Fantasy Football 2012: Position Rankings for Week 14

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Fantasy Football 2012: Position Rankings for Week 14
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For most of you, the fantasy playoffs are here, meaning you're either playing for a championship or you're trying to salvage some pride in the consolation games.

I'd like to think that if you've been following my fantasy pieces and weekly rankings, you're in the former group, but I'll try not to get ahead of myself.

Either way, determining which players to start this week and which players to sit takes on an entirely new importance. You can't afford to keep a player who blows up for 20 points on the bench, and you certainly can't afford to start a player who offers a measly three points.

With that in mind, I present this week's positional rankings along with each player's opponent in parentheses. If you find yourself fretting, may they help you resolve the argument in your head as you try to set your flex. As always, I considered recent play, consistency over the course of the season, matchups and basic hunches to compile these rankings.

May they help you realize all of your playoffs dreams and smash the opposition.

 

Quarterback

1. Peyton Manning, Denver Broncos (Oakland Raiders)

2. Josh Freeman, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Philadelphia Eagles)

Really, what can I say that the Philadelphia Eagles passing defense hasn't already said for me?

Dustin Bradford/Getty Images
The Eagles defense has allowed opposing quarterbacks to score at least 25 fantasy points in standard-scoring leagues in the past three weeks, and on the season has allowed opposing quarterbacks to score 23 touchdowns. 

Freeman has scored double-digit fantasy points for his owners in every game except one, and he's scored 16 or more fantasy points seven times. I'd expect him to post at least 25 fantasy points this week.

3. Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints (New York Giants)

4. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers (Detroit Lions)

5. Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers (Atlanta Falcons)

6. Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts (Tennessee Titans)

7. Eli Manning, New York Giants (New Orleans Saints)

8. Robert Griffin III, Washington Redskins (Baltimore Ravens)

9. Tom Brady, New England Patriots (Houston Texans)

10. Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons (Carolina Panthers)

11. Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions (Green Bay Packers)

12. Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco 49ers (Miami Dolphins)

13. Andy Dalton, Cincinnati Bengals (Dallas Cowboys)

14. Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys (Cincinnati Bengals)

15. Matt Schaub, Houston Texans (New England Patriots)

 

Running Backs

1. Arian Foster, Houston Texans (New England Patriots)

2. Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings (Chicago Bears)

3. Trent Richardson, Cleveland Browns (Kansas City Chiefs)

4. Chris Johnson, Tennessee Titans (Indianapolis Colts)

Rather quietly, CJ2K has returned to viable RB1 status after starting the season in the most miserable way possible.

Frederick Breedon/Getty Images
He's posted double-digit fantasy points in seven of his last nine games, and he plays a Colts defense that allows 19.4 fantasy points per game to opposing running backs (24th in the NFL). Indy has given up 128 or more rushing yards in consecutive weeks, so Johnson should find plenty of room to run.

If he didn't kill your season early on this year, expect Johnson to lead your team to a playoff win this week.

5. Ray Rice, Baltimore Ravens (Washington Redskins)

6. Ahmad Bradshaw, New York Giants (New Orleans Saints)

7. Doug Martin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Philadelphia Eagles)

8. C.J. Spiller, Buffalo Bills (St. Louis Rams)

9. Bryce Brown, Philadelphia Eagles (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)

10. Matt Forte, Chicago Bears (Minnesota Vikings)

11. Marshawn Lynch, Seattle Seahawks (Arizona Cardinals)

12. Jamaal Charles, Kansas City Chiefs (Cleveland Browns)

13. Alfred Morris, Washington Redskins (Baltimore Ravens)

14. DeMarco Murray, Dallas Cowboys (Cincinnati Bengals)

15. Steven Jackson, St. Louis Rams (Buffalo Bills)

16. Knowshon Moreno, Denver Broncos (Oakland Raiders)

17. BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Cincinnati Bengals (Dallas Cowboys)

18. Frank Gore, San Francisco 49ers (Miami Dolphins)

19. Mikel Leshoure, Detroit Lions (Green Bay Packers)

20. Michael Turner, Atlanta Falcons (Carolina Panthers)

21. Stevan Ridley, New England Patriots (Houston Texans)

22. Fred Jackson, Buffalo Bills (St. Louis Rams)

23. Darren McFadden, Oakland Raiders (Denver Broncos)

24. Shonn Greene, New York Jets (Jacksonville Jaguars)

25. Reggie Bush, Miami Dolphins (San Francisco 49ers)

 

Wide Receivers

1. Calvin Johnson, Detroit Lions (Green Bay Packers)

2. Vincent Jackson, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Philadelphia Eagles)

3. Andre Johnson, Houston Texans (New England Patriots)

4. Dez Bryant, Dallas Cowboys (Cincinnati Bengals)

It's official—Dez Bryant has arrived. He is who we thought he was. The talent has surpassed the maturity and off-field issues. He's a freaking beast.

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
I could continue to gush, but here's what you need to know—in the past three weeks, Bryant has 26 receptions for 388 yards and five touchdowns. In standard-scoring leagues, that translates to 67.4 fantasy points over that duration.

Yup, three weeks in a row with 20 or more fantasy points. The Bengals defense has been solid of late, but Bryant is the hottest receiver in football aside from that Megatron fella.

5. Demaryius Thomas, Denver Broncos (Oakland Raiders)

6. Victor Cruz, New York Giants (New Orleans Saints)

7. Marques Colston, New Orleans Saints (New York Giants)

8. A.J. Green, Cincinnati Bengals (Dallas Cowboys)

9. Brandon Marshall, Chicago Bears (Minnesota Vikings)

10. Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons (Carolina Panthers)

11. Wes Welker, New England Patriots (Houston Texans)

12. Reggie Wayne, Indianapolis Colts (Tennessee Titans)

13. Cecil Shorts, Jacksonville Jaguars (New York Jets)

14. Greg Jennings, Green Bay Packers (Detroit Lions)

15. Randall Cobb, Green Bay Packers (Detroit Lions)

16. Torrey Smith, Baltimore Ravens (Washington Redskins)

17. Mike Williams, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Philadelphia Eagles)

18. Roddy White, Atlanta Falcons (Carolina Panthers)

19. Michael Crabtree, San Francisco 49ers (Miami Dolphins)

20. T.Y. Hilton, Indianapolis Colts (Tennessee Titans)

21. Lance Moore, New Orleans Saints (New York Giants)

22. Eric Decker, Denver Broncos (Oakland Raiders)

23. Mike Wallace, Pittsburgh Steelers (San Diego Chargers)

24. Golden Tate, Seattle Seahawks (Arizona Cardinals)

25. Hakeem Nicks, New York Giants (New Orleans Saints)

 

Tight Ends

1. Aaron Hernandez, New England Patriots (Houston Texans)

Rob Gronkowski and Julian Edelman are hurt. The Texans have one of the best run defenses in football. Tom Brady is genetically required to post solid statistics no matter the opponent.

Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images
What I'm trying to say is that Hernandez is in line for a big game against the Texans.

He certainly looked himself last week, catching eight passes for 97 yards against the Miami Dolphins. And the Texans can be vulnerable against tight ends, allowing 7.7 fantasy points to opposing tight ends per week (19th in the NFL) and six touchdowns on the season.

Hernandez is a tough player to match up against, and the Texans will find little success slowing him down.

2. Brandon Myers, Oakland Raiders (Denver Broncos)

3. Tony Gonzalez, Atlanta Falcons (Carolina Panthers)

4. Owen Daniels, Houston Texans (New England Patriots)

5. Jimmy Graham, New Orleans Saints (New York Giants)

6. Jason Witten, Dallas Cowboys (Cincinnati Bengals)

7. Martellus Bennett, New York Giants (New Orleans Saints)

8. Heath Miller, Pittsburgh Steelers (San Diego Chargers)

9. Jermichael Finley, Green Bay Packers (Detroit Lions)

10. Vernon Davis, San Francisco 49ers (Miami Dolphins)

11. Greg Olsen, Carolina Panthers (Atlanta Falcons)

12. Jacob Tamme, Denver Broncos (Oakland Raiders)

13. Kyle Rudolph, Minnesota Vikings (Chicago Bears)

14. Dennis Pitta, Baltimore Ravens (Washington Redskins)

15. Coby Fleener, Indianapolis Colts (Tennessee Titans)

 

Defense / Special Teams

1. San Francisco 49ers (Miami Dolphins)

2. Denver Broncos (Oakland Raiders)

3. Seattle Seahawks (Arizona Cardinals)

I'll be brief. All you need to know is that the starting quarterback for the Arizona Cardinals is Ryan Lindley.

I repeat: The starting quarterback for the Arizona Cardinals is Ryan Lindley.

You need more convincing? The Cardinals have allowed opposing fantasy defenses to score seven or more fantasy points in nine straight weeks and reach double-digit points in eight of those games. And Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner are likely to play, so that's another plus for the Seahawks.

If you have Seattle's defense, start it, sit back and laugh at the monstrosity that is Arizona's offense.

4. Chicago Bears (Minnesota Vikings)

5. New York Jets (Jacksonville Jaguars)

6. Atlanta Falcons (Carolina Panthers)

7. Cincinnati Bengals (Dallas Cowboys)

8. Cleveland Browns (Kansas City Chiefs)

9. Arizona Cardinals (Seattle Seahawks)

10. Houston Texans (New England Patriots)

 

Hit me up on Twittermy tweets made the playoffs in four fantasy leagues.

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