Fantasy Football Start/Sit Week 14: Start Cam Newton & Taysom Hill, Sit Russell Wilson, Joe Burrow & Kyle Pitts
Getty Images. Pictured: Bengals QB Joe Burrow, Panthers QB Cam Newton and Seahawks QB Russell Wilson (left to right)
Please raise your hand if you feel personally victimized by the Week 14 byes.
Amid the chaos of the holiday season, make sure to swap out any Eagles, Patriots, Dolphins or Colts players, replace players such as Adam Thielen (ankle), and monitor the statuses of questionable players like D’Andre Swift (shoulder), Dalvin Cook (shoulder), James Robinson (heel, knee), DK Metcalf (foot), Darren Waller (knee, back), Saquon Barkley (ankle), Daniel Jones (neck), Keenan Allen (COVID-19), Melvin Gordon (hip), Deebo Samuel (groin), Elijah Mitchell (concussion, knee), Joe Burrow (finger, knee), Justin Fields (ribs) and Aaron Rodgers (toe).
Below are some players at each position you should start for Week 14 of the NFL season, as well as some players you should consider sitting based on matchups, injuries and trends.
Week 14 Start ‘Em
Quarterbacks to Start
Taysom Hill, Saints at Jets
If you had the intestinal fortitude to fire up Hill in his first start last week against Dallas, I salute you. He completed 19 of 24 attempts for 264 yards, two touchdowns, four interceptions and tacked on 11 rushes for 101 yards — good enough for 25 fantasy points and a QB4 finish. Hill is a low-end QB1 in a positive matchup this week on the road against the Jets, who have allowed the 10th-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this year.
Cam Newton, Panthers vs. Falcons
Newton got the job done in his first NFL start, but was was a complete flop in Week 12 on the road in Miami. He completed just five of 21 attempts for 92 yards, zero touchdowns and two interceptions for a QBR of 5.9. He did find the end zone on the ground, but eight fantasy points against the Dolphins defense doesn’t inspire much confidence heading into the final week of the fantasy regular season. He is a tempting start this week with the Falcons, who have allowed the second-most fantasy points to quarterbacks this year, on deck. The Panthers will also be well-rested coming out of a bye week and could be reinvigorated by the firing of offensive coordinator Joe Brady. He has bust potential given his style of play, but there’s a good chance you need to swing for the fences in Week 14, which is precisely the type of play Newton is.
Wide Receivers to Start
Elijah Moore, Jets vs. Saints
Since Week 7 after the Jets’ bye, Moore is WR8 in half PPR on a per-game basis and has has posted double-digit fantasy performances in all but one game in that span. He is coming off of a strong Week 13 performance against the Eagles in which he recorded six catches on 12 targets for 77 yards and a touchdown in the contest. He is a must-start moving forward and has mid-range WR2 value this week in a plush matchup against the Saints, who rank fourth-worst against fantasy wide receivers this year.
Note: Moore missed practice on Wednesday with a quad injury. The situation is worth monitoring throughout the week.
Michael Gallup, Cowboys at Washington
Gallup has been solid since returning from injury and has benefitted from various absences from CeeDee Lamb and Amari Cooper. Cooper played last week against the Saints, but was used sparingly and caught his two targets for 41 yards. Gallup caught five of nine targets for 36 yards and a touchdown in the contest and now has back-to-back double-digit fantasy performances. He has a good shot at continuing that streak this week against Washington, whose defense has allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to receivers this year.
Russell Gage, Falcons at Panthers
Gage exploded in Week 13 against the Buccaneers and reeled in 11 of 12 targets for 130 yards for his second double-digit fantasy performance and top-12 finish in a row. Since the Falcons’ Week 6 bye, he is WR28 on a per-game basis in half PPR. He has had his up-and-down moments in that time, including a Week 10 bagel against the Cowboys. This matchup doesn’t look great on paper against the Panthers, whose defense has been solid for the most part this year, but Carolina did allow two 100-yard performances to receivers (Week 11: Terry McLaurin, Week 12: Jaylen Waddle) in consecutive weeks before their bye. Gage has WR3/flex value this week.
K.J. Osborn, Vikings vs. Steelers
Osborn was a hot name to start the season, but cooled off significantly since then. Last week, he benefitted by Adam Thielen going down early with a high-ankle sprain and posted his best game since the team’s Week 7 bye, reeling in four of seven targets for 47 yards and a touchdown. He will be the Vikings’ de facto WR2 with Thielen ruled out on the short week which immediately vaults him into the flex-worthy conversation.
Running Backs to Start
Chuba Hubbard, Panthers vs. Falcons
As a manager with way too much exposure to the oft-injured Christian McCaffrey, it’s almost a relief having him actually ruled out for the rest of the year. As a result, Hubbard once again finds himself thrust into the spotlight as the Panthers’ new RB1. He previously shouldered the lion’s share of the workload during Weeks 4 through 8 while McCaffrey was out with a hamstring injury and averaged 19 attempts and 11.6 fantasy points per game in half PPR. His upside should be a bit higher in a Cam Newton-led offense that naturally lends itself to the run. The matchup is also excellent against the Falcons, who rank seventh-worst in fantasy points allowed to running backs. Last time these two teams met in Week 8, Hubbard saw 24 carries for 82 yards and a touchdown. He should be considered fringe low-end RB2 this week based on the matchup and his expected workload.
Sony Michel, Rams at Cardinals
Michel is coming off of by far his best fantasy performance of the year. With Darrell Henderson active only for emergency purposes (zero snaps played), Michel saw 24 carries for 121 yards and a touchdown and also caught three of four passes for eight yards. Game script certainly played a role as the contest ended 37-7 against the Jaguars. Even if the banged-up Henderson plays, Michel should be considered a high-end RB3 this Monday against the Cardinals, whose run defense has been middle of the road for fantasy purposes.
Tony Pollard, Cowboys at Washington
Who is the Cowboys’ best running back right now and why is it Tony Pollard? In all seriousness, Ezekiel Elliott has not looked himself while dealing with this ankle injury and has been outscored by his understudy in consecutive weeks. Last week, Elliott out-snapped Pollard 45 to 28 and out-touched him 15 to 9, finishing with 13 carries for 45 yards (3.5 yards per carry). Pollard was more efficient with his workload and saw seven carries for 71 yards and a touchdown. I expect this will continue to be a timeshare in Elliott’s favor, but Pollard should still have high-end RB3 value with RB2 upside on the road in Washington.
Note: Pollard missed practice on Wednesday with a foot injury. The situation is worth monitoring throughout the week.
Devonta Freeman, Ravens at Browns
This backfield started the season as a hot mess with no clear workhorse for fantasy. Since Week 6, however, Freeman is RB21 in half PPR on a per-game basis and is coming off of yet another strong performance in which he saw 14 carries for 52 yards and a touchdown and caught five of eight targets for 45 yards against the Steelers. Latavius Murray wasn’t really a factor in the contest and saw two carries for one yard and caught two passes for 34 yards. He was also out-snapped by Freeman 51 to 14 in the game. Freeman should be considered an RB2 heading into the Ravens’ Week 14 matchup against the Browns.
Tight Ends to Start
Dawson Knox, Bills at Buccaneers
Knox’s quiet Week 13 can surely be forgiven due to inclement weather and the matchup. He caught two of six passes for 14 yards against the Patriots on the heels of a two-touchdown performance in New Orleans. He is the TE5 this season on a per-game basis (10 games played), averaging 10.3 points in half PPR. He should bounce back this week against the Buccaneers, who rank 10th-worst against tight ends in fantasy. Knox should be considered a mid-range TE1 in this matchup.
Zach Ertz, Cardinals vs. Rams
Ertz is also coming off of a rough road matchup in Week 13 against the Bears. He caught just one of two targets for 10 yards, but I also expect him to bounce back as a low-end TE1 this week. He has the Rams on deck, who who allowed 15.1 half PPR points in Week 4 to Maxx Williams — the Cardinals’ tight end at the time. Ertz’s talent, the strength of this offense and positional scarcity keep him in the must-start realm.
Defenses to Start
Tennessee Titans vs. Jaguars
The Titans D/ST is coming off two of their worst fantasy performance of the season. They laid a goose egg in Week 11 against the Texans and tallied -2 fantasy points in Week 12 after allowing 36 points to the Patriots. They have a juicy matchup this week against the Jaguars, however, who are averaging just 15 points per game which is second-worst in the NFL behind the Texans. The Titans finished as the DST2 in Week 5 in these two teams’ first matchup, making them a top play this week.
Los Angeles Chargers vs. Giants
The Chargers defense hasn’t been spectacular this season and the D/ST ranks near the bottom of the NFL (26th) for fantasy purposes. Still, they should be a good play this week with Daniel Jones likely out with a neck injury and backup Mike Glennon suffering a concussion. Third-string quarterback Jake Fromm will likely start, which could be an ugly game for the G-Men.
Week 14 Sit ‘Em
Quarterbacks to Sit
Russell Wilson, Seahawks at Texans
Wilson has started to look better each week since returning from his finger injury. He completed 30 of 37 attempts for 231 yards, two touchdowns and one interception last week against the 49ers — good enough for 18 fantasy points and a QB15 finish. He makes me nervous this week, however, with the Texans on deck: Houston’s defense has been sneakily quite good of late and has allowed an average of 11.5 fantasy points to the position over the last four games (granted, against Jacoby Brissett, Ryan Tannehill, Zach Wilson and Carson Wentz). Wilson is on the upswing, but he isn’t a strong start in Week 14.
Joe Burrow, Bengals vs. 49ers
Burrow has declined since the start of the second half of the season. Since Week 9, he is QB27 on a per-game basis averaging just 13.6 fantasy points over that span. He also suffered a dislocated finger in Week 13 against the Chargers and ultimately played through the pain, but it’s something that could hamper his production rest-of-season. This week, he faces the 49ers defense, which has allowed the fifth-fewest passing yards this year and an average of 14.2 fantasy points to quarterbacks over the last five games. His matchup and injury status knock him out of top-12 consideration for me.
Wide Receivers to Sit
Darnell Mooney, Bears at Packers
Mooney came back down to earth last week in a tough matchup against the Cardinals. Arizona was all over Andy Dalton and Mooney, who caught five of seven targets for 27 yards in the contest. This week, the Bears face the Packers, who have been stingy against the pass and middle-of-the-pack against fantasy wideouts. He is a risky WR2 if Allen Robinson II sits out again in this lackluster Bears offense.
Brandon Aiyuk, 49ers at Bengals
Aiyuk is outside of my circle of trust once again. He caught just three of six targets for 55 yards in Week 13 against the Seahawks, which was a letdown in light of the absence of Deebo Samuel. The major issue is he did have a couple of painful drops, which could impact head coach Kyle Shanahan’s already fragile trust in him moving forward. He is a WR3 with downside if Samuel sits out once again with a groin injury and a complete no-go for me if Samuel suits up.
Courtland Sutton, Broncos vs. Lions
Sutton seems like a mainstay in this column, but with a tempting Week 14 matchup on deck, this could warrant reminding. He was the WR23 in half PPR on a per-game basis through the first seven weeks of the season. Since Week 8, he is WR97 and has not caught more than two passes in any game in that span. Even in a soft matchup against the Lions, Sutton is a firm sit for me.
Christian Kirk, Cardinals vs. Rams
Kirk has had his moments throughout this season, but has slowed down over the past few weeks. He caught two passes for 25 yards in Week 11 in Seattle and caught one pass for four yards in Week 13 in Chicago. His role could dwindle with the return of DeAndre Hopkins, who missed three games with a hamstring injury. Kirk is a risky WR3 play this week versus the Rams, who have been above average against fantasy receivers this season.
Running Backs to Sit
Tevin Coleman, Jets vs. Saints
Coleman has been a serviceable spot starter over the last couple of weeks with Michael Carter on injured reserve. He saw 18 touches for 70 scrimmage yards in Week 12 against the Texans and saw 14 touches for 77 scrimmage yards in Week 13 against the Eagles. I am out on any Jets running back this week, however, with the Saints on deck. New Orleans has been fearsome against the run and allowed fewest fantasy points to running backs and the fifth-fewest rushing yards per game this year.
Mike Davis, Falcons at Panthers
This is a public service announcement to not fall for the Mike Davis honey pot. He is coming off of his best game of the year against a tough Buccaneers run defense. He had four attempts for 32 yards and a touchdown and caught all four of his targets for 37 yards — good enough for 15 fantasy points and a WR17 finish in half PPR. The Falcons face the Panthers this week, who are allowing the second-fewest fantasy points to the position. Davis is fool’s gold and not a trustworthy starter in your crucial Week 14 matchups.
D’Onta Foreman, Titans vs. Jaguars
This may seem odd after Foreman popped off for his best game of the season in Week 12. He saw 19 carries for 109 yards in New England while splitting carries with Dontrell Hilliard, who ended up with the better day for fantasy (12-131-1). This backfield could be a mess with the return of Jeremy McNichols. It’s entirely possible Foreman ends up atop the trio, but I don’t feel comfortable rolling him out this week — even with Jaguars on deck.
Adrian Peterson, Seahawks at Texans
In case you missed it, Peterson added a new team to his résumé last week. The journeyman running back joined the Seahawks after being released by the Titans following a two-game stint with the team and started immediately against the 49ers. He saw 11 carries for 16 yards and fell into the end zone, totaling eight fantasy points in half PPR. His season-long 2.6 yards per carry does not inspire confidence, even up against the Texans’ soft run defense this week. He is a deep-league consideration only with a low floor.
Tight Ends to Sit
Kyle Pitts, Falcons at Panthers
It physically hurt me to write this, but I cannot — in good conscience — recommend starting Pitts. He has been disappointing this season and even more so in the second half. Since Week 8 when he faced Carolina for the first time and was held to two catches for 13 yards, Pitts is TE29 averaging just 5.5 fantasy points per game in half PPR. You simply cannot trust him against the Panthers this week, who have only allowed one double-digit fantasy performance to a tight end this year (Dalton Schultz, Week 4) and kept Mike Gesicki in check for just 3.2 fantasy points in Week 12 before their bye.
Noah Fant, Broncos vs. Lions
Fant has been another casualty of the Teddy Bridgewater-led Broncos. He had a decent start to he year and was TE8 in half PPR on a per-game basis; Week 7 onwards, he is the TE36. Aside from the two (potentially one) running backs, there are zero Denver players I would feel confident starting — even facing the Lions — in Week 14.
Defenses to Sit
Buffalo Bills at Buccaneers
The Bills D/ST has been all over the map this year with weeks ranging from -4 to 23 fantasy points. They are currently the DST3 for fantasy, but are coming off of a three-point game against the Patriots. They aren’t in a particularly good bounce-back spot with the Buccaneers next up, who have scored an NFL-high 31.4 points per game and tallied the second-most offensive yards. I expect them to be held in check and outside of the top 12 this week.
Los Angeles Rams at Cardinals
The Rams’ defensive roster looks solid on paper, but really has not delivered for fantasy. The unit is currently the DST19 and it’s unlikely they improve their position this week in Arizona. Even without Kyler Murray, DeAndre Hopkins and Chase Edmonds for multiple games, the Cardinals have scored the third-most points in the NFL (28.6) behind only the Buccaneers and Cowboys. The Rams are a no-brainer sit this week.