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Top Picks for Underdog Fantasy Pick'em Week 14

By Matt Schauf 10:05am EST 12/7/23

Can We Learn from Last Week’s Misses?

Week 13 delivered our fifth straight week of going better than .500 on these picks.

But celebrating victories doesn’t help you win in the future as much as trying to understand why you lost. And there are some potential lessons in that area of last week’s result.

Should You Play All These Guys?

Let’s start with a point that should be obvious: We don’t post this article every week to say you need to play all these picks.

These are options. We know some will miss every week. So we’re trying to whittle down the list to those that appear least likely to miss.

I’ve recently added the step of highlighting which plays I wouldn’t be comfortable with, even though they fit the framework.

But no matter how much we whittle, there will always be luck involved. That’s how football goes. So be strategic in who and how you play. And we’ll keep trying to stack more individual wins than losses.

Plenty Changes During the Week

I note it every week before getting into the plays, but make sure you keep in mind how much can change during the week. Lock in a Pick’em play at noon Wednesday, and you might get a player at a better number than he’ll have later in the week. But you’re also jumping ahead of the week’s injury reports.

I thought about marking Travis Etienne a “not recommended” last week just because of his recent inefficiency. By the weekend, though, he was questionable for the game. That certainly would have made his “over” a no-go, regardless of matchup.

Keep risk factors like that in mind as you play. Just because a guy’s active doesn’t mean he’s “safe.”

Keep Range of Outcomes in Mind

I made Derrick Henry’s rushing-yards over a “not recommended” pick last week primarily because his workloads had suffered in losses, his team was an underdog, and he didn’t hit his market line in the first Colts meeting.

He, of course, went well over his 62.5-yard line in Week 13.

So was it a mistake to not recommend him? Ultimately yes, because it proved wrong. I’ll probably still use a similar process in other cases, though.

Setting your Pick’em play isn’t the same as setting your fantasy lineup.

If you sit Henry for another RB in you lineup, then you’re missing out on points. In Underdog Fantasy Pick’em, how Henry fares has no relevance to the guys you do play.

In other words: You aren’t not playing Henry here. You’re simply opting for a more attractive range of outcomes.

You don’t need to make a decision on every player listed here. You just need to find some plays that you like.

Season-to-Date Results

We could keep going, but let’s shift to the full recap and then move on to the Week 14 picks.

  • Week 1: 13-22 (three injured)
  • Week 2: 14-14 (four injured)
  • Week 3: 11-10
  • Week 4: 9-11 (two injured)
  • Week 5: 14-11 (three injured)
  • Week 6: 15-20 (three injured)
  • Week 7: 4-8
  • Week 8: 7-8
  • Week 9: 15-10 (one injured)
  • Week 10: 8-4
  • Week 11: 10-4
  • Week 12: 17-6 (two injured)
  • Week 13: 12-9 (one injured)
  • Overall: 149-137

 

Top Picks for Underdog Fantasy Pick’em

As always, the market lines and our projections will be subject to change throughout the week. Make sure you check our Week 14 fantasy football rankings for updated plays along the way.

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Passing Yards

Matthew Stafford, Los Angeles Rams
Draft Sharks projection: 230.9
Underdog: 200.5
Difference: 30.4

Gardner Minshew, Indianapolis Colts
DS projection: 263.5
Underdog: 239.5
Difference: 24

Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys
DS projection: 315.3
Underdog: 291.5
Difference: 23.8

Not Recommended: Brock Purdy, San Francisco 49ers
DS projection: 271.4
Underdog: 256.5
Difference: 14.9

Jared Goff, Detroit Lions
DS projection: 259.9
Underdog: 247.5
Difference: 12.4

Not Recommended: Justin Fields, Chicago Bears
DS projection: 185.2
Underdog: 195.5
Difference: -10.3

Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills
DS projection: 243.5
Underdog: 255.5
Difference: -12

Geno Smith, Seattle Seahawks
DS projection: 230.6
Underdog: 244.5
Difference: -13.9

Justin Herbert, Los Angeles Chargers
DS projection: 244.4
Underdog: 258.5
Difference: -14.1

Bryce Young, Carolina Panthers
DS projection: 171.5
Underdog: 188.5
Difference: -17

Not Recommended: Jalen Hurts, Philadelphia Eagles
DS projection: 230
Underdog: 257.5
Difference: -27.5

Why ‘Not’?

Brock Purdy: This feels a bit like a trap, coming off a 314-yard passing day at Philly that came despite his second-shortest average target depth all season. The 49ers head toward Sunday as 10.5-point favorites against a team they beat by 18 just two weeks ago. Purdy threw for just 209 yards on 30 attempts in that game. Frankly, I’m just not sure they’ll need him to do a whole lot here. I wouldn’t be scared to play Purdy in a fantasy lineup, but there’s no need to chase his over here.

Justin Fields: Fields threw for just 169 yards in the Week 11 loss to the Lions. But he’s still averaging 198.4 passing yards per game for the season. And Detroit still rates much tougher in run-defense DVOA (-15.6%) than vs. the pass (+6.2%).

Jalen Hurts: He has thrown for 207 yards or less in three of his past four outings, including the first meeting with Dallas. But Hurts attempted just 23 passes in that one and matched his season high at 9.0 yards per attempt. Why go against him reaching a makeable mark this week? That 257.5-yard line sits just 7.9 higher than his per-game average.

Receiving Yards

CeeDee Lamb, Dallas Cowboys
DS projection: 108.1
Underdog: 91.5
Difference: 16.6

Drake London, Atlanta Falcons
DS projection: 59.7
Underdog: 46.5
Difference: 13.2

Deebo Samuel, San Francisco 49ers
DS projection: 60.2
Underdog: 47.5
Difference: 12.7

Rushing Yards

Chuba Hubbard, Carolina Panthers
DS projection: 61.9
Underdog: 49.5
Difference: 12.4

Christian McCaffrey, San Francisco 49ers
DS projection: 90.5
Underdog: 79.5
Difference: 11

RB Total Yards

Christian McCaffrey, San Francisco 49ers
DS projection: 127
Underdog: 115.5
Difference: 11.5

‘Not Recommended’ Results

In this category, a bad record is good. Because these are the guys who qualify by the projections but that I’m suggesting you don’t use in your Underdog Fantasy Pick’ems.

  • Week 9: 2-4
  • Week 10: 1-2
  • Week 11: 2-1
  • Week 12: 3-2
  • Week 13: 3-3
  • Total: 11-12

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