2022 Fantasy Football Week 14 Sleepers Heat Check

by Malcolm McMillan
2022 Fantasy Football Week 14 Sleepers Heat Check

Week 14 of the 2022 NFL season is here! This means it's time for the 2022 Fantasy Football Week 14 Sleepers Heat Check!

This week on The Lateral Show we had a very special guest! Bo McBrayer from FantasyPros joined us to talk about the situation in San Francisco now that Jimmy Garoppolo is out for the rest of the regular season. We also discussed our favorite "better than crappy" streaming tight ends going forward. You definitely won't want to miss this episode.

This week we have six teams on bye and many players nursing injuries. So this may be one of the more important editions of the Heat Check, especially with your playoff hopes potentially on the line. Luckily, I found three wide receivers that you can probably find in your leagues performing as a Top 36 wide receiver in half-point-per-reception (half-PPR) scoring. The question that remains — should you add them?

2022 Fantasy Football Week 14 Sleepers Heat Check

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Week 13 Heat Check Recap

In the 2022 Fantasy Football Week 13 Sleepers Heat Check I told you to pick up Ryan Tannehill but to keep him on your bench in a tough matchup against the Philadelphia Eagles. Hopefully, you listened and left him on the bench, because he got crushed in an embarrassing Tennessee Titans loss. For those with the courage to hold, you now get a great matchup against the Jacksonville Jaguars followed by a great matchup against the Los Angeles Chargers. If you didn't pick up Tannehill, good news! He's still widely available if you need a streaming option.

Speaking of streaming options, you may need one if you took my advice and picked up Nico Collins. Collins did live up to expectations and produced WR27 numbers in half-PPR leagues, but he has a foot injury and won't suit up for the Houston Texans this week. Hold Collins if you can, but if you need to cut him to survive, do what you must.

Finally, I said to stay away from Van Jefferson — unless you were going to play him this week against the Las Vegas Raiders. That looked like dumb advice until new Los Angeles Rams quarterback Baker Mayfield threw a touchdown to Jefferson in the final seconds of the game. Jefferson finished with 11.4 half-PPR points, which isn't amazing but will almost certainly be a Top 36 performance. Despite the solid performance, he only caught two passes. I'm still staying away going forward given the poor matchups he gets to end the season.

As always, I covered my methodology for the Heat Check in the Week 1 article, so read that if you want to know how the Heat Check is done. The only difference this week is our sample size is strictly Week 11 to Week 13 of the 2022 NFL season.

Wide Receivers

Richie James, New York Giants

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Spoiler alert: all three of these wide receivers are back-to-back-to-back in terms of production since Week 11. But at the top of that list is Richie James, who at one point this season led the Giants in targets. Over the past three weeks, James has righted the ship and was WR29 in half-PPR scoring. That includes a WR15 performance against the Detroit Lions in Week 11 and a WR23 performance against the Dallas Cowboys the following week. Yes, last week was not so great, but that was a weird 20-20 tie against the Washington Commanders where James was playing with a knee injury.

So it's surprising to see the experts so down on him. His WR101 ranking in FantasyPros rest of season ECR is frankly too insulting to even discuss. Yes, he still has the injury designation, but given that there are six teams on bye and guys like Nico Collins are already ruled out, how is James WR59 in FantasyPros Week 14 half-PPR expert consensus ranking (ECR)? It seems too low. Or are the experts onto something?

Richie James 2022 Fantasy Football Week 14 Sleepers Heat Check

Okay, remember how last week I told you to avoid the Tennessee Titans against the Philadelphia Eagles? Well, that also applies to Richie James, who is up against the Eagles this week in a tough division matchup. The Eagles are one of the toughest fantasy matchups for opposing wide receivers, and frankly, neither James nor the New York Giants' anemic offense is good enough to overcome that matchup. Even if the Eagles have struggled against the slot lately, where James takes most of his snaps.

If you want to try and stream James against the Minnesota Vikings in Week 16, be my guest. They are a great matchup and James will definitely see some work if he suits up that week. But you don't need to stash him in the meantime. Leave him on waivers.

Quez Watkins, Philadelphia Eagles

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Across the field from Richie James on Sunday will be Quez Watkins and the Philadelphia Eagles. Watkins has been just a step behind James over the past three weeks, scoring just 0.4 points-per-game (PPG) less than James in that period. That's good enough for Top 30 production, but yet, Watkins gets no respect.

Like with James, the FantasyPros ROS ECR for Watkins is a bit absurd. He sits all the way at WR107 in half-PPR scoring. But the Fantasy Pros Week 14 ECR is still surprisingly low at WR56. Again, this is a guy who has been a Top 30 wide receiver since Week 11; he currently is behind Kendall Hinton in Week 14 ECR. Make it make sense!

Quez Watkins 2022 Fantasy Football Week 14 Sleepers Heat Check

So the matchup for Watkins isn't great. Like the Philadelphia Eagles, the New York Giants pass defense is pretty stingy. But the Eagles offense is a juggernaut, with the second-most points scored and tied for seventh in passing touchdowns. They can definitely overcome the Giants defense.

But will Quez Watkins reap the benefits? He sits third in the depth chart behind A.J. Brown and Devonta Smith, both of who have been Top 16 wide receivers over the past three weeks. Since Week 8, the Giants have actually given up the second-most PPG to wide receivers according to RazzBall. But they have not given up much to the slot, and that is where Watkins has lived this season according to PlayerProfiler.

Ultimately, I think Watkins gets usage this week. He has started every game the past three weeks and has benefited greatly from the absence of Eagle tight end Dallas Goedert — who remains out. But he probably needs to find the end zone to make up for the lack of yards he's seen, which has been just 34 yards on average the last three weeks. He's worth a pick up if you're desperate, especially since he has some favorable matchups as long as Goedert remains out, particularly next week against the Chicago Bears. Just don't be surprised if he disappoints you. He's truly touchdown-dependent at this point.

Demarcus Robinson, Baltimore Ravens

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Demarcus Robinson missed out on Top 30 since Week 11 by just 0.2 points. He's been the clear top option at wide receiver during that time, turning heads with a half-PPR WR8 performance in Week 11 where he caught all nine targets for 128 yards. He had a down Week 12, but then saw a team-high eight targets in a 10-9 win over the Denver Broncos.

With that target share, it is definitely a surprise to see Robinson ranked outside the Top 36 this week in ECR. My guess is that the absence of Lamar Jackson has something to do with it, but honestly, Tyler Huntley isn't a massive downgrade.  Should we really downgrade a team's top wide receiver to barely inside the Top 48?

Demarcus Robinson 2022 Fantasy Football Week 14 Sleepers Heat Check

Demarcus Robinson has a positive run of matchups to end the year. Since Week 8, the Pittsburgh Steelers (who Robinson plays twice between now and Week 17) have been a good matchup for opposing wide receivers. So have the Cleveland Browns, who Robinson plays in Week 15. The Atlanta Falcons have tightened things up, but they have still been one of the better matchups this season. I would advocate sitting Robinson that week if you can, but only because I think Huntley (or Lamar Jackson) and the Baltimore Ravens run all over the Falcons that week.

In short, the matchups are good. It's everything else that's concerning. Despite seeing a fair amount of targets, the Ravens aren't a pass-heavy team and switching to Tyler Huntley at quarterback won't make them any more likely to pass. In fact, it will make them a bit more likely to turn the ball over and avoid throwing for touchdowns.

Despite this, Robinson is the wide receiver to target among these three, and if you need a wide receiver he's probably one of the better options still available. He is the team's top wide receiver at the moment and that shouldn't change this season. It'll be unpleasant, but you can probably play him in the FLEX spot more weeks than not.

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