As far as I am concerned I am already ahead when it comes to the Week 14 daily fantasy football (DFS) picks. That's because of a recent event.
I recently had just finished picking up a holiday gift for my little one at my nearby DSW, which happens to be across from a larger-sized liquor store. I decided to go into the liquor store to see if there was anything on sale worth buying. While browsing, I overheard a gentleman farther down the aisle saying into his phone, "Right. But does it make more sense to start Gallup?" Always happy to give out fantasy advice and unable to resist the temptation, I yelled down to him, "Start Gallup!"
He smiled and soon hung up. He began walking towards me and before I knew it, he and I were engaged in maybe a 10-minute or more conversation about fantasy football and of course liquor. To skip to the end of the story, this pleasant stranger and I got into two different lines on opposite ends of the store. We checked out at nearly the same time and as I began walking to the door he stopped me. It turns out he had bought me a bottle of the liquor that his company distributes. And one that I enjoyed, but the Mrs. surprisingly liked as well.
So once again, fantasy football provides additional value that I had not expected. Hopefully my picks for the Week 14 DFS slate can lead you to a pleasant surprise as well!
Safe Quarterback Week 14 Pick
Aaron Rodgers, Packers at Lions (DraftKings $7500, FanDuel $9100)
This is an easy one. Rodgers has three or more touchdown passes in all but three games this year and he's failed to have a pair in only one game. Rodgers has eight picks and a whopping 43 touchdowns in his 21 "matches" with Detroit. Matches imply that there might be some back and forth. There hasn't been. This might be a game Aaron Jones dominates, but Rodgers will be solid.
High Risk/Reward Quarterback Week 14 Pick
Andy Dalton, Cowboys at Bengals (DK $5500, FD $6800)
Let's mention this upfront and get it out of the way for those who believe in revenge narratives. Recall that despite having Dalton still on the roster, the Bengals drafted Joe Burrow and then released Dalton a week later. But does this sounds like a man trying to drive a cold stake into the hearts of Bengals fans?
Regardless if Dalton is "extra-motivated" or not, I'm going with Dalton this week. The simple reason is that he's been pretty good lately. Over the last three weeks, he's completed more than two-thirds of his passes and has a 2:1 TD-ito-INT ratio that I prefer my QBs to have. Also, recall that two of those games the last three weeks include Washington and Baltimore. Neither of those secondaries is anything to sneeze at, but the Bengals are league average when it comes to giving up fantasy points to quarterbacks. However, the Bengals have been much worse since their Week 9 bye than they were previously in the season.
They haven't generated more than a 22.2 pressure rate since the midpoint of the season. They are sacking opposing signal-callers on less than three percent of all dropbacks. That's particularly relevant given that Dalton is not exactly a mobile quarterback. Cincy has permitted 0.488 fantasy points per actual pass attempt, which is the ninth most in the league, behind Minnesota. I mentioned the Vikings because despite just 32 pass attempts, Dalton threw for three scores against them.
As I put together my GPP arsenal for this weekend, I'm grabbing the Red Rifle.
Safe Running Back Week 14 Pick
Derrick Henry, Titans at Jaguars (DK $8700, FD $9600)
After last week's big flop, now is the time to re-insert Henry into your lineup. Henry is still a top-three fantasy RB. And despite the underwhelming performance he still leads the league in rushing yards with more than 1,300. Dalvin Cook currently has more rushing TDs, but Henry has a dozen in an equal number of games. That's pretty good.
The Titans are rushing the ball on more than 48 percent of their plays, the fourth-highest rate in the league. We also know that Henry often picks up steam in December. He should easily burn the Jaguars who have given up the fourth-most fantasy points to RBs. And recent history gets even worse for Jacksonville. Over the last two weeks, the Jags have allowed the Browns' and Vikings' running backs to roll for 337 yards and a touchdown on 63 carries. The ceiling is sky-high but even the floor is far higher than terra firma.
Editor's note: Myles Gaskin was put on the reserve/COVID-19 list on Saturday, making him ineligible to play on Sunday.
High Risk/Reward Running Back Week 14 Pick
Myles Gaskin, Dolphins vs. Chiefs (DK $5600, FD $6000)
This is not the week to get cute with your running backs and this is about as low as I am willing to go at the position this week. Of course, this is still a risky pick given the proclivity of the Chiefs to score early and often. Gaskin also has yet to hit the century mark for rushing yards. Yet teams are rumbling against Kansas City at a clip of 4.64 yards per carry, seventh highest in the league. The Chiefs are also seeing running backs average 6.67 yards per target against them. Gaskin is averaging more than 21 touches over his last six games. Seven RBs have totaled 15-plus touches against the Chiefs and all of them finished with double-digit PPR points.
I suspect Gaskin to make it eight.
Safe Wide Receiver Week 14 Pick
Michael Thomas, Saints at Eagles (DK $7100, FD $7300)
So this might be a little aggressive for a "safe pick." But perhaps a little too quietly Thomas has produced 20-plus PPR fantasy points in two of his last three games. You also might not be aware but Thomas has yet to catch a TD pass this year. Obviously, some of that is due to the number of games he has missed. But let's not forget that Thomas is a player with nine touchdowns each of the previous two years. To say he's overdue for a TD is an understatement. And realize that the Eagles are in the bottom half of the league in preventing fantasy points to WRs as well. The possibility of a ceiling game from Thomas is going very under the radar. Moreover, in the five games since he has returned, Thomas is averaging more than 13 PPR points. That's a floor I will gladly take.
High Risk/Reward Receiver Week 14 Pick
Corey Davis, Titans at Jaguars (DK $4100, FD $5500)
Perhaps this is not a very risky pick, but I can't shake the feeling that this game is dominated by Derrick Henry. And when Henry gobbles all the touchdowns and the yards, nothing is left for the Titan WRs. Still, Davis has double-digit PPR points in nine of 10 games this year. Furthermore, the fact is that Jacksonville has allowed 15 different WRs to finish as a WR24 or better this year. There are going to be points scored in this one and Davis feels like an easy way to get some. And this goes both ways, but there's also this:
Safe Tight End Week 14 Pick
Hunter Henry, Chargers vs. Falcons (DK $4400, FD $5600)
Those of you playing the extended slate might want to consider Mark Andrews. The other top options all have fairly tough matchups this week. The safe move this week is probably to spend down a little bit and grab Henry, whose salary took a little dip the past week. Then again, a one-catch for five yards performance should and will do that!
But that was just a bad game all around by the Chargers and some fluky plays made a bad game look even worse. Previous to last week's game, Henry had four in a row of six or more targets. I think he sees much closer to that number this week against Atlanta. The Falcons are giving up the fifth-most fantasy points to opposing tight ends. However, Atlanta ranks as the easiest matchup for opposing tight ends in schedule-adjusted rank, allowing a tremendous 26.5 percent more production than their opponents typically average.
I'd fire up the Charger.
High Risk/Reward Tight End Week 14 Pick
Cole Kmet, Bears at Texans (DK $2900, FD $4600)
If you are going to go with Andy Dalton then I would definitely consider stacking him with Dalton Schultz. However, I really like the low priced Kmet this week.
It's taken most of the season, but the winds of change are coming to the Windy City. The Bears seem to be transitioning from Jimmy Graham and the ascendency of Cole Kmet is beginning. Kmet out-snapped the elder player 54 to 34 last week. Kmet ran more routes (20 to 15) and also was targeted more (7 to 1). Kmet capitalized, turning those seven targets into five catches for 37 yards and a score.
The Texans give up far more fantasy points to quarterbacks, running backs, and wide receivers. However, they are still in the bottom half of the league in preventing fantasy points to TEs. It's also worth noting that in games in which Mitchell Trubisky has started Chicago is averaging nearly 26 points a game, not such a bad total. I think Kmet brings both a high enough ceiling as well as a decent floor to make him well worth his low-cost salary this week.
Safe Defense/Special Teams (DST) Week 14 Pick and High Risk/Reward Defense/Special Teams (DST) Week 14 Pick
We are going to look at things a little different this week as there seem to be some noteworthy differences between the way the two sites have the defenses ranked. I like both of these options, but depending on which site you play, it could flip whether the pick is the "safe" one or not as the site has these two units ranked quite differently in salary cost. I'll let you decide for yourself which makes more sense based upon which site you play and your personal preference.
Option 1: Titans at Jaguars (DK $3100, FD $3900)
Big breath. Because the Titans' defense has suddenly become one of the scariest fantasy defenses to roster. They got absolutely lit up by Baker Mayfield last week. But it's a new week and I don't see Jacksonville hanging 40-plus points on the Titans. Jacksonville is tied for the eighth-fewest touchdowns in the league. And despite some of their recent issues, the Titans are still tied for ninth in INTs. The Titans have been struggling, but nothing like a game with the Jags for what ails you!
Option 2: Cardinals at Giants (DK $2700, FD $4500)
Arizona is basically middle of the pack across every defensive stat. However, the Giants' woeful offense is the fifth-best matchup when looking for a fantasy defense. They have the second-fewest TDs (22) in the league and are tied for the sixth-most sacks (33) allowed. I will have a few Arizona DST shares this week too.
— Written by Mark Strausberg, a member of the Athlon Network Contributor, who despite his youthful exuberance and good looks has been playing fantasy sports before Wildcats or Hoosiers even made it to VHS. Got a fantasy sports question or thought? Hit him up on Twitter @MarkStrausberg.