Week 14 Fantasy Football Upgrades, Downgrades, and Sleepers From Around the Web

Fantasy Football SpinCorrespondent IDecember 10, 2010

BALTIMORE, MD - DECEMBER 05:  Quarterback Joe Flacco #5 of the Baltimore Ravens looks to pass against the Pittsburgh Steelers at M&T Bank Stadium on December 5, 2010 in Baltimore, Maryland. Pittsburgh won 13-10.  (Photo by Geoff Burke/Getty Images)
Geoff Burke/Getty Images

Each week FFSpin analyzes the matchups to provide our take on which skill players you should start and which should be riding the virtual pine. We take several variables into account: matchups, injuries, potential weather problems, arrests, baby mama trouble, what have you.

Four offenses are averaging over 275 passing yards per game.  Those high flying units belong to the Chargers, Colts, Broncos, and Cowboys. On the flip side, the four worst passing games (averaging less than 180 passing yards per game) can be found in Seattle, Kansas City, Arizona, and Carolina. Outside of the Chiefs, it is safe to say those offenses are awful.

The top five passing defenses, determined by the fact that they have allowed the least fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks, belong to the Bears, Saints, Chargers, Ravens, and Packers. Looking at the matchups,  Matt Schaub (@ BAL)  and Sam Bradford (vs NO) could struggle in Week 14.  We think Tom Brady proved on Monday night that he is matchup-proof and is still a top option despite the difficult matchup with a Bears' defense. The Chicago defense ranks first in points allowed to opposing QBs, giving them just 13 points worth of production. 

If your QBs are all facing difficult matchups in Week 14, be sure to check out our Week 14 QB Waiver Wire article. There just might be a signal caller upgrade available via free agency in your league.

The worst pass defenses exist in Jacksonville, New England, Seattle, Washington and Houston. They are each allowing over 260 yards through the air per contest. Joe Flacco is a top-12 option for a Monday night matchup with a Houston defense surrendering 26 fantasy points per game. Quarterbacks dream of playing the Texans.  Jay Cutler should excel against a New England defense allowing over 275 passing yards per game. Josh Freeman is a Week 14 sleeper versus Washington’s 29th-ranked pass defense. Jason Campbell (versus Jacksonville) and Alex Smith (Seattle) are not advisable despite the favorable matchups, because, well, they are Jason Campbell and Alex Smith. 



BrunoBoys.net is more pessimistic than most on Big Ben ranking him 16th as the Steelers host a talented but underachieving Cincinnati secondary ranked 15th against the pass.

FFToolbox.com are expecting Kyle Orton to struggle (ranked 18th) despite a favorable matchup with a porous Arizona secondary that ranks 28th against the pass and allows an average of 20 fantasy points per game to opposing QBs.

ProFootballWeekly.com recommends starting Dallas' Jon Kitna (ranked 9th) as Cowboys host a struggling Philadelphia pass defense (temper your expectations as they expect to get Asante Samuel back this week).

Rotoprofessor.com are expecting Joe Flacco (ranked 4th) to have a big week as the Ravens travel to Houston to face a Texans defense allowing  286 yards per game.



UPGRADE: Joe Flacco (@ Houston) – Facing off against the secondary of the Texans is something like playing a super-talented Pop Warner team. No matter how good they are, they’re still only eight years old and ultimately more interested in hot cocoa than winning the game.

This is a week for Flacco to continue to get reacquainted with Anquan Boldin. The fomer Cardinal-turned-Raven is not a selfish receiver, but he has pride and you know that he had to be frustrated prior to the Steelers game. Flacco would be wise to try to keep him happy and target Boldin often.

The Texans have surrendered over 300 yards passing in three of the past four games. We think Flacco has a good shot at posting his second 300-yard performance of the year. Another bonus for Flacco owners is the ability of the Texans to hang around in a shootout. The Texans have the firepower to stay with the Ravens and prevent this game from turning into a situation where the Ravens run clock with Rice and McGahee.

DOWNGRADE: Ben Roethlisberger (vs Cincinnati) – Big Ben is still a low-end number-one QB, but he does have a broken nose and while he has played well when injured in the past, we recommend that you downgrade him to a bit. He is not an automatic start this week. You would think that Bengals would be a pushover defense considering they have allowed over 300 yards in two of their last three contests, but they are a middle of the road pass defense. Big Ben has thrown one TD over the past two games and the run game with Rashard Mendenhall is working on all cylinders. We think that Fitzpatrick, Freeman, and Kitna are all better plays for this week.

SLEEPER: Chad Henne (vs NY Jets) – I know, I know, how can I recommend a so-so QB against the mighty Jets? Well, I had a different QB in this space until I read our Article of the Day. Jim Day of FantasyFootballWhiz.com sold me on Henne. You can see what he had to say in recommending Henne as a start right here. Henne, like Flacco, would be wise to target his high priced WR acquired by the team this year, but for different reasons. Marshall, unlike Boldin, is a diva with major character flaws. Henne may have to target him to keep him from destroying any remaining chemistry, a la T.O.


See the full report on Week 14 Upgrades, Downgrades, and Sleepers at WR and RB.