5 Bold NFL Predictions for Week 14
Bold NFL Predictions
Week 14 is already upon us, and it makes me sad. I’m not ready for it to end. There are only a few more weeks of watching the Red Zone channel on Sunday afternoons before I’m forced to watch only one game at a time, like they used to do in my grandpa’s day. Oh well, let’s just enjoy these next five Sundays and appreciate them while they last.
Recap: Last week’s bold predictions, to put it diplomatically, were a total failure. 0-5 for the first time this year. I had some that were close, but not a single one panned out. First, I predicted Tua Tagovailoa would throw for 400 yards. He only threw for 280 yards and a couple of touchdowns, but he was pulled early in the 4th quarter due to a large lead. Who knows what might’ve happened had he stayed in the game? It’s possible he would have gotten 400 yards. It’s the second week in a row I got a Dolphins prediction wrong, so forgive me if I suspect Mike McDaniel is sabotaging my predictions on purpose. I also predicted Bijan Robinson would rush for 125+ yards. He ended up with less than half that. In fact, it was a pretty poor rushing day for the rookie.
I came close again with my prediction of Taysom Hill scoring 20 PPR fantasy points. He only scored 15.4, but you can’t complain about that if you had him in your lineup. I was also close about C.J. Stroud being held to 12 or fewer fantasy points by the Broncos. He finished with 16.1, his lowest output since Week 8. Lastly, I was wrong about the Carolina Panthers upsetting the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. They kept it close but couldn’t pull it out.
There’s no looking back for the prognosticator. We spend all our time looking towards the future, which is what I’m doing again with a fresh batch of NFL bold predictions.
Justin Has A Fields Day in Chicago
Earlier this season, Justin Fields had two monster games through the air in a row. He threw for a combined 617 yards and eight touchdowns in those games. For a moment, the “Bearly a quarterback” jokes (was I the only one making those?) stopped as Fields proved he could be a prolific passer, as well as a runner. Unfortunately, the next game is when he got injured, and he missed all or most of the next five games. Since his return, he hasn’t been able to pick up where he left off, throwing just one touchdown and averaging 193 yards in his two starts. In fact, he has totaled his most rushing attempts this season in each of the last two games. It seems that Fields’ flirtation with being a pocket passer was short-lived.
This week, the Bears host the Lions in a meaningful game for Detroit. The teams played two weeks ago, and Fields had a good day in a close game. He completed 70% of his passes, threw a touchdown, and didn’t commit any turnovers. But he really shined on the ground, rushing 18 times for 104 yards. The next week, Fields rushed 12 times. There’s no question that Fields is a running QB who can be an effective passer when he commits to it. It’s been a difficult year for Fields, ranking low (for him) 17th in fantasy points per game this season. But I think we’re going to see the best of Fields’ talent this week, both on the ground and through the air, as he gives us a glimpse into what we’ve been missing from him this season. I think he ends up as a top-three fantasy QB in Week 14.
Mattison Feasts at Vegas Buffet
Alexander Mattison has not done as well this season as most experts were expecting. I don’t think anyone thought he would step in and easily fill Dalvin Cook’s shoes, but he has zero rushing touchdowns this season, zero 100-yard rushing games, and is averaging just 3.8 yards per carry. He is 38th among running backs in fantasy points per game. Even at his late 5th round/early 6th round ADP, Mattison has to be considered a bust. One would have to wonder if he’s startable for an owner that needs a win this week to get into the fantasy playoffs. I believe he is. We’ve seen it before; a player has a ho-hum year only to save your fantasy season in the playoffs. I don’t know if Mattison will help your team beyond this week, but I do think he will get his first rushing touchdown against the Raiders this week. In fact, I think he will score twice! The Raiders' defense is 24th against the run in DVOA. They’ve given up multiple rushing touchdowns in five games this season. Since Joshua Dobbs has taken over at quarterback, Minnesota has shifted their offense to a more balanced approach, raising their rushing play percentage to 45% over the last few weeks. The opportunity will be there for Mattison this week, and I think he will take full advantage of it.
Cowboys Serve Lamb Chops to Visiting Eagles
The biggest game of the week is between the Eagles and Cowboys. A win by Dallas would put them in first place in the NFL East. A Philly win would put them in the driver’s seat for the division title. Both teams are among the best in the league, and this should be a fast-paced, exciting game. I have it projected with the highest total of the week. With so much scoring, there’s bound to be some big fantasy days from players on both teams. CeeDee Lamb has been on fire lately. Since the Cowboys' Week 7 bye, Lamb has averaged 29.2 PPR fantasy points (four more than Tyreek Hill). Lamb should have no problem continuing his dominant streak against the Eagles, who are allowing the fourth most passing yards in the league. They’re also giving up the most fantasy points to wide receivers. Big-time players step up in big-time games, and I expect Lamb to do just that. I’m predicting 40 PPR fantasy points for Lamb this week.
Air Jordan Soars in New York
Contrary to the headline, Michael Jordan is not visiting New York this week. At least not to my knowledge. However, Jordan Love is, and he has been airing it out lately. The Green Bay quarterback has 857 yards with eight touchdowns and no interceptions in the last three weeks, leading his team to victories over the Lions, Chiefs, and Chargers. Love seems to finally be finding his groove after a rough patch this season. It’s entirely possible he becomes another great Packers quarterback. He’s not there yet, but he has a good matchup against the Giants this week and should put in another solid performance.
On paper, the Giants’ defense ranks fairly high defending the pass. However, much of that can be attributed to their league-worst -11.1 margin of victory. Teams haven’t had to pass much to beat them. But Green Bay has shifted to a more pass-heavy approach. In the last four weeks, the Packers are throwing the ball 37 times a game. I think they will continue to focus on passing the ball, regardless of game script. Green Bay is in the playoff hunt, and they need Love’s confidence to continue to grow. I see them letting him air it out all game, which I think will be enough for Love to lead the league in passing yards this week.
Tight End’s Kraftsmanship on Display
Sticking with the Packers, when the quarterback shines, so will his receivers. This week, I think a rookie will be the one to benefit the most from Love’s passing. Tucker Kraft was the second tight end taken by Green Bay in this year’s draft. He hasn’t contributed much this season, catching just 10 passes. However, six of those catches have come in the last two weeks while starter Luke Musgrave has been out. Kraft has an 81% route participation in those games, which is higher than Musgrave’s was. Kraft also caught a touchdown last week, so he has Love’s trust. I think Kraft can have a mini-breakout game this week. A 6-30-1 stat line would get him 15 PPR fantasy points. I think that’s attainable, so if you’re desperate for a TE, Kraft could be your guy this week.
Doug Burrell finished 2022 as Fantasy Nerd's Most Accurate Expert in NFL Picks and Tallysight's #1 ranked expert Against the Spread Expert out of 200+ experts. He is a veteran, a runner and an avid fantasy sports enthusiast since 1999. You can reach him on Twitter @dougwburrell. Doug is a veteran, an avid runner, and works as a copywriter. He lives in North Carolina with his wife and three dogs.