Week 14 Fantasy Football Sleepers: Unheralded QBs with underrated upside

Our fantasy sleeper plays for Week 13 were mediocre, but we did advise look-aheads on Hunter Henry (gets Arizona this week, the tight end giveaway) and the Kansas City defense (a heavenly playoff schedule). Hopefully, those turn into helpful additions.

There is no right way or wrong way to digest this column. Maybe it’s a start/sit call you’re pondering, or a prop you’re sizing up. Perhaps you’re adding future depth. Maybe you’re active in the DFS streets. It’s up to you. Dealer’s choice. Let’s try to make it a December to remember.

We’re onto Week 14.

Tyler Huntley at Pittsburgh

Obviously, the drop from Lamar Jackson to Tyler Huntley is a major one. But Jackson has been in a several-week slump, and we’ve seen Huntley have moments before. Huntley has a good rapport with tight end Mark Andrews, and Huntley also offers running juice and goal-line equity. The athleticism provides a floor; if he actually completes a few passes, it’s gravy.

If you found yourself in quarterback purgatory after last week’s injuries, Huntley could be your way out in Week 14.

Zay Jones vs. Tennessee

Jones went bonkers two weeks ago (11-145-0) and then went belly-up (along with the entire Jacksonville offense) at Detroit. Hey, that happens sometimes. And the Lions defense has improved of late.

The Titans are a funnel defense, lousy against the pass, superb against the run. Trevor Lawrence can throw in this matchup, and he needs to. The ECR on Jones is in the mid-30s, and I see that as 10 slots too low. I’ll proactively start him where I can. (Note: I will double-check the Friday injury report before I commit to anything, especially the Jacksonville passing game. Jones is likely to go, but Lawrence has a toe injury and didn't practice Wednesday or Thursday. To be continued.)

Sam Darnold at Seattle

His career has been mostly a punchline, but stay with me here. At least he’s not Baker Mayfield. And Darnold has forged some chemistry with DJ Moore, the key to the Carolina passing game. Seattle’s defense hasn’t stopped much, so Darnold and Moore are in a positive setup here. And it’s easier to throw on the Lions than run on them, so this Carolina connection could extend into the fantasy playoffs.

DJ Moore #2 of the Carolina Panthers has fantasy value
Sam Darnold could actually help DJ Moore stay fantasy relevant. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

Hey, maybe I’m just trying to feel better about my Moore shares, which have been a fantasy loss for most of the year. But I like how the Panthers have played under the new coaching staff, and ridding themselves of the Mayfield circus has probably been therapeutic for team morale.

James Cook vs. Jets

Maybe it’s too convenient to call anyone a sleeper when they’re coming off a 20-touch game. And I’m a long-carrying member of the Devin Singletary society. But we have to feel Cook is more likely to get targets than Singletary, and if I were opposing the nasty Jets defense, I’d want to attack it outside the numbers, not into the teeth of the front seven. Cook probably has double-digit touches already in his back pocket, and maybe game flow can push him to 15 or more.

In this hellish Week 14 bye week, Cook could be a viable FLEX for a lot of fantasy-struggling rosters.

Cade Otton (pickup for the playoffs)

You probably don’t want to use Otton this week against a San Francisco defense that erases opposing tight ends. But Otton has two touchdowns in the last four weeks, and he absorbed a team-high 10 targets in the comeback win over the Saints. He’s in the Tom Brady circle of trust.

Cincinnati is a neutral matchup for Otton next week, and the giveaway Cardinals are waiting for Week 16. I suspect the Buccaneers have finally accepted that Otton’s pass-catching skills are far superior to Cameron Brate’s going forward.

Drake London (pickup for shallow leagues)

London doesn't play this week and he's currently rostered in 61 percent of Yahoo pools. He likely doesn't fit the sleeper theme (and I grant you he's long gone in most sharp leagues), but I wanted to say somewhere that you absolutely need to add him if possible.

London had a tasty 6-95-0 game last week and the Falcons are finally unveiling Desmond Ridder for Week 15. Sure, Ridder is an unproven and unseasoned rookie, but I dare him to be any worse than Marcus Mariota was.

It's fairly common to see rookie receivers spike at the end of their first seasons (Christian Watson, Treylon Burks, Garrett Wilson all coming through in that area), and it's possible someone in your league might drop London this week because they have a pressing need to fill for the game in front of them. Be vigilant, gamers. Make sure you're auditing all of those drops, especially in this unusual week with six teams on holiday.

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