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2023 Fantasy Football: Targets, Fades for NFL Week 14

A helmetless Justin Fields points to the crowd as he walks off the field
Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields (1) runs off the field after the game against the Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

As the saying goes, “Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.”

For most leagues, Week 14 marks the final week of the fantasy regular season. Countless hours of research, Tuesday night waiver wire action and lineup tinkering all come down to this. 

Week 14 brings the last round of NFL byes, with both the Arizona Cardinals and Washington Commanders out, which should be a welcome reprieve after the six-team Bye-Nado in Week 13. 

Whether your fantasy team is cruising to a Round 1 bye or you're just trying to avoid an embarrassing last place punishment, Week 14 could be pivotal in deciding many teams’ fates. Below, we will break down one player at each position to target (love) and one player at each position to avoid (hate) for your Week 14 fantasy football lineups based on matchups, injuries, strategies and more.

Players We Love This Week

Justin Fields, QB, Bears (vs. Lions)

The last time Justin Fields took the field, he disappointed fantasy managers in a tough Week 12 road matchup against the Minnesota Vikings. Fields completed 27-of-37 attempts for 217 yards and zero touchdowns. He somewhat salvaged the day with 59 rushing yards, though 11 fantasy points leaves much to be desired. 

Fields and the Chicago Bears will be well-rested coming off of their Week 13 bye to face a much easier opponent in the Detroit Lions at Soldier Field. The Lions have allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to quarterbacks this year, and when these two teams met three weeks ago, Fields exploded for 104 rushing yards and was the fantasy QB8.

He is a locked-in top-10 option in this exploitable Week 14 matchup. 

Miami Dolphins running back De'Von Achane (28) scores a touchdown against the Washington Commanders during the second half at FedExField. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

De’Von Achane, RB, Dolphins (vs. Titans)

De’Von Achane is back.

The third-round rookie carved up the Washington Commanders in his return from injury, logging over 100 scrimmage yards and two touchdowns. Perhaps even more importantly, he out-snapped his counterpart, Raheem Mostert, by a count of 37 to 23 and out-touched Mostert 20 to 12 in the effort. 

Achane, who is almost 10 years Mostert’s junior, will be the Miami Dolphins running back to roster moving forward because his dominance over this committee grows with each passing week. He should flirt with RB1 numbers this week against the Tennessee Titans, who are middle of the road against fantasy running backs. 

Rashee Rice, WR, Chiefs (at Bills)

Rashee Rice eked out a decent fantasy week in the Kansas City Chiefs’ upset loss to the Green Bay Packers, whose pass defense is top-tier. He caught a team high eight-of-nine targets for 64 yards and finished as the week’s WR26 in half-PPR scoring.  

Aside from Travis Kelce, the Chiefs’ pass-catching corps leaves a lot to the imagination, which should benefit Rice moving forward. Kansas City will face a formidable adversary this week in the Buffalo Bills, who, in spite of their many defensive injuries, are still above-average against the pass.

Buffalo did allow a 106-receiving-yard game to DeVonta Smith last time these two teams played, so Rice still has a shot at a decent fantasy week. That's especially true because his connection with Patrick Mahomes seemingly strengthens with each game.

Jake Ferguson, TE, Cowboys (vs. Eagles)

Jake Ferguson bounced back from a couple of down weeks and benefitted from the Dallas Cowboys’ Thursday night shootout against the Seattle Seahawks. He caught six-of-eight targets for 77 yards and a touchdown — his fifth of the season — and finished as the TE4 in half-PPR. This was Ferguson’s sixth top-12 fantasy finish this season. 

He has top five potential this week with the Philadelphia Eagles, who have allowed the fourth-most passing yards this year. In the last time these two teams met, in Week 9, Ferguson caught seven-of-10 for 91 yards and a touchdown.

Start the Cowboys tight end with confidence. 

New England Patriots quarterback Bailey Zappe (4) hands off the ball to running back Ezekiel Elliott (15) against the Los Angeles Chargers in the second quarter at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Players We Hate This Week

Joshua Dobbs, QB, Vikings (at Raiders)

For a fleeting moment, Joshua Dobbs looked like he could be a viable streaming option for fantasy managers weathering byes and/or injuries. Dobbs recorded three consecutive games with 25 fantasy points in Weeks 8 to 10, but began to falter in Week 11 against the Denver Broncos. He threw one interception in that game — and then came crashing down to Earth in Week 12 with a whopping four picks against the Chicago Bears. 

Dobbs was likely dropped by most after that performance and with the Vikings’ Week 13 bye. Coming off a week of rest, he is still a risky start on the road against the Las Vegas Raiders. He should fall into the high-end QB2 tier but will not be a trustworthy play in most one-quarterback leagues. 

Adam Thielen, WR, Panthers (at Saints)

After a white-hot start to the year, Adam Thielen has been trending downward — collateral damage from the 1-11 Carolina Panthers’ death spiral. Last week, he reeled in three-of-six targets for 25 yards against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on the heels of a one-point fantasy flop in Week 12 against the Tennessee Titans. 

Thielen has not caught a touchdown since before the team’s Week 6 bye. And he'll probably continue that streak this week against the New Orleans Saints, whose defense is top-five against fantasy wide receivers. The Saints' defense did falter last week, allowing a whopping 33 points to the Detroit Lions, but the Panthers’ unmitigated trashfire of an offense is a far cry from Dan Campbell’s star-studded squad.

Thielen — and all members of this team — are fantasy stay-aways until further notice. 

Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Patriots (at Steelers)

Ezekiel Elliott will be a top waiver wire pickup after lead back Rhamondre Stevenson exited last week’s game against the Los Angeles Chargers with a high-ankle sprain. Stevenson will likely miss multiple weeks nursing this injury, which should, in theory, give way to a larger role for Elliott. 

Managers should temper expectations, however, in light of the New England Patriots’ serious offensive struggles.

The Patriots have not scored more than seven points since Week 9 against the Commanders’ Swiss-cheese defense, which makes it difficult to trust anyone from New England. Elliott is a risky RB3 play on the road Thursday against the Pittsburgh Steelers in a game that will probably have very little scoring on both sides. 

Evan Engram, TE, Jaguars (at Browns)

Last week, Evan Engram capitalized on a soft matchup and had a field day against the Cincinnati Bengals. He caught all nine of his targets for 82 yards and scored his first touchdown of the season, finishing as the TE3 in half-PPR. 

Engram’s fantasy fate moving forward largely depends on the status of Jacksonville Jaguars QB Trevor Lawrence, who suffered a high-ankle sprain Monday night. Next up on the depth chart is C.J. Beathard, who replaced Lawrence in the team’s overtime loss. Beathard would be a palpable downgrade for all members of this offense.

Toss in the fact that the Cleveland Browns are the No. 2 defense against fantasy tight ends and this game could be a recipe for disaster. Engram is a high-risk play for the final week of regular season fantasy.