You know it’s a good start to the fantasy playoffs when two Dolphins make our Week 14 sleepers list. Hey, what can we say? They’re coming off scoring nearly 40 points and taking on a Jets team that just wet the bed. A lot of fantasy owners will be sticking with their studs throughout the fantasy playoffs, so it might be time for our start ’em, sit ’em recommendations to get extra niche to bring you Ryan Fitzpatrick and Patrick Laird (along with a classic injury fill-in like Alexander Mattison and more obvious matchup-based picks).
We’re repping the Titans hard against the Raiders team that the Jets and Chiefs have outscored 74-12 the past two weeks. What better way to dominate in the fantasy playoffs than by using Ryan Tannehill, A.J. Brown, Jonnu Smith, and the Titans D/ST? And you know we’re suggesting the obligatory tight end against Arizona, too.
Our Week 13 sleepers had some bright spots. Benny Snell Jr. delivered again in the absence of James Conner. Jared Goff threw for more than 400 yards. And of course there was everyone’s Week 13 chalk, Jack Doyle, delivering as we expected.
But, oh boy, some of the sleepers were total busts. Jonathan Williams didn’t even play much, and Sam Darnold was terrible. It’s not like anyone expected Williams to go from almost 30 touches to single digits or for Darnold to not continue taking advantage of super easy matchups. And while Nick O’Leary was a deeper stab, he only had one catch. Ick.
Week 14 Fantasy Sleepers: Running backs
Patrick Laird, Dolphins @ Jets (Billy Heyen). Laird should start this week with Kalen Ballage (leg) out. He’s worth a long look as a player likely to get 15 total touches, with five or more of those coming via reception.
Derrius Guice, Redskins @ Packers (Vinnie Iyer). The secret’s out on how explosive he can be when healthy, and the game script either way doesn’t hurt his potential as a runner and receiver and this matchup is out of the park, even on the road.
Alexander Mattison, Vikings vs. Lions (Matt Lutovsky). Even if Dalvin Cook (chest/shoulder) plays, Mattison is in a good spot to see at least a few more than the 7.8 touches/game he’s averaged this year. He’s proven to be a solid producer when he gets chances, averaging 4.8 yards per carry and 8.0 yards per reception. The Lions allow the third-most fantasy points per game to RBs, so even with 10-12 touches, Mattison is in position to post FLEX-worthy numbers. If Cook is out, Mattison will be a top-15 play.
Week 14 Fantasy Football Sleepers: Quarterbacks
Ryan Fitzpatrick, Dolphins @ Jets (Heyen). Fitzmagic will make a few mistakes, but he’ll also sling it and could pick up 300 passing yards and two or three TDs against a reeling Jets defense.
Ryan Tannehill, Titans @ Raiders (Iyer). He’s become streamer extraordinaire to the point he is a solid back-end QB1 with his two-TD consistency, and his aggressive passing off play-action should light up the Raiders.
Jacoby Brissett, Colts @ Buccaneers (Lutovsky). Brissett hasn’t looked good lately, as he seems to still be feeling the effects of a midseason knee injury. Even with that said, this matchup is too good to ignore. The Bucs have allowed the second-most passing yards and fifth-most fantasy points to QBs. Obviously, it would be nice if T.Y. Hilton (calf) plays, but even if he doesn’t, Brissett will likely be throwing early and often, as Tampa’s dominant run defense will shut down Indy’s mediocre running game.
Week 14 Fantasy Football Sleepers: Wide receivers
Darius Slayton, Giants @ Eagles (Heyen). Slayton’s received 16 targets across the past two weeks and looks likely to remain involved down the stretch no matter the health of the WRs around him. Couple that with a matchup against an improved-but-still-vulnerable Philadelphia secondary, and his chances of 80 yards or a touchdown seem pretty high.
Allen Lazard, Packers vs. Redskins (Iyer). He’s been quietly their true No. 2 for Aaron Rodgers, and Davante Adams’ return is giving him a ton of single coverage to exploit downfield.
A.J. Brown, Titans @ Raiders (Lutovsky). Brown has shown up in highly favorable matchups this year, torching the Falcons in Week 4 (3-94-2), scoring against the Bucs in Week 8, posting solid numbers against the Panthers in Week 9 (4-81), and lighting up the reeling Jaguars in Week 12 (4-135-1). The Raiders have been improving against WRs, but they still allow the ninth-most passing yards per game and are vulnerable against big-play WRs.
Week 14 Fantasy Football Sleepers: Tight ends
Dallas Goedert, Eagles vs. Giants (Heyen). Goedert’s been targeted at least five times in each of the Eagles’ past five games, and that increases to an average of seven per game in the past three. He’s a legitimate standalone TE option as a starter this week.
Vance McDonald, Steelers @ Cardinals (Iyer). Start your tight ends against Arizona anywhere in 2019, and he is certain to dent the end zone, too.
Jonnu Smith, Titans @ Raiders (Lutovsky). Oakland is even more vulnerable to TEs than WRs, allowing the fourth-most fantasy points to the position. Smith disappointed last week despite the absence of Delanie Walker (ankle), but he should see the bulk of the TE targets and is in good position to pay off here.
Week 14 Fantasy Sleepers: Defenses
Tennessee Titans @ Raiders (Heyen). Derek Carr and the Raiders offense have twice been so bad that teams’ backups have gotten sizable playing time in mop-up duty. The Titans have had a quietly solid defense this year anyway, and this is a perfect matchup to continue Oakland’s misery.
Houston Texans vs. Broncos (Iyer). They haven’t been very good this season, but they’re drawing a rookie QB making his first career road start, so this is a classic one-game streamer.
Indianapolis Colts @ Buccaneers (Lutovsky). Here’s your boom-or-bust special of the week. The Colts defense has shown signs of life lately, registering 13 sacks and eight takeaways over its past five games. Despite a potent offense, the Bucs are always prone to high-sack and high-turnover games, so you can always take a shot with a decent D/ST against them.