We are getting down to crunch time where every roster decision takes on added importance. Most leagues will start playoffs this week. This article is going to focus on quarterbacks and defense/special teams plays for the next two weeks so you can put yourself in prime position to bring home a title.
If you are fortunate enough to have a first round bye, then take advantage of the opportunity to lock up the top streamers for week 15. Even if you have a stud like Brady or Roethlisberger, it is not a bad idea to grab a top QB streamer and block your potential opponent.
On the defensive side, don’t let the old school thinkers talk you out of rostering a second DST. Using two roster spots allows you to play a week ahead and grab the top matchup plays. At this point of the season, unless you own an elite unit, you will likely get a lot more value out of your second defense then you will out of your sixth running back or wide receiver.
All of the players listed are owned in less than 50% of ESPN leagues as of 12/7.
Week 14 Quarterback
Jameis Winston vs. NO, owned in 35.8% – A home date against the Saints is a matchup dream for any quarterback. Fresh off allowing 5 touchdown passes to Cam Newton, the Saints absolutely hemorrhage points to opposing quarterbacks. Now that all of his primary passing game options are back, Winston is easily a top 10 QB play for week 14.
Tyrod Taylor @PHI, owned in 45.8% – The Eagles defense played much better in week 13, but they still allowed over 300 yards and 4 total touchdowns to Tom Brady. Taylor is coming off back to back games with 3 passing touchdowns and he added a fourth on the ground last week. He lacks Winston’s explosive upside, but he is a great bet for 20+ fantasy points.
Ryan Fitzpatrick vs TEN, owned in 41.9% – Fitzpatrick has two high end receivers to throw target. Runningback Chris Ivory has not been at his best the last few weeks, and he has a home date against the Titans who were just absolutely cooked by Blake Bortles. With some of the universally owned quarterbacks facing tough matchups, Fitzpatrick also looks like he has the potential to turn in a top 10 week.
Johnny Manziel vs. SF, owned in 3.1% – Cleveland is expected to turn back to Johnny Football in week 14. Against a defense that has been completely nonexistent in road games, Manziel makes for a risky upside play for those in deeper leagues. Since Manziel will be playing for his NFL future, he should be more focused than ever.
Week 15 Quarterback
Andrew Luck vs. HOU, owned in 72% – Okay, I am cheating here. Luck was dropped in quite a few leagues, so make sure he is not on your waiver wire. He is expected back in time for week 15.
Tyrod Taylor @WSH, owned in 45.8% – This is not a great matchup for Taylor against a Redskins D that has been pretty good at home. Still, Taylor has been hot lately and his rushing ability will be difficult for the Redskins to account for.
Brian Hoyer @IND, owned in 27.3% – Hoyer will take DeAndre Hopkins to the RCA dome for a game that might decide the AFC South. The Colts’ secondary is really bad and Hoyer will likely need to throw the ball to keep up with Luck.
Brock Osweiler @PIT, owned in 17.2% – The Steelers are below average against the pass, and Osweiler will likely be in the unfamiliar position of needing to throw the ball to keep up. The Broncos defense is very good, but they will not shut down the Steelers. Osweiler makes a decent play for those in deeper leagues.
Week 14 Defense/Special Teams
Detroit Lions @STL, owned in 10.3% – Aside from the late game debacle against the Packers, the Lions defense has been pretty tough lately. They have been applying consistent pressure to opposing quarterbacks and the Rams don’t really have a passing game. If the Lions are able to slow Gurley, they will have a good fantasy day.
Cleveland Browns vs SF, owned in 3% – You could make a case for starting either defense in what will surely have one of Vegas’ lowest over/under totals. I am taking the Browns here simply because they are at home.
Chicago Bears vs. WSH, owned in 44.1% – The Bears defense has held their last 5 opponents to 20 points or less during regulation. They are at home in what will likely be a relatively low scoring affair against the Redskins. I don’t love this play, but the pickings are pretty slim in week 14.
Week 15 Defense/Special Teams
Tampa Bay Buccaneers @STL, owned in 13.9% – Tampa Bay has been stout against the run all season long, and the Rams don’t have much offensive firepower behind Gurley. Tampa Bay will be a popular streamer pick in week 15.
Minnesota Vikings vs Chicago, owned in 47.7% – Prior to their meltdown against the Seahawks, the Vikings were playing really strong pass defense. They will be heavily favored to beat the Bears in this one. With a ball control offense and a stingy defense, this looks like a very safe DST play, even if the ceiling is not super high.
Washington Redskins vs Buffalo, owned in 14.4% – I may be reaching here, but the Skins have been pretty good at home and Tyrod Taylor has been prone to mistakes at times. If the Redskins are able to limit the Bills’ rushing attack, they could post a sneaky good number here.
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