Week 14 Fantasy Football: Start'em, Sit'em
If your league's championship is decided in Week 16, there are only 47 NFL games left that matter toward reaching your goal.
One of the players that was high in my initial rankings was Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown, who was 15th in our receiver rankings going into Thursday night's game. Although it was the highest that I had ranked Brown this season, he should have been even higher.
While Brown finished with only five receptions, he had a career-high 151 receiving yards and scored his second receiving touchdown of the season.
Through 13 games, Brown now has 55 receptions for 925 yards and two touchdowns. That puts Brown on a 16-game pace of 68 receptions for 1,138 yards.
Brown, who currently ranks 10th in the NFL in receiving yards, has been remarkably consistent this season. He has a seven-game streak of 67-plus receiving yards and has done so in 10 of his past 12 games. During that seven-game span, he also has three 100-yard games.
Here are some players from the rest of the games that should be in your starting lineup:
QB - Philip Rivers, Chargers (vs BUF): Rivers has not looked like himself all year with the exception of last week's blowout win over a depleted Jags' secondary on Monday Night Football. Historically, Rivers has played great football in December and he kicked the month off with a 294-yard outing with three scores and no picks. With a full complement of receivers back, Rivers has actually been solid in his past four games: 259 yards per game and an 8:3 touchdown-to-interception ratio.
RB - Marshawn Lynch, Seahawks (vs STL): One thing we know for sure is that the Seahawks will feed the ball (and Skittles) to Lynch. Over the course of his past five games, Lynch is averaging more than 25 carries per game and has four 100-yard games. Lynch, who has scored in eight straight games played, gets a favorable matchup against the Rams, who have allowed a league-high 157.8 rushing yards per game. Coincidentally, the one game that he had less than 100 yards over his past five games was his first matchup against the Rams (88 yards), but he should have more success this time around.
RB - Roy Helu, Redskins (vs NE): The Patriots are one of two teams that have yet to allow a 100-yard rusher this season. That said, Helu, who has back-to-back 100-yard games, has had a healthy workload (23 carries in each of his past two games) and is a threat to catch passes out of the backfield (Helu set the franchise single-game receptions record earlier this season). In his past two games, Helu has a total of 304 yards from scrimmage (208 rushing yards and 96 receiving yards).
WR - Percy Harvin, Vikings (at DET): Harvin had a career-high 156 yards and two touchdowns last week. Harvin has six-plus receptions in four straight games, 50-plus receiving yards in five straight games and has scored in three straight games. In his past three games, Harvin has a total of 22 receptions for 324 receiving yards (plus 51 rushing yards) and four touchdowns.
WR - Anquan Boldin, Ravens (vs IND): There are a few concerns about Boldin this week: (1) he hasn't done much in his past four games and (2) the Colts are so bad (in general and against the run) that the Ravens could very easily establish an early and a commanding lead and give Ray Rice, who is coming off a career-best performance, a heavy workload. That said, the Colts have allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers and have placed two of their cornerbacks on injured reserve this week.
WR - Santana Moss, Redskins (vs NE): Moss gets a much more favorable matchup this week (Patriots) than he had last week (Jets). The Patriots are clearly the better team than the 'Skins so it's very possible that they will fall behind early and need to air it out against the league's most generous pass defense (310 passing yards allowed per game). With Fred Davis serving a four-game suspension, Moss is the team's best option among its pass-catchers.
WR - Michael Crabtree, 49ers (at ARI): Based on stats from Pro Football Reference, only four players have more receiving yards in their team's 10th through 12th game this season than Crabtree. In his past three games, Crabtree has 17 receptions for 270 yards and a touchdown. In his first matchup against the Cardinals this season, Crabtree had a season-high 120 yards.
TE - Brent Celek, Eagles (at MIA): Celek had only three receptions for 21 yards last week, but it ended a streak of five straight games with 50-plus yards. Celek has had six or more fantasy points in five of his past seven games.
Here are some players that you consider sitting this week:
QB - Andy Dalton, Bengals (vs HOU): While you likely wouldn't consider starting Dalton in a 10- or 12-team league, but I wouldn't start Dalton in a 16-team or perhaps even a two-quarterback league either this week. The Texans defense has allowed the third-fewest passing yards per game (183.4) and are tied for the second-most interceptions (17). The Texans have allowed more than one passing touchdown in only two games this season (Week 3 and 5) and have held opposing quarterbacks to single-digit fantasy points in five of six games.
RB - Beanie Wells, Cardinals (vs SF): The good news is that Wells may get the opportunity to face the 49ers without All Pro linebacker Patrick Willis. That said, the 49ers have yet to allow a running back to rush for 65 yards or a touchdown this season. With Wells not at 100 percent himself, he's better off getting some rest ... on your fantasy bench.
RB - BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Patriots (at WAS): There is always the chance that The Law Firm will find the endzone. Although he scored last week, he had only six carries for 14 yards. In other words, if he doesn't score, you're more likely to get 25 yards (only two fantasy points) than you are to get 75 yards.
WR - Dwayne Bowe, Chiefs (at NYJ): The last time the Chiefs played the Jets, Bowe had six receptions for 102 yards. With Tyler Palko expected to start this week, I'm guessing that he gets less, much less, this time around. In addition, Bowe has not scored a touchdown in seven consecutive games.
WR - Demaryius Thomas, Broncos (vs CHI): Thomas is coming off a monster performance of 144 yards and two touchdowns. That was more than 100 yards over his previous season high. In other words, don't expect a repeat performance from Thomas.
WR - DeSean Jackson, Eagles (at MIA): Throughout his career (when happy or not), Jackson has been a boom-or-bust type of player. He is as capable of having a 171-yard game like he did in Week 4 as he is of finishing with two receptions for 16 yards like he did in Week 9 vs. Chicago. In your quest for a title, it might be more prudent to go with a player that has slightly less talent but a lot more consistency than Jackson.
WR - Reggie Wayne, Colts (at BAL): The best thing Wayne has going for his fantasy owners is that his team is absolutely horrible and likely to be down early. While he may get a fair amount of targets, Wayne has only two touchdowns all season (both of them in his only two 100-yard games). In other words, Wayne has seven or less fantasy points every week except for Weeks 1 and 12. In addition, the Ravens have allowed the seventh-fewest fantasy points to opposing receivers this year.
TE - Owen Daniels, Texans (at CIN): If you want exactly three fantasy points from your tight end, Daniels might be your man. In his past four games, Daniels has exactly 31-35 receiving yards and he has not scored a touchdown since Week 4. Meanwhile, teammate Joel Dreessen has caught five touchdowns since Week 5 including three in his past four games.
As always, these start or sit recommendations are based on most team's rosters. You may find yourself stacked or weak at a particular position and forced into a situation where you need to do the opposite.
While we will make updates through 1 p.m. kickoffs on Sunday, consult our Week 14 fantasy football rankings to compare specific players on your roster.
Good luck in Week 14!