Week 14 Fantasy Football Fallout

by Emerson Beery · Fantasy Football

The fantasy football regular season is over, and managers are now searching for those league winners to guide them to a championship. PlayerProfiler is here to tackle the biggest questions from Week 14 to help them do just that. Keaton Mitchell‘s efficiency clashes with limited opportunities, raising doubts for the fantasy playoffs. Justin Herbert‘s season-ending injury adds to a growing list of sidelined quarterbacks, reshaping the landscape.

Deebo Samuel defies preseason criticism as well, standing as a fantasy force despite offensive complexities. Jake Browning‘s unexpected rise impacts the Bengals’ dynamics, influencing fantasy outcomes. Rookie Puka Nacua emerges as a standout receiver, challenging skeptics and carving a dynasty path. The uncertain future of Justin Fields in Chicago sparks intrigue about his 2024 destination too. Join us as we dissect these narratives, exploring their fantasy implications in a season of twists and turns.

Week 14 Fantasy Football Fallout

Keaton Mitchell’s Missed Moments

Once again, Keaton Mitchell was efficient in Week 14. However, that didn’t lead to a larger workload. Mitchell led the running back room with ten touches. However, without a touchdown, he was only the RB37 for the week. Despite averaging 8.9 yards per touch and having a 17.2-percent Breakaway Run Rate, he remains a limited part of Baltimore’s game plan. Can fantasy managers trust him for the fantasy football playoffs?

Even though the Jacksonville Jaguars present a strong matchup, Mitchell is still an RB3 this weekend. He will lead the Ravens backfield once again in opportunities. Nonetheless, it will still be a committee. With Gus Edwards and Lamar Jackson vulturing the goal line work too, fantasy managers will be left hoping for a big play. He’ll remain a weekly flex option with a high ceiling and low floor.

Week 14 Fantasy Football Takeaways

Justin Herbert’s Heartbreak

Fantasy managers are once again reeling after another detrimental quarterback injury. Justin Herbert had surgery on a fractured index finger and will miss the remainder of the season. He joins a long list of quarterbacks that have suffered a season-ending injury. This list includes Joe Burrow, Kirk Cousins, Deshaun Watson, and Daniel Jones. Other signal-callers have missed significant time, resulting in a frustrating year for many fantasy football players.

The injuries combined with the lack of depth at the quarterback position around the NFL should have us questioning the viability of superflex and 2QB formats. While this year has been an anomaly, there simply aren’t anywhere near enough fantasy-relevant quarterbacks for most teams to field two competent starters. Adding on injuries has exacerbated the issue, leaving many teams scrambling. With rushing quarterbacks like Josh Allen and Jalen Hurts providing a premium for those drafting the position early, fantasy managers should consider whether 2QB formats are the superior option.

Samuel Shines in San Fransisco

The criticism of Deebo Samuel went too far this offseason, and he stands as the WR14 on the season through the fantasy regular season. This is despite him missing two full games due to injury. Incredibly, Samuel is also No.91 in the NFL in average depth of target but still No.12 in yards per route run. He remains one of the best players in the NFL with the ball in his hands and has a huge role in the running game as well. Samuel leads the wide receiver position in rushing attempts once again. Furthermore, he is a focal point at the goal line with five rushing touchdowns on the year.

The 49ers have the best offense in the NFL. However, the offense is too talented for everyone to find relevancy every week. They also rank No. 32 in the NFL in both pass plays per game and Pace of Play. This will limit the opportunities for the pass catchers, resulting in up-and-down performances for not only Samuel but also George Kittle and Brandon Aiyuk. Due to the upside alone though, they will remain elite fantasy football options.

Browning’s Breakout for Bengals

After many left the Bengals for dead, Jake Browning has led Cincinnati to two straight wins. He has been a top five fantasy football quarterback in each of those games as well. If fantasy managers have been desperate enough to start Browning, they have been rewarded. The result for the rest of the offense has been a mixed bag though. Chase exploded in Week 13 but has finished outside the top 30 fantasy receivers the other two weeks Browning has been the starter. As far as Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd go, they remain well off the fantasy radar.

On the other hand, Joe Mixon has been the biggest fantasy beneficiary of a Browning-led offense. After not recording over 40 receiving yards the entire season, Mixon has done so in three straight performances. He remains one of the least efficient runners in the NFL, averaging 3.8 True Yards Per Carry. Nonetheless, he is the RB6 in fantasy football through 14 games and No.1 in the NFL in Opportunity Share. This will make him a top 12 running back for the rest of the season despite a couple of tough matchups.

For fantasy managers considering starting Browning for the fantasy playoffs, they should consider his playoff schedule. His previous two opponents, the Jaguars and Colts, each rank in the bottom 10 in terms of fantasy points given up to the quarterback position. Browning’s next three opponents all rank inside the top 15 in this category, respectively. Additionally, his opponent this weekend, the Minnesota Vikings, is playing much better defense compared to early in the season. As a result, Browning remains outside the top 12 fantasy quarterbacks in Week 15.

Primetime Puka Nacua

Let there be no further doubt, Puka Nacua is already a great NFL wide receiver. He is on pace to finish the season with 165 targets, 107 receptions, and 1,455 receiving yards. Furthermore, since the year 2000, Nacua ranks No.3 in receiving yards for a rookie wide receiver through 13 games. While he isn’t considered a great athlete, he is incredible with the ball in his hands. Similar to Deebo Samuel, Nacua is No.74 in average depth of target but No.7 in yards after the catch.

Nacua’s detractors don’t seem to be giving him the benefit of the doubt that this is only his rookie season as well. It may be tough for him to build on this season going forward. However, he will be a strong fantasy receiver for years to come. The only question is just how high Nacua should he be ranked in dynasty fantasy football leagues? Given Matthew Stafford‘s willingness to continue playing beyond 2023, Nacua has become my top-ranked rookie wide receiver and my WR13 overall in dynasty leagues.

Week 14 Fantasy Football Risers and Fallers

Justin Fields’ Future as Franchise Quarterback

Justin Fields will not be on the Chicago Bears in 2024 no matter what he does the rest of the season. The Bears acquired the Panthers’ 2024 first-round pick in this past year’s NFL Draft, which will almost assuredly be the No. 1 overall pick. Given the salary cap benefits of having a quarterback such as Caleb Williams join the team next year, the Bears are likely to hit the reset button. Nonetheless, that doesn’t mean that Fields won’t continue to have fantasy football value.

Fields remains under contract with the Bears in 2024, and Chicago will also have an opportunity to pick up his fifth-year option in the offseason. Given the poor state of the quarterback position for so many teams, Fields will garner significant interest on the trade market. As a result, Fields will once again be in the QB1 conversation in 2024.

Fields’ fantasy performances thus far have almost entirely been based on his quality of opponent. He’s performed well against poor defenses and has struggled as a passer in more difficult matchups. Regardless, he still leads quarterbacks in rushing attempts and yards per game. Additionally, it would be fair to say that Fields hasn’t received the assistance or coaching he deserved in Chicago either. Don’t forget about Fields, and he could be very exciting in an offense such as the Falcons or Buccaneers in 2024.