Week 14 Start 'Em, Sit 'Em (cont.)
Chiefs -- Jamaal Charles: Charles isn't getting in the end zone consistently, especially with Peyton Hillis healthy and serving as the goal-line back, but Charles is getting enough touches and yards to keep active every week, regardless of the matchup. That's about it for the reeling Chiefs on the road.
Browns -- Trent Richardson, Browns D/ST: The Chiefs have played better defense in the second half of the season, but they are still 11th-worst in fantasy versus running backs, and Richardson is a must-start in a running back-first offense. The defense is a streaming option here, too, facing a quarterback-deficient-team that is third-worst in fantasy versus D/STs.
Chiefs -- Brady Quinn, Peyton Hillis, Dwayne Bowe, Jon Baldwin, Dexter McCluster, Tony Moeaki, Ryan Succop, Chiefs D/ST: Hillis isn't certain to get any goal-line carries on the road, especially with Quinn's shaky play at quarterback. That also ruins Bowe's fantasy value in crunch time. Avoid your non-Charles Chiefs right now in any matchup.
Browns -- Brandon Weeden, Josh Gordon, Greg Little, Ben Watson, Jordan Cameron, Phil Dawson: Of these options, the only worthwhile consideration at this time of year is Gordon. Remember, though, the Chiefs have a solid secondary that has allowed the fewest receptions to wide receivers in the NFL.
Titans -- Chris Johnson, Kenny Britt: The Colts are eighth-worst versus running backs and fifth-worst versus wide receivers. It could be a good week for C.J. and Britt.
Colts -- Andrew Luck, Vick Ballard, Reggie Wayne, Adam Vinatieri: This home game should be another bountiful week for Luck and his receivers. T.Y. Hilton and Donnie Avery are also considerations coming off their big weeks at Detroit. Also, Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen are potential sleepers against the third-worst team in fantasy versus tight ends. The best sleeper play, however, is Ballard. He will be the feature back with Donald Brown (ankle) already ruled out. Plus, the Titans the third-most forgiving team in fantasy against running backs.
Titans -- Jake Locker, Kendall Wright, Nate Washington, Jared Cook, Rob Bironas, Titans D/ST: The Titans' offense is still a big question mark under its struggling quarterback and new coordinator, so consider Wright, Cook and company just out the starter-worthy category in even the most favorable of matchups.
Colts -- Delone Carter, LaVon Brazill, Colts D/ST: There has been some moments for these fringe fantasy options, but there are too many better options to consider when points are their most meaningful.
Jets -- Shonn Greene, Bilal Powell, Jets D/ST: For all the questions surrounding the Jets, they still have maintained a commitment to run and play defense. The Jaguars rank in the bottom five against running backs and bottom 10 against D/STs. Powell might even reach the end zone once or twice, spelling Greene.
Jaguars -- None: The only consideration -- Cecil Shorts (concussion) -- needs to be cleared to play first. Still, the Jets are still the sixth-best team in fantasy versus quarterbacks and wide receivers.
Jets -- Mark Sanchez, Tim Tebow, Greg McElroy, Jeremy Kerley, Chaz Schilens, Stephen Hill, Dustin Keller, Nick Folk: Keller is worth a look among this pile of also-rans, but he is dealing with a swollen ankle. Look elsewhere. This is a week-to-week train wreck.
Jaguars -- Chad Henne, Montell Owens, Jordan Todman, Richard Murphy, Maurice Jones-Drew, Rashad Jennings, Justin Blackmon, Marcedes Lewis, Josh Scobee, Jaguars D/ST: Owens draws the start, but he figures to split time in the backfield, and the Jets' defense is better against the run than their seventh-worst ranking in fantasy suggests. They give up yards mostly because teams can stick to the run in low-scoring games. The Jags' running game has been putrid without Maurice Jones-Drew, though. Many are going to jump on the Jags' D/ST against the quarterback-poor Jets, but the bet here is that is a bad streaming play.
Dolphins -- None: A struggling Dolphins offense minus their left tackle (Jake Long) for the season at the best defense in football? Uh, no thanks.
49ers -- Frank Gore, Michael Crabtree, Vernon Davis, David Akers, 49ers D/ST: Gore is still a must-start even against the fifth-best team in fantasy versus running backs. Also, stick with Crabtree and Davis as the 49ers try to iron out their down-field passing in a tune-up game. Crabree and Davis will both rebound and reach the end zone in this one. Akers and the defense, albeit disappointing this season, can have their best week here.
Dolphins -- Ryan Tannehill, Reggie Bush, Daniel Thomas, Brian Hartline, Davone Bess, Anthony Fasano, Daniel Carpenter, Dolphins D/ST: This is a sit-all game on the road against a good defense coming off a loss. The 49ers are second versus quarterbacks, running backs and wide receivers, third versus tight ends and No. 1 versus kickers. Look away. This one figures to get ugly for the least productive rookie quarterback in the NFL.
49ers -- Colin Kaepernick, Brandon Jacobs, Mario Manningham, Randy Moss: Until Kaepernick proves more consistent, don't trust the secondary 49ers fantasy options in any matchup. A good performance here will make Kaepernick and Manningham intriguing sleepers against the Pats next week, though.
Saints -- Drew Brees, Darren Sproles, Marques Colston, Lance Moore, Jimmy Graham: The Giants' defense has played better of late, slowing Aaron Rodgers and Robert Griffin III to below-average days, but this is still a good matchup for the Saints in the passing game. Stick with Brees coming off his five-interception game, and his top four targets. The Giants are eighth-worst in fantasy against quarterbacks and fourth-worst against wide receivers.
Giants -- Eli Manning, Ahmad Bradshaw, Victor Cruz, Hakeem Nicks, Lawrence Tynes, Giants D/ST: This is a good week for a Giants rebound, much as they did against the Packers in Week 12. The Saints rank last against quarterbacks and running backs and are also third-worst versus wide receivers. The Giants' defense is a fringe option against the potent Saints, but it has been playing very well against elite quarterbacks of late, so consider this unit among the top 12.
Saints -- Pierre Thomas, Mark Ingram, Chris Ivory, Devery Henderson, David Thomas, Garrett Hartley, Saints D/ST: Quietly, despite allowing five 120-plus-yard rushers (Alfred Morris twice), the Giants are still fourth-best in fantasy versus running backs, so it's unsafe to trust any rusher (Sproles is more a receiver). Hartley and the Saints' D/ST have proven too unproductive to be owned at this point.
Giants -- David Wilson, Rueben Randle, Martellus Bennett: Wilson is looking more like a track star than an NFL running back. Randle and Bennett are potential options, but the bet here is they prove to be something less than starter-worthy as Manning gets back to going down-field and to the outside to Cruz and Nicks.
Cardinals -- None: The quarterback situation has ruined everything here. Who would have thought they would miss Kevin Kolb (shoulder).
Seahawks -- Marshawn Lynch, Seahawks D/ST: The Cardinals' defense is still one to be wary of in fantasy. The unit is in the top half against quarterbacks (fourth), running backs (10th), wide receivers (13th), tight ends (fourth) and kickers (11th). The Seahawks' defense is arguably the best play of the week at the position, while Lynch should be counted on for 100 yards and at least one touchdown at home. Russell Wilson is hot, but just out of the starter category in a game that figures to be played tight; the same goes for wide receivers Sidney Rice and Golden Tate.
Cardinals -- Ryan Lindley, John Skelton, Beanie Wells, LaRod Stephens-Howling, Larry Fitzgerald, Andre Roberts, Michael Floyd, Rob Housler, Jay Feely, Cardinals D/ST: Seattle's defense, coupled with the Cardinals' woeful quarterback play, makes everyone a sit here. Even Fitzgerald has proven to be worthless in fantasy. Even with the fantasy stakes at their highest, Fitzgerald is not worth starting.
Seahawks -- Robert Turbin, Doug Baldwin, Zach Miller, Steven Hauschka: Don't own them; don't start them. Any questions?
Lions -- Matthew Stafford, Mikel Leshoure, Calvin Johnson, Brandon Pettigrew, Jason Hanson: The loss of Ryan Broyles (ACL surgery) and Titus Young (knee) for the season adds value to Leshoure and Pettigrew, considering the Lions can't call Stafford to Megatron on every play right? Mike Thomas figures to start opposite Johnson, but he and Brian Robiskie aren't yet fantasy options.
Packers -- Aaron Rodgers, Greg Jennings, Randall Cobb, James Jones, Jermichael Finley, Mason Crosby, Packers D/ST: The expected absence of Jordy Nelson (hamstring) should be a boon to Jennings, Cobb, Jones and even Finley, who draws the fifth-worst team in fantasy versus tight ends. Finley had his best week of the season against the Lions in their past meeting (three catches for 66 yards and a touchdown). The Lions are also bottom five against kickers and defenses.
Lions -- Joique Bell, Lions D/ST: It is unclear how many touches Bell will get spelling Leshoure, who clearly is the feature back in the Lions' offense. The Packers are also one of the 10 toughest opponents for D/STs.
Packers -- Alex Green, Ryan Grant, Donald Driver: The running back situation is muddled again with the season-end injury to James Starks (knee). Green figures to start at least until recently signed Grant gets up to speed, but the Lions are among the better defenses in fantasy against running backs. The Packers will stick with a pass-happy game plan, which could make Driver a sleeper. At best, Driver is a fifth option behind those starts above.
Texans -- Matt Schaub, Arian Foster, Andre Johnson, Owen Daniels, Shayne Graham: The Pats are playing better, but their pass defense still presents opportunities. The Pats are fourth-worst against quarterbacks and tight ends and eighth-worst versus wide receivers. Schaub also does a good job getting the ball to his primary guys. This should be a high-scoring slugfest, which could mean chances for Graham.
Patriots -- Tom Brady, Stevan Ridley, Wes Welker, Brandon Lloyd, Aaron Hernandez, Stephen Gostkowski, Patriots D/ST: The loss of Julian Edelman (foot) for the season should raise the value of Welker and Hernandez as Brady's most frequent targets and Lloyd as a sleeper (especially against the ninth-worst team in fantasy versus wide receivers). There will be no hiding them now. Ridley should remain active, even against the No. 1 team versus running backs. Gostkowski and New England's defense also face a top-five opponent against their positions, but they still rate among the must-starts in fantasy crunch time.
Texans -- Justin Forsett, Ben Tate, Kevin Walter, LeStar Jean, Keyshawn Martin, Texans D/ST: These guys have had their moments, but the Pats' defense is top 10 against the run and No. 1 in fantasy versus D/STs.
Patriots -- Shane Vereen, Danny Woodhead, Brandon Bolden, Visanthe Shiancoe, Daniel Fells: The return of Bolden from suspension makes Vereen and Woodhead risks, especially against the No. 1 team in fantasy versus running backs. One of the tight ends will have to step forward, but there's no telling which one, if either, will wind up getting enough targets. Fells is merely a speculative guess at this point.
For those that play in those weekly salary-cap games, here are some of the suggested plays by position:
QB -- Eli Manning, Andrew Luck, Josh Freeman (or Drew Brees if you go top shelf)
RB -- Ahmad Bradshaw, Trent Richardson (or Doug Martin off the top shelf)
RB -- Michael Turner, Chris Johnson (DeAngelo Williams or Bilal Powell as darkhorses)
WR -- Reggie Wayne, Hakeem Nicks, Marques Colston
WR -- Torrey Smith, Greg Jennings
WR -- Wes Welker or Victor Cruz (if you want to go top shelf)
TE -- Brandon Myers, Heath Miller
K -- Mason Crosby, David Akers
D/ST: 49ers, Bears, Seahawks, Browns and Jets
Eric Mack writes fantasy for SI.com. Track his weekly starts and sits every Thursday, his last-minute Cheat Sheet on Sunday mornings and his Fantasy Fast Forward on Sunday nights. You find also him on Twitter, where you can mock him, rip him and (doubtful) praise him before asking him for fantasy advice or challenging him to a head-to-head fantasy game @EricMackFantasy. He reads all the messages there (guaranteed) and takes them very, very personally (not really).
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