Fantasy Football Start'em, Sit'em for Week 14
Most fantasy leagues begin their playoffs in Week 14. Therefore, if you're reading this column, congratulations on making the postseason.
Of course, getting to the playoffs is just the first step in the ultimate goal of winning a championship.
Below you will find some players that fall into a "start'em" or "sit'em" category, but ultimately your league's depth and your team's roster composition will determine who should be started.
To get a better sense of whether you should start one player over another, check out my Week 14 fantasy rankings, which include standard and PPR-scoring rankings as well as flex rankings.
That said, here are some players to consider starting in Week 14:
QB - Josh McCown, Chicago Bears (vs. DAL)
For at least one more week, McCown will get the start for the Bears and it's another favorable matchup for him against the Cowboys. Only the Vikings, last week's opponent, have allowed more fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this season.
McCown has thrown for 350-plus yards and two touchdowns in back-to-back weeks and has posted a nine-to-one TD-to-INT ratio this season. With Alshon Jeffery, who broke his own franchise record for yards last week, and Brandon Marshall, owner of the franchise's single-season record, McCown has arguably the league's best duo of receivers on the outside. In addition, Matt Forte ranks third in the NFL among running backs in receptions (58) this year.
QB - Nick Foles, Philadelphia Eagles (vs. DET)
While he's been the team's starting quarterback for only pockets of time (albeit set as the team's starter for the next 1,000 years), Foles has thrown 19 touchdowns with no interceptions on the season. Foles has at least 21 fantasy points in each of the past four games and he's set up for another productive game this week as well.
The Lions allowed negative fantasy points to the Packers last week, but they allowed multiple touchdown passes in each of their previous six games and a total of 16 touchdown passes during that span.
QB - Joe Flacco, Baltimore Ravens (vs. MIN)
Flacco and the entire Ravens offense have been a huge disappointment this season. In fact, he has already thrown a career-worst 14 interceptions. That said, I have Flacco ranked as my No. 12 fantasy quarterback this week, which makes him a borderline QB1, largely due to the matchup.
As noted earlier, the Vikings have allowed the most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this season. In the six-game span since Week 8, the Vikings have allowed a minimum of 18 fantasy points to quarterbacks every week. No team has allowed more passing touchdowns this season than the Vikings (26).
RB - DeMarco Murray, Dallas Cowboys (at CHI)
Over his past three games, Murray has scored double-digit fantasy points every week. During that stretch, Murray has 47 carries for 238 yards and four touchdowns. In addition, he has nine receptions for 85 yards. While he may not score three touchdowns like he did on Thanksgiving, he has an even better matchup this week.
Only two teams have allowed more fantasy points to opposing running backs this season than the Bears, who have been particularly bad since Week 4. During that stretch, they have allowed more than 20 fantasy points to a team's running backs in eight of nine games. In addition, they have allowed a 100-yard rusher in six of their past seven games.
RB - Andre Brown, New York Giants (at SD)
Since returning from short-term IR, Brown has scored at least 15 fantasy points in three of four games. Although he had season lows of 14 carries and 35 rushing yards last week, he also rushed for two touchdowns.
This week, Brown and the Giants face the Chargers, who have allowed eight touchdowns to running backs in the past five weeks.
RB - Bobby Rainey, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (vs. BUF)
Since his monster Week 11 performance (30/163/2), Rainey has 35 carries for 98 yards and no touchdowns in two games against tough rush defenses (Detroit and Carolina). Although the Bills have allowed the 10th-fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs, they have given up five rushing touchdowns in their past three games.
RB - Ray Rice, Baltimore Ravens (vs. MIN)
It's been a disappointing season for Rice and the whole Ravens offense, as noted earlier. Averaging less than three yards per carry, Rice has rushed for more than 45 yards in a game only twice this season, but he gets a favorable matchup this week.
The Vikings have allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to opposing running backs this season. The Vikings have allowed 100-yard rushers in back-to-back weeks and in three of their past four games.
WR - Roddy White, Atlanta Falcons (at GB)
In an injury-plagued year for one of the league's most durable players at any position, White is coming off his best performance of the year, by far. White had 10 catches for 143 yards, both of which were season highs, against the Bills last week. If you managed to get to the postseason with little help from White, he may be poised to help you when it matters the most.
The Packers have allowed the eighth-most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers this season.
WR - Torrey Smith, Baltimore Ravens (vs. MIN)
Without much help from the rest of the offense, Smith has been productive this season as he has already set career highs in receptions (54) and yards (952) in only 12 games. If he maintains his current pace, he'll finish the season with a stat line of 72/1,269/5. Although Smith has only four touchdowns on the season, he has scored three of them in his past four games.
Like Flacco and Rice, Smith has a plus matchup this week against the Vikings, who have allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to wide receivers. The Vikings have allowed a touchdown to a receiver every week except Week 1.
WR - Michael Floyd, Arizona Cardinals (vs. STL)
Floyd is having a breakout season and currently leads the Cardinals in receiving yards (860). Especially productive over the past three weeks, the second-year receiver has 18 receptions for 396 yards and two touchdowns during that stretch and has scored double-digit fantasy points in all three games.
WR - Kendall Wright, Tennessee Titans (at DEN)
Wright has been über-consistent this season. Wright has more than 50 receiving yards in every game other than Week 1 and has at least 69 receiving yards in eight consecutive games. The knock on Wright from a fantasy perspective is his lack of touchdowns (only two all year).
That said, the Titans will need to keep up with the Broncos offense this week and Denver has allowed the 10th-most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers this season.
TE - Jared Cook, St. Louis Rams (at ARI)
No team has allowed more fantasy points to opposing tight ends this season than the Cardinals, who gave up three touchdowns to the Eagles' tight ends last week. In fact, the Cardinals have allowed tight ends to catch 14 touchdowns, which is five more than the second-worst defense.
Two of those touchdowns went to Cook in their first matchup this season as he torched them for a line of 7/141/2 in Week 1. It's been mostly downhill from there for Cook, but he gets an opportunity to relive the magic this week.
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Here are some players to possibly sit for Week 14:
QB - Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts (at CIN)
Things have not gone so well for Luck since the team lost Reggie Wayne to a torn ACL. Over the past four games, Luck has thrown just two touchdowns with five interceptions and has 13 fantasy points (or less) in three of the past four games.
The Bengals have allowed single-digit fantasy points to quarterbacks in three of their past five games and no more than 14 points during that span.
QB - Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco 49ers (vs. SEA)
It was certainly a positive to get back Michael Crabtree, the team's best receiver, last week from his torn Achilles injury. Except for Week 1 (412 yards), Kaepernick threw for next-highest total of the season last week (275 yards).
That said, only the Panthers have allowed fewer fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks than the Seahawks, who limited Kaepernick to just five fantasy points in their first matchup in Week 2.
RB - Lamar Miller, Miami Dolphins (at PIT)
It's been a disappointing season for Miller, who had a solid performance last week against the league's best rushing defense. Miller carried the ball a season-high 22 times for 72 yards. That said, he's just outside my top 24 running backs for the week, making him only a flex play.
At the beginning of the season, the Steelers were much more generous to fantasy running backs. Over their past four games, however, they have limited opposing running backs to just 3.67 yards per carry and and only one touchdown during that span.
RB - Danny Woodhead, San Diego Chargers (vs. NYG)
Over the course of the season, Woodhead has never exceeded 36 rushing yards in any game. His fantasy value has been derived from touchdowns and receiving. Over the past four weeks, however, Woodhead has only 12 receptions and no more than four catches in any of those four games. As a comparison, he had 47 receptions in the previous seven games. Like with Miller, Woodhead is a flex option (just outside of my top 24 running backs) this week.
The Giants have allowed the ninth-fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs this season.
RB - Darren Sproles, New Orleans Saints (vs. CAR)
With a few big games this season, Sproles has mostly been a disappointment. On the season, he has three games with double-digit fantasy points: 10 (Week 1), 23 (Week 4) and 18 (Week 10). Aside from those games, he has more than five fantasy points in only one game.
Only the Cardinals and Jets have allowed fewer fantasy points to running backs this season than the Panthers.
RB - Trent Richardson, Indianapolis Colts (at CIN)
Despite being a first-round pick in most leagues (and in real life), Richardson has arguably been the biggest disappointment in fantasy football this year. Unlike Richardson, even some of the other duds (like Ray Rice) have had the occasional productive week. Richardson has 22 rushing yards or less in five consecutive games and tied a season low with five carries last week.
WR - Hakeem Nicks, New York Giants (at SD)
With no touchdowns on the season, Nicks has five or less fantasy points in every game played since Week 7 despite several excellent matchups during that stretch. The Giants have another favorable matchup this week, but it's hard to trust that Nicks will exploit it.
WR - Danny Amendola, New England Patriots (vs. CLE)
The good news is Amendola has been healthy and has appeared in five consecutive games for the Patriots. During that span, however, the slot receiver has more than five receptions just once (Week 11) and more than five fantasy points only once (Week 9).
WR - Marques Colston, New Orleans Saints (vs. CAR)
After a couple of solid performances, Colston has disappointed fantasy owners in consecutive weeks with 4/40 and 4/27 games. Unfortunately for his fantasy owners, it won't get any easier this week.
The Panthers have allowed the fourth-fewest fantasy points to opposing wide receivers this season. Since Week 3, they have allowed only one receiving touchdown to a wide receiver.
WR - Steve Smith, Carolina Panthers (at NO)
While things won't be easy for Colston, they shouldn't be all that much easier for Smith. With no touchdowns in six weeks, Smith has been solid but far from spectacular. He has 51-plus yards in five straight games, but he has failed to reach 70 yards at any point in the season.
The Saints have allowed the eighth-fewest fantasy points to opposing wide receivers this season.
TE - Jordan Cameron, Cleveland Browns (at NE)
In his first eight games of the season, Cameron was dominant: 49 catches for 596 yards and six touchdowns. Over his last four games, nobody would call Cameron dominant and pedestrian may even be too kind. During that stretch, he has 14 catches for 108 yards and no touchdowns.
Week 14 Fantasy Football Rankings:
- Week 14 Fantasy Football QB Rankings
- Week 14 Fantasy Football RB Rankings
- Week 14 Fantasy Football WR Rankings
- Week 14 Fantasy Football TE Rankings
Week 14 Daily Fantasy Football Salary-Cap Analysis: