The first week of the fantasy football playoffs are behind us and there is plenty to talk about. Most fantasy leagues feature a two week playoff matchup format, so some owners still have a chance to redeem themselves this coming weekend. For the leagues that are already into their second round of playoffs, things are going to start getting even more intense. There were a lot of great performances in Week 14, and here is a list of some of the most notable.
Le’Veon Bell, RB Pittsburgh Steelers:
There were a lot of big fantasy performances this week, but none were better than Le’Veon Bell’s game Sunday night against the Ravens. The veteran running back had his second best game of the season while only receiving 13 rushes, but was able to turn that into 48 yards and two touchdowns. In a game where quarterback Ben Roethlisberger threw the ball 66 times, Bell stayed productive by also catching nine passes for 77 yards and a touchdown. With his dual-threat talent, he gave owners 30.5 fantasy points in standard scoring which was just behind his season high of 30.6 points against Baltimore in Week 4. After a slow first couple of weeks to start the year, Bell has ended up having the season everyone expected when he was a Top-3 pick in almost every league this summer by averaging 16.8 fantasy points per game. The Steelers are currently the best team in the AFC and will continue to play hard the final three weeks as they head into the playoffs. Keep rolling Bell out there no matter the game because he is an elite, matchup proof fantasy running back.
Ben Roethlisberger, QB Pittsburgh Steelers:
Le’Veon Bell may have been the highest scoring player this week, but his quarterback didn’t trail very far behind him. Ben Roethlisberger threw the ball a whopping 66 times in a high scoring game against a very good Ravens’ defense. The veteran quarterback threw for 506 yards and two touchdowns giving owners 28.7 fantasy points in standard scoring. Roethlisberger started the year slow, but since the team’s Week 9 bye, he has 14 passing touchdowns and has given owners at least 28 fantasy points in three of the last four games. Big Ben is leading the Steelers into the playoffs with his impressive performances, and that should continue in Week 14 when they play host to the Patriots for a rematch of last year’s AFC Championship game. The Patriots’ defense has looked a lot better recently, but they just gave up three passing touchdowns to Jay Cutler Monday night. Continue starting Roethlisberger as a QB1 the rest of the way.
DeAndre Hopkins, WR Houston Texans:
It doesn’t seem to matter who the quarterback is, DeAndre Hopkins is elite with anyone throwing the ball. The talented wide receiver started Sunday’s game with Tom Savage under center, but after Savage was injured, T.J. Yates had to come in as a replacement. Hopkins’ numbers weren’t affected by the change at quarterback as he finished the day with 11 catches for 149 yards and two touchdowns. The Texans have had three different signal callers play this season, but every week they find a way to get the ball in the hands of their best offensive playmaker. Hopkins’ big day gave him 24.9 fantasy points in standard scoring and was his
second best game of the season. The fifth-year wide receiver is on pace for 108 catches, 1,518 yards, and 14 touchdowns; he only trails Antonio Brown in overall production. This could end up being Hopkins’ best season yet and is set to surpass his breakout campaign from 2015. He is proving to fantasy owners that he deserves to be a first-round pick next season being taken right after Brown.
Jonathan Stewart, RB Carolina Panthers:
The Carolina Panthers won a crucial game against the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday to help keep them in the race for a playoff spot. The offense was helped greatly by Jonathan Stewart who could not be kept out of the end-zone. The veteran running back ran the ball 16 times for 103 yards and three touchdowns. His first score came on a 60-yard run in the first quarter, while the other two were from goal line rushes later in the contest. This was easily Stewart’s best game of the season, and he provided owners with 28.3 fantasy points in standard scoring. Christian McCaffrey has been getting most of the attention in the Panthers’ backfield this season but hasn’t been able to be a consistent fantasy contributor so far in his young career. Stewart has received double-digit carries in all but one game this season and is getting most of the goal line carries, making him the Carolina running back you’d want to start the rest of the season. Slot the 10th year player in as a mid-range flex option the rest of the way.
Davante Adams, WR Green Bay Packers:
It has been a tough season so far for the Green Bay Packers. Ever since quarterback Aaron Rodgers got injured in Week 6, the offense has looked very inconsistent with Brett Hundley under center. After barely beating the Browns Sunday, Packers’ fans were relieved to hear that Rodgers was medically cleared to play starting this week. One player who hasn’t seen his numbers drop since the loss of Rodgers is wide receiver, Davante Adams. The fourth-year receiver caught 10 passes for 84 yards and two touchdowns Sunday and has shown great chemistry with Hundley. Adams gave owners a season-high of 20.4 fantasy points in standard scoring and is on pace to record his first 1,000-yard season in the NFL. Fantasy owners have been pleased to see that his numbers haven’t fallen off as they have with fellow receivers, Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb. Adams is now a Top-10 scoring wide receiver in fantasy football, and he will look to stay that way over the final few weeks of the season.