Fantasy Football Risers and Fallers: Week 14

Taylor SmithAnalyst IDecember 10, 2009

GREEN BAY, WI - DECEMBER 7: Running back Ray Rice #27 of the Baltimore Ravens runs with the football against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on December 7, 2009 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Packers defeated the Ravens 27-17. (Photo by Scott Boehm/Getty Images)
Scott Boehm/Getty Images

A couple of lesser-known guys (Bruce Gradkowski, Devin Thomas) were able to put up some huge numbers in Week 13

Will they be able to consistently perform at that level?

Who knows, as there are always guys who explode one week, only to fall back down to earth the next (think Ryan Moats). 

So, that being said, which guys are legitimate, and which guys are pretenders?




Ray Rice-RB-Baltimore Ravens

Ray Rice has been underrated all year long, and one sub-par game against the Packers Monday night shouldn't hurt his fantasy stock too much.

On the season, Rice has rushed for 875 yards on 181 carries with three touchdowns, and caught another 64 balls, for 599 yards, and a score.

Start him this weekend against the lowly Lions defense with confidence.


Robert Meachem-WR-New Orleans Saints

According to ESPN fantasy numbers, Meachem is somehow owned in just 66 percent of their leagues.

Considering he's scored in five consecutive games, and has emerged as one of Drew Brees' primary targets, this is shocking news.

Against a weak Atlanta pass defense this weekend, I'd expect Meachem to score yet again.


Brandon Jacobs-RB-New York Giants

While Jacobs' fantasy numbers last week were due in large part to his one 74-yard touchdown reception, he's going to have to be a huge part of what the Giants try to do against the Eagles.

The Eagles haven't been overly strong against the run, and with the Giants facing another must-win situation, Jacobs is sure to be prominently featured.


Anquan Boldin-WR-Arizona Cardinals

Boldin has either recorded 100 yards receiving or scored a touchdown in three of his past four games.

With Kurt Warner appearing to be completely healthy, Boldin is essentially a must-start this week against San Francisco.


Calvin Johnson-WR-Detroit Lions

Johnson has scored a touchdown in each of his last three games, and has recorded over 100 yards receiving in two of those.

Even with Matthew Stafford likely out, Johnson should be able to put up decent numbers against what's been a shaky Ravens defense, as of late.




Bruce Gradkowski-QB-Oakland Raiders

You may be asking, "Why, after a week in which he went 20-33 with 308 yards, three touchdowns, and no interceptions is Bruce Gradkowski a 'faller'?"

Well, it's likely that his numbers are going to fall this week.

While the Raiders aren't facing an elite pass defense (the Redskins), Gradkowski is going to have to show that he can put up consistently good numbers before he can be trusted as a fantasy quarterback.

If you have to start him, you'd better have a very good reason.


Marion Barber-RB-Dallas Cowboys

While the Cowboys have been winning games on a fairly consistent basis, the running game hasn't been as prominent as it was earlier in the season.

In fact, Marion Barber hasn't scored a touchdown since Week Eight against the Seahawks, and has only had one 100-yard rushing game this season, and that was way back in Week Two against the Giants.

If they're going to want to win games in the playoffs, Dallas is going to have to get the running game back on track.

Until that happens, I'd be wary of starting Marion Barber.


DeAngelo Williams-RB-Carolina Panthers

Williams is limited due to an ankle injury, which if he plays, could hinder his performance against New England.

Considering they have one of the league's best backups in Jonathan Stewart, I'd be wary of playing Williams.


Matt Forte-RB-Chicago Bears

Despite running for 91 yards with a touchdown against the Rams, Forte is, once again, a fantasy faller.

Forte hasn't been able to get it going all season long, and a matchup against a sturdy Packers' run defense that was flying all over the field against the Ravens doesn't bode well for him.


Vincent Jackson-WR-San Diego Chargers

Jackson, after scoring at least one touchdown in six of the first eight games of the season, now hasn't crossed the goal line since week nine against the Giants.

The Cowboys' pass defense has played fairly well lately, which should be a tough test for Jackson.

While I wouldn't be surprised if he was able to score this weekend, I'd look for better receiving options this week.

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