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Fantasy Insider: Players To Start In Week 14

Scott Engel of RotoExperts.com has more than 20 years of experience in the Fantasy industry and is an inaugural member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association’s Hall of Fame. This is his seventh season providing Fantasy Football coverage and advice on Seahawks.com.

With a dominant win over the 49ers last week, the Seahawks further bolstered their NFC playoff positioning for now. In the process, they also helped many Fantasy owners secure their own postseason berths in what was the final week of the regular season in most leagues. Tyler Lockett, Russell Wilson and the Seahawks defense delivered quality Fantasy performances that helped owners land important regular season finale wins. Now, in the first round of the Fantasy postseason, it’s win or have your season ended. Experienced Fantasy players will know the core of their starting lineups. There’s no more time for speculative fliers and stashes. Success stories off the waiver wire are more rare, and for the most part, you should not bench your standout performers regardless of matchups. Don’t overthink things and stick mainly with the players that have taken you this far. But in some cases for every Fantasy team, injuries will cause anxiety and you will have to continue to stream players at some positions. Just be firm on your decisions and don’t overanalyze. Your first choice in a close lineup call is often the right one, and if not, there are always Fantasy analysts like myself to help you make a tough decision. We won’t waver when we make calls to help you win.

Notable Starters For Week 14:

Running Backs

Jaylen Samuels vs. OAK: We lead with the most popular waiver add of the week, because he is making Fantasy history on some Fantasy platforms. Not only is Samuels expected to be the Steelers’ starting running back against the Raiders, but he actually qualifies as a tight end on some sites. That makes him the most unique free agent add in Fantasy history that most anyone in the industry can remember. Never before have Fantasy owners been able to gain significant rushing carries from a qualified TE before. The rookie played TE and other positions at N.C. State. Even if you can only use him as a RB, you have to utilize Samuels against a Raiders defense that has allowed an NFL-high 1,566 rushing yards to opposing running backs.

Austin Ekeler vs. CIN: Melvin Gordon will not play again this week, and Ekeler will get another crack at a significant workload after seeing nearly 80 percent of the snaps in Week 13. Justin Jackson flashed some promise last week in a big win at Pittsburgh and was a popular waiver addition this week. His time to help Fantasy teams more may be coming soon. But Ekeler has the edge in experience and he is a proven versatile performer. The Bengals allow a league-high 27.43 Fantasy Points Per Game to opposing running backs on NFL.com, so both Ekeler and Jackson could make some statistical noise this week. But maintain faith in Ekeler as a RB2/flex type this time.

LeGarrette Blount vs. ARI: The losses of some key RBs are forcing some Fantasy owners to turn to their bench depth or scramble for replacements on waivers. Blount qualified in both regards when he stepped in for an injured Kerryon Johnson and banged out nearly 80 yards and scored twice on Thanksgiving vs. Chicago. Now you can turn to Blount in the first round of your Fantasy playoffs if you need to fill a hole. He’s shown that he is not done and the Cardinals have allowed an NFC-high 25.54 FFPG to RBs. They have also allowed an NFL-high 15 rushing TDs to the position.

Kenyan Drake vs. NE: He’s been up and down Fantasy wise this year, but Drake has been explosive at times and the Dolphins always give the Patriots a hard time when they host them in South Florida. Drake has receiving scores in each of his past two games and three TDS overall during that span. Two weeks ago, he had 96 yards from scrimmage and two TDs. The Patriots have allowed 77 receptions to running backs, the third-highest total among AFC teams, and Drake has the potential to be versatile and productive again this week. He certainly deserves flex consideration in PPR leagues.

Wide Receivers

Tyler Lockett vs. MIN: This one seems to push directly against what the statistics tell us. The Vikings have allowed nine TD receptions to opposing WRs, the third-best defensive total in the league. But Lockett appears to be matchup proof in the TD department this year, with nine scoring receptions in 12 games. Yet the Cowboys have also allowed just nine TD catches to WRs, and Lockett scored against them this year. The vaunted Bears defense has allowed 12 TD passes to WRs and Lockett scored against them, too. No matter the matchup right now, you must keep Lockett in your lineups as a Fantasy WR3. The Russell Wilson/Lockett combination is one of the most unstoppable scoring combinations in the league.

Adam Humphries vs. NO: Buccaneers-Saints is expected to be one of the most Fantasy-friendly games of the week, and Humphries should certainly have a contributing role in this expected shootout. Humphries has emerged as a quality Fantasy starter in recent weeks, with 26 receptions and five TDs in his past five games. Lock him in against a Saints defense that has allowed a league-high 30.60 FFPG to WRs.

Courtland Sutton vs. SF: The Broncos are without both of their starting WRs from the beginning of the season, and the exciting Sutton now is pushed into a role where he now must operate as the team’s No. 1 WR. The very talented rookie does get a prime matchup this week. Sutton has been hailed for his potential as a red zone threat, and the 49ers have allowed an NFL-high 19 TDs to WRs. As Seahawks fans saw last week, the Niners are very vulnerable on the right side of their secondary, and if Sutton can avoid Richard Sherman for much of the day he should be very productive.

Amari Cooper vs. PHI: Many Cooper owners who have him by now are considering him as a regular starter, but we provide this analysis in case you still have any lingering doubts. Cooper has caught eight passes with 256 yards in each of the past two games and has three TD receptions in five games as a Cowboy. Now he faces the Eagles in a huge NFC East matchup. Philadelphia has allowed 2,304 receiving yards to WRs, the second-highest total in the NFL. Cooper could be a significant reason why your Fantasy team advances to the next round of the playoffs.

Tight Ends, Defenses and Kickers

Carolina rookie Ian Thomas steps in for the injured Greg Olsen and should be monitored for possible contributions for next week if he performs well against Cleveland. … Sam Darnold will return for the Jets, boosting the outlook of Chris Herndon again. … The Giants defense is a sneaky stream for the second consecutive week against Washington. … The Saints are looking like a consistent starting option and should stack up some sacks and turnovers against Tampa Bay. … Michael Badgley of the Chargers is a quality kicker stream against the Bengals, and consider Dallas’ Brett Maher this week.

Seahawks Fantasy Focus

Minnesota has allowed an NFL-low 15 TD passes to opposing QBs, but with multiple TD passes in eight consecutive game and 11 in his last four, Russell Wilson deserves QB1 consideration in any matchup. Doug Baldwin will be a threat to score again from short range, and can be used in larger leagues. Chris Carson faces a sturdy defensive front, but will be ready for the challenge with his physical style, so you should at least get respectable flex production from him. Carson’s approach vs. the Minnesota front should be one of the most interesting matchups to watch. The Vikings have allowed the third-most FFPG to kickers (9.00) so consider using Sebastian Janikowski this week.

For more Week 14 advice and tips from Scott Engel and the RotoExperts team, get theXclusive Edge Fantasy Football Package on RotoExperts.com. Use promocode “seahawks” at checkout for a special discount.

The Seahawks and the Vikings will meet for the 15th time in the regular season this Sunday in Seattle. Take a look back at photos from past games played between the two teams.

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