We'll start off the DFS action early this week and get right to the quarterbacks on Monday. Looking back on our Week 13 quarterback list, there were mixed results. Our top plays, Philip Rivers and Russell Wilson performed well, but Trevor Siemian proved to be an awful call. As always, we take from our missteps and learn from them to come back even better this week.
For our Week 14 quarterback evaluation, we'll include the full Thursday-Monday slate of games. A majority of the targets will come from Sunday games, but the presence of three of the game's top quarterbacks playing on Thursday and Monday expand our list to include those slates.
Alex Smith, KC v. OAK, ($8,200)
Just when it seemed the Kansas City Chiefs offense couldn't put together a 10-piece puzzle and the calls for Patrick Mahomes echoed throughout the country, Smith comes out and delivers an MVP-like performance. In Week 13, Smith threw for 366 yards, four touchdowns and capped it all off with 70 rushing yards. His 37.65-point FanDuel performance won people a lot of money.
Now Smith and the Chiefs get a much easier opponent defensively and it comes in a critical game. With a three-way tie in the AFC West and the Raiders holding an edge due to an earlier win this season against Kansas City, the Chiefs must win this game. Oakland's defense ranks last in the league in average net yards per attempt and the secondary is depleted with injuries. This will once again by a Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce game, so we'll ride the Smith wave with them.
Tom Brady, NE @ MIA, ($9,500)
While Brady will likely be without the services of both Rob Gronkowski and Chris Hogan, other quarterback matchups force us to go with Brady as this week's top play. Carson Wentz faces a Los Angeles Rams defense that ranks sixth-best in the NFL in average net yards per attempt per Setting the Edge's Charles McDonald. research. Meanwhile, Philip Rivers and Drew Brees face tough matchups against top-15 pass defenses.
So our attention turns toward Brady, who faces a Miami Dolphins defense that is 25th in the NFL in average net yards per attempt and allowed the most touchdown passes in the past four weeks (10). Bill Belichick will find a way to make this offense fire on all cylinders, even without the team's top two receiving weapons. Especially coming off an ugly performance by Brady's standards, expect a strong bounceback from the Patriots next week on Monday Night Football.
DeShone Kizer, GB v. CLE, ($6,400)
Kizer is slowly showing more progress as the season goes along, a positive development after a rough start to the season. Early on the rookie got dragged down by poor decisions, bad surrounding talent and frequent drops, now things are changing. This past week we saw Kizer play with NFL starting-caliber weapons and young players developing with more time. Corey Coleman is a weapon with his speed, David Njoku is developing nicely and Josh Gordon looks like his old self.
Facing a Green Bay Packers defense that is bottom sixth in the league in passing yards allowed (3,123) and could also run into issues with Kizer's ability to rack up chunks of rushing yards. Kizer scored 14-plus FanDuel points in four of his past five contest and 20-plus points in two of those outings, so the production is starting to come through for him. He already showed chemistry with Gordon on Sunday and both could put up strong numbers this week. Pair all of this with the pricing and it's easy to see Kizer's appeal.
Jimmy Garoppolo, SF @ HOU, ($7,000)
In his first start with the 49ers, Garoppolo showed plenty of promise that will leave 49ers fans excited. Against a quality defense on the road, Garoppolo completed 26 of 37 pass attempts and fell just three yards short of a 300-yard performance. He elevated the play of his wide receivers, showed the ability to put the ball on target at all levels of the field and could evade pressure.
Now he faces a Houston Texans defense that allowed the seventh-most passing yards (1,692) and fourth-most passing touchdowns (13) since Week 7. Garoppolo might struggle at some points in the game with time to throw, wide receivers Trent Taylor and Marquise Goodwin should have some opportunities to get open and create yards after the catch in this game. Garoppolo is a quality streaming quarterback in season-long leagues this week and someone to get shares of in cash games as a great value play.
Nathan Peterman, BUF v. IND, ($6,100)
While the Buffalo Bills didn't rule out Tyrod Taylor on Monday and he avoided a major injury, his patellar tendon contusion is likely to keep him out in Week 14. As a result, Peterman becomes a cheap quarterback option that we'll consider with his matchup against the Indianapolis Colts.
Peterman's first start in the NFL went poorly with five interceptions in one half and it saw him immediately pulled from the game. However, he showed flashes as a fill-in when Taylor left the game in Week 13 and Peterman's price means his point total doesn't need to be exceptionally high for him to return on our investment. The Colts' defense is a bottom-10 pass unit in the NFL and without its top two cornerbacks. If Peterman can reach 230-plus yards and a touchdown, he'll reach value and allow FanDuel users to spend up at other positions.
Quarterbacks to Avoid
Josh McCown, NYJ @ DEN, ($7,600)
McCown is turning in incredible performances on a weekly basis and as a 38-year-old, posting the best numbers of his career. One of the game's top fantasy quarterbacks in the past five weeks, McCown still doesn't receive enough love for what he is doing this year for the Jets' offense. All of that said, we'll need to avoid McCown this week as he faces a Denver Broncos defense that will see Aqib Talib back on the field this week.
The matchup against a defense with Talib and Chris Harris Jr., who can match up with Robby Anderson and Jermaine Kearse, is a poor one for McCown. He offers some rushing ability that could add two points to his line, but this will likely be a low-scoring game where the fantasy output leaves him as a bench candidate. Add in his price as a top-12 quarterback and he is just someone we'll want to avoid this week.
Russell Wilson, SEA @ JAX, ($7,700)
Wilson should be right near Brady in the MVP discussion. The numbers he continues to put up this season are incredible, but it's even more remarkable the level to which he is carrying this offense on a weekly basis with all the pressure on him. In season-long leagues he'll certainly be locked into your lineups in Week 14, but it's best to try and avoid him this week against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The flight from Seattle to Jacksonville is one of the longest trips an NFL team will make this season and that in itself provides a negative impact on the entire Seahawks team. We've seen the negative impacts flying from one coast to another will have on a team, so there's no reason to think that won't be the case for Seattle. Even more concerning is the matchup against one of the best defenses in NFL history. Jacksonville will put significant pressure on Russell Wilson thanks to a bad Seahawks' offensive line.
Wilson will be able to buy himself time and he continues to show that ability allows his wide receivers to get open and he can drop the ball on a dime. But facing the Jaguars' secondary with Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye, will make things far tougher than normal for Seattle's wide receivers. Given Wilson's price, the other quarterbacks available, Wilson's matchup and the flight, he is the quarterback to avoid this week in DFS.