Fantasy Line-Up Primer - Week 14

Quarterbacks

Start them:

Tony Romo, Cowboys ($3m), definitely has a hot hand having passed for more than 1,000 yards and seven touchdowns in the last three weeks, moving up to third in the league’s passing rankings with 3,660 yards. At Cincinnati he will try to make people forget his December jinx by surpassing 300 aerial yards and lead Dallas to another victory (with Romo at QB, the Cowboys have never had a winning record in the last month of the year). Andrew Luck, Colts ($2m): The last time Indianapolis played Tennessee the Colts achieved a great overtime road win. Luck will not let the opportunity pass and after the big come-from-behind victory at Detroit, will have another huge outing hosting a Titans defense that ranks 27th in the NFL.

Sit them:

Mark Sanchez, Jets ($3m): Do not be as stubborn as New York’s head coach Rex Ryan and learn from your mistakes: keep Sanchez on the fantasy bench. Christian Ponder, Vikings ($2m): Two weeks ago at Chicago, Ponder had two turnovers and was limited to 159 passing yards and eight fantasy points by the Bears defense.

Running backs

Star them:

BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Bengals ($2m): He has managed to rush for more than 100 yards in three consecutive weeks that included facing the tough San Diego defense last week. The Cowboys are solid against the pass, so the Bengals will need another big performance from Green-Ellis. He is definitely capable of providing it, facing a Dallas defense that allowed Eagles rookie Bryce Brown to run for 169 yards and two scores last Sunday. Adrian Peterson, Vikings ($3m): He will be against the tough Bears run-defense, but with inside linebacker Brian Urlacher injured it would be even crazier to bet against Peterson this time. Matt Forte, Bears ($3m): The Vikings allowed more than 150 rushing yards and a touchdown to the weak Packers ground attack last Sunday, so Forte could definitely have a solid fantasy performance at Minnesota in Week 13.

Sit them:

Steven Jackson, Rams ($4m): It is true that Buffalo still ranks 30th in the league in run defense, but the unit has improved tremendously in the last three weeks not allowing an opponent back to reach 50 rushing yards. Chris Johnson, Titans ($3m): After five consecutive games rushing for over 90 yards, Johnson has had problems again running the football, averaging 65 in his last two contests. The Indy defense will focus on stopping him to get their ninth win of the season, so fantasy owners should not expect much from Johnson this week.

Wide receivers

Start them:

Dez Bryant, Cowboys ($3m): If Romo has a big day, Bryant will have it as well. Dallas’ top wide out has already achieved a career best with 978 receiving yards this season and is only two touchdown receptions away (has two scoring grabs in each of his last two outings) from reaching 10 for the first time as a pro. Brandon Marshall, Bears ($3m): Chicago play a key game at Minnesota after Sunday’s heartbreaking home loss against Seattle. Marshall should step up and deliver again for the Bears. He ranks second in the league in catches (91), receiving yards (1,192) and receiving scores (8). The Bears are so dependent on him that all his teammates together have the same amount of touchdown receptions as Marshall.

Sit them:

Malcom Floyd, Chargers ($1m): Pittsburgh’ secondary keeps shooting down opposing receivers, not having allowed one of them to reach 100 yards since Week 1. Brian Hartline, Dolphins ($1m), started the season strong, but in the last eight games has only topped 100 receiving yards once and has no touchdowns. Facing San Francisco’s number 2 NFL total defense at the Bay would not help Hartline in improving his numbers.

Tight ends

Start them:

Brandon Myers, Raiders ($1m): Looking for a bargain pick at the position? In his previous three seasons in the NFL, Myers caught 32 passes for 250 yards and zero touchdowns. In 12 games in 2012, he has 69 receptions, 721 yards and four scores, including a career game last week against Cleveland with 14 grabs, 130 yards and a touchdown. Scott Chandler, Bills ($1m): Tight ends generally hurt the Rams defense and with six touchdown receptions already this season, Chandler is a threat in the red zone.

Sit them:

Zach Miller, Seahawks ($2m):. At Chicago, Miller had only two grabs for 7 yards and was open twice in the end zone but Wilson missed him in one occasion and did not notice him in the other.

Kickers

Start them:

Greg Zuerlein, Rams ($1m): Game conditions will not be ideal at Buffalo, but “Legatron” is capable of kicking at any stadium in the league. With a 50-plus yard field goal he would tie Morten Anderson’s NFL’s record of eight set in 1995. Lawrence Tynes, Giants ($1m), kicked three more field goals on Monday night to stay at the top of the league with 127 points and stay on pace for setting an NFL record for field goals in a season. With four games remaining, Tynes has 32, 12 short of the 44 mark set last year by San Francisco’s David Akers.  

Sit them:

Dan Carpenter, Dolphins ($2m), is not enjoying a very good season, having hit only 77.3 of his field goals attempts with zero conversion in three tries of 50 or more yards. The Dolphins will not have many opportunities of kicking chip shots at San Francisco on Sunday, so starting Carpenter this week makes no sense at all.

Team defenses

Start them:

Buffalo ($1m): With an easy schedule remaining and still with some playoff hopes, the Bills defense will be extra motivated on Sunday led by defensive end Mario Williams who has five sacks in his last three outings. Cleveland ($1m): Although they have turned the ball over only once in the last two weeks, the Chiefs still have more “giveaways” (32) than any other club in the NFL. On the other side of the ball, the Browns forced eight turnovers in their last home game.

Sit them:

Carolina ($1m): Matt Ryan took good care of the ball on Thursday against the Saints and the Panthers were unable to generate a turnover at Kansas City against the team with the most “giveaways” in the season. Other defenses will generate more fantasy points than Carolina’s hosting Atlanta this week.