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Erickson: NFL Week 14 fantasy football start'em, sit'em

New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; New Orleans Saints quarterback Taysom Hill (7) scrambles out the pocket against Dallas Cowboys during the first half at Caesars Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

Stop second-guessing yourself with fantasy football start/sit decisions — let PFF’s fantasy football rankings, projections and tools do the heavy lifting. And when faced with two players placed back-to-back in the Week 14 fantasy football rankings, go with the horse that got you to this point. 


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My Week 13 start/sit picks went 17-12-2 with an abnormal week at the tight end position. Let’s bounce back with the fantasy football playoffs coming up. 

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QUARTERBACKS

START

TAYSOM HILL, NEW ORLEANS SAINTS

Time to run it back. Hill delivered for fantasy managers who had the confidence to start him in Week 13 against the Dallas Cowboys, finishing as the QB3 for the week with 25 fantasy points. 

It wasn’t necessarily pretty, with Hill throwing four interceptions while playing with a mallet finger injury, but he more than made up for his accuracy woes with over 100 rushing yards.

Hill has averaged 22 fantasy points in his five starts dating back to last season, so he is a no-brainer top-10 fantasy quarterback option in a layup matchup versus the New York Jets. It's the No. 2 matchup for quarterbacks this week, per PFF’s strength of schedule tool

Gardner Minshew II diced New York up as a top-10 quarterback one week ago, so Hill should have no problem finding fantasy success.

PFF Greenline uses exclusive game and player data to make projections on NFL game spreads, moneyline, and over/under.

RUSSELL WILSON, SEATTLE SEAHAWKS

Wilson's performance versus the San Francisco 49ers in Week 13 was his best outing since he returned from injury. He completed 81% of his passes for 231 passing yards and two touchdowns, and his 23.4 expected fantasy points were the eighth-highest mark on the week. 

Wilson seems to be back in a groove, so he should be started across the majority of fantasy lineups in a plus matchup versus the Houston Texans. The Seattle signal-caller has the second-highest deep-ball rate in the NFL, behind only Justin Fields (16.6%), and Houston has allowed a league-high 38% open target rate on pass attempts of 20-plus air yards.

CAM NEWTON, CAROLINA PANTHERS

Newton looked atrocious before the team’s bye week, completing just five passes on 21 attempts, but a matchup against the Atlanta Falcons‘ defense makes him a plug-and-play streamer. 

The Falcons rank fourth in fantasy points per game allowed to quarterbacks over the past four weeks. 

Former Panthers offensive coordinator Joe Brady got axed this past week for reportedly not seeing eye-to-eye with head coach Matt Rhule’s desire to run the football more. Expect Rhule and fill-in offensive coordinator Jeff Nixon — the former running backs coach — to take full advantage of Newton’s mobility. 

JUSTIN FIELDS, CHICAGO BEARS

Fields will start Sunday night versus the Green Bay Packers, and he should be the secondary target for fantasy managers unable to acquire Newton off waivers

The last time we saw Fields, he had just strung together back-to-back top-10 fantasy quarterback performances because of his increase in rushing yards. The rookie has totaled 148 yards on the ground over his past two outings and averaged 57 rushing yards per game over his past four full starts. 

Green Bay’s defense has struggled at times to corral mobile quarterbacks, allowing the fifth-most rushing yards to the position per game.

TAYLOR HEINICKE, WASHINGTON FOOTBALL TEAM

Heinicke was my go-to waiver wire quarterback after Hurts was ruled out in Week 14. The plucky backup delivered for fantasy managers who called his number, tossing two touchdowns for a respectable 15 fantasy points. 

He should be viewed as a quarterback streamer ahead of a shootout versus the Dallas Cowboys in Week 14.

However, Heinicke is much more of a floor play than a ceiling play in comparison to Newton or Fields. The Cowboys run more Cover 1 than any other team, and Heinicke owns the league’s ninth-highest passer rating (101.8) versus that scheme.

SIT

KIRK COUSINS, MINNESOTA VIKINGS

Thursday night can go in a few different directions for Cousins. He could dice up the Pittsburgh Steelers’ Cover 3 defense as PFF’s third-highest graded passer against that coverage scheme (104.5), or he could get overwhelmed by a Steelers' pass rush that has the second-best DL/OL advantage on the week. I side with the Vikings quarterback, as Minnesota's offense focuses more on the ground game with Alexander Mattison

No team has allowed more fantasy points to running backs over the past four weeks than the Steelers, so the Vikings' offense should attack Pittsburgh on the ground. Tackle Christian Darrisaw and receiver Adam Thielen are unlikely to play, which is why Cousins currently ranks outside his usual fantasy QB1 territory

DEREK CARR, LAS VEGAS RAIDERS

I'm out on Carr this week. The Chiefs’ defense has vastly improved since the start of the season, grading out as PFF’s fourth-best defense since Week 7. Kansas City has allowed the fifth-fewest fantasy points per game to quarterbacks in the past four weeks, which is why Carr isn't in any type of smash spot this week. 

Besides, Carr has hardly earned trust from fantasy managers, as he has been super inconsistent since the team’s bye week. He is PFF’s 28th-graded quarterback while averaging just 15.7 fantasy points per game — good for QB23 over that span. 

Bet the under on Carr’s 265.5 passing yards prop on PrizePicks.

MATT RYAN, ATLANTA FALCONS

Stay away from Matt Ryan. Carolina's defense has allowed the fourth-fewest fantasy points and the second-fewest passing yards per game (196.9) to opposing quarterbacks in 2021. Ryan tossed for just 146 passing yards to the tune of six fantasy points when he faced Carolina at home earlier in the season. 

Take the under on his Prizepicks passing yards line, which rests at 220.5 yards.


RUNNING BACKS

START

JOSH JACOBS, LAS VEGAS RAIDERS

Jacobs ran a route on 80% of Derek Carr’s dropbacks in Week 13. That’s the crème de la crème of elite pass-game usage for running backs.

He has never seen this type of high-end receiving usage, which boosts his fantasy football potential to new heights. The third-year running back has often failed to deliver for fantasy purposes when the Raiders fall behind, but his newfound role makes him game-script-proof.

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