Week 14 Matchup Rankings
Week 14 is a rough week for those that are trying to stream a team defense. Can you really trust your season to the Lions? They would seem to be the streamer’s delight, as is just about anyone playing the Rams each week. But really, the Lions? How about the 49ers? They are playing a team almost equally as pathetic on offense in the Browns; a team that will turn to Johnny Manziel. He could be good for a turnover or two. This may be the week just to play it safe with your Bengals and your Bills, even if they are going up against better than average offenses.
- New Orleans Saints: Does it really surprise anyone that the Saints are on top of this list? Can they stop anyone? Doug Martin and Mike Evans (no matter how many balls he drops) are must-starts for me. Vincent Jackson is not a must play, but someone I want to get into my lineup if possible. My only real question is with Austin Seferian-Jenkins; can I play him? He didn’t do much last week (he dropped a touchdown). He’s not in my Top 10; he would certainly be a gamble but possibly one worth taking.
[caption id="attachment_21970" align="alignright" width="344"] Mark Ingram's season is over due to a shoulder injury. Photo Credit: Guy Harbert[/caption]
- Baltimore Ravens: Russell Wilson comes into this game with 12 touchdowns in his last three games. Yeah, he’s a start. Thomas Rawls is almost as productive as Marshawn Lynch and is a Top 10 RB for me. I want to start Doug Baldwin as well; it’s just too good a matchup to pass up.
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers: I have to admit I was surprised by how well the Saints’ offense played against Carolina last week, but that was at home; they are back on the road this week. Yes, Mark Ingram is done for the season. Does that make either C.J. Spiller or Tim Hightower a must pick up? No. Spiller is not built to carry the ball in between the tackles and Hightower has barely played the past couple of seasons. Should you claim one or both if you need depth? Sure, but don’t expect miracles, they are not going to save your season.
- Indianapolis Colts: Blake Bortles has really come into his own and this passing offense is dynamic with Allen Robinson, Allen Hurns (back this week), and Julius Thomas. Throw in T.J. Yeldon and the running game and you have a recipe for 24-plus points. They all start for me.
- Washington Redskins: Martellus Bennett is out for the season (ribs) and is probably done in Chicago, but if you need a TE, Zach Miller may be the guy for you and he should be available. It’s not like Washington has a lockdown secondary. The running backs scare me. Timeshares are never a good thing for Fantasy owners but I’m still starting Matt Forte.
- Chicago Bears: The Bears have been playing above their heads on defense for a few games now but as we saw last week, they can still be had through the air. I’m not looking to start Kirk Cousins but it wouldn’t surprise me if DeSean Jackson hits a big play or two. I’ll stay away from the Redskins’ running game if possible.
- Jacksonville Jaguars
- San Diego Chargers: Alex Smith and the passing game have been sneaky good of late. I want to start Jeremy Maclin and I am certainly going with Travis Kelce. As for the running backs, once again a timeshare is not good for Fantasy. I’d rather have Charcandrick West than Spencer Ware, but it’s pretty close.
- Atlanta Falcons: There is some concern that the Panthers will start to rest some of their regulars. While this may eventually be true, it won’t be until they clinch home field advantage. So I’m not worried about my Panthers this week, specifically Jonathan Stewart.
- Tennessee Titans: When it comes to the Jets, I like the offense but the running game is definitely starting to worry me. Chris Ivory just isn’t the same back he was a month ago. Maybe it’s the hamstring injury he suffered in Week 7, or perhaps the long season has caught up to him. I’m not saying Bilal Powell is going to take over the starting job, but once again, I can see more of a timeshare going down the stretch.
- Cleveland Browns: Shaun Draughn is a must-start for me this week. The Browns haven’t been able to stop anyone on the ground this year and this week may not be any different. That’s about it, though, for San Francisco starters.
- Pittsburgh Steelers: If Tyler Eifert comes back this week, and he should, I’m starting him, no questions asked. I’m on board the Jeremy Hill bandwagon also. Hill had 22 touches last week after 16 carries the week before. If there is still a timeshare in the Bengals’ backfield, it looks like Hill has the majority share.
- Oakland Raiders: If C.J. Anderson misses the game Sunday, then I would move Ronnie Hillman into my starting lineup. This would be a shame, as Anderson was just starting to look like the back we were hoping he would be at draft time. Still, he is expected to play this week and is a Flex play if you need a running back. Demaryius Thomas is no longer a WR1 play for me, and I can make an argument that I would rather start Emmanuel Sanders over him.
- Louis Rams: If you’re looking for a RB that you might be able to get off your waiver wire, Ameer Abdullah could be it. He’s not going to save your season, but if you just lost Ingram, you could do worse than Abdullah and I would rather have him than Hightower.
- Philadelphia Eagles: There really is no reason to play up the revenge game for LeSean McCoy this week. He’s a RB1 and you’re starting him anyway. The bigger question is whether or not to start Tyrod Taylor. I would start him over Matt Ryan, Derek Carr, and Phillip Rivers. Sammy Watkins starts for me also.
- San Francisco 49ers: Manziel will start for Cleveland. It’s the right move, as the Browns need to figure out whether or not he is their QB of the future. The future is not now, though, for Fantasy teams. The only Browns I would consider starting are Gary Barnidge and Travis Benjamin.
- Miami Dolphins: The bottom line is there are only two guys I would consider starting on the Giants: Eli Manning and Odell Beckham. No running backs for me. If I’m desperate for a TE though, I could be talked into Will Tye; but make no mistake about it, that’s a gamble.
- Dallas Cowboys: I wish I could tell you what is going wrong with the Packers’ passing game. This can’t be all about the loss of Jordy Nelson. The offensive line doesn’t give Aaron Rodgers much time to throw, and Randall Cobb and Davante Adams have been disappointing to say the least; but really, they should have figured it out by now. The running game hasn’t helped any, as Eddie Lacy may be the biggest Fantasy bust this year. Lacy was benched last week for a curfew violation, but it looks like he should get his starting job back again this week, and he should have plenty of motivation. However, that doesn’t mean I completely trust him and you shouldn’t either.
- New York Giants: What happened to Ryan Tannehill last week? He had what looked like a great matchup versus a Ravens secondary that had been the gift that keeps on giving all season. But less than 100 yards passing? Really? He has another good matchup this week but he’s no longer in my Top 12. I still have Jarvis Landry as a WR2 and won’t be afraid to go back to him. Those holding out hope for Jay Ajayi, though, may need to wait until next year, as Lamar Miller is once again running well.
- Minnesota Vikings: David Johnson is a must-start for me; he’s a low end RB1. I’m starting Michael Floyd and John Brown also if I can. Minnesota looks like they are feeling the effects of a long season.
- Detroit Lions: Although I wonder if Todd Gurley is hitting the rookie wall and hasn’t done much of late, life should get a little better in this game. He’s a RB2 for me.
- Buffalo Bills: What will happen with DeMarco Murray? There’s lots of talk that perhaps his first season in Philly will be his last. Don’t believe it. Even with Ryan Mathews returning this week, look for Chip Kelly to once again try and get Murray more involved in the offense, at least in the early going. He’s a low end RB2 at best; This offense is still a mess.
- Cincinnati Bengals: Yes, it’s the Bengals’ defense and they are pretty good, but they are also a bit banged up. I’m not afraid to start any and all of my Steelers here, up to Markus Wheaton; although, I might even consider him in deeper leagues.
- Green Bay Packers: To Dez or not to Dez? That is the question. Matt Cassel just doesn’t look his way, not until it’s crunch time anyway. He’s a low end WR2 but one with upside, as he is getting healthier. Is it me or does Darren McFadden run like he’s waiting to fall to the ground. He’s not looking to stay upright, but looking for any excuse to be tackled. Strange. Be careful here.
- New York Jets:
- Houston Texans: I know Rob Gronkowski returned to practice Thursday but it still seems unlikely that he’ll play Sunday night. Don’t assume that he will play. If you don’t have another TE to turn to, you may need to play it safe at this position with the day games.
- Kansas City Chiefs: I’m not starting anyone on San Diego this week if I can help it. It’s just a lousy matchup.
- Carolina Panthers: I’ve gotten so many questions this week about Julio Jones. Can you really sit him just because of CB Josh Norman? Maybe. Wide receiver is a position at which I can see you having the kind of depth that would allow you to make this move. I’ve seen questions that pretty much come down to Jones or Alshon Jeffery, or Jones/ Landry. In those cases, yes, I can see it; but I wouldn’t sit Jones for a WR that hasn’t done anything all season like Dez Bryant or anyone on Green Bay.
- Denver Broncos: If I can, everyone on Oakland sits this week. This looks like an ugly matchup and DeMarcus Ware is scheduled to returnm which won’t help matters any for the Raiders.
- New England Patriots:
- Arizona Cardinals: I’m not sitting Adrian Peterson.
- Seattle Seahawks: As good as Kamar Aiken and Javorious Allen have been since taking over, I’d really like to avoid starting either one here. The Hawks are back to being the Hawks.
As always feel free to follow me on Twitter and ask any questions you, @georgekurtz.
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