Fantasy Playoffs

Week 14 fantasy football rankings: Be like Mike

Michael Crabtree faces the Chiefs defense without their best corner Marcus Peters. Oakland Raiders/Facebook

Below are my early 1/2 PPR fantasy rankings for Week 14. Most leagues are using points per reception these days, so take that into consideration when looking at the ranks. Six points are awarded for every receiving and rushing TD, and four points for every passing TD. If you are playing in a non-PPR league, pass-catching running backs lose a bit of value and so do possession receivers. Make sure you check the status of players that have been limited or out of practice. The rankings will be updated on Sunday morning.

QB

1 T. Brady

2 C. Wentz

3 P Rivers

4 D. Brees

5 M. Ryan

6 K. Cousins

7 D. Carr

8 J. Goff

9 R. Wilson 

10 C. Newton

11 A. Smith

12 C. Keenum

13 J. Winston

14 A. Dalton

15 M. Stafford *Questionable

RB

1 L. Bell PIT

2 A. Kamara NO

3 T. Gurley LAR

4 M. Gordon LAC

5 M. Ingram NO *Questionable

6 A. Collins BAL

7 J. Williams GB 

8 C. Hyde SF 

9 A. Morris DAL

10 L. McCoy BUF

11 M. Lynch OAK

12 L. Fournette JAC 

13 J. Howard CHI

14 G. Bernard CIN

15 R. Burkhead NE

16 D. Freeman ATL

17 L. Miller HOU

18 C. McCaffrey CAR

19 K. Hunt KC

20 S. Perine WAS

21 D. Lewis NE

22 F. Gore IND

23 B. Powell NYJ

24 M. Davis SEA

25 P. Barber TB

26 K. Drake MIA

27 T. Coleman ATL

28 J. Ajayi PHI

29 M. Forte NYJ

30 L. Murray MIN

31 D. Henry TEN

32 J. McKinnon MIN

33 D. Murray TEN

34 O. Darkwa NYG

35 I. Crowell CLE

36 K. Williams ARI

WR

1 A. Green CIN

2 A. Brown PIT

3 D. Hopkins HOU

4 B. Cooks NE

5 K. Allen LAC

6 J. Jones ATL

7 M. Crabtree OAK

8 T. Hill KC

9 M. Thomas NO

10 A. Thielen MIN

11 M. Evans TB

12 D. Adams GB

13 J. Gordon CLE 

14 D. Bryant DAL

15 L. Fitzgerald ARI

16 R. Anderson NYJ

17 A. Jeffery PHI

18 J. Landry MIA

19 S. Shepard NYG

20 D. Baldwin SEA

21 M. Lee JAC

22 S. Diggs MIN

23 M. Bryant PIT

24 S. Watkins LAR

25 J. Crowder WAS

26 M. Goodwin SF

27 M. Jones DET

28 C. Hogan NE

29  C. Kupp LAR

30 G. Tate DET

31 M. Wallace BAL  

32 D. Thomas DEN

33 N. Agholor PHI

34 K. Stills MIA

35 T. Hilton IND

36 J. Kearse NYJ

TE

1 T. Kelce KC

2 H. Henry LAC

3 J. Graham SEA

4 E. Engram NYG

5 D. Walker TEN

6 C. Brate TB

7 J. Witten DAL

8 A. Seferian-Jenkins NYJ 

9 J. Doyle IND

10 K. Rudolph MIN

11 S. Anderson HOU

12 R. Seals-Jones ARI

13 G. Olsen CAR

14 J. Cook OAK

15 A. Hooper ATL

DEF

1 Jaguars

2 Bengals

3 Patriots

4 Chargers

5 Seahawks

6 Steelers

7 Vikings

8 Colts

9 Jets 

10 Packers

11 Buccaneers

12 Cowboys

13 Bills

14 Texans

15 Ravens

Kicker

1 S. Gostkowski NE

2 G. Zuerlein LAR

3 J. Tucker BAL

4 C. Boswell PIT

5 H. Butker KC

6 D. Bailey DAL  

7 J. Elliott PHI

8 W. Lutz NO

9 M. Bryant ATL

10 T. Coons LAC

11 M. Prater DET

12 R. Succop TEN

13 R. Gould SF

14 S. Hauschka BUF

15 R. Bullock CIN

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Jose Urquidy is a surprising choice to start Game 2. Photo by Getty Images.

After a long and tumultuous season, the Houston Astros made it to their 3rd World Series in five years and will take on the Atlanta Braves Tuesday night.

Houston had the better overall regular season record, so games 1 & 2 will be played at Minute Maid Park while games 3-5 will be held at Truist Park in Atlanta.

(If necessary, the final two contests will be played back at Minute Maid Park).

The Braves got this far by defeating the Milwaukee Brewers in the ALDS 3-1 and the Los Angeles Dodgers in six games (4-2).

Atlanta prevailed with timely hitting from guys like Joc Pederson, Austin Riley and Eddie Rosario performing like an MVP this postseason.

The Braves received solid pitching outings from guys like Ian Anderson, Max Fried and former Astro Charlie Morton.

Atlanta used clutch hitting and solid pitching to make to their first World Series since 1999.

Meanwhile, the Astros made it back to the World Series by defeating the Chicago White Sox in the ALDS 3-1 and out-slugged the Red Sox four games to two.

According to Fox Bet, the Astros are favored at -154 to win the World Series. This is certainly an obtainable goal for Houston's team as they have the experience, hitting and pitching to compete with anyone.

Can Houston's bats stay hot?

The most intriguing matchup this series will be the Astros' bats facing off against this Braves pitching staff. On paper, Houston's lineup seems to be favored for their depth. Jose Altuve at the top of the batting order is always a threat to get on base, and behind him are a plethora of hitters who can drive in multiple runs.

The two best bats this postseason thus far for the Astros are ALCS MVP Yordan Alvarez (.522 batting average) and this year's American League batting title champion Yuli Gurriel (.455 batting average). The Cuban natives have lit up pitching and will look to continue their torrid hitting in the World Series.

Other Astros who could be impactful at the plate against the Braves include Michael Brantley, Alex Bregman and Kyle Tucker. All three of their batting average's in the .200's respectfully and could come up big at any time.

This lineup is so deep, Atlanta's pitchers won't receive many breaks, if at all this series.

Will the pitching step up again?

Losing Lance McCullers Jr. for the World Series certainly isn't ideal, but not impossible to overcome as proven in the ALCS against the Red Sox.

Framber Valdez pitched the best game of his career when he threw 8 innings and surrendered only one run in Game 3, while Luis Garcia had his best start of the postseason and received the Game 6 win. Both of these pitchers have stepped up in McCullers' absence and will have a huge impact on the series. Valdez is set to start Game 1 on Tuesday night.

If Jose Urquidy and Zack Greinke can also pitch deeper into games, there will be less stress on the bullpen and give the Astros a better chance to stay in games. And we won't have to wait long to see Urquidy, as he will start Game 2, according to Astros manager Dusty Baker.

In an ideal scenario, the Astros' starting pitchers should throw six innings of work and let Kendall Graveman, Ryne Stanek and Ryan Pressly closeout games as they have all season.

Of course this is the best-case scenario, which doesn't always happen, but other arms can be used to bridge the gaps that include Phil Maton, Yimi Garcia in short relief outings and Cristian Javier and Jake Odorizzi can pitch multiple innings if needed.

Even if a starter has a clunker of a start, this bullpen has done a great job of keeping things close and setting up the Astros for success.

Will this be Carlos Correa's "Last Dance" with Astros?

One can only imagine what is going on in Carlos Correa's mind right now. No one is implying that the free agent to be will not be focused this series, but it's hard to fathom this upcoming offseason isn't a distraction right now.

The 27-year-old shortstop is set to receive multiple offers from different teams and land one of the richest contracts once this season concludes.

If this truly is his final season with the Astros, why not go out on top and win one more title before moving on?

Let's hope this "Last Dance" for Correa is a slow one, so we can all enjoy it a little longer.

Will Dusty's experience prove to be a difference-maker?

Dusty Baker's experience could be beneficial for Houston's chances of hoisting another trophy as he has managed teams in parts of 24 seasons.

He's the only skipper to ever lead five franchises to the postseason and obtain more than 2,000 career victories.

This is the second time he as taken a club to the World Series. He took the 2002 San Francisco Giants to the Fall Classic but lost to the Angels in seven games.

It's safe to assume the 72-year-old seems eager to win his first championship as a manager to cap off a Hall of Fame career.

Final projection

As previously mentioned, the Astros are favored to win this series. If Houston can continue to stay hot at the plate, receive solid outings from their pitchers and just play Astros baseball, there is a good chance this city will have yet another Commissioner's Trophy in their display case.

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