2020 Fantasy Football: Week 14 Wrapup
We are now more than 80% through the 2020 NFL season and for many of you, that means your season is on the line in the playoffs. The fantasy headlines in Week 14 were highlighted with teammate stacks and the rise of some past disappointments. Volume is going to be the key in today’s recap take-home messages. As we enter the final stage of your fantasy season, I am back after a short break (thanks, Peter) with the most fantasy-relevant headlines from the week. Any rankings mentioned will, as usual, not include Monday Night Football (Ravens-Browns).
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Dynamic duos at QB and WR/TE
Quarterbacks and certified pass-catchers formed golden connections in Week 14 to stack up their fantasy profile. Which duos stood out and what do they mean for your fantasy team?
Drew Lock & K.J. Hamler (DEN)
In a roller-coaster season marred with injuries, Drew Lock has left much to be desired for the Denver Broncos’ quarterback situation. But in Week 14 against the Carolina Panthers, Lock put on a clinic. In what was probably his best career game, Lock passed at a 21/27 clip for a total of 280 passing yards and 4 touchdowns. His only turnover was a fumble and his career-high 149.5 passer rating helped him finish as the QB2 of Week 14.
Notably, tight end Noah Fant left the game without a target due to an illness. Lock spread the field fairly evenly, with his 27 throws targeting 8 distinct teammates. The big fantasy money play came from K.J. Hamler but it wasn’t because of an uptick of an opportunity. Hamler was targeted 3 times and made 2 receptions—a 37-yard touchdown and a 49-yard touchdown. Coming into the game, Hamler hadn’t had a game with more than 2 receptions since Week 11 and his two scores were only his second and third of the season, so the pair of explosive plays shouldn’t make fantasy managers overreact. The floor continues to be suspect for Broncos pass-catchers towards the end of the 2020 season.
Tua Tagovailoa & Mike Gesicki (MIA)
Something special is going on in Miami and 2020 first-round pick Tua Tagovailoa has been right in the middle of it. In Week 14 against the Kansas City Chiefs, he was crippled but he didn’t buckle. After the majority of the Dolphins backfield was ruled out and DeVante Parker left the game without making a reception due to a leg injury, Tagovailoa went to his most athletic target, Mike Gesicki, to keep the Dolphins competitive with the juggernaut that is the Kansas City Chiefs.
WOW MIKE GESICKI 🤯
— PFF (@PFF) December 13, 2020
Gesicki led the way with 65 yards on 5 receptions (6 targets) and scored 2 touchdowns. It was his third straight game with at least one score. Unfortunately, he also exited the Sunday matchup with a shoulder injury but Tagovailoa still finished with impressive overall numbers. The rookie finished the game with 316 yards, a new season/career-high, thew his first career interception, and tallied 3 touchdowns (2 passing, 1 rushing). Gesicki was the PPR TE2 and Tagovailoa was the QB3 of Week 14.
The Dolphins will face some intriguing matchups in the coming weeks—Week 15 against New England, who historically dominates rookie quarterbacks, Week 16 against the Las Vegas Raiders who cannot defend at an NFL-level to save their life, and Week 17 against the Buffalo Bills.
Mitchell Trubisky & Allen Robinson, ft. David Montgomery (CHI)
All the talk about the Chicago Bears failing as a franchise to pick Mitchell Trubisky over Deshaun Watson? The criticism is warranted but in Week 14, with the circus 2020 Houston Texans missing a ridiculous number of pieces, Trubisky took over the limelight and put on a show at home. The matchup was delicious and Trubisky ate, passing at a 24/33 clip for 267 yards and 3 touchdowns (both tied for season-highs). It was his first start since Week 1 without a turnover and he finished as the QB4 of Week 14.
Indeed, 39.4% of Trubisky’s targets went to the offensive superstar on the team, Allen Robinson. Already making an early case for fantasy playoff MVP, Robinson made 9 receptions on 13 targets and scored a touchdown. Additionally, his 123 receiving yards were tied for a season-high. A noteworthy tidbit was that tight end Cole Kmet drew the second-most targets on the team (4 receptions, 7 targets, 41 yards) but the Bears tight end that was fantasy-relevant was Jimmy Graham (4 targets, 4 receptions, 23 yards, 1 TD).
Despite the passing explosion, the man that set the tone early on was David Montgomery, who took the Bears’ first offensive snap of Sunday to the end zone on an 80-yard burst. Montgomery was given only 11 total carries but he put up monster total fantasy numbers anyway. He finished the day with 113 rushing yards (season-high), 3 receptions for 42 yards, and that early touchdown. Montgomery has been on a tear lately, scoring 20+ fantasy points in all formats in three straight games. The Chicago Bears offense will continue to get favorable matchups over the next couple of weeks—the Vikings in Week 15 and the Jaguars in Week 16.
2017 QB class passer rating today
1. Mitchell Trubisky – 126.7
2. Deshaun Watson – 101.9
3. Patrick Mahomes – 91.9 pic.twitter.com/FUogTpisuA
— PFF (@PFF) December 13, 2020
Patrick Mahomes & Travis Kelce/Tyreek Hill (KC)
Since it is playoff season for most leagues, it would be lazy of me to not at least mention one of the best duos in the sport right now. The former MVP Patrick Mahomes had one of the worst starts to a game in his NFL career. Coming into the game with just 2 interceptions on the season in 12 games, Mahomes threw 3 interceptions in Week 14 against the energetic Miami Dolphins defense. Still, he threw at a 24/34 clip and cashed in a pair of touchdowns to Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce, both of whom are in the conversation for the game’s top 5 receivers, even with Kelce as a tight end.
Mahomes already back to positive EPA per play on a day with 2 INTs, a 30 yard sack and a fumbled snap. He peaked at almost -10 total EPA. Insane.
Mahomes. Does. Not. Have. Bad. Games.
— Ethan Douglas (@EthanCDouglas) December 13, 2020
Kelce has been in a tier of his own all season long and is the expected #1 at his position every week in all formats. He has put up eerily identical stat lines in his last two games, making 8 catches for 136 yards including a touchdown in both. He now leads the NFL in receiving yards; if he ends the season as the league leader, he would be the first tight end ever to accomplish the feat.
Travis Kelce: 1,250 yards
D.K. Metcalf: 1,180 yards
Tyreek Hill: 1,158 yards
Travis Kelce is three games shy of becoming the first TE in NFL history to lead the league in yards.
— Sam McDowell (@SamMcDowell11) December 14, 2020
Hill, the man many view as the most dangerous receiving weapon in the NFL, had very few touches but made them count with his signature huge plays. He was targeted 7 times and made 3 receptions for 79 yards and a touchdown. He then added a 32-yard rushing touchdown to finish the week as the PPR WR4 of Week 14.
Turning Up the Volume
While some fantasy players didn’t necessarily stand out in the scorecard headlines, they were volume monsters and should not be ignored. Which volume options should you keep an eye on?
Cam Akers (LAR)
On Thursday Night Football against the exploitable Patriots run defense, rookie running back Cam Akers had his first breakout game when he rushed for 171 yards and made 2 receptions for 23 yards and was the PPR RB8 of Week 14 without a touchdown but it wasn’t out of the blue. Despite the talk of some shoulder issues, Akers’ touch count has been on the rise in every game, and in Week 14, his 29 carries were #1 among running backs. He has now carried the ball 50 times in the Rams’ last 2 games and, like the Patriots, his next two matchups (Jets, Seahawks) can be exploited on the ground.
Cam Akers had a breakout game, setting a season-high for a Rams RB playtime (81%) for the 2nd-consecutive week.
— Next Gen Stats (@NextGenStats) December 11, 2020
Brandon Aiyuk (SF)
After Deebo Samuel exited the 49ers’ game on their first offensive snap, Brandon Aiyuk quickly became the go-to guy for Nick Mullens and continued being a target monster. He led all Week 14 players in targets with 16 and made 10 receptions for 119 yards, making him the PPR WR10 of Week 14 without a touchdown. It was a career game for Aiyuk but drawing targets from Nick Mullens is now a habit for the rookie. He has now been targeted 49 times in his last four games.
Dallas Goedert (PHI)
In this week’s loves and hates, we mentioned the relationship between the Eagles and their tight ends, a connection that has worked in volume under the helm of Carson Wentz, whose tight end target share has been among the league leaders all season. Indeed, the change of quarterback to Jalen Hurts provided some question marks surrounding the Philadelphia offense. While their execution and efficiency took a huge step forward with the rookie under center, the tight end storyline remained the same and Goedert established himself as the alpha male in his position group. Here is how the Eagles tight ends split work in Week 14.
|Dallas Goedert||85%||4 catches (6 targets), 43 yards|
|Zach Ertz||72%||2 catches (3 targets), 8 yards|
Jonathan Taylor & T.Y. Hilton (IND)
When the Indianapolis Colts took Jonathan Taylor in the second round of the 2020 draft, it was clear that Taylor was viewed as talented. Indeed, he got important carries at the beginning of the season, but from Weeks 8 to 10, his fantasy owners were frustrated, confused, and disheartened from his showings. In that three-game span, he carried the ball a total of 24 times, amassed 102 scrimmage yards, and scored only one touchdown.
In Week 11, head coach Frank Reich hinted at a possible change in narrative when Taylor touched the ball 26 times, second-most on the season. In Week 14, he finally broke out with his best game yet, finishing with 20 rushes for 150 yards and 2 touchdowns, and 2 receptions for 15 yards. It was the rookie’s first multi-score game and he finished as the PPR RB2 of Week 14. Taylor now has 64 touches in his last 3 games.
Coach Reich is showing love to his vets as well, however, as 31-year-old T.Y. Hilton has also sent messages to the doubters lately. From Weeks 1-11, Hilton broke 10 points in PPR scoring only once and scored 0 touchdowns. In the three games since then, he has put up 17 catches on 23 targets for 277 yards and 4 touchdowns, including a pair of scores today. Hilton has now drawn 31.5% of his season’s targets in his last 3 games.
The Colts face an emotionally and physically tired Texans defense in Week 15. Can Jonathan Taylor and T.Y. Hilton squash the mid-season narratives and be league winners for you?
Who enters Week 15 as the biggest contenders to win you your league? You’ve worked up to this point. Make sure you don’t miss out on the winning plays that could get you trophies and cash.
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