Over the last few weeks, I’ve discussed the fantasy playoffs and how every move is critical to hoisting a trophy at the end of the season. Welcome to Week 14. This is truly make-or-break time. The fantasy playoffs start next week for most leagues, meaning Week 14 will likely alter the playoff picture of many of these leagues.
The trade deadline is behind us, so your roster’s key components should be locked in at this point. But your team’s all-stars shouldn’t be the players at the top of your mind. Making the correct decisions at RB2, WR2, and the flex could lead to a playoff berth. That said, what running backs can you trust in Week 14?
RACHAAD WHITE AT ATLANTA FALCONS
Rachaad White and the Buccaneers head into Atlanta to take on the Falcons this week. Despite the challenging matchup, White must be in lineups in Week 14. This true for the fantasy playoffs as well. White is a must-start for the rest of the season.
White has been phenomenal down the stretch this season, and the results speak for themselves. Since Week 7, White has consistently produced, finishing RB12, RB10, RB1, RB11, RB13, RB19, and RB10.
White’s versatility within the Tampa Bay offense has allowed him to have this level of consistency. He is involved in the passing attack, handles the majority of carries, and operates effectively at the goal line. His bell cow usage provides plenty of opportunities to generate fantasy points, making him a quality starter every week, regardless of the matchup.
AARON JONES AT NEW YORK GIANTS
After missing two games with a knee (MCL) injury, Aaron Jones logged a limited practice on Thursday. While there are no guarantees, this a great sign for Jones’ availability on Monday night. But if Jones is, can you trust him in your lineup? I believe the answer is yes.
The Giants are the ideal matchup for Jones in his return from injury. Allowing 23.8 points per game to RBs, the Giants surrender 9th most fantasy points to running backs. The Giants also allow rank 4th in rushing yards allowed per game. If he’s healthy, I expect the Packers to look to get Jones going against an attackable rushing defense.
The offensive environment in Green Bay has also been great in recent weeks. Jordan Love has looked like a true NFL starter and this was highlighted by a Week 13 victory over Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs. The Packers’ offensive success should continue against a far inferior Giants defense. Ideally the Green Bay offense will be humming on Monday Night, creating scoring opportunities for Jones.
DERRICK HENRY AT MIAMI DOLPHINS
Coming off of two consecutive 20+ fantasy point (PPR) performances, it may be difficult to find a spot on your bench for Derrick Henry. But if there’s any time to let King Henry rest up on your bench, it’s Week 14.
Week 14 brings a brutal matchup for Henry and the Titans rushing attack. It’s not that the Dolphins have defended the run well, but their offense regularly creates negative game scripts for the other team. Negative game scripts for the Titans have buried Henry’s fantasy production this season.
These splits are horrifying to say the least. With a blowout in Miami looming, keeping Derrick Henry on your bench this week is the best move.
RAHEEM MOSTERT VS TENNESSEE TITANS
The reason for benching Raheem Mostert follows the same logic as the reasoning behind benching Derrick Henry. This game should be a blowout.
We got a look at how the Miami backfield operates in a blowout in Week 13 when the Dolphins took a 31-7 lead over the Commanders by halftime. Things were less than ideal for Mostert owners in the second half.
Mostert finished the second half with just two carries compared to 10 for De’Von Achane. Mostert was effectively benched in the second half to get the rookie some reps.
Things could certainly look different in Week 14, but given the massive spread in this game and last week’s RB usage, keeping Mostert on the bench is a safe play.
D’ANDRE SWIFT AT DALLAS COWBOYS
In the early part of the season, D’Andre Swift appeared to be a steal in 2023 drafts. However, in the last month, Swift has experienced a dip in production. Swift has only managed to crack double-digit PPR points once in the Eagles’ last four games. Unfortunately, things don’t look great for Swift in Week 14.
Week 14 brings the Dallas Cowboys, who have a track record of limiting the fantasy output of running backs. Dallas ranks 3rd in fantasy points allowed to RBs. Swift has already had a taste of this Dallas defense when they held him to 9.4 points in Week 9.
This game is also shaping up to be a high-scoring affair with a focus on two potent passing attacks. If the Cowboys are able to build up a big lead on a struggling Philadelphia secondary, the Eagles’ rushing attack could be phased out of this game quickly.