This is a very important week around fantasy football. For most leagues, it's either the first week of the playoffs or the last week of the regular season.
No matter which situation you are in, it's most likely that you are needing a win in Week 14. In a year full of shuffling running back situations, it's important to know which backs are strong plays.
We all know you are going to start the likes of LeSean McCoy and Ray Rice on a weekly basis. But if you don't have two every-week studs or are always looking to fill your flex spot, you're usually analyzing which players are looking up on a given week.
The following five running backs are players you should feel comfortable starting in Week 14.
In previous seasons, Tennessee Titans running back Chris Johnson was a sure-fire every week stud and was one of the best fantasy players in the game. His 2011 season has been a different story, however.
Fantasy owners should feel safe in placing Johnson in their starting lineups this week, maybe for the first time this season. He's coming off two consecutive strong games for the first time in 2011.
Johnson's Week 14 matchup against the New Orleans Saints isn't exactly one that jumps off the page, but his confidence is sky high after racking up 343 yards in the last two weeks.
The Titans are also in the thick of a playoff race in the AFC, meaning Johnson has a lot to play for. He looks like he's back to the electric runner that he was in years past, and should be among the top 10 running back scorers in fantasy this week.
Much like Chris Johnson, Roy Helu of the Washington Redskins is coming off two straight strong weeks and should be locked into fantasy lineups in Week 14.
It's been frustrating to watch Washington coach Mike Shanahan not commit to Helu this year, especially after Tim Hightower was placed on IR. He is clearly the most talented runner on the roster, but has only recently been given the full reigns on the running back position.
Washington will probably get down early against a strong New England Patriots team, meaning much of Helu's damage should come through the air this week. That's no problem, as he has proven to be one of the better pass-catching running backs in his limited NFL career.
While Atlanta Falcons running back Michael Turner is still among the top fantasy running backs this season, he is coming off two subpar performances. A matchup against a walkover Carolina Panthers run defense should be just what he needs.
In Week 6, Turner ran for 139 total yards and two touchdowns against Carolina, his best game of the season. He should enjoy similar success again this Sunday.
Needless to say, any doubts you might have in using Turner after his last two performances should be overturned by this week's matchup. He might just carry your team to a much-neeed victory.
When Buffalo Bills starting running back Fred Jackson was placed on IR a few weeks ago, fantasy owners flocked to pickup C.J. Spiller, but only because he was going to be a feature running back. There was not a lot of appeal as he had previously been a disappointment in his young career.
Spiller had some tough running in his first start against the New York Jets, but really came on last week against the Tennessee Titans. He showed why he was such a great college player at Clemson.
Week 14 presents the best matchup yet for Spiller against an up and down San Diego Chargers team. Their defense has really struggled lately, and this could be a breakout game for the second-year player.
Miami Dolphins running back Reggie Bush has finally found what he had been missing in his NFL career with his new team this season. He has actually been consistent, rushing for at least 60 yards or scoring a touchdown in his last six games.
Bush gets to play a Philadelphia Eagles team in Week 14 that looks to have mailed in their season. Marshawn Lynch ran all over them last week and Bush should be able to do the same.
The former USC Trojan has been one of the more pleasant surprises for fantasy owners of late. There is no reason for that to change as we head down the stretch of the 2011 fantasy season.