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Fantasy Football Winners & Losers: Week 14

by Seth Woolcock

The fantasy football playoffs are all about who you can trust. Week 14 was a look in the mirror, a final test to determine what players will help or hurt your chances of winning a fantasy football championship. Values have changed mightily since drafts in August – some real, some perceived. This week’s edition of our “Fantasy Football Winners & Losers” deciphers which is which and sets expectations ahead of the elimination rounds.

Let’s get to the good and bad, followed by our panic meter!

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Fantasy Football Winners & Losers: Week 14

Fantasy Football Winners

Breece Hall (RB, New York Jets)

We’ll start in New York, where the #FriskyJets may have saved their season with a 30-6 upset over the Texans in the elements. After spotty reports saying he was hesitant to take back the starting job, Zach Wilson returned to the lineup. The kid had some of the same moxy we saw during his time at BYU, ripping 36 passes for 27 completions, 301 yards and two TDs.

Though Garrett Wilson had his best day of the season (20.1 PPR points), Breece Hall was the biggest beneficiary of Zach Wilson‘s return. It was another ho-hum day in the running game (10 rushes for 40 yards), but Hall caught eight of his nine targets for 86 yards and one TD.

Despite popular opinion and poor circumstances, Hall has been playing great ball all season, finishing as a Points Per Reception (PPR) RB1 six times and not finishing below the RB26 in any game since Week 3. He’s a fantasy football winner because this performance reminds managers of his ceiling and returns him to set-it-and-forget-it RB the rest of the way. Look for another potential boom game from Hall as early as Week 16 versus the Dolphins.

Ezekiel Elliott (RB, New England Patriots)

It was nearly one year ago – Week 14 of 2022 – when Ezekiel Elliott last finished as a PPR RB1. Well, ahead of “Monday Night Football,” the eighth-year back is not only an RB1 but the overall RB1 for Week 14. His 22 carries for 68 yards against Pittsburgh is nothing to write home about, but seven receptions for 72 yards and a touchdown certainly is. In relief of the injured Rhamondre Stevenson, Elliott saw 91% of snaps and conceded just two touches to RB/WR Ty Montgomery.

Stevenson’s timeline for his high ankle sprain has not been released, but with the Patriots at 3-10, this could be Elliott’s show for the rest of the fantasy season. If that’s the case, he’s a must-start with three middle-of-the-road matchups on deck and New England low on bodies.

Evan Engram (TE, Jacksonville Jaguars)

If Derrick Henry is considered the “Yeti,” Evan Engram should be called the “Abominable Snowman.” The 2017 first-round pick averaged 21.4 PPR points per game in December last season, including four straight top-six finishes at the position. Through two games in the merry month this season, Engram is averaging 27.9 PPR points per game. This comes after totaling 11 receptions for 95 yards and two touchdowns on 12 targets.

Potentially even bigger than the production we’re seeing is the opportunity. Engram has seen a 23.1% and 24.5% target share, respectively, in the essentially two full games with Christian Kirk sidelined. He still firmly leads the Jaguars in targets (103) and receptions (84) and has also put the scare of a Trevor Lawrence injury behind him.

Engram is on pace for 110 receptions, tied for the second-most all-time in a single season with Travis Kelce (2022) and Jason Witten (2012), behind only Zach Ertz (2018). Engram should continue to be the chain mover for Jacksonville, potentially delivering more big performances in the next two weeks against teams who have been plus matchups over the past month.

Fantasy Football Losers

D’Andre Swift (RB, Philadelphia Eagles)

The panic button has been hit with Philadelphia Eagles RB D’Andre Swift, as he’s finished with single-digit PPR points in three-straight games and four of his last five. Swift is back close to career averages since the Eagles’ Week 10 bye, seeing 13.5 touches per game – far from his near workhorse role earlier this season.

Up next are three straight plus matchups for the position. However, with the Eagles likely leading in those contests against the Seahawks, Giants and Cardinals, there likely won’t be much-receiving work for Swift, who saw no targets last week and 2.5 per game over the past month. Swift is a Week 14 fantasy football loser and a plug-and-play RB3 for the rest of the season.

Stefon Diggs (WR, Buffalo Bills)

Every receiver is prone to bad games, but Stefon Diggs having three in his last four games is mindboggling. The three-time Pro Bowl WR caught just four of his 11 targets for 24 yards in what was supposed to be a shootout against the Chiefs on Sunday. Diggs’ timing with QB Josh Allen seems off, as he’s caught just 17 of his last 35 targets (48.6%). While some may chalk this up to a dry spell, it could also be Diggs knowing the end of his time in Buffalo is nearing.

Despite the win, the vibes around the Bills’ locker room remain sketchy at best. For the first time in years, being tied to this team in fantasy is a gamble. Joe Brady has changed Ken Dorsey‘s predictable playbook, but it seems to have taken away some of the easy catch-and-grab ins that Diggs and Allen connected on so frequently over the years.

Diggs is a Week 14 fantasy football loser because he is no longer one of the safest weekly plays. He remains a weekly WR1 based on talent and being tied to Allen. Yet, with tough Dallas and New England defenses up in two of the next three games, outcomes may vary.

Patrick Mahomes (QB, Kansas City Chiefs)

The way Patrick Mahomes felt at the end of the Bills-Chiefs game is a lot like how most fantasy football managers have felt all season after likely spending a second or third-round pick to acquire the two-time NFL MVP. A 13.6-fantasy point performance from Mahomes marks his second in a row under the 17 mark and his sixth such performance on the season. Mahomes is now the QB9 on a points-per-game basis (minimum eight games played) this season. He is on pace to finish with 4,444 passing yards and 30 TDs, his lowest totals since his shortened 14-game 2019 season.

The frustrating part is it’s not all his fault (and no, we’re not blaming the refs). It is mostly the receivers around him and the teams’ faith in those players. Readers/listeners of mine have long heard my disdain for Marquez Valdes-Scantling, but he’s not even the issue. Kadarius Toney only hurts this team with negative plays. Justin Watson has the third-most targets on the team (40) but seemingly can’t catch (52.5% catch rate). And Skyy Moore can’t get open, winning on just 41.6% of his routes this season (76th) among WRs.

The good news is that it seems like the Chiefs are figuring some of this out, as Rashee Rice, their only productive WR, just ran a career-high 85% of snaps on Sunday. Mahomes’ last two matchups during the fantasy season are the Raiders and Bengals, which should help turn it around. However, knowing his mentality, Mahomes could turn it on as soon as this week in New England, despite them being the toughest matchup for opposing QBs.

I cannot bet against the two-time world champion. However, numbers are numbers, and they suggest Mahomes is no better than Jordan Love or Sam Howell the rest of the way and likely a mid-to-low-end QB1 option.

Not What It Seems: Fantasy Football Panic Meter

The following players were fantasy disappointments in Week 14, but my concern is low moving forward:

The following players were disappointments in Week 14, and I am concerned about moving forward:

Thanks for reading my Week 14 fantasy football winners and losers. And for more fantasy football and uplifting content, especially start/sit advice, you can find me on Twitter @Between_SethFF.

*Photo Credit: Vincent Carchietta – USA TODAY Sports*

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