Start These 10 Players In Week 14
If you’re reading this column, allow me to congratulate you for beating the odds and qualifying for the fantasy postseason. Why the hell else would you be here? Are you a fantasy junkie that can’t get enough Starts and Sits information even after your season has already come to a close? If the answer to that question is, “yes,” congratulations to you as well. Please seek help immediately.
We finally got the train back on the tracks last week with a 2-0 performance headlined by the Arizona Cardinals upset of the Dallas Cowboys and the Denver Broncos come-from-behind win at Minnesota. Let’s keep it moving into Week 14 (Last Week: 2-0, Overall: 7-7):
OAKLAND RAIDERS (+11.5) at Green Bay Packers: It’s unlikely the Raiders figure out a way to derail Green Bay’s push for a perfect regular season, but I’ll take the points in a game that will end up being closer than most people expect. Oakland is 7-1 against the spread in their last eight games following a straight-up loss and keep in mind that double-digit favorites are just 11-15-2 against the line this season.
NEW YORK JETS (-10) vs. Kansas City Chiefs: Buy the hook and take this game down to NYJ -9.5 before anything else. Now that we’ve got that established, realize first that the Jets have their backs against the wall and are in a must-win situation for the rest of the way out. Meanwhile, the Chiefs have Tyler Palko. If Sanchez can avoid being dreadful for three hours on Sunday, I have no doubt New York will cover.
10 Players To Start
Philip Rivers, QB, San Diego Chargers (vs. Buffalo): Granted, it was only the Jacksonville Jaguars, but Philip Rivers looked like the fantasy stud of old Monday night when he torched a previously respectable defense for 294 yards and three touchdowns (QB Rating: 146.1). Rivers hasn’t thrown an interception since Week 11 (which is big for him) and takes on a Buffalo Bills defense this Sunday that ranks 19th in the league in pass defense (234.2 yds/gm) and is surrendering an average of 19.7 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks this season (12th-most in NFL). The Bolts looked electric on Monday night and could be ready to finally come out of their shells and make a run at the postseason.
Michael Bush, RB, Oakland Raiders (at Green Bay): Don’t let Bush’s disappointing Week 13 performance at Miami (10-18-0) cloud your judgment. The Silver & Black is going to give the Packers some fits this Sunday and that process begins with a heavy dose of touches for their bulldozing running back. Bush had found the end zone in three straight games prior to his Week 13 slipup in South Beach, so start him with confidence this weekend and don’t be shocked if he finds the end zone in a game that will be much closer than most people expect.
Santana Moss, WR, Washington Redskins (vs. New England): No team in the football universe is giving up more fantasy points to opposing wide receivers than the New England Patriots (28.7 pts/gm). Couple that with the fact that the over/under for this game was set at 48 and you have a potential shootout in the making. It’s doubtful that the ‘Skins find a way to win outright, but they’ll be throwing the ball all afternoon in an effort to keep pace with Tom Brady and the Pats. Moss is a lock for 10+ targets.
Dustin Keller, TE, New York Jets (vs. Kansas City): Outside of his two-touchdown performance two weeks ago, Keller hasn’t produced all that much as of late, so we understand your apprehension about starting him in Week 14. Just keep in mind the fact that the Chiefs are giving up an average of 9.5 fantasy points per game to opposing tight ends this season (3rd-most in NFL), so if you’re in a pinch now that the Redskins’ Fred Davis has been suspended, Keller could make for a solid replacement with upside.
Seattle Seahawks, D/ST (vs. St. Louis): With the possible exception of the Jacksonville Jaguars, no offense in the league is more pathetic than the St. Louis Rams. Want proof? These guys currently rank 31st in the NFL in total offense (284.0 yds/gm) and dead last in scoring (11.7 pts/gm). To top it off, no offense in the business is surrendering more fantasy points to opposing defenses this year than the St. Louis Rams (12.5 pts/gm). Seattle is a lock for a solid Week 14.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB, Buffalo Bills (at San Diego): After a rough patch that immediately followed his sparkling new contract extension, Fitz has started to come back to fantasy relevance. He’s tossed four touchdown passes over the last two weeks, topping 260 passing yards each time. Expect another strong performance in a potential Southern California shootout this Sunday against a Chargers defense that is surrendering an average of 20.0 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks this season (t-10th-most in NFL).
DeMarco Murray, RB, Dallas Cowboys (vs. New York Giants): The Oklahoma rookie’s numbers have taken a slide after his red-hot introduction to the National Football League, as Murray hasn’t found the end zone since November 13 and has failed to top 75 rushing yards in two of his last three outings. We expect him to rebound Sunday night against a Giants football team that ranks 23rd in the NFL against the run (127.0 yds/gm) and is giving up an average of 19.8 fantasy points per game to opposing running backs (t-9th-most in NFL).
Anquan Boldin, WR, Baltimore Ravens (at Indianapolis): Boldin has only posted two 100+ yard efforts this season and has found the end zone just one time in his last six games. Not exactly what most of us were hoping for when we spent a relatively high draft pick on the Baltimore wide receiver. Rest assured, the former Florida State product should deliver some fantasy hot sauce Sunday in Indianapolis against a dreadful Colts defense that 22nd in the NFL against the pass (242.9 yds/gm) and is giving up an average of 24.5 fantasy points per game to opposing wide receivers (7th-most in NFL).
Reggie Bush, RB, Miami Dolphins (vs. Philadelphia): Bush has been a frequent guest in this column as of late and we see no reason why he shouldn’t be invited back for another go-round. The dual-threat back out of USC has found the end zone five times over his last five games and has a favorable Week 14 date with a reeling Eagles defense that ranks 17th in the league against the run (115.6 ys/gm) and is surrendering an average of 21.3 fantasy points per game to opposing running backs this season (7th-most in NFL). Ride with the hot hand.
Michael Crabtree, WR, San Francisco 49ers (at Arizona): Although a bit of a disappointment this season, Crabtree is averaging a healthy 10.6 fantasy points per game over his last three outings (standard scoring). The Cardinals have come on strong as of late, having covered the spread in five of their last six contests, so don’t be surprised if Ken Whisenhunt’s crew turns this into a competitive football game. That’s good news for Crabtree, as Arizona ranks 25th in the NFL against the pass (251.1 yds/gm) and is giving up an average of 23.6 fantasy points per game to opposing wide receivers this season (9th-most in NFL).
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