Trying to decide who you should start or sit this week? Let’s take a look at a few potential decisions owners have and try to sort through them:
Start: Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers, vs. Atlanta
It was only a week or two ago that some owners were probably prepared to completely cut bait with Newton, but now he seems like a prime candidate to lead you through the playoffs. Over the past three weeks he has thrown six touchdown passes without an interception, while also adding 40-plus rushing yards per game. While the Falcons defense has been pretty good against the pass (only 11 touchdowns allowed), Newton’s ability and athleticism give him too much upside to sit down.
Sit: Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers, at Pittsburgh
The fact is that Rivers just hasn’t been very good this season. He’s averaging under 250 yards per game and has nearly as many interceptions (15) as he does touchdown passes (18). He has taken a beating (36 sacks) and fumbled the ball 11 times (losing five). Now, you add in a matchup with a Steelers defense that is allowing the fewest passing yards per game and it is impossible to trust him, even with Ike Taylor out of action. The risk is just too great, especially given the other options that are likely available to you.
Start: Bryce Brown, Philadelphia Eagles, at Tampa Bay
There are two reasons people may be considering sitting Brown this week: his fumble issues and a difficult matchup. Both are legitimate, but neither are enough. If the Eagles had an alternative, the fumbles would be a much bigger issue. But they don’t and they have yet to give any indication that they will stop giving Brown the football.
As for the matchup, while the Buccaneers have allowed the fewest rushing yards per game this season (82.3), they still have allowed nine touchdowns. Brown has exploded for 347 yards and four touchdowns over the past two weeks. Obviously it is too soon to consider him matchup-proof, but past performances and the potential to find the end zone keeps him near the top of the rankings this week.
Start: Alfred Morris, Washington Redskins, vs. Baltimore
There have been a lot of questions about Morris this week, but it is hard not to consider him a must-start option. First of all, the Ravens have not excelled against the run this season (125.8 yards per game, 11 touchdowns). Secondly, Morris has received over 20 carries each of the past three weeks, something that is not so common in this day and age. Averaging over 92 yards per game, he is a workhorse, and there is no reason to think that he’s going to slow down now.
Sit: Beanie Wells, Arizona Cardinals, at Seattle
Seattle is a tough place to play and, after stinking up the joint in a favorable matchup against the Jets in Week 13, how can fantasy owners look to trust him with their season on the line?
Sit: Alex Green, Green Bay Packers, vs. Detroit
Yes, with James Starks out Green could be the lead back this week. I say "could" because with the Packers, you never really know. It is just as easy for them to go pass heavy, especially given Green’s 3.3 yards per carry thus far this season. Throw in a tough matchup and the addition of Ryan Grant and there’s no way you should be trusting Green with your fantasy season on the line.
Wide Receiver (Two-Receiver Formats)
Start: Torrey Smith, Baltimore Ravens, at Washington
Smith is a big-play threat with the potential to put up some real stinkers (like a total of four receptions for 40 yards in two games against the Steelers). Lucky for fantasy owners, the Redskins are not the Steelers. They have been very susceptible to the big play, so don’t be surprised to see Smith break free and light up the scoreboard this week.
Sit: Sidney Rice, Seattle Seahawks, vs. Arizona
The problem with Rice is that, without finding the end zone, he offers little upside as he is averaging 51.9 yards per game. With the Cardinals being among the better passing defenses, having allowed just 16 touchdowns, he’s hard to trust in shallower formats.
Wide Receivers (Three-Receiver Formats)
Start: Greg Jennings, Green Bay Packers, vs. Detroit
He was targeted eight times in his return and, with Jordy Nelson out, figures to play a big role once again in a game that could easily become a shootout. While he is a borderline play in shallower formats, in deeper leagues his upside makes him an easy call.
Sit: Justin Blackmon, Jacksonville Jaguars, vs. New York Jets
Remember all the hype a few weeks ago? It was fair given his performance in Week 12 (236 yards and a touchdown), but let’s now fast forward a week or two. Blackmon is coming off a one-catch, nine-yard day… Yes, the upside is there but the consistency isn’t.
Make sure to check out the rest of our Week 14 rankings: