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Fantasy Football Week 14: Breakout Studs to Start for Playoff Domination

HOUSTON, TX - DECEMBER 01:  Ben Tate #44 of the Houston Texans celebrates afte scoring on a 7 yard run in the first quarter against the New England Patriots at Reliant Stadium on December 1, 2013 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Bob Levey/Getty Images
R. Cory SmithSenior Writer IDecember 3, 2013

The fantasy playoffs are where a great season can either lead you to glory—and maybe a trophy or money—or to yet another first-round defeat worse than any Atlanta team has ever dreamed of.

Success in the playoffs may mean sticking with the same guys who have been consistent week after week, but if any of the players listed below are still riding the bench for your team, it's probably time to start them.

 

Nick Foles, Quarterback, Philadelphia Eagles

PHILADELPHIA, PA - DECEMBER 1: Quarterback Nick Foles #9 of the Philadelphia Eagles looks to pass out of the end zone in the second quarter against the Arizona Cardinals during a game at Lincoln Financial Field on December 1, 2013 in Philadelphia, Pennsyl
Rich Schultz/Getty Images

As much as he has fought to remain the starter all year for the Eagles, he still hasn't sold nearly 40 percent of fantasy owners in NFL.com leagues where he still remains on the waiver wire.

Foles has not scored below 20 fantasy points since he was announced as the starter against the Oakland Raiders and has passed for three or more touchdowns in three out of four of those games. Then there's his consistency, throwing 19 touchdowns and zero interceptions this season.

Not too shabby for a guy who bears a striking resemblance to Napoleon Dynamite:

 

Ben Tate, Running Back, Houston Texans

HOUSTON, TX - DECEMBER 01:  Ben Tate #44 of the Houston Texans celebrates afte scoring on a 7 yard run in the first quarter against the New England Patriots at Reliant Stadium on December 1, 2013 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Bob Levey/Getty Images

First off, let me start by saying a little prayer for everyone who benched a guy who finished with over 100 yards and three touchdowns. Here's the good news: If you have him, you can definitely start him this week.

After Arian Foster was placed on injured reserve on Nov. 12, Tate was supposed to be the workhorse that got the huge fantasy points Foster left behind. Now, after two weeks of subpar performances, Tate looks like who we thought he was, right Dennis Green?

So, for Dennis Green's sake, don't bench Tate this week against the porous Jacksonville Jaguars. Expect another week of double-digit points from the only fantasy starter in the Texans backfield.

 

Alshon Jeffery, Wide Receiver, Chicago Bears

Dec 1, 2013; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Chicago Bears wide receiver Alshon Jeffery (17) celebrates his touchdown with wide receiver Brandon Marshall (15) during the third quarter against the Minnesota Vikings at Mall of America Field at H.H.H. Metrodome. Manda
Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sport

After a down week against the St. Louis Rams in which Jeffery only scored 4.6 points, many owners might have benched the fantasy star. Let's just hope not many people did.

The Bears' breakout stud had 12 catches on 15 targets for a franchise-record 249 yards and two touchdowns against the Minnesota Vikings, firmly earning the title of Josh McCown's favorite target.

Whether or not Brandon Marshall gets more targets than Jeffery in this week's contest, there will be plenty of points to go around against the Dallas Cowboys, who feature the 31st pass defense in the league in yards per game.

 

Tony Gonzalez, Tight End, Atlanta Falcons

TORONTO, ON - DECEMBER 01:  Tony Gonzalez #88 of the Atlanta Falcons celebrates his touchdown in the fourth quarter against the Buffalo Bills at Rogers Centre on December 1, 2013 in Toronto, Ontario.Atlanta won 34-31 in overtime.  (Photo by Rick Stewart/G
Rick Stewart/Getty Images

The guy who likely was the third or fourth overall tight end drafted in most fantasy leagues might finally be ready to start breaking out. Gonzalez did not set the world on fire with his receiving yards, but his 11-yard touchdown gave faithful owners a double-digit performance for starting him.

It's difficult to call Gonzalez a breakout stud, but when you haven't scored a touchdown for three weeks, it's likely going to be a surprise when you catch one in the end zone. The man who has set nearly every tight end record in the NFL is edging closer to yet another mark of 15,000 yards:

While it's difficult to see Gonzalez setting that mark in one game, the 22nd-ranked Green Bay Packers passing defense in yards per game might be the team to do it against.

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