Week 14 NFL Matchups - Roto Street Journal
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Week 14 NFL Matchups

Pittsburgh Steelers @ Buffalo Bills

Steelers -3; O/U 46.5

Steelers – Per usual, the Big 3 of Pittsburgh performed as expected and put up big numbers. QB Ben Roethlisberger threw for 289 yards and two touchdowns, while Antonio Brown caught 6 of those balls for 54 yards and a score. Le’Veon Bell had a nice day with 118 rushing yards while catching 6 balls for 64 yards. Despite playing against a tough defense, the Steelers home field splits overcame the Giants. The big surprise of the week was from tight end Ladarius Green who also had 6 catches but led the team with 110 yards and a touchdown. Green’s 11 targets were what fantasy owners were waiting to see from the tight end’s acquisition. Traveling to Buffalo should pose much of a threat for the Steelers, but it’s hard to ignore the home/road split stats for the Steelers offense.

Bills – The offense lives and dies with LeSean McCoy and that was never more evident than last Sunday’s game. McCoy ripped off 130 rushing yards while leading the team in receiving catching 7 passes for 61 yards. The most frustrating part of the game though was goddamn vulture Mike Gillislee taking away two touchdowns from the goal line. Gillislee reiterated the fact that if you are a McCoy owner, you NEED to stash Gillislee for the playoffs just in case. QB Tyrod Taylor didn’t really do anything through the air, so if are leaning on him as your QB in the playoffs, then something is wrong with you. Receivers Sammy Watkins and Marquise Goodwin led the team in targets, but couldn’t get on the same page with their QB. Watkins is starting to look like his old self, but it’s nearly impossible to trust Bills receivers for your fantasy playoffs.

Denver Broncos @ Tennessee Titans

Titans -1; O/U 43.5

Broncos – The Denver Broncos need Trevor Siemian back at QB, is a sentence I’d never thought I’d say. Replacement Paxton Lynch couldn’t get anything going with the offense which completly limited the output of Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders. Unfortunately, Denver travels to Jacksonville who boast a sneaky good secondary that limits opponents passing games. Thomas and Sanders are both big names and are tough to bench, but if you have some good replacement options, it’s worth a thought. Running back Devontae Booker got in the end zone last game which salvaged his day, but he had 35 yards on 18 carries for a 1.9 YPC. Pretty goddamn awful, meaning new signee Justin Forsett will see some carries in the offense. Forsett has familiarity with coach Kubiak’s offense, so he has the ability to step right in and contribute.

Titans – Tough draw here for one of the NFL’s hottest QBs in Marcus Mariota. We all know the elite Broncos secondary, so Mariota’s value along with receiver Rishard Matthews is all but shot. It will be extremely difficult for the Titans to move the ball through the air in this contest, but if they can make it work it’s likely through the use of Delanie Walker. Walker is a beast tight end and can work the shorter routes over the middle. Denver can be vulnerable on the ground however, which could bode well for Demarco Murray. Murray hasn’t been that monster we saw earlier since his injury, and the Titans have been giving Derrick Henry more carries. Nonetheless, you are still playing Murray in your lineups.

Washington Redskins @ Philadelphia Eagles

Redskins -2; O/U 46.5

Redskins – After a down game against the Cardinals, Kirk Cousins and the offense look to bounce back against Philly. The Eagles were just torched by the Bengals offense, so one can only imagine what Washington will do. Jamison Crowder continues to be the most consistent receiver option in the offense and should not be slowing down anytime soon. Pierre Garcon had a productive day leading the team in targets and receptions. He’s been a sneaky good play most of the year. Then there’s DeSean Jackson who makes his return to Philly on Sunday. Revenge games are usually interesting, so keep that in mind with Jackson. Tight end Jordan Reed is still working his way back from a shoulder injury. Vernon Davis stepped up in his absence, but won’t be a viable option unless Reed is out again. If Reed plays, then he has the most value. As coach Gruden said earlier, he wants RB Rob Kelley to be more involved with the offense. Fantasy owners are thinking the same after his 3 touchdown explosion.

Eagles – The Eagles noticeably struggled without offensive weapons Jordan Matthews and Ryan Mathews on the field. Both should be back this game, but the former hopes to avoid Josh Norman in coverage. Tight end Zach Ertz had himself a day with Matthews out. Ertz has had good chemistry as of late with Carson Wentz, so hopefully those two can keep it going. As for the backfield, neither Darren Sproles nor Mathews are ideal candidates. It’s Sproles though who has the most value to owners thanks to his PPR presence. Mathews is too inconsistent to trust in important weeks.

Arizona Cardinals @ Miami Dolphins

Cardinals -1.5; O/U 43.5

Cardinals – How goddamn good is David Johnson? The dude is such a stud and is riding high into the fantasy playoffs. He was already so dynamic as a runner, but now he’s getting so many catches out of the backfield that his usage rate is through the roof. He’s easily the #1 fantasy player in the NFL right now. QB Carson Palmer has started to come on strong as well recently after notching a 300 yard passing game with 3 scores. Unfortunately, none of those went to receiver Larry Fitzgerald, as they haven’t in what seems like forever. Fitz is still getting his yards and receptions, but it would be extra nice to throw a solid 6 in there. Jermaine Gresham is carving out a role for himself at tight end. He’s not the best option, but if you are desperately searching, he can be of service.

Dolphins – While Palmer has been trending up for the Cardinals, Ryan Tannehill has been trending down for Miami. The QB has really sucked lately which has hurt the entire offense greatly. Jay Ajayi has been putting up nice YPC numbers, but he’s not getting the full workload needed for his monster RB1 numbers. What was nice to see in this offense though was the reemergence of Jarvis Landry. Landry had been very quiet all year, but broke out last week with 11 catches on 14 targets. Those numbers are very similar to his 2015 stats, we just hadn’t seen those this year. With a good secondary of the Cardinals, Landry could wreck havoc in the slot and across the middle. It will be tough for DeVante Parker or Kenny Stills to have much luck on the outsides and deep. Whoever lines up across from Patrick Peterson is in for a rough day.

San Diego Chargers @ Carolina Panthers

Panthers -1.5; O/U 49

Chargers – San Diego was a little sluggish offensively compared to normal last game. It was nice to see Melvin Gordon get back to form with 84 yards and a score, but his leading involvement in the passing game was surprising. The shoulder injury to Tyrell Williams didn’t help, despite the receiver pulling in a 40 yard touchdown grab. He only had two catches on the day, along with other receiver Dontrelle Inman who also had two grabs and a touchdown. The targets were evenly spread between the running back, two receivers, and tight end Antonio Gates. All four offensive options are good plays against a bad Panthers defense. QB Philip Rivers should bounce right back and prove to be a viable starting quarterback in your playoffs.

Panthers – Cam Newton and the Panthers were a dumpster fire against the Seahawks defense on Sunday night. It was a real ugly game and the entire offense looked dysfunctional. Newton should have a better go around at home with the Chargers coming to town, a big difference from Seattle and the Legion of Boom. Ted Ginn Jr continues to be the most explosive playmaker in the offense, as he had a beautiful 55 yard touchdown catch in the game. The deep ball has been working between Newton and Ginn, why slow it down now. What’s disappointing with the passing game though is the lack of usage from Kelvin Benjamin and Greg Olsen. Both players started out hot to begin the season, but now are ice cold. The targets are there, Newton just can’t get on the same page as his receivers. The running game with Jonathan Stewart has been pedestrian after Stewart rushed for just 50 yards last game. Game flow was a big component of that, so facing the Chargers should allow for more offensive balance in the play calling.

Cincinnati Bengals @ Cleveland Browns

Bengals -5.5; O/U 42.5

Bengals – Who doesn’t love playing the Cleveland Browns? I know Andy Dalton and the Bengals will, after previously putting a beat down on the winless Browns earlier in the season. Granted AJ Green isn’t in the picture this week, Dalton has shown he can still move the ball around to receivers Brandon LaFell and Tyler Boyd. Both have higher ceilings than normal, but the biggest ceiling in this offense belongs to tight end Tyler Eifert. In a game against the Browns last year, Eifert went for three scores, making him the ultimate matchup this Sunday. Running back Jeremy Hill will look to improve on his latest 1.4 YPC game that saw Rex Burkhead out carry him on 1/3 of the attempts. Hill punished the Browns at the beginning of the year, and should do the same again this week.

Browns – Just when it looked like all hope was lost for Cleveland’s season, Robert Griffin III has returned and will start for the Browns this week. Griffin’s big arm is a postive sign for receivers Terrelle Pryor Sr along with Corey Coleman who will be looking to regain their preseason form with RGIII. I would trust Pryor in my lineups this week, but I’d be hesitant to start Coleman in this spot. As for the run game, this could be what’s needed to open the offense for Isaiah Crowell. He started the season off nicely, before the offense went to waste and he sat on fantasy owners benches for many weeks to come.

Chicago Bears @ Detroit Lions

Lions -7; O/U 43.5

Bears – The Chicago offense lived and died with running back Jordan Howard last week who rushed 32 times for 117 yards and 3 scores. He had a monster day and was the focal point of the offense while QB Matt Barkley struggled to move the ball down the field. Howard could be in for a tough day against an improving Lions defense playing at home in a divisional game. He’ll be in your lineups unless you have some running back super team. As for the receivers, Joshua Bellamy was the leading man last week in front of Cameron Meredith. Neither of those two should be in your lineups though unless you are super desperate.

Lions – Matthew Stafford continues to dazzle this season for Detroit as they push for a playoff berth. He took the Lions into New Orleans last week and came out with a victory, which is very difficult to do. Stafford should have no problem working with the Bears defense and through the air. Golden Tate was the guy last week with a 8-145-1 stat line, and should set up nicely in Week 14. Theo Riddick continues to produce out of the backfield but 99% of his production comes from the receiving game. We’ll take that. As for other receivers, Marvin Jones is all but forgotten, while Anquan Boldin and Eric Ebron garner most of the attention. Boldin is a stretch flex play if needed, while Ebron should be a safe tight end play. Key word there, should.

Houston Texans @ Indianapolis Colts

Colts -6.5; O/U 47

Texans – Houston took to the Frozen Tundra last week, and it appeared the frigid weather really effected their gameplay. Brock Osweiler continued to stink barely throwing for over 200 yards despite two scores. It was very nice to see DeAndre Hopkins finally catch a touchdown in what seemed like the first time in forever. He had a high number of targets, along with tight end CJ Fiedorowicz and receiver Will Fuller. Fiedorowicz and Fuller had more receptions than Hopkins, but neither ended up scoring. These three aren’t bad plays against a struggling Colts defense. Where it gets dicey is in the running game and Lamar Miller. Injuries have slowed him down, but Miller’s 1.6 YPC on 16 carries was nothing to laugh at. He was severly outplayed by both Alfred Blue and Jonathan Grimes which is disturbing. The Colts have a very bad run defense, and Miller blew up against them earlier in the year. If there’s a game to break out again for Miller, it would be here.

Colts – Andrew Luck and the Colts offense blew up Monday night in what might have been the worst game of the NFL this year. I watched until the VS Fashion Show came on because at least that had some life to it and Bruno Mars is a goddamn stud. Anyways, Luck was great with four touchdown passes, three of them to tight end Dwayne Allen which probably nobody saw coming. Poor Jack Doyle couldn’t reach the ball out a little farther without having it slip out of his fingertips and into the end zone. Per usual, Donte Moncrief caught his touchdown, while TY Hilton had a great game returning from a back injury. He looked really healthy and back to full speed. Granted, this was all against a bad Jets defense, so it will be quite the opposite playing a solid Houston D. Frank Gore as expected wasn’t great against the Jets, and could very well struggle again with the Texans.

Minnesota Vikings @ Jacksonville Jaguars

Vikings -3.5; O/U 39

Vikings –Poor Sammy Sleeves Sam Bradford couldn’t pull out a 2 point conversion when needed last Thursday. It took Bradford forever to get going offensively, but when push came to shove and the Vikings needed a score, Bradford marched right down the field. Receivers Stefon Diggs and Adam Theilen were the leading guys on the day, but should struggle against a good Jaguars secondary (that is very weird to type). Kyle Rudolph could be a little less blanketed in the passing game as a tight end, but his matchup isn’t ideal on the road. We all know how much of a mess the running game is between Jerick McKinnon, Matt Asiata and even Cordarrelle Patterson at time. Just avoid all Vikings this week.

Jaguars – Like the Minnesota offense, Jacksonville shouldn’t find much offense to work with here. Blake Bortles has been atrocious this season while murdering the first round potential of Allen Robinson. Robinson along with his fellow receivers have such low floors and ceilings, that none of them are worth plays in your lineup. The same goes for the running backs with Chris Ivory and TJ Yeldon who are all god awful and shouldn’t be played. All Jaguars should remain on your bench/ can be cut minus Robinson and maybe the backs.

New York Jets @ San Francisco 49ers

49ers -2.5; O/U 43.5

Jets – Despite how bad the 49ers defense is, how much can you really trust any Jets player when the starting QB is Bryce Petty? Receiver Brandon Marshall wasn’t bad with the new QB, but the guy who got the most attention in the offense was Robby Anderson. Yeah, exactly. I’d be running for the hills with Jets wideouts, knowing they should be running the ball heavily with Matt Forte. The leagues worst run defense just gave up a monster day to Jordan Howard, so Forte should do fine. The intriguing storyline here is the backup role, where CJ Spiller has started to take over from Bilal Powell. You shouldn’t be playing either of them here, but it’s more for your knowledge.

49ers – In a game where he was benched after completing one of five passes, Colin Kaepernick will return under center for Week 14. The Jets actually provide a good matchup for Kaep, as we just saw what Andrew Luck did last week. He’s a super risky play at QB with an extremely high ceiling, but a dangerously low floor. Kneel at your own risk this week. Running back Carlos Hyde is the most reliable option here, which isn’t saying much. He got 20 carries last game and was part of the “passing game”, which should continue. As for receivers, don’t play any of them. Their best bets are Jeremy Kerley or Torrey Smith who are both disgusting creatures. Maybe Vance McDonald at tight end, but that’s really pushing the envelope. This game should be offensively challenged.

New Orleans Saints @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Buccaneers -2.5; O/U 51.5

Saints – Go from one shitty game, to what could be a shootout here. Drew Brees SUCKED last week, much to my frustration in the one week he works his way into my DFS lineups. If it’s too good to be true, then it usually is. Hopefully that game was just an outlier, and he can come right back against a surprisingly hot Bucs team. Receiver Brandin Cooks was worked back into the offense after voicing his displeasure after a 0 catch game in Week 12. What’s troubling this week, is the absence of Mike Thomas and Mark Ingram at practice. Both have been vital options in the offense, but if they end up missing time then it could be Willie Snead and Tim Hightower who have the big games. I like Cooks this week as a solid contributor, but the rest will take more time to figure out their injuries and see who stands where.

Buccaneers – Famous Jameis Winston comes off a big win in San Diego, and looks to keep his team rolling against a weak Saints defense. I love Winston’s potential this week along with elite receiver Mike Evans who could make absolute mince meat out of this secondary. The Chargers put a lot of effort and focus into handling Evans last week, which opened the door up for other weapons to be used, most notably Cameron Brate. Luckily, New Orleans doesn’t possess the pieces to slow down Evans, so the entire offense should be running wild in Tampa. It was nice to see Doug Martin out there, despite seeing him mysteriously miss the last few drives. It appreaed to be injury related, but Martin is healthy and ready to go in a dream matchup.

Atlanta Falcons @ Los Angeles Rams

Falcons -6.5; O/U 45

Falcons – The Rams have just been so bad this year, and all signs would point to a big showing from QB Matt Ryan, but something just feels off here. The Rams can finally play a game at home, and this is usually the time when Matty Ice starts slowing down. He seems to be such a wild card, you don’t know which version you’ll end up getting. A lot of it will be determined by the health of receivers Julio Jones and Mohamed Sanu. Julio is dealing with turf toe, but should still be playing this week. The toe injury could hamper his production as it has previously in recent weeks, but the Rams have been struggling on defense. If Jones is limited this week, then receiver Taylor Gabriel could be in line for more work. The speedy receiver has established himself as a big part of this offense. The play I like this week though is running back Devonta Freeman. Freeman is coming off back to back two touchdown games and is a man on fire right now. I’ve seen a lot of people writing Freeman off this week, but he should do just fine. His usage in the offense hasn’t been slowing down, and if Ryan struggles a bit, then Freeman could be a big key to the offense.

Rams – Last week was a DISASTER for the Rams offense in what was arguably the worst performance I’ve ever seen. QB Jared Goff had nothing working for him and just looked like a deer in the headlights in Foxborough. To his credit though, receivers were dropping a lot of passes and not giving him anything to work with. Kenny Britt did salvage his day with a touchdown catch late in the game, and could have a nice game against the Falcons bad secondary. Britt has been the only passing game weapon in LA and has been putting up good numbers the last few weeks. He can easily be starting in lineups this week. The ground game with Todd Gurley has been nonexistent for some time and did nothing to help Goff and the game flow last week. If there’s a spot for Gurley to have a nice game, it’s right here against this defense.

Seattle Seahawks @ Green Bay Packers

Seahawks -3; O/U 45.5

Seahawks – This should be a very entertaining game and one that could feature a lot of offense. Russell Wilson gets to face a troubled secondary after basically a week off versus Carolina. They got out to a huge lead early on, meaning they just ran the ball for 90% of the contest. Wilson should be able to move the ball, so look for a nice game from Doug Baldwin. He’s Wilson’s favorite target and usually shows up in big games. Jimmy Graham should be a nice play as well, but his home/road splits are something to monitor. Granted, the tight end department isn’t very deep so if you have Graham there’s likely no other options to consider. He will be a fine play this week. Also in the passing game, Tyler Lockett looked like he is finally back. His speed was noticeable, and provides such a dynamic playmaker in the offense. He has flex appeal here. Another great return came in the form of Thomas Rawls who was dynamite against the Panthers. Rawls ripped off 106 yards for two scores on 15 carries. He shot himself up the ranks and should be locked into your lineups going forward.

Packers – That bad man Aaron Rodgers pulled out a nice win in the snow against a solid Texans defense. It won’t get much easier this week against Seattle, although there is the silver lining of Earl Thomas’ injury last week. I trust Rodgers at home to be able to move the ball and put up numbers, especially in his own backyard. Jordy Nelson will be the big dog in the offense per usual, while Davante Adams should see most of the #2 role work. It can be tough to play receivers against the Seattle defense, but Jordy can easily be locked into lineups. It’s far more difficult to use Adams and Randall Cobb. From a running game perspective, Christine Michael has done nothing to warrant any looks so just avoid all Packers running backs this week.

Dallas Cowboys @ New York Giants

Cowboys -3.5; O/U 47.5

Cowboys – This game should be amazing. The whole year, the narrative has been the duo of Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott. I can see Prescott struggling on the road against a good Giants defense. His passing stats should be fairly limited similar to last week’s contest. This could mean a lower ceiling for receivers Dez Bryant and Cole Beasley. I would expect a Dez touchdown though, because he always shows up in prime time games and will probably work in a goal line fade for a score. Beasley would be utilized in the short routes. Where this offense will need to succeed is on the ground with Zeke. Elliott has been elite all year and will benefit from the Giants recent loss of Jason Pierre-Paul. Zeke will keep eating this week, you can bet on that. Also, Jason Witten is a sneaky good play this week. He just seems to always show up against the Giants, it’s kind of weird how it consistently happens.

Giants – This is your typical Eli Manning big game that’s about to happen. He’s been so bad all year, but finds himself in a spot on Sunday night in a huge divisional game. The stakes are so high, and he will probably come out and sling it. The ceiling of Odell Beckham Jr goes all the way up to the clouds. He’s on absolute fire and has been torching secondaries in his sleep. The Giants need this win, and Odell will do whatever it takes to get a win. I’m expecting a big game from him. As for other options, Sterling Shepard could be a good play as he’s being worked back into the offense. With a lot of attention on Beckham, Shepard can find room to work with. Rashad Jennings has been up and down this year, but has been working more in the receiving game which helps.

Baltimore Ravens @ New England Patriots

Patriots -7; O/U 45

Ravens – This is an interesting matchup here because Joe Flacco and the Ravens usually do well against New England, even on the road. If you can take anything from past matchups, it’s that Flacco won’t budge in the New England cold on the road. That would mean good things for receiver Steve Smith Sr, who unfortunately could draw coverage from Malcolm Butler. Smith will likely be the go to guy, while Dennis Pitta is likely to build off last week’s stud performance. Those two are the ones I would feel most comfortable playing, while Mike Wallace is more of a wild card. His speed cannot be matched and is such a weapon. I don’t see much work coming from the run game of Terrance West, but I could see Kenneth Dixon getting some usage in the passing game. Take that for what it’s worth.

Patriots – This is a big game for the Patriots and Tom Brady, which means our lord and savior is due to show up with a magnificent game. Not having Gronk will be a major let down, but Brady still has his mini-me in Julian Edelman to pepper with targets all night. He will have a big game. Along with Edelman, rookie receiver Malcolm Mitchell has worked his way into Brady’s Circle of Trust, which is almost unheard of for a rookie. Brady has full confidence in Mitchell, and he’s already made several key plays so I would expect Mitchell to continue the hot streak. Gronks absence was supposed to open the door for Martellus Bennett to come up big in New England. He hasn’t done that yet, but the Patriots need more weapons to step up and Bennett provides a HUGE target for Tom. As for running backs, this seems like a James White/Dion Lewis game with a bunch of check downs and short screens. LeGarrette Blount has started to look more elusive and should be given his chances early on. The Ravens have a stout run defense, so I would limit my expectations from the big back.

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  • THE Inaugural 2016 RSJ Fantasy Football League Champion. Owner of a #bigbrain, and lover of football, baseball and college hoops. When not grinding for the RSJ, can be found captaining his beer league softball team.

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