Fantasy football owners are getting ready to make the most important start ’em, sit ’em decisions of their year with the fantasy playoffs underway. That will mean choosing the right pass-catchers to bolster lineups, and it will mean figuring out whether the likes of Kenny Golladay, D.J. Moore, Chris Godwin, Jonnu Smith, and Curtis Samuel are going to play in Week 14. These players are all starter-worthy options, but if they’re out, they’ll open up some other streamers and sleepers for owners to consider starting in must-win situations.
Is Kenny Golladay playing this week?
Golladay (hip) hasn’t played since Week 8, and his status for Week 14 is up in the air. He wasn’t able to practice for the Lions on Wednesday, and unless he can get on the practice field in the upcoming days, it seems likely that he will have to miss another week for the Lions.
If Golladay can’t play, Marvin Jones would once again serve as the No. 1 receiver for the Lions while rookie Quintez Cephus and veterans Danny Amendola and Mohamed Sanu will see time at the other WR spots. Of the group, only Jones can be trusted as a starter in fantasy football, but even he might have a tough day as he’ll have to line up across from star CB Jaire Alexander.
Is D.J. Moore playing this week?
Moore (ankle) suffered an ankle injury in the Panthers’ last game before their Week 13 bye. Though X-rays came back negative, there was always going to be a question about whether or not Moore would be able to play against the Broncos in Week 14.
That was further complicated by the fact that Moore landed on the COVID list earlier this week. There’s no indication of whether Moore tested positive or was just a close contact of someone who did, but if he was the former, he will be out in Week 14. If he was just a close contact, he will have a chance to return, but his ankle injury will continue to complicate his status and availability.
If Moore can’t play on Sunday, Robby Anderson would see even more targets and get to take advantage of a secondary that is missing top cornerback A.J. Bouye. Curtis Samuel would also get a boost and be a solid WR3/flex option provided that he can get off the COVID list.
Is Chris Godwin playing this week?
Godwin had a procedure done to remove pins from his injured finger on Tuesday, per Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times. As a result, Godwin missed practice on both Tuesday and Wednesday, but he is still expected to play for the Bucs against the Vikings on Sunday. They are just managing his reps, for the time being.
In the unlikely event that Godwin can’t play, Antonio Brown would see more targets as the true No. 2 receiver for the Bucs while Scotty Miller and Tyler Johnson could see more snaps against a Minnesota defense that has struggled against WRs this year. Playing either Miller or Johnson in that situation wouldn’t be recommended, but they could be nice DFS streamers.
Is Jonnu Smith playing this week?
After missing practice all last week with a knee injury and missing the Titans’ loss to the Browns, Smith was able to take the field on Wednesday for a limited practice. That’s a good sign for Smith, and if he can continue to practice on a limited basis or get upgraded to full participation in the next two days, he will have a chance to play in Week 14.
Smith has a favorable matchup against the Jaguars this week, so fantasy owners will hope that he can start. That said, if he’s out of commission, Anthony Firkser will be a great play as a replacement for Smith. Firkser has done well when called upon to replace the banged-up starter and had five catches for 51 yards against the Browns last week. Depending on Smith’s health, one of these players will end up being a TE1.
Is Curtis Samuel playing this week?
Much like Moore, Samuel has landed on the COVID list, and it’s uncertain whether he’ll be available for the Panthers this week. Unlike Moore, Samuel isn’t dealing with any other injuries, so if he is cleared and activated from the COVID list, he should have a chance to play.
If Samuel does play, he can certainly be started as a high-upside WR3 in a matchup with a beat-up Broncos secondary. If he’s out, Robby Anderson will get a ton of volume for the Panthers, but no other WR on the team will be fantasy-relevant. Teddy Bridgewater would also get a stock down, as the Panthers would be missing two of their best pass-catching weapons.