Week 14 is here, and we once again have to somehow pick the best team we possibly can from our limited resources. This column will hopefully help steer you away from injured players, while also looking at a few good matchups for daily fantasy. Here we go!
Joe Mixon is out against the Bears due to a brain injury, and Giovani Bernard will get the start. Bernard saw all the running back touches after Mixon was injured last week and will again be the lead back. His prices in daily fantasy will make him a popular pick, and for good reason. I'll be starting him in the playoffs in one of my dynasty leagues and have high hopes.
Nathan Peterman looks like he'll be the quarterback for the Bills against the Colts, but there is a slim chance Tyrod Taylor could be ready. Taylor would likely be more sedentary than usual if he does play, so I'm staying away from him even if he can go.
Another reason to stay away from Taylor in this game is the weather. The temperature won't rise above freezing and the winds will be 20 mph with gusts up to 30 mph. I would play LeSean McCoy and Frank Gore, and probably Jack Doyle, but these passing games will be hindered and will push defenses closer to the line, limiting rushing yardage as well.
Kelvin Benjamin looks good to return this week, but with Peterman the likely starter and the wind gusts, I wouldn't start him.
Travaris Cadet cleared concussion protocol and will play. He has some deep league PPR appeal with the high winds limiting deep passing.
Doug Martin has cleared his concussion protocol and will play against Detroit. Beat writer Rick Stroud says Martin is expected to start despite Peyton Barber's strong game last week. Coach Dirk Koetter doesn't like players losing their jobs due to injuries, which is nice and all, but Martin has been bad and Barber has proven he deserves the start. Unfortunately, this situation is a tough one for fantasy players, and I just can't see starting Barber in the fantasy playoffs without word he is getting the start.
Adrian Peterson will be out again due to his neck injury. Kerwynn Williams will get the start, but is in a committee that will hurt his totals.
John Brown is out again with turf toe. J.J. Nelson and Jaron Brown will continue to see work.
Charcandrick West returns this week and will backup Kareem Hunt. His presence limits Hunt's upside in the passing game.
Donte Moncrief is out with an ankle injury. Chester Rogers will get the biggest bump in work, but in a bad-weather game.
Damien Williams will not play against the Patriots. That pushes Kenyan Drake up again and makes him a solid start due to usage.
Zach Ertz is still in the concussion protocol. He was able to get limited practices in on Thursday and Friday, but will need to be cleared before the game. If he is, he should be on your fantasy teams.
Eli Manning will get the start this week after the Giants coaching shakeup. He gets a good matchup against a poor Dallas secondary, but hasn't shown much, if any upside this season.
Allen Hurns is out again, which should help Marquise Lee and Dede Westbrook see the most targets, but Lee remains the strongest start in a decent matchup against an injury-depleted Seahawks secondary.
Robby Anderson was limited on Thursday with a hamstring injury, but was able to return on Friday to a full practice. Aqib Talib will return this week, but the Broncos have allowed the most passing touchdowns in the league and aren't the defense they have been in recent years.
Matthew Stafford is listed as questionable after getting his hand stepped on by Terrell Suggs last week. He was able to get limited practices in, but coach Jim Caldwell was noncommittal when asked about Stafford's availability. I believe he will play, but keep an eye on the news. If he does play, he has a great matchup and is a must start.
Ameer Abdullah was able to get limited practices in this week and is likely to play. He hasn't done enough for me to be excited about starting him in the fantasy playoffs.
Greg Olsen is listed as questionable, but will play after practicing in full this week. The Vikings are a strong defense, but Olsen looks like he's ready to go and tight end is a weak position overall.
Chris Hogan is listed as questionable, but was able to get limited practices in this week and is expected to play. He gets a great matchup, and with Rob Gronkowski out due to suspension, he looks like a must start.
Amari Cooper was able to get a limited practice in on Friday and is listed as questionable. It looks like he'll come down to a game-time decision. The matchup is good if he can play.
Robert Woods was able to practice on Friday and is listed as questionable. He was targeting next week to return, but there is a chance he is able to go against the Eagles.
Jordan Reed won't play yet again, giving Vernon Davis the start. Unfortunately, Davis hasn't been doing much of late and is a fringe start against the Chargers.
JuJu Smith-Schuster is suspended for Sunday night's game, which elevates Martavis Bryant into a full-time role, but in a tough matchup.
Antonio Brown isn't listed on the injury report with the toe injury that bothered him last week. With Jimmy Smith out, Brown gets a boost as well.
Will Fuller is no longer on the injury report and will play and should see a good amount of targets with Braxton Miller and Bruce Ellington both out.
Alfred Blue won't play against the 49ers due to a brain injury. His absence should help Lamar Miller see a healthy amount of work.
Rishard Matthews will return this week, but will likely see a lot of Patrick Peterson, making his fantasy upside more of a fantasy low-side.