Posted: Sunday, December 7, 2014
This is the Fantasy Football Nerd's look at the best and worst fantasy football matchups for Week 14 of the 2014 NFL season. Decisions are based upon the FFN rankings and matchup analysis. Given the known conditions, these matchups are the ones to watch and/or avoid.
This list does not generally include the elite players that you are going to start regardless of matchup. You don't need us to tell you to start Peyton Manning, Jimmy Graham, or LeSean McCoy. Instead, we take a look at other players on your team that we believe either have great matchups or should be avoided for multiple reasons. Factors like opposing defense, performance trending, and peer comparisons may influence our decisions.
Start 'em - Matthew Stafford (DET, QB)
Matt Stafford and Calvin Johnson are two peas in a pod. The Lions face a Tampa Bay defense that gives up 256 yards through the air and almost 2 passing TD's each week. Expect Stafford to look Megatron's way early and often.
Start 'em - Russell Wilson (SEA, QB)
The Philly defense has been one of fantasy's best scoring defenses, but that doesn't mean that they can stop the pass. In fact, they give up the 5th-most fantasy points to QB's and 285 yards per game on average. Add in the fact that Wilson will likely put up 60+ yards on the ground and he should be in for a great day.
Start 'em - Frank Gore (SF, RB)
Frank Gore is 182 yards away from another 1,000 yard season. He should chip away at that number nicely against a Raiders defense that gives up more fantasy points to RB's than any other team in the NFL (ppr). With Carlos Hyde hot on his trail, Gore's time as a featured back is coming to a close, but it's going to close with a bang.
Start 'em - Mark Ingram (NO, RB)
Against a tough Steelers D last week, Mark Ingram put up a great day rushing for 122 yards. There's no doubt that the Saints backfield belongs to Ingram and that should continue against a Panthers defense that gives up the 11th-most fantasy points (ppr) and the 3rd-most rushing scores to opposing backs.
Start 'em - Kendall Wright (TEN, WR)UPDATE: Kendall Wright has been declared INACTIVE.
Kendall Wright is one of those guys where it's ridiculously difficult to project what he'll be able to accomplish. With Justin Hunter sidelined, he has become the main target in an anemic Titans passing game. The Giants rank in the middle of the pack as far as fantasy points allowed, yards, and TD's. It's not unreasonable to think that Wright will have a decent fantasy day and certainly a high WR2.
Start 'em - Kenny Stills (NO, WR)
With Brandin Cooks out, Kenny Stills has emerged as a legitimate threat in both standard and PPR formats. After going off for 162 yards and a score last week, Stills will face a Carolina defense that is giving up double-digit fantasy points (ppr) to opposing WR's. I'd take Stills over Colston in this matchup.
Start 'em - Kyle Rudolph (MIN, TE)
The trajectory for Kyle Rudolph is on the upswing after returning from surgery this year. He is arguably the best receiving threat in what is a terrible passing game. Nobody allows more passing TD's to TE's than the Jets making this a matchup that Rudolph should capitalize on.
Start 'em - Delanie Walker (TEN, TE)
Yes, we have two Titans in the Sit side of the column this week. We had to do a double-check as well, but Delanie Walker has quietly become a Top 10 TE in fantasy this year. His matchup with a Giants defense that has been very favorable to TE's is fantastic. Plug him in.
Start 'em - Houston Texans (HOU, DEF)
How can you not like the Texans this week? Nobody gives up more fantasy points to DST's than the Jacksonville Jaguars. Even without Jadeveon Clowney, JJ Watt and company should produce monster fantasy points.
Start 'em - Connor Barth (DEN, K)
For a guy who is available in 90% of Fleaflicker leagues, Connor Barth is a great kicker to plug into your lineup and who may still be available in your league. After a beautiful 17-point fantasy day, it's clear that a good kicker on a Denver defense is a great recipe for fantasy success.
Sit 'em - Ben Roethlisberger (PIT, QB)
Sitting Ben Roethlisberger during the fantasy playoffs? Well, yeah...unless you only have someone like Mark Sanchez on your bench. Big Ben does not have a favorable matchup and hasn't performed well against the Bengals who give up the fewest passing TD's in the NFL and the 8th-fewest fantasy points this year.
Sit 'em - Mark Sanchez (PHI, QB)
What a difference a week makes. Fantasy owners in bad QB shape scrambled to grab Sanchez and he did well last week. This week he faces a Seahawks defense that has kept QB's out of the endzone for the past three weeks. Nobody gives up fewer fantasy points to QB's than Seattle.
Sit 'em - Doug Martin (TB, RB)
Apparently fantasy owners got a little nostalgic last week when the Muscle Hamster found his way into the endzone. Perhaps that's because it has only happened twice this year. You have better odds of winning the lottery than watching it happen again against the Lions who give up the 4th-fewest fantasy points and the 5th-fewest rushing TD's.
Sit 'em - Trent Richardson (IND, RB)
If you're like me, you may be stuck with Trent Richardson due to injuries. That's fine, but lower your expectations. Even facing his former team won't be enough motivation to get his yards per carry up to a respectable number. Just as T-Rich basically took a back seat to Bradshaw, he's less productive than even Dan Herron.
Sit 'em - Steve Smith (BAL, WR)
So much potential - so much frustration. There was some question as to whether Torrey Smith would play this week, but it appears that he will and that downgrades Steve Smith's potential. With the fantasy playoffs upon us, Smith is so risky that he's only worth playing if you are in need of a homerun to win.
Sit 'em - Michael Crabtree (SF, WR)
Another guy with so much potential but with so much frustration. Like Steve Smith above, Michael Crabtree has played second fiddle to another receiver - in this case Anquan Boldin. After a 3-catch, 10 yard game, Crabtree remains a disappointment. San Francisco has been terrible throwing the ball this season and has relegated guys like Crabtree and Vernon Davis to the fantasy benches.
Sit 'em - Vernon Davis (SF, TE)
This is where we've come with the San Fran passing game. The Raiders basically hand over fantasy points to the position, but Davis just isn't a part of the passing game. Look at Davis' season - he averages just 2 catches per game! Unless you are really desperate, Davis shouldn't be anywhere near your team.
Sit 'em - Buffalo Bills (BUF, DEF)
The Buffalo Bills have been a great fantasy defense this year ranking second after 13 weeks. That's going to be difficult to keep when facing Peyton and company who have given up the 3rd-fewest fantasy points to opposing DST's this year.
Sit 'em - Dan Carpenter (BUF, K)
Dan Carpenter has been a Top-10 kicker this year, but he'll face a Denver defense that hasn't been kind to kickers. Coming off a week where a groin injury has kept him limited in practice for three straight days, Carpenter is a bit of a gamble at the position this week.