Week 14 Late Slate Fantasy Preview

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    Chiefs (-435) @ Broncos (+9) O/U: 44

     

    Key storylines/What to watch

    If we looked ahead to this matchup at the start of the season, we probably would have assumed there would be division title implications. Oh, how quickly things change. The Broncos have the worst scoring offense in the league while the Chiefs have the best, but both are looking to get back into the win column. Kansas City got socked in the mouth by the surging Bengals last week, while Denver is looking to snap a four-game slide. With things looking doubtful for Courtland Sutton (hamstring) this week, the Broncos will have an even tougher time putting points on the board. Meanwhile, the Chiefs have the opposite situation, potentially getting Kadarius Toney (hamstring) back after he returned to practice in a limited capacity.

     

    Top Starts

     

    TE Greg Dulcich

    Head coach Nathaniel Hackett said earlier this week that they are using Dulcich in a “wide receiver role”, which is always music to the ears of fantasy managers and makes sense with Sutton looking unlikely to play. While the target volume hasn’t necessarily been there for Dulcich over the past month, like both Jerry Jeudy and Sutton, Dulcich has run 30-plus routes in all of his past four games. There’s always some bust risk when you depend on a fantasy asset on a league-worst offense, but the floor should be there and that’s what we’re chasing at tight end anyways.

     

    RB Isiah Pacheco

    The Broncos are much stiffer against wide receivers (2nd-fewest fantasy points allowed) than running backs (8th-fewest fantasy points allowed), so look for Pacheco to keep building on his late-season breakout. Back in Week 12, Pacheco hung 15.1 fantasy points on the Rams (7th-fewest fantasy points allowed to RBs), so I don’t think the matchup with Denver will faze him. The second-half usage in the Week 13 loss to the Bengals wasn’t great for Pacheco, but that was largely a product of negative game script as the Chiefs found themselves trying to mount a comeback. That is highly unlikely to be the case against the lowly Broncos, so Pacheco is likely to return to 20-plus total touches like he had against the Rams. It is a brutal bye week for those fantasy managers with a sizable chunk of early-round running backs, so Pacheco is a no-brainer RB2 this week.

     

    Boom/Bust Dart-Throws

     

    WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling

    It’s tempting to nominate a nearly healthy Toney in this spot, but the Broncos have actually allowed the 2nd-lowest YAC in the league (behind just the Panthers). That throws a bit of a wet blanket over Toney since his electricity in the middle of the field would likely be mostly contained. Instead, I’m going to pivot over to MVS and bet on at least a couple of home run swings from Patrick Mahomes. Despite allowing the 2nd-fewest passing yards per game in football, the Broncos have actually only been 7th-best at limiting aDOT. They’re also surprisingly generous when it comes to giving quarterbacks breathing room with a middling 22.3% pressure rate and 8.0% hurry rate. This should give Mahomes the time he needs to send a few deep balls to Valdes-Scantling. When it comes to elimination weeks in fantasy, I always say go big or go home.

     

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    Panthers (+3.5) @ Seahawks (-180) O/U 44.5

     

    Key storylines/What to watch

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