Week 14 of the fantasy football season is upon us and to help you get your lineup set for a crucial week, we turn to our fantasy guru, James Morris, for his weekly projections.
Week 14 “Start ‘Em & Sit ‘Em” by James Morris
Week 14 of the NFL marks the first round of the fantasy playoffs for most leagues, while a few leagues don’t start their playoffs until next week. I prefer leagues that have the playoffs in weeks 14, 15 and 16 over leagues that play until week 17 due to stars resting up for NFL playoff runs or not playing to avoid possible injuries. The title run starts over this week, so put everything you knew from the first 13 weeks of the season out of your mind and start fresh here.
Josh Freeman – QB Buccaneers: Freeman and the Bucs get to take on an Eagles team that is a far cry from the teams people thought they were when the season started. The defense is now allowing the 5th most fantasy points (FP) to QBs at 22.5 PPG, and their 23 passing TDs allowed is 3rd most in the NFL. Freeman might have a top 5 day when all is said and done in Tampa Bay.
Tony Romo – QB Cowboys: Romo isn’t someone I get excited about because he has never lived up to the hype that seems to follow him around by the big-box websites. Last week they allowed Philip Rivers to throw for 280 yards, and Romo has more weapons (Dez Bryant, a healthy Miles Austin, and Jason Witten) to throw to. You might be surprised to know that 35.1 percent of owners (more than 1/3 of teams) have Romo on their benches every single week in NFL.com fantasy leagues.
Ahmad Bradshaw – RB Giants: Bradshaw isn’t someone I own in any of my leagues because someone always takes him as a low-end RB1 or a high-end RB2 in the draft, and he isn’t worth that much. Right now he ranks #15 in NFL.com PPR scoring, but I expect him to put up RB1 numbers against a Saints defense that gives up the most FP to RBs this season at 29.5 PPG. With Eli Manning slumping, I am looking for Bradshaw to turn back the clock and put up some big fantasy numbers in this one.
Steven Jackson – RB Rams: Jackson is another one of those RBs I put on my Do Not Draft list because father time has him at the top of his NFL list. He currently sits at #23 for RBs this season in NFL.com scoring, but he too gets a favorable match-up this week against the Buffalo Bills. They give up 25.8 PPG (6th most in NFL) and have allowed the most rushing TDs this season at 14. I think solid RB2 numbers are within reach for Old Man River in this one.
Vincent Jackson – WR Buccaneers: Like I said with Freeman, the Eagles are ripe for the plucking and we are in the season for plucking. The Eagles have given up 15 TDs to WRs this season (3rd most) and allow 23.8 PPG in PPR formats. Someone should call the Coast Guard, because the Bucs look like some sharks and the Eagles are dropping blood in the water by coming to town!
Torrey Smith – WR Ravens: Smith is a solid WR2 most weeks (#18 in NFL.com PPR leagues), but this week I think he has a chance to jump into the elite WR1 club as the Ravens take on the Redskins. Not only do the Redskins 28.0 PPG to WRs (2nd most), but their 15 TDs to WRs is 3rd worst in the NFL this season. Smith needs Flacco to be on top of his game, and if he is I see big things from him in this one.
Owen Daniels – TE Texans: Daniels’ owners are disappointed after his 43-yard performance last week against a soft Titans defense 15.1 PPG to TEs, 4th most in NFL). This week he draws a Patriots defense that gives up 17.1 PPG, 2nd most in the NFL. While I don’t like Schaub a whole lot in this one, I do think what little production he gets may come in the way of Daniels or another TE.
Cleveland Browns defense: It was a nice story last week when the Chiefs pulled out a tough win after the tragic events of Saturday morning. But, now the team has had a full week to think about it and I think it weighs heavier on their minds this week than it did last week. The Browns defense is currently ranked #12 in NFL.com scoring, and they are only owned in 12.6 percent of their leagues.
Matt Schaub – QB Texans: Schaub is a QB that people seem to think is a QB1, but he is so inconsistent that it is hard to plug him into your starting QB slot and leave him there. Just four weeks ago he put up 95 yards, 1 TD and 2 INTs against the Bears, then runs off 527 yards 5 TDs and 2 INTs the next week against the Jaguars. Since then he threw for 315 yards and 207 yards in the next two games, which means this week could either be a boom or bust weekend for the erratic QB. I think he still puts up good fantasy numbers, but there are better options than Schaub.
Ben Roethlisberger – QB Steelers: There is no way on God’s green Earth that I start Big Ben in his return from an injury that he inferred was life threatening. The Chargers defense does give up some solid stats, but if Roethlisberger gets sacked or tackled just once in the right spot, we could easily see Charlie Batch take over and snatch defeat out of the jaws of victory. I’d rather miss a good game from him than start him and get a bust performance in the fantasy playoffs.
Stevan Ridley – RB Patriots: The Texans defense allow the fewest FP to RBs in the NFL (15.3 PPG), and the running game isn’t exactly the focal point of the Patriots offense. Most of Ridley’s yards come in garbage time when the game is out of hand and the Patriots just need to run out the clock. If this game is close, Ridley won’t have a good fantasy game.
Adrian Peterson – RB Vikings: With Percy Harvin on the I.R. and out for the season, the Vikings have no choice but to run, run, run and run some more. The Bears are #4 in FP allowed to RBs with 18.1 PPG, and they are also 9th in FP allowed to WRs with 30.8 FP in PPR formats. I own Peterson in many of my leagues, but I am going to sit him down in all of them. I suggest you do the same thing.
Brandon Lloyd – WR Patriots: Lloyd is owned in 82.4 percent of NFL.com leagues, but ranks out as the #45 WR. He hasn’t scored more than 9.50 FP in NFL.com PPR scoring since week 8, has only scored in two games this season (3 total TDs), and hasn’t seen 100 yards since week 3 against the Ravens. Lloyd is by far one of the most overrated WRs in all of fantasy football given the stats he actually provides.
T.Y. Hilton – WR Colts: So many websites are jumping on the Hilton Express bandwagon that people are starting to plug him into the starting WR slot without question. The last 3 weeks he has had a 100 yard game, a 33 yard game, and another 100 yard game, which screams inconsistency to me. Not to mention the last time he played the Titans they held him to 35 yards on 5 receptions and no TDs. Given that a majority of his catches come off screens, I really think people are overvaluing him and he is going to disappoint if he doesn’t score.
Antonio Gates – TE Chargers: Gates has been by far one of the biggest TE busts this season, and is currently ranked #19 this season at TE. The Steelers are 3rd in the NFL at shutting down the fantasy TE with their 10.3 PPG in PPR formats. Gates has only scored 4 TDs this season, and is averaging just 37.9 YPG this season. There are probably better options like Jermaine Gresham (56.7 percent owned in NFL.com leagues) or Greg Olsen (48.2 percent owned) on your waiver wire right now.
New York Giants defense: The Giants are owned in 84.6 percent of NFL.com leagues, and started in 61.1 percent of those leagues. What that means is people are just plugging them into the starting spot and leaving them alone for the season, which is going to be a mistake this week as the G-Men take on the high scoring New Orleans Saints. With the Browns owned in so few leagues, but having such a great match-up this week, you’d be better off grabbing them and benching the Giants to start the fantasy playoffs.
For last-minute fantasy football injury updates, check back tomorrow morning for our Sunday fantasy update.
Also, for more fantasy football guidance, follow James on Twitter here.
The opinions, analysis and/or speculation expressed by The Finsiders Blog represent those of individual writers, and unless quoted or clearly labeled as such, do not represent the opinions, policies or desires of the Miami Dolphins organization, front office, coaches and executives. Writers' views are formulated independently from any inside information and/or conversation with Dolphins officials, including the coaches and scouts, unless otherwise noted.