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Fantasy football rankings: Cooks, Smith-Njigba among 5 must-start WRs in Week 14

Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Brandin Cooks is a must-start WR2 in Week 14. File Photo by Ian Halperin/UPI
Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Brandin Cooks is a must-start WR2 in Week 14. File Photo by Ian Halperin/UPI

MIAMI, Dec. 5 (UPI) -- Brandin Cooks and Jaxon Smith-Njigba are among my five must-start wide receivers for Week 14 of the fantasy football season.

If you need more options for your roster, check out my top add/drops article. My Week 14 rankings for quarterbacks and running backs are also available and will be updated throughout the week.

CeeDee Lamb, Tyreek Hill, Ja'Marr Chase, A.J. Brown and Amon-Ra St. Brown lead my Top 50 Week 14 wide receiver rankings, which are listed below. Keenan Allen, Stefon Diggs, D.J. Moore, Deebo Samuel and Mike Evans round out my Top 10.

All of my must-start options rank inside the Top 28 in my rankings, meaning all should be started in leagues that include at least 14 teams.

Players from the Arizona Cardinals and Washington Commanders should be benched or dropped in redraft leagues, as those teams have Week 14 byes. Wide receivers from Thursday's Pittsburgh Steelers-New England Patriots game were removed from my rankings.

Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins is the No. 20 player in my Week 14 rankings. File Photo by John Sommers II/UPI
Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins is the No. 20 player in my Week 14 rankings. File Photo by John Sommers II/UPI

Michael Pittman Jr.

Pittman is my No. 11 fantasy football wide receiver for Week 14. The Indianapolis Colts pass catcher received a season-high 16 targets in Week 13 when he caught 11 passes for 105 yards and a touchdown.

Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Michael Pittman (C) is a WR1 in Week 14. File Photo by Joe Marino/UPI
Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Michael Pittman (C) is a WR1 in Week 14. File Photo by Joe Marino/UPI

Pittman, who is tied with Tyreek Hill for the second-most targets in the NFL, caught at least eight passes in six of his last seven games. He eclipsed 100 receiving yards in each of his last two performances.

This week, the Colts will face the Cincinnati Bengals. The Bengals allowed the eighth-most receiving yards per game to wide receivers through 13 weeks. They surrendered five touchdowns to the position over their last five games.

Houston Texans wide receiver Nico Collins (R) should receive more targets this week because of the season-ending ankle injury Tank Dell sustained in Week 14. File Photo by Joe Marino/UPI
Houston Texans wide receiver Nico Collins (R) should receive more targets this week because of the season-ending ankle injury Tank Dell sustained in Week 14. File Photo by Joe Marino/UPI

I expect successful fantasy performances from both Bengals quarterback Jake Browning and Colts passer Gardner Minshew in this matchup, leading to great production for all pass catchers.

Look for Pittman to receive at least 10 targets. He should reward his stock owners with another 100-yard performance and remains a WR1 going forward.

Wide receiver Nico Collins (C) and the Houston Texans will face the New York Jets on Sunday in East Rutherford, N.J. File Photo by Mark Black/UPI
Wide receiver Nico Collins (C) and the Houston Texans will face the New York Jets on Sunday in East Rutherford, N.J. File Photo by Mark Black/UPI
Miami Dolphins wide receiver Tyreek Hill (L) is my No. 2 fantasy football play in Week 14. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI
Miami Dolphins wide receiver Tyreek Hill (L) is my No. 2 fantasy football play in Week 14. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI

Nico Collins

Collins was already leading the Houston Texans with 85 targets, 59 catches and 991 receiving yards this season. Now the third-year pass catcher should receive even more looks, with fellow Texans wide receiver Tank Dell sustaining a season-ending injury in Week 13.

Collins logged season-highs with 12 targets, nine catches, 191 yards and a score in the Texans' Week 13 win over the Denver Broncos. He averaged 6.5 catches and 103.5 yards per game over his last four appearances. He also scored in three of those games.

This week, the Texans get a tough matchup against cornerback Sauce Gardner and the New York Jets, but I'm not taking Collins out of my lineup.

The Jets gave up the fewest fantasy points per game to wide receivers through 13 weeks, but did allow Miami Dolphins stars Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle to each log 100 receiving yards in Week 12. Miami also surrendered 115 yards and a score in week 11 to Buffalo Bills wide receiver Khalil Shakir.

I expect the Texans to win this contest, with quarterback C.J. Stroud throwing for at least 250 yards. Stroud should spread out targets to his pass catchers, with Collins seeing close to 10 looks. He is my No. 13 play.

Wide receiver Brandin Cooks and the Dallas Cowboys will host the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday in Arlington, Texas. File Photo by Ian Halperin/UPI
Wide receiver Brandin Cooks and the Dallas Cowboys will host the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday in Arlington, Texas. File Photo by Ian Halperin/UPI

Brandin Cooks

Cooks was among my top waiver-wire priorities last week. He rewarded those who picked him up by scoring a touchdown for the fifth time in seven games.

The Dallas Cowboys are on fire as of late, with at least 33 points in each of their last four games, all victories. They eclipsed 40 points in three of them. Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott threw his name into the MVP conversation along the way. He averaged more than 316 passing yards and three touchdowns per game over his last six appearances.

Look for that trend to continue this week, when the Cowboys host the Philadelphia Eagles in a pivotal NFC East matchup. The Eagles hold the top seed in the NFC, but continue to struggle to defend opposing passing games. They allowed the most catches, fantasy points and touchdowns per game to wide receivers so far this season. They also surrendered the second-most receiving yards per game to the position.

The Eagles just allowed a total of five scores to San Francisco 49ers wide receivers Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk and Jauan Jennings in Week 13. They've surrendered at least two scores to wide receivers in four of their last five games.

This game should be a shootout, with the Cowboys and Eagles offenses running and passing up and down the field on Sunday Night Football. Cooks should haul in one of Prescott's several touchdown tosses. He is my No. 18 play.

Wide receiver Tee Higgins (R) and the Cincinnati Bengals will host the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday in Cincinnati. File Photo by Steve Nesius/UPI
Wide receiver Tee Higgins (R) and the Cincinnati Bengals will host the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday in Cincinnati. File Photo by Steve Nesius/UPI

Tee Higgins

Higgins is another great WR2 play this week, when his Bengals host the Colts. The Bengals playmaker was quiet in Week 13, hauling in just three catches for 36 yards. He also hasn't scored since September.

Despite his lack of consistent success this season, I like him heading into Week 14. Bengals quarterback Jake Browning is now more comfortable in the offense and should look Higgins way a bit more. Look for the Colts to focus most of their secondary on stopping Bengals wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase, which should result in more favorable coverage for Higgins.

Higgins, who caught eight passes for 110 yards in Week 9, before an injury hiatus, also should get back into rhythm in this good matchup. The Colts' defense ranks No. 26 overall and No. 17 against the pass. They also allowed three scores to the position over their last two games.

Browning has a great shot to throw for 300 yards for the second-consecutive week. I expect Higgins to eclipse 100 receiving yards for the second time this season. He is my No. 21 play.

Jaxson Smith-Njigba

Smith-Njigba didn't eclipse six targets, five catches or 48 receiving yards through his first five games of the season. He also failed to reach the end zone.

Since then, he is averaging 6.1 targets, 4.1 catches and 51.1 receiving yards per game. The Seattle Seahawks rookie totaled season highs with 11 targets and seven catches in Week 13. I expect similar production, with a chance for a score, in Week 14 against the San Francisco 49ers.

The 49ers look like the best team in the NFL in recent weeks, but Seahawks playmakers should still provide fantasy football value Sunday in Santa Clara, Calif.

The 49ers' defense ranks No. 5 overall, but is led by its run-stuffing defensive line. They rank No. 14 against the pass and surrendered the second-most catches and ninth-most receiving yards and fantasy points per game to wide receivers so far this season.

Smith-Njigba is a bit of a long shot and likely needs a touchdown to warrant a start, but I like his odds in this spot. He is my No. 26 option and can be plugged in as a low-end WR2/high-end WR3.

Dallas Cowboys wide receiver CeeDee Lamb remains an elite WR1 in fantasy football. File Photo by Ian Halperin/UPI
Dallas Cowboys wide receiver CeeDee Lamb remains an elite WR1 in fantasy football. File Photo by Ian Halperin/UPI

Week 14 fantasy football wide receiver rankings

1. CeeDee Lamb, Dallas Cowboys vs. PHI

2. Tyreek Hill, Miami Dolphins vs. TEN

3. Ja'Marr Chase, Cincinnati Bengals vs. IND

4. A.J. Brown, Philadelphia Eagles at DAL

5. Amon-Ra St. Brown, Detroit Lions at CHI

6. Keenan Allen, Los Angeles Chargers vs. DEN

7. Stefon Diggs, Buffalo Bills at KC

8. D.J. Moore, Chicago Bears vs. DET

9. Deebo Samuel, San Francisco 49ers vs. SEA

10. Mike Evans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers at ATL

11. Michael Pittman Jr., Indianapolis Colts at CIN

12. Justin Jefferson, Minnesota Vikings at LV

13. Nico Collins, Houston Texans at NYJ

14. Courtland Sutton, Denver Broncos at LAC

15. Chris Olave, New Orleans Saints vs. CAR

16. Davante Adams, Las Vegas Raiders vs. MIN

17. DeAndre Hopkins, Tennessee Titans at MIA

18. Brandin Cooks, Dallas Cowboys vs. PHI

19. Puka Nacua, Los Angeles Rams at BAL

20. Jaylen Waddle, Miami Dolphins vs. TEN

21. Tee Higgins, Cincinnati Bengals vs. IND

22. Rashee Rice, Kansas City Chiefs vs. BUF

23. Calvin Ridley, Jacksonville Jaguars at CLE

24. Brandon Aiyuk, San Francisco 49ers vs. SEA

25. Jayden Reed, Green Bay Packers at NYG

26. Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Seattle Seahawks at SF

27. Garrett Wilson, New York Jets vs. HOU

28. DeVonta Smith, Philadelphia Eagles at DAL

29. Zay Flowers, Baltimore Ravens vs. LAR

30. Drake London, Atlanta Falcons vs. TB

31. Cooper Kupp, Los Angeles Rams at BAL

32. Gabe Davis, Buffalo Bills at KC

33. Romeo Doubs, Green Bay Packers at NYG

34. Jordan Addison, Minnesota Vikings at LV

35. Odell Beckham Jr., Baltimore Ravens vs. LAR

36. Tyler Lockett, Seattle Seahawks at SF

37. Jakobi Meyers, Las Vegas Raiders vs. MIN

38. Chris Godwin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers at ATL

39. Adam Thielen, Carolina Panthers at NO

40. Elijah Moore, Cleveland Browns vs. JAX

41. Jerry Jeudy, Denver Broncos at LAC

42. DK Metcalf, Seattle Seahawks at SF

43. Noah Brown, Houston Texans at NYJ

44. Quentin Johnston, Los Angeles Chargers vs. DEN

45. Kyle Philips, Tennessee Titans at MIA

46. Jalin Hyatt, New York Giants vs. GB

47. Alec Pierce, Indianapolis Colts vs. CIN

48. Robert Woods, Houston Texans at NYJ

49. Jonathan Mingo, Carolina Panthers at NO

50. Josh Downs, Indianapolis Colts at CIN