Week 14 Start Em Sit Em: Michael Bush and Others to Start

John RozumCorrespondent IDecember 9, 2011

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - NOVEMBER 20:   Carson Palmer #3 of the Oakland Raiders hands off the ball to  Michael Bush #29 against the Minnesota Vikings  on November 20, 2011 at Mall of America Field at Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  (Photo by Adam Bettcher /Getty Images)
Adam Bettcher/Getty Images

Alas the fantasy football playoffs have officially (in most leagues) begun after the Browns-Steelers game on Thursday.

That said, here are three players to start and ironically they're all RBs.

Michael Bush: RB, Raiders (at Packers)

According to Steve Corkran of The Contra Costa Times, Darren McFadden missed practice Wednesday:

"The early signs of the Raiders getting back running back Darren McFadden and any of their other injured key players aren’t looking good, based on the first day of practice in preparation for the undefeated Green Bay Packers."

That being said, make sure to put Michael Bush in the lineup as he's Oakland's best shot at besting the 12-0 Packers in Green Bay. The Raiders have the No. 4 ranked rush offense and the cheese allow an average of almost five yards per carry.

And if The Silver and Black want any shot at getting the upset, a dominant performance on the ground is a must. In turn, that keeps Green Bay's offense off the field and the clock running. So hopefully for Bush and the Raiders' sake, he produces to give Oakland and fantasy players a chance.


Marion Barber: RB, Bears (at Broncos)

According to Jon Greenberg of ESPN Chicago, the return of Matt Forte is unknown:

"Chicago Bears star running back Matt Forte can't promise when he can return from a sprained right knee, but he's not ready for his season to be over."

So in light of Forte's optimism, backup RB Marion Barber still gets the fantasy nod this week. Against Denver, the Bears need to fight fire with fire and be the better rushing team in Week 14.

Neither team has much of a passing game so don't anticipate that aspect playing much of a role. That said, Barber must step up big time if Chicago is to remain in the NFC playoff race. Hence, fantasy points for those who start him.

Denver may have an improved defense, but they still need to buff out some rough spots and Chicago knows how to run the ball just as well. Offensive coordinator Mike Martz has been around the NFL block enough to know how to adjust, so Barber will produce.


Pierre Thomas: RB, Saints (at Titans)

According to WWL.com in New Orleans, the Saints are without RB Mark Ingram against Tennessee:

"New Orleans Saints running back Mark Ingram's turf-toe issue kept him from practicing again today, and Coach Sean Payton said Ingram will be out when the Saints play the Tennessee Titans in Nashville Sunday."

Therefore, fellow Saints RB Pierre Thomas should get the green light in fantasy football. Although New Orleans also has good RBs in Chris Ivory and Darren Sproles, Ivory isn't as good as Thomas and Sproles is more of a return specialist and third down back.

Thomas is the most reliable of the three and being that Tennessee plays well at home, the Saints need to run the ball. For one, New Orleans struggles in road games and you have to expect the Titans to play at least seven-to-eight guys in coverage.

In turn, that will make their rush defense vulnerable and the holes will be there for Thomas to slice through.


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