Fantasy Football Week 14: Top Plays at Every Position

Eric Mack@@EricMackFantasyFantasy Football Lead WriterDecember 6, 2013

Fantasy Football Week 14: Top Plays at Every Position

0 of 6

    It doesn't matter whom the Browns start at quarterback or whom they face: Josh Gordon is a must-start WR.
    It doesn't matter whom the Browns start at quarterback or whom they face: Josh Gordon is a must-start WR.Jason Miller/Getty Images

    The fantasy postseason is here, and Thursday night's opener between the Texans and the Jaguars proved just how difficult the results can be to predict. Just a couple of weeks ago, the same two teams played to a 13-6 battle of offensive and fantasy futility.

    Naturally, Thursday night was almost the exact opposite: a 27-20 battle of defensive futility. It made for some solid performances, like those of Maurice Jones-Drew and fringe tight end Garrett Graham.

    Instead of looking back on opportunities missed if you sat those guys, look ahead to what is to come. That is what we do every Friday of the season with Bleacher Report's Top Plays in a six-part, position-by-position slideshow.

Quarterbacks: 49ers-Seahawks Matchup Doesn't Figure to Be Very Fantasy-Friendly

1 of 6

    Some teams' quarterback decisions will be made this week, including the Cleveland Browns and Minnesota Vikings starters who are dealing with concussion symptoms, but one decision that won't have to wait to be made will be to sit Aaron Rodgers (shoulder) in fantasy.

    NFL insider Ian Rapoport tweeted on Thursday afternoon that Rodgers needs a doctor to clear him after a scan before he can play, but no more scans are scheduled this week. Rodgers might not be ruled out for the season for fantasy owners, but they have to hope their season extends beyond this week without him available right now.

    Bear Down with McCown

    The announcement that Jay Cutler (ankle) will not play on Monday night, as the Chicago Tribune's Rich Campbell tweeted, at least gives fantasy owners a legit starting option in Josh McCown. He has an embarrassment of riches in Marc Trestman's pass-friendly offense with the emergence of Alshon Jeffery—not to mention the Dallas Cowboys have been the worst team in football against fantasy quarterbacks. Dallas is also the second-worst team against the pass. McCown looks like a start in all 12-team leagues this week.

    Gold Rush in San Francisco

    The Seattle Seahawks have been the second-best team in fantasy against quarterbacks and are No. 1 against the pass. These facts make 2013 disappointment Colin Kaepernick a fairly easy sit in standard leagues. His receiving corps has gotten the injection of Michael Crabtree (Achilles) and Mario Manningham (knee) after a slow start, but the Seahawks just shut down Drew Brees and Co. a week ago.

    Like Him More

    The Cincinnati Bengals' Andy Dalton might never become an elite fantasy quarterback, but he has been an underrated option as a steady starter this season. He has four games with three touchdown passes or more in the past seven. Although he hasn't thrown for 300 yards since his four-game stretch between Weeks 6 and 9, he has enough targets to be considered a starter in all leagues in crunch time.

    Dalton is among the quarterbacks whom we like three spots more than the consensus this week:

    1. Andy Dalton
    2. Carson Palmer
    3. Eli Manning
    4. Matt Flynn
    5. Chad Henne (already played Thursday night)
    6. Kellen Clemens

    Like Him Less

    Unlike Kaepernick, Russell Wilson hasn't been disappointing for fantasy owners this season. Even if he faces a tough matchup on the road at San Francisco, he warrants being kept active in standard fantasy leagues. We rank him just outside of the top 12, though, because there are fringe quarterbacks with better matchups.

    Wilson is among the quarterbacks whom we like less than the masses below:

    1. Nick Foles
    2. Matt Ryan
    3. Russell Wilson
    4. Robert Griffin III
    5. Case Keenum (already played Thursday night)
    6. Colin Kaepernick
    Week 14 Quarterbacks Rankings - Eric Mack
    RankQuarterbacksTeamOpponentECRvs. ECR
    1Peyton ManningDenvs. Ten10
    2Matthew StaffordDetat Phi20
    3Drew BreesNOvs. Car5+2
    4Cam NewtonCarat NO6+2
    5Tom BradyNEvs. Cle4-1
    6Nick FolesPhivs. Det3-3
    7Philip RiversSDvs. NYG9+2
    8Tony RomoDalat Chi80
    9Josh McCownChivs. Dal7-2
    10Andy DaltonCinvs. Ind17+7
    11Carson PalmerArivs. StL16+5
    12Alex SmithKCat Was13+1
    13Matt RyanAtlat GB10-3
    14Russell WilsonSeaat SF11-3
    15Robert GriffinWasvs. KC12-3
    16Joe FlaccoBalvs. Min14-2
    17Ryan FitzpatrickTenat Den15-2
    18Eli ManningNYGat SD22+4
    19Andrew LuckIndat Cin18-1
    20Ben RoethlisbergerPitvs. Mia200
    21Mike GlennonTBvs. Buf23+2
    22Case KeenumHouat Jac19-3
    23Ryan TannehillMiaat Pit24+1
    24Colin KaepernickSFvs. Sea21-3
    25EJ ManuelBufat TB250
    26Matt FlynnGBvs. Atl30+4
    27Chad HenneJacvs. Hou33+6
    28Kellen ClemensStLat Ari35+7
    29Matt McGloinOakat NYJ28-1
    30Jason CampbellCleat NE32+2
    31Matt CasselMinat Bal36+5
    32Geno SmithNYJvs. Oak31-1

    Expert Consensus Rankings (ECR) from more than 100 experts provided by FantasyPros.

Running Backs: A Healthy Running Back Is a Good Thing This Time of Year

2 of 6

    Somehow, DeMarco Murray has avoided serious injury of late, making him a must-start fantasy play.
    Somehow, DeMarco Murray has avoided serious injury of late, making him a must-start fantasy play.Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

    Fantasy owners have one less variable to worry about with three premium backs this week. Le'Veon Bell (concussion), Knowshon Moreno (ankle) and Zac Stacy (concussion) have all practiced in full, according to the official NFL Injury Report. They are ready to go for Sunday, and all three are reliable starters in all leagues this week.

    Cowboys' Murray Has Arrived

    Thanksgiving Day gave a good glimpse of what DeMarco Murray is capable of, as he finished with three touchdowns and 63 yards rushing (second in standard scoring among all running backs in Week 13). Now, we place him at the top of the heap this week, as he faces a Bears defense that has been dead last against the run and second to last in fantasy against running backs. Start Murray above all this week, especially if he is a value in weekly salary-cap formats.

    Jennings' Status Not as Clear

    Despite the fact that Darren McFadden (ankle) did not practice on Thursday, fantasy owners cannot feel great about Rashad Jennings (concussion) this week, either. Jennings was limited in practice on Thursday, but he figures to start and get a heavy workload against the New York Jets. The problem with using him in fantasy is the Jets do one thing well still: Stop the run. They are No. 1 against the run and No. 2 against fantasy running backs.

    Like Him More

    Fantasy owners can worry all they want about Ray Rice's terrible return on first-round investment, but they should keep him active against the Vikings this week. Minnesota is the third-worst team against fantasy running backs and in the bottom 10 against the run.

    Rice is among the backs whom we like more than the consensus below:

    1. Ray Rice
    2. C.J. Spiller
    3. Frank Gore
    4. Chris Ivory
    5. Rashard Mendenhall

    Like Him Less

    Lamar Miller (pectoral) held up against the Jets' No. 1-ranked run defense with 72 yards on 22 carries, which was his first full-time workload with Daniel Thomas (ankle) out. He now faces a Pittsburgh defense that was abused by running backs in the early part of the season but has been better of late. Also, the Steelers have allowed only two 100-yard rushers all year.

    We expect Miller to be kept under 100 yards and out of the end zone, which is why he is among the backs whom we like less than the masses this week:

    1. Ben Tate (already played Thursday night)
    2. Andre Brown
    3. Maurice Jones-Drew (whoops! Already played Thursday night)
    4. Bobby Rainey
    5. Fred Jackson
    6. Pierre Thomas
    7. Bilal Powell
    Week 14 Running Backs Rankings - Eric Mack
    RankRunning BacksTeamOpponentECRvs. ECR
    1DeMarco MurrayDalat Chi4+3
    2Jamaal CharlesKCat Was1-1
    3Adrian PetersonMinat Bal30
    4Matt ForteChivs. Dal2-2
    5LeSean McCoyPhivs. Det9+4
    6Ray RiceBalvs. Min17+11
    7C.J. SpillerBufat TB22+15
    8Reggie BushDetat Phi10+2
    9Eddie LacyGBvs. Atl5-4
    10Knowshon MorenoDenvs. Ten6-4
    11Marshawn LynchSeaat SF7-4
    12Shane VereenNEvs. Cle16+4
    13Frank GoreSFvs. Sea20+7
    14Le'Veon BellPitvs. Mia11-3
    15Alfred MorrisWasvs. KC14-1
    16Chris JohnsonTenat Den13-3
    17Zac StacyStLat Ari18+1
    18Ben TateHouat Jac12-6
    19Andre BrownNYGat SD8-11
    20Steven JacksonAtlat GB21+1
    21Giovani BernardCinvs. Ind23+2
    22Chris IvoryNYJvs. Oak28+6
    23Rashard MendenhallArivs. StL29+6
    24Ryan MathewsSDvs. NYG30+6
    25Danny WoodheadSDvs. NYG31+6
    26Willis McGaheeCleat NE42+16
    27Montee BallDenvs. Ten33+6
    28Darren SprolesNOvs. Car36+8
    29Rashad JenningsOakat NYJ25-4
    30Donald BrownIndat Cin27-3
    31Maurice Jones-DrewJacvs. Hou15-16
    32Lamar MillerMiaat Pit26-6
    33Joique BellDetat Phi34+1
    34Bobby RaineyTBvs. Buf19-15
    35LeGarrette BlountNEvs. Cle38+3
    36Fred JacksonBufat TB24-12
    37BenJarvus Green-EllisCinvs. Ind35-2
    38Chris OgbonnayaCleat NE39+1
    39DeAngelo WilliamsCarat NO41+2
    40Mike TolbertCarat NO44+4
    41Bernard PierceBalvs. Min48+7
    42James StarksGBvs. Atl59+17
    43Stevan RidleyNEvs. Cle47+4
    44Jonathan StewartCarat NO43-1
    45Trent RichardsonIndat Cin53+8
    46Brandon BoldenNEvs. Cle460
    47Peyton HillisNYGat SD55+8
    48Roy HeluWasvs. KC56+8
    49Dennis JohnsonHouat Jac51+2
    50Kendall HunterSFvs. Sea72+22
    51Pierre ThomasNOvs. Car32-19
    52Bilal PowellNYJvs. Oak40-12
    53Benny CunninghamStLat Ari54+1
    54Jacquizz RodgersAtlat GB50-4
    55Shonn GreeneTenat Den49-6
    56Mark IngramNOvs. Car57+1
    57Bryce BrownPhivs. Det61+4
    58Robert TurbinSeaat SF75+17
    59Michael BushChivs. Dal63+4
    60Knile DavisKCat Was65+5
    61Brian LeonardTBvs. Buf62+1
    Expert Consensus Rankings (ECR) from more than 100 experts provided by FantasyPros.

Wide Receivers: Seahawks Matchup Leaves 49ers Targets Sleepless in San Francisco

3 of 6

    Colin Kaepernick has Michael Crabree (Achilles) back, with Anquan Boldin and Vernon Davis healthy, but the toughest secondary in football is coming to San Francisco this week. That makes it difficult to trust Boldin and Crabtree.

    Seattle is No. 1 against the pass and No. 3 in fantasy against wide receivers, and it just got done shutting down an all-timer in Drew Brees a week ago. If you thought Kaepernick's targets have been frustrating this season, wait until Sunday's result comes in. Avoid starting Boldin and Crabtree.

    Buc Doesn't Stop Here

    Vincent Jackson (hamstring) has been limited in practice, but he is expected to play on Sunday. Consider him a solid start, despite the injury, against the Buffalo Bills, who have been the second-worst team in fantasy against wide receivers. The matchup and Jackson's lack of practice reps might be sneaky reasons to consider Tiquan Underwood as a flex option in deeper leagues as well.

    Bucking Broncos Against Titans?

    Here is where you can throw the fantasy-against data out the window. The Tennessee Titans have a solid secondary—No. 7 against the pass and No. 1 against fantasy wideouts—but you cannot sit any of your Broncos receivers in fantasy crunch time, especially at home. Sure, one of Demaryius Thomas (shoulder), Wes Welker or Eric Decker might prove to be disappointing, but you cannot sit these guys against anyone. Decker proved that at Kansas City a week ago.

    Like Him More

    Speaking of fantasy must-start receivers in bad matchups, Antonio Brown is facing the Miami Dolphins, who have been No. 9 against the pass and No. 2 in fantasy against wideouts. He has been a steady force all season as Ben Roethlisberger's go-to receiver, especially at home. Brown's three best weeks this season have come in Pittsburgh.

    Brown is among the receivers whom we like more than the masses below:

    1. Antonio Brown
    2. Eric Decker
    3. Mike Wallace
    4. Marques Colston
    5. Dwayne Bowe

    Like Him Less

    We don't quite understand the continued love for Riley Cooper right now. He has been subpar for the past two weeks, posting three catches for 37 yards and three catches for 48 yards. Sure, the Lions matchup is favorable—they are the third-worst team in fantasy against wide receivers—but the recent production hurts his case to start this week.

    Cooper is among the wide receivers whom we like less than the consensus here:

    1. Pierre Garcon
    2. Keenan Allen
    3. Harry Douglas
    4. Riley Cooper
    5. Cecil Shorts (already played Thursday night)
    6. Nate Burleson
    Week 14 Wide Receivers Rankings - Eric Mack
    RankWide ReceiversTeamOpponentECRvs. ECR
    1Calvin JohnsonDetat Phi10
    2A.J. GreenCinvs. Ind20
    3Dez BryantDalat Chi4+1
    4Josh GordonCleat NE5+1
    5Demaryius ThomasDenvs. Ten9+4
    6Antonio BrownPitvs. Mia12+6
    7Brandon MarshallChivs. Dal3-4
    8Larry FitzgeraldArivs. StL13+5
    9Alshon JefferyChivs. Dal6-3
    10DeSean JacksonPhivs. Det8-2
    11Eric DeckerDenvs. Ten20+9
    12Andre JohnsonHouat Jac7-5
    13Victor CruzNYGat SD16+3
    14Wes WelkerDenvs. Ten17+3
    15Vincent JacksonTBvs. Buf10-5
    16Torrey SmithBalvs. Min11-5
    17Michael FloydArivs. StL21+4
    18Mike WallaceMiaat Pit26+8
    19Roddy WhiteAtlat GB24+5
    20Jordy NelsonGBvs. Atl19-1
    21Marques ColstonNOvs. Car30+9
    22Dwayne BoweKCat Was29+7
    23Pierre GarconWasvs. KC14-9
    24Kendall WrightTenat Den23-1
    25Julian EdelmanNEvs. Cle27+2
    26Steve SmithCarat NO32+6
    27James JonesGBvs. Atl36+9
    28Anquan BoldinSFvs. Sea35+7
    29Keenan AllenSDvs. NYG15-14
    30Steve JohnsonBufat TB31+1
    31T.Y. HiltonIndat Cin28-3
    32Rueben RandleNYGat SD42+10
    33Hakeem NicksNYGat SD38+5
    34Harry DouglasAtlat GB22-12
    35Riley CooperPhivs. Det18-17
    36Cecil ShortsJacvs. Hou25-11
    37Brian HartlineMiaat Pit33-4
    38DeAndre HopkinsHouat Jac49+11
    39Mohamed SanuCinvs. Ind74+35
    40Dexter McClusterKCat Was62+22
    41Danny AmendolaNEvs. Cle43+2
    42Emmanuel SandersPitvs. Mia39-3
    43Jarrett BoykinGBvs. Atl41-2
    44Nate BurlesonDetat Phi34-10
    45Denarius MooreOakat NYJ44-1
    46Miles AustinDalat Chi70+24
    47Rod StreaterOakat NYJ40-7
    48Robert WoodsBufat TB58+10
    49Kenbrell ThompkinsNEvs. Cle53+4
    50Michael CrabtreeSFvs. Sea46-4
    51Brandon LaFellCarat NO510
    52Justin HunterTenat Den68+16
    53Marlon BrownBalvs. Min59+6
    54Santonio HolmesNYJvs. Oak64+10
    55Terrance WilliamsDalat Chi61+6
    56Golden TateSeaat SF37-19
    57Donnie AveryKCat Was71+14
    58Greg JenningsMinat Bal56-2
    59Chris GivensStLat Ari83+24
    60Marvin JonesCinvs. Ind65+5
    61Ted GinnCarat NO72+11
    62Tiquan UnderwoodTBvs. Buf48-14
    63Cordarrelle PattersonMinat Bal55-8
    64Tavon AustinStLat Ari57-7
    65Jeremy KerleyNYJvs. Oak77+12
    66Lance MooreNOvs. Car76+10
    67Doug BaldwinSeaat SF47-20
    68Darrius Heyward-BeyIndat Cin88+20
    69Lavon BrazillIndat Cin84+15
    70Ace SandersJacvs. Hou60-10
    71Mike BrownJacvs. Hou73+2
    72Stephen HillNYJvs. Oak102+30
    73Santana MossWasvs. KC106+33
    74Kenny StillsNOvs. Car75+1
    75Andre RobertsArivs. StL81+6
    76Rishard MatthewsMiaat Pit66-10
    77Vincent BrownSDvs. NYG85+8
    78Jason AvantPhivs. Det79+1
    79Greg LittleCleat NE86+7
    80Nate WashingtonTenat Den52-28
    81Kris DurhamDetat Phi54-27

    Expert Consensus Rankings (ECR) from more than 100 experts provided by FantasyPros.

Tight Ends: Julius Thomas Returns to Practice, Fantasy Lineups in Week 14

4 of 6

    Julius Thomas has been down for two weeks, but he appears ready to get back up in Week 14 for fantasy owners.
    Julius Thomas has been down for two weeks, but he appears ready to get back up in Week 14 for fantasy owners.Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

    Fantasy owners figure to finally get one of their key cogs back in lineups this week with the news that "Orange Julius" has been allowed to finally practice in full, according to The Denver Post's Mike Klis. Julius Thomas has missed back-to-back games, but if he's active for the Broncos as expected, he is a third choice behind Rob Gronkowski and Jimmy Graham at the position.

    Heck, if not for the Broncos having three elite fantasy wideouts, Thomas might be above Graham and Gronk going forward.

    He Went to Jared

    Were you left wondering how you missed out on Zach Ertz and Brent Celek's combined three touchdowns a week ago? Well, the Arizona Cardinals have been woeful against tight ends this season, allowing a league-high 73 receptions, 939 yards and 13 touchdowns to the position. That sets the St. Louis Rams' Jared Cook up as a must-start option in all leagues this week.

    Getting a Good Reed Versus the Chiefs?

    Early-season surprise tight end Jordan Reed (concussion) is a much more difficult play. He has missed back-to-back games as well. He returned to practice but merely on a limited basis, according to the official NFL Injury Report. What's worse, even if he were healthy, he would be facing a Kansas City Chiefs team that is No. 1 in fantasy against tight ends. You need another option.

    Like Him More

    Speaking of those aforementioned Philadelphia Eagles tight ends, they have moved up the fantasy food chain with those Week 13 performances. While they are facing the fourth-best team in fantasy against tight ends in Detroit, the Lions are still in the bottom 10 against the pass.

    That is the reason why we still rank Ertz and Celek higher than the masses this week:

    1. Jared Cook
    2. Rob Housler
    3. Brandon Myers
    4. Zach Ertz
    5. Brent Celek

    Like Him Less

    The Ravens are still hopeful Dennis Pitta (hip) can return this week to face the Vikings. Minnesota is the sixth-worst team in fantasy against tight ends, but Percy Harvin's hip woes are an example in fantasy of preaching caution, at least initially.

    Pick up Pitta as a stretch-run flier, but he is among the tight ends whom we like less than the consensus below:

    1. Garrett Graham (whoops! Already played Thursday night)
    2. Jordan Reed
    3. Marcedes Lewis (whoops! Already played Thursday night)
    4. Scott Chandler
    5. Dennis Pitta (hip)
    Week 14 Tight Ends Rankings - Eric Mack
    RankTight EndsTeamOpponentECRvs. ECR
    1Rob GronkowskiNEvs. Cle10
    2Jimmy GrahamNOvs. Car20
    3Julius ThomasDenvs. Ten6+3
    4Jason WittenDalat Chi3-1
    5Jared CookStLat Ari13+8
    6Vernon DavisSFvs. Sea4-2
    7Greg OlsenCarat NO70
    8Tony GonzalezAtlat GB5-3
    9Antonio GatesSDvs. NYG8-1
    10Jordan CameronCleat NE12+2
    11Coby FleenerIndat Cin10-1
    12Martellus BennettChivs. Dal15+3
    13Delanie WalkerTenat Den14+1
    14Heath MillerPitvs. Mia17+3
    15Ladarius GreenSDvs. NYG16+1
    16Rob HouslerArivs. StL21+5
    17Garrett GrahamHouat Jac9-8
    18Jordan ReedWasvs. KC11-7
    19Tim WrightTBvs. Buf190
    20Brandon MyersNYGat SD25+5
    21Zach ErtzPhivs. Det28+7
    22Brent CelekPhivs. Det34+12
    23Brandon PettigrewDetat Phi31+8
    24Jermaine GreshamCinvs. Ind35+11
    25Zach MillerSeaat SF33+8
    26Tyler EifertCinvs. Ind27+1
    27John CarlsonMinat Bal24-3
    28Marcedes LewisJacvs. Hou22-6
    29Scott ChandlerBufat TB23-6
    30Dennis PittaBalvs. Min26-4

    Expert Consensus Rankings (ECR) from more than 100 experts provided by FantasyPros.

Defense/Special Teams: Jets Are Bad but Not Bad Enough to Start Oakland's D/ST

5 of 6

    We have said all season you have to match up your defense against the shaky quarterbacks. With the Browns and Vikings having cloudy quarterback situations, it makes the Patriots and Ravens defenses great streaming plays in fantasy leagues this week.

    Sure, you might consider taking a shot in the dark on the Oakland Raiders because they are facing the Jets and error-prone quarterback Geno Smith, but we wouldn't trust a subpar defensive unit on the road in crunch time, no matter how juicy the matchup.

    Re-Charging Their Playoff Hopes

    The San Diego Chargers are on the outside looking in with regard to the final wild-card spot in the AFC, but a home matchup against the disappointing New York Giants might be just what they need right now. The Giants have been the worst team in fantasy against defense/special teams, so if you're digging deep for a unit this week, consider the Chargers, particularly at home.

    Saint No Way

    It is going to be tough to trust the Saints defense in any fantasy league after that performance in Seattle on Monday night. They do return home, but the matchup is still bad. The Panthers have been the second-best team in fantasy against defense/special teams. There is no way you can start the Saints in standard leagues this week.

    Like Them More

    The Panthers, meanwhile, are heading to one of the toughest places to play in football. Seattle and Kansas City are difficult in terms of noise, but there is nothing like the Superdome in a big game. It can get rocking. The Panthers might not look like a great play in those conditions, but defense wins big games.

    We still rank the Panthers as a starting unit in all leagues and one of those we like more than the consensus below:

    1. Baltimore Ravens
    2. Carolina Panthers
    3. Cincinnati Bengals
    4. San Francisco 49ers
    5. San Diego Chargers

    Like Them Less

    You might think the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are a favorable matchup for an opposing defense, but that just has not been the case this season. Despite starting a rookie quarterback and losing their starting running back to injury for the season, the Bucs have been in the top eight against fantasy defense/special teams.

    It makes the Bills defense a bad play on the road and one of the units that we like less than the masses this week:

    1. New England Patriots
    2. Arizona Cardinals
    3. Miami Dolphins
    4. New Orleans Saints
    5. Buffalo Bills
    Week 14 Defenses and Special Teams Rankings - Eric Mack
    RankDefenses and Special TeamsTeamOpponentECRvs. ECR
    1Baltimore RavensBalvs. Min5+4
    2Kansas City ChiefsKCat Was20
    3Seattle SeahawksSeaat SF30
    4New England PatriotsNEvs. Cle1-3
    5Carolina PanthersCarat NO8+3
    6Cincinnati BengalsCinvs. Ind9+3
    7San Francisco 49ersSFvs. Sea11+4
    8St. Louis RamsStLat Ari7-1
    9Arizona CardinalsArivs. StL6-3
    10San Diego ChargersSDvs. NYG13+3
    11Tampa Bay BuccaneersTBvs. Buf17+6
    12Denver BroncosDenvs. Ten120
    13Detroit LionsDetat Phi28+15
    14Dallas CowboysDalat Chi23+9
    15Green Bay PackersGBvs. Atl20+5
    16Chicago BearsChivs. Dal21+5
    17New York JetsNYJvs. Oak19+2
    18Pittsburgh SteelersPitvs. Mia180
    19Miami DolphinsMiaat Pit16-3
    20New Orleans SaintsNOvs. Car14-6
    21Philadelphia EaglesPhivs. Det27+6
    22Buffalo BillsBufat TB15-7

    Expert Consensus Rankings (ECR) from more than 100 experts provided by FantasyPros.

Kickers: Strong Running Games Can Make It a Kicker's Duel in San Francisco

6 of 6

    This week's example of why you probably shouldn't pay attention to the minutia at your kicker position in crunch time: the Seahawks at the 49ers. The two best teams in fantasy against kickers are facing each other, but it shouldn't be enough for you to sit the likes of Steven Hauschka or Phil Dawson.

    Sure, there are ample alternatives to be had off waivers, but both teams' running games are strong enough to make this a battle of field goals. You shouldn't worry about having Hauschka or Dawson active in any fantasy league.

    Green (Bay) with Envy

    Mason Crosby has struggled as the Packers offense has without Aaron Rodgers (shoulder), but the running game should be there this week against the Falcons. Also, Atlanta has been the worst team in fantasy against kickers this season. You should feel confident in keeping Crosby active.

    Bengals a Bad Matchup for Vinatieri

    Cincy has one of the bigger home-field advantages this season. The Bengals haven't lost at home, with all four of their losses coming on the road. They also are in the top 10 of fantasy against kickers. The Colts' Adam Vinatieri is a tougher play outdoors. We rank him out of the top 20 this week.

    Like Him More

    Mike Nugent isn't at the top of many fantasy owners' priority lists, but we figure December, a home game and the Colts matchup will be kind to him this week. We expect a three-plus-field-goal performance, and Nugent is among the kickers whom we like better than the consensus:

    1. Mason Crosby
    2. Phil Dawson
    3. Mike Nugent
    4. Ryan Succop
    5. Nick Novak

    Like Him Less

    The Saints' Garrett Hartley gets to kick in the dome this week, but the Panthers figure to limit the Saints better than almost any team in football can. We still rank Hartley among the starting fantasy options, but he is among the kickers whom we like less than the masses this week:

    1. Garrett Hartley
    2. Matt Bryant
    3. Robbie Gould
    4. Alex Henery
    5. Blair Walsh
    Week 14 Kickers Rankings - Eric Mack
    RankKickersTeamOpponentECRvs. ECR
    1Justin TuckerBalvs. Min2+1
    2Stephen GostkowskiNEvs. Cle1-1
    3Matt PraterDenvs. Ten30
    4Mason CrosbyGBvs. Atl9+5
    5Steven HauschkaSeaat SF50
    6Phil DawsonSFvs. Sea13+7
    7Mike NugentCinvs. Ind21+14
    8Dan BaileyDalat Chi80
    9Ryan SuccopKCat Was12+3
    10Garrett HartleyNOvs. Car4-6
    11Nick NovakSDvs. NYG14+3
    12Matt BryantAtlat GB10-2
    13David AkersDetat Phi18+5
    14Robbie GouldChivs. Dal11-3
    15Alex HeneryPhivs. Det6-9
    16Nick FolkNYJvs. Oak30+14
    17Greg ZuerleinStLat Ari28+11
    18Blair WalshMinat Bal16-2
    19Dan CarpenterBufat TB26+7
    20Jay FeelyArivs. StL200
    21Adam VinatieriIndat Cin7-14
    22Sebastian JanikowskiOakat NYJ24+2

    Expert Consensus Rankings (ECR) from more than 100 experts provided by FantasyPros.

    Eric Mack, one of the giants among fantasy writers, is the Fantasy Football Lead Writer for Bleacher Report this season. Follow him on Twitter, where you can ask him endless questions about your team, rip him for his content and even challenge him to a head-to-head fantasy game. You can also listen to him on his podcast that he deprecatingly dubbed the Fantasy FatCast.