The fantasy playoffs are upon most standard leagues, and this is the most important time to analyze the Week 14 start ‘em, sit ‘em candidates before Thursday’s NFL action kicks off.
The focus will be on the biggest fantasy busts who must find their way to the bench in Round 1 of the postseason. All of the following players have put together solid statistical seasons, but unfavorable matchups and tough circumstances will force each to have a lackluster performance.
These are risks not worth taking,
Colin Kaepernick, QB, San Francisco 49ers
San Francisco 49ers dual-threat quarterback Colin Kaepernick has done enough during the fantasy regular season to get you into the playoffs, amassing over 2,500 all-purpose yards and 18 touchdowns.
Kaepernick will fail to lead your team to victory against the stout Seattle Seahawks defense, though.
There are two teams in the NFL allowing less than 10 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks: the Seahawks and the Carolina Panthers. After throwing for only 91 yards and getting sacked six times by Carolina, owners should be expecting more of the same from an equally impressive Seattle defense in Week 14.
The Seahawks held a bona fide star like Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints to only 147 yards through the air on Monday Night Football and will be out to prove an even stronger point to a division rival and long-time foe.
Fantasy owners with Kaepernick in the starting lineup likely have another quarterback on the bench as a backup. Whether it’s Nick Foles or Matt Flynn, almost anyone is worth a start over Kaepernick in Week 14.
Predicted Stat Line: 10-of-20 passing for 100 yards, one touchdown and one interception; four carries for 10 yards and zero touchdowns.
Wes Welker, WR, Denver Broncos
On paper, the matchup between the Denver Broncos' vaunted pass attack and the Tennessee Titans looks like a mismatch that a talented player like Wes Welker could exploit by putting up monster numbers.
That simply won’t be the case in Week 14.
Tennessee is the best team in the league against opposing fantasy wide receivers, allowing just 11.7 points per game. Welker is already struggling to make an impact with so many weapons in Denver, going four games without a touchdown and all season without a performance of 100-plus yards.
The tough matchup against a physical secondary will result in another lackluster day.
With fellow wide receivers Eric Decker and Demaryius Thomas taking plenty of targets away from Welker, fantasy owners must lower their expectations for Round 1. Welker would make a high-upside flex play, but there are better options for a WR2 this Sunday.
Predicted Stat Line: Four receptions for 40 yards and zero touchdowns.
Giovani Bernard, RB, Cincinnati Bengals
Fantasy owners have come to love Cincinnati Bengals rookie running back Giovani Bernard due to his speed, elusiveness and versatility. As great as he has been thus far, he will let owners down as his team squares off against the tough Indianapolis Colts.
Indianapolis has played inconsistently this season on defense, but it has been one of the best units in the league against the run, allowing just 14.8 points per game. Bernard will have to earn every yard he rushes for on Sunday.
Not only was Bernard held to 57 yards in Week 13 by the less talented San Diego Chargers' front seven, but the fact that he is also losing key goal-line carries to veteran BenJarvus Green-Ellis is a serious concern for owners.
If you have another option as your RB2 or flex, this is the week to sit Bernard.
Predicted Stat Line: 10 carries for 30 yards and zero touchdowns; one reception for 10 yards and zero touchdowns.