Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston (3) has lots to recommend him as a Week 14 fantasy football starter. Reed Hoffmann Associated Press
Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston (3) has lots to recommend him as a Week 14 fantasy football starter. Reed Hoffmann Associated Press

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Tampa Bay’s Jameis Winston a must-play against porous Saints pass defense

By Alan Satterlee

Correspondent

December 09, 2016 06:23 PM

Jameis Winston (Tampa Bay) has big upside at home against the New Orleans Saints’ 31st-ranked pass defense. With Tampa and Atlanta tied for the lead in the NFC South, the Bucs need a victory. And coming off a couple of below-average games, look for Winston to get back over 300-plus yards with three touchdowns this week.

▪  Both Devonta Freeman (Atlanta) and Tevin Coleman are strong starts against the Los Angeles Rams, who are second-worst against the run over their past three games, allowing nearly 147 yards per game. With Julio Jones battling a turf toe injury and Mohamed Sanu likely out, look for Atlanta to lean even more heavily on Freeman and Coleman.

▪  There has been no slowing Larry Fitzgerald (Arizona), who leads the NFL with 89 receptions. He’s third all-time with 1,106 career receptions and could have another double-digit catch game against Miami.

▪  Golden Tate (Detroit) was averaging 3.4 receptions and 26.8 yards in his first five games, but since then he’s averaged nearly seven receptions and 90 yards per game. Tate has been the sixth-best fantasy receiver since Week 6, and he’s locked in as a must-start this week.

Players to avoid

▪  After averaging 176 yards rushing per game in Weeks 6-9, Jay Ajayi (Miami) has dropped to 66 yards rushing per game over his past four games. This week he’ll face an Arizona defense that allows the fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs.

▪  Doug Martin (Tampa Bay) gets a great matchup against the Saints, but the Bucs have said they plan to get Jacquizz Rodgers more liberally involved. Martin is also limited with a knee injury he sustained late in last week’s game.

▪  Devontae Booker (Denver) drops considerably in this week’s rankings after the team signed Justin Forsett. Booker has really struggled in the featured-back role, averaging 2.8 yards per carry on 95 rushing attempts over his past five games.

▪  LeGarrette Blount (New England) leads the NFL in rushing touchdowns and he’s a decent bet to score in any given week. But don’t expect a big game against the Ravens, who allow a league-low 73.8 yards rushing per game.

Week 14 sleepers

▪  Cam Newton (Carolina) was correctly on the “avoid” list last week but should rebound at home after a tough two-game road stretch where he completed just 46 percent of his attempts. This game could be a shootout between Newton and Phillip Rivers.

▪  Joe Flacco (Baltimore) is on the start list for Week 14 because he’ll have to try to keep up with Tom Brady and New England. Flacco is coming off a season-high 381 passing yards and four touchdowns, and the Ravens have historically played very well against the Patriots, including last year in the playoffs when Flacco passed for 292 yards and four touchdowns.

▪  Andy Dalton (Cincinnati) had his first 300-yard, two-touchdown game since Week 7 last week, and he faces a Cleveland defense that allows the second-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks. The Browns are allowing 29.3 points per game, second-worst in the league, and Dalton has thrown multiple touchdown passes in three consecutive games against the Browns.

▪  Justin Forsett (Denver) will instantly be plugged as a change-of-pace back with Kapri Bibbs placed on injured reserve. Forsett knows the Broncos offense well, having played for Gary Kubiak at Baltimore (where Forsett had his best season in 2014).

▪  Sterling Shepard (N.Y. Giants) should be in the mix against Dallas, which ranks 31st against the pass over their past three games at nearly 316 yards per game. Shepard has scored a touchdown in four of his past five games.

▪  Antonio Gates (San Diego) needs two touchdowns to tie the all-time record for touchdown catches by a tight end, so look for him to get added looks in the red zone. Rivers will work to make that happen over the last month of the season, which could be Gates’ final four games before he heads to the Pro Football Hall of Fame as soon as he’s eligible.

Alan Satterlee is a co-owner and senior writer for DynastyFootballWarehouse.com, a comprehensive fantasy football strategy site.