7 Fantasy Football Sleepers For Week 14
This is the last week before the fantasy football playoffs. There's no time to wait, let's get right into it.
Sleeper is an ambiguous term. For the purpose of this article, we'll define anyone on fewer than half of Yahoo! rosters as a sleeper. Typically, I'll actually aim to feature players on fewer than 40 percent of rosters.
Don't worry, deep-league gamers, this article is intended to help folks in leagues of all shapes and sizes. With that in mind, I'm following my predecessor's lead, including honorable mentions. If the featured players are already rostered in your league, the honorable mentions should provide you with players to consider filling in for an injured starter or a player on a bye -- or for whatever other reason you're diving into the free-agent pool.
While this article is primarily written through a season-long lens, sleepers are certainly viable as daily fantasy punts in certain builds, too. Keep that in mind when you're looking for cash-game savings or trying to gain cheap leverage in tournaments. That's why you'll see every player's FanDuel salary listed next to their Yahoo! roster percentage this year.
This week the Atlanta Falcons, Chicago Bears, Green Bay Packers, Indianapolis Colts, New Orleans Saints and Washington Commanders are on bye, robbing us of plenty of fantasy starters. Nobody consulted me when making the NFL schedule, so we'll have to make do.
Of course, with sleeper recommendations, they can't all be hits, but the results positively matched the process once again in Week 13's column. Mike White was the QB7, Jared Goff bested him as the QB4, Zonovan Knight delivered as the RB13, Jerick McKinnon also provided a top-20 RB performance, DJ Chark had 98 receiving yards, and Evan Engram was the TE4.
Let's aim for more strong results in Week 14.
Mac Jones (13% | $6,500) - Hear me out. Just two weeks ago we went to Jones as a matchup-based streamer against the Minnesota Vikings and he delivered as the QB7 that week. The thesis is similar with Jones this week against the Arizona Cardinals.
Per our schedule-adjusted metrics, Arizona ranks 21st against the pass and 25th against the run. As a result, Arizona has allowed the third-most fantasy points to quarterbacks. This game will be played in a dome with a tight, 1.5-point spread, implying a back-and-forth affair. Jones is the strongest matchup-based streamer in a tough streaming week.
Sam Darnold (3% | $6,600) - Fortune favors the bold. With Baker Mayfield waived, Darnold is the gunslinger in Carolina now. Given his performance two weeks ago and the relatively long leash given to Mayfield and P.J. Walker, it feels fair to reason Darnold isn't risking an in-game benching this week.
He's still not a start for the risk-averse, but there's room for a ceiling performance here. The Seattle Seahawks rank 26th against the pass according to our schedule-adjusted metrics. Darnold has notoriously struggled against pressure in his career, but Seattle ranks in the bottom half of the league in both pressure rate and hurry rate, per Pro Football Reference.
With just a 3.5-point spread, this game projects to be close. With a solid matchup and some sneaky rushing value (one rushing touchdown in Week 12), Darnold has a sneaky ceiling this week. He's very stackable with D.J. Moore in DFS, too.
Honorable Mention: Ryan Tannehill (17% | $6,700)
James Cook (24% | $6,100) - Cook figures to get a big jump in roster rate after setting season-highs in rush attempts (14), targets (6), and receptions (6) in Week 13. Notably, Cook's uptick in receiving usage came despite a positive game script. Per Dwain McFarland, Cook also set season-highs in snap rate (43%), route participation (38%), and target share (18%).
Cook's floor is still low as a member of a three-man backfield, but you can do worse when throwing running back darts. The Buffalo Bills are 9.5-point home favorites with a 27-point team total, so we should be willing to take bites out of their apple any chance we get. Cook certainly qualifies and has the upside for more if he's able to wrestle away any more of the work away from Devin Singletary.
Since missing Weeks 8 and 9 to injury, Collins has averaged 9 targets per game, reaching 10 targets in a game twice over that four-game span. In PPR leagues, he's been the WR27 in that time.
With Brandin Cooks out this past Sunday, Collins was targeted on 39% of his routes and had a 30% team target share. Both are elite rates. Cooks is not practicing to begin this week. Regardless of if Cooks plays or not, Collins is likely starting at another nine or so targets in a game the Houston Texans are almost guaranteed to play from behind in a dome against Dallas. They're 17-point underdogs. Collins is a legitimate WR3 and should be rostered everywhere.
DJ Chark (25% | $5,700) - Chark's roster percentage jumped nine points overnight, but it's still not high enough. Now three games removed from his ankle injury, Chark was up to 93% route participation on Sunday, per Dwain McFarland. Chark set season highs in catches (5), yards (98), and yards per catch (19.6).
Chark's stigma as a boom/bust player inherently follows his deep aDOT (18.6 this season), but it can't be a bad thing to be the aDOT and air yards leader in numberFire's second-best passing offense. Chark has quietly received at least five targets in four of his five fully healthy games this season, implying a higher floor than meets the eye.
This week Chark faces the Minnesota Vikings' 23rd-ranked pass defense, per our schedule-adjusted metrics. This game has a monstrous 52.5-point total (tied for the highest of the week) and has a tight 2.5-point spread in a dome. With the Detroit Lions' pass defense ranking even worse against the pass (28th), this game has shootout written all over it. With a pristine matchup and exciting game environment, Chark is an upside WR3 this week.
Dulcich is fresh off a season-high target share (35%!), Jerry Jeudy is working his way back from an ankle injury (41% route participation in Week 13), K.J. Hamler is still out, and now Courtland Sutton is dealing with a hamstring injury.
Dulcich has hovered around the 80% route participation mark since becoming the starter, which is a strong number for a tight end. It's early in the week, but considering Sutton left the game with a soft tissue injury without returning, he and his 24.0% target share are likely missing in Week 14.
Dulcich faces the Kansas City Chiefs this week, the 23rd-graded defense per our schedule-adjusted metrics. Dulcich is a shoo-in TE1 this week -- and for the rest of the season -- so he needs to be rostered in all league formats.
Hunter Henry (42% | $5,200) - Henry is coming off back-to-back five target games, most notably finishing as the TE3 in Week 12 when he was a recommended sleeper in this article. Let's go back to the well.
In Week 13, Henry ran a route on 78% of team drop backs, which was his highest number since missing Week 10. It's nice to know the utilization is there, but this recommendation is all about the matchup.
This week, Henry faces the Arizona Cardinals' pass defense, which ranks just 21st by our schedule-adjusted metrics. More importantly, no defense has allowed more points to tight ends than Arizona this year. Playing in a dome, with a tight 1.5-point spread, and with the optimal matchup, Henry is a top-10 tight end option this week.
Honorable Mention: Chigoziem Okonkwo (0% | $4,800)
Eli Weiner is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Eli Weiner also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username Eweiner2. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his/her personal views, he/she may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his/her personal account. The views expressed in his/her articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.