Week 14 of the fantasy season is the beginning of the playoffs in a majority of leagues. If you weren’t fortunate enough to nab a bye, your road to riches and glory starts in earnest on Sunday.
Let’s take a look at five players who are must-starts in any fantasy format, as they should be the highest-scoring players of the week. If any of these superstars are on your roster, consider them must-starts over anyone else in the league.
QB: Robert Griffin III, Washington Redskins (vs. Baltimore Ravens)
RGIII has the ‘Skins back in playoff contention, weeks after the public believed their season was dead and that the NFC East belonged to the Cowboys or Giants.
If Griffin is able to lead his team to a win over the Ravens and New York falters, the team will be tied for the division lead.
Knowing just how much of a competitor the young signal-caller out of Baylor is, we expect him to light up the Ravens on Sunday, putting up huge numbers on the ground and via the air on the way to helping fantasy owners claim victory.
RB: Arian Foster, Houston Texans (at New England Patriots)
As always, Foster is projected to be the top running back in the league, and he shouldn’t let you down on Monday Night Football.
There are only a handful of backs who get anywhere near the same amount of touches as Foster, and none are able to get the same consistent production.
While Houston has its work cut out against the Pats in a prime-time, nationally televised game, we believe the star RB will put together a dazzling performance and score at least two touchdowns.
WR: Brandon Marshall, Chicago Bears (at Minnesota Vikings)
Jay Cutler to Brandon Marshall has been a common connection in 2012, and that’s going to be the case again this Sunday.
When the Bears hosted Minny at Soldier Field in Week 12, Marshall hauled in 12 receptions (on 17 targets) for 92 yards. In the Metrodome, we actually think those numbers are going to improve.
Chicago seriously lacks productive receivers aside from Marshall, and it’s hard to fault Cutler for zeroing in on his big playmaker, who seems to come up with catches and fantasy points every time a ball is thrown his way.
TE: Tony Gonzalez, Atlanta Falcons (at Carolina Panthers)
The 36-year-old tight end had a mediocre outing the last time ATL played against CAR (fivecatches, 51 yards) in what turned out to be an incredible, come-from-behind victory.
Since then, he’s put together a handful of amazing performances (notably, 14 receptions for 123 yards and a TD in Week 5, 11 catches for 122 yards and two TDs in Week 10) and has easily become one of Matt Ryan’s favorite targets.
T-Gonz should be in line for another big day against the mediocre Panthers as he continues his renaissance season.
DEF: Seattle Seahawks (vs. Arizona Cardinals)
How many points will the Seahawks defense score (standard leagues)?
If you can remember back to Week 1, the Cardinals beat up on the Seahawks before winning four straight.
Now Arizona is 4-8 and Seattle is 7-5, and the NFC West opponents couldn’t be heading in more opposite directions.
The Seahawks' defense has been their backbone all season, and opposing pass rushes and opportunistic defenders creating turnovers have decimated the Cards.
Don’t sleep on coach Pete Carroll dialing up some great coverage and handily winning this game via his defense, providing fantasy owners with plenty of DEF INTs, Fumble Recoveries, TDs and more.