Food for Thought from the Fantasy Chef

Fantasy Football: Week 14 Pickups

Fantasy Football Week 14 Pickups

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Pickups of the Week | Slide - 1 FantasyAlarm.com

Quarterbacks

Alex Smith (KC)--After a mediocre start to the season, Smith has really turned it on over his last three games, totaling over 20 fantasy points in each contest. The Chiefs have a relatively easy schedule the rest of the way with matchups against the Redskins, the Raiders, the Colts and the Chargers, all of which can be beat through the air. Now that the Chiefs have lost three straight games there is no reason for their starters, including Smith, to be given time off heading into the playoffs, making him a solid pickup this week if available on the waiver wire. 

Jay Cutler (CHI)--The Bears have yet to announce if they will have Cutler back for Monday night's game against the Cowboys, but we will likely know more once the team returns to practice on Thursday. Despite not allowing a passing touchdown on Thanksgiving, the Cowboys allow the second-most points per game to opposing quarterbacks, making Cutler a must-start if active. Those who are in need of quarterback depth for the playoffs will want to stash Cutler regardless, considering the team has already said they will go back to him once healthy, despite the efforts from Josh McCown. 

Ryan Fitzpatrick (TEN)--He may not be a flashiest of players, but Fitzpatrick continues to get the job done as the signal caller for the Titans. Having now scored at least 14 points in standard leagues in four straight games, Fitzpatrick is a nice addition for those in need of depth at the quarterback position. The Titans finish out the year against some of the worst defenses in the league against the pass, including matchups against the Jaguars and Texans the last two weeks of the season. While I don't think he is worth starting in standard leagues, Fitzpatrick is certainly worth a bench spot in case of an emergency. Let's face it, we need to have backup plans this time of the year.

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Running Backs 

Donald Brown (IND)--Prior to Sunday's kickoff, the Colts officially named Brown their starting running back, ending any speculation on how the team would split the carries in the backfield. Brown did an admirable job in his first start, rushing for 54 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries, while also throwing in two receptions for 10 yards. This week, Brown will be facing one of the best run-stopping defenses in the league in the Bengals, but after that it is smooth sailing. Currently, Brown is still owned in less than half of leagues throughout the major providers, but after tonight's waiver deadline, that will change. So claim your stakes now on the best running back option available this week, with the fantasy playoffs upon us.

Mike Tolbert (CAR)--With DeAngelo Williams sidelined, Tolbert made the most of his increase in playing time, finishing Week 13 with nine carries for 48 yards and three catches for 41 yards. The Panthers expect to have Williams back at practice tomorrow, so he will likely return in Week 14, but that doesn't mean Tolbert won't hold any value, especially after the poor performance by Jonathan Stewart (14 carries for 39 yards). Expect Tolbert to continue to get the carries in the red zone, giving him value in deep league formats and touchdown-only leagues.

LeGarrette Blount (NE)--After fumbling away what appeared to be another opportunity, the Patriots gave Blount another chance to prove himself in Week 13, and he made the most of it. He finished with 12 carries for 44 yards and a touchdown in the Patriots win over the Texans, and appears to be the lead back aside Shane Vereen in the team's rushing attack. It was thought that Brandon Bolden would see an increase in snaps with Stevan Ridley inactive and Blount ineffective, but that clearly wasn't the case. On the other hand, this situation could change week-to-week, so add Blount with caution, knowing how fickle this coaching staff can be at times.

Willis McGahee (CLE)--After being practically irrelevant over the last few weeks, McGahee resurfaced in Week 13, finishing with a team-leading 14 carries for 57 yards and a touchdown. While those numbers are too appealing, the fact he was the lead back after just 10 carries the previous two weeks indicates that the Browns may not be happy with the production they have been receiving from both Chris Ogbonnaya and Fozzy Whittaker. If that truly is the case, McGahee is a must-add player this week, considering the volume he will receive and the fact that he is the team's goal line running back at this given time.

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Wide Receivers 

Julian Edelman (NE)--After recording only six catches from Week 8 to Week 11, Edelman has re-emerged as a top option in the Patriots passing game. Over his last two games, Edelman has now recorded 18 catches for 211 yards and two touchdowns, making him one of the best options in that timeframe in PPR leagues. The Patriots receiving core has had it's issues with drop balls and ineffective route running this season due to inexperience, so it is not surprising to see Edelman become a top target for Tom Brady, and I don't expect that to change anytime soon. If he is sitting on your waiver wire he is a must-add now that he is clearly the No. 2 option in the Patriots passing game behind only Rob Gronkowski.

Cordarrelle Patterson (MIN)--Despite his inconsistent production in the Vikings passing game, Patterson continues to find ways to get involved in the offense, either in the run game or as a special teams weapon. In Week 13, Patterson had only one catch for four yards on four targets, but was the only player on the team to rush for a touchdown, finishing with two carries for 27 yards. Outside of Greg Jennings, Patterson played the most snaps out of the team's receiving core, which was the third straight game in which that occurred. Obviously, those in standard leagues may not want to concentrate on adding him this week due to the lack of consistency, but deep league players may want to add him, considering he is the type of playmaker that could take your team to the next level with a great performance.

Andre Holmes (OAK)--After spending last season on the Cowboys practice squad, Holmes was then added by the Raiders and is now starting to make a name for himself in the league. Holmes was targeted 11 times in the Raiders Thanksgiving Day loss to his former team hauling in seven catches for 136 yards, falling just inches short of his first career touchdown. While I don't expect him to see double-digit targets on a weekly basis, depending on the matchup his activity in the Raiders offense will vary. Those in deep league formats will want to take a look at Holmes with a favorable schedule the rest of the way and an ailing Denarius Moore unsure when he will return to action. 

Jacoby Jones (BAL)--Jones was a Mike Tomlin interference call away from having a big scoring day in Week 13, but instead finished with four catches for 53 yards in the Ravens win over the Steelers. If he had scored that touchdown, Jones would've finished with double-digit fantasy points in standard leagues for the second week in a row as he continues to be the No. 2 option in the Ravens passing game. However, the team expects to have Dennis Pitta back as early as Week 14, so his role in the offense may be limited moving forward. With that said, those in shallow leagues will want to avoid him, but if you are in a deep PPR league, Jones is worth an add now that we are in or about to enter the fantasy playoffs, depending on your league settings.

Ace Sanders (JAC)--The Jaguars sure have an "Ace" up their sleeve in regards to their passing game, after the Jaguars receiver put on a show for us in Week 13. Sanders finished with eight catches for 67 yards in the Jaguars win over the Browns, which was the second time in three games he reached those totals. With his second solid performance in three games, it is clear that Sanders is now the No. 2 option in the team's passing game behind only Cecil Shorts, and if he continues to get double-digit targets, he becomes an attractive fantasy option. Let's face it, the Jaguars aren't going to be blowing anyone out on the scoreboard, so they will be passing the ball a lot in each contest. So expect the maturation of Sanders to continue as we round out the rest of the 2013 season.

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Tight Ends

Ladarius Green (SD)--After bursting onto the fantasy landscape a week ago, Green did a great job of living up to the hype in Week 13 after finding the end zone for the second straight week, on two catches for 45 yards. Had he not scored a touchdown he would have been a bust after much talk of him taking the next step forward, but instead he reached double-digit fantasy points for the second time. The Chargers have a very favorable schedule the rest of the way, including games with the Giants, the Chiefs and the Broncos, all of which have struggled defending opposing tight ends this season. The targets will never reach double-digits, well at least not this season, but as long as he continues to get looks close to the end zone he is a viable fantasy option the rest of the way. 

Zach Ertz (PHI)--The Eagles used a high draft pick on Ertz last offseason, but had failed to live up to his lofty expectations. Well, that was before a two-touchdown performance in Week 13. Ertz has now recorded two five-catch games over his last four contests and while that may not be enough to warrant him a roster spot, his season-high in targets (6), may make a good case. Now that we are heading into the fantasy playoffs, owners really need to be careful in setting lineups, so his inconsistency may not be worthy of a start, but considering he finishes out the season with the Bears and the Cowboys, he could become a viable fantasy option if he continues to remain active in the Eagles offense. 

Dennis Pitta (BAL)--After missing the entire season with a hip injury, the Ravens are expecting Pitta to return as early as Week 14 when the team takes on the Vikings. Pitta has been participating in practice for over two weeks now, and if he continues to increase his level of activity at practice, a return on Sunday could be a distinct possibility. Once back on the field, Pitta will be an instant upgrade over the likes of Dallas Clark and Ed Dickson, both of which have failed to take full advantage of their opportunities. He has always been a favorite of quarterback Joe Flacco, so expect the two to pick up right were they left off making him a viable fantasy option in deep leagues. 

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