Week 14 is upon us. If you are a fantasy football owner, and you are reading this breakdown, it likely means that your fantasy football squad is either in the playoffs or still in the hunt for the playoffs. Congratulations! (Or, it may mean that your teams are out of the running and you are addicted to either fantasy football or my commentary on these Thursday night games. Either way, I kindly suggest seeking some counseling.)
I’m not sure what it is about this Thursday night schedule, but even the games we expect to be fantasy-relevant fall flat. I’m looking at you Drew Brees. On behalf of fantasy football owners everywhere, thanks for the 3-point outing last week in a game your team needed to stay in the playoff hunt. Ugh.
This week we have one of the top offenses (Denver Broncos and Peyton Manning) going against one of the bottom defenses (Oakland Raiders and whatever player you’d like to name) in an AFC West showdown. Let’s hope that we see a lot of scoring and a lot of TDs and given that the fantasy playoffs are upon us, here are three players you should consider playing, even on a Thursday night:
1. Knowshon Moreno
It pains me to type his name actually, but once Willis McGahee went down and Coach John Fox pulled the Hillman-Shuffle on us, you have to consider Moreno if for no other reason than opportunity. Since Moreno was given the starting job two weeks ago, he has averaged over 24 touches. While he hasn’t found the end zone and certainly isn’t lighting the field on fire with a sub-4 yard per carry average, Moreno should see a lot of action against the Raiders’ D which ranks dead last versus opposing RBs over the past five weeks. Expect Moreno to rush for 80 yards and to catch 3 passes for another 18 yards.
2. Darrius Heyward-Bey
DHB has been a DHBust since his double-digit effort against the Baltimore Ravens in Week 10 but since fellow-WR Denarius Moore will likely match up against Denver’s top DB, Champ Bailey, Heyward-Bey should benefit from seeing more single-coverage during the game. In the season’s earlier meeting, Heyward-Bey wasn’t active as he was recovering from a concussion — having him on the field this week will allow QB Carson Palmer another veteran receiver to look for. As long as the Raiders’ OL can keep Palmer relatively clean, I look for DHB to grab 5 catches for 65 yards and score a TD.
3. Brandon Myers
If you own Myers you probably don’t need me telling you to start him, but some owners might be debating Myers over a more familiar TE name like Antonio Gates, Brandon Pettigrew or even Tony Gonzalez. Myers has been fantasy football’s number-two TE over the past five weeks, falling short of the number-one spot to Jimmy Graham by less than a point. Myers has been fantasy’s most-targeted TE during that span, and this doesn’t look to change against the Broncos’ tonight. I expect Palmer to be playing from behind, and expect Myers to be an early and often target – pencil him in for at least seven catches for 60 yards and a TD.
Let’s hope this game pans out for fantasy football owners better than last week’s did, and good luck in your matchups this week!