Each week our gaggle of Yahoo analysts show their hands and reveal their top booms, busts and breakouts. Gaze into the crystal ball and list your picks, using the strict rules set, in the comment section below.
Among players under 50 percent started in Yahoo leagues, the loudest BOOM from Week 14 comes from ________.
Andy – MARQUISE GOODWIN absolutely needs to be started this week, gamers. He’s clearly emerged as Jimmy G’s top target, and hasn’t finished with less than 68 receiving yards in any of his last four games. He’s facing a Houston defense this week that’s been roasted by receivers similar to Goodwin — Tyler Lockett, Brandin Cooks and T.Y. Hilton have all blown up against the Texans.
Brad – GIO BERNARD. Assuming Joe Mixon, concussed last week in a revised version of the gladiatorial games, is inactive, Bernard stands to finish inside the RB top-20. Chicago, once one of the more unattractive RB matchups on the board, has proven leaky of late. Over the past five weeks, the Bears have allowed 4.24 yards per carry to RBs. With Jeremy Hill also sidelined and coming off an impressive 96 combined yards (3.4 YAC/att, 6 missed tackles) against the Steelers, Neo Gio lights up Week 14 with 90-plus yards and a score.
Scott — I can’t believe ALEX SMITH qualifies for this category, but remarkably he does. The two-week Kansas City slump left a mark, and took some fantasy teams out of the playoffs. But Smith was sharp in the Week 13 loss to the Jets (four touchdown passes), and now he faces an Oakland secondary that hands out a 108.1 QB rating to the league. You name it, the Raiders can’t do it — rush the passer (22 sacks), intercept the ball (one all season!), cover down the field. Maybe the Chiefs will miss the playoffs on the deficiencies of its defense, but there’s nothing wrong with Smith, Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill. They’re all excellent starts here.
Conversely, among players started in over 50 percent of Yahoo leagues, the biggest Week 14 BUST will be ______.
Brad – LEONARD FOURNETTE. For all of its injuries, Seattle continues to stonewall running backs. Over the past seven weeks, the ‘Hawks have yielded the fourth-fewest fantasy points and an unflinching 2.77 yards per carry to RBs. Fournette’s workload is typically mammoth (23.2 touches per game), but given his tender ankle and unwelcoming opponent, a bland effort seems likely. Bank on him finishing around 80-90 combined yards with no touchdown.
Andy – I’m not particularly interested in KIRK COUSINS this week, on the road facing a Chargers defense that’s allowed the seventh fewest fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks. L.A.’s defense has more interceptions (15) than TD passes allowed (13) to this point, and the group is giving up just 6.5 Y/A. The lack of playmaking receivers in Washington’s offense is a significant concern, too.
Scott — The 49ers rushing defense was an embarrassing sieve for most of the first half, but the leaks are starting to get patched. San Francisco is the fourth-stingiest defense against fantasy RBs over the last month, and it hasn’t allowed a rushing score to a back since Week 8. Jordan Howard went nowhere last week (13-38-0), and Eddie Lacy was his usual stumbling, bumbling self in Week 12 (17-46-0). I recognize LAMAR MILLER might be a forced play for some fantasy teams, given Miller’s projectable volume. But I’m not expecting him to crack 70 yards against this surging defense, and I give him less than a 50 percent chance to score. And I’m certainly not touching him in DFS, where he’s a pricy $24.
Chuck a Hail Mary, the one deep player (under 15% started) you believe BREAKS OUT in Week 14 is ______.
Scott – The Texans found themselves in a desperate situation last week — all those passing-game injuries — and tapped STEPHEN ANDERSON on the shoulder. The second-year tight end was ready for the challenge, posting a 5-79-1 line on 12 targets. Okay, efficiency and Tom Savage don’t go hand in hand, we accept that. But the 49ers have been shaky in their seam coverage all year, and Anderson will probably be the No. 2 option in Houston’s passing game this week. With some name-brand tight ends off the board, Anderson could be your holiday angel in Week 14.
Brad — JIMMY GAROPPOLO. This is the week Garoppolo convinces Niners ownership he’s worth $50 million. Though he didn’t post banner fantasy numbers last week in Chicago (294-0-1), he completed 73 percent of his attempts, attacked downfield (8.0) and showed the pocket poise of a franchise passer. Blessed with a wonderful matchup against a Texans D that’s conceded 7.8 yards per attempt and the second-most fantasy points to passers, Jimmy G drops PHAT rhymes in range of 280 yards with multiple scores.
Andy – MIKE DAVIS owned the featured role in Seattle’s backfield last week, playing over 70 percent of the offensive snaps, gaining 101 scrimmage yards and catching four passes. He ran with the sort of power and decisiveness that Eddie Lacy hasn’t exhibited all season. This week, Davis faces an excellent Jacksonville defense, which is no small concern. But the Jaguars have allowed 4.5 YPC so far this year, and game-script should remain friendly for Davis on Sunday.