Booms, Busts and Breakouts: Week 14 Fantasy Football predictions

Yahoo Sports
<a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/nfl/teams/tam" data-ylk="slk:Tampa Bay Buccaneers">Tampa Bay Buccaneers</a> wide receiver <a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/nfl/players/30197/" data-ylk="slk:Chris Godwin">Chris Godwin</a> could have a surprising Week 14 impact. (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Chris Godwin could have a surprising Week 14 impact. (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)

Each week our gaggle of Yahoo analysts show their hands and reveal their top booms, busts and breakouts. Gaze into the crystal ball and list your picks in the comment section below.

Among non-obvious starts in Yahoo leagues, the loudest BOOM in Week 14 will come from ________.

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Brad — DANTE PETTIS. A golden nugget off waivers, Pettis has benefited from favorable coverages due to the presence of George Kittle and absence of Marquise Goodwin. Working outside and occasionally in the slot, he’s lured 14 targets in his past two games, catching nine passes for 206 yards and three touchdowns. Without the services of arguably the best slot corner in the game, Chris Harris, the Broncos have a massive void to fill. When lined up inside, look for Nick Mullens to zero in on the rookie. Another 65-75 yards with a score is achievable.

Matt — JARVIS LANDRY. The veteran receiver offered up his first game in weeks. While it’s tempting to write that off as a fluke, the Browns vs. Panthers game should get reasonably high-scoring. If that comes to pass, we should see Landry absorb another healthy target share. Carolina has been punked in the slot all season. Their work against Buccaneers slot receiver Adam Humphries is a perfect example. In two games against Tampa, the Panthers have allowed Humphries to go for 143 yards and three scores on 15 catches. Landry should be able to push for 90-plus yards here.

Scott — Finally, the opportunity knock fully arrives for CHRIS GODWIN. The Buccaneers certainly need him, with DeSean Jackson just about done for the year and O.J. Howard already on injured reserve. The Saints figure to shift their defensive focus to Mike Evans, and heck, Godwin has 296 yards in his last four starts. Why is he started in just 28 percent of Yahoo leagues? (By way of comparison, Landry stands at 64 percent.) The Saints defense has made strides in recent weeks, but this is still the secondary that’s allowed the most fantasy production to the wide receiver position.

Conversely, the brand name set to be the biggest Week 14 BUST is ________.

Brad —SPENCER WARE. Thrust into lead duties last week against a permeable Raiders front, the veteran was rather bland. On 15 touches, he totaled a meager 52 yards with a touchdown. His 2.36 YAC per attempt and two missed tackles worked only to reinforce the mediocrity. Possibly involved in an RBBC and faced with an intimidating opponent, Baltimore, final numbers outside the RB top-24 are on tap. Baltimore has given up the fewest fantasy points, 3.44 yards per carry, 90.3 total yards per game and seven combined scores to RBs this season. 

Matt — JOE MIXON. There’s almost no scenario where I’m betting on a running back playing in an offense led by a middling backup quarterback without his transformative passing game weapon. The fact that Mixon and the Bengals will travel to Los Angeles as massive 14-point underdogs to the Chargers just makes it worse. Disregard matchup data and what you think about Mixon’s abilities. Week 14 is a time to drastically dial back your expectations for this back.

Scott — I’m prepared to sit COREY DAVIS for the next name on our list, below. I don’t care about names, I just want numbers. Davis has come alive nicely since Tennessee’s bye week, but the Jags defense must be respected (especially CB Jalen Ramsey), and I don’t want to get tangled up in a Thursday game with a paltry 37.5 over/under.

Chuck a Hail Mary, one deeper player you believe BREAKS OUT in Week 14 is ______.

Matt — ZAY JONES. The Bills cut worthless veteran Kelvin Benjamin and Andre Holmes this week in an effort to play younger options. The clear leader in that clubhouse is Zay Jones, who has lines of 8-93-TD and 4-67-2 TDs in his last three games. Yes, there’s a goose egg sandwiched in-between but Jones is the favorite to lead the team in targets this week. He’ll draw a matchup with the Jets, who gave Jones his eight-catch game just a few weeks ago. New York’s slot coverage has been painful all season and Jones should take advantage here.

Scott — MICHAEL GALLUP got loose for 5-76-0 during the New Orleans upset, and now he’s taking aim at a Philadelphia secondary that’s manned by beer vendors and volunteer firemen. The Cowboys have made Gallup a primary part of the passing tree over the last three weeks — sometimes connecting, sometimes not — but he’s an outstanding Hail Mary shot against the most injury-riddled defensive flank in the league.

Brad —  DAESEAN HAMILTON. With Emmanuel Sanders immobilized (Achilles) for the rest of the season, the Broncos playoff hopes hinge on Courtland Sutton, Tim Patrick and Hamilton. Though he’s played on just 191 snaps this season, the rookie possesses breakthrough potential. He owns favorable size (6-foot-1, 205 pounds), reliable hands and is a quality route runner. Expected to man the slot against San Francisco, he could log instant success against DB K’Waun Williams, who’s allowed a 112.8 passer rating to his assignments. Recall, Sanders averaged 8.2 targets per game. If everything clicks, Hamilton will be the hottest WR add heading into Week 15. 

Handicapping Lounge: If I had to go to the window to punch a Week 14 against-the-spread ticket, my jelly beans would be on  ______.

Matt —  BROWNS +1.5. It’s come to this. The Panthers have sprung leaks at every level. Their defense can’t stop a soul, their coaching staff is under fire and their quarterback is coming off such a hideous performance, questions about his shoulder and long-term health have cropped into the national discourse. Perhaps Carolina escapes with a win here but there’s no way a Cleveland team that’s flashed over the last month, and returning home in this spot, should be getting points.

Scott —   I’ll go head-to-head with Matty, punching a PANTHERS -1.5 ticket. Carolina has outgained its last three opponents, which makes those losses to some degree artificial. For all the joy about Cleveland’s resurgence, the two recent wins were over dead-teams-walking, Cincinnati and Atlanta. Carolina still has Cleveland significantly outclassed on the offensive side of the ball.  

Brad — BEARS ML +135. Trap game. It most definitely applies to the Rams. With the Bears limping off a hard-to-swallow OT loss against the Giants, the public is pounding Los Angeles. Just over 77 percent of wagers are on the Rams. In chilly conditions at home and with Mitchell Trubisky likely back at the helm, Chicago takes the Sunday night showdown outright. 

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