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2023 Fantasy Football Week 14: Players to Start, Sit

Denver Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson and wide receiver Courtland Sutton
Denver Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson (3) and wide receiver Courtland Sutton (14) celebrate after a touchdown during the third quarter against the Houston Texans. Photo by: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Josh Larky and Ryan Reynolds present The 33rd Team’s Start-Sit column for Week 14.
Full fantasy rankings can be found here.


Start: Russell Wilson (QB10) at Chargers

Russell Wilson travels to Los Angeles to face a Chargers team allowing the third-most fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks when adjusting for schedule and opponents.

Wilson averages 18 fantasy points per game, just one fewer than QB11 Tua Tagovailoa. More importantly for those making start-sit decisions, Wilson rarely duds out. He's scored at least 18.8 fantasy points in four of his past five games and only scored below 13 points game in one game. 

The Denver Broncos's game vs. the Chargers is one of three Week 14 games (Bills-Chiefs and Eagles-Cowboys) that features a competent passer on each side.

Even if Wilson remains a game manager against one of the NFL’s most beatable pass defenses, he can still get there in fantasy through his legs. He’s rushed for at least 21 yards in seven of his past eight games, and he’s totaled 10 red zone rush attempts in his past five contests — most among quarterbacks.

Expect 16-18 fantasy points, with an upside of 25 if Justin Herbert’s Chargers can put up some early points.

SIT: C.J. Stroud (QB12) at Jets

C.J. Stroud is on pace for more than 5,000 passing yards and 28 passing touchdowns, and he’s the QB4 in fantasy points per game (20.7) as a rookie. However, he just lost WR Tank Dell (broken leg), his most dynamic pass-catcher.

TE Dalton Schultz (hamstring) is also questionable for Week 14. Last week, Stroud’s depleted Houston Texans supporting cast was a factor in his 16 fantasy points, the lowest mark he’d had since Week 8.

Stroud will face the league’s top pass defense in the Jets, in what should be a bad-weather game.

The New York Jets quarterback room is in shambles, and the team released Tim Boyle earlier this week. It's reported Zach Wilson stated he doesn’t want to play behind that offensive line, so this again should be the league’s worst offense on Sunday.

The Jets are unlikely to muster points, and Stroud faces an elite pass defense that’s struggled against rushing attacks, so expect a more run-heavy game plan from the Texans. Those with Stroud should consult our fantasy rankings to see if a better option is available.

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Running Backs

Buffalo Bills running back James Cook
Buffalo Bills running back James Cook (4) stiff arms Philadelphia Eagles safety Reed Blankenship (32). Photo by: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Start: James Cook (RB20) at Chiefs

James Cook has at least 14 touches, 100 yards and 14 PPR fantasy points in his past three games, and the Buffalo Bills are well-rested after their Week 13 bye.

The 2023 Chiefs offense is not the juggernaut of years past, and overall, they’ve scored the 11th-most points per game. Looking at this week’s game environment, the Bills are only 2.5-point underdogs on the road — the game script shouldn’t remove many Cook rushing attempts. 

Only the Broncos (5.6) have allowed more yards per carry than the Chiefs (4.8) to opposing running backs, and Cook received 17 and 16 carries in Weeks 11 and 12, respectively. He averaged 8.2 PPR points per game due to receiving in his last four. If the Chiefs jump out to an early lead, Cook has fantasy outs via the passing game.

Start: Alexander Mattison (RB23) at Raiders

We are definitely not Alexander Mattison fans, but he’s in a great spot against Las Vegas. The Raiders have an above-average pass defense, inviting teams to run against them instead. Opposing teams rank sixth-most in running back rush attempts and rushing yards per game while ranking 20th in passing yards per game.

Justin Jefferson’s return will benefit the Minnesota Vikings offense and its scoring capability, too. He’ll also keep the Raiders defense from focusing too much on the run game. 

Insert Mattison, who has at least 16 rush attempts in four of his past seven games. Mattison also possesses the touchdown upside in this backfield. In the past three games — since Ty Chandler has emerged as a capable backfield counterpart — Mattison has five of seven red zone carries and two of the three goal-line carries.

He’s the preferred back when the Vikings are in scoring range, and he should garner heavy touches based on the matchup.

Sit: D'Andre Swift (RB26) at Cowboys

Last week, the Philadelphia Eagles trailed early and often against the 49ers. D'Andre Swift only handled six carries and was out-snapped by Kenneth Gainwell 37-29 because Gainwell is generally the team’s preferred back in negative game scripts. 

This week, the Eagles travel to Dallas, where they are 3.5-point underdogs. There are concerns over game script so this is a week to consider sitting Swift if you have better options. Weeks 15-17 present the Seahawks, Giants and Cardinals, so Swift is well-positioned to smash during the fantasy playoffs. Just be patient with him in Week 14.

Sit: Ezekiel Elliot (RB32) at Steelers

Ezekiel Elliott is a popular waiver wire pickup this week due to Rhamondre Stevenson’s high ankle sprain. However, fantasy managers need to temper expectations. It’s a Thursday night game, which already portends bad news for fantasy production.

Plus, this game total is historically low, with betting markets currently set at 30 total points, and the New England Patriots’ total at 12. Essentially, more than one total offensive touchdown would be a major accomplishment.

Think of Elliott as the poor man’s version of Zach Charbonnet from the past two weeks, where Charbonnet really needs a touchdown to pay off.

Betting markets have priced Elliott’s anytime touchdown odds at a 33 percent implied chance, so we’d wager there’s a roughly one in three chance you’re happy you started Elliott. Expect 15 inefficient carries, along with 3-6 inefficient targets. Between 45-65 scoreless yards is the likely outcome.

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Wide Receivers

Miami Dolphins wide receiver Jaylen Waddle
Miami Dolphins wide receiver Jaylen Waddle (17) hauls in a second quarter first down catch in front of New York Jets safety Tony Adams (22). Photo by: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

Start: Jaylen Waddle (WR14) vs. Titans

Jaylen Waddle has been a massive disappointment, averaging just 13.7 PPR fantasy points per game (WR23). However, his role for the Miami Dolphins has increased as the season has moved along. The first three weeks, Waddle averaged fewer than six targets per game. Since, he’s averaged 8.4 targets, 67 receiving yards and 14.7 fantasy points per game (WR18).

This week’s matchup against the Titans is favorable because they’re allowing the third-most fantasy points to opposing wideouts when adjusting for schedule. 

There’s some risk that it’s just another Tyreek Hill game, but Waddle has 25 fantasy-point upside, and we wouldn’t recommend leaving him on your fantasy benches in Week 14.

Start: Brandin Cooks (WR22) vs. Eagles

The Eagles, after adjusting for opponents faced, allow 11.5 more fantasy points per game to wide receiver rooms than the average defense — by far tops in the league. The Eagles' offense can put up points, and their pass defense has struggled to limit opponents’ offensive rebuttals. Betting markets have this game total at 53 points, nearly a touchdown higher than any other Week 14 game.

The Dallas Cowboys are the hottest passing attack in football. Dak Prescott is averaging 310 passing yards since Week 6, the most in the NFL by 13 yards. And the Cowboys have multiple passing touchdowns in six straight games.

Brandin Cooks has at least 42 yards in four consecutive games and has reached 14.5 PPR points in three of his last four. His 17.8 fantasy points per game in this span ranks 14th among wideouts, and we expect him to keep the momentum rolling in the ideal matchup.

Cooks carries some risk due to the reduced volume, but he’s the type of player you should start over other, lower-ceiling Week 14 options.

Sit: Diontae Johnson (WR30) vs. Patriots

Thursday night’s game features Mitchell Trubisky and Bailey Zappe, whose passing yards props are 183.5 and 161.5 yards, respectively. Trubisky’s passing touchdown line is also set at 0.5, so there is pessimism surrounding the touchdown upside of Diontae Johnson, too.

In the lowest game total of the season (30 points), where the Pittsburgh Steelers are six-point favorites, the run-game duo of Najee Harris and Jaylen Warren is Pittsburgh’s likely path to victory.

Johnson has averaged fewer than 11 PPR fantasy points per game and has 50 or fewer yards in four straight contests. In the past four weeks, Pittsburgh has totaled 660 rushing yards to just 697 passing yards. Most teams sport closer to a 2:1 ratio in favor of the passing department. Expect 35 rush attempts and 20 pass attempts from this Steelers offense in what should be a snoozefest.

Sit: Garrett Wilson (WR31) vs. Texans

The New York Jets offense is broken. It has just two offensive touchdowns in the past five games. To Garrett Wilson’s credit, he’s managed to average 12.3 fantasy points during this stretch, thanks to insane volume — 10.4 targets per game. 

However, the QB situation gets dicier each week, and Wilson has been held to eight or fewer fantasy points in two of his past three. Boyle was released earlier this week, and Wilson is reportedly adamant he does not want to start. The team likely turns to veteran Trevor Siemian or the newly acquired Brett Rypien, neither of whom has any rapport with Garrett Wilson.

The Texans' defense has been a league-average unit, and this game’s weather forecast is concerning. Sit Wilson in favor of higher-upside receivers.

Tight Ends

Dec 3, 2023; Inglewood, California, USA; Cleveland Browns tight end David Njoku (85) carries the ball against the Los Angeles Rams in the second half at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Start: David Njoku (TE8) vs. Jaguars

After six straight weeks of at least a 21 percent target share and double-digit fantasy points, David Njoku caught just two of six targets (15 percent share) for 17 scoreless yards in Week 13.

However, veteran QB Joe Flacco’s 254 passing yards were the second-highest mark for the Cleveland Browns this season, and WR Amari Cooper is in concussion protocol.

Assuming Cooper misses this contest, targets should be funneled to WR Elijah Moore and Njoku. The Jaguars are a pass funnel defense, allowing 261 passing yards per game (third-highest), but just 93 rushing yards per game (fifth-fewest).

The Browns’ path to success in Week 14 probably comes from Flacco and this passing attack.

Sit: Brevin Jordan (TE14) at Jets

Brevin Jordan likely fills in again for the injured Dalton Schultz. Jordan’s 64 yards were the eighth-highest at the position in Week 13. However, he only received four targets (15 percent share).

Jordan is athletic, and he plays with Stroud, but we don’t want to rely on a backup tight end in a bad-weather game in New York. 

Some desperate fantasy managers will start Jordan out of necessity, but we believe there are more than a dozen better options for Week 14. Dalton Kincaid, T.J. Hockenson, Cole Kmet and Isaiah Likely all return from Week 13 byes, and all four are better fantasy starts than Jordan.