clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

NFL Fantasy Football, Week 14: 5 must-starts for the fantasy playoffs

New, comments

A few fantasy football options that should be in your lineups this week.

Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

Editor's Note: SB Nation's partner FanDuel is running a $1M fantasy football league on Sunday. First place wins $100,000. Join now! Sorry Washington residents, you can't play.

Week 13 In Review

If you aren't familiar with my methods yet, I'll put myself on a "PASS" or "FAIL" scale which is based on flex options scoring above or below double digit fantasy points. Above 10 points would be a PASS, and obviously below 10 would be a FAIL. I do my best to find the not-so obvious options from week to week to help you dominate your league. With that said, here we go once again, let's see how I did for you, folks.

Julius Thomas, 9.5 - FAIL
David Johnson, 20.0 Points -- PASS
Alfred Morris, 1.2 Points -- FAIL
Scott Chandler, 16.1 Points -- PASS
Duke Johnson Jr, 7.2 Points -- FAIL

The only way I can sum up Week 13 is with a Ron Burgundy quote:

"Ohh, it's the deep burn. Oh, it's so deep. Oh, I can barely lift my right arm 'cause I did so many. I don't know if you heard me counting. I did over a thousand.".

Speaking of deep burns, Julius Thomas, a player I once had a hilarious twitter interaction with, really disappointed with his 5-target, sub-10-point performance. Not surprisingly, David Johnson went bananas. Pre-draft the dude was a stud, and back in college he was the exact same -- he is a straight up playmaker. Alfred Morris -- I've rarely been this wrong, but Morris found a surefire way to make me look like a fool. Scott Chandler did a pretty supreme low-budget Gronk impression by posting a 16 point game *blows kazoo*. Finally, my third-favorite rookie running back in this class, Duke Johnson, just couldn't net the requisite volume to make a difference this week -- I'm sorry.

Week 14: '5 under-the-radar fantasy gems'

I pride myself on making tough calls, and this week will be no exception once again. Russell Wilson is on god mode, and everyone has been officially put on notice.

5. Doug Baldwin, WR SEA

So apparently Doug Baldwin has gone from the most likely to go undrafted in fantasy leagues to a player you almost cannot bench anymore. Week 14 is the playoffs and Doug Baldwin is just licking his chops at the prospect of the Baltimore Ravens' secondary.

On the year, the Ravens are ranked 19th against the pass, allowing 243.9 yards per game. This truthfully a really putrid defense, and that isn't just my opinion of it. In 12 regular season games this year, they've given up 22 touchdowns and intercepted a league-low four passes. With Russell Wilson coming off the best three-game stretch of his career, now is clearly the time to roll out Doug Baldwin.

Over his past four games, Baldwin has posted fantasy points of:

26.4
12.0
38.5
26.4

This is all directly proportional to how hot Wilson has become, and being his #1 receiver is surely a nice spot to be in right now. Over the past four weeks, Baldwin is averaging 7.75 targets a game, easily putting him in the conversation of WR2 workload. I think this matchup seems incredibly no-brainer when you examine all the factors working in Baldwin's favor -- don't make the mistake and bench him again.

Currently, Doug Baldwin is available in 37% of Yahoo leagues and in 42.5% of leagues at ESPN. I am pretty suprised by the lack of ownership after Baldwin has posted a combined 103.3 fantasy points over the last 4 weeks.... that's just un'freaking'believable.

4. Mike Evans, TB WR

Probably not a surprise to some, but aside from the occasional touchdown, Evans has been somewhat unpredictable. Luckily for owners, Week 1 of the playoffs is a great matchup for Mike.

The start of the fantasy playoffs means Mike Evans is getting his shot at the 2nd worst NFL defense against the pass -- the New Orleans Saints. Allowing a barf-worthy 287.3 yards per game, it's safe to say that even if your quarterback is a rookie (Jameis Winston) this will be like playing against a college defense. If those yards per game weren't enough to silence the critic inside of you, then perhaps the Saints' 35 passing touchdowns allowed will be. They're first in the NFL in regards to touchdowns allowed (35) and the next closest team is a mile away (28 - PHI).

I could ramble for hours about how porous this secondary is, but I'll leave you with the original info -- just remember they've allowed 35 touchdowns, and only intercepted 6 passes.... they are the absolute worst. Evans himself has seen an insane amount of volume in 2015 -- of his 11 games played he's exceeded 10 targets on 6 different occasions. Volume isn't an issue for Evans, but at times Winston can be. On this particular week, against this particular team (N.O.), I wouldn't even think twice about starting Mike Evans -- he's going to demolish this secondary.

Mike Evans is available in just 1% of Yahoo leagues and 1.9% of ESPN ones. Obviously Mike isn't "off the radar," however a lot of owners confidence in him is. He's going to do things to this New Orleans defense that they wouldn't even show on TLC -- and those guys will show anything.

3. Shaun Draughn, RB SF

Right off the bat I want to point out that to be sure you are saying his name correctly it should sound almost identical to "Sean John" -- the clothing company P. Diddy owns that is only sold in TJ Maxx stores. Draughn isn't nearly as fly as Diddy, but Puffy won't earn you any fantasy points this weekend either.

It's the playoffs, and we are all in this insane scramble looking for players to play, and based on Draughn's workload competition and previous games played, it appears he's a very solid option for teams in a pickle. Over his past four games as a rusher, he hasn't been "unbelievable" -- on 58 carries this year he is averaging just 3.3 YPC with one rushing touchdown.

Where he has been particular special however is as an open field pass catcher. If you play in a PPR league, then Draughn is worth infinitely more than standard scoring leagues. Over his last four games, he's hauled in reception totals of: 4, 8, 5, and 5. Despite my knock on Draughn's pedestrian YPC, this may be the week that he finally busts loose. He's facing one of the league's absolute worst run defenses, too.

The Cleveland Browns are giving up a mind numbing 136.6 rush yards per game to opposing teams. This is a team that is in the bottom-2 for yards per game allowed, and in the bottom-5 for touchdowns allowed as well with 11. All in all this is a supremely favorable matchup for a lead running back with zero competition for his workload... don't make the mistake and bench Shaun Draughn.

Shaun Draughn is currently available in 36.9% of ESPN leagues and 45% of leagues at Yahoo ones. To be honest, with how depleted the running back landscape is across the league, the fact that Shaun is available at all blows me away. He's a definite RB2 that is one touchdown run or catch away from RB1 production. Don't be afraid to start "Sean John".

2. Delanie Walker, TE TEN

Again, not "off the radar," but certainly deserving of a playoff start. Often, I hear people avoiding guys like Walker due to their rookie quarterback, but this situation is vastly different.

On the season, Walker has clearly proven to be Marcus Mariota's guy. Week 14 pins Walker and the Titans up against the New York Jets. Now, this is a tall task for most anybody, but this is a matchup where volume is a major factor. Over the past three weeks Delanie has seen serious workload as his targets have been: 10, 8, and 12.

These aren't just good numbers for a tight end, they are good numbers for anybody. Over the same past three weeks Delanie has finished with yardage totals of: 109, 91, and 92. This Jets defense is no juggernaut either, as they're ranked a middle of the road 18th in the league against the pass (243.0 Yards/G). Surprisingly, despite "Revis Island," per PFF the NYJ team pass coverage has been graded a -11.8, or 14th worst amongst the 32 qualified teams. This is a defense that has been slayed on a weekly basis by #1 options on opposing offenses, and this week that #1 option is Delanie Walker.

Walker is currently available in 9.2% of ESPN leagues and 5% of Yahoo ones. This being the playoffs I'm going to stake my claims where I think they're necessary and when it comes to a paper-thin position like TE, Walker is worth the bet.

Blake Bortles, QB JAC

We get it, we get it... the Blake Bortles of 2014 would scare the crap out of most entering the fantasy football playoffs. It's the Blake Bortles of 2015 that shouldn't scare anyone though (except your opponents I guess).

Bortles, on the year, is dishing up a per-game fantasy average of 20.4 points, which makes him the 9th highest per game in the league. Coming off a career game where Blake went bananas (322 pass yards, 5 TDs, 0 INTs) he's rolling right into another nice matchup with a roastable Colts secondary.

The Colts defense currently ranks 30th in the league against the pass, allowing 280.0 yards per game. The stat most favorable to Bortles and this newly explosive Jags pass game is the fact that the Indianapolis Colts have given up the most passes of 20+ yards or more (54) in the entire NFL. If you've caught a Jaguar highlight then you're probably already aware that Allen Robinson won't even bat an eye at a ball unless it's 20 yards down the field -- so he will feast like a king. With Julius Thomas getting into rhythm and the return of Allen Hurns, this is shaping up to be a monster performance from the 2nd year QB out of Central Florida.

Blake Bortles is currently available in 24.4% of ESPN leagues and 25% of leagues at Yahoo. The man is changed, and it's becoming more and more apparent by the week. This is an extremely juicy matchup with all his weapons healthy and playing in sync. If he's on the wire -- SNAG him. If you own him? Start him. You won't regret it.

Good luck this week everyone.

As always you can find me on twitter @AnOutragedJew if you have sit/start questions or want steamy dating advice.