Clearly the NFL doesn’t take fantasy football into account when it comes it with its schedule. Here we are in Week 14 and, for most fantasy leagues, this is the final push of the regular season. For those looking to lock down a division title or those desperate to make the playoffs, this is it.
So what does the NFL do? It puts six teams on bye – Atlanta, Chicago, Green Bay, Indianapolis, New Orleans and Washington. That is a massive number of players to be on the shelf by design. With as much as the NFL does right, one area it fails is handling bye weeks.
Eight bye weeks with teams from the same division sharing the bye. The following week, they play each other. Instead, some teams play two or three teams coming off their bye with two weeks to prepare … and desperate fantasy owners get stuck with a last week of the regular season where they will be without multiple players they count on.
Here is the Week 14 Fantasy Football Market Report.
Fantasy Football Risers
Washington Commanders RB Brian Robinson – Robinson was on track to be the Commanders’ starting running back before a gunshot wound sidelined him for the first four games. However, since returning, he has all but buried Antonio Gibson in the Washington backfield. In his last four games, Robinson has topped 85 rushing yards three times, rushing 80 times for 344 yards, also catching four passes and scoring two touchdowns. There aren’t many backs averaging 20 carries a game at this time of year, so Robinson’s value continues to climb.
Denver Broncos RB Latavius Murray – From the day Murray arrived in Denver, he took over the primary running spot when Javonte Williams was lost to injury. Now that Melvin Gordon is out of the picture as well, Murray is getting almost all the rushing attempts. The results haven’t been mind-blowing – 47 carries for 188 yards and a touchdown in the last three games – but those are solid numbers for a guy who was a waiver pickup in most leagues and is still available in others.
Cincinnati Bengals RB Samaje Perine – When Joe Mixon went down with a concussion three weeks ago, Perine was pressed into service after having just 25 carries in the Bengals’ first nine games. In the two-and-a-half games since, Perine has rushed 49 times for 194 yards, caught 14 passes for 136 yards, and scored four touchdowns. While Mixon is expected to return to starting duty, Perine is making a case that he deserves playing time of his own.
Buffalo Bills RB Devin Singletary – The Bills’ running game has been a mess for some time – partly by design in a pass-happy offense and now with James Cook seeing more work – but Singletary is having the most productive month of his career. In his last four games, he has rushed 58 times for 255 yards and four touchdowns – eerily similar to a four-game stretch Singletary had late last season when suddenly he became productive. He isn’t starting for most fantasy teams, but it makes the decision to bench him more difficult.
Las Vegas Raiders RB Josh Jacobs – Typically, established fantasy weekly starters aren’t included on the risers list, but there are times when players need to be recognized. The Raiders have been dangling off the cliff of elimination for three weeks after starting 2-7. Jacobs is a huge reason why Vegas is still technically alive. In his last three games, he has rushed a whopping 83 times for 482 yards, has caught 11 passes for 131 yards, and scored three touchdowns. While a lot of the top running backs are struggling, Jacobs appears to be hitting his stride.
Fantasy Football Fallers
Baltimore Ravens TE Mark Andrews – Andrews was off to a hot start the season. In his first six games, he had four with more than 86 receiving yards and scored five touchdowns. But like so many fantasy tight ends, he has hit a wall. In his last five games, he has caught just 17 passes for 199 yards and no touchdowns. In tight end-mandatory leagues, a heavy investment was made in Andrews, so he can’t be benched … despite posting bench-worthy numbers.
Tennessee Titans RB Derrick Henry – One of the selling points for Henry is his carry volume and scoring ability. In his first eight games of the season, Henry had five 100-yard rushing games and scored nine touchdowns. But in his last four games, he has been a shell of himself – rushing 75 times for just 208 yards (a 2.8-yard average) and has scored just one TD. Nobody dares bench Henry, but it appears the script is being flipped – instead of him wearing down defenses late in games, it looks like he’s wearing down late in the season.
San Francisco 49ers TE George Kittle – My beef with having Kittle listed among the elite fantasy tight ends is that he has never been a big touchdown scorer. In six seasons with the 49ers, he has never scored more than six touchdowns, earning his street cred by catching a ton of passes. Fantasy football is played week-to-week, not by season totals. His weekly numbers are startling. He has missed two games and, in the 10 he has played, Kittle posted fewer than 50 receiving yards in seven of them and less than 30 yards in five games, including totals of 21, 26 and 22 over his last four games. With Jimmy Garoppolo done for the year, Kittle will be hard-pressed to post big numbers now.
Green Bay Packers WR Allen Lazard – Lazard looked to be the main man in the Packers’ passing games post-Davante Adams, and he was off to a strong start, scoring four touchdowns in his first five games. Over his last four games, while Christian Watson has caught seven TD passes, Lazard has done next to nothing – catching 15 passes for 203 yards and no touchdowns. Drafted to be an every-week starter, Lazard has become the invisible man in the offense, while Watson is becoming the go-to guy.
Indianapolis Colts QB Matt Ryan – Sunday’s 33-point fourth quarter for the Cowboys was as much Ryan’s fault as anyone. Fantasy owners loved guys like Ryan and Matthew Stafford because, even if their team was garbage, they piled up 300-yard passing games and garbage-time touchdowns. In his first six games, he had three games with more than 350 passing yards. In his last five, he has averaged 222 passing yards and one touchdown a game – numbers that get you benched like the Colts did before the coaching staff were gutted.