The final week of the fantasy regular season is here! Some of you may be playing for byes, while some are fighting to hold your playoff spot and others are in need of a miracle to make it to the big dance. No matter how you feel about your team, all you need to do is get in and you have a chance. Players get hot every year and the best regular-season team does not always win. And for those of you who clinched a playoff spot but cannot earn the bye — I was asked an interesting question on Twitter this week: Is it OK to bench key starters so that you get a seed where you face a weaker opponent in the first round of the playoffs? I did that once in a fantasy baseball league and the team I avoided ended up being the low scorer of the week, while the team I ended up playing was the high scorer. Ever since then I said fantasy karma is real and I never did that again. But I will say if you have your playoff spot clinched and byes are hitting you hard this week, do not drop any of your regulars for a one-week rental. Now, with all that out the way, let’s get into the Week 14 matchups!
Best QB matchups
Dak Prescott at Football Team: This week’s opportunity to pick on the Football Team goes to Prescott. Washington has given up 22.36 fantasy PPG to QBs, the most in the NFL. That includes 275 passing yards and over two passing touchdowns per game. They did hold Derek Carr in check last week, but still, we have seen six QBs score over 22 fantasy points against them — five of those topping 25 fantasy points. Prescott has been a little up and down as of late, but this matchup paired with the fact that those pieces around him are starting to get healthy, he remains a top-five QB this week. Plus, he gets Washington in two weeks from now as well.
Cam Newton vs. Falcons: The last time we saw Newton he was benched for playing poorly, but this matchup against the Falcons makes him a streaming option again this week. The Falcons have given up the second-most fantasy PPG to QBs (20.74), which includes 259 passing yards per game and over two passing touchdowns per game. They also give up the fourth-most rushing yards per game to QBs (23.8). The Panthers have made it clear they want to run more, which means Newton should run more himself as well. Plus, the favorable passing matchup makes Newton a high-end QB2 who can be streamed if your starting QB is on bye.
Other favorable QB matchups: Trevor Lawrence at Titans, Derek Carr at Chiefs, Aaron Rodgers vs. Bears, Zach Wilson vs. Saints
Best RB Matchups
Alvin Kamara at Jets: Kamara is on track to return in the best possible matchup possible for a running back. The Jets give up an average of 36.52 fantasy PPG to backs, by far the most in the NFL — only one other team gives up over 28 per week (Seattle). The Jets give up an average of 180 yards per game and 1.8 touchdowns to the position, both the most in the NFL. Additionally, the 7.1 catches per game to running backs is fourth in the NFL. Kamara is in a prime position to smash this week, especially since Mark Ingram is sidelined. Expect a lot of volume to go Kamara’s way in a pristine matchup. He is a must-start RB once again this week.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire vs. Raiders: The Raiders have allowed the third-most fantasy PPG to running backs this season (27.32). That includes 141 yards and 1.3 touchdowns per game to RBs. CEH missed the first game against the Raiders, but last season he averaged 15.85 fantasy PPG in two games against them, including scoring twice and going for over 20 in the second game against them. CEH has to worry about Darrel Williams stealing some work, but he is a high-end RB2 that should be started in this favorable matchup.
Other favorable RB matchups: David Johnson/Rex Burkhead vs. Seahawks, Javonte Williams/Melvin Gordon vs. Lions, Chuba Hubbard/Ameer Abdullah vs. Falcons
Best WR Matchups
Marvin Jones/Laviska Shenault/Laquon Treadwell at Titans: The Titans have allowed the most fantasy PPG (43.28) to receivers this season. That includes nearly 200 yards per game (198.3) and 1.3 touchdowns per game to the position. The issue is the Jaguars’ passing game has been one that has been very tough to trust. Despite Jones and Shenault being the top-two perceiving options, the WR3 on this team has been the most productive. That has been Treadwell as of late, who led the Jags in receiving yards the past two weeks. Still, all three of these remain deeper flex options in this matchup.
CeeDee Lamb/Amari Cooper/Michael Gallup at Football Team: Washington gives up the third-most fantasy PPG to WRs (39.01) this season. This is a prime matchup for perhaps the best receiving group in the NFL. Lamb and Cooper are must-start options when they are healthy. Cooper was limited last week but he had extended time to recover after playing on Thursday last week. Gallup showed last week why he is likely the best third receiver in the NF,L and in a great matchup and with the Cowboys RBs banged up, he should be started as we could see even more passing than usual from Dallas.
Other favorable WR matchups: Elijah Moore vs. Saints, D.J. Moore vs. Falcons, Titans WRs vs. Jaguars
Best TE Matchups
Travis Kelce vs. Raiders: Kelce disappointed last week but he has a get-right opportunity against the Raiders this week. Vegas allowed 17.72 fantasy PPG to tight ends this season, the second-most in the NFL — which includes a league-high 67.8 receiving yards per game. They have also allowed nine touchdowns to the position. Kelce went off for 19.9 fantasy points in Week 10 when he caught eight passes for 119 yards. Since 2018 he has averaged 22.75 fantasy points and topped 19 fantasy points in five of those seven games. He has a chance to remind the fantasy world why he is the best tight end in the game.
Austin Hooper vs. Ravens: Baltimore gives up the third-most fantasy PPG (16.25) to tight ends this season. That includes 67.5 yards per game and seven touchdowns on the season. Hooper struggled the last time we saw him, but in the two games prior he had at least five targets in both and over nine fantasy points. He is also the only healthy tight end on Cleveland’s roster against a very banged-up Ravens secondary. If you are going a little deeper at tight end, he is a streaming option for you.
Other favorable TE matchups: Evan Engram at Chargers, Darren Waller/Foster Moreau at Chiefs, Dawson Knox at Buccaneers
Toughest QB Matchups
Tom Brady vs. Bills: Brady will take on a familiar foe in the Bills this week. The Bills have allowed just 9.74 fantasy PPG to QBs this season, including giving up 11 total TDs and 17 takeaways from the position. But the Bills will be without their best piece in the secondary — Tre'Davious White. They were without him last week, but the Patriots threw only three times, so we have yet to see this Bills secondary tested. Brady is a top-three QB in terms of total fantasy points and PPG, meaning that he is matchup proof. He remains a must-start and I am sorry to say Bills fans — it’s starting to feel like old times with Bill Belichick and potentially Brady ruining the season!
Matthew Stafford at Cardinals: The Cardinals have been very tough this year against QBs giving up just 14.07 fantasy PPG, the third fewest in the NFL. Stafford did go for 19.4 fantasy points against the Cardinals in Week 4, throwing for 280 yards and two scores. He has also topped 20 fantasy points in the majority of his games this season. He is ranked lower than normal this week because of the matchup, but he remains a QB1 that you can start in what could end up being a higher scoring game than expected.
Other tough QB matchups: Jared Goff at Broncos, Matt Ryan at Panthers, Justin Herbert vs. Giants
Toughest RB Matchups
Tevin Coleman/Ty Johnson/Austin Walter vs. Saints: The Saints have allowed just 18.9 fantasy PPG to RBs, the fewest in the NFL. That includes just 109 scrimmage yards per game and 70.2 rushing yards per game, the third fewest in the NFL. They’ve allowed just eight touchdowns to backs all season. Coleman has been the best of the Jets backs, getting the majority of the work and seeing more pass-game usage last week, plus he was even used near the goal line. That said, the Jets do mix in the other backs and this is such a tough matchup. Coleman is a volume-dependent RB3 or flex in this matchup, while the other two can be avoided.
Cordarrelle Patterson at Panthers: The Panthers have given up the second-fewest fantasy PPG to backs this season (19.15). They also thrive at taking backs out of the passing game, giving up just 3.3 catches and 21.7 yards per game, both the fewest in the NFL. Still, Patterson is no ordinary back. Since Week 2, Patterson has topped 12 fantasy points in every game but one with over 16 in seven of them. He does that because he is consistently used both on the ground and in the passing game for the Falcons. He is still a must-start even in this tough matchup.
Other tough RB matchups: Antonio Gibson vs. Cowboys, James Robinson at Titans, Leonard Fournette vs. Bills
Toughest WR Matchups
Mike Evans/Chris Godwin vs. Bills: On paper, the Bills are the toughest matchup for wide receivers, allowing just 23.38 fantasy PPG to receivers this season, by far the lowest in the NFL. But this will be the first game they are tested without the All-Pro White (unless you count the three throws that Mac Jones attempted as “testing” this secondary). Evans and Godwin are one of the best duos in the league — and one of the more productive for fantasy. Both should be started in this matchup.
Sterling Shepard/Kadarius Toney/Kenny Golladay at Chargers: All three of the Giants receivers are banged up, all logging limited practice this week. Also, they will be catching passes from Mike Glennon or Jake Fromm. All of that will come against the Chargers, who have allowed the fourth-fewest fantasy PPG to receivers this season at 29.33 per game. All three of them need to be monitored heading into Sunday and should be played in the order they are listed. But that is only if you are desperate. This is a situation to avoid if possible.
Other tough WR matchups: Russell Gage at Panthers, Tyreek Hill vs. Raiders, Hunter Renfrow/DeSean Jackson at Chiefs
Toughest TE Matchups
Rob Gronkowski vs. Bills: Buffalo has allowed just 8.09 fantasy PPG to tight ends, the second fewest in the NFL behind only the Patriots. That includes 35.8 yards per game and three touchdowns all season. Still, Gronk is no ordinary tight end, and the Buffalo native has thrived against his hometown team in his career. He always has a good chance of scoring a touchdown and should once again be started despite the matchup.
C.J. Uzomah vs. 49ers: The Niners have been tough on tight ends, giving up the third-fewest fantasy PPG to the position this season (8.11). Plus, Uzomah himself has been very inconsistent. He had a hot stretch in the middle of the season but has scored less than eight fantasy points in five consecutive games and five or less in his last three. With such a low floor in a tough matchup, it is best to avoid him this week.
Other tough TE matchups: T.J. Hockenson at Broncos, Marcedes Lewis vs. Bears, Ryan Griffin vs. Saints
Notable Receivers with the Best WR/CB Matchups (per PFF):
Notable Receivers with the Toughest WR/CB Matchup (per PFF):
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