The Best Fantasy Football Starts at Every Position for NFL Week 14

Matt Stein@MatthewJSteinCorrespondent IIDecember 8, 2012

The Best Fantasy Football Starts at Every Position for NFL Week 14

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    It's all about the playoffs from here on out in fantasy football. Whether they start in Week 14 or in Week 15, the only thing on your mind should be how to put your team in the best position possible for the playoffs.

    The best way to do this, of course, is to ensure you are starting the best possible player at each position. Here are the best starts at each position for Week 14 of the fantasy football season.

Quarterback: Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers

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    Considering how friendly the Detroit Lions defense has been to quarterbacks lately, I'd say it is a pretty safe bet that Aaron Rodgers will have quite the game on Sunday night.

    Last week the Lions gave up 391 yards and four touchdowns to Andrew Luck, including two touchdowns in less than three minutes. Not only does Rodgers have more weapons at his disposal (even without Jordy Nelson), but he is also more experienced and familiar with what Detroit does on defense.

    When these two teams met in Detroit back in Week 11, Rodgers had a modest game of 236 passing yards, two touchdowns and an interception. Look for him to play much better in front of his home crowd and with the Green Bay Packers needing a win to remain atop the NFC North.

    Bonus Sleeper Pick: Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks

    Few, if any, quarterbacks have been as consistent as Wilson over the past month. He's thrown for 878 yards, nine touchdowns and zero interceptions in his last four games.

    His matchup with the Arizona Cardinals in Week 14 is a good matchup for him to continue his strong play. If he can put up more yards than we've seen recently (219.5 average in last four games), we could see Wilson have one of the stronger QB stat lines this week.

Running Back: Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings

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    It doesn't matter who Adrian Peterson is playing from here on out. The way he has been playing recently will make him the best start at running back for the remainder of the fantasy football season.

    He's had at least 100 rushing yards in his last six games to go along with six touchdowns. Last week against the Green Bay Packers, Peterson had 210 yards and a touchdown on just 21 carries.

    While the Packers aren't nearly as good as the Chicago Bears on defense, Peterson has been unstoppable. Without Brian Urlacher, the Bears will struggle to slow down the best player in the NFL right now.

    Bonus Sleeper Pick: Mikel Leshoure, Detroit Lions

    Remember when we were talking about Peterson running for 210 yards on the Packers last week? Well, guess who Leshoure plays in Week 14?

    Yep, the Packers, and that is reason enough to throw the up-and-down Leshoure into your starting lineup this week. While he has lost some carries to Joique Bell in recent weeks, Leshoure still has the potential to put up surprising numbers this week.

Wide Receiver: Calvin Johnson, Detroit Lions

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    Calvin Johnson has been on an absolute tear in recent weeks. He's posted at least 120 receiving yards in five straight games and has a touchdown reception in four straight games.

    This week he plays the Green Bay Packers, who he dominated for 143 yards and a touchdown just two weeks ago. Neither Tramon Williams nor Casey Hayward will be able to slow down Johnson, who should be able to post at least 20 fantasy points in his third consecutive game.

    With the Arizona Cardinals, Atlanta Falcons and Chicago Bears remaining on the schedule after this week, don't be surprised if Johnson remains our best start at wide receiver for the remainder of the season.

    Bonus Sleeper Pick: T.Y. Hilton, Indianapolis Colts

    Hilton is the definition of a boom-or-bust player right now. In Week 11, he had 100 receiving yards and two touchdowns. 

    He followed that up with a 33-yard, one-touchdown performance in Week 12 and got back on track with another 100-yard receiving game in Week 13. While history may point to Hilton having a down game this week, his matchup is about as ideal as you could want.

    The Tennessee Titans have struggled against the pass this season, and I expect Andrew Luck and Hilton to have a big game on Sunday.

Tight End: Aaron Hernandez, New England Patriots

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    While Tony Gonzalez and Jimmy Graham are both solid starts this week, Aaron Hernandez gets the nod for a couple of reasons.

    For starters, the New England Patriots are still without Rob Gronkowski for their Monday night game against the Houston Texans. That means Hernandez will once again need to be a huge part of the offense for New England.

    Furthermore, Hernandez finally looks healthy and ready to produce at a high level. Last week he recorded a season-high eight receptions for 97 yards.

    Look for more numbers like that this week as Tom Brady figures out how to get Hernandez more involved in the offense.

    Bonus Sleeper Pick: Dallas Clark, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

    Clark was a rather quiet offseason pickup for the Buccaneers, but he has started to come on as of late.

    He has had a touchdown reception in three of his last four games. While he's only averaging 37 receiving yards in those games, the consistency in touchdowns is too big to overlook.

    With the Philadelphia Eagles on the schedule for Week 14, Clark should have an easy time putting up some points this week.

Kicker: Lawrence Tynes, New York Giants

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    The New Orleans Saints are giving up the fifth-most points per game this season (27.3) and the most yards per game (440.5).

    While the New York Giants struggled some last Sunday on offense, they shouldn't have those difficulties against the Saints in Week 14. The Giants simply have too many weapons on offense for the Saints to contain.

    As long as Eli Manning can successfully get the ball into the hands of Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz, New York should have little trouble scoring. If the Giants score, Lawrence Tynes will put a lot of points on the board.

    Bonus Sleeper Pick: Phil Dawson, Cleveland Browns

    Any team playing the Kansas City Chiefs instantly looks like one of the best teams in the league. This week it's the Browns' chance to look like a Super Bowl contender against Kansas City.

    Cleveland has won two games in a row, and its offense looks better with each week that passes. Don't be surprised if the Browns play their best game of the season this week and Dawson has an extremely solid outing.

Defense: San Francisco 49ers

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    A defense like the San Francisco 49ers can be very difficult for a rookie quarterback to handle. That's why I expect the Miami Dolphins' Ryan Tannehill to struggle this week on the road.

    The 49ers will likely put their focus on slowing down the Dolphins run game and force Tannehill to beat them. While Tannehill certainly has potential, he isn't quite ready to single-handedly beat a team like San Francisco right now.

    There should be plenty of turnovers and sacks in this game, which is why the 49ers are the best start at defense for Week 14.

    Bonus Sleeper Pick: St. Louis Rams

    The Rams have only given up an average of 15 points in their past two games. This week they play the Buffalo Bills, who have been rather unpredictable on offense this year.

    As long as St. Louis can slow down C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson, the Bills will have a hard time moving the ball on offense. Throw in the recent play of Cortland Finnegan and Janoris Jenkins, and we could see the Rams have another solid week defensively.