Fantasy Football Overvalued/Undervalued: Week 14
It’s finally time to go all-in. Whether that means going all-in on your season-long team because you’re in the playoffs or all-in on daily fantasy because you’re out of it, everyone still playing fantasy should be as invested as ever. Now that the season’s almost over, I will say that one regret I’ve had with these articles is the lack of emphasis on play styles. Most picks I make are much more relevant in one style of play than the other. For example, last week I thought Antonio Brown would have a bad game, but I wasn’t advocating players in season-long leagues bench him. If anything it was an argument against his value in daily fantasy. At this point, I’m not going to start making distinctions like that. That will be something for next year. It’s likely that most readers understand how to interpret rankings, so for now I’ll place my trust in your competence.
Ben Roethlisberger (PIT): ECR – 9 / Finished – QB10 / LOSS
Lamar Miller (HOU): ECR – 14 / Finished – RB26 / WIN
Antonio Brown (PIT): ECR – 1 / Finished – WR5 / LOSS
Kyle Rudolph (MIN): ECR – 11 / Finished – TE7 / LOSS
Geno Smith (NYG): ECR – 32 / Finished – QB26 / WIN
Alfred Morris (DAL): ECR – 29 / Finished – RB6 / WIN
Kenny Stills (MIA): ECR – 46 / Finished – WR9 / WIN
Cameron Brate (TB) ECR – 21 / Finished – TE2-T / WIN
There shouldn’t really be much to complain about here, but man, if the Bengals were even somewhat competently coached, I could have been seven for eight. Of course, that’s something baked into the matchup in the first place, so it’s not the best excuse. Pretty much every pick that I got right was a home run, which is not something that can be said most weeks. The only close one was Geno Smith, which probably could have gone either way. On one hand, six spots is an especially large jump in the quarterback position, but on the other, the difference between QB32 and QB26 isn’t quite as substantial as, say, QB9 and QB15.
These have never mattered more than they do this week, so let’s try to make some good selections for Week 14.
Overvalued: Dak Prescott(DAL): @ NYG; ECR – QB9
Dak has been on the receiving end of too much criticism. The timing of his slump – sucking as soon as Ezekiel Elliot left to serve his suspension – is undoubtedly suspicious. But to say that this is who he really is seems short-sighted. He’s been absolutely horrendous since losing Zeke, and the disparity between his current level of play and what he was in 2016 is too large to explain away as the result of the absence of one or two players. Dak will figure it out eventually – just not this week. New York’s Football Giants might be out of the hunt, but they’ll have as much of a reason to play Sunday as they will have had all season. Eli Manning is taking his starting spot back and ownership has cleaned house in terms of the coaching staff and front office. They’ll be hosting their fiercest division rival. If the Giants don’t step it up now, then it means their problems go much deeper than Ben McAdoo.
In terms of statistics, Dak vs. the Giants defense comes up almost even. The Giants have allowed the 6th-most fantasy points to opposing QBs, but Dak Prescott has been QB29 since Week 10, the first game he played without Elliott. Even last Thursday, when the Cowboys offense seemed to have found its level, Prescott was 11-for-22 with barely 100 yards passing. You can attribute some of his struggles to a hand injury, but, well, he’s going to be dealing with that this week too.
Undervalued: DeShone Kizer (CLE): vs. GB; ECR – QB 21
DeShone Kizer, unlike Dak Prescott, is just as bad as his stats indicate. In fact, he might be worse. But you don’t lose any fantasy points for inaccurate throws (well, you do if the other team catches them). Kizer has a fantastic matchup against a dreadful Green Bay pass defense, and the return of Josh Gordon is no longer a running joke. Kizer’s rushing ability allows him to break even in fantasy points once you factor in his turnovers and makes him a threat to run for a score as well. He’s going from playing against one of the league’s best secondaries to one of the worst. The Packers defense might be in the middle of the pack when it comes to defending fantasy QBs, but that’s thanks to some early-season dominance that should be attributed more to Aaron Rodgers‘ control over time of possession and field position than it should the defensive players themselves.
Overvalued: Leonard Fournette (JAC): vs. SEA; ECR – RB7
He might have finally found the end zone last week, but Leonard Fournette has not been himself since it was revealed that the rookie is dealing with a nagging ankle injury. There’s really nothing impressive about 2.9 YPC against the Colts, which is what he put up last week. Indianapolis, whose defense has allowed the 5th-most fantasy points to opposing running backs, is a big step down from Seattle, whose defense is the 3rd-toughest. If Fournette were the picture of health, then he might benefit from what’s likely going to be a defensive slug-fest. But he’s not, so he won’t.
Undervalued: Giovani Bernard (CIN): vs. CHI; ECR – RB23
Here’s a reminder that Giovani Bernard would be owned in almost every league if he were on any team but the Bengals. He’s dynamic and versatile but has been cursed to play for an organization intent on limiting his touches. With Joe Mixon likely out this week with a concussion and Jeremy Hill on injured reserve, Bernard should get his chance to ball out like it’s 2013. The Chicago Bears defense is… actually, who cares how good they are against the run. This is all about a great player getting his first major opportunity in many moons. His ECR is actually reflective of that as is, I just think he’ll be even better.
Overvalued: Jamison Crowder (WAS): @ LAC; ECR – WR22
Jamison Crowder should’ve had a breakout year. He was a player who continually managed to eke out production despite performing under the shadow of Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson. The only thing that was supposed to hold him back was Terrelle Pryor, but Pryor has been a bust himself. Jordan Reed has been dealing with his usual injuries. Crowder, given his talent, should be an absolute star as the top pass-catcher for Kirk Cousins. But instead, we’re 13 weeks into the 2017 NFL season and Jamison Crowder is WR44. That’s factoring in two 100+ yard receiving games. Yes, the past four weeks he’s been very consistent, posting no fewer than 67 yards. But the Chargers have the 10th-best defense against fantasy wideouts, and the best player in their secondary, Casey Hayward, started out as a slot corner. There’s certainly a chance that he spends time on Crowder, who is arguably the Redskins’ biggest threat in the passing game despite his inconsistency and fumbling problems.
Undervalued: Amari Cooper (OAK): @ KC; ECR – WR42
Kansas City is suspending Marcus Peters for his admittedly hilarious outburst in last week’s loss to the Jets. While that might seem valiant on paper, they really need him for this game. The rest of Kansas City’s secondary has struggled immensely, and this move will only make things more difficult for a team that’s already in a free fall. Amari Cooper is out of the concussion protocol and has been practicing through his accompanying ankle injury, because the Raiders, unlike the Chiefs, seem to have a grasp on just how important this upcoming divisional game is. Cooper won’t even need to be at 100% to beat his current ECR against this secondary.
Overvalued: Stephen Anderson (HOU): vs. SF; ECR – TE13
Stephen Anderson’s Week 13 breakout was the product of attrition. It’s not that he doesn’t deserve credit for making the most of a sudden spike in workload, but he’s not going to keep getting that volume. The Texans lost two receivers in that game, and both Will Fuller and Braxton Miller are on pace to play on Sunday. Logic would dictate that this would mean Anderson’s 12 targets will take a hit. It’s also worth noting that as bad the 49ers are, their defense against fantasy tight ends is better than that of 19 other teams. Anderson was more likely than not a flash in the pan, and we may have actually seen the best game he’ll ever have in the NFL.
Undervalued: Dwayne Allen (NE): @ MIA; ECR – TE26
It’s no secret that Dwayne Allen is one of Tom Brady‘s last options in all of his reads. He didn’t even catch a pass until Week 10, and his very best game as a Patriot featured two receptions for 24 yards. But he’s also shared the field with Rob Gronkowski up until now, and he may have earned just enough trust so that the Patriots won’t be forced to completely remove the tight end position from their offensive schemes this week in light of Gronk’s suspension. And yes, the Dolphins defense is particularly vulnerable to the position, allowing the 5th-most fantasy points to opposing tight ends.