Not looking for divine intervention, just good starts and sits for Week 14

Jared Goff is much easier to trust at home than on the road. He’s got a nice matchup in a potential shootout with the Vikings. (All-Pro Reels/Joe Glorioso)


I saw another fantasy football analyst give this advice recently: If you need to win and to have someone else lose in order to get to the playoffs, just concentrate on what you can control, set your best lineup to win your matchup, and pray.

The point is well-taken – you can’t control what happens in another matchup. You can’t even really control what happens in yours. You just set the best lineup you can.

It was that last bit that struck me, however. I know it’s likely just a glib way of saying “hope for the best,” but I will not be praying for the outcome of any fantasy matchup, or any real football game either.

I sat in Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta last week and pulled for my Steelers to get a win over the Falcons. I must have said “C’mon Kenny” and “Let’s get off the field, defense” a dozen times each, but never once did I pray.

If I’m going to ask God for something, it’s going to be something more important.

I’m praying for one of my leaguemates, whose son was recently diagnosed with leukemia. I’m praying for current and former colleagues who are battling cancer. I’m praying for a friend who is recovering from a bad car accident, and the husband of a friend who has been hospitalized for months. I’m praying for safe travels for my daughter as she comes home from college for Christmas, and my brother-in-law and his family, who will be traveling from Texas. I’m praying for my dad, who has early-onset dementia, and my mom, who is caring for him.

Fantasy football can be competitive – we all want to win – but it’s supposed to be fun. Let’s keep it in perspective this holiday season.

Now let’s try to set the best lineups we can in Week 14:



Jared Goff, Lions: Goff’s finally got his all his weapons healthy, with Amon-Ra St. Brown and D’Andre Swift at full speed and D.J. Chark back in the lineup. He threw for 340 yards and a pair of scores last week and he’s at home, where he’s enjoyed much more success than on the road. The opponent, Minnesota, has been shredded by quarterbacks the last couple weeks.


Tom Brady: He looked miserable until the second half of the fourth quarter last week against New Orleans before rallying to pull out the win. Now he goes on the road to San Francisco to face the best defense in the league. This offense has scored more than 22 points once all year, and that was back in Week 4.



Joe Mixon, Bengals: He’ll be in his first game back out of the concussion protocol and Samaje Perine played so well in his absence that he may push for carries. But Zac Taylor has said that Mixon is his starter and a date with the Browns is too good a spot to pass up.  

Rhamondre Stevenson, Patriots: Any time Damien Harris is limited or out, fire up Stevenson with a full workload. Harris is doubtful this week against the Cardinals.


Dameon Pierce, Texans: Pierce was a start last week and he ran for 73 yards against a porous Cleveland run defense. This week, he gets a Dallas defense that is among the league’s best. This looks like a game where game script will work against him.   

Travis Etienne, Jaguars: You may not have the luxury of sitting him, but temper expectations for a not-fully healthy Etienne against a Titans front seven that has been plenty salty against the run.    



Amon-Ra St. Brown, Lions: He’s back! After being limited by injury earlier in the season, he’s topped 100 yards in three of his last four games and gets a burnable Vikings secondary this week. Giddyup.

D.K. Metcalf, Seahawks: He’s gotten 23 targets in Seattle’s last two games and has turned them into 19 catches for 217 yards and a touchdown. With their backfield in tatters with injuries, the Seahawks are likely going to have to throw the ball.    


Mike Evans, Buccaneers: He hasn’t scored since Week 4 and he hasn’t had over 60 yards in his last four games. This week, the Bucs face the hottest defense in the NFL in the 49ers. You may not have better options, but this looks like one to avoid if at all possible.  

Darius Slayton, Giants: He has emerged as the Giants’ top receiver, with 60 yards or more in each of his last five games and 85 yards or more in three of his last four. But a date with the Eagles is not a spot where you’d expect him to build on his season touchdown total of 2.



Pat Freiermuth, Steelers: He’s emerging as the Steelers’ top offensive weapon and with Diontae Johnson nursing a hip injury, they could lean on him even more against the Ravens this week.


As always, if you don’t have one of the three or four studs at the position, play whoever you can find that’s getting targets. It’s rough out in these streets.

Categories: Fantasy Football

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