Free Agent Forecast: Week 14

Free Agent Forecast: Week 14

Roster Management

Free Agent Forecast: Week 14

Note: Week 14 marks the beginning of the playoffs in traditional leagues, so we’ll primarily focus on one-week plays.

Quarterbacks

Try as I might, coming up with one viable streaming quarterback option this week proved fruitless. Joe Flacco would be the top guy on the list, but he’s owned in 71 percent of leagues polled. Ryan Fitzpatrick had a great matchup in store with San Francisco, but he was dreadful in Week 13. I cannot in good conscience recommend Bryce Petty.

Jared Goff has a fine matchup, but starting him is basically fantasy suicide during the playoffs. Colin Kaepernick was playing well until last week and would have favorable matchup if he were to start in Week 14, but starting him is asking for an early exit.

Robert Griffin III appears ready to return, although head coach Hue Jackson wouldn’t publicly commit to him. The matchup versus Cincy isn’t terribly appealing. The best option, and this isn’t saying much, is Carson Wentz (59%) against the Washington Redskins. I’m never a big fan of chancing it with a rookie in a divisional tilt against a desperate team, so do as you will.

Running Backs

Rockstar Free Agent

Mike Gillislee, Buffalo Bills
Check to see if he is available in your league; it’s unlikely, but worth a look. This is more aimed at current owners of Gillislee. He’s probably a handcuff for many LeSean McCoy gamers, and both backs are playable in Week 14. Gillislee also has three-week appeal with the Cleveland Browns and Miami Dolphins coming up.

The Bills will look to do everything to keep the “Three B’s” off the field as much as possible. Pounding the ball against fantasy’s sixth softest matchup using data since Week 6. The position has totaled 15 offensive touchdowns in 12 games, including five through the air, versus the Steelers.
Availability: Owned in ~ 59% of leagues
FAAB:
$$
Forecast:
RB2/flex in 12-team leagues

On the Radar: Justin Forsett, Broncos (41%), Charles Sims, Buccaneers (38%), Jalen Richard, Raiders (37%), Zach Zenner, Lions (15%)

Wide Receivers

Rockstar Free Agent

Tyler Lockett, Seattle Seahawks
The explosive youngster is finally healthy, and it is showing in a big way. In Week 13, he racked up 138 offensive yards on six touches and scored a touchdown on a 75-yard run. The second-year wideout has utilitarian value for Seattle — and fantasy gamers. Don’t pretend a TD jaunt will be the norm, but knowing that is in the wheelhouse is reassuring when deciding your flex spot, where I consistently promote upside over safety.

Seattle draws Green Bay, LA and Arizona over the next three weeks. Those teams rank seventh, 18th, and 11th, respectively, as the most favorable matchups in PPR scoring. The ‘Hawks may have to pass a little more if the defense takes noticeable step back without FS Earl Thomas (leg).
Availability: Owned in ~ 62% of leagues
FAAB:
$-$$
Forecast:
No worse than flex in next three games

Adam Thielen, Minnesota Vikings
I was shocked to see Thielen’s ownership rate still sits on the southern side of 40 percent in competitive leagues. He has posted double-digit PPR points five weeks running and routinely sees single coverage when Stefon Diggs is on the field.

The Vikes face Jacksonville in Week 14, which is one of the worst statistical matchups in fantasy. For as bad as the Jags often play, they regularly oppress receivers. Afterward, though, brings two of the best matchups in the fake game: Green Bay and Indianapolis — also both meetings where Minnesota may need to heave the ball.
Availability: Owned in ~ 38% of leagues
FAAB:
$-$$
Forecast:
Sit in Week 14, PPR WR3 in Weeks 15 and 16

Taylor Gabriel, Atlanta Falcons
It is a mildly surprising to see him still at sub-50 percent, but that is probably a testament to the time of the year and owners losing interest. While Gabriel is a big-play weapon whose worth is suspect without finding the end zone, as we saw in Week 13, Julio Jones’ turf toe injury offers some intrigue. Jones should play through the ailment, but that is a tricky problem for a wide receiver.

Gabriel also has a wonderful schedule the rest of the way, starting with the Los Angeles Rams, San Francisco 49ers and Carolina Panthers. This is the fourth best composite matchup rating.
Availability: Owned in ~ 48% of leagues
FAAB:
$-$$
Forecast:
Assuming Jones continues to play, think WR3 standard, flex in PPR

Josh Bellamy, Chicago Bears
The 27-year-old may have the best chance of his five-year career beginning in Week 14. The injury to Marquess Wilson (groin) could pave the way. Alshon Jeffery’s impending return may mean fewer targets but offers improved looks in single coverage.

Bellamy is coming off a four-catch, 93-yard game in what amounted to be nothing short of terrible passing conditions. He has eight grabs in his past two outings. Chicago has nothing at stake, a suspect defense, and a decidedly exploitable three-game slate to close out the fantasy season. Chicago’s front office wants to see what Matt Barkley offers, and he’s auditioning for his football life.
Availability: Owned in ~ 1% of leagues
FAAB:
$
Forecast:
Sit in Week 14, flex in Weeks 15 and 16

One-week Plug & Play

Tyler Boyd (72%), Will Fuller (72%), Pierre Garcon (70%), Quincy Enunwa (59%) are all fine plays … if you own them. Most of them are unavailable, as you can see by the ownership rates. I don’t see many players who aren’t widely owned in competitive formats and deserve a wholehearted backing, but these guys get passing mentions for desperate gamers in deep formats.

On the Radar: Seth Roberts, Raiders (21%), Brian Quick, Rams (24%), Paul Turner, Eagles (1%)

Tight Ends

Injury replacements

Ladarius Green, Pittsburgh Steelers
Is Green really available in nearly half of competitive leagues polled? That is hard to believe, but the data doesn’t lie. Pittsburgh has the second best aggregate matchup over the final three fantasy weeks for tight ends, and Green is coming off a huge game in which Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell were both involved.

The Steelers take on Buffalo (19.2 PPR points allowed), Cincinnati (19.4) and Baltimore (12.6) to close out the virtual season. Green is a viable starter in all of those games, and he has starting worth in both reception-rewarding and non-PPR scoring formats.
Availability: Owned in ~ 52% of leagues
FAAB:
$-$$
Forecast:
Fringe TE1 in PPR over next three weeks

Daniel Brown, Chicago Bears
Brown has three straight weeks of fantasy functionality for PPR gamers. The Bears are a decimated mess at wide receiver, and Brown has been targeted in the red zone the past two games. He almost scored on a shovel trap in Week 13 after finding the end zone the previous week.

Up next: Detroit, Green Bay and Washington — all “plus” matchups for tight ends using data over the last five weeks. Detroit has given up 16.6 PPR points, whereas the Packers have allowed 17.4 and Washington 20.8 over this time.
Availability: Owned in ~ 1% of leagues
FAAB:
$
Forecast:
Fringe TE1 in PPR over next three weeks

On the Radar: None.

Kickers

One-week Plug & Play

Brandon McManus, Denver Broncos
The matchup doesn’t technically add up to something overly impressive, but Denver has quarterback concerns and are on the road. These factors spell the potential for stalled drives.

McManus has scored at least nine points in leagues that employ distance-based scoring in every game but two, including nine straight outings. He has been provided at least two field goal chances in all but those same two games, which both occurred within the first three weeks of 2016.
Availability: Owned in ~ 56% of leagues
FAAB:
$
Forecast:
3 FGAs, 2 XPAs

On the Radar: Roberto Aguayo, Buccaneers (17%), Wil Lutz, Saints (42%)

Defense/Specials Teams

One-week Plug & Play

Detroit Lions
Over the past five weeks, the Chicago Bears have allowed the sixth most fantasy points per contest in leagues that do not account for the game’s score. This ranking is based on permitting nine sacks, two fumble recoveries, five interceptions and a defensive score in four games.

Detroit has been hitting its defensive stride in recent weeks, highlighted by shutting down the high-octane New Orleans Saints in Week 13. Drew Brees was picked off three times. Since Week 7, Detroit has logged a mere three sacks but has added seven takeaways and a pair of touchdowns to its credit.
Availability: Owned in ~ 35% of leagues
FAAB:
$
Forecast:
Top-10 finish

On the Radar: Tennessee Titans (30%), Cincinnati Bengals (50%)

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