Fantasy owners are either looking at the last week of the regular season or the first week of the playoffs as we enter Week 14 of the NFL season. By this point, the squad that got you to the playoffs should lead you through. However, for some fantasy owners, they are facing tough matchups and are looking to the waiver wire for fill-ins.
The most important pickup is still running back handcuffs. Be sure your star is handcuffed, and if you have an extra roster spot, grab another fallback option. You just never know.
Matt Barkley, QB, Chicago Bears (3 percent owned)
It's a tough sell, but Barkley faces the Detroit Lions, who do allow fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks. Drew Brees’ owners are going to scoff at that notion, but Brees did have 326 passing yards and three interceptions. The Lions have been tougher against opposing quarterbacks recently and it's not like Barkley lit up the 49ers, but he is an option in two-QB leagues for Week 14. Chicago faces Green Bay in Week 15, which is another good matchup, for those who may be interested.
Ameer Abdullah, RB, Detroit Lions (10 percent owned)
This is simply a flyer for those that either have an available IR spot or an empty spot at the end of their roster. The best running back pickups are handcuffs. Abdullah may return at some point this season, but it won't be Week 14. Fantasy owners may not even feel comfortable starting him in their potential fantasy championship, but if you have the roster spot, take a chance on Abdullah.
Malcolm Mitchell, WR, New England Patriots (29 percent owned)
Fantasy owners chasing the two-touchdown performance in Week 12 were rewarded with eight receptions for 82 yards in Week 13. With Rob Gronkowski out, someone had to step up. Martellus Bennett has been struggling, so Mitchell has become Tom Brady’s new target. With Danny Amendola out, Mitchell has a role in a pass-happy, high-scoring offense. He's a solid WR3 for the rest of the season.
Ladarius Green, TE, Pittsburgh Steelers (23 percent owned)
Green has slowly gotten more involved in the Steelers’ offense since returning to the field in Week 10. He had six receptions for 110 yards and a touchdown in Week 13, and he saw 11 targets, the most on the team. Pittsburgh faces Buffalo in Week 14, followed by Cincinnati. The Bengals are among the top five teams in terms of fantasy points allowed to opposing tight ends. Delanie Walker owners should take note, as Walker has a very tough playoff schedule.
Cincinnati Bengals (31 percent owned) DST and Atlanta Falcons (15 percent owned) DST
The Bengals face the Browns in Week 14, and that’s all that needs to be said. It should come as no surprise that Cleveland has been generous to opposing DSTs this season. It is possible Robert Griffin III makes his return in Week 14, although it's not clear if that is a plus or a minus as it relates to a DST’s outlook.
The Falcons have one of the best playoff schedules for a DST. While Atlanta does not have an imposing defense, the Falcons have been putting up points and they face the Rams, 49ers and Panthers in the playoffs. All three of those teams are among the top 10 in most fantasy points allowed to opposing DSTs. Fantasy owners streaming DSTs could do worse than the Falcons for the playoffs.
— Written by Sarah Lewis, who is part of the Athlon Contributor network and lives, eats, and breathes fantasy football. She also writes for SoCalledFantasyExperts.com among other sites. Have a fantasy football question? Send it to her on Twitter @Sarah_Lewis32.
(Malcolm Mitchell photo courtesy of Getty Images)