Josh Freeman (QB | Tampa Bay Buccaneers | Week 14: vs. Philadelphia | FantasyPros.com rank: 12, My rank: 9)
Freeman is 8th in yards per attempt, 12th in NFL QB rating, and 12th in fantasy points, so he’s squarely in that tier of quarterbacks who make up the back end of everyone’s top ten or twelve depending on their matchup for the week. This week Freeman faces an Eagles team that allows the 4th most fantasy points to quarterbacks and is ranked 27th in pass defense by footballoutsiders.com.
Sam Bradford (QB | St. Louis Rams | Week 14: @ Buffalo | FantasyPros.com rank: 27 | My rank: 17)
I don’t know why you’d be looking for a flier at quarterback at this point in the season, but if you are, give Bradford a shot. He’s averaging 14 fantasy points per game over his last four games, and he’s had to face San Francisco twice (5th fewest points to QBs) and Arizona (4th fewest points to QBs) in that span. This week the matchup is considerably softer against the Bills (8th most points to QBs).
Michael Turner (RB | Atlanta Falcons | Week 14: @ Carolina | FantasyPros.com rank: 21 | My rank: 17)
He keeps finding the end zone and the Panthers run defense has been bad for almost two full years now. It’s understandable if you don’t feel great about it, but there isn’t anyone outside of the obvious top 15 startable guys who has as good of a chance of scoring.
Pierre Garcon (WR | Washington Redskins | Week 14: @ Baltimore | FantasyPros.com rank: 22, My rank: 15)
Garcon is averaging 2.85 yards per route run this year which would trail only Brandon Marshall if he had enough receptions to qualify. Unfortunately for the Redskins, he’s only been on the field enough to run roughly 100 routes. But he’s back on the field now, and he’s been great with 192 yards and two TDs (30 fantasy points) in the last two weeks. And the Ravens just aren’t a terrifying defense anymore.
Danario Alexander (WR | San Diego Chargers | Week 14: @ Pittsburgh | FantasyPros.com rank: 21, My rank: 17)
In five games Alexander is averaging 93.4 yards per game and has three touchdowns. Similar to Garcon, Alexander would be among the league leaders in yards per route run if he had enough receptions to qualify. The Steelers defense retains more of its prowess than the Ravens do, but Alexander has just been too good to bench.
Chris Givens (WR | St. Louis Rams | Week 14: @ Buffalo | FantasyPros.com rank: 46, My rank: 26)
With Danny Amendola essentially absent from the last two games, Givens has stepped up in a huge way. He has 16 catches for 207 yards and a score in that frame. Admittedly, he’d be much lower in the ranks if Amendola is able to go. But I mentioned Bradford’s potential above, and I think Givens’ potential goes hand-in-hand.
Martellus Bennett (TE | New York Giants | Week 14: vs. New Orleans | FantasyPros.com rank: 14, My rank: 7)
I made the call on Bennett last week against a Redskins team that struggles with the TE and it paid off handsomely as Bennett found the end zone and racked up 82 yards. The matchup isn’t quite as good as it was last week, but the Saints are among the ten teams who have allowed the most fantasy points to tight ends. Not to mention the fact that other guys that usually round out the top ten at the position have some tough matchups.
Cleveland Browns D/ST (9.8% owned | Week 14: vs. Kansas City)
I also made the call on Cleveland’s defense in this space last week, but it didn’t pay off. The Browns disappointed in a choice matchup with the Raiders scoring only one fantasy point. But the matchup is even better this week against the Chiefs who allow the most fantasy points to opposing defenses. The Browns are available in roughly 90% of ESPN leagues, so they are your target if you are still playing the waiver wire with defenses.
Tony Romo (QB | Dallas Cowboys | Week 14: @ Cincinnati | FantasyPros.com rank: 11 | My rank: 14)
Romo has been both consistent and at times brilliant since the Cowboys came off their Week 5 bye. He has had at least 14 fantasy points in all eight of those games, and he’s had bigger days of 19, 27, and 25 points with the two big games coming in the last two weeks. But I hesitate for two reasons. First, Cincinnati has been much more generous on the ground. With Demarco Murray back, Dallas could do more damage on the ground. And second, the other guys that round out the top ten from week to week (a la Josh Freeman) just have more appealing matchups this week.
BenJarvus Green-Ellis (RB | Cincinnati Bengals | Week 14: vs. Dallas | FantasyPros.com rank: 16 | My rank: 22)
The Law Firm has had some recent success, but his two best games came against teams that rank 3rd and 9th in fantasy points allowed to opposing backs. This week he faces a Dallas team that is average to above average against the run. Not an overly intimidating matchup to be sure, but BJGE isn’t an intimidating back either.
Ryan Mathews (RB | San Diego Chargers | Week 14: @ Pittsburgh | FantasyPros.com rank: 21 | My rank: 31)
It’s now nine out of ten games where Mathews has had between four and eight fantasy points. That alone should earn him a spot on your bench. But add to that the tough matchup against the Steelers and the fact that you’re most likely in a win-or-go-home fantasy matchup at this point, and there’s just no way you can trust Mathews in your lineup. The nicest thing I can say about Mathews is that I’d start him over Beanie Wells.
Eric Decker (WR | Denver Broncos | Week 14: @ Oakland | FantasyPros.com rank: 16, My rank: 23)
What the hell happened to this guy? Through eight games, Decker was averaging 11.8 fantasy points per game. To put that in context, only five receivers have a higher average for the season. It’s true that some regression was to be expected and that Decker was unlikely to finish the year as anything close to a top five receiver. But who could have predicted 119 yards and 16 fantasy points over his last four games? Maybe this is the week where the regression regresses, but Decker is a really risky start right now.
Steve Johnson (WR | Buffalo Bills | Week 14: vs. St. Louis | FantasyPros.com rank: 17, My rank: 23)
Johnson has just one 100 yard receiving game this season and has been held to 65 yards or less in seven of his twelve games. He’s been better of late, but you essentially need Johnson to score for him to be worth playing. And the Rams are tied for the fifth fewest passing touchdowns allowed.
Vernon Davis (TE | San Francisco 49ers | Week 14: vs. Miami | FantasyPros.com rank: 9, My rank: 13)
Aside from an inexplicable 14 point fantasy day against the Bears in Week 12, Davis has been a complete disaster from Week 6 on. There’s just no way you can trust a guy who has failed to top three fantasy points in six of his last seven games.