Fantasy Football Start 'Em, Sit 'Em: Adjustments for Week 14's Late Games
The late games of every NFL week are the most vital regarding whom to start and sit in fantasy football.
Take Colin Kaepernick of the San Francisco 49ers as a prime example.
First, according to the 49ers' official Twitter feed:
Harbaugh confirmed Colin Kaepernick will start Sunday against the Dolphins.— San Francisco 49ers (@49ers) December 3, 2012
To that end, is Kaepernick a viable start at home in Week 14?
The Niners are hosting the 5-7 Miami Dolphins and in need of victory to remain atop the NFC West. And we've seen Kaepernick play well against some solid competition.
Nonetheless, don't fall asleep on the Dolphins either. Miami has logged wins over the Seattle Seahawks, Cincinnati Bengals and St. Louis Rams.
By that token, let's move ahead and break down Kaepernick along with other tough late game decisions.
Colin Kaepernick: QB, 49ers (vs. Dolphins)
Make no mistake about it, Week 14 is a tough test for Colin Kaepernick and the San Francisco 49ers.
The Miami Dolphins present a defense with a sound pass rush and are capable of isolating Frank Gore up front.
That said, the Niners cannot solely rely on Kaepernick against Miami's vulnerable pass defense. Although Kaepernick has played well against the Bears, Saints and Rams, the Dolphins are just as great in the front seven.
For one, Miami gives up only 3.7 yards per rush and has recorded 33 sacks. Additionally, despite ranking No. 26 in pass defense, the 'Fins have given up only 15 passing touchdowns and a 58.3 completion percentage.
San Francisco will need to run the ball to take pressure off Kaepernick, because the 49ers can't afford to ask of more from the young quarterback against a studly front seven. No, Miami is not Chicago; however, the Dolphins are more consistent at stuffing the run and getting quarterback pressure than the Bears.
Sit Colin Kaepernick
Brian Hartline: WR, Dolphins (at 49ers)
Brian Hartline has been producing well for the Miami Dolphins in 2012.
So far he leads the team in yards (891), targets (102) and receptions (60) and is second in yards after the catch (211).
As a result, the San Francisco 49ers will gear their coverage toward him. With a rookie quarterback under center, isolating Ryan Tannehill's favorite receiver will put additional pressure on Davone Bess and Reggie Bush to impact more.
Well, San Francisco also ranks No. 2 against the pass, No. 3 against the run and allows only 279.6 total yards per game. Hartline will get locked down in man coverage, and San Francisco will also get pressure on Tannehill to force ill-advised decisions.
In turn, the Niners will force numerous three-and-outs and some turnovers as well.
Sit Brian Hartline
Seattle Seahawks Defense (vs. Arizona Cardinals)
Everything here simply comes down to the Arizona Cardinals' pass protection.
Therefore, don't expect much from Arizona.
Entering Week 14, the Cardinals have allowed 48 sacks, and only 10 touchdown passes have been thrown.
So, regardless of who is under center, the Seattle Seahawks are going to dominate the line of scrimmage. Pass rushers Chris Clemons and Bruce Irvin combine for 15 sacks to this point, and the Seahawks allow only a 59.4 completion percentage.
Cornerback Brandon Browner will begin a four-game suspension this week for violating the league's policy on performance-enhancing drugs.
The suspension was announced early Wednesday afternoon. He will miss Seattle's final four regular-season games.
Nevertheless, Arizona's offense is not explosive enough to get Seattle on its heels. With the Cardinals' pass protection and ground game lacking, anticipate multiple turnovers forced and few points allowed from the Seahawks.
Start Seahawks Defense
Pierre Thomas: RB, Saints (at Giants)
The New Orleans Saints are not a run-first offense, but they average 4.2 yards per carry.
Now, does that kind of impact make Pierre Thomas an appealing fantasy option against the New York Giants?
No, because despite Big Blue allowing an average of 4.6 yards per rush, the Giants are even more suspect against the pass.
Also, even though Thomas logged 84 rushing yards against the Atlanta Falcons, the Dirty Birds are worse than New York at defending up front. Not to mention, Brees throwing five picks to Atlanta basically resulted in New Orleans resorting to the run a bit more.
Here, the Saints must air it out against the Giants. Because Manning will thwart NOLA's extremely weak defense and force a faster pace.
Sit Pierre Thomas
Alex Green: RB, Packers (vs. Lions)
The Green Bay Packers have to find some sort of ground game against the Detroit Lions.
If not, the Packers are quite vulnerable to an upset, because the Lions feature the NFL's No. 1 passing offense.
This week against the Detroit Lions, expect Alex Green to receive the bulk of the carries. But on Thursday, Van Pelt noted Green has been at his best when he's sharing the load with another back.
No, the Packers won't put too much on [Ryan] Grant's plate. Not this early. But they probably don't want Green to do too much heavy lifting, either.
Green is a dependable dual-threat who can make defenders miss in the open field. With Rodgers' passing ability the Lions won't load the box, and Green won't need an extensive number of opportunities to make plays.
Even better, Detroit allows an average of 4.6 yards per rush and a 63.1 completion percentage.
Start Alex Green
Follow John Rozum on Twitter.