Week 14 Fantasy Football Surprise Sensations

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Christmas is fast approaching and there will be many fantasy owners who’ll celebrate the holidays as a fantasy champion. But there are players who put up monster fantasy numbers that ostensibly don’t help them. It’s literally the gift that keeps on giving. Because on a weekly basis, players with ownership percentages as low as zero are at the top of their respective positions with respect to fantasy points. This column is dedicated to them and here are the standouts from Week 14 fantasy football.

Note: all references to ownership percentages are based on data from Yahoo Sports leagues. 

Week 14 Fantasy Football Surprise Sensations

Drew Lock

After the Houston Texans registered a statement win over the New England Patriots in Week 13, another W over the Denver Broncos seemed a mere formality. That’s especially true given Broncos rookie quarterback Lock was making just his second career start and coming off a game where he scored just 13.86 fantasy points. But you know what they say: Any Given Sunday. And Lock absolutely balled out in Denver’s 38-24 upset victory. He tallied 309 yards, threw three touchdowns, and ultimately finished as the QB7 in Week 14 with 24.86 fantasy points.

Of quarterbacks who put up at least 20 points this past week, Lock’s two percent ownership rate in Yahoo leagues was, by far, the lowest. Don’t expect that number to go up too much, though, as the Broncos’ next contest is against the Kansas City Chiefs. I’m thinking Ryan Tannehill is going to see the biggest jump in ownership heading into Week 15’s games.

Diontae Johnson

Sunday’s game in Glendale between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Arizona Cardinals felt like a home game for the visitors given all the Steelers fans in the house. And Johnson came into the game with a 12 percent ownership rate in Yahoo leagues which obviously isn’t microscopic. But it also indicates that not many expected him to finish among Week 14’s top receivers.

Still, the injury to JuJu Smith-Schuster provided him an opportunity that he ran with against the Cards. Johnson caught seven passes from Devlin Hodges for 98 yards and a touchdown reception. He also took a punt return to the house for six. And of the eight wideouts who registered at least 25 PPR points in Week 14, he was the only one with a sub-50 percent ownership rate. He’s certainly available in a lot of leagues but their Week 15 opponent, the Buffalo Bills, doesn’t give up very many points to wide receivers. Those looking for an edge via the waiver wire in trying to get their team into the championship game have been warned.

Boston Scott

This really hurt if you started Miles Sanders against the New York Giants. Even though Sanders did finish with double-digit points, his total was 14.1 points lower than Scott’s. And given that Sanders enjoyed an 89 percent ownership rate in Yahoo leagues while Scott’s rate was a big fat zero, it likely played a part in many fantasy owners getting eliminated from the playoffs. Ultimately, he was the only running back owned by no one that finished with at least 20 fantasy points this past week. He might get some action on the waiver wire with his Philadelphia Eagles team having plenty of motivation to win the NFC East and playing the hapless Washington Redskins.

Ian Thomas

I made a “gift that keeps on giving” reference in the intro to this column. Well, nowhere is this more evident with respect to players owned by virtually nobody than the tight end position. Now I could’ve went with either Thomas or Hayden Hurst of the Baltimore Ravens since both finished with almost identical points and garnered a one percent ownership rate in Yahoo leagues. Thomas gets the edge here because he came into Week 14 with a combined 7.80 PPR points compared to Hurst’s 50.30. Plus, the injury to Greg Olsen should’ve made Thomas a more prevalent waiver wire add than he inevitably was.

In the end, the second-year man out of Indiana caught five passes for 57 yards and a touchdown in the Carolina Panthers 40-20 loss to the Atlanta Falcons. If Olsen still can’t go, Thomas is a must-have on the waiver wire as Carolina’s Week 15 opponent, the Seattle Seahawks, give up the second-most points to opposing tight ends.

Jason Sanders

On Sunday, Sanders became just the seventh player since 2000 to make seven field goals in a single game. It certainly was a unique way to get to 21 points for the Miami Dolphins. Unfortunately for them, they couldn’t muster more points as the New York Jets walked out of MetLife Stadium with a 22-21 victory. Back to Sanders. Want to know how many Yahoo fantasy owners benefited from his big day? Zero. What makes it all the more surprising is that he had a decent outing in Week 13 that included catching a touchdown pass. I’m expecting a feeding frenzy for his services among those needing to stream a kicker as they face a New York Giants team this coming Sunday that’s giving up the eighth-most fantasy points to kickers.

Atlanta Falcons Defense

This is another one that comes as a bit of a surprise, even if the Falcons are nowhere close to contention this year. Their ownership rate in Yahoo leagues was a rather minuscule eight percent. This after they registered a whopping 26 fantasy points against their NFC South rivals in Week 11. But those looking to stream defenses were probably reticent to pull the trigger after they scored zero points last week against another division rival, the New Orleans Saints.

Still, the unit played a huge part in Atlanta pulling off a sweep of Carolina. They picked off Panthers quarterback Kyle Allen twice, sacked him five times, and also recovered two fumbles. And they were the only unit with a sub-10 percent ownership rate in Yahoo leagues that finished with double-digit fantasy points. Steer clear in Week 15, though. The Falcons travel out west to face the juggernaut that is the San Francisco 49ers.

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