Fantasy owners are now into the first week of the playoffs (in most leagues). The year is coming to an end and fantasy owners need to pay attention to their players now more than ever. It's going to be difficult when football players are injured and questionable heading into the week. Last week, with Clyde Edwards-Helaire, fantasy owners were told he had a stomach bug and should play. Turns out, he was active, but only on an emergency basis. That start/sit decision likely cost some fantasy owners the week. If possible, try to pay attention to practice reports and what the beat reporters for the teams are saying to help make your decision.
Please note 5 Up/5 Down is a guide on players that should exceed or fall below their rank this week. This is based on past performance, injury status, and matchup. This is not a start/sit column, but rather a guide.
Mike Glennon, QB, Jacksonville Jaguars
Glennon is ranked as the second-worst quarterback for Week 14. He faces the Titans, which is a great matchup for QBs. When Gardner Minshew played the Titans in Week 2, he threw for 339 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions. Glennon has not been a great quarterback by any stretch, but he is a solid QB2, and better than his No. 31 ranking.
J.D. McKissic, RB, Washington Football Team
In Week 13, McKissic recorded 10 receptions for 70 yards, earning his fantasy owners in PPR formats an easy 17 points. Washington faces the 49ers in Week 14 and this should be another game where McKissic will be utilized, especially if Antonio Gibson is out. Gibson left Week 13 with what is believed to be turf toe. He missed practice on Wednesday and Thursday, which does not bode well for his Week 14 status. Alex Smith clearly looks to McKissic and that will only increase should Gibson be out. McKissic should exceed his No. 37 ranking, especially in PPR formats.
Todd Gurley, RB, Atlanta Falcons
Since the bye week, Gurley has only had eight carries per game. He managed 26 and 16 yards in both of those games. Gurley is dealing with a knee injury that is not going to keep him out, but may be the reason that the Falcons are limiting him. Brian Hill and Ito Smith are both going to factor into the mix. However, the matchup against the Chargers is a good one, and Gurley is still the lead running back for the team. He's ranked No. 39, and while he's not a must-start, he should exceed that ranking.
Tee Higgins, WR, Cincinnati Bengals
Higgins' value has certainly decreased when Joe Burrow went down, but he has managed to stay fantasy relevant. The Bengals have a good matchup for wide receivers this week against the Cowboys. In Week 13, he had five receptions for 56 yards. He had a similar stat line with a touchdown in Week 12. Higgins has been limited in practice this week with a hamstring issue, but as long as he can practice on Friday, he should be good to go on Sunday and exceed his No. 45 ranking.
Jordan Akins, TE, Houston Texans
It seemed that Akins was going to pick up some of the targets that opened up when Will Fuller was suspended. However, in Week 13, Akins only had three looks. He caught two of them for 10 yards. The Texans face the Bears in Week 14, who actually allow the third-most fantasy points to opposing tight ends. Akins is ranked No. 19, which makes sense following his Week 13 performance, but it also is very likely that he does much better this week than he did last week.
Kyler Murray, QB, Arizona Cardinals
Murray fared better than Cam Newton against the Rams, throwing for three touchdowns in Week 13. However, he finished with 173 passing yards. The Rams are a tough team to play against (allowing the fewest fantasy points to opposing QBs) but the Giants, who the Cardinals face in Week 14, aren't much better. They limited Russell Wilson in Week 13 and while Murray has been nearly matchup-proof this year, he will likely finish lower than his No. 7 ranking.
Raheem Mostert, RB, San Francisco 49ers
Trying to figure out the 49ers' backfield is an impossible job. In Week 12, in his first game back from injury, Mostert had 16 carries for 43 yards and a touchdown. Jerick McKinnon was the passing down back. In Week 13, McKinnon gave fantasy owners a goose egg. Mostert had nine carries for 42 yards, and Jeff Wilson looked like the better back. In Week 14, the 49ers face Washington, the team that allows the third-fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs. Mostert is ranked No. 10, which is too high for someone that is barely an RB2.
Zack Moss, RB, Buffalo Bills
After fumbling in Week 13, Moss was benched in favor of Devin Singletary. The rookie hasn't found the end zone since Week 9 and he hasn't been great all season. Josh Allen doesn't look to throw to him, and in a game where the Bills are playing the Steelers, a team that allows the second-fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs, Moss isn't a great option. He's ranked No. 33, but he could very well finish even lower.
Deebo Samuel, WR, San Francisco 49ers
Washington's defense is no joke. While they are tough against opposing running backs, they also are tough against opposing wide receivers. They allow the third-fewest fantasy points to the position. Samuel is dealing with a foot injury, and while he should play through it, this may hamper his production. He has seemingly fallen a bit behind Brandon Aiyuk in the pecking order but he is ranked ahead of him for Week 14. Samuel is ranked No. 23, but this seems a bit high for the WR3.
Dallas Goedert, TE, Philadelphia Eagles
Goedert had success with Carson Wentz, who couldn't throw the ball to his wide receivers and needed to use his tight ends and running backs to move the ball down the field. However, the Eagles have benched Wentz in favor of rookie Jalen Hurts. Hurts actually can throw the ball and he will try to find the wideouts. Also not in Goedert's favor is the fact that Zach Ertz is back. While he was eased in last week, the team will likely limit Ertz less and less. This will hurt Goedert's fantasy value. Goedert is ranked No. 9, but he should finish outside the top 10 this week.
Full Disclosure from Week 13
5 Up (2/5 correct)
Derek Carr, QB, Raiders (Ranked: 12, Actual: 2)
Devontae Booker, RB Raiders (Ranked: 37, Actual: 41)
James White, RB, Patriots (Ranked: 40, Actual: 85)
Tim Patrick, WR, Broncos (Ranked: 48, Actual: 15)
Jordan Akins, TE, Texans (Ranked: 21, Actual: 37)
5 Down (3/3 correct)
Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Steelers (Ranked: 8, Actual: 16)
D'Andre Swift, RB, Lions (Ranked: 11, Actual: DNP)
D.J. Chark, WR, Jaguars (Ranked: 24, Actual: 74)
Jalen Reagor, WR, Eagles (Ranked: 46, Actual: 80)
Mark Andrews, TE, Ravens (Ranked: 13, Actual: DNP)
— Written by Sarah Lewis, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and lives, eats, and breathes fantasy football. Have a fantasy football question? Send it to her on Twitter @Sarah_Lewis32.
(Top photo courtesy of washingtonfootball.com)