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FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Free Agent Forecast: Week 14
Thomas Casale
December 3, 2013
Follow Follow @ThePigskinGuy
 
SYMBOL LEGEND
Rockstar Rock Star Free Agent
Injury Injury Replacement
Grab & Stash Grab & Stash
1 Week Plug & Play 1 Week Plug & Play
Dumpster Dive Dumpster Dive
Free Agent Auction
Bid (FAAB) Scale
$ $0 - $5
$$ $6 - $15
$$$ $16 - $25
$$$$ $26 - $40
$$$$$ $41+
Based on $100 cap,
12-team league.

Quarterbacks

Jay Cutler and Josh McCown, Bears
Rock StarCutler is hoping to be back for Week 14 but regardless or who plays quarterback for the Bears they have a great matchup against the Cowboys. McCown threw for 355 yards and two scores against Minnesota. He’s put up strong numbers while Cutler’s been out. If Cutler returns he’ll be able to exploit a Dallas secondary that’s struggled covering elite receivers and the Bears currently have two in Brandon Marshal and Alshon Jeffery. After Dallas the Bears play a tough Cleveland defense and then get another favorable matchup against the Eagles.
Availability: Owned in ~ 61% and 59% of leagues.
FAAB: $-$$
Forecast: Cutler is the guy to go after if it looks he’s going to play but McCown isn’t a bad consolation prize if he starts against Dallas.

Joe Flacco, Ravens
1 Week Plug & PlayFlacco runs hot and cold but most of the quarterbacks that have played Minnesota this year have been hot. The Vikings give up 287 yards per game through the air and have allowed an NFL worst 26 passing touchdowns. The Ravens can’t get anything going on the ground with Ray Rice unless they play Chicago. While Minnesota also has a weak run defense, their secondary gives up a lot of big plays and that’s what Flacco specializes in. He should have a lot of success hitting Torrey Smith and Jacoby Jones down the field on Sunday. Aaron Rodgers’ owners playing the matchups should strongly consider Flacco.
Availability: Owned in ~ 58% of leagues.
FAAB: $
Forecast: Flacco will put up QB1 numbers against Minnesota.

Alex Smith, Chiefs
1 Week Plug & PlayBack in August owners weren’t thinking about starting Smith during the fantasy playoffs but statistics are all that matter and Smith has had two good games in a row now according to the numbers. In his last two games Smith has thrown for 587 yards, five touchdowns and two interceptions. Smith should continue to put up strong fantasy numbers this week against Washington. The Redskins are allowing 265 yards per game through the air and Washington has also given up 23 passing touchdowns. The Chiefs’ defense isn’t shutting down teams like it was earlier in the season, so Smith has been throwing the ball more. Look for him to have another good fantasy week.
Availability: Owned in ~ 76% of leagues.
FAAB: $
Forecast: Smith will put up at least 250 yards and a couple of scores if you’re scrambling for a starter.

On the Radar: Ryan Tannehill (43%)

Running Backs

Montee Ball, Broncos
Rock StarThe Forecast suggested grabbing Ball last week and he really should be owned in all leagues at this point in the season. After gaining 117 yards on 13 carries against Kansas City that likely won’t be an issue after this week’s waivers go through. Knowshon Moreno started and got 15 carries on Sunday but Ball saw 13, making it an almost even timeshare. Even though Ball has had fumbling problems, the Broncos want to keep Moreno fresh for the postseason. Ball could play a major role during fantasy playoffs.
Availability: Owned in ~ 78% of leagues.
FAAB: $$-$$$
Forecast: Ball should be owned in all leagues and will be a flex option over the next three weeks.

BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Bengals
Rock StarGreen-Ellis is an interesting player. He ran for 92 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries against San Diego. The Chargers give up a lot of fantasy points to running backs and Giovani Bernard is the more valuable of the two for the playoffs. However, Green-Ellis isn’t a bad player to pick up if he’s available in your league. Now that we’re down to a three game season, upside isn’t as important. If owners have a couple of injuries at running back, they need a guy to plug in and hope for a 70 yards and a score. Green-Ellis has gotten at least 14 carries in a game seven times this year, so he has a chance to produce in a pinch. He also gets the Vikings’ weak rush defense in Week 16.  
Availability: Owned in ~ 72% of leagues.
FAAB: $
Forecast: Green-Ellis can be a plug and play running back for fantasy playoffs if injuries strike.

Mike Tolbert, Panthers
1 Week Plug & PlayAt this point in the season there aren’t many options for Plug & Play running backs but if you made the playoffs and are in a bind, Tolbert is worth a look. DeAngelo Williams is banged up and Jonathan Stewart has been a non-factor. Tolbert’s fantasy value is tied heavily to whether or not he scores but he does also contribute as a receiver sometimes like he did on Sunday when he caught three passes for 41 yards. Tolbert is hit or miss but out of the running backs still available on the waiver wire in most leagues, he’s one of your best bets if you need a starter this week.
Availability: Owned in ~ 61% of leagues.
FAAB: $
Forecast: Tolbert has a good chance to score against the Saints.

LeGarrette Blount, Patriots
1 Week Plug & PlayGrab & StashEvery Patriots running back not named Stevan Ridley has been in The Forecast throughout the season. Now we’re back to Blount. Ridley was inactive on Sunday. It could have been a one week punishment but Blount and Shane Vereen got the bulk of the work in his absence. Vereen is the best Patriots running back to own now because of his value as a receiver but Blount found the end zone too against Houston. If Ridley doesn’t play against Cleveland, there’s a good chance Blount could see a similar stat line of 44 yards rushing and a touchdown.
Availability: Owned in ~ 17% of leagues.
FAAB: $
Forecast: Blount will continue to see around 12 carries a game until Ridley gets back on the field.

On the Radar: Toby Gerhart (19%)

Wide Receivers

Julian Edelman, Patriots
Rock StarEdelman is owned in just 73 percent of leagues, while Danny Amendola is owned in 99 percent of leagues. Over the last two games Edelman has 18 receptions for 211 yards and two touchdowns on 23 targets. Amendola has eight catches for 71 yards on 11 targets. Which receiver do you want in your lineup? One of the reasons Edelman could be seeing a bump in production is Amendola’s first season in New England has been a disappointment. He’s had two big games, only scored once and been batting injuries. The bottom line is if Edelman is still available in your league, you should jump all over him.
Availability: Owned in ~ 73% of leagues.
FAAB: $$-$$$
Forecast: Edelman will be a WR3/flex play during fantasy playoffs.

Brian Hartline, Dolphins
Rock StarHartline is similar to Green-Ellis. While he may not be a stud, Hartline is worth owning heading into fantasy playoffs in case you need him in a one-game scenario, especially in PPR formats. Hartline caught nine balls for 127 yards and a touchdown against the Jets. He’s now caught at least five passes and gone over 50 yards in each of his last five games. Again, during the year owners may have left a receiver like Hartline on the waiver wire for one that provided more upside. However, now that we’re down to a three-game season, 12-14 points in a week trumps long-term upside.
Availability: Owned in ~ 62% of leagues.
FAAB: $-$$
Forecast: Hartline will be a viable flex play in PPR leagues during the playoffs.

Jacoby Jones, Ravens
1 Week Plug & PlayJones has put together two solid games in a row now catching eight passes for 156 yards and a touchdown over that span. Jones has also seen 13 targets in those two games. Jones is far from a fantasy stud but he should put together another strong fantasy performance against the Vikings. Minnesota’s pass defense ranks 30th in the NFL and as mentioned above they’ve allowed the most passing touchdowns in the league through 13 weeks. If you’re in the playoffs but weak at receiver, Jones has a favorable matchup to exploit.
Availability: Owned in ~ 14% of leagues.
FAAB: $
Forecast: Jones will go over 60 yards receiving and score a touchdown.

Ace Sanders, Jaguars
1 Week Plug & PlaySanders is the receiver that has stepped up since Justin Blackmon’s suspension. Over the last three games Sanders has caught 20 passes for 189 yards on 26 targets. Sanders is only 5’7 and 173 pounds, so the Jacksonville coaches have been finding creative ways to get him open, including lining him up in the backfield. Sanders caught four passes for 61 yards two weeks ago against Houston and he should put up another double-digit scoring game in PPR leagues this time around.
Availability: Owned in ~ 4% of leagues.
FAAB: $
Forecast: Sanders is worth flex play consideration in PPR formats.

Robert Woods, Bills
1 Week Plug & PlaySecondary receivers have had a lot of success against Tampa Bay. Last week it was Brandon LaFell and Ted Ginn finding the end zone. The Bills like to run the ball but the Bucs only allow 105 yards per game on the ground, so Buffalo will have to throw it more than usual on Sunday. Obviously, you aren’t starting Woods in the playoffs unless you play in a deeper league but looking at the second and third receivers that have had success against Tampa Bay recently, he has a good chance to score this week.
Availability: Owned in ~ 14% of leagues.
FAAB: $
Forecast: Woods will score and reward owners in deeper leagues looking for a desperation play at receiver.

Andre Holmes, Raiders
Dumpster DiveHolmes came into last Thursday’s game with five receptions for 76 yards and 13 targets in his career. Against Monte Kiffin’s generous defense Holmes erupted for 136 yards on seven receptions. Denarius Moore didn’t play last week but one positive for Holmes is he saw 11 targets with Dallas’ No. 1 corner, Brandon Carr, covering him for most of the game. Holmes is likely a one-game wonder but owners in deeper leagues building their bench for a playoff run may want to take a shot on him.
Availability: Owned in ~ 1% of leagues.
FAAB: $
Forecast: Like many offensive players this season, Holmes had his best game against the Cowboys’ defense.

On the Radar: Tiquan Underwood (5%), Andrew Hawkins (1%)

Tight Ends

Heath Miller, Steelers
Rock StarMiller disappeared from the Steelers’ offense for a stretch but he’s re-emerged over the last three games by catching 21 passes for 194 yards on 21 targets. Miller was invisible for a month and got dropped in some leagues. However, as we start fantasy playoffs, he’s a borderline TE1 or TE2 to grab in case your starter goes down. There aren’t a lot of great tight ends out there so heading into the playoffs, Miller should be owned in 12-14 team leagues.  
Availability: Owned in ~ 67% of leagues.
FAAB: $
Forecast: Miller should be no worse than a high-end TE2 in PPR formats during fantasy playoffs.  

Jared Cook, Rams
1 Week Plug & PlayThe Cardinals continue to be historically bad at defending the tight end by allowing Eagles rookie Zach Ertz to score twice on Sunday. Cook had his best game of the season in the opener against Arizona by catching seven passes for 141 yards and two touchdowns. He almost had a third score but was stripped of the football just before crossing the goal line. The Rams will have trouble running the ball and their receivers are no match for Arizona’s corners. Cook saw 10 targets the first time these two teams met and he’ll be busy once again on Sunday.
Availability: Owned in ~ 55% of leagues.
FAAB: $
Forecast: Cook will have another big game against the Cardinals and post TE1 numbers.

Ladarius Green, Chargers
1 Week Plug & PlayGrab & StashGreen scored for the second straight week against Cincinnati and he’s now had three strong fantasy games in a row. Antonio Gates isn’t 100 percent healthy and Eddie Royal was inactive last week. Other than Keenan Allen, Philip Rivers doesn’t have a lot of weapons to throw to right now. Green has stepped in and made some plays. A physical freak, Green has seen 16 targets in his last three games and he should continue to get looks this week against the Giants. If you need a starter this week or in a two tight end league, Green is seeing targets and making big plays.
Availability: Owned in ~ 14% of leagues.
FAAB: $
Forecast: Green is a high-end TE2 with a chance to score for the third straight week.

Dennis Pitta, Ravens
Grab & StashThe Ravens plan to activate Pitta from short-term IR before Week 14. It’s hard to know how much Pitta will be able to help owners because unlike a Michael Crabtree, Pitta is returning during fantasy playoffs. If you have the roster room, Pitta is worth adding in hopes that if you make the Super Bowl and don’t have an elite tight end, he may be able to help you win a title.
Availability: Owned in ~ 11% of leagues.
FAAB: $
Forecast: Pitta is a no risk addition who may help in a one-game scenario for Week 16 or 17.

On the Radar: Zach Ertz (4%), Brandon Myers (16%)

Kickers

Justin Tucker, Ravens
Rock StarTucker was a Rock Star Free Agent last week and hopefully you picked him up because he kicked five more field goals against Pittsburgh. Tucker has now made 27 consecutive field goals and he’s 9-for-9 in his last two games. If you need a stronger argument than that to add a kicker, we don’t have one.
Availability: Owned in ~ 68% of leagues.
FAAB: $
Forecast: Tucker is one of the top fantasy kickers and should be owned in virtually all leagues.

Phil Dawson, 49ers
Rock StarDawson continued his strong play by kicking three more field goals against St. Louis. Dawson hit a bump in the road when San Francisco’s offense was struggling midseason but over his last four games he’s kicked three, two, two and three field goals. Dawson missed a couple of kicks early on in the year but since Week 4 he’s a perfect 16-of-16. Dawson and the 49ers are hitting their stride just in time for fantasy owners.
Availability: Owned in ~ 72% of leagues.
FAAB: $
Forecast: Dawson is playing his best heading into fantasy playoffs and he has some good matchups over the next three weeks.

Blair Walsh, Vikings
1 Week Plug & PlayLike Dawson, Walsh has heated up after a slow start to the season. He’s now kicked at least two field goals in four straight games after making no more than one in a game for four consecutive weeks. Against the Ravens, Minnesota will likely have to settle for some long field goal attempts, which Walsh is one of the best in the NFL at converting. He should have his fifth strong fantasy performance in a row on Sunday.
Availability: Owned in ~ 48% of leagues.
FAAB: $
Forecast: Walsh will kick at least two field goals for the fifth straight week.

Defense/Special Teams

Tampa Bay Buccaneers
1 Week Plug & PlayThe Buccaneers’ defense had been on a role before facing Cam Newton and the Panthers. Tampa still picked off two passes but didn’t record any sacks and allowed 27 points. The Bucs’ defense should reward fantasy owners once again on Sunday. The Bills’ offense has played well overall this season but they will have trouble running the ball against a Tampa Bay defense that allows just 105 yards per game on the ground. Making E.J. Manuel one dimensional will create a few turnovers for a defense that has 11 interceptions in its last five games.
Availability: Owned in ~ 23% of leagues.
FAAB: $
Forecast: The Buccaneers’ defense will put up one of the better fantasy performances this week.

Arizona Cardinals
1 Week Plug & PlayLike Tampa Bay, the Cardinals’ defense struggled Sunday in a tough matchup with Philadelphia but they should get back on track this week at home against the Rams. St. Louis had been playing better than expected on offense but they came crashing back to earth against San Francisco. It will be more of the same Sunday. The Cardinals fourth ranked rush defense will make it tough sledding for Zac Stacy and force Kellen Clemens to throw the ball into Arizona’s ballhawking secondary. The Cardinals have played excellent defense at home and there’s no reason to think that will change this week.
Availability: Owned in ~ 74% of leagues.
FAAB: $
Forecast: The Cardinals’ defense will rack up the sacks and turnovers this week.

On the Radar: Oakland Raiders (27%)


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