Week 14 Fantasy Football Rankings: Fantasy Playoffs Start 'Em, Sit 'Em
It's Week 14 of the 2012 NFL season, and that means that in many fantasy football leagues the second season has begun, as the best of the best begin the postseason tournament that will conclude with one team hoisting the trophy in their league.
With the playoffs underway, every game becomes a pressure cooker and every lineup decision becomes that much more important. So to help you survive and advance, here's a look at some last-minute start/sit recommendations for Week 14.
And no, I'm not going to tell you to start running back Adrian Peterson of the Minnesota Vikings. Frankly, if you need to be told that, odds are you didn't make the playoffs anyway.
Start: Josh Freeman, QB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (vs. PHI)
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Since Week 10 no team in the National Football League has allowed more fantasy points to the quarterback position than the Philadelphia Eagles.
That bodes well for Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Josh Freeman, who has averaged nearly 240 passing yards a game and 1.75 touchdowns over his past four starts.
Other quarterbacks to start: Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts (vs. TEN), Matt Schaub, Houston Texans (at NE).
Sit: Philip Rivers, QB, San Diego Chargers (at PIT)
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It's been a miserable season for the San Diego Chargers and quarterback Philip Rivers, as the ninth-year veteran is on pace to throw 20 interceptions for the second consecutive year.
Throw in that this week Rivers travels east to face a Pittsburgh Steelers defense that has allowed the fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks this season and has given up only two touchdown passes over the past five games, and you have a signal-caller who should be glued to the bench.
Other quarterbacks to sit: Ryan Fitzpatrick, Buffalo Bills (vs. STL), Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers (vs. ATL).
Start: Steven Jackson, RB, St. Louis Rams
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No active running back in the NFL has more career carries than Steven Jackson of the St. Louis Rams. After a sluggish start to the season, the ninth-year pro's play has picked up of late, with more than 100 total yards in each of the past two games.
That hot streak should continue against the Buffalo Bills, who rank 30th in the NFL in run defense and who have surrendered the sixth-most fantasy points to running backs in 2012.
Other running backs to start: Shonn Greene, New York Jets (at JAX), Michael Turner, Atlanta Falcons (at CAR).
Sit: Reggie Bush, RB, Miami Dolphins (at SF)
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Miami Dolphins running back Reggie Bush got off to a hot start before injuries and a puzzling lack of touches severely hindered his fantasy upside. But the seventh-year veteran has rebounded a bit of late with 152 rushing yards and a touchdown over the past two weeks.
However, Bush hasn't topped 100 yards on the ground since Week 2 and has only three receptions over the past three games. Those trends aren't likely to reverse themselves in a very poor fantasy matchup with the San Francisco 49ers this week.
Other running backs to sit: Stevan Ridley, New England Patriots (vs. HOU), Ryan Mathews, San Diego Chargers (at PIT).
Start: Kenny Britt, WR, Tennessee Titans (at IND)
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2012 has been something of a lost season for Tennessee Titans wide receiver Kenny Britt, but there has at least been some signs of hope recently, as the fourth-year pro has caught a touchdown pass in each of his last two games.
Head coach Mike Munchak has stated that the team wants to get the ball in Britt's hands more often, and should that happen this week. A top-five fantasy matchup with the Indianapolis Colts could mean good things for Britt's fantasy owners.
Other wide receivers to start: Torrey Smith, Baltimore Ravens (at WAS), Dwayne Bowe, Kansas City Chiefs (at CLE).
Sit: Danario Alexander, WR, San Diego Chargers (at PIT)
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Not a whole lot has gone right for the San Diego Chargers this year, While free-agent acquisition Robert Meachem has been a titanic flop, fellow newcomer Danario Alexander has been a pleasant surprise.
The third-year pro has averaged six catches for more than 90 yards over his past three games. But Alexander will be hard-pressed to hit those benchmarks this week against a Pittsburgh Steelers team giving up the fewest fantasy points to wideouts in 2012.
Other wide receivers to sit: Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona Cardinals (at SEA), Miles Austin, Dallas Cowboys (at CIN).
Start: Dennis Pitta, TE, Baltimore Ravens (at WAS)
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I'll freely admit that starting Baltimore Ravens tight end Dennis Pitta is not a play for the faint of heart. In two of Pitta's last three games he had only a single catch.
However, the third-year pro also has five starts this season in which he's caught at least five passes, and this week the Ravens face a Washington Redskins team that has allowed the most fantasy points to tight ends this year.
Other tight ends to start: Kyle Rudolph, Minnesota Vikings (at CHI), Martellus Bennett, New York Giants (vs. NO).
Sit: Heath Miller, Pittsburgh Steelers (vs. SD)
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It's been a banner season for Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Heath Miller. The eighth-year veteran is on pace to set career highs across the board and is coming off a five-catch, 97-yard effort in last week's win over the Baltimore Ravens.
The return of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger would seem to bode well for Miller's fantasy prospects this week. But with a nicked-up quarterback and a bad fantasy matchup, Miller is something of a "trap" start in Week 14.
Other tight ends to sit: Vernon Davis, San Francisco 49ers (vs. MIA), Scott Chandler, Buffalo Bills (vs. STL).