Each week during the NFL season FST brings you our Fantasy Football Start’em column, which takes a look at favorable matchups and how they might impact lineup decisions for your fantasy football roster. Let’s take a look at some players that you’ll want in your starting lineup for Week 14. If you have any start’em sit’em questions feel free to post them in our Fantasy Football Forum.
Foles is helping those Eagles fly high in the NFC East standings. He’s been extremely efficient and without tossing an interception from his right arm, he continues to burn opposing defenses that dare him to throw against them. The Lions’ weakness lies in their secondary and ability to defend the outside against taller receivers. This could be a big day for Foles if the Eagles offensive line can withstand the pressure the Suh-led Lions crew will apply. Expectations are high for a big day from Foles’ Eagles in this one.
Did anyone see that Monday night beat down in Seattle? The Saints defense was exposed by Russell Wilson and I expect the Cam Newton led offense to stay hot in the Bayou on Sunday night. Carolina is a relatively new kid on the block, which relies on the strength of its defense. Recently Newton’s ability to break off large runs and find various receivers has catapulted the Panthers to relevance. A shootout would not surprise me in the first of a couple meetings that are a few weeks apart. Cam will probably have a couple of superman chest stretch moves to put on display for owners for good measure. Just as Cam did last year for the playoff stretch run he’s looking like a great play moving forward.
Peyton can make any receiver look like an All-Pro, or at least that’s the impression that was left at Arrowhead stadium when Peyton hooked up with Decker 4 times with touchdown tosses. Decker is the hot hand in that offense and even though the Titans possess a secondary that yields one of the least amount of fantasy points to wide receivers there is still huge upside this week for Decker and company. If Peyton Manning is at quarterback, which he will be, then I expect his weapons to all be very capable of big games. While it can be a crap shoot as to who he’ll be targeting the most, I like Manning to keep the good times rolling with Decker again. Sitting Decker after last week’s career game is not an option; just don’t expect 40 plus points again.
Jeffrey is another wide receiver that saw career highs in yards and touchdowns on Sunday. He made one highlight reel catch in Minneapolis and was targeted nearly a dozen times. It appears Cutler is in the mix for his return on Monday night, which should help Alshon’s production against Dallas. The Cowboys are one of the most generous defenses against receivers in fantasy football. This could result in another big day for Jeffrey. However Marshall is Cutler’s favorite target. If Marshall is draped in double coverage expect Jeffrey to see more looks and a score. My bet is a little bit of both happens and Jeffrey posts solid WR 2 numbers as a result.
Obviously AP is a no-brainer starter this week. However, a special shout out this week to the Vikings one-dimensional offense that lies squarely on his shoulders all the time. Matt Cassel finished the game on Sunday and it’s apparent that Leslie Frazier, who is squarely on the hot-seat, only trusts Peterson to move the ball for his offense. Expect another large work load for the Vikings against a Baltimore Ravens defense that appears to bend but not break. Ravens have much to play for as the 2nd wild-card is still very much in their sights so the Ravens will be ready to key on Peterson. AP is just so good and after watching him carry about half the Cowboys defense into the end zone a few weeks ago one can’t help but be amazed at what he’s capable of doing each week. He’s a living legend and will go down as one of the greatest to play in the NFL.
Tate was a big hit last week against the Patriots with his 3 touchdown performance. This week he’s got a chance to get it going again against a lower-tier fantasy defense in what could be a shootout. I expect much more points than what transpired a couple weeks ago in Houston. Tate is the guy who is seeing the bulk of the carries without Foster available and is a great example of why one should handcuff appropriately in the later rounds of fantasy drafts. Tate has RB 2 staying power for the foreseeable future this season.
The Arizona Cardinals defend the tight end position as if they have been sprayed by a skunk. They absolutely want nothing to do with defending them as has been evidenced by allowing a grand total of 14 touchdowns to tight ends this season. For all those mathematicians out there that is more than 1 per week. Cook lite-up the Cards for 2 touchdowns on opening weekend and if history repeats itself then watch out! Unless you own Jimmy Graham or Gronk then Cook should definitely be in your lineup. He could be a game changer for your playoff hopes, I said it here first.
Witten hasn’t been the most consistent tight end this year, but he’s been a solid producer at a very inconsistent position for fantasy purposes. The Bears are towards the bottom third in the league in yardage allowed to tight ends and Witten knows how to step up in big games. This Monday night tilt definitely qualifies as a big one, especially since the Cowboys have their fate in their hands as they sit atop the NFC East with Philly and Chicago is desperately trying to stay in the hunt for the NFC North and faint wild card picture. As a great red zone target, Romo and Witten could team up for at least one score in Chi-town. 60 yards and touchdown are very realistic for Witten.
New England Patriots
The Patriots were a big time disappointment to fantasy owners who were expecting the skidding Houston Texans to roll over last Sunday. Instead, in an inspired effort it was the Patriots who struggled to get off to a good start and the defense forfeited 30 plus points. This week the Patriots return home with a realistic chance of running the regular season table and earning an opening round bye. The Browns allowed Jacksonville’s defense to post nearly 10 points (remember my bold prediction from last week’s sleepers). I would like to think the Patriots have more playmakers and playing at home will be a sizable advantage too. The Browns quarterback, Brandon Weeden, is typically good for a couple of interceptions, perhaps a fumble and a safety for good measure. Deploy the Patriots defense as if you had amnesia and don’t recall what the Patriots did last weekend.