It's finally playoff time in fantasy football, which means that a season's worth of hard work and the endless hours put into solidifying your starting lineup now come down to one matchup in Week 14.
It can be frustrating at times to predict what top players are set to put up a dud performance and which flex players are ready to explode, and those decisions this week will make or break your chances of advancing to the next round of the playoffs.
Of course, not everyone is lucky enough to make it to the postseason, but bragging rights and friendly competition are always enough of a motivation to play your best guys instead of being that guy who forgets to adjust his lineup after a bye week.
Here's a look at the top players at each position heading into Week 14.
|1||Peyton Manning (DEN)||vs. TEN|
|2||Matthew Stafford (DET)||at PHI|
|3||Cam Newton (CAR)||at NO|
|4||Tom Brady (NE)||vs. CLE|
|5||Drew Brees (NO)||vs. CAR|
At this point, it doesn't really matter who he plays—it's the Peyton Manning show every week in fantasy football. Any doubts his owners had about him after pedestrian (for him) performances in Weeks 11 and 12 were quelled with his five-touchdown, 400-yard performance against Kansas City this past week.
Manning faces a relatively tough matchup against the Titans, who are seventh against the pass as they give up just 212.6 yards per contest. But that shouldn't make any difference. The Broncos are at home, and Manning has consistently produced against good defenses.
Matthew Stafford will continue his roll against a hapless Philadelphia pass defense that ranks last in the NFL while giving up nearly 300 yards per game. Drew Brees had a rough outing last week in Seattle and faces a dangerous Panthers defense, but he's returning home where he has thrown for more than 300 yards in every game this season.
|1||Jamaal Charles||at WAS|
|2||Matt Forte (CHI)||vs. DAL|
|3||Adrian Peterson (MIN)||at BAL|
|4||Knowshon Moreno (DEN)||vs. TEN|
|5||Reggie Bush (DET)||at PHI|
In what has become a rarity in fantasy football, Adrian Peterson actually doesn't top the running backs list this week. While he's a must-start on any team, the Ravens will be zeroing on AP and that will keep him from putting up gaudy numbers.
Jamaal Charles is set to have the biggest day as his Chiefs head to Washington, who's on a three-game skid. Against an overmatched Redskins defense, expect Andy Reid to call plays to his team's strengths, which is undoubtedly the running game.
Reggie Bush doesn't often find himself on any top-five fantasy lists, but a trip to Philly means a big day through the air and that should allow Bush to continue emerging as a versatile weapon in this offense.
|1||Calvin Johnson (DET)||at PHI|
|2||Brandon Marshall (CHI)||vs. DAL|
|3||A.J. Green (CIN)||vs. IND|
|4||Andre Johnson (HOU)||at JAX|
|5||Josh Gordon (CLE)||at NE|
Just like the quarterback position, wideouts are controlled by one name in fantasy football—Calvin Johnson.
Megatron has a dream matchup in Week 14 against the woeful Philadelphia secondary, and that should allow him to score multiple touchdowns in a game for the fifth time this season while putting up some of his best numbers.
It's been a season to forget for Houston, but Andre Johnson has still found a way to post some big-time performances. He's Case Keenum's unquestionable favorite target, so look for them to get things going against the Jaguars and avenge their Jacksonville loss earlier in the season.
|1||Rob Gronkowski (NE)||vs. CLE|
|2||Jimmy Graham (NO)||vs. CAR|
|3||Vernon Davis (SF)||vs. SEA|
|4||Jason Witten (DAL)||at CHI|
|5||Julius Thomas (DEN)||vs. TEN|
Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski has been a staple of the Patriots offense ever since making his 2013 debut, and he should be a lock to make it five straight games with a touchdown against Cleveland.
Even in the Saints' terrible showing against Seattle on Monday Night Football, Jimmy Graham managed to post 42 yards and a touchdown. Much more success should be had for New Orleans at home against Carolina this week offensively, and that is downright scary for fantasy owners going up against Graham in Week 14.
Vernon Davis has scored in three straight games, and Jason Witten showcased that he's still among the elite tight ends in fantasy football with two touchdowns against the Giants in Week 12.
Julius Thomas missed last week's game against the Chiefs, but is a near-lock to be a top fantasy option at tight end if he starts against the Titans.
Picking the right defense is tricky in fantasy football. Either you have a reliable option to roll with each and every week, or you're stuck with an average squad and search the waivers week after week.
It got even tricker in Week 14, as two of the top fantasy defenses—San Francisco and Seattle—face each other this weekend. Though plenty of offensive weapons are featured on both the Seahawks and 49ers, the best units will win out and those are on the defensive side for each of these teams.
The Cardinals have been a surprise on defense, and that should continue against the struggling Rams. Meanwhile, Cleveland visiting New England means the Patriots defense should come away with plenty of points.