud this weekend. He’s nicely priced as the 17th most expensive quarterback, yet comes in ranked 13th by our rankings guru, John Paulsen. With 20-plus fantasy points in each of his last two games and Jeremy Maclin showing a finishing kick, Smith is a very viable cash game starter this weekend.
Step 3: Russell Wilson ($140,400) at BAL
I have no problem saving some money by going with Blake Bortles or Tyrod Taylor, but I think Wilson is easily the best value out of all the higher-priced quarterbacks this week. The Ravens come in 27th in aFPA to opposing quarterbacks and Wilson has really elevated his game as of late. Coming off two straight 30-plus fantasy point outings, Wilson should be cemented into cash game lineups this weekend.
Step 1: Tim Hightower ($35,100) at TB
With Mark Ingram now out for the season and C.J. Spiller just plain struggling, Tim Hightower will likely get a chance to be the Saints main running back (and no, it is not 2010). I think it’s likely that we’ll see a bit of a committee approach in New Orleans, but Saints beat writers seem to think Hightower will be the one to step into Ingram’s role. At a minimum price, it’s definitely worth the risk (despite the tough matchup).
Step 2: Frank Gore ($73,100) at JAC
Gore hasn’t exactly been a model of consistency this season, but he’s still averaging over 15 carries per game and is cheaper than guys like Theo Riddick and Spencer Ware this weekend. While the Jaguars don’t present the easiest matchup, they are in the middle of the road in terms of aFPA to the running back position. Coming in 13th in Paulsen’s weekly rankings, Gore has a very good chance at returning value (and then some) this weekend.
Step 3: Doug Martin ($128,800) vs NO
Martin isn’t cheap this weekend, but he has the easiest on-paper matchup and finally broke his six game scoreless streak last weekend. The Muscle Hamster/Douginator/whatever-you-want-to-call-him has had a major bounce back season and should be able to extend his scoring streak to two games, as he’s seen the second-most red zone carries of any running back in the league over the past four games.
Step 1: Keshawn Martin ($30,000) at HOU
If you don’t have the stomach to go with Martin, Brandon Coleman is a solid, yet more expensive punt play (assuming Willie Snead sits again). But for those of you who are willing to take a risk on a minimum-priced wide receiver catching passes from Tom Brady, Martin is your guy. And there’s also the revenge factor for those of you who are into those types of things. Martin definitely has goose egg potential, but he’s one of only five healthy receiving options for the Patriots (and Scott Chandler is nursing an injury, so that could turn into four) and was on the field for a team-high 86 snaps last weekend.
Step 2: Doug Baldwin ($80,900) at BAL
I hate to chase points, but I think we’re just chasing value at this point. Baldwin has really come on down the stretch and produced in a big way in the Seahawks' first game since they lost Jimmy Graham for the season. Baldwin’s 433 yards and six touchdowns over the past four games lead all receivers, and he’s still relatively affordable this weekend. We already talked about Russell Wilson’s great matchup. Someone on the receiving end has to benefit from that, and Doug Baldwin is just as good of a bet as anyone.
Step 3: Alshon Jeffery ($118,400) vs WAS
Jeffery was already seeing 31.4 percent of the Bears targets over the last month (tied for fourth-most in the NFL) and that number isn’t exactly going to get smaller with Martellus Bennett out for the season. With a great matchup against the Redskins this weekend, Jeffery has a good chance at finishing as a top-three receiver this week at a $30K discount as compared to the top-priced guys.
Step 1: Jordan Cameron ($41,800) vs NYG
I could throw some fancy stats at you, but Cameron is about as low as you should feel comfortable as going as a punt play, in my opinion. He hasn’t caught more than two passes in a game since mid-October, but at least he’ll see the field (he's played 74% of the snaps this season). You can’t say that for anyone priced cheaper than him. The Giants are a bottom-five team in TE aFPA.
Step 2: Austin Seferian-Jenkins ($75,700) vs NO
ASJ had a relatively quiet return to the field last week, but the important part is that he’s back. Maybe even more important is the fact that he gets to face New Orleans and their 32nd-ranked defense in aFPA to the tight end position. I don’t think I’d play Seferian-Jenkins in cash games this weekend, but he’s worth a shot as a relatively cheap tourney play.
Step 3: Julius Thomas ($90,600) vs IND
Greg Olsen is probably the safest of the high-priced guys, but Thomas comes in around $25K cheaper and I think it’s worth saving the money. Now fully healthy, Thomas has scored in three straight games and is averaging just under 14 fantasy points per game during that span. With Rob Gronkowski and Tyler Eifert both possibly out this weekend, Thomas has just as good of a chance as anyone to finish as the week’s high-scoring tight end.
Step 1: Houston Texans ($42,100) vs NE
We know how good the Texans defense can be. The only thing holding them back is how good the Patriots offense is. But last week’s performance by the Eagles shows that the injury-depleted Patriots aren’t the juggernaut they used to be, and they may have some special teams issues. This is obviously a punt play for tourneys, but I think the Texans are worth rolling the dice on this weekend.
Step 2: New York Jets ($49,300) vs TEN
I’ll feel a lot better about this play if Darrelle Revis plays, but the Jets should be able to hold down a middling Titans offense at home this week. The Jets are averaging more than three sacks per game over their last five games and have recorded at least one takeaway in four of those games. With a rookie QB coming into town, I think the Jets are a bit underpriced and suitable for cash games this weekend.
Step 3: Kansas City ($60,700) vs SD
There isn’t much argument to the Chiefs being the top-ranked fantasy defense this weekend, but for some reason, they’re only priced as the fourth most expensive defense. With a home matchup against a weapon-less Chargers team, the Chiefs are an easy lock for cash games after averaging 3.66 sacks, 1.33 takeaways, and 0.33 touchdowns over their last three games.
That’s it for me this week, folks. Good luck out there!