THE BLOG
12/05/2014 11:51 am ET Updated Feb 04, 2015

Week 14 Fantasy Football Focus

The Predictalator has run every Week 14 2014 NFL game 50,000 times. Below we present the up-to-date top three at each fantasy position for the week, a sleeper likely to have a breakout game (generally chosen as the best $/FP value on daily fantasy sites), a player to avoid (the worst $/FP value) and some injury situations to monitor heading into the week. Also, check out free projections for every player in every future week in our Rest of Season Fantasy Football Rankings.

Quarterbacks

1. Aaron Rodgers 31.0 (GB vs. ATL) – Aaron Rodgers is almost single-handedly credited for winning fantasy leagues in 2011 and 2012 and losing them with his injury in 2013. Yet again in the MVP conversation, Rodgers starts what is the first week of the fantasy playoffs for many with a home game against the worst pass defense in the league.

2. Drew Brees 26.2 FPs (NO vs. CAR) – Rodgers has made a strong case for the actual NFL MVP and may ultimately become a fantasy MVP given his projected play this week and for the upcoming fantasy football playoffs. In his last six games, Brees has averaged 305 pass yards a game and has 16 TDs to just four interceptions. Brees has not had an elite fantasy season overall, but that seems likely to change down the stretch.

3. Peyton Manning 24.9 FPs (DEN vs. BUF) – The Bills have the best pass defense in the NFL... but this is still Peyton Manning.

Breakout Candidate: Cam Newton 21.9 FPs (CAR vs. NO) - Cam Newton finished in the top five in fantasy scoring at quarterback in each of his first three seasons in the league. Going into Week 14 of this season, a #12 ranking at the position for the week is good enough to earn him "breakout candidate" status as one of the most valuable dollar-per-fantasy point players on daily fantasy/salary cap sites. He's fallen, but this should be a week he steps back up.

Must Avoid: Joe Flacco 15.4 FPs (BAL @ MIA) – Josh Gordon coming back makes Hoyer an intriguing quarterback option in fantasy. He had 332 yards last week. But that was, as we just alluded to, the worst pass defense in the league in-doors. Now, he goes outside in late November to take on the league's second-best pass defense in Buffalo. Flacco has only topped two passing touchdowns twice (40% of his season TDs come from just two games) and is averaging less than 250 yards passing a game. He is a matchup play at best on a weekly basis and the matchup this week is tough in Miami.

Running Backs

1. Marshawn Lynch 17.5 FPs (SEA @ PHI) – Technically, we had better options at running back in the projections for Thursday night so some big numbers by backs may have already been posted. Lynch is the next best for this week. After receiving just 15 touches at Carolina six weeks ago, Lynch has been the clear focus of the Seahawks' offense, averaging 20.2 carries with at least 18 touches in every game and scoring 19.7 fantasy points a game. He has 100+ total yards in five of his last six games.

2. Eddie Lacy 17.0 FPs (GB vs. ATL) – It would appear that several Week 14 fantasy matchups will be decided Monday night in Green Bay, with most of the points from that game coming from the Packers. Lacy is great at scoring from short-yardage and icing victories. In wins decided by more than a touchdown this season, Lacy is averaging 124 total yards and has at least one touchdown in each of those five games.

3. Arian Foster 16.6 FPs (HOU) – It's good to be in the AFC South. For Arian Foster, it's also good to be healthy. Foster has started and finished eight games this season. He has at least 105 total yards in each and has at least one touchdown in all of those games since Week 1. Inside the division, which features three opponents with below average run defenses, Foster has averaged 176 total yards and 21.9 PPR fantasy points-per-game.

Breakout Candidate: Andre Williams/Isaiah Crowell - Both of these running backs warrant watching this week because they both rank as top 15 players at the position for the week given our current expectations. The Giants' starter, Rashad Jennings, is not practicing this week and likely will not play Sunday. That opens the door for Williams. Crowell is banged up with a hip injury, yet should play. If he does, he looks great. If not, stay away from Browns' backfield altogether.

Must Avoid: Doug Martin 5.5 FPs (TB @ DET) – Priced as a starter in Daily Fantasy leagues, Martin has only topped 70 total yards in a game once and has yet to reach 75+ total yards in a game this season.

Wide Receiver

1. Jordy Nelson 15.0 FPs (GB vs. ATL) – Nelson found a way to put up a decent day against Darrelle Revis last week. Marcus Trufant is an above average corner, but it should be much easier to post a big day this week against the Falcons.

2. Demaryius Thomas 13.9 FPs (DEN vs. BUF) – Julius Thomas should be back. The Bills have the league's best overall pass defense. And Demaryius Thomas sat out practice on Thursday after being stepped on Wednesday. So? He has at least nine targets in all but one game this year and has topped 100 receiving yards in seven of his last nine.

3. Randall Cobb 13.4 FPs (GB vs. ATL) – Trufant is good for the Falcons, but that is it. A porous pass defense should pave the way for a huge day from Cobb.

Breakout Candidate: Mike Wallace 11.0 FPs (MIA vs. BAL) – The Dolphins have not totally ceded the top receiver role to Jarvis Landry just yet. Both players rank in our Top 25 for the week at the position. Wallace is the much better home run/touchdown threat and is still a consistent option in the passing game.

Must Avoid: Sammy Watkins 6.9 FPs (BUF @ DEN) – Watkins is hurting (though likely to play), has been fading recently and has to face a top five pass defense this week in Denver. He has not topped three catches in a game since October 19 and does not have a touchdown in his last four games. He may have helped some get to the fantasy football playoffs, but he should not be counted on to win games at this point.

Tight End

1. Rob Gronkowski 12.5 FPs (NE @ SD)

2. Jimmy Graham 10.3 FPs (NO vs. CAR)

3. Antonio Gates 9.5 FPs (SD vs. NE)

Breakout Candidate: Dwayne Allen 7.3 FPs (IND @ CLE)

Must Avoid: Jermaine Gresham 5.3 FPs (CIN vs. PIT)

Kickers

1. Mason Crosby 10.1 FPs (GB vs. ATL)

2. Stephen Gostkowski 9.7 FPs (NE @ SD)

3. Stephen Hauschka 9.6 FPs (SEA @ PHI)

Breakout Candidate: Billy Cundiff 8.9 FPs (CLE vs. IND)

Must Avoid: Patrick Murray 5.8 FPs (TB @ DET)

Defense

1. San Francisco 49ers 12.4 FPs (SF @ OAK)

2. Detroit Lions 12.0 FPs (DET vs. TB)

3. Minnesota Vikings 11.4 FPs (MIN vs. NYJ)

Breakout Candidate: Houston Texans 10.0 FPs (HOU @ JAC)

Must Avoid: Miami Dolphins 4.6 FPs (MIA vs. BAL)

Injuries to Watch

1. Roddy White - We have already identified Monday night as a critical game for fantasy this week. Most of its standouts come from the Packers. However, White's injury is still very meaningful. In White's absence last week, Harry Douglas topped 100 receiving yards (as did Julio Jones). As big a fantasy week as this is, it's probably not worth banking on a questionable player from Monday night. Assuming White's owners do not also have Douglas (for one spot), someone from a Sunday game should be added and played in White's place.

2. Julius Thomas - Thomas has practiced this week (more so than Demaryius Thomas in fact) and he has been included in the projections above. Helping his case for playing time, even if it is rushed, is the fact that Jacob Tamme is doubtful for the Broncos. Even with Julius Thomas likely back, he's not a great start this week. Rather than using the tight end as a safety valve, Thomas is often a big play receiver up the seam, whereas Emmanuel Sanders often in the slot and Demaryius Thomas on screens tend to be the receivers that Peyton Manning uses when pressure is imminent. The Bills have a great pass rush and solid coverage safeties and linebackers. Everyone else gets a little stronger if Julius does not play, but he is not expected to be a top five tight end if he plays.

3. Feature Backs - Pay close attention to the situations in New York, Minnesota, Oakland and Arizona. Even teams in the fantasy football playoffs could be desperate for a waiver pick up at running back. Backups Andre Williams, Matt Asiata or Ben Tate, Latavius Murray or Marcel Reece and Marion Grice or Stepfan Taylor could be worth consideration if/when the players ahead of them go down.

Fantasy Football Rankings for the top 200 players in standard and PPR scoring leagues each week will be posted on Wednesdays at 8 pm ET during the season. Subscribers to the weekly Picks or Fantasy packages will receive projections for every player as well. Rankings and projections will be updated throughout the week as injury information or other news dictates. Subscribers also receive optimized daily fantasy lineups and in-depth analysis for DraftKings.com and FanDuel.com in an feature that posts every Friday. To know exactly when picks and rankings are posted, please sign up for our NFL Pick Availability Alerts.