Week 14 is complete and I am hoping that since you are reading this that you have advanced and are preparing for your league’s semi-finals this coming week.   

Week 14 like most weeks in the NFL was filled with injures.  This past week however it seemed to be that there were some injuries to key fantasy assets.  Below is a list of some of the key injures that you need to be mindful of as you set your most important lineup of the season;

Mike Evans (WR5) – was knocked out against the Colts with a hamstring injury on a 61-yard touchdown reception. The injury appears to be a season ending injury.

Jameis Winston (QB5) – has a small fracture in his right throwing thumb that caused him to miss a second-half series. Jameis is going to play through this injury.  A QB that is erratic at the best of times is somewhat concerning with a thumb injury.  Proceed with caution.

Calvin Ridley (WR14) – suffered an abdominal injury yesterday and announced on his Instagram account this week that his season is over.

DJ Chark (WR8) – Chark is in a walking boot and according to Doug Marrone is week to week or day to day.  Remember when Matt Patricia said Matt Stafford was day to day or week to week.  I would consider Chark on the wrong side of seeing the field anytime soon.

Jared Cook (TE8) – suffered a first quarter concussion in the loss to the Niners.  Cook has been a key component of the Saints offense since their bye week.

Darius Guice (RB62) – suffered a MCL sprain during Sunday’s loss to the Packers.  Thankfully it appears that the ACL is intact.  Guice has been placed on injured reserve for the second time this season.

Tom Brady (QB12) was seen at the postgame podium following their loss to Kansas City with a wrap and an ice bag on his right elbow. Brady said he got hit on the elbow during the game and the injury might show up on the injury report. However, it won’t keep him out of next week’s game against Cincinnati. Brady hasn’t been overly good lately and this certainly won’t help.

Patrick Mahomes (QB9) will undergo X-rays on his right hand after playing through an injury in their win over New England.  Andy Reid said Mahomes had trouble gripping the ball during the game, and Mahomes added that the hand still “doesn’t feel great.”

Dee Ford and Richard Sherman are both dealing with a Hamstring injury that is reportedly going to keep them out for a few weeks.  It’s a big blow to one of the best defenses in the league.  I am starting my QB’s and WR’s with a little more confidence than I would be if theses tow were in the Niners lineups

DeVante Parker (WR22) is in the concussion protocol, Ryan Griffin (TE17) left the Jets game early with an ankle injury and Mark Andrews (TE4) left early with a knee injury.

Rashaad Penny (RB51) was ruled out against the Rams after suffering a knee injury in the first quarter. After the game coach Pete Carroll told reporters he suffered a sprained ACL and it’s “significant.” It was later determined that Penny suffered a torn ACL ending his season.    

Alshon Jeffery (WR suffered a foot injury in the Monday night matchup with the New York Giants.  Jeffery has been ruled out for the remainder of the season.

Lane Johnson, Philadelphia Eagles offensive tackle is week to week with an ankle injury.  He will likely remain out for the remainder of the fantasy season at minimum.  The difference in Carson Wentz’s numbers with and without Johnson in the lineup are staggering, this loss is a downgrade to an already battered and beaten offensive unit.

Marvin Jones (WR16) has been place on injured reserve with an ankle injury ending his season. 

Injuries suck; they are part of fantasy football regardless of the format.  Suffering an injury to a key member of your roster is never a good thing.  Having him go down in Week 14 is less than ideal.  Your trade deadlines have come and gone and there are not the options at your disposal that you typically would have earlier in the season.  Have a look at your league’s waiver wire; it is possible some of the sleepers below could help ease the pain.

This week I have included the Yahoo and ESPN ownership percentages of my sleepers (note that most leagues waivers will run before this article drops).

Let’s find you all some solid start sits that set you up for success this week, and push you onward into the finals.

1. Start of the Week

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON – DECEMBER 02: Running back Chris Carson #32 of the Seattle Seahawks carries the ball during the game against the Minnesota Vikings at CenturyLink Field on December 02, 2019 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

Chris Carson – Seattle Seahawks RB10 198.90 PPR Fantasy Points

This one is rather straight forward.  Rashaad Penny is on IR after tearing his ACL in week 14, and the Seattle Seahawks face the league’s 29th ranked run defense in the Carolina Panthers in week 15.  Carolina since week 12 is allowing on average 175 rushing yards a game and allows 139 yards on the season.  Seattle loves to run the football regardless the opponent.  The Seahawks enter week 15 with the league’s 3rd best rushing attack averaging 141 yards a game. 

Carson has carried the ball at least 15 times in all but one game this season. Running backs to carry the back 15+ times against the Panthers this season have averaged 91.3 rushing yards, 19.7 PPR fantasy points, and each found the end zone.  Starting Chris Carson is a no brainer this week.

2. Quarterback

OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA – DECEMBER 08: Quarterback Ryan Tannehill #17 of the Tennessee Titans looks to pass the ball in the second half against the Oakland Raiders at RingCentral Coliseum on December 08, 2019 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)

Start

Ryan Tannehill – Tennessee Titans QB27 163.42 Fantasy Points

Stick with the hot hand, would be my recommendation here.  Tannehill since taking over as the Titans starting QB is the QB3 overall averaging 22.61 points per game.  Tannehill is fresh off a 37.74 point outing in week 14.  Since week 7 the Titans offense is scoring 1 point per minute of possession, by far the tops in the NFL.  Look for Tannehill to keep it rolling against the Houston Texans who were just shredded by rookie Drew Lock to the tune of 309 yards and 3 touchdowns. 

Tannehill has gone 3 straight games with a passer rating above 130 and a completion percentage above 75%.  Only one other QB in league history has done this, Aaron Rodgers during his 2011 MVP season.

Jimmy Garoppolo – San Francisco 49ers QB13 223.50 Fantasy Points

From one hot handed QB to another, Jimmy Garoppolo is fresh off a 349 yard 4 touchdown outing against the New Orleans Saints.  In week 15 against the Atlanta Falcons a team that allows 20.9 points to the opposing quarterback, Jimmy is in position to post another solid number.  If there is a strength to the Falcons defense it is stopping the run.  They rank 15th against the run and 24th against the pass.  I like Jimmy to stay hot with his two top receivers; Emmanuel Sanders and Deebo Samuel, and his stud Tight End George Kittle.

Sit

Sam Darnold – New York Jets QB26 164.96 Fantasy Points

Darnold went on a run that was predictable based on his opponents in weeks 10-12.  During that span he was the QB3 overall averaging 25.44 points per game.  I liked Darnold in weeks 13 and 14 as well, but he face planted and delivered as the QB24 averaging 14.28 points against the Bengals and Dolphins.  Well his run of welcoming opponents hits a brick wall in week 15 as the Jets face the Baltimore Ravens on the road on Thursday night.  Baltimore has been on fire since the arrival of Marcus Peters and on the season are the 2nd best defense versus the quarterback position, allowed a paltry 13.4 points per game.  Sam Darnold is an easy sit this week. Baltimore has not allowed an opposing QB to eclipse 10.74 fantasy points in five straight games. 

Matt Ryan – Atlanta Falcons QB11 229.76 Fantasy Points

The San Francisco 49ers defense has slide back a little in terms of points allowed to the quarterback in recent weeks, a 40 point game from Drew Brees leaves a mark.  That said they remain a top 8 defense versus the quarterback (15.4 points per game).  Matt Ryan is down Calvin Ridley one of his top receiving options in this one, allowing the Niners defense to key on Julio Jones in the secondary while their linebackers key on Austin Hooper.  San Francisco needs a win here to keep pace a top the NFC as their remaining games versus the Rams and Seahawks are no easy task.  The Niners will be a motivated bunch, and Matt Ryan and the Falcons will suffer as a result.

Sleeper

Ryan Fitzpatrick – Miami Dolphins QB21 177.04 Fantasy Points

Yahoo 23% ESPN 15.3%

If you’re shopping for a quarterback streamer in Week 15, you should already be prepared to take some bad with the good. It’s hard not to notice his volume. Sunday marked the fourth time in four weeks he has attempted at least 37 passes. Of course, it’s also hard not to notice his potential to lay an egg. He went without a score in Week 14 and has almost wiped out his 13 passing touchdowns with 12 interceptions. With that said since grabbing hold of the starting role in Miami to start week 7, Fitzmagic is the QB5 averaging 19.22 points per game.

Playing upside can pay off, and Ryan Fitzpatrick has upside in the right match-up, and the Giants sure look like an exploitable one. They’ve allowed the seventh-most fantasy points to the position, and just watched Carson Wentz pile up 325 passing yards and two scores against them on Monday night.

Bust

Josh Allen – Buffalo Bills QB6 259.38 Fantasy Points

Josh Allen was my bust QB last week and he finished with 10.74 fantasy points against the Baltimore Ravens.  The 10.74 points was Allen’s worst outing of 2019.  In week 15, Allen and the Bills face a Steelers defense that gives up on average 16 points to the opposing quarterback (9th best), and they are particularly good against mobile QB’s.  Russell Wilson 24.20 in week 2 fared well, however Lamar Jackson had his worst outing of the season against Pittsburgh (14.44 points), and Kyler Murray struggled last week (12.96 points). I strongly recommend that you fade Allen this week on the road in Heinz Field.

3. Running back  

JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA – DECEMBER 01: Leonard Fournette #27 of the Jacksonville Jaguars warms up prior to the game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at TIAA Bank Field on December 01, 2019 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

Start

Leonard Fournette – Jacksonville Jaguars RB7 233.60 PPR Fantasy Points

The Jacksonville Jaguars have nothing to play for and it has shown over the course of the past 5 losing weeks.  A matchup versus the Oakland Raiders and their current three game skid could be just what the doctor ordered here.  The Raiders are allowing the 11th worst 25.4 PPR points per game to the opposing team’s running backs.  LF27 sees virtually 100% of the work out of the Jags backfield and is in position for a big game.  Standout WR D.J. Chark is in a walking boot and is likely out in Week 15.  The remainder of the Jags pass catchers are inconsistent at best.  Fournette is averaging 23 touches per game this year and I like him to exceed that total against the Raiders.  Doug Marrone is desperately clinging to life as the Head Coach in Jacksonville.  If he has any hope of remaining the Jags need to win out and that all starts by running the ball a lot versus the Raiders. 

Kareem Hunt – Cleveland Browns RB52 71.10 PPR Fantasy Points

I tend to be a guy that needs to see a productive player produce in their new environment prior to determining my take on that player.  This is especially true when it comes to a running back.  At this point I am comfortable buying into Kareem Hunt’s talent. 

Since returning from suspension, Hunt is the 12th highest scoring back in fantasy. He’s also yet to produce less than 11.8 fantasy points this season, and has recorded 40+ receiving yards in three of his five games. Arizona has allowed an opposing running back to register 48+ yards receiving in four of their last six games. 

Sit

Le’Veon Bell – New York Jets RB13 178.20 PPR Fantasy Points

Season to date; this is the least productive non injury season of Bell’s career.  There was a reason I had Bell outside my top 12 at the RB position to start the season.  Adam Gase is a running back killer.  He runs close to the least number of plays year over year and the New York Jets offensive line is terrible.  According to football Outsiders the Jets have the 28th ranked O-line in the league.  Bell is coming back to the Jets after missing last week due to the flu.  On the night his teammates were getting ready to host the Dolphins in Week 14, Bell who was ruled out with the flu, was spotted bowling into the wee hours of the night, according to The New York Post. 

His opponent in Week 15 will make him sick all over again.  The Baltimore Ravens are the league’s 6th best against the run and are allowing the 7th least amount of points to the running back position this season. 

Joe Mixon – Cincinnati Bengals RB17 166.90 PPR Fantasy Points

I have been dogging Joe Mixon for weeks and he has been putting up a good fight, making my takes look foolish.  Well this week I get my revenge.

Mixon has re-emerged over the last two weeks with Andy Dalton back under center in Cincinnati, coming in as the RB5 in fantasy over that period with an average of 22.3 fantasy ppg. However, the Patriots are the best unit in fantasy in terms points allowed to the RB position this season. They’ve also held three of their last four opponents at the position to an average of just 5.06 fantasy points.

Sleeper

Patrick Laird – Miami Dolphins RB69 47.10 PPR Fantasy Points

Yahoo 21% ESPN 10.8%

I promise you I haven’t developed an odd infatuation with the Miami Dolphins offense. The reality is the Giants defense is vulnerable in most facets, and as with Fitzpatrick, it’s easy to be encouraged by the opportunities for Patrick Laird. Last week he had 19 touches and converted them into 86 total yards.

In a point-per-reception league (PPR), Laird’s value jumps considerably. He’s had four receptions each of the last two weeks, and he has caught 16 of the 19 targets this season.   The Giants haven’t been especially generous to running backs, but they sure seemed it on Monday night. Rookie Miles Sanders and sophomore Boston Scott combined for 104 rushing yards and a score on 25 attempts, plus the added 10 receptions on 11 targets for 93 yards. 

Bust

Raheem Mostert – San Francisco 49ers RB35 122.70 PPR Fantasy Points

Mostert has been brilliant of late, and actually owns the best yards per carry average by a running back over the last two seasons. Still, he’s carried the ball 10 times or fewer in all but one game since Week 3. Atlanta has held their last five opponents’ starting running backs below 71-yards rushing while only one was able to hit pay dirt. That includes two games against Run CMC and two games against Alvin Kamara. Adding fuel to the fire here is the revenge game opportunity for Tevin Coleman.  Never under estimate the revenge game.

4. Wide Receiver

ATLANTA, GA – NOVEMBER 24: Chris Godwin #12 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers catches a pass for a touchdown in front of Kendall Sheffield #20 of the Atlanta Falcons during the first half at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on November 24, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)

Start

Chris Godwin – Tampa Bay Buccaneers WR2 259.00 PPR Fantasy Points

Look I get it; starting the #2 overall WR this season is hardly a bold call.  Here is the reality.  No Mike Evans means more targets for Chris Godwin, as if he needed any more looks his way. Godwin is the 11th-most targeted and the second-highest scoring fantasy wide receiver in football this season. Detroit allows the ninth-most fantasy point to opposing WRs. Leading receivers have averaged 107.6 receiving yards against the Lions over the last five weeks. Slam dunk start here!

Odell Beckham Jr. – Cleveland Browns WR28 155.20 PPR Fantasy Points

I was considering Jarvis Landry, but Landry to me is an obvious choice here. He’s clearly become the WR1 in Cleveland’s offense over the latter part of the season. OBJ, on the other hand, has become a fantasy question mark of late. Beckham has scored exactly 5.90 fantasy points in back-to-back weeks. Injuries and trade rumors seem to outnumber Beckham’s projection this year. However, look for both WRs to be viable options in Week 15. Arizona allows the sixth-most fantasy points to WRs this season. Cardinals have allowed each player of opponents’ receiving duos to either eclipse 74 receiving yards or find the endzone in four of their last five games.

Sit

Anthony Miller – Chicago Bears WR60 98.00 PPR Fantasy Points

Miller has been hot, ranking as the WR17 over the last four weeks of play. However, after seeing nine-plus targets in each game from Week 11-13, he saw that number dip to just four a week ago. Green Bay allows the ninth-fewest fantasy points to receivers this season. No wide receiver has exceeded 57 receiving yards against the Packers since their Week 11 bye. If I am the Chicago Bears and Matt Nagy, I attack the Packers on the ground and run it down their throats.

Tyler Boyd – Cincinnati Bengals WR24 172.60 PPR Fantasy Points

Andy Dalton has given the Bengals offense a jolt of life over recent weeks. That includes Tyler Boyd, who has averaged 16.4 fantasy points over his last three games. Yet, a matchup with New England this week won’t do any help padding those numbers. The Pats allow the fewest fantasy points to the wideout position in all of football this year. Only one WR has exceeded 65 receiving yards against New England since Week 6.

Sleeper

Darius Slayton – New York Giants WR31 149.90 PPR Fantasy Points

Yahoo 27% ESPN 32.6%

I promise it’s not my intention to make this Giants-Dolphins matchup your one-stop shop for streamers this week, but value is value.  With Miami sitting dead last in scoring defense and New York only three spots better, it should yield plenty of fantasy production.

That is good news for Giants rookie wideout Darius Slayton, who keeps commanding a bigger share of this offense. Monday marked the third time in seven games that he’s scored two touchdowns, and he’s averaged 6.9 targets in this stretch.  After only catching 54.8 percent of his targets through his first seven games, he’s upped that number to 64.1 his last four times out.  Considering the Dolphins surrender the 4th most fantasy points to the wide receiver position, the good times should keep rolling for the UDFA out of Auburn. 

Bust

Juju Smith-Shuster – Pittsburgh Steelers WR57 106.40 PPR Fantasy Points

Sadly Juju falls into this category for the season.  Don’t be fooled by the name on the back of the jersey and the fact that he’ll likely once again be active after a three-game absence. Smith-Schuster scored 7.40 fantasy points or fewer in five of his previous seven games prior to injury. Devlin Hodges has averaged just 182 passing yards over his last two starts. Buffalo allows the fourth-fewest fantasy points to WRs in 2019.

5. Tight End

DENVER, CO – SEPTEMBER 29: Tight end Noah Fant #87 of the Denver Broncos runs with the football for a first quarter touchdown against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Empower Field at Mile High on September 29, 2019 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)

Start

Noah Fant – Denver Broncos TE16 99.00 PPR Fantasy Points

Noah Fant played a key role in the Broncos 38-24 upset win over the Houston Texans in week 14.  Fant caught all four of his targets for 113 yards and a TD, before exiting early with an apparent foot injury.  The foot injury has been reported as minor and the rookie is not expected to miss any time.  In his past six games, Fant has 35 targets, 20 receptions, a pair of 100-yard games and two receiving touchdowns for a total of 64.6 PPR fantasy points.  In week 15 he faces a Kansas City defense that has allowed the 7th most points to the opponents TE, (14.1 points per game).  Fant has the trust of his rookie quarterback and look for Lock to Fant occurring often this Sunday. 

Tyler Higbee – Los Angeles Rams TE18 95.50 PPR Fantasy Points  

In his last two starts against very favourable opponents (Arizona and Seattle), Tyler Higbee has averaged 21.15 PPR points per game and is the #1 overall TE in that span.  In week 15 Higbee faces a Dallas Cowboy defense that allows the 11th most points to the TE position and has been getting worse without linebacker Leighton Vander Esch.  Prior to his injury Gerald Everett was heavily involved in the Rams passing attack as well indicating that the TE position has become a focal part of the Rams’ offense. 

Sit

Jacob Hollister – Seattle Seahawks TE32 70.70 PPR Fantasy Points

Hollister continues to get looks (14 over the last two weeks), however, his production has continuously dipped as the Seahawks passing offense is in the midst of a slump. Russell Wilson has averaged fewer than 229 passing yards in the last three games. The Panthers allow the fifth-fewest fantasy points to tight ends, surrendering just two TDs to the position since Week 1. If Russell Wilson throws the ball more than 20 times this week I will be stunned.

Blake Jarwin – Dallas Cowboys TE24 77.10 PPR Fantasy Points

Jarwin saw his biggest workload of the season a week ago and responded with just his second double-digit fantasy outing since Week 1. However, he still played just 30% of the team’s offensive snaps. In fact, he’s played fewer than 40% of the team’s snaps in five of the last six games.  The Rams allow the seventh-fewest points to TEs. No player at the position has exceeded 45-receiving yards, nor found the end zone against Los Angeles since their Week 9 bye.

Sleeper

Ian Thomas – Carolina Panthers TE59 24.50 PPR Fantasy Points

Yahoo 1% ESPN 0.6%

After seeing just nine targets all season, Thomas came out of nowhere in place of Greg Olsen a week ago to put up 16.7 fantasy points on 10 targets. He has a great chance of turning that outlier performance into a trend in Week 15 vs. Seattle. The Seahawks give up the second-most fantasy points to opposing TEs, including allowing two 91+ yard receivers and three TDs to the position over their last three games.

Bust

Mark Andrews – Baltimore Ravens TE4 164.70 PPR Fantasy Points

You’ll likely roll the dice on Andrews this week, as talent-wise, and at times production-wise, he’s one of the best tight ends in all of football. With that said, he’s scored just 6.50 fantasy points or fewer in three of his last six games. Andrew’s is banged up and is on a short week.  The Stud TE has averaged around a 60% snap count this season, and I do not see a scenario where he reaches that this week.  In addition the Jets are also surprisingly stingy at defending the position, surrendering the second-fewest points to TEs this year.

6. Kicker

BALTIMORE, MD – DECEMBER 01: Justin Tucker #9 of the Baltimore Ravens attempts a kick during the first half of the game against the San Francisco 49ers at M&T Bank Stadium on December 1, 2019 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)

Start

Justin Tucker – Baltimore Ravens K3 125.00 Fantasy Points

Baltimore Ravens kicker Justin Tucker is playing on an elite offense against a bad defense. We could see some serious fireworks in this one, and Tucker will stand to benefit in a major way. I typically look for kickers that are indoors in December due to the potential elements, however Tucker is the exception to the rule.  His week 13 49 yard game winning field goal in the pouring rain and howling wind is a prime example of Tucker’s elite talent.

Robbie Gould – San Francisco 49ers   K21 85.00 Fantasy Points 

San Francisco 49ers kicker Robbie Gould just nailed a game-winner against the New Orleans Saints. Now, he goes against an Atlanta Falcons defense that has given up at least 20 points in all but two games this season. I personally think that San Francisco pounds the Falcons this week and Gould will be heavily involved.

Sit

Kai Forbath- Dallas Cowboys K40 4.00 Fantasy Points

Kai Forbath of the Dallas Cowboys is on his second team of the season.  His first job lasted 6 days.  The fact that he was signed by Dallas after they released Brett Mahar this week shows his skills are valued. However, he’s on a Dallas team that is trending the wrong direction against a Los Angeles Rams squad that has won three of their last four. I wouldn’t expect much from Dallas or their kicker in this one.

Randy Bullock – Cincinnati Bengals K20 89.00 Fantasy Points  

After getting their first win of the year, the Cincinnati Bengals came back to earth in Week 14. In Week 15, the Bengals and their kicker will be facing arguably the NFL’s best defense in the New England Patriots. It’s unlikely they get a lot rolling even at home, so avoid him this week.

7. Defense

FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS – DECEMBER 08: Head coach Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots looks on during the game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Gillette Stadium on December 08, 2019 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Start

New England Patriots DST1 209.00 Fantasy Points

The only reason we are taking time to discuss this is because New England’s defense has scored eight fantasy points or fewer in three consecutive weeks. Expect them to reclaim their elite fantasy standing in Week 15. The Bengals have surrendered an average of 15 fantasy points to opposing defenses over four of their last five games. While Cincinnati has improved with Andy Dalton back under center, they still managed to allow 11 fantasy points to the Browns defense a week ago.

Baltimore Ravens DST5 123.00 Fantasy Points

Since Week 6, the Ravens defense has averaged 13.9 fantasy points, the most in football over that span. No offense in the NFL allows more fantasy points to opposing defenses than that of the New York Jets, with an average of 11.3 ppg.

Sit

Atlanta Falcons DST29 56.00 Fantasy Points

Atlanta’s defense has scored 10+ fantasy points in three of their last five games. However, only one team has scored more than seven fantasy points against the 49ers over their last 10 games. San Fran doesn’t make many mistakes, and has now scored 30+ offensive points in three of their last four games.

New York Jets DST10 102.00 Fantasy Points

New York’s run as a viable starting defense has seemed to come to a screeching halt over the last few weeks, averaging just 3.0 fantasy points over their last two games. If Lamar Jackson is healthy and available on Thursday, you do not, under any circumstance, play the Jets D/ST. Defenses to face off against the Ravens this season averaged just 2.92 fantasy points.