Fantasy Football Risers and Fallers: Week 14
The first week of the fantasy playoffs was one to remember. Derrick Henry, George Kittle, and Amari Cooper all went over 200 total yards (T.Y. Hilton hit 199), Patrick Mahomes threw a no-look pass that went viral on Twitter, and the Miami Dolphins pulled off a miracle to beat the New England Patriots on the last play of the game. Here are my risers and fallers after Week 14.
Derrick Henry (RB – TEN)
Obviously no one expects Henry to have another four-touchdown game in Week 15, but the fact of the matter is that he’s been outplaying backfield-mate Dion Lewis for multiple weeks now, and opportunity should continue to flow in his favor. Since the Titans’ Week 8 bye, Henry was averaging 4.57 yards per carry (before his 238-yard outburst) compared to Lewis’ 3.02. The Titans should continue to roll with the hot hand.
Joe Mixon (RB – CIN)
I was admittedly very low on Mixon going into this week. He hadn’t topped 14 carries since Week 8, the entire offense has been falling apart around him, and he was going up against a surging Chargers defense. The Bengals, however, decided to feed him the ball and he was able to produce. Mixon is the best weapon the Bengals have right now and they let that be known after giving him 31 touches on Sunday.
Jordan Howard (RB – CHI)
Just a few weeks ago it looked like Tarik Cohen was going to be the Bears’ de facto number one running back, but they’ve found a way to keep Howard involved. He hasn’t found the end zone since Week 9, but he’s had at least 17 touches in three of his last four games and has benefitted from the Bears’ dominant defense. Unless Chicago is playing from way behind, they’re going to keep Howard on the field. He finishes off the fantasy season against the Packers, who have the 24th ranked run defense, and the 49ers, who only have three wins on the season.
George Kittle (TE – SF)
Kittle is the third-best tight end in the league right now, and some could argue he’s even higher. In a year where the fantasy tight end landscape was completely desolate, Kittle gave a huge advantage to owners who drafted him in the mid to late rounds. He’s had at least six catches and at least nine targets in each of his last four games, and is clearly the number one option for backup quarterback Nick Mullens. Kittle’s 210-yard outburst on Sunday showed us how high his ceiling actually is.
Julian Edelman (WR – NE)
Tom Brady has plenty of places to go with the ball, but on Sunday, Edelman received a team-high 12 targets. Edelman and Brady have a long history of trust, and we should see their chemistry come to life going down the stretch. The Pats need to secure a first-round bye and the quick attack pitch and catch between Brady and Edelman has always been a surefire way to move them down the field.
Sony Michel (RB – NE)
The running game has not been there for the Patriots over the last two weeks. Aside from being vultured on the goal line at least three times by James Develin, Michel has averaged only 3.24 yards per carry on 37 rush attempts. Michel is the workhorse, and is still getting 20 touches per game with Rex Burkhead back in the mix so I don’t want to overreact, but there’s been a significant dip in production over the last two weeks.
Jaylen Samuels (RB – PIT)
Everyone who plugged Samuels into their playoff lineups thinking he would be the key to their advancement was let down. Although he redeemed himself somewhat in the passing game, Samuels only went for 28 yards on 11 carries on the ground, and was vultured at the goal line by Stevan Ridley. There are reports that James Conner could return as soon as this week, but whether he does or not, Samuels might not be the automatic production replica of Conner (or Le’Veon Bell).
Courtland Sutton (WR – DEN)
For the second time this season, Sutton was in a position to take a leap forward but instead fell flat on his face. With Emmanuel Sanders tearing his Achilles in practice this week, Sutton became the undisputed number one option on the Broncos, but only came up with two receptions for 14 yards on six targets. Sutton was also hindered by injury, but it seemed Case Keenum was locked on to undrafted rookie Tim Patrick the whole game anyway.
Chris Godwin (WR – TB)
After catching 95% (19/20) of his targets over a four-week span, Godwin only pulled in one of his 10 targets (for 13 yards) this Sunday. Oddly enough, Mike Evans also had a game earlier in the season where he was targeted 10 and only came away with one catch. Weird things happen when you’re a Tampa Bay Buccaneer, and there remains to be no sure thing outside of Evans on that offense.
Jared Goff (QB – LAR)
Goff has had some incredible fantasy performances this season, going over 25 fantasy points five times. But if you had him in your lineup this week, you’re probably no longer in the playoffs as he pitched the turd of all turds on national television on Sunday night. Goff had a season-low in yards (180), completion percentage (45.45%), and quarterback rating (19.1), and a season-high four interceptions, to produce a putrid -.3 fantasy points. If your playoff team survived that, count your lucky stars.