Stars of Week 14

QB: Josh Allen, BUF: 36-54, 308 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT (12 carries, 109 yards 1 TD)                                                                

RB: Dalvin Cook, MIN: 27 carries, 205 yards, 2 TDs

WR: Tyler Lockett, SEA: 5 catches, 142 yards, 1 TD

TE: George Kittle, SF: 13 catches, 151 yards, 1 TD

The presumed top ranked QB for the week came through for his prognosticators, as Josh Allen eclipsed the 300 yard passing mark and the 100 yard rushing mark, combining for 3 TDs. No one combines passing ability with rushing ability quite like Allen, and he’ll be the top ranked QB for most of the remaining weeks.

Fantasy managers faced a predicament when the Vikings announced that previously injured RB Dalvin Cook would be active for TNF against the Steelers. Should owners start Cook or his backup Alexander Mattison, many wondered? Here’s the deal – if a team activates a top echelon player such as Cook, that means he’s playing…and you’ve gotta start him too. When in doubt, start your best player. Otherwise, you lost out on 205 rushing yards and two TDs.

As Russell Wilson has started to look like his vintage self again, so has underrated WR Tyler Lockett. The Seahawks WR makes so many difficult catches look routine, with outstanding footwork near the boundaries and an all pro ability to track the ball while in the air. He’s back to must start status moving forward. Lockett had 142 receiving yards and a TD against the Texans. Look for Lockett and Russ to continue making sweet music.

George Kittle finds his way back here after a very short layover. As stated before, teams have no answer for Kittle, who catches everything and requires lots of manpower to bring down. Against the Bengals, Kittle caught 13 balls for 151 yards and a TD. If Kittle keeps up anything resembling this pace, he’ll re-enter discussions for the top tight end off the board in 2022 drafts.

Week 14 Takeaways – A Closer Look

Each week we’ll take a closer look at a handful of performances and sort out what such performances mean going forward.

- Rashaad Penny, RB – SEA: 16 carries, 137 yards, 2 TDs

Analysis: The Seahawks took Rashaad Penny in the first round of the 2018 draft, with the NFL community largely ridiculing the team’s selection. Nothing against Penny, but the Hawks deserved the criticism. Statistical analysis in recent years has created doubt regarding the value of RBs, supported by the fact that several mid to late drafted RBs, along with undrafted ones, have gone on to have success. Nick Chubb’s wild success with the Browns, who selected Chubb just a few picks after the Hawks took Penny, has also made the pick look bad in retrospect. Circling back to Penny’s career with the Seahawks, the San Diego St product has missed close to half of his career games due to injury, while never seizing the starting role (outside of injury replacement of Chris Carson). With all of this said, Penny doesn’t lack for talent. He’s got fantastic breakaway speed and isn’t afraid to break tackles, with injuries and consistency in performance among carries have been Penny’s key issues. Penny flashed versus the Texans this past Sunday, with an easy 137 yards over just 16 carries, while finding the end zone twice. Meanwhile, RB Alex Collins only had 16 yards combined in his 7 carries. With Carson likely out for the year, Penny should take over the lead RB chair for the Seahawks over these last few games. He’s easily the most talented RB on the active roster, and the team’s only home run threat at the position. The Seahawks will be careful not to place too heavy of a burden on Penny, so expect him to take on approximately two-thirds of the team’s carries. That puts Penny in RB3/flex territory, with a bump in plus matchups (the Bears and Lions will both be such upcoming opponent in key fantasy playoff weeks). Before the juicy matchups, Penny and the Hawks face a tough Rams’ D next weekend. Penny should be your top add at RB this week.

- Craig Reynolds, RB – DET: 11 carries, 83 yards, 0 TDs

Analysis: With both RBs D’Andre Swift and Jamaal Williams out for the Lions, the Lions had a golden opportunity for a young player to step up. Enter relatively unknown Craig Reynolds, who rushed for 83 yards on just 11 carries. Reynolds played college football at Kutztown (yes, they have a program), then bounced around a handful of NFL organizations before landing with the Lions this season. While Swift and Williams had strangleholds on the top two RB spots on the depth chart, Reynolds reported impressed during training camp, which helps explain why he earned a spot on the roster! Per PFF, Reynolds split snaps with Godwin Igwebuike, with roughly an even split (29 to 28 in favor of Reynolds). While the snaps were close to even, production was not, with Igwebuike only rushing for 25 yards on 8 carries. So Reynolds has the upper hand between these two. But what about Swift and Williams? Well, with the Lions playing out the string, the prudent thing to do would be to let Swift heal his shoulder injury. Stay tuned on that front. Williams missed the game due to his COVID status, with a return possible as early as this coming. Reynolds is only startable if both Swift and Williams are out, so this makes Reynolds a stash candidate. If you’ve got room, go ahead and make a speculative add on Reynolds, but just be realistic about the uncertainty of his fantasy value moving forward.

- Hunter Renfrow, WR – LV: 13 catches, 117 yards, 1 TD

Analysis: The Las Vegas Raiders have been in a tailspin over the second half of the season, as has become a consistent problem over the last few seasons. While the offense has generally regressed, don’t lay any blame at the feet (or hands) of WR Hunter Renfrow. The third year WR caught 13 balls for 117 yards and a TD in what was otherwise a brutal loss against the Chiefs. Notwithstanding the Raiders’ struggles, Renfrow’s performance has become something to expect - he just had his third consecutive 100+ yard receiving game, and currently sits with 86 receptions through 13 games. Renfrow has undoubtedly become QB Derek Carr’s favorite receiver, with 33 targets over this three game streak, and 106 for the season. Renfrow doesn’t profile as the most athletic of players, but he has fantastic hands and runs great routes to get himself open. While Renfrow has racked up catches in bunches, he’s still not finding the end zone as much as fantasy managers would like – just 5 TDs thus far in the year. It’s fair to expect a bit of positive TD regression given his volume of receptions, but note that his schedule of defenses will tough over the final stretch of the season Renfrow is fantasy gold in PPR leagues as a mid-level WR2, while more of a WR3 / flex in standard leagues. In any event, Renfrow has taken that next step and should be in weekly lineups in all leagues.  

- Amon-Ra St. Brown, WR – DET: 8 catches, 73 yards, 0 TDs 

Analysis: Not much has gone right for the Detroit Lions in 2021, but at least they’ve finally won a game. If looking for something else encouraging, how about the growth of rookie WR Amon-Ra St. Brown? The USC product has quietly become QB Jared Goff’s go-to target, now with back to back strong performances. Brown followed up his week 13 line of 10 catches, 86 yards and 1 TD with 8 catches and 73 yards in week 14 versus the Broncos. In support of St. Brown’s ascension in the Lions’ offensive hierarchy, note that Goff targeted his new lead WR a whopping 12 times versus the Vikings, with 12 targets against the Broncos as well. No need for me to tell you that no other Lions’ pass catcher came close to 24 targets over the last two weeks. St. Brown has explosive traits and good hands, while not afraid of contact despite an average-ish frame. With the Lions set to face favorable game scripts for the passing game (a/k/a constantly trying to play catchup), St. Brown will continue to get a heavy dose of looks from Goff. In terms of value, consider the Lions’ WR a low end WR3/flex in PPR leagues, with a bit less enticement in standard leagues. But if you need a WR, you could do worse than St. Brown.            

Rapid Fire Pickups

Each week we’ll throw out potential free agent pickups from each position for deeper leagues, in each case a player 1) who has NOT been featured above, and 2) remains available in more than 50% of leagues. (tough week!)

QB:                  Tua Tagovailoa, MIA (vs NYJ)

RB:                  Nyheim Hines, IND (vs NE)

RB:                  Ameer Abdullah, CAR (@ BUF)

WR:                 KJ Osborn, MIN (@ CHI)

WR:                 Rashod Bateman, BAL (vs GB)

TE:                  Austin Hooper, CLE (vs LV)

Personal Note

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