15 Fantasy Football Transactions for Week 14
Part of me doesn't want to recommend fantasy football to people who don't play only because no one should have to go through what I did on Sunday.
It felt like everything that I needed to happen didn't happen. My fringe playoff teams were either a disaster in Week 13, or about a hundred different scenarios unfolded exactly how they needed to unfold in order for my squad to be bounced out of the postseason.
The worst. It was the absolute worst.
This may be the result of playing in too many leagues -- more leagues means a higher chance for weird things to happen -- but that doesn't take the sting away. Fantasy football can cruel.
Yes, yes -- it's awesome, too. Especially if you own Josh Gordon.
As a reminder, the "buy" and "sell" transactions are for confidence only, as most trade deadlines are over.
Buy Josh Gordon
How awesome was Sunday? How awesome was it to see a player who's had some serious off-the-field struggles go up against one of the best cornerbacks and secondaries in the league and post 85 yards after not playing an NFL snap in three years?
Josh Gordon is nasty.
Gordon ended up seeing 11 of a possible 32 targets in the Browns' offense, finishing the day with 210 air yards, per AirYards.com. (Just for reference, Julio Jones averages about 127 air yards per game.) And he did this against the Chargers and cornerback Casey Hayward -- the only wide receiver with more receiving yards against Los Angeles this year was Odell Beckham. As a reminder, this was Gordon's first game in three years.
I see no reason as to why this type of usage can't continue. DeShone Kizer is fifth in the NFL in throws that have travelled 15 or more yards through the air, and he hasn't even played 10 full games for Cleveland. And with the Packers on deck this week, Gordon could go berserk.
Add Mike Davis
Since Chris Carson's injury earlier in the season, the Seahawks have really struggled to find a running back who can effectively carry any significant workload. No Seattle running back has a Success Rate -- or the percentage of runs that go for positive expected points, according to our Net Expected Points (NEP) metric -- that's above the league's average, and that includes the newly featured Mike Davis. Davis just looks the part compared to his competition in that backfield, though, and he ended up playing 73% of the team's snaps on Sunday night, ending the game with 16 of a possible 19 running back carries for the Seahawks. He's worth an add off the waiver wire for that kind of volume.
Drop DeVante Parker
I've brought this up in a lot of recent 15 Transactions columns lately, but the point is really important this time of year: if a player is giving you consistent production -- or, in DeVante Parker's case, no production at all -- what use is he for the fantasy football playoffs? Are you really going to confidently start Parker in Week 14 and beyond this year? Even if he blows up in Week 14 and 15, are you going to feel good about him in your lineup for all the marbles?
The truth is, Parker really hasn't brought it this year. He's scored more than 13 PPR points just once all season long, and that came all the way back in Week 3 against the Jets, when he scored a garbage time touchdown to get to that point. He's seeing snaps, but he's tallied just four targets over his last two games. Perhaps some of that has to do with tough cornerback matchups, but even still, if you're in a shallow league, it would seem more beneficial to own a handcuff right now as opposed to someone like Parker, even with a decent upcoming schedule.
Add Marquise Goodwin
Someone who may have more upside than Parker is Marquise Goodwin. Admittedly, some of that has to do with the ambiguous upside he'll have with quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. Goodwin ended up with over 21% of San Francisco's targets on Sunday, and the 49ers get the Texans and Titans over the next two weeks, two teams who rank 11th or worse in air yards allowed this year. Goodwin, a speedster, could have big performance if his target share holds.
Drop the Broncos' Backfield
Over the last four weeks, Devontae Booker hadn't seen fewer than 34% of Denver's snaps, and that number seemed to be rising each week. Booker was seeing more touches as each game passed. And then Sunday happened, when Booker was only on the field for 15% of the Broncos' snaps, tilting the fantasy football universe into the Upside Down.
Now, it hasn't been heavily reported, but it sounds like Booker was dealing with an illness throughout the game. Whether that came about after watching Trevor Siemian throw the football, I'm not sure. But in all seriousness, he more than likely caught the flu that was going around (other teammates missed the game because of it), which would explain his low snap rate.
Even still, it's really tough to be behind this Broncos offense right now. They've got one home game in the fantasy playoffs -- this week against the Jets -- and then they'll face the Colts and Redskins on the road in Weeks 15 and 16, respectively. Those aren't horrible matchups, but the offense is horrible itself, which will limit overall scoring opportunities. Like I said with Parker above, I think this is one of those situations where I'd rather just own a handcuff and play it safe, because the chance I'd play a Broncos running back in the playoffs is pretty slim, regardless of matchup.
Hold Derrick Henry
Derrick Henry has a Success Rate of 45.60% this year, which is about 14% better than teammate DeMarco Murray's. Even still, over the Titans' last five games, Murray has a rushing attempt share in the team's backfield that's about 3% higher than Henry's. Talk about frustrating.
The good news is that things are trending up for Henry. Four weeks ago, Murray out-attempted Henry 14 to 11. Three weeks ago, it was 8 to 7. In Week 12, Henry actually had more attempts, getting 13 to Murray's 12. And, this past week, they each had 11. Meanwhile, over the last two weeks, Henry's hit two of his three highest single-game snap rates of the season.
Bottom line, you've got to hold onto Henry, because he not only is seeing a slight uptick in overall workload, but he also serves as a high-end handcuff. That's precisely the type of player you need on your bench this time of year.
Buy Alex Collins
We've now got a three-week sample of the Ravens backfield with Danny Woodhead back from injury, and it's featured a whole lot of Alex Collins, as he's seen the field for 64%, 46%, and 52% of Baltimore's snaps over this time. Moreover, over these last three games, he's seen the 11th-highest rushing attempt market share in the entire league (60.71%).
Much of this is due to positive game scripts for Baltimore -- they're 3-0 during this stretch with two blowout victories -- but that could still be there for them in the fantasy football playoffs. Next week may be tough against Pittsburgh, but they close out the fantasy season against the Browns and Colts. Collins, who's beasting with a Success Rate north of 45%, should be in good shape during the latter part of the fantasy football postseason.
Add Aaron Jones
As good as Jamaal Williams has been over the last couple of weeks, we can't forget about Aaron Jones, who actually has a better advanced metrics production profile than Williams this year. While Williams has an impressive 0.09 Rushing Net Expected Points per rush rate -- which is far above average -- Jones' is 0.22 on the year. Williams' Success Rate of 46.15% is much higher than the league's average, as well, but Jones' 52.86% rate stills bests it.
Jones returned to action in Week 13 after a three-week knee injury hiatus, and he only carried the ball once as the team eased him in. It was a big carry, though, because he scored a game-winning overtime touchdown. As he gets healthier, my guess -- and this is obviously educated, as Jones was once ahead of Williams on the depth chart after showing off his skillset, and he's also outperformed Williams -- is that he digs more and more into Williams' backfield share. If that's the case, you'll want to own him.
Buy Michael Crabtree
It's been almost seven weeks since Michael Crabtree last scored a touchdown and, naturally, he hasn't been the most reliable fantasy option of late as a result. Suspension aside, of course.
But I'm pretty intrigued by the entire Oakland Raiders' passing attack down the stretch, especially given the team is firmly in the playoff hunt. In Week 14, they'll be going up against a Kansas City Chiefs defense that they destroyed earlier in the season, scoring 31 points. Week 15 features a game against a bottom-tiered secondary in the Dallas Cowboys. And then, in Week 16, they'll face the Eagles, who've faced the highest pass-to-run ratio in the NFL this year. Crabtree and company could be very useful in the fantasy playoffs.
Sell Josh McCown
McCown's been on a tear, ranking as a top-seven quarterback in five of his last seven games. Matt Ryan hasn't even done that once this year. (I also live for nuggets like that one.) But, unfortunately, the honeymoon may be ending soon for McCown. Over the team's next three games, they'll face the Broncos and Saints on the road, followed by a contest against the Chargers to close out the season.
While Denver's given up a ton of passing touchdowns, they've also allowed the fifth-fewest passing yards, which screams regression. The Saints should be at full strength in the secondary by Week 15, and the Chargers, as mentioned earlier, have one of the best secondaries in football. It could be tough for McCown from here on out.
Add David Njoku
Rookie tight end David Njoku played 54% of Cleveland's snaps on Sunday, one week after hitting a season-high 59% snap rate. Moreover, per Pro Football Focus, during his first 10 games of the season, Njoku averaged about 17 routes run per game, but over the last two weeks, that's jumped up to 21. And that's resulted in 10 total targets. If you're struggling at the tight end position and need more of an under-the-radar add, he could be it. Hopefully Cleveland continues to feature him more and more.
Buy Devin Funchess
Devin Funchess disappeared until the end of the Panthers-Saints contest on Sunday, but he was still able to haul in 4 catches for 60 yards and a score. Since Kelvin Benjamin left Charlotte, Funchess has averaged 8 targets per game and a 28.07% target share in Carolina's offense, which is pretty strong. He'll more than likely struggle in Week 14 against Xavier Rhodes and the Vikings, but you could argue that no receiver has a better Week 15 and 16 schedule than Funchess, as he'll face the Packers and Buccaneers. Green Bay's surrendered the fifth-most fantasy points to wide receivers this year, while Tampa Bay's given up the most. Yes, please.
Add Peyton Barber
With Doug Martin sidelined with a concussion, Peyton Barber ended up taking on the most work in the Bucs' backfield. He carried 23 of a possible 30 running back attempts, played 68% of the team's snaps, and caught all 4 of his targets for 41 yards. If Martin can't get back on the field this week, Barber will have a nice matchup against a Lions front that's allowed a top-12 running back performance in five of their last six games.
Add DeShone Kizer
In fantasy football, players don't always have to be good to be usable. Even quarterbacks. Take DeShone Kizer, for example. Among the 33 quarterbacks with 200-plus attempts this year, no quarterback has a lower adjusted net yards per attempt rate than Kizer. None of them have a worse quarterback rating. And none of them have a worse interception rate.
Yet, three of Kizer's last five starts have resulted in a top-12, QB1 performance in fantasy football thanks to his rushing ability. And he's got things going for him through the air this week, too. The Packers -- his Week 14 opponent -- have allowed the seventh-highest net yards per attempt rate this year and the seventh-most passing yards. With Josh Gordon back and with this game being played in Cleveland, this is kind of a sweet spot for Kizer.
Add the Cincinnati Bengals' Defense
The quick checklist for a streaming defense includes whether or not the team is at home, whether or not the team is a favorite, and whether or not the opponent has strong quarterback play. The Bengals check every box this week, as they'll be at home to face the Bears. Since Mitchell Trubisky took over the Chicago offense in Week 5, opposing defenses are averaging 9.56 fantasy points per game against Chicago, with just two of the Bears' eight opponents finishing outside the top-12 in weekly scoring. Cincy is in a great position to score some fantasy points this weekend.