Just hours before the start of Week 14 (for most teams), I know many people have questions running through their heads. Who should I start? Who should I sit? Let’s take a look at how some of the recent news changes things:
Larry Fitzgerald—Arizona Cardinals—Wide Receiver
According to Darren Urban of the Cardinals’ official website (click here for the article):
“With cornerback Brandon Browner out with a suspension, Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman – himself facing a possible four-game suspension – will probably follow Fitz around Sunday. ‘I would anticipate that, if I were a betting man,’ Fitzgerald said.”
As if poor quarterback play hadn’t been bad enough in eliminating Fitzgerald’s value. While the return of John Skelton could lead to better results, it’s far from a guarantee. Keep in mind that in Week 1, Fitzgerald managed just four receptions for 63 yards against the Seahawks, despite being targeted 11 times. In other words, while it never used to seem to matter who the quarterback was, that just isn’t the case in 2012.
Fitzgerald has more games under 40 yards (five) than over 90 yards (three). In fact, over the past three weeks, he has 65 yards on five receptions total. On the year, he has also managed just four touchdown receptions. While he always has potential, he’s a WR3 at best this week. There’s just too much risk considering the QB, his performance and the matchup.
Ben Roethlisberger—Pittsburgh Steelers—Quarterback
He’s officially listed as probable, meaning he is going to return to the lineup this week against the San Diego Chargers—barring something extremely weird happening prior to the start of the game. Considering the uncertain state of the Steelers' running attack, as well as the favorable matchup, Roethlisberger should be considered a borderline QB1 this week.
The Chargers have allowed 21 passing touchdowns versus just 11 interceptions, placing them just behind the league leaders (25 TD allowed). This season, Roethlisberger has averaged nearly two touchdowns per game (17 in nine games) while throwing just four interceptions.
DeAngelo Williams—Carolina Panthers—Running Back
Jonathan Stewart is listed as doubtful, meaning Williams should once again operate as the lead back. He did perform well in Week 13, getting 12 carries for 67 yards (an average of 5.6 yards per carry). This week he takes on an Atlanta defense that has been porous against the run (121.3 rushing yards per game, 13 TD), so there is some potential.
I still wouldn’t consider him a must-start option, especially since he hasn’t been given more than 14 carries in a game this season (and that came in Week 2). He has also had too many games averaging under 3.0 yards per carry. However, given the matchup, he’s worth considering as a FLEX option depending on your other options.
Michael Turner—Atlanta Falcons—Running Back
Turner is listed as questionable with an elbow injury. The question isn’t really if he is going to play or not, but if the Falcons will use this as a reason to see more of Jacquizz Rodgers. As it is, Rodgers has been seeing an increased role, totaling 18 carries for 92 yards and a touchdown over the past two games. It just feels like all they need is a push to give Rodgers the lead role, so this may be perfect.
Charles Odum of the Associated Press (click here for the article) posted a quote from coach Mike Smith:
”Absolutely,” Smith said after Thursday’s practice. ”Jacquizz is one of many guys we feel like deserves to get touches on our offense. If need be, we think he can take carries that other guys may get in other games.”
Both Turner and Rodgers are too big of a risk to gamble on with fantasy titles on the line, unless you are desperate. Rodgers would appear to be the better choice, however, and is definitely a player worth stashing if you are in need of RB help for the remainder of the season.
Danny Amendola—St. Louis Rams—Wide Receiver
According to the team’s Twitter feed:
“WR Danny Amendola (foot), LB Mario Haggan (elbow) are questionable. Coach Jeff Fisher said Amendola will be a game time decision.”
The Rams play at 1 p.m. EST, so at least fantasy owners will know before they have to set their lineups. That said, there’s way too much risk in depending on him. Even if he dresses, the Rams have shown the willingness to simply use him as a decoy, making it impossible to feel comfortable with him. Considering his injury history, you already have an alternative plan in place. It makes sense to use it this week.
Greg Jennings—Green Bay Packers—Wide Receiver
With Jordy Nelson already ruled out and Jennings receiving eight targets in his first game back, there’s no reason not to have faith in him this week. He’s worth using as a WR2 in all formats.
Cecil Shorts—Jacksonville Jaguars—Wide Receiver
He has emerged as the best fantasy option in Jacksonville, but he’s going to miss Week 14 due to a concussion. It definitely hurts, but it really shouldn’t be a surprise. Fantasy owners need to move on to the next viable option, though Kevin Elliott and Jordan Shipley, who should see time in Shorts’ absence, shouldn’t be looked at as viable replacements.
Mikel Leshoure—Detroit Lions—Running Back
According to Tim Twentyman of the team’s official website (click here for the article):
“Linehan said Joique Bell will continue to see more touches in hopes of giving the run game some more life. Bell, who has all three of the team’s runs over 20 yards this season, is averaging 5.7 yards per carry.”
Throw in expected bad weather and the chance of a shootout, and I wouldn’t go near Leshoure for this week. There’s just too much risk.
Make sure to check out the rest of our Week 14 rankings: