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The Script for Fantasy Success: Week 14 – TNF

The last week of the fantasy football regular season starts in Pittsburgh. While this may not be the most exciting TNF game, let's dive in to see if anyone is worth starting in lineups.

New England Patriots vs Pittsburgh Steelers

Details of the Script

  • TNF – 8:15 p.m. @ Acrisure Stadium
  • Weather – Cloudy
  • What Vegas is saying – Line (PIT -6.0) & Over/Under 30.5

Identifying the Game Script

The Patriots and Steelers met last season, and the Patriots would win on the road 17-14. The Patriots made a switch at quarterback, which turned out to be even worse for the offense. They lost 6-0 to the Chargers. The Steelers would lose Kenny Pickett early as they got beat down by the Cardinals.

The Patriots offense needs to find a spark, especially with Rhamondre Stevenson missing this week’s game. If they can establish the run, they may have a chance. The Steelers are without Kenny Pickett, so they should focus on the backfield and have them move the offense in this game. This is likely going to be the least-watched TNF game in 2023. They both have messy offenses, with one team having a very elite defense. I wouldn’t expect many fantasy options in lineups for Week 14.


Bailey Zappe wasn’t all that good in his first start of 2023. He finished with 141 passing yards but didn’t turn the ball over, which is good. Zappe will have fewer weapons as his first star running back won’t play this week. The Steelers have done well against below-average quarterbacks in the last month. They have allowed only four passing touchdowns in the last five weeks. The Steelers have kept the previous three opposing quarterbacks under 230 passing yards. They also have five interceptions in the last five games. We all know that the Steelers create a ton of pressure, and we saw Zappe get sacked five times last week. Hopefully, Zappe gets Demario Douglas back, but it won’t help him enough to trust him. He is a QB3 in week 14.

Mitch Trubisky has seen extended playing time twice this season. He has 255 passing yards and two passing touchdowns with three turnovers. We know who Trubisky is and why he is a backup quarterback in this league. The Patriots have toughened up the last three weeks as they have been great against their opposing quarterbacks. They have kept them under 220 passing yards and allowed one touchdown combined in all three games. From week seven to nine, they allowed 914 yards and six touchdowns. The Steelers could throw more under Trubisky, but he is inaccurate and has turnover issues. Unless Trubisky finds his rushing floor again, he’ll probably be a QB3.

Running Backs

The Patriots backfield will be without Rhamondre Stevenson for at least week 14, as he suffered an injury last week. Backup Zeke Elliott looks to take over full-time work since the Patriots don’t have another back. Elliott did well last week with 90 all-purpose yards and finished with 11 fantasy points. The Steelers are a decent matchup, as they have allowed a 70-yard rusher in three of the last five games. They have also given up four rushing touchdowns in that span. On the short week, it may not be wise to overwork the aging Elliott, but the Patriots don’t have many options.

The Patriots don’t have a strong passing game, so they should be running the ball to move down the field. Elliott should see nearly 20 touches in this game and finish as a high-end RB3. Ty Montgomery will likely get a few carries, and the team should also call up JaMycal Hasty to the active roster. Hasty could have some deep league value as a pass catcher, but he is likely not worth it.

GPY/ARu AttYdsTDsRecTgRec YdsRec TDsFP.5 PPR1PPR
Najee Harris12.04.213.355.
Jaylen Warren12.05.98.550.
PIT Backfield Per Game Average
najee harris player value
(Photo Courtesy of Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire)

For the Steelers backfield, they disappointed big time in week 13. They had a fantastic matchup, but both running backs failed to reach ten fantasy points. Najee Harris continues to lead in carries among the duo. Jaylen Warren let down many fantasy owners the last two weeks after a three-game stretch that looked like a second-half breakout was coming. The firing of Matt Canada has hurt Warren’s value in fantasy. The Patriots have been a decent run defense over the last five weeks. They have allowed only two running backs over 50 yards in that span. The touchdowns have come for running backs, but not in the previous two weeks. Harris has not practiced all week and is questionable for tonight’s game. He is dealing with a knee injury.

Should Harris play tonight, he may be limited on his touches. It may not be worth the risk of playing him in this week 14 game. I’d have to move him down to more of a borderline RB3. I can’t imagine he sees more than ten carries if he is dealing with this injury. There is also a chance he doesn’t play, which would open the door for Warren.

If Harris misses, Warren jumps to a low-end RB2. He’ll likely see a bulk of the backfield touches and be the primary passing downs back. Warren could be in for a very good game as the lone back. If Harris does play, I still have Warren as a borderline RB2. Depending on Harris ‘ usage, I think he can still see most of the work.

Pass Catchers

The Steelers won’t be the easiest matchup for the Patriots receivers in week 14. They have allowed only three receivers over 60 yards in the last five weeks. They also have given up just two receiving touchdowns in the span. The team also recently got Minkak Fitzpatrick back in the secondary, which should continue improving the team.

DeVante Parker is coming off a solid four receptions for 60 yards in week 12. He has led this team in targets in most games when healthy in his two seasons. Since Demario Douglas is out for this game, Parker should have solid WR5 value. We could call for a revenge game for Juju Smith-Shuster, but trusting him in your last week of the season would be beyond a significant risk in week 14. I’d still rank him outside the top 60. For the tight ends, the Steelers have made it a more favorable matchup. They have allowed three tight ends in the last five weeks, with over 50 receiving yards. They also have given up a touchdown in two of the last three weeks. Hunter Henry has been terrible in the previous three weeks. Henry isn’t seeing the targets nor the red zone target he used to see in this offense. He would be a borderline TE2 in week 14.

Diontae Johnson8.
George Pickens12.
Per Game Average

The Patriots’ secondary is a favorable matchup for the Steelers’ receivers in week 14. During the previous five weeks, the Patriots have allowed five receivers over 70 receiving yards. They have allowed good yardage, but the touchdowns have been minimal in the last few weeks. After allowing three touchdowns to Miami in week eight, they have allowed just two over the next four weeks.

Diontae Johnson rebounded in Week 13 with a touchdown after three poor weeks. Trubisky as the starter may help Johnson continue to see a heavy target share. In the two games with Trubisky, Johnson has the more productive stats, with four receptions for 51 yards and a touchdown. Johnson should be a decent flex option in fantasy. His targets are likely safe, but his upside hasn’t been there. He should be a low-end WR3 in week 14.

(Photo Courtesy of Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire)

George Pickens had his best game since week seven with 86 receiving yards. Pickens, under Trubisky, has two receptions for 48 yards. He has been more of the deep threat with Johnson back on the field. Pickens should be a solid, high-end WR4. He has some upside, but the quarterback is the main issue for Pickens’ value.

For the tight ends, the Patriots allow the fourth-fewest fantasy points per game to the position. They have allowed one tight end over 35 receiving yards and zero touchdowns in the last five weeks. Pat Freiermuth did not follow up his 100-yard performance with a great game. Freiermuth is a great tight end but needs the targets to be productive. If he doesn’t see the opportunity to produce, it’s harder to rank him as a TE1 in this offense. He is a high-end TE2 at best in Week 14.

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