Welcome to the fantasy playoffs, friends! It’s a land where your regular season record counts for nothing, and the only thing that matters is this week’s W. I will assume that if you are reading this article, you got into your fantasy playoffs, so congratulations! If you are reading the article while not being in the fantasy playoffs, respect. Before we get ahead of ourselves and dive into the fantasy playoff selections, let’s quickly peek back at week 14 and see how the article fared.
Week 14 Hits
Cooper Kupp, WR LAR
Kupp came through for me in a big way. He smashed and put together his best week of the 2023 season – what a team player! A stat sheet stuffer in week 14, Kupp graced us with eight receptions on ten targets for 115 yards and a touchdown. Over 25 PPR points is a delightful way to end the regular season. I am a fairly big believer in ‘start your studs’ when it’s a knockout or elimination-type situation, and this was no exception.
Noah Brown, WR HOU
I am glad I suggested benching Brown for week 14. He had the dreaded goose egg. A total of zero receptions on five targets is tough sledding for anyone who did venture to throw him in the flex last week. Stroud left the game early due to concussion protocol, and the Jets defense took care of the rest. Brighter days may be in the future for Brown, but I am most likely not starting him this week, especially if Davis Mills is forced into action.
Jerome Ford, RB CLE
I am honestly surprised that Ford did not have a bigger stat line when you look at the final score from this slugfest. Jerome did contribute 51 rushing yards on 12 attempts and, more importantly for fantasy, five receptions on six targets to give a solid (if not spectacular) 13.2 PPR points against the Jaguars.
Week 14 Misses
Brandin Cooks, WR DAL
Oddly enough, the Cowboys thrashed the Eagles and scored over 30 points, yet Cooks was hardly involved. Sadly, he recorded only two receptions on five targets for 37 yards and no touchdowns. It was just one of those games where the Eagles could not keep up, and Dak Prescott wasn’t forced to continue dropping bombs the entire game. The Cowboys had their way with Philadelphia, and sadly, Cooks’ fantasy managers did not benefit. I would say that he is still a solid option against the Buffalo Bills this week.
Adam Thielen, WR CAR
Thielen did not wow you last week, but he did enough to get over the ten-point line of demarcation and provide some value to your squad if you started him. The Panthers are brutal on offense, and last week was no exception. The wily veteran found a way to do just enough to stay fantasy-relevant heading into the first week of the fantasy playoffs. On a positive note, Thielen did see seven targets. On a more depressing note, he only had five receptions, and the Panthers scored seven points.
It was a slightly mixed bag of results last week, with three hits and two misses. At the end of the regular season, the total was 39 hits and 30 misses—a 57% hit rate after 14 weeks of action. We will carry through the fantasy playoffs and see where things stand after week 17! In my humble opinion, 2023 has been a wild ride for fantasy football. A lot of uncertainty and key injuries have made analyzing fixtures and results a lot trickier than normal. I appreciate all of you for sticking with me, and I hope I have steered you right more often than not!
As a reminder, I use the FantasyPros Expert Consensus Ranking (ECR) as my weekly guidelines. I will pick wide receivers and running backs outside their top 24 to discuss. I will give a couple I like and maybe one or two I don’t and brief reasons. Hopefully, these studs give you more than 10 PPR points and will all end up in next week’s “hits” section!
Tyjae Spears, RB TEN (RB36) ⬆️
If you find yourself struggling at the running back position in the first week of the fantasy playoffs, I think you can throw Spears into your lineup. Spears seems to have carved out an excellent pass-catching role over the last few weeks. As we all know, in a PPR league, pass-catching backs are money. The Texans’ defense has been in the bottom ten against fantasy pass-catching running backs over the last 6-8 weeks, so it also feels like a solid enough matchup for him.
Tyler Lockett, WR SEA (WR24) ⬆️
Regardless of the starting quarterback, Lockett should be a “Lock” in your starting lineup this weekend, in my opinion. Even with Drew Lock under center last week in a difficult matchup, Lockett still led the Seahawks in receptions and receiving yards against the San Francisco 49ers. This week, he gets to take on the reeling Philadelphia Eagles. Not only have they lost a couple of games in a row, but the Philly defense has allowed the most receptions and touchdowns to opposing wide receivers in 2023.
Amari Cooper, WR CLE (WR28) ⬆️
We are in the last couple of weeks of the season, and Joe Flacco is playing meaningful football. It’s also the year of our Lord 2023…what a time to be alive! As gross as that sounds and feels, Cooper is an intriguing option. He had 14 targets last week in the shootout with the Jacksonville Jaguars; that’s right, 14 targets! The Chicago Bears have been in the same general ballpark as the Jags against fantasy wide receivers, so it isn’t a super juicy matchup. It is more of a volume play against the Bears and a hope that Flacco can be “elite” at least once more.
Jordan Addison, WR MIN (WR45) ⬇️
With great sadness in my heart, I have to recommend looking elsewhere for your flex juice in Week 15. The Vikings are in a sad state of affairs currently. For that matter, Joshua Dobbs has come back down to earth and the bench. Nick Mullens is the presumptive starter this weekend, and Justin Jefferson’s health and game status are still a bit of a question mark. I love Addison’s ability and long-term value in dynasty, but in a must-win week of fantasy football, I don’t see the upside to risk the start. The Bengals are a decent matchup on paper; I don’t trust the overall volatility with the Vikings.
Antonio Gibson, RB WAS (RB32) ⬆️
If you are struggling and need some upside at the running back position, I think it could be a week to play Gibby. I will add a little warning to that statement: I would only do so if Brian Robinson misses the game. Robinson left the Commanders game early in Week 13 and had the bye week to try to get healthy. Word on the street is that he missed practice on Wednesday and Thursday, so he appears not ready to go. If he does miss this week, Gibson could get enough volume and targets to make him a decent flex option. The Rams are a tough matchup for fantasy running backs, so manage expectations, even if Robinson misses the game.
Zay Flowers, WR BAL (WR26) ⬆️
I just managed to stick to the rules and still sneak Flowers onto the list! It’s a Christmas miracle! Since Mark Andrews went down with an injury, Flowers has had eight and ten targets in the Ravens’ last two games. We all know the explosiveness of the rookie wideout, but now we are getting a bit of volume to go with it. I like to shoot for some upside in the fantasy playoffs, and I certainly think Flowers offers that. The Jaguars have been consistently in the bottom third of NFL defenses against fantasy wide receivers over the last half of this season, so the matchup is also solid enough.
Ty Chandler, RB MIN (RB24) ⬆️
For all my deep-league degenerates, I have not forgotten about you. Alexander Mattison has been ruled out of the upcoming clash with the Cincinnati Bengals, so Chandler could get a decent workload. At this point in the season, especially in deeper leagues, sometimes you need a warm body to fill a roster spot.
The matchup against the Bengals isn’t the worst for fantasy running backs in the world. With the new, new starter Nick Mullens at the reigns and a beat-up Justin Jefferson, it is hard to know where the offense is going to come from. Chandler should handle the bulk of carries and may get a few receptions. If desperate, go ahead and throw Chandler in and hope for a Christmas miracle!
Well, friends, I hope you all get those juicy Week 1 playoff wins (unless you happen to be facing off against me, of course). It has been a heck of a season, and there are only a couple more weeks to get through before you get that glorious title you have been dreaming of!
If you want to chat fantasy football, you can always find me on X / Twitter @FFEvanlution. You can also check out my year-round dynasty fantasy football podcast (@DynastyDebates) on all major podcast listening platforms!