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Week 14: Start ‘Em/Sit ‘Em

Matt Forte

It’s week 14 and in most league’s the playoffs will get underway when the Steelers and Browns kickoff tonight. Some fantasy owners will be glued to the TV to watch their fantasy players, some will be glued to watch the riveting matchup between the Steelers and Browns and some (like me) will be glued to the TV watching the great lineup knows as The Office, 30 Rock, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and The League.

If you are one of those teams not glued to the TV for football then chances are you owned at least one of these players.

The 2009 All-Disappointment Team

(Note: ADP = Average Draft Position)

QB – Jay Cutler (2814 yds, 17 TD, 20 INT, 12.8 pts/gm)

ADP 86.7 overall – QB Rank 14th

Cutler was drafted as a starting quarterback in nearly every league and has disappointed his owners big time. After getting off to a hot start, Cutler has scored less than 10 fantasy points in four of his seven games down the stretch.

RB1 – Matt Forte (1072 total yds, 4 TD, 10.1 pts/gm)

ADP 7.3 overall – RB Rank 16th

Forte has saved his rank from being in the 20’s by averaging 18.7 points in three games against Detroit, Cleveland and St. Louis. In his other nine games, he has averaged a paltry 7.2 points per game.

RB2 – Brandon Jacobs (895 total yds, 4 TD, 9.2 pts/gm)

ADP 16.2 overall – RB Rank 20th

Yards were never expected from Jacobs because he hasn’t topped 1183 total yards in his career. Last year he had 15 touchdowns so his four touchdowns this season have been very disappointing for fantasy owners who spent a second round draft pick on him.

WR1 – Calvin Johnson (47 rec, 730 yards, 4 TD, 8.0 pts/gm)

ADP 17.7 overall – WR Rank 23rd

It’s never good when you positional rank is higher than your overall draft position, but that’s the case here. Johnson has been hampered by injuries all season so it’s to no fault of his own, but if he’s not on the field then he’s of no good to your fantasy team.

WR2 – Steve Smith (CAR) (682 yards, 4 TD, 7.4 pts/gm)

ADP 23.7 overall – WR Rank 27th

There’s no doubt that Delhomme’s sudden fall to mediocrity hurt Smith’s value this season. Smith scored in double digits just four times this season, which is the same amount of games in which he scored less than five.

TE – Jason Witten (744 yards, 1 TD, 6.3 pts/gm)

ADP 46.6 overall – TE Rank 11th

Witten was drafted as a top-three tight end in 2009 and he has returned virtually no production to his fantasy owners. He just scored his first touchdown and before this recent hot streak, Witten scored five or fewer points in seven straight weeks. Considering that Owen Daniels, who has basically been out since week 8 still has three more points that Witten on the season.


Rank Player (Opponent) Comment
1 Drew Brees (@ ATL) Falcons have been the worst pass defense since CB Williams was injured so expect Brees and Co. to have a fine day.
2 Aaron Rodgers (@ CHI) Rodgers is still #1 in points scored and the Bears’ secondary is banged up.
3 Tom Brady (vs. CAR) Brady returns home where he hasn’t scored fewer than 15 points in a game.
4 Kurt Warner (@ SF) Warner is healthy and the Cardinals will have to air it out to beat this 49ers defense.
5 Peyton Manning (vs. DEN) Manning finally went without throwing an INT on Sunday, which was a welcome sight for fantasy owners.
6 Ben Roethlisberger (@ CLE) Big Ben could be without top WR Hines Ward, but Holmes, Wallace and Miller should be plenty against the Browns’ defense.
7 Philip Rivers (@ DAL) Rivers has had it easy in the past couple of weeks and the Cowboys won’t change that as they allow the 13th-most points to opposing QBs.
8 Matt Schaub (vs. SEA) Schaub is getting Walter more involved, which will only help free up Andre Johnson for some big plays down the field; Seattle ranks 25th against the pass.
9 Donovan McNabb (@ NYG) In 15 career games against the Giants, McNabb has averaged 210 yards and thrown for 23 TDs and just 5 INT.
10 Brett Favre (vs. CIN) Favre indoors should be just fine.
11 Alex Smith (vs. ARI) He has at least 17 points in each of his last three games and double digits in all but one of his seven games this season; maybe we were too quick to call the former #1 pick a bust.
12 David Garrard (vs. MIA) Garrard is so much better at home it’s not even funny; he averages 16.5 points at home and just 8.8 on the road.
13 Tony Romo (vs. SD) Romo has been on a roll with 20 and 27-point days in the last two weeks; Chargers’ secondary is a little tougher to throw against (8th-fewest points allowed to QBs) so Romo finds himself outside the top 10.
14 Vince Young (vs.  STL) In all six games, Young has scored at least 12 fantasy points and he has yet to see a defense as bad as the Rams’ defense.
15 Joe Flacco (vs. DET) Flacco is in a funk as he has averaged just 7.5 fantasy points per game since the Ravens’ week 7 bye; he should get back on his feet in this one, but if they get up big early in the game, look for a steady dose of Ray Rice to close it out.
16 Matt Hasselbeck (@ HOU) He has put up some stinkers on the road this year and I can smell this one from my apartment in Boston.
17 Carson Palmer (@ MIN) Palmer will need to rely on his offensive line to keep Jared Allen and co. away from him this week; my bet is that they are unsuccessful.
18 Jason Campbell (@ OAK) Don’t look now but Campbell has scored double digit fantasy points in five of his last six games; Oakland’s biggest weakness is run defense, but the Redskins are starting Quinton Ganther and Rock Cartwright at RB so they will rely on Campbell to win this game.
19 Chad Henne (@ JAC) Henne is emerging as a solid quarterback in the NFL and could be a future top 10 value; the Jags’ defense ranks 23rd against the pass so Henne could build on his recent success.
20 Eli Manning (vs. PHI) I don’t like anything about Eli’s matchup this week; he has two bum feet, the Eagles have 20 INT this season and it’s December.

Running Backs

Rank Player (Opponent) Comment
1 Chris Johnson (vs. STL) As if Johnson needed any help, but the Rams give up the 4th-most points to opposing RBs.
2 Maurice Jones-Drew (vs. MIA) MJD hasn’t scored in 2 weeks but I’m not worried; he will get plenty of chances on Sunday, which has turned out to be a very important game in the AFC playoff race.
3 Ray Rice (vs. DET) Before Monday night, Rice had scored in double digit nine straight weeks.
4 Thomas Jones (@ TB) With Sanchez out, the Jets are going to run, run and run some more.
5 Adrian Peterson (vs. CIN) Peterson has scored in single digits twice in his last three weeks.
6 Rashard Mendenhall (@ CLE) Defenses tend to be worse on short weeks so expect Mendenhall to have a field day on Thursday night football.
7 Ricky Williams (@ JAC) Jaguars are good against the run but since Ronnie Brown was put on IR, Ricky has averaged over 20 carries per game and has rushed over 100 yards three times.
8 Steven Jackson (@ TEN) Ol’ reliable has been playing through back pain and still racking up 100+ yards on 20+ carries.
9 Jamaal Charles (vs. BUF) Has scored in three of his last four games and the Bills rank dead last in the NFL in run defense.
10 Joseph Addai (vs. DEN) I guess this is what Addai can do when he stays healthy; he has failed to reach double digit fantasy points just twice this season.
11 DeAngelo Williams (@ NE) Even if DeAngelo plays, there’s a good chance that Stewart breaks into his workload enough to keep Williams out of the top 10.
12 Cedric Benson (@ MIN) Benson faces a stout Vikings defense that has let up just three rushing TDs all season.
13 Ryan Grant (@ CHI) The Bears rank 25th in the NFL against the run so expect Grant to get 100 total yards and maybe a score.
14 Michael Turner (vs. NO) If Turner plays, he will still be limited because there is no way he is 100 percent.
15 Knowshon Moreno (@ IND) Moreno looked good on Sunday night and now has four straight games with at least 80 yards rushing.
16 LaDanian Tomlinson (@ DAL) LT has finally turned it on and scored in four straight games; this week he faces a tough Cowboys run defense that has only let up four rushing TDs this year.
17 Frank Gore (vs. ARI) The emergence of Alex Smith has hurt Gore’s value as he has run for fewer than 40 yards in two straight games.
18 Fred Jackson (@ KC) Expect the Bills to focus on running the ball more, which would mean good things for Jackson who has taken over the starting role in Buffalo; Chiefs let up the 5th-most points to opposing RBs.
19 Jonathan Stewart (@ NE) If Williams is a late scratch again move Stewart up to Williams’ spot; Stewart is a good bet to get at least half the work on Sunday so there’s TD potential there.
20 Pierre Thomas (@ ATL) Thomas finds himself in a true 50/50 time share with Mike Bell, and lately Bell has been getting more carries with Thomas doing his damage in the passing game; tough to trust him, but his matchup against the porous Falcons’ defense is very enticing.
21 Laurence Maroney (vs. CAR) Sammy Morris is getting healthier so Maroney’s value as a #2 RB  is dwindling; I say he gets one more week as the “premiere” back before him and Morris go into a full 50/50 time share.
22 LeSean McCoy (@ NYG) Six carries for two yards is not what you expected out of McCoy last week, but with the expected return of DeSean Jackson the Giants may have to play the pass more which could free up some space for McCoy.
23 Marion Barber (vs. SD) This backfield is a mess, but if you’re starting anyone against the Chargers’ defense it’s Barber; San Diego has allowed the 10th most points to opposing RBs.
24 Quinton Ganther (@ OAK) Ganther was named the starting RB this week and you have to love any RB starting against the 3rd-worst run defense in the NFL.
25 Brandon Jacobs (vs. PHI) Jacobs had 113 total yards and a score last week, but 74 of them came on a fluke screen pass; with Bradshaw getting healthier, Jacobs will continue to disappoint.
26 Tim Hightower (@ SF) Other than three big games, the 49ers have consistently stopped the run so I expect that the Cardinals air it out this weekend; Hightower is very involved in the passing game so he still retains value as a flex play.
27 Matt Forte (vs. GB) And the Biggest Bust of 2009 Award goes to….
28 Chris Brown (vs. SEA) With Slaton out for the year, the job is all Brown’s…or is it Moats…per usual, we don’t know what to expect out of this backfield so while I want to like Brown this week against a bad Seattle defense we just have to wait and see how it plays out.
29 Mike Bell (@ ATL) Bell has gotten more or the same amount of carries as Thomas the last three weeks, so he is the bigger threat to score on the ground; also, if (when) the Saints get up big you can expect Bell to be in there most of the time.
30 Julius Jones (@ HOU) Texans have struggled a bit against Addai recently and Jones fits that same mold so maybe he sees some success this week; of course, Jones isn’t Addai so instead of a must-start he is a borderline flex play.
31 Kevin Smith (@ BAL) More valuable in a PPR league because he hasn’t topped 80yards rushing since week 3 and faces the 6th-ranked Ravens run defense.
32 Jerome Harrison (vs. PIT) Caught 2 TD passes against San Diego last week,  but the Steelers are tough to score on if you’re a RB; if you’re in the playoffs snag Harrison ASAP because in the next two weeks he faces the awful Chiefs’ and Raiders’ run defenses.
33 Jason Snelling (vs. NO) If Turner is out, Snelling becomes a very nice flex play as he will get the goal line carries for the Falcons.
34 Beanie Wells (@ SF) Is Beanie hitting a wall? He only has six total fantasy points in his last 2 weeks and I don’t expect him to fair well against the 49ers’ tough run defense.
35 Ahmad Bradshaw (vs. PHI) Is getting healthy again and led the team in rushing yards last week; tough to trust a guy who doesn’t get consistent touches.
36 Correll Buckhalter (@ IND) Buckhalter had a nice day against the awful Chiefs’ defense, but the Colts are much better so don’t expect him to get 12 carries again.
37 Justin Forsett (@ HOU) Forsett had the better day thanks to a TD catch, but he only rushed the ball five times for nine yards,which isn’t going to cut it in the fantasy playoffs.
38 Marshawn Lynch (@ KC) Lynch surprised everyone with 60 yards and a score on Thursday night, but take into account that he only received six carries and 50 of those yards came on two carries.
39 Ryan Moats (vs. SEA) Moats could see an increased workload now that Slaton is gone, but do we know that for sure?
40 Shonn Greene (@ TB) The Jets should run the ball a lot and while Thomas Jones will get the bulk of the work, Greene could break off a long TD run.

Wide Receivers

Rank Player (Opponent) Comment
1 Larry Fitzgerald (@ SF) When Warner is healthy there’s no telling what the duo can do on a given week.
2 Andre Johnson (vs. SEA) Seahawks have allowed the 3rd-most points to opposing WRs this season.
3 Randy Moss (vs. CAR) Expect Moss to have a bounce-back week against the Panthers at home; he’s scored a TD in all but two home games this season.
4 Calvin Johnson (@ BAL) Calvin seems to be healthy just in time for the fantasy playoffs, which is good news for owners who were lucky to make it there with him on their roster.
5 Marques Colston (@ ATL) Falcons have been awful against the pass recently, which bodes well for the Saints’ pass-happy offense.
6 Donald Driver (@ CHI) Rodgers has looked Driver’s way more often than not this season and with the Bears’ secondary banged up, look for Driver to have a successful day.
7 Reggie Wayne (vs. DEN) Wayne is battling a foot injury, which is why he is down to 7 this week; Colts could clinch a lot with a win over the Broncos this week.
8 Anquan Boldin (@ SF) Boldin has three double digit games over his last four and there’s no reason he can’t continue this success against a suspect 49ers pass defense.
9 Santonio Holmes (@ CLE) With Ward’s questionable status, Holmes could be due for an increased workload, which is music to a fantasy owner’s ears when the opponent is the Browns.
10 Wes Welker (vs. CAR) Welker has been catching everything thrown his way this season and the Patriots need a win badly so you can expect them to come out firing on all cylinders.
11 Roddy White (vs. NO) No Matt Ryan, no problem; White has two double digit games with Redman under center.
12 Robert Meachem (@ ATL) Meachem is probably the unsung hero this season as he has scored in five-straight games and has 8 TDs on the season; it’s time we realize he’s for real.
13 Chad Ochocinco (@ MIN) #85 will have a nice day if Palmer can stay in the pocket and off his back.
14 DeSean Jackson (@ NYG) If Jackson plays this is a great matchup; he torched the Giants for 78 yards and a score in week 8.
15 Brandon Marshall (@ IND) Marshall will get plenty of chances because odds are that the Broncos play from behind.
16 Greg Jennings (@ CHI) The Bears’ defense doesn’t generate much of a pass-rush, so Rodgers should have time in the pocket to connect on at least one deep ball with Jennings.
17 Steve Smith (@ NE) The Patriots’ secondary has been shaky recently so Smith could have a nice day; him and Matt Moore have played well before so it wouldn’t shock me to see him go off in this one.
18 Miles Austin (vs. SD) Despite scoring in 2 straight games, Austin faces a tough matchup against the Chargers but he brought you this far so start him cautiously.
19 Sidney Rice (vs. CIN) Favre finally looked like a 40+ year old QB Sunday night, which raises some concerns on how it will effect the rest of the offense; that said, Rice is still the #1 target on a good pass offense.
20 Vincent Jackson (@ DAL) What has happened to Vincent Jackson? Since week 9, he has totaled 9 receptions for 147 yards and no TDs.
21 Mike Sims-Walker (vs. MIA) So much for always being good at home; MSW will get a chance to redeem himself against the Dolphins, but his last two weeks are a little worrisome.
22 Pierre Garcon (vs. DEN) Garcon has been great with four straight double digit fantasy days, which moves him to borderline starter status.
23 Terrell Owens (@ KC) Before Owens had to face Revis last week he was resurrecting his season with two straight double digit fantasy days; the Chiefs allow the 7th-most fantasy points to opposing WRs.
24 Derrick Mason (vs. DET) It’s always nice when you play the Lions, but until Flacco gets out of his current funk I can’t recommend Mason as more than a flex play.
25 Steve Smith (vs. PHI) The “other” Steve Smith could do a lot of damage after the catch against the Eagles, but Manning’s late-season struggles are what worry me the most.
26 Kenny Britt (vs. STL) Britt has developed a nice rapport with Vince Young and it shows with three straight games with a TD.
27 Percy Harvin (vs. CIN) Three straight games with a TD warrants flex play consideration for this speedy WR.
28 Donnie Avery (@ TEN) No defense has allowed more TDs to opposing WRs that the Titans; Rams should be playing from behind so when Steven Jackson isn’t touching the ball you can bet it will be in Avery’s hands.
29 Davone Bess (@ JAC Bess broke out for his first double digit fantasy day against the Patriots last week and this week he gets to face the Jaguars who let up the 4th-most points to opposing WRs.
30 Roy Williams (vs. SD) Has 5 TDs in his last five games, but he has the tendency to disappear during games so you can’t trust him too much.
31 Nate Burleson (@ HOU) Burleson has disappointed in his last two games, but there is always the possibility that him and Hasselbeck connect on a deep one and salvage his fantasy day.
32 Jeremy Maclin (@ NYG) If Jackson doesn’t play then Maclin moves to top-20 status.
33 Kevin Walter (vs. SEA) Walter is consistently getting 50-70 yards every game, but the scores haven’t been coming like they were last year.
34 Michael Crabtree (vs. ARI) Crabtree has been very consistent in his rookie season, but he only has one TD; the scores will come and when they do, those who waited will be rewarded.
35 Chris Chambers (vs. BUF) Chambers’ fantasy potential is all in the big play and those don’t come very often when Matt Cassell is your QB.
36 T.J. Houshmanzadeh (@ HOU) Housh has been an awful disappointment this season; in 7 of his 12 games this season he has finished with fewer than 5 fantasy points.
37 Mike Wallace (@ CLE) If Ward is out, Wallace becomes the #2 WR and faces a bad Browns defense.
38 Devery Henderson (@ ATL) Henderson should get a couple chances to score a long TD so if you’re feeling risky take a shot at him.
39 Antonio Bryant (vs. NYJ) Bryant will see a heavy dose of Darelle Revis on Sunday, which is a shame because it seemed like he was just turning his season around with 2 straight double digit fantasy days.
40 Jerricho Cotchery (@ TB) With Sanchez injured, Cotchery will have to deal with Kellen Clemens at QB; expect the Jets to run the ball often as they won’t need to do much to win this game.

Tight Ends

Rank Player (Opponent) Comment
1 Antonio Gates (@ DAL) Gates has turned it on just in time for fantasy owners to make a run at the title.
2 Vernon Davis (vs. ARI) Has three consecutive double-digit performances and four in his last five games.
3 Dallas Clark (vs. DEN) Has been a little disappointing as of late, but he is still the second-best TE this season so you’re starting him regardless of the matchup.
4 Brent Celek (@ NYG) Giants’ defense has struggled against the TE recently, allowing double-digit fantasy points in four of their last five games.
5 Tony Gonzalez (vs. NO) Chris Redman has been targeting Gonzalez plenty of time and it shows with his reception totals over the last two weeks (17).
6 Jason Witten (vs. SD) Welcome back Jason Witten; two straight weeks with double digit fantasy points have put you back on the map.
7 Kevin Boss (vs. PHI) Boss has been quiet recently, but no team allows more points to opposing TEs than the Eagles so he could be in for a nice day.
8 Greg Olsen (vs. GB) Packers’ defense is hurting and Olsen has been getting more looks in the passing game recently.
9 Jermichael Finley (@ CHI) Finley exploded for seven catches for 79 yards and two scores on Monday night and the Bears have allowed 7 TDs to TEs this season.
10 Heath Miller (@ CLE) With Ward out, Miller could get more looks especially in the red zone.
11 Visanthe Shiancoe (vs. CIN) Has scored in three straight games, but a rib injury could limit him this weekend.
12 Kellen Winslow (vs. NYJ) Jets should blitz rookie QB Josh Freeman so expect him to look Winslow’s way often; temper expectation though because I don’t expect the Bucs to put up more than 10 points in this game.
13 Jeremy Shockey (@ ATL) Saints should have no problem moving the ball against the Falcons’ defense; not a guarantee that Shockey gets a piece of the action.
14 Bo Scaife (vs. STL) Vince Young has worked out well for the Titans and finally connected with Scaife for a TD; unfortunately, it was Scaife’s first of the season so you can’t expect it to happen again.
15 Fred Davis (@ OAK) Davis has scored in two straight weeks, but the Raiders’ defense is the only one that hasn’t let up a TD to a TE this season.

Defense/Special Teams

Rank Player (Opponent)
1 Baltimore Ravens D/ST (vs. DET)
2 Tennessee Titans D/ST (vs. STL)
3 Pittsburgh Steelers D/ST (@ CLE)
4 New Orleans Saints D/ST (@ ATL)
5 New York Jets D/ST (@ TB)
6 Green Bay Packers D/ST (@ CHI)
7 Washington Redskins D/ST (@ OAK)
8 New England Patriots D/ST (vs. CAR)
9 Minnesota Vikings D/ST (vs. CIN)
10 Buffalo Bills D/ST (@ KC)
11 Indianapolis Colts D/ST (vs. DEN)
12 Arizona Cardinals D/ST (@ SF)
13 Cincinnati Bengals D/ST (@ MIN)
14 San Diego Chargers D/ST (@ DAL)
15 Houston Texans D/ST (vs. SEA)

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