Welcome to week 14 and another week of six storylines to pay attention to. The playoffs are looming. The off-season is coming. Let’s jump right into it.
There are six teams on a bye week during an important time in fantasy leagues. This week may be a deciding factor if you miss or make your playoffs.
It seems very cruel but that is the nature of the game we play. This prompts the questions: how important is depth? Can you house roster cloggers? Is building a stud lineup worth it or is depth the best way?
I am sure there are free agents out there (shallower benches) who may provide you with a weekly victory. But it’s hard to give up a young player you like for that to happen.
The Browns are on the outside looking in for a playoff spot with a 5-7 record. There is technically a chance this to happen, but they do need to win games. They have a tough matchup against their state rival Cincinnati this week. Deshaun Watson will be looking to bounce back after his not-so-impressive first game last week. How will he perform against a tougher matchup? I think we all expected a little rust but did not expect a bad performance.
Ja’Marr Chase returned (W13) from his hip injury and commanded eight targets. That was a huge boost for the Bengals who are looking to take the division lead over the Ravens. Joe Burrow is an MVP candidate and will need to play lights out for the remainder of the season to claim the title. Whenever Joe Mixon returns, it will be an additional boost – Samaje Perine has handled the lead duties well.
Rising Tight End
The Titans drafted Chigoziem Okonkwo in the fourth round of the 2022 NFL Draft. He likely fell in dynasty given his fourth-round capital and the assumption tight ends typically take some time to develop. Fast forward to week 14 and it seems he is taking the lead role. Last week was the first week he played more snaps and had more route participation than veteran Austin Hooper.
Okonkwo has back-to-back weeks with five targets and averages 18.3 yards per catch. It should be noted if Treylon Burks is ruled out with his concussion, but we may see another big game for the rookie tight end this week.
I am a big tight end guy and I am happy his time is coming sooner. Draft capital does not matter for tight ends like it would for wide receivers. Fourth-round capital with his speed (4.52) was the reason I selected him if he was available in the late rounds of rookie drafts. The train may be boarding and it is time to jump on board while you can.
Sophomore QB Injuries
Justin Fields is on a bye week and the rest comes at an opportune time. He has time to rest his shoulder injury. However, Trevor Lawrence has missed multiple practices this week. We all might have seen him go down with what many thought may have been a knee injury. Fortunately he only came away with a toe injury.
He has been having an impressive sophomore campaign, completing 66% of passes with 17 touchdowns and six interceptions (had 17 his rookie year). The Jaguars are 4-8 and have no true reason to rush him back.
The 2023 season will be an intriguing one – remember, they did acquire Calvin Ridley at the trade deadline. Trent Baalke (GM) and Doug Pederson (HC) seem to be turning the franchise in the right direction.
Dynasty Values/Big Games to Note
Dameon Pierce and Nico Collins look to continue to provide the Texans with offensive weapons to build around. The Texans play the Cowboys and Michael Gallup looks to continue to provide WR2 presence for Dallas. Tony Pollard is playing for a massive contract this off-season.
The Giants have their rookie tight end back from his eye injury. Daniel Bellinger saw five targets upon his return. Quarterback Daniel Jones is also playing for an extension and they have a tough matchup against their division-rival Eagles. There is not much to say about the Eagles. Shoutout to AJ Brown, Jalen Hurts, and DeVonta Smith. I would like to see Grant Calcaterra (TE) involved more.
Tom Brady is hitting stride and the Buccaneers are back at .500 and atop their division. Chris Godwin has taken over and we have seen Mike Evans falling. This could be an offensive line issue but here we are. They will play the 49ers and this is a must-win game for both teams. Brock Purdy is stepping in and the important factor is how quarterback friendly the Kyle Shanahan system is. He will be the player to watch in this game.
There are other important games like the Dolphins vs Chargers but we are aware Tyreek Hill, Jaylen Waddle, and Justin Herbert are good. Mike Williams and Keenan Allen have been injured (and getting older) so it seems there is not much to be said here.
Really every game is a big game for players looking to prove their worth and show coaching they can play a role.
Injuries to Note
Lamar Jackson is expected to miss two-three weeks with his knee injury. Tyler Huntley is a quality backup and can get you fantasy points.
Kenneth Walker has missed multiple practices this week for his ankle injury. The Seahawks have signed Wayne Gallman to their practice squad.
Jimmy Garoppolo may have a chance to return this season. Without needing surgery, he may be able to return in seven-eight weeks. This, of course, is if the rehab process goes 100% and the 49ers make it deep into the playoffs.
Tee Higgins (hamstring) was added to the injury report late in the week. Diontae Johnson (hip) did not practice Thursday. Saquon Barkley (neck) and Leonard Fournette (foot) were limited as well. Courtland Sutton is not expected to play.
There are other injuries, these seemed notable.
The playoffs are right around the corner. Finalize your trades. Go all in as contenders or pivot to next year if you are definitely out. I am sure we have the fantasy home leagues where the last place players are hibernating and we will not talk until next season. Good thing this is dynasty and there is no off-season.
- 2023 Dynasty Fantasy Football Rookie Prospect: Sam LaPorta, TE Iowa - March 21, 2023
- 2023 NFL Scouting Combine Winners and Losers: Tight Ends - March 8, 2023
- NFL Expiring Contracts: Tight End - February 24, 2023