Betting the Spread: Week 14 – It’s Knight Time

by Shervon Fakhimi · Betting & Props

This is Betting the Spread: Week 14! The last week of the fantasy regular season is here. It feels like the season started just yesterday, but here we are. Hopefully, all your teams are heading toward the postseason and making a bunch of noise. At least one of my teams will. Hopefully, you’ve also done a better job betting than I have. Another paltry 5-9 week has us at 78-96-5 on the season. Gross. We need a big week ASAP. Let’s get on to Week 14.

New York Jets (+10) vs Buffalo Bills

Over/Under: 43

Pick ATS: New York Jets

Zonovan Knight isn’t going anywhere. That’s what head coach Robert Saleh said about his other rookie running back (I haven’t forgotten about you Breece Hall!) earlier this week. And why would Knight cede his role? He’s registered over 100 yards from scrimmage in each of the two games he’s filled in for Michael Carter. Carter has accomplished this feat thrice in his 25 career NFL games. Knight is lapping Carter in efficiency metrics too. 

Zonovan Knight Advanced Stats & Metrics Profile

According to, Knight is averaging six yards per touch and 3.97 yards created per touch. Carter is at 4.6 and 3.10 in those respective metrics. Knight has overtaken Carter and should remain in fantasy lineups for the foreseeable future. Remember, the Jets get the Lions (No. 25 in rush defense DVOA according to Football Outsiders), Jaguars (No. 13), and Seahawks (No. 24) in the fantasy playoffs.

Cleveland Browns vs Cincinnati Bengals (-5.5)

Over/Under: 46.5

Pick ATS: Cincinnati Bengals

So, Ja’Marr Chase is back! He returned last week to the tune of a ho-hum 8-7-97 stat line against the Kansas City Chiefs. Now, he gets the Browns’ bottom-third pass defense. This is a matchup that he himself has said he’s got scheduled on his calendar. 

The Browns are No. 21 in pass defense DVOA. It’ll be interesting how the Browns deploy Denzel Ward in this matchup. If Ward, one of the best corners in the NFL, shadows Chase, that could set up a big Tee Higgins game (Greg Newsome should take on Tyler Boyd in the slot). The one time these two teams met with both Chase and Higgins active, Higgins led the way with an 8-6-78 line. Chase finished with a 13-6-49 stat line. I personally think Ward shadows Chase and frees up Higgins to feast on rookie Martin Emerson, but this matchup deserves to be watched.

Houston Texans vs Dallas Cowboys (-17.5)

Over/Under: 44

Pick ATS: Dallas Cowboys

Let’s just get this out of the way. The Texans rank No. 28 in rush defense DVOA. It’s another Tony Pollard week. But you knew that already.

But Nico Collins is worth watching and adding if he’s available. Collins has averaged nine targets over the last four weeks. He hasn’t done much with them; he’s failed to exceed 50 yards in either of those games. However, he does rank No. 24 in air yards share (30-percent) for the season and has a juicy fantasy playoff schedule. He gets the Chiefs (No. 26 in pass defense DVOA), Titans (No. 22), and Jaguars (No. 31) in the next three weeks. Remember when DeVante Parker and Ryan Fitzpatrick lit up the fantasy playoffs thanks to a cake schedule? I’m not saying Nico Collins will do that, but he’s someone who you can play over the next three weeks if you need to.

Minnesota Vikings (+2) vs Detroit Lions

Over/Under: 52

Pick ATS: Minnesota Vikings

This is the fantasy game of the week everyone will target especially for DFS. Surely, Justin Jefferson and Amon-Ra St. Brown will be popular and chalky plays, but let’s hype up someone under the radar: K.J. Osborn. The Lions are one of the worst teams in the NFL defending slot receivers. Here are how some predominantly slot receivers have fared against the Lions this season:

Christian Kirk: eight targets, six receptions, 104 yards

Isaiah McKenzie: 10 targets, six receptions, 96 yards, touchdown

Wan’Dale Robinson: 13 targets, nine receptions, 100 yards

Jakobi Meyers: eight targets, 7 receptions, 111 yards, touchdown

KJ Osborn: eight targets, 5 receptions, 73 yards, touchdown

K.J. Osborn Advanced Stats & Metrics Profile

Osborn himself has had a great fantasy day against the Lions. He has played at least 60-percent of the Vikings snaps in all but one game this season. Osborn should be on the field often in one of the highest-scoring games of the week. I love him as a DFS shot and think he’s a solid flex play in season-long leagues if you need to play him.

Jacksonville Jaguars (+3.5) vs Tennessee Titans

Over/Under: 41

Pick ATS: Jacksonville Jaguars

The fantasy community is hot and bothered by Chig Okonkwo lately. And who can blame them? I would too if a tight end with a 32.5-percent target rate, a 9.6-yard average depth of target, and 3.57 yards per route run average just popped off a 5-4-68 game. But Okonkwo still ran only 16 routes last week. He doesn’t have another game with more than 10. Get him in dynasty, but I’m skeptical about starting him in seasonal leagues.

If there’s any Titans pass catcher I’d want to start without Treylon Burks (concussion), it’s Robert Woods. Woods has run at least 24 routes in seven of 10 games with Ryan Tannehill under center. He has at least five targets or a touchdown in eight of those 10 games too. Woods’ numbers aren’t great this season, but the opportunity is massive going against the No. 31-ranked pass defense according to Football Outsiders’ pass defense DVOA metric. If you’ve got injuries or bye weeks, Woods (who is available in 57-percent of Sleeper leagues) is well worth a shot this week.

Philadelphia Eagles (-7) vs New York Giants

Over/Under: 44.5

Pick ATS: Philadelphia Eagles

Eagles corner Avonte Maddox is practicing this week. A return would be big to shore up Philly’s woes defending in the slot in his absence. It also should make the Giants even more reliant on Saquon Barkley to merely be able to move the ball. Darius Slayton and Isaiah Hodgins have done their job the last few weeks, but I don’t love their chances of succeeding against Darius Slay and James Bradberry (another revenge game!).

The one area of weakness for the Eagles is defending the run. They rank No. 23 in rush defense DVOA, compared to No. 2 against the pass. This is looking like a Barkley week because the Giants need it to be a Barkley week. That is if Barkley can play through a neck injury that has bothered him.

Baltimore Ravens (+2) vs Pittsburgh Steelers

Over/Under: 36.5

Pick ATS: Baltimore Ravens

J.K. Dobbins returned to practice last week. He’s eligible to return off IR whenever if he’s healthy enough to play and could play this week. He’s available in 29-percent of Sleeper leagues and needs to be stashed everywhere and even started. Tyler Huntley, who is in line to start for Lamar Jackson this week, dumps off to running backs. In the six games Huntley has gotten extensive run in the last two years, he’s averaged 3.3 targets per game to the team’s starting running backs.

J.K. Dobbins Advanced Stats & Metrics Profile

Most of these games have come with a healthy Marquise Brown and Rashod Bateman too. Dobbins only has three games with three or more receptions in his NFL career but has yet to play with Huntley. Kenyan Drake has been fine filling in for the injured Dobbins and Gus Edwards, but he and Justice Hill quickly vanished once Dobbins was cleared back in Weeks 3 and 4. Edwards is averaging less than four yards per carry. With the Ravens down pass catchers outside of Mark Andrews, Dobbins could be a focal point early and often if he’s healthy. Monitor his status.

Kansas City Chiefs (-9.5) vs Denver Broncos

Over/Under: 44

Pick ATS: Kansas City Chiefs

Welcome back to our lives, Greg Dulcich. The Broncos finally had the bright idea to use their talented pass-catching tight end like a wide receiver, and it worked. Dulcich delivered an 8-6-85 game last week against the Ravens. With Courtland Sutton doubtful to play with a hamstring injury, there’s no reason to think Dulcich can’t keep this up.

Dulcich ranks No. 7 among tight ends in air yards (449), unrealized air yards (232), yards per target (8.6), No. 2 in ADOT (12.1) and deep targets (11), and No. 11 in yards per route run (1.67). Next week, he gets the Arizona Cardinals who give up the most fantasy points per game to opposing tight ends. Dulcich is a shining light in the barren tight-end landscape who can help teams win their leagues. He’s going to be a popular breakout candidate next season.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+3.5) vs San Francisco 49ers

Over/Under: 37.5

Pick ATS: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Vegas doesn’t think there will be a lot of points in this game, and I agree, especially with Brock Purdy at quarterback for the 49ers. Purdy looked fine last week. Quite frankly, he looked a lot like Jimmy Garappolo getting the ball out quickly and letting his YAC star teammates take care of the rest, but the sledding is much tougher this week (Tampa: No. 6 in pass defense DVOA. Miami: No. 23) than last week.

If anybody is hurt the most from a fantasy perspective because of the Garappolo injury, it would be Brandon Aiyuk. Aiyuk’s ADOT is 9.7 yards downfield. Deebo Samuel‘s is at 4.5. George Kittle‘s? 6.1. Aiyuk should be fine for fantasy because he’s too good not to be heard from no matter who is at quarterback. I think we’re going to see more dink and dunk action from Purdy to McCaffrey, Kittle, and Samuel, however.

Carolina Panthers vs Seattle Seahawks (-4)

Over/Under: 44

Pick ATS: Seattle Seahawks

Someone is going to step up in this Seahawks backfield. I just have no clue who. Kenneth Walker has a foot injury he’s dealing with. DeeJay Dallas has an ankle issue he sustained last week. Travis Homer missed last week’s game with a knee injury. Tony Jones… is Tony Jones.

I wouldn’t be thrilled to play Jones and his career 2.68 yards per carry average, but he could be the last man standing on one of the best offenses in the NFL. The Panthers rank No. 22 in rush defense DVOA and allow the No. 8-most rush yards per game, so this is a good matchup no matter who is in line to start. At the moment, it seems like Tony Jones, but we’ll see as the week goes on.

Miami Dolphins vs Los Angeles Chargers (+3)

Over/Under: 52.5

Pick ATS: Los Angeles Chargers

Neither Jeff Wilson (one carry, three yards) nor Raheem Mostert (seven carries, 30 yards) was able to take advantage of their revenge games against the tough 49ers’ run defense. Things should be much easier against the Chargers. The Chargers rank No. 30 in rush defense DVOA as opposed to the No. 2-ranked Niners defense the Dolphins faced last week. Mostert played 61-percent of the snaps last week as opposed to the 37-perent Wilson saw.

The Dolphins trailed for the majority of the game, so if they’re trailing, we could see more of Mostert than Wilson. But Wilson out-touched Mostert 31-22 in the two other weeks they’ve played together this season. I like both, but Wilson especially, to have a big bounce-back game this week. 

New England Patriots (-1.5) vs Arizona Cardinals

Over/Under: 43.5

Pick ATS: New England Patriots

I mentioned this earlier, but the Cardinals are really bad at defending tight ends.

Jakobi Meyers left last week’s game after taking a shot to the head; it’s more than possible he has to miss this game (Editor’s Note: This article was written before Jakobi Meyers was officially ruled out). Meyers’ 18-percent target share (in only ten of 12 games) has to get replaced somehow, and Mac Jones can’t only dump it off to Rhamondre Stevenson. Hunter Henry is third on the Patriots in targets with 39, is No. 11 among tight ends in ADOT (7.8 yards), and No. 8 in yards per target (8.6). Henry’s run at least 23 routes in five of his last seven games too. He’s my favorite tight-end streamer this week.

BYE WEEKS: Atlanta Falcons, Chicago Bears, Green Bay Packers, Indianapolis Colts, New Orleans Saints, Washington Commanders

This is the last week to include byes in the NFL season, and it’s a big one. Six teams are on bye this week, meaning there are plenty of players you can snag now on waivers to help with your playoff run. Let’s go through some.

Jahan Dotson, Washington Commanders (33-percent rostered in Sleeper leagues)

Dotson has been quiet recently but finally had his first marquee game with Taylor Heinicke against the Giants with a 9-5-54-1 performance. After the bye, he gets… the Giants again! Then he gets San Francisco and then Cleveland after that. He’s very usable for two of the next three weeks, and let’s not forget rookie receivers tend to really shine around this time of the year.

Alec Pierce, Indianapolis Colts (26-percent)

I’m not the biggest fan of Alec Pierce, but his schedule (@ Minnesota Vikings, vs Los Angeles Chargers, @ New York Giants) is very fantasy-friendly, and he’s capable of breaking a big play or two like we saw last week against the Cowboys.

Juwan Johnson, New Orleans Saints (20-percent)

Juwan Johnson is going to go three straight weeks without scoring a single fantasy point, but don’t forget about him. He gets Atlanta, Cleveland, and Philadelphia in the next three weeks. He’s top ten in air yards (449), Average Depth of Target (9.2 yards), and red zone targets (8) among tight ends. Atlanta and Cleveland are in the bottom third of pass defense DVOA this season. You can do worse than Johnson at tight end during the fantasy playoffs.

Khalil Herbert (41-percent) and Darrynton Evans, Chicago Bears (0-percent)

There’s a chance Khalil Herbert returns from his hip injury this season but still needs to sit out one more game at a minimum. It likely doesn’t make much sense for the Bears to bring him back this season, but if you have an IR spot, why not? Darrynton Evans is averaging 6.8 yards per touch in Herbert’s absence and is a David Montgomery injury away from being the bell cow. The Bears’ schedule isn’t the smoothest (Philadelphia, Buffalo, Detroit) but has some good matchups sprinkled in there too.

Deon Jackson, Indianapolis Colts (9-percent)

We’ve already seen Deon Jackson‘s upside when he’s the guy (11.1 points in Week 5, 23.1 points in Week 6). The Colts aren’t going anywhere, and it would make sense if they decide to shut down Jonathan Taylor before he gets hurt again. Minnesota is No. 14 in rush defense DVOA, but the Chargers are No. 30 and the Giants are No. 27. Stash Jackson just in case.