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Week 14 Favorable Slot Matchups

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  • By Michael Florio
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Welcome to the fantasy football playoffs. This is the time of year where you need to use every advantage in your power to gain an edge and that is exactly why you should be exploiting some slot matchups!

Main Targets


Anthony Miller is a player that I am very high on this week. First off, he faces a Rams defense that has struggled mightily against slot receivers. Over the past month, the Rams have allowed the most PPR PPG (24.1) receiving yards per game (101) and the second-most touchdowns (5) to slot receivers. Miller is the Bears primary slot receiver and should benefit greatly from this matchup. Not only that, but Miller is being overlooked due to a down two-week period with Chase Daniel. During that stretch, he averaged just over seven PPR PPG and saw only six targets, third among Bears WRs. However, Miller had blossomed into Mitchell Trubisky's top target. In the four games before Trubisky got injured, Miller led the Bears WRs in receptions, receiving yards and touchdowns. Miller is not only in a great matchup, but he will have Trubisky back this week.

Zay Jones appeared in this article as a deep sleeper before facing the Jets in Week 10. He went on to torch them for eight catches, 93 yards, a touchdown, and 23.30 PPR points. The best part? That is his second best game since I wrote about him, as he scored twice and put up nearly 25 PPR points in Week 13. Jones has blossomed into Josh Allen's top target over the past two weeks, averaging five per game. While Isaiah McKenzie has cut into his slot routes the last couple of weeks, the Bills know the mismatch they have with Jones there against the Jets. Jones also leads the Bills in PPR PPG out of the slot the past two weeks, catching both his TDs in Week 13 from there. He is a WR3 for me in PPR leagues this week, especially with Kelvin Benjamin now gone.

Dante Pettis has broken out the past couple of weeks, racking up 206 yards and three touchdowns. He has stepped up as the 49ers lead slot receiver, being used both in the slot and out wide during that stretch. I know many are worried about Marquise Goodwin returning, but he has only averaged 4.6 routes per game from the slot. I expect Pettis to remain the 49ers top slot receiver while lining out wide at times. Goodwin just takes more attention from the defense and Pettis has shown a great rapport with Nick Mullens. Expect the Niners to keep featuring their second-round draft pick.

Sterling Shepard takes on a Washington team that has allowed 91 receiving yards per game to slot receivers over the past month, the second most in that span. They have also allowed 19.02 PPR PPG to slot receivers in that span, the fifth most. Shepard did not fare well against Washington but their recent struggles against slot receivers make me trust him more this week. He is in the WR3 or flex discussion in PPR leagues.

Bruce Ellington appeared in this article last week and rewarded those who trusted him with 10.50 PPR points. Yes, it was reliant on his seven catches and not 35 yards, but fantasy points are fantasy points. Ellington should be in a position to replicate that success against a Cardinals team that has allowed 6.3 receptions per game to slot receivers over the past month, the fourth most in that span. The Cards have also allowed four touchdowns in that span and 20.28 PPR PPG to slot receivers, the third-most in the last month. Ellington does not have a high ceiling, but he has a very safe floor in PPR leagues, especially since Patrick Peterson should be shadowing Kenny Golladay.

Ellington is not the only slot receiver that gets a bump in this game. Larry Fitzgerald will be on the opposite side against a Lions defense that has struggled against slot receivers all year. On the season they have allowed the sixth-most PPR PPG to slot receivers (16.76) and in the last month, they've allowed the seventh-most (18.10). Fitzgerald should also see a boost in targets with Christian Kirk out, who has actually seen more targets than Fitz since Week 10.

Who to pick on the Bucs with this week?


This is also a deep sleeper rolled up into one. Keith Kirkwood has taken over as the Saints top slot receiver as of late. In the last two weeks he leads the Saints in slot routes per game (16), receiving yards (35) and touchdowns (2) from the slot. He is a deep option, but the Bucs have allowed 21.70 PPR PPG to slot receivers this season, the most in the NFL. They have also allowed 11 receiving touchdowns, the most in the league. Kirkwood is in play for those in 14-team leagues or deeper.

Deep Sleeper


Seth Roberts is no stranger to the deep sleeper list. This week he faces a Steelers defense that has allowed the third-most PPR PPG to slot receivers this season (18.67). If you need recent numbers to convince you, the Steelers have allowed 87.8 receiving yards per game to slot receivers over the past month, the third-most in the NFL. Roberts is the primary slot receiver for the Raiders and should be utilized against the Steelers this week. Those in 16-team leagues or deeper should look his way.

Quick Hits


Remember how it was starting to look like Golden Tate had taken over as the Eagles lead slot receiver? Well, that changed in Week 13. Both Tate and Nelson Agholor saw four targets form the slot, with Agholor actually running more slot routes (19-to-17). Tate was more productive, catching all four targets for 33 yards and a TD, but Agholor caught two for 44 yards.

Tyler Boyd does not have a great matchup this week. He faces the Chargers who have allowed 9.48 fantasy PPG, the second fewest in the NFL. He is still in play this week, but more of a WR3 than a WR2.

DaeSean Hamilton is a deep stash right now. Emmanuel Sanders (Achilles) season tragically ended this week. Sanders had been operating as the Broncos top slot receiver, with Hamilton running the second most slot routes. Don't expect Sanders numbers, but Hamilton can step up and fill the void for the Broncos and potential fantasy owners.

-- Michael Florio is a freelance fantasy writer at NFL.com. Make sure to check back every Thursday to find out which slot receivers you can stream in the upcoming week. Follow him on Twitter @MichaelFFlorio.

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