There isn’t a fantasy pundit on the planet who, in the middle of the summer, thought Baltimore QB Tyler Huntley could determine their playoff fate.
That could change this week, the final slate of the fantasy regular season. Ravens star Lamar Jackson is injured and considered week-to-week, so Huntley is in line for strong numbers against a much less scary Pittsburgh defense. And when you see six teams gone in the final guard week of the season, there are plenty of holes to fill.
Huntley isn’t the only no-name or no-name who could make a name for himself in Week 14. Here are a half-dozen more:
Zonovan Knight (Jets RB) – Knight rushed for 159 yards in the last two games after Michael Carter was injured and averaged 5.5 yards per carry. He looked pretty good last week against the Vikings, and if Carter is still out, he’ll get the goal-line opportunities against Buffalo.
Deejay Dallas (Seahawks RB) – Seattle’s third-stringer had 37 yards on 10 carries last week after Kenneth Walker was injured. He could end up being the No. 1 Seattle RB this week against a Carolina defense that has looked almost as bad as Baker Mayfield for most of the season.
Cam Akers (Rams RB) – After spending most of the season in Sean McVay’s dugout, Akers had a renaissance of sorts with two touchdowns and 60 yards last week. He could post starting numbers again this week against Las Vegas.
DJ Chark (Lions WR) – The former Jaguars is finally delivering on his promise to improve Detroit. He caught five passes for 98 yards last week against his former team and could find himself wide open this week as the Vikings defense focuses on stopping Amon-Ra St Brown.
Mac Jones (Patriots QB) – He aired some gripes about the lack of calls during last week’s loss to Buffalo. But the former Alabama standout threw for nearly 400 yards a few weeks ago against Minnesota, and Arizona’s defense is worse.
Sam Darnold (Panthers QB) – If you’re truly desperate, as Carolina is, then take heart in Darnold’s 164-yard, one-TD effort in his return to the starting lineup last week. Now they face a Seattle defense that is little short of a legion of doom.
The Giants’ Saquon Barkley has been disappointing for a while, and now he meets the league-leading Eagles. It’s not ideal. … Kansas City is now officially a backfield by committee, so you can start any Chiefs RB against Denver. … Tom Brady still isn’t connecting with Mike Evans enough, so you should think twice about starting the Bucs WR against the tough Niners defense. … Cleveland’s Deshaun Watson looked like a rusty guy who has missed nearly two seasons last week against Houston, and the Bengals’ defense will make him look worse this week. … Arizona QB Kyler Murray is slated for another stinker and will likely post one against the Patriots. … And Jets journeyman QB Mike White will look very miserable against the Bills.
Tennessee’s King Henry always abuses Jacksonville’s defense, so why would you expect anything different from Derrick the Great this week? … Raiders’ Josh Jacobs, if healthy, will continue his second-half surge against the Rams. … Dallas’ Ezekiel Ellott and Tony Pollard will take turns scoring again, this time against the lowly Texans. … The Lions’ hot combination of Jared Goff and Amon-Ra St Brown will continue to click against the Vikings. … San Francisco will now need more from WR Deebo Samuel and will get it against Tampa Bay. … Carolina WR DJ Moore, who has been mostly cold this season, will continue to heat up against Seattle. … And Chargers QB Justin Herbert on Sunday night will take advantage of a Miami defense that might be a bit overrated.
Tua Tagovailoa’s run came to a screeching halt last week against the Niners as he suffered an ankle injury. … The Rams’ Matthew Stafford is done for the season, as his team was a long time ago. … Players listed as questionable for Week 14 include Cincinnati RB Joe Mixon, Patriots RB Damien Harris, Tennessee WR Treylon Burks, Chargers WR Mike Williams, Broncos WR Courtland Sutton, Patriots WR Jakobi Meyers, Cleveland tight end David Njoku and Jacksonville QB Trevor Lawrence.
The deepest bedroom
This summer, when the quarterback debate in San Francisco was between Trey Lance or Jimmy Garoppolo, Niners fans assumed one of them would lead them to the playoffs. But two season-ending injuries later, the QB the 49ers are left with is Brock Purdy, who showed some skill during his college days at Iowa State. He led the Niners to a victory over Miami in relief last Sunday and will face a man roughly twice his size this week: Tampa Bay’s Tom Brady. The Niners have so many offensive weapons that almost any quarterback can make it. So you might want to grab this Cyclone if you’re one of the many with a QB bye problem this week.
Raiders at Rams (+5½): Pick: Raiders by 8
We’ll be updating our column, based on the latest injuries and insinuations, until kick-off on Sunday. Go to TwinCities.com/theloop.
You can hear Kevin Cusick on Wednesdays Bob Sansevere’s “BS Show” Podcast on iTunes. You can follow Kevin Twitter — @theloopnow. He can be reached at email@example.com.