Thanksgiving is over and that means it's time for the fantasy football playoffs. It's the time of year where you need to win to get in. If your league's playoffs don't start until Week 15, odds are that you still need to win in order to either make it into the playoffs or rally for seed position.
Plenty of data has been provided at this point to make educated decisions on which matchups to exploit and which to avoid. Look at that data and make your lineup decisions based on your head and your gut instinct.
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.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, Miami Dolphins
The Fitz Magic has continued this season. In the past two weeks, he has six touchdowns and three interceptions. He will turn the ball over, but he also isn't afraid to throw it. He has two 300-yard games in the past three and he gets to face the Jets. The last time he faced the Jets, he had 288 yards and three touchdowns. While he may not repeat that performance, he should exceed his No. 26 ranking.
Saquon Barkley, New York Giants
Fantasy owners of Barkley are starting him, no matter what. However, since coming back from the ankle sprain (perhaps too early?), Barkley has struggled. The Monday night matchup against the Eagles should be a get-right game for him. Eli Manning will be under center, and while he is capable of throwing the ball, he will likely rely on Barkley either by running the ball or throwing short passes to him. He's ranked No. 10, but especially in PPR formats, he should finish higher than that.
Miles Sanders, Philadelphia Eagles
Jordan Howard is out again for Week 14, and Sanders has been looking better in recent weeks with the opportunities he's been given. Whether it's Howard's absence, the matchup or just the play of Sanders developing, he should exceed his No. 19 ranking in Week 14. The matchup against the Giants is a decent one, and Sanders should be given plenty of carries as well as looks in the passing game on Monday night.
Odell Beckham Jr., WR, Cleveland Browns
Beckham had an off game in Week 13 against a tough Pittsburgh defense, but he should bounce back against the Bengals. The Bengals have a semi-tough pass defense, but that is more because teams end up running the ball against them, rather than throw. Beckham seems to be due for a big game, and this is a good spot for Baker Mayfield. Beckham is ranked No. 12, but he's a solid WR1 for Week 14.
Vance McDonald, TE, Pittsburgh Steelers
Start your tight ends against Arizona. They allow the most fantasy points, by far, to the position. In Week 13, Tyler Higbee had seven receptions for 107 yards and a touchdown. Tight ends have scored a touchdown in every game against Arizona except for two. The odds are in McDonald's favor to find the end zone in Week 14. He's ranked No. 16, but he should finish as a TE1.
Kyler Murray, QB, Arizona Cardinals
In the past six games, only one quarterback has thrown for over 200 yards against the Steelers. They are a tough defense, and Murray has struggled against tough defenses. Against the 49ers, he did well, but that was aided by his rushing ability. It's hard to count on that each week, and Murray doesn't have a running game to help him out. He's ranked No. 7, but he should finish in the QB2 range.
Josh Jacobs, RB, Oakland Raiders
Jacobs admitted this week that he has been playing with a fractured shoulder. He hasn't practiced yet this week, although that may likely be just to get the shoulder some rest. He's coming off a week where he had 104 rushing yards, so the team may be giving him some rest. However, fantasy owners should be very concerned if he misses practice on Friday. The Raiders may choose to limit him, which would hamper his fantasy value. It's hard to sit someone who has been an RB1, but proceed with caution. He's ranked No. 8 but he should be viewed as a risky RB2.
Stefon Diggs, WR, Minnesota Vikings
The biggest question is if Adam Thielen can return. It seemed like he was close last week, but then he missed practice this week, so he's a true question mark. However, even with Theilen out, Diggs has not been able to truly take advantage. The Week 14 matchup against the Lions is a good one, but based on his Week 13 numbers (4/25/0), it's hard to call him a WR1. He's ranked No. 10, but he's a WR2.
John Brown, WR, Buffalo Bills
Over the past two weeks, Brown only has four targets in each game. For some reason, the Week 10 and 11 targets of 11 and 14 have gone by the wayside. The matchups have gotten tougher, and Josh Allen isn't looking Brown's way. Brown's fantasy day was saved in Week 12 by a touchdown (2/39/1) and his day in Week 13 was salvaged by the fact that he threw a touchdown. Odds are he's not going to throw a touchdown again, and if he doesn't get in the end zone, he's going to fall below his No. 20 ranking.
Noah Fant, TE, Denver Broncos
With Drew Lock at quarterback, Fant's targets have gone down. He only saw three targets in Week 13. He caught one for five yards. Perhaps it was game script, but it's hard to trust Fant after that performance. The matchup against the Texans is a decent one, but it's not enough to trust him. Fant is ranked No. 11 but is a low TE2.
Full Disclosure from Week 13
5 Up (2/5 correct)
Sam Darnold, QB, Jets (Ranked: 21, Actual: 28)
Leonard Fournette, RB, Jaguars (Ranked: 14, Actual: 27)
Jonathan Williams, RB, Colts (Ranked: 23, Actual: 52)
Robert Woods, WR, Rams (Ranked: 32, Actual: 6)
Jack Doyle, TE, Colts (Ranked: 16, Actual: 3)
5 Down (2/4 correct)
Deshaun Watson, QB, Texans (Ranked: 5, Actual: 2)
Tevin Coleman, RB, 49ers (Ranked: 19, Actual: 63)
Keenan Allen, WR, Chargers (Ranked: 15, Actual: 15)
Courtland Sutton, WR, Broncos (Ranked: 22, Actual: 4)
Cameron Brate, TE, Buccaneers (Ranked: 13, Actual: 51)
— 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.