Week 14 of the NFL season has a lot of value on the board and not a lot of quarterbacks that stand out. I want to get into the best plays at the running back, wide receiver, and tight end at different tiers.
Christian McCaffrey is the best play on the slate by a significant amount from a raw points perspective against the Falcons in Atlanta. These teams played a few games ago, and McCaffrey had a 33 PPR points in fantasy that week while not even scoring a touchdown. The Panthers looked completely lost in that game, and McCaffrey was still great from a fantasy perspective.
McCaffrey is very expensive on most sites, but I do think that there is enough value to jam him into lineups. We have seen how game-script proof McCaffrey is, and I think that should continue down the stretch run of the season.
I’m not sure if you have heard about my favorite value running back here, but Patrick Laird has been the talk of the daily fantasy community for a few weeks now. Laird has been a spotty, pass-catching running back for the Dolphins, but now with Kalen Ballage out, I expect Laird to get significant work here.
Laird should be cheap on every site, and he gets a great matchup at the Jets where the Dolphins are slight road underdogs. Laird was a converted receiver at one time, and he should stay on the field regardless of the score of the game.
We are going back to the top of the board here with Michael Thomas against the 49ers at home. Thomas has a difficult matchup against Richard Sherman and a great 49ers pass rush that should be able to get pressure on Drew Brees, but I expect the Saints to throw the ball a lot in this matchup.
Thomas is one of the best route runners in the NFL, and he does not require an insane aDOT to produce at a high level. Thomas is a possession receiver who also hits on big plays, converts targets to catches at an insane rate, and sees a lot of targets on a very consistent basis. I expect Thomas to see 10-plus targets and over 100 yards in this game, which should result in great production.
If you are riding the Laird train this week, you can join me and run this play back with Jamison Crowder of the Jets. Crowder has been heavily targeted all season, especially when Sam Darnold is at the helm. Last week, we saw Crowder have two catches for nine yards and not really get a lot of production out of elite market share and usage.
Now, Crowder will see the Dolphins defense that should allow him to get peppered with targets because they do not have the talent to stop him in the secondary. I expect Crowder to see six to 10 targets in one of the easiest spots of the slate. This does also correlate well with Laird because Laird’s production would force more targets to Crowder and Jets scoring should force more passes to Laird.
Darren Waller is my favorite tight end of the board yet again, and he looks like a phenomenal play in this matchup. Waller saw his target share drop significantly when the Raiders started featuring Hunter Renfrow more in the passing game.
Now, Renfrow is out, and I expect Waller to go back to being what is basically the possession receiver of this Oakland offense. Waller is an elite athlete, and I think that he has the potential to break any play for a big gain, which is not something he has shown too often this season. I expect Waller to see eight to 10 targets in this game and rack up stats in one of his biggest games of the year.