NFL Week 14 Start 'Em, Sit 'Em: Sunday Morning Decisions: DeMarco Murray & More

Eric StashinSenior Writer IDecember 11, 2011

ARLINGTON, TX - NOVEMBER 13:  DeMarco Murray #29 of the Dallas Cowboys runs the ball against  Nick Barnett #50 of the Buffalo Bills at Cowboys Stadium on November 13, 2011 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Just hours before the start of Week 14, I know many people have questions running through their heads. Whom should I start? Whom should I sit? Let’s take a look at how some of the recent news changes things:


DeMarco Murray – Dallas Cowboys – Running Back

Murray is taking a gigantic step forward in our rankings this morning, and it has nothing to do directly with him.  According to Brandon Mendoza of ESPN Dallas/Fort Worth (click here for the article):

“Fiammetta’s presence could make a big difference in the Cowboys' chances. He has missed the last three games due to an undisclosed illness, with symptoms of nausea and dizziness. He is listed as questionable this week, but is expected to play. That could provide a huge statistical boost.” 

Without Tony Fiammetta the past three weeks, Murray has managed just 198 yards on 59 carries (3.36 yards per carry) without a touchdown.  In three of the previous four weeks he had rushed for at least 135 yards (including his coming-out party in Week 7 with 253 yards against the Rams). 

According to Mendoza, the Cowboys are averaging 145.8 rushing yards per game with Fiammetta and 83.8 rushing yards per game without him.  With Fiammetta now expected in the lineup, Murray should be considered a RB1 in all formats. 

Jeremy Maclin – Philadelphia Eagles – Wide Receiver
According to Adam Schefter (via Twitter), “WR Jeremy Maclin (hamstring) has been downgraded from probable to questionable for Sunday’s game at Miami.”  The downgrade isn’t good news for fantasy owners, as it appears that he will be a game-time decision for their contest with the Dolphins.

At least they are scheduled for 1 PM, so we should know in plenty of time in order to set our lineups.  However, with the fantasy playoffs beginning in most formats, you have to wonder if he is worth the risk.  Is it so unlikely that he suffers a setback with his hamstring early in the game, forcing him out? 

Obviously it all depends on your other options, but he should be considered a risky play as a WR2 depending on the news this morning. 


Willis McGahee – Denver Broncos – Running Back

Mike Florio of NBC Sports (click here for the article) is reporting that:

“Late in last Sunday’s win over the Vikings, Broncos running back Willis McGahee suffered a knee injury.  As a result, he missed practice Wednesday and Thursday.  But he returned to practice on a limited basis Friday, and he’s officially listed as questionable.

Unofficially, a league source tells PFT that McGahee is expected to play.”

The Broncos are scheduled to take on the Chicago Bears with a 4 PM start.  The Bears have been a good defense against the run this season (99.8 rushing yards per game), but we all know that is not going to deter Denver.  With over 100 yards in each of his past two games, it is just another fact in his favor. 

At this point, it is impossible to have him on your bench, unless you are loaded at the position, and he should be considered a high-end RB2.


Scott Chandler – Buffalo Bills – Tight End

He’s already been ruled out for the Bills' matchup with the Chargers. San Diego has allowed 22 passing touchdowns on the season, tied for second most in the league (the Vikings lead the way with 24). 

Chandler has been a touchdown threat for the Bills, with 6 TD on the season.  Stevie Johnson (6) and David Nelson (5) figure to pick up the extra red-zone targets.  Johnson can be considered a WR2, while Nelson is a borderline WR3, depending on the other options you have available to you.


Chaz Schilens – Oakland Raiders – Wide Receiver

Steve Corkran of the Contra Costa Times (click here for the article) is reporting that:

“Chaz Schilens is ready to go despite his foot injury against the Miami Dolphins last Sunday, Jackson said. That means Schilens and Darrius Heyward-Bey will start at the receiver spots, with Louis Murphy and T.J. Houshmandzadeh the lone backups.”

Both Jacoby Ford and Denarius Moore have already been ruled out, opening the door for Schilens. 

While Heyward-Bey is going to be the big play threat, Schilens will likely operate underneath and could rack up the receptions against a Packers defense that has been porous against the pass (especially as they create big leads early).

Schilens is coming off a Week 13 matchup with the Dolphins where he had 6 receptions for 89 yards and 0 TD.  In PPR formats, he could be taken under consideration as a WR3. 

Heyward-Bey garners more fantasy attention, and it wouldn’t be a surprise if he found the end zone on a big play this week, but he’s hasn’t exceeded 4 receptions or 43 yards in each of his past three games (though he did score a TD in Week 13). 

He, too, is a risky play and the rules you play under will determine who the better option is.

Make sure to check out all of our Week 14 articles: