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Week Fourteen Essential Takeaways – AFC & NFC North

@DanT_NFL is back and reporting on the top takeaways each week! In this article we review action from both the AFC & NFC North.

We are now in the final playoff push! These next few weeks are critical for both contenders finalizing a playoff spot and rebuilders who may want to make a last-second trade to acquire draft capital and/or younger players. This is the time of the year when we generally see rookies break out and take over their offenses. Like early season trends were critical to tracking, end-of-season trends are vital to our dynasty fantasy football knowledge. Here are some key takeaways from the past week of NFL action!

Lions Receiving Group Is Elite

The Detroit Lions are finally hitting their stride as they have won five out of their last six after starting the season 1 – 6. This momentum may be due to their wide receiver room returning to full strength. DJ Chark, Amon-Ra St Brown, and Jameson Williams were all fully active for the first time this season. This win over NFC North rival Minnesota showed how effective this Lions’ offense could be at full strength. 

Jared Goff was the primary beneficiary, finishing the day with 330 yards and three touchdowns. The one stat that fantasy managers love the most? The Detroit Lions’ defense allows the most points out of every NFL team. That means we are primed for shootout after shootout for Lions’ games during the entire length of the fantasy football playoffs. 

Donovan Peoples-Jones Breakout Is Here

Donovan Peoples-Jones has been a devy and dynasty darling for a long time. Going back to high school when he was a five-star recruit headed off to Michigan. The Wolverines stifled the growth of Peoples-Jones, but many fans and analysts saw through the lack of production to see the talent still there. His profile took another ding when he fell to the sixth round of the 2020 NFL draft.

This past Sunday, all those people high on Donovan Peoples-Jones for this entire time were rewarded. In a loss to in-state rival Cincinnati, the Cleveland Browns threw the ball 42 times. Twelve of those targets were for Donovan Peoples-Jones. He converted those targets into eight catches for a career-high 114 yards. The only thing missing was the touchdown. Watson may have found his favorite receiver, which will be something to note for managers heading into the playoffs next week. 

Ja’Marr Chase Last Man Standing

Bengals pass catchers were seemingly dropping like flies during Sunday’s win over the Cleveland Browns. Tee Higgins practiced all week despite carrying a questionable tag. Unfortunately, he re-aggravated his hamstring injury during warmups; something I’m sure fantasy managers wish was shared before kickoff. Tyler Boyd also left the game early with a finger injury. Early reports are that the damage is not long-term.

In their absence, we saw a heavy dose of Ja’Marr Chase with a sprinkling of Trenton Irwin. Not a single Bengal outside Chase saw more than two targets all game. Despite being the sole option for targets, the Cleveland Browns struggled to cover Chase, who finished the game with 119 yards and a touchdown. If Higgins were to miss time and Boyd were to play, he would be a must-start during the fantasy football playoffs.  

Kenny Pickett Concussion

Injuries will be the theme of the day for the AFC North as almost every team dealt with players going out in critical positions. Unfortunately for the Pittsburgh Steelers, it was their rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett. Pickett played just eight snaps before leaving the game with a concussion. With how serious the NFL is handling concussions this season, there is a genuine possibility that Pickett may miss next week’s game.

In relief of Kenny Pickett was veteran quarterback Mitch Trubisky. Trubisky started five games for the Steelers to start the season before being benched for the rookie. Trubisky played most of the game and finished 22 of 30 passing for 276 yards. This statline included a touchdown but also, unfortunately, three interceptions. If Mitch is called upon to start again, we must worry about the Steelers’ pass catchers in the fantasy football playoffs. 

Tyler Huntley Out

Sunday’s game between the Steelers and the Ravens quickly became a battle of the backup quarterbacks. Although, for Baltimore, it was technically their third-string quarterback as they were already starting backup Tyler Huntley. Huntley, like Pickett, was ruled out with a concussion. The concussion protocol will be crucial to pay attention to as Lamar Jackson would be on the earlier side of his window to return from injury. The Ravens have a quick turnaround before facing the Browns on Saturday. 

The two quarterbacks combined for only 17 pass attempts, A worryingly low number for any Ravens pass catcher as we enter playoff season. The most efficiency for the offense was from JK Dobbins, who was making his first start since Week Six and played his most snaps since Week Four. Seeing Dobbins back is excellent, and it is coming at just the right time for fantasy managers. 

Information is the most powerful tool any dynasty fantasy football manager possesses. If you can stay on top of the correct information more than your league-mates, you will come out on top. Be sure to check back with us, as we will be breaking down takeaways from every division this week. And be sure to come back next week, as we will be doing the same for all 18 weeks of the 2022 NFL season!

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I hope you enjoyed this piece in our Winning With Vegas series. For more content like this, follow me on Twitter @DanT_NFL. DMs are always open for any questions, comments, or craft beer recommendations!

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