With Week 14 comes potential make-or-break games for the playoff hopes of 10 NFL teams.
Under the pressure players will either crumble or shine, thus from this point through the end of the regular season pressure will need to be accounted for when selecting a fantasy roster.
Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins has been operating on an every-other-week system since Week 7, backing up sub-10-point performance with 20-plus-point outings.
After posting 22.18 last week against the New York Giants, Cousins has a chance to back up his success for the first time in six weeks when he goes to Chicago to face the Bears.
The Bears are allowing 16.8 fantasy points per game to the position, but receiver DeSean Jackson’s output has steadily improved with his health. At a $7,000 salary, Cousins is a strong play.
Cam Newton’s march towards both league and fantasy MVP will continue when his Panthers face the Atlanta Falcons in Carolina. The Falcons fantasy defense has been one of the best against the position.
That was also true with the Seattle Seahawks, however, and Newton posted 21.76 points against them.
New England Patriots running back James White appears to have replaced an injured Dion Lewis as the pass-catching back. Lat week’s 22.9 points came after putting up 17.6 three weeks ago.
The Houston Texans defense has been much improved during the second half of the season, but expecting them to slow the Patriots into a third consecutive loss is somewhat foolish.
Because he has yet to build a reputation for fantasy success, White can (and should) be had at a salary of $6,300.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Doug Martin has been on a tear, averaging more than 15 points while reaching the endzone only once over the past four weeks.
In a Week 14 matchup with a New Orleans Saints’ defense that bears some resemblance to swiss cheese, “The Dougernaut” will continue to rack up yards but also find paydirt.
Jaguars’ wideout Allen Hurns will return to the field Sunday after missing last week with a concussion. Facing an Indianapolis Colts defense allowing 26.5 fantasy points per game to receivers and being marked by a defensive back not named Vontae Davis (who will be on Allen Robinson), Hurns will be the go-to guy, and a smart value play.
With what he has done when Ben Roethlisberger is throwing the ball (which he will be this week), if you know a reason not to start Pittsburgh Steelers’ wide receiver Antonio Brown I’d like to hear it.
With the status of both Rob Gronkowski and Tyler Eifert uncertain this week, Panthers’ Greg Olsen is the most obvious choice for the tight end position. If you need to save some salary space, though, Tennessee Titans’ Delanie Walker is available for $500 less.
Detroit Lions’ Matt Prater continues to be among the top fantasy scoring kickers in the league and will be indoors this week (a big deal for a December game).
Near the bottom of the league in salary Prater is an excellent choice, but if you want to spend a bit more for what is almost guaranteed production Patriots’ Stephen Gostkowski will be indoors as well.
The San Francisco 49ers’ defense is coming off a 10-point performance against the Bears.
With Johnny Manziel, who was named the Browns’ starting quarterback, having a history of being pressured into poor decisions the 49ers’ pass rush has a chance to make it a huge day in Cleveland.
Newton and the Panthers have yet to prove they are able to perform in the playoffs.
They do, however, have a recent track record of success in the push to qualify. Carolina’s high scoring fantasy defense and offensive stars, in their drive for a 16-0 record, are the most compelling daily fantasy story going into the final four weeks of the regular season in.