Quick Tips for the rest of the season, including playoffs:
1) Weather, weather, weather. If you have Tom Brady (@ Chicago), Jay Cutler (vs. New England; 31st pass defense), Peyton Hillis (@ Buffalo; 32nd rush defense), etc., you have to monitor the weather. There’s a 50% chance of snow in Chicago and an 80% chance of snow in Buffalo.
2) If a team has a lead they can’t lose divisionally, it may be best for weeks 15 or 16 (or both) to start someone on another team fighting for a playoff spot, because their effort and production will undoubtedly be on the rise.
Start’em in Week 14
Donald Driver (@ Detroit)
Since 2007, Driver has been a Lions’ killer. 40 catches, 648 yards and four touchdowns in six games against Detroit, Driver makes the top of my start list this week.
Knowshon Moreno (@ Arizona)
As bad as the Cardinals are against the pass…they’re even worse against the run where starting running backs the last five weeks against the Cardinals have average over five yards per carry (77 rushes, 392 yards).
Kyle Orton (@ Arizona)
Don’t let last week’s performance get you down. Orton has a very favorable matchup this week against the 25th ranked pass defense in the Cardinals.
Brian Westbrook (vs. Seattle)
Westbrook had a down game against the Packers last week (that was because Troy Smith spent the entire second half throwing), but this week against a Seattle defense that gives up over 120 yards a game on the ground, Westbrook is in a good position. Don’t be surprise either if Anthony Dixon gets 10 carries for 50-60 yards and a score.
Pick a Raven (@ Houston)
We’re talking Joe Flacco, Anquan Boldin, Ray Rice, Todd Heap (if he’s good to go) and Derrick Mason. Houston’s defense is what Yao Ming is to a Mini Cooper: it just never works out.
Mike Wallace (vs. Cincinnati)
Last time out Wallace had five catches for 110 yards and a score. I like him in a repeat performance against a Cincinnati defense that has given up 125 points in the past three games.
LeGarrette Blount (@ Washington)
Washington is as good as stopping the run as Tampa is performing it. The Bucs backfield averages 4.4 yards per carry and against the 28th ranked rush defense, Blount heads that pack.
Jacoby Ford (@ Jacksonville)
What would this list be without a deep sleeper? (Last week it was Marshawn Lynch who had 80+ yards rushing and 3 TD’s – his best fantasy performance of the year. You’re welcome.) Ford — who has three scores in the past three games — has been Jason Campbell’s deep threat and a special teams stud and going against the 27th ranked pass defense in Jacksonville, I like Ford.
The Arizona Backfield (vs. Denver)
Beanie Wells and Tim Hightower: I’d start them both if give the opportunity. Derek Anderson is not a good passer. That’s about as nice as I can put it without being censored. So what does head coach Ken Whisenhunt do? He exploits the 31st ranked rush defense in the Broncos.
James Starks (@ Detroit)
The name’s Starks, James Starks and he’s ready to become a regular on everyone’s late season radar. Breaking out last week (18 carries, 73 yards), Starks will get plenty of looks this week against a Detroit front line that surrenders 127 yards per game (25th in the NFL).
Jason Snelling (@ Carolina)
Michael Turner is the must-start here, of course, but with Atlanta building their lead throughout the game and with Snelling’s big-back abilities on third down, I like Snelling in a rather expanded roll this week against a Panthers’ run defense that ranks 27th in the league.
Michael Crabtree (@ Seattle)
He’s the No. 1 target for Alex Smith — in addition to Vernon Davis, who will also have a big game — and faces the 30th ranked pass defense at home.
Sit’em in Week 14
David Garrard (vs. Oakland)
Hard to throw against a team that’s ninth against the pass (207 yards per game) and a defense that is 1st in the league in sacks (36.0), especially when your own offensive line is the 10th worst.
Matt Cassel (@ San Diego)
(If he plays after having a Wednesday appendectomy) Cassel was only 10-of-22 for 68 yards and a TD in the season opener against the Chargers, and that was at home, but now, on the road and with something to play for, the NFL’s top team against the pass will look to repeat their performance from a few months ago.
The Miami Backfield (vs. New York Jets)
There are reports about Ricky starting over Ronnie. I say ‘who cares?’ They’ll still split carries. The Jets only surrendered a solid game to BGE last Monday because it was garbage time in the 45-3 blowout.
BenJarvus Green-Ellis (@ Chicago)
It turns out that if you’re not first, then you’re actually not last. I’m talking about Chicago being 2nd in terms of stopping the run, per the Ricky Bobby notation. (The Bears hold opponents to 84.9 yards per game while Pittsburgh is 1st at 62.2.) Also, the Weather Man says there’s a 50% chance of snow.
Mike Thomas (vs. Oakland)
The Jaguars No. 1 wideout vs. the NFL’s No. 1 corner in Nnamdi Asomugha (if he plays)
Chad Ochocinco (@ Pittsburgh)
Eight catches for 98 yards (no TD’s) against the Steelers in his past three contests. Ehh…
Cedric Benson (@ Pittsburgh)
“You should just fake an injury. It’s impossible to run against the Steelers.” – Ray Rice
Mike Goodson (vs. Atlanta)
A) Jonathan Stewart is back and performing very well and B) Atlanta has only given up five rushing touchdowns this year (T-2nd in the NFL).
Dwayne Bowe (@ San Diego)
See Cassel, Matt.
Felix Jones (vs. Philadelphia)
Did you know that Jones only has one touchdown this year? It wasn’t even a rushing one either. Don’t expect that streak to break this week.
About the Author
Written by Al Buzzelli