The Week 17 start em, sit em lineup advice post is up.
The long and winding road of the fantasy football season is now entering its stretch run, with many leagues beginning their playoffs this week or entering their final week of jockeying before the playoffs kick off in Week 16.
And I’m flying high right now after a 5-1 weekend improved my positioning in each of the leagues for which the playoffs is still a possibility for me. Hopefully you all had just as fruitful a Week 13 and are now coming to this post seeking advice to continue your runs to the championship.
As the stakes continue to rise, lets dig into the numbers and matchups to unearth the guys you should start and the guys you sit for Week 14.
Here is a quick review of last week’s picks, which was easily my most successful of the week. Nine out of ten!:
- Start ‘em hits: Aaron Rodgers, GB; Rashard Mendenhall, PIT; Chad Ochocinco, CIN; Cincinnati Bengals D/ST
- Start ‘em misses: Greg Olsen, CHI
- Sit ‘em hits: Eli Manning, NYG; Beanie Wells, AZ; Terrell Owens, BUF; Kevin Boss, NYG; New York Giants D/ST
- Sit ‘em misses:
And before we get into this week’s start em, sit em picks, here is a quick note from our sponsor, Sadler’s Smokehouse.
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Week 14 Start ‘Em, Sit ‘Em Lineup Advice
Week 14 Start ‘em, Sit ‘em Picks: Quarterbacks
Start ‘Em – Matt Schaub, HOU (vs Seattle)
You have to like Schaub this week. Seattle is not very good against the pass (25th in the NFL) and has not played well on the road all season long. Plus, Schaub typically saves his best performances for home games against subpar competition. Here you go!
Matt Schaub Week 14 fantasy projection: 275 yards, 2 TDs, 0 INTs
Update: Matt Schaub reportedly dislocated his shoulder during last week’s game, although he did return to play. I still like him this week, but you’ll want to track his injury status throughout the week.
Other start ‘em QBs for Week 14:
- Kurt Warner should light up San Francisco’s suspect pass D.
- Donovan McNabb is a nice start against a Giants’ secondary giving up big plays to everyone as of late.
- David Garrard is at home and faces Miami’s 24th ranked pass D. That’s a good combo.
Sit ‘Em – Brett Favre, MIN (vs Cincinnati)
What? How can you sit Brett Favre? (I know you’re thinking this.)
And while you may look at it as an overreaction to one bad start (2 TDs, 2 INTs in the Vikings’ Week 13 loss to Arizona), I look at it not wanting to take any chances in such an important week.
We all know that Favre struggled down the stretch last year. Sure, much of that was because of injury and Favre has shown no signs of any health problems yet this season. Still, after stringing together so many good games in a row against subpar defenses (Detroit, Seattle, Chicago in Weeks 10-13) Favre struggled when he finally faced a good defense.
And guess what: Cincinnati has a good defense.
The Bengals are 12th in passing yards allowed but have given up only 13 TD passes all season, while intercepting 14 passes. Additionally, the Bengals are only allowing 15.6 yards per game.
If you don’t have a good alternative, you have to go with Favre because he’s brought you this far. But, as a for instance, if I had David Garrard this week I would think long and hard about starting him over Brett.
Brett Favre Week 14 fantasy projection: 240 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT
Other sit ‘em QBs for Week 14:
- I’m not saying you should sit him, but at least temper your expectations for Peyton Manning this week. Denver is in town and they are very adept at containing opposing passing attacks.
- Jay Cutler needs to hit your bench. Green Bay has a play-making secondary, which could lead to 3-4 picks for Cutler.
- I’m still sitting Eli Manning until he shows me something positive. 11-25 against Dallas? Yuk.
Week 14 Start ‘em, Sit ‘em Picks: Running Backs
Start ‘Em - Jamaal Charles, Kansas City (vs Buffalo)
I love Jamaal Charles this week. Not only has this guy scored a TD in four straight weeks and become an absolute godsend for many fantasy owners (like me!), but he has a terrific matchup this weekend against a Buffalo Bills’ defense that would probably give up 100 yards rushing to me.
Buffalo is dead last in the NFL, giving up 172.1 yards rushing per game. They have also surrendered 16 rushing touchdowns.
Start Charles and enjoy his awesome Week 14 production.
Jamaal Charles Week 14 fantasy projection: 115 yards rushing, 3 rec, 25 yards, 1 TD
Other start ‘em RBs for Week 14:
- After scoring two TDs last week, and with the Colts facing a Denver D that will force them to run the ball this week, I’d get Joseph Addai in your lineup.
- Thomas Jones is a great start this week with Tampa Bay’s terrible run D on the schedule.
- I like Rock Cartwright this week too. He’s had at least 13 carries in three straight games to go along with 13 receptions over that same stretch. Oakland’s D is prone to giving up big days to running backs.
Sit ‘Em – Cedric Benson, Cincinnati (at Minnesota)
The redemption of Cedric Benson has been one of the biggest stories of the year in fantasy football and the NFL. However, look at the numbers and this week does not look like an optimal to be starting Cedric:
- His yards per carry averages over the last three games in which he has played: 3.4, 3.1, 3.1 (spanning 77 carries)
- Benson has only one TD over his last three games
- In the last three games in which he has been healthy (so not counting Week 10 when he got hurt) Benson has rushed the ball 37, 34, and 36 times.
- This week, the Bengals face a Minnesota defense that gives up 84 yards rushing per game and has allowed only three rushing TDs.
You may have to start Benson if you don’t have two or three other running backs who get 20-25 carries per game. However, in shallower leagues or on rosters with lots of RB depth, there will be plenty of options better than Benson in Week 14. And remember that Benson does not help you with receptions.
Cedric Benson Week 14 fantasy projection: 25 carries, 79 yards, 0 TDs
Other sit ‘em RBs for Week 14:
- Jerome Harrison is a guy I’ve touted forever, and he came through with a solid game last week, but I don’t trust him nor the Browns’ offense yet. Plus, having an angry Pittsburgh on the schedule probably isn’t conducive to RB productivity. If you’re in a PPR league, however, Harrison does have some value.
- Kevin Smith scored a TD last week, but Baltimore is still pretty stingy against the run.
- Felix Jones needs to remain on your bench. I am an idiot and keep starting him in leagues, thinking he’ll break out, and he never does. Luckily, I’ve been weather the lost production and still win most weeks. Don’t make the same dumb mistake yourself just because you thought Jones was a nice sleeper heading into the year. Like some people…(me!)
Week 14 Start ‘em, Sit ‘em Picks: Wide Receivers
Start ‘Em: Michael Crabtree, San Francisco 49ers (vs Arizona)
I can’t believe I’m doing this, but I am.
Despite my aversion to rookie WRs, I am recommending that you start Michael Crabtree. This is why:
- Crabtree has been remarkably consistent and productive for a rookie WR since ending his holdout. He has not caught less than three passes in a game, and that happened only once. He has caught four passes in three out of his seven starts, five in one start, and six in two of them. He has also had 50+ receiving yards in all but two of his starts.
- And he has proven that he can get into the end zone, scoring once in Week 11 against Green Bay.
- Arizona is the matchup this week, on Monday night, and the Cardinals are 30th in the NFL against the pass. They have also given up 18 passing TDs. In a game that will probably be high-scoring, because SF won’t be able to stop Arizona’s passing game, Crabtree could see a lot of targets.
- And like Braylon Edwards, Crabtree is a guy who is all about the spotlight. He came up big in big games in college, and this is the biggest stage he’s been on in the NFL. I think he’ll respond.
So while it pains me to do this in many ways, I am now making it official and saying something I never thought I’d say this season: start Michael Crabtree.
Michael Crabtree Week 14 fantasy projection: 5 rec, 75 yards, TD
Other start ‘em WRs for Week 14:
- Derrick Mason is a good start with Detroit on the schedule this week.
- Hines Ward is banged up, but Pittsburgh will be able to throw the ball against Cleveland. Santonio Holmes could emerge as Big Ben’s #1 target if Ward can’t go.
- How do you not start Robert Meachem at this point? He has scored five TDs in his last four games, despite having reception totals as follows: 1, 2, 5, 8; but hey, at least it’s trending upwards!
Sit ‘Em: Antonio Bryant, Tampa Bay (vs New York Jets)
Antonio Bryant has had 91 and 116 receiving yards over his last two games, but I think his late season re-emergence among the top fantasy wideouts is temporarily put on hold this week. Why? Two words:
Revis leads the Jets’ top ranked pass defense and has been shutting down every WR he’s faced this week. And with Tampa Bay having a rookie at QB, I just don’t see how the Bucs mount any type of consistent passing attack this week. If they do, it will most likely be to people other than Bryant, who I’m sure will draw most of Revis’ attention.
Antonio Bryant Week 14 fantasy projection: 3 rec, 35 yards
Other sit ‘em WRs for Week 14:
- Chris Chambers’ faces Buffalo’s very stout pass D this week and also is dealing with inconsistency at the QB position.
- Santana Moss has caught 14 passes over the last three weeks, but he hasn’t eclipsed 68 yards and has only one TD in that span. This week he gets to face Oakland and Nnamdi Asoumuga. I’d stay away.
- Mohammed Massaquoi caught a TD for the Browns last week, is the team’s #1 target in the passing game, and faces a Pittsburgh pass defense that is struggling…but I still won’t recommend him. The Browns’ offense has just been too inconsistent this year.
Week 14 Start ‘em, Sit ‘em Picks: Tight Ends
Start ‘Em: Heath Miller, Pittsburgh (at Cleveland)
The Browns have been giving up a lot of passing yards to opposing tight ends this season and Miller may be a bigger part of the Steelers’ gameplan than usual with Hines Ward out. He’s a very solid start.
Heath Miller Week 14 fantasy projection: 5 rec, 60 yards, TD
Other start ‘em TEs for Week 14:
- Fred Davis caught another TD last week and continues to fill in nicely for Chris Cooley in Washington.
- Jermichael Finley is back and caught two TDs against Baltimore on Monday night. He’s a good play against Chicago.
Sit ‘Em: Zach Miller, Oakland (vs Washington)
Zach Miller has certainly been helped out by Bruce Gradkowski’s emergence as a quality QB in Oakland. The Redskins have a pretty good defense though and I think they will be able to keep Miller out of the end zone. He’s not a bad play in a PPR league, because he’ll likely get 4-5 catches, but I don’t see a TD on the horizon.
Zach Miller Week 14 fantasy projection: 4 rec, 40 yards
Other sit ‘em TEs for Week 14:
- John Carlson has caught four passes over his last three games. Keep him benched or release him.
- Jeremy Shockey has 10 catches over his last four games and no touchdowns. See John Carlson.
Week 14 Start ‘em, Sit ‘em Picks: Defense / Special Teams Units
Start ‘Em: Baltimore Ravens D/ST (vs Detroit) and Pittsburgh Steelers D/ST (at Cleveland)
It has not been the greatest of seasons for two AFC North defensive units that are typically week-in, week-out stalwarts for fantasy owners. However, things are looking good for owners of the Ravens and Steelers this week, as they face two of the most inept offenses in the NFL in Week 14.
I know that Cleveland has been doing better lately on offense, but I still see Pittsburgh having some success in getting sacks and forcing turnovers. Plus, Cleveland will still struggle to get 20+ points, which will help out of the Steelers’ value.
In Baltimore, facing a turnover-prone rookie is always a good thing. Add to that the fact that Detroit doesn’t really have a running game, and it adds up to what should be a pretty solid day.
Pittsburgh D/ST Week 14 fantasy projection: 14 pts or less, 3 sacks, 2 TOs
Baltimore D/ST Week 14 fantasy projection: 14 pts or less, 3 sacks, 3 TOs
Other start ‘em D/ST units for Week 14:
- The Jets have an outstanding matchup against INT-machine Josh Freeman and the Bucs.
- Green Bay’s play-making secondary is a nice play against Jay Cutler and the Bears.
Sit ‘Em: Denver Broncos D/ST (at Indianapolis)
Denver may very well slow down Peyton Manning and even get an INT or two against him, but I still wouldn’t want to entrust my D/ST spot to a defense going up against the greatest QB of our generation. Not in Week 14. Look elsewhere.
Denver Broncos D/ST Week 14 fantasy projection: 24 pts or more, 1 sack, 1 TO
Other sit ‘em D/ST units for Week 14:
- I have a feeling the Giants-Eagles game will be high scoring on Sunday night. Just a hunch.
- Dallas’ D is facing the red-hot Philip Rivers and San Diego. Be careful.
And that’s it for this week. The comment section is yours. I’ll try to answer questions as quickly as possible, and I apologize to those I missed on Sunday. My weekends can be sporadic, so try to get your questions in by Friday if you can.
Best of luck in Week 14. Let’s win some championships!
* – Brett Favre photo credit: Jeff Wheeler/Minneapolis Star Tribune/MCT via NJ.com
* – Michael Crabtree photo credit: Paul Sakuma / AP