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Fantasy Football: Top smash plays, upgrades and fades for Week 14

New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) passes the ball against New Orleans Saints during the first half at Caesars Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

Week 14 of the NFL season is here, and so is the weekly look at the top smash, upgrade and fade plays for fantasy football. I'll integrate NFL totals, spreads, implied points and proprietary PFF matchup data each week, looking for players who score highly or poorly across all metrics.

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Rankings & Projections | WR/CB Matchup Chart | NFL & NCAA Betting Dashboards | NFL Player Props tool | NFL & NCAA Power Rankings


We will also look at the projected DFS rostership for additional context for building tournament lineups.

KEY:

  • SOS: PFF's Fantasy Strength of Schedule (SoS) metric provides a league-wide, season-long view of opponent matchups for each fantasy position.
  • OL Pass Block Advantage (OL PBA): offensive-line pass blocking matchup; derived from the OL/DL Matchup tool (pass blocking advantage — the higher the percentage, the better the matchup for the offensive line, and vice versa).
  • OL Run Block Advantage (OL RBA): offensive-line pass blocking matchup; derived from the OL/DL Matchup tool (run blocking advantage — the higher the percentage, the better the matchup for the offensive line, and vice versa).
  • WR/CB Matchup Advantage (WR/CB MU): wide receiver versus cornerback matchup; derived from the WR/CB Matchup tool (matchup advantage grade — the higher the grade, the better the matchup for the receiver, and vice versa).
  • TE Matchup Advantage (TE MU): tight end versus linebackers and safeties; derived from the TE Matchup tool (matchup advantage — the higher the percentage, the better the matchup for the tight end, and vice versa).
  • Projected PPR Points (PPR Proj)

QUARTERBACKS

For quarterbacks, we are looking for big point totals and implied points. The spread doesn't matter as much for pass-heavy teams, but we are looking for trailing scripts that could cause run-heavy offenses to throw more than usual.

Smashes

For the third time this season, none of the quarterbacks meet enough of the criteria to qualify as a smash play.

Upgrades
Player Opponent Total Spread Implied Points QB SOS OL PBA PPR
Dak Prescott @WAS 48.0 -4.0 26.00 5.5 19 18.6
Aaron Rodgers CHI 43.5 -12.5 28.00 6.9 -4 20.8
Cam Newton ATL 42.5 2.5 20.00 7.3 11 17.7

Prescott has been up and down over the last four contests with QB2, QB28, QB4 and QB23 finishes. However, he will have CeeDee Lamb, Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup all healthy for only the second time this season. Additionally, Ezekiel Elliott is nursing a knee injury, and Tony Pollard is a game-time decision due to tearing his plantar fascia against the Saints.

As a result, Prescott will likely throw early and often regardless of the game script against Washington, who allows the most fantasy points per game to quarterbacks (26.0).

  • Scoring Environment: the fourth-best game total and No. 5 implied points
  • Matchups: 10th-ranked QB SOS the fourth-highest OL PBA
Nov 21, 2021; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) runs during the third quarter against the Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium. Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Rodgers and the Packers are heavy favorites at home against the Bears, which keeps him out of smash status. Green Bay doesn't completely shell up when leading, but they also don't keep the speedometer pegged.

Pass by Game Script Run by Game Script
Trail Pass Close Pass Lead Pass Trail Run Close Run Lead Run
31 8 15 2 25 18
  • Scoring Environment: average game total and second-highest implied points
  • Matchups: top-six QB SOS and below-average OL PBA

Newton is a risky play considering his last performance against the man-heavy Dolphins defense. However, the Falcons rank 26th in PFF coverage grade and give up the fourth-most explosive play rate (passes over 15 yards). Additionally, Newton has handled 36% and 16% of the designed rushing attempts in two starts. The Falcons have given up the sixth-most regulation rushing attempts per game over the last six weeks.

  • Scoring Environment: poor game total and implied points
  • Matchups: fourth-best QB SOS, second-highest RB SOS and top-seven OL PBA
Related content for you: Week 14 Fantasy Football Rankings & Tiers via Dwain McFarland
Fades

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