5 Players With Tough Week 14 Matchups
Should you always start your studs, especially in the fantasy playoffs? I don’t believe in that narrative as it’s sort of lazy and not entirely accurate if you want the most out of your fantasy squad.
In this column, I take a look at individual matchups and point out players who I think could struggle, even if they’re elite. I’m not saying to sit them without question, but as the title goes, these are players with tough matchups, meaning you'll have tough lineup decisions to make.
Week 13 Wrap-Up
A had few hits and several misses in last week’s column. Baker Mayfield suffered as the QB32 with just eight total fantasy points, and Amari Cooper’s mediocre outing as the WR22 was also a good call. Deshaun Watson was the QB1 on the week, though, which I did not see coming, and Courtland Sutton held his own as the WR6 with 23.4 PPR points.
Week 14 Risky Plays
Drew Brees (Saints) vs. 49ers
You got to the playoffs with Brees sidelined for most of the season, so what’s one more week? You don’t actually have to sit Brees if he’s your best option, but you may want to at least consider it. He’s normally solid at home but gets a tough San Francisco defense in Week 14 that is tops in the league against opposing quarterbacks this season. The 49ers are surrendering just 10.0 schedule-adjusted fantasy points allowed (aFPA) to signal-callers this season and they just limited Lamar Jackson to only 105 passing yards last week.
4for4’s resident ranker John Paulsen has Brees at QB16 on the week. With your fantasy playoffs on the line, it may behoove you to roll with someone else.
Allen Robinson (Bears) vs. Cowboys
Despite his capricious quarterback, Robinson has put together a decent 2019 campaign—WR14 with 186 total PPR points. He’s had as many as 131 yards in a contest and as few as six, depending on which Mitch Trubisky shows up to play each week. This could be a down one for Robinson, as he faces a Dallas secondary currently ranked eighth in aFPA to wideouts.
With your season on the line, counting on Trubisky in any way isn’t ideal, so you may want to think about using another wide receiver in the WR2 slot or at least tempering your expectations for his output.
Ertz was a game-time decision last week and played on 74% of the Eagles snaps, but he didn’t appear to be fully healthy. Dallas Goedert has also cut into his volume this year more than last, as he saw 121 targets at this point in 2018 to Goedert’s 29, compared to the 105/53 ratio through 13 weeks this season.
The Giants are surprisingly fourth in tight end aFPA, yielding just 9.4 PPR points to the position per contest and have allowed the fewest passes to tight ends this season. It’s tough to tell if it’s just that teams are hammering the Giants' weak secondary against wideouts or if their coverage is actually good. You’ll probably start Ertz regardless, but proceed with some caution.
Marlon Mack (Colts) @ Buccaneers
Excited to possibly have Mack back, are you? Well, I wouldn’t get too fired up about what he may do this week in Tampa Bay. The Bucs have been pretty stingy this season against the run, in fact, they’ve allowed the second-fewest rushing yards in the league with 915, which averages out to just 76.25 ground yards per contest.
You’ve made the playoffs without having Mack for the past few weeks, so you may want to keep that momentum going for one more if you can swing it. Or at least don’t anticipate huge numbers from the Colts back this week.
Kyler Murray (Cardinals) vs. Steelers
Last week was a rough one for the rookie. Sure, he was dealing with a bum hamstring, but he just seemed off. Week 14 may be another difficult contest for Murray as he faces a Steelers defense that has been stout against quarterbacks this season. Their 11.8 aFPA is the fourth-best in the league and they’ve only gotten better with the addition of Minkah Fitzpatrick.
With the Cardinals' less-than-stellar offensive line and a harsh matchup, I’d put my quarterback eggs in another basket this week if possible.