Spin’s Fantasy Football Factory: Booms & Busts for Week 14 

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Well, it appears that this is the end. Not only is this likely the final week of the regular season in your fantasy league, but because of the University of Connecticut’s upcoming winter break, Spin will be out of commission until January, making this the end of my boom and bust predictions for the 2021-22 NFL season. It was fun, as every week I evaluated players and analyzed matchups to make these picks. Hopefully some of my input helped you to make lineup decisions every week. Without further ado, here are my boom and bust predictions for Week 14 of the NFL season. 

Boom – Darnell Mooney, WR, CHI at GB 

Chicago Bears wide receiver Darnell Mooney (11) makes a catch against the Arizona Cardinals during the second half at Soldier Field. Photo by Mike Dinovo-USA TODAY Sports.

A few weeks ago, my boom prediction for the wide receiver position was fellow Chicago Bear Allen Robinson. That wasn’t the best pick, as Robinson was suddenly made unavailable that Sunday and hasn’t played in three weeks. With his status again up in the air, Mooney is the only skill player in Chicago’s offense that’s worth the price of admission, so chances are that he will be showered in targets, yet again, when the Bears face the superior Green Bay Packers. Chicago will likely be chasing points early on Sunday, so expect either Justin Fields or Andy Dalton to give him plenty of opportunities throughout the night. Mooney has been known for his big-play ability, but more recently he’s been seeing an increase in targets despite recording less yardage. What does that mean? Essentially, he’s become a legitimate threat every week in fantasy football. 

Bust – Mike Evans, WR, TB at BUF 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans (13) runs after a catch during the second half against the Atlanta Falcons at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Photo by Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports.

Ever since Tom Brady has made his way to Tampa Bay, every Buccaneer pass-catcher has seen a boost in fantasy production. However, it seems that Mike Evans has actually been producing the same, if not worse, than he had before Brady’s arrival. A big factor in that has been his extreme loss of targets in comparison to the pre-Brady era, but a drastic increase in touchdowns. At this point, Evans leads all Bucs receivers in touchdowns by four, yet he is third on the team in receptions and would have even less if Rob Gronkowski and Antonio Brown played in every game this year. Only 17.5 percent of Evans’ catches have gone for touchdowns, while only six percent of Chris Godwin’s catches have gone for touchdowns. At this point, Evans seems to be as touchdown-dependent as any player in fantasy football. A big-play-type of player, Evans likely won’t be making any big plays against a Bills defense that has been among the top against wide receivers this year. 

Boom – Chuba Hubbard, RB, CAR vs. ATL 

Carolina Panthers running back Chuba Hubbard (30) runs with the football against Miami Dolphins middle linebacker Elandon Roberts (52) during the second period at Hard Rock Stadium. Photo by Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports.

Christian McCaffrey is out for the season, Cam Newton doesn’t actually appear to be “back” and the demon that is Sam Darnold still looms in the shadows. For as many problems that the Panthers have on offense, they will be playing a very winnable game against the Falcons and their inconsistent offense and terrible defense. With McCaffrey out, Chuba Hubbard is the alpha in Carolina’s backfield. Given their quarterback struggles all season, they figure to give Hubbard many opportunities against Atlanta’s bottom-five run defense. Although Cam Newton may dominate work at the goaline, it’s likely that Hubbard will have a prominent role in Carolina’s offensive approach between the 20s. Consider his projected workload and his favorable matchup as a reason to be optimistic starting him in your fantasy lineup this week. 

Bust – Joe Mixon, RB, CIN vs. SF 

Cincinnati Bengals running back Joe Mixon (28) following the loss against the Los Angeles Chargers at Paul Brown Stadium. Photo by Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports.

Mixon has been one of the best running backs in fantasy football all year, ranking as the third best running back in PPR leagues entering this week. However, much like the Bengals as a whole, he has been a bit inconsistent and has seen his fantasy production drop against better competition. In games against weaker opponents, Mixon has thrived and seen the workload of a true workhorse, yet when his team is down and chasing points, his workload seems to disappear. He is currently averaging close to 19 rushing attempts per game this year, but has seen his workload dip down to 10 attempts against the Packers, 12 attempts against the Ravens and 13 attempts against the Browns, three of the better offenses in the NFl. The 49ers aren’t an elite run defense, but they do rank in the top half of the NFL in terms of fantasy points allowed to running backs. What is more important, though, is that they have scored 30 or more points in four of their last five games, so as we’ve seen when Mixon’s Bengals play better offenses, his workhorse volume may not be present if the Bengals find themselves down again. 

Boom – Dalton Schultz, TE, DAL at WAS 

Dallas Cowboys tight end Dalton Schultz (86) is tackled by New Orleans Saints safety Malcolm Jenkins (27) during the first half at Caesars Superdome. Photo by Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports.

The Washington Football Team has faced only two real threats at the tight end position this year in Travis Kelce and Kyle Pitts, whom they’ve allowed to combine for 149 receiving yards in two games this season. While he’s not an elite name, Dalton Schultz will be another threat that Washington will be forced to contain this Sunday. Schulz has been a steady fantasy contributor this season, averaging 11.33 PPR points per game and scoring less than nine fantasy points only thrice. Through the first several weeks of the season, Washington’s defense was absolutely atrocious, but they have been improving over the last few weeks. Despite their improvement, the fact that they are a middling defense against the tight end position with only two real elite tight ends is a bit concerning. In reality, Schultz may be facing a potential smash spot and could tear up Washington’s defense much like Kelce and Pitts did earlier this year. 

Bust – Mark Andrews, TE, BAL at CLE 

Pittsburgh Steelers safety Terrell Edmunds (34) and linebacker Devin Bush (55) celebrate after Baltimore Ravens tight end Mark Andrews (89) dropped a two-point conversion pass from quarterback Lamar Jackson (8) in the final minute. The Steelers won 20-19 at Heinz Field. Photo by Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports.

The last time that I put Mark Andrews on this list as a potential bust candidate, he recorded 13 targets and 11 catches for 147 yards and two touchdowns as well as two two-point conversions (if you’re doing the math, that is 41.7 PPR points). He seems to be the only person that Lamar Jackson throws to, as he’s never seen less than eight targets in a single game since Baltimore’s Week 8 bye. Despite his elite target share, Andrews has eclipsed six catches in only one of those five games since Week 8. He’s due for some regression at some point, so why not this week’s matchup against the Cleveland Browns? This pick is more speculative than anything, but at some point NFL teams should notice that Lamar Jackson’s first look on pass attempts is toward Andrews, so it wouldn’t hurt to throw some extra coverage his way. 

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