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Week 14 Starters & Benchwarmers

Posted by Ladd Biro  December 7, 2012 06:33 PM

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Wondering whether or not to start Arian Foster and A.J. Green, or to bench Mark Sanchez and Early Doucet?  The network bozos specialize in that kind of advice. If you’re looking for help with your realstarting lineup conundrums, read on.


It’s playoff time!  Here are my picks to roll, and get rolled, in Week 14 of the 2012 season.

Watch ‘em roll

Matt Schaub, QB, Texans at Patriots.  It’s always nice having a starter or two playing on Monday night; especially when it’s your QB facing a lousy secondary.  Schaub isn’t the most consistent fantasy performer, but he’s been sharp enough to trust against one of the NFL’s passing doormats. 

BenJarvus Green-Ellis, RB, Bengals vs. Cowboys.  Green-Ellis is on a monster run, while the Dallas run defense is imploding.  The Law Firm is an open-and-shut case in this matchup.  (Sorry…)

Shonn Greene, RB, Jets at Jaguars.  Greene is the quintessential underachiever, so it’s always risky to tout his prospects.  But he’s coming off his second 100-yard performance this season, and he now faces the second-worst run defense in the league.  With all the turmoil surrounding the Jets’ quarterbacks, Greene will surely be leaned on heavily in this contest.

Antonio Brown, WR, Steelers vs. Chargers.  With Ben Roethlisberger back in the saddle, his go-to target belongs in your lineup.  We’ve seen Big Ben perform well when hurt, and Brown now has a solid game under his belt after returning from an ankle injury.  San Diego won’t put up much resistance.

Mike Williams, WR, Buccaneers vs. Eagles.  These are the times that try Eagles fans’ souls, but it’s all good news for opposing fantasy players.  Josh Freeman should have a field day against Philly’s imploding secondary, leading to great outings from both of his favorite wideouts. 

More thumbs up (excluding the no-brainers): QBs Joe Flacco, Andy Dalton, Andrew Luck, Russell Wilson, Matt Stafford, Josh Freeman; RBs Michael Turner, C.J. Spiller, Ahmad Bradshaw, Bryce Brown, Chris Johnson, Trent Richardson, Mikel Leshoure, Steven Jackson, Alfred Morris; WRs Torrey Smith, Anquan Boldin, Greg Jennings, Pierre Garcon, Hakeem Nicks, Michael Crabtree, Lance Moore.

Roll ‘em back

Tony Romo, RB, Cowboys at Bengals.  He’s riding a two-game hot streak courtesy of a pair of pitiful pass defenses. But this Sunday, Romo will be running for his life, or watching the game from his backside, as Cincinnati’s league-leading sack attack overwhelms the Cowboys’ sorry offensive line. He’ll be lucky to emerge intact.

Beanie Wells, RB, Cardinals at Seahawks.  With John Skelton back under center, Arizona’s offense should move from putrid to mediocre.  So you can expect more from Wells than the 22 yards he delivered against the Jets; but not enough to justify starting him.  Seattle’s run defense isn’t awesome, but it’s talented enough to ground this rushing attack.

Reggie Bush, RB, Dolphins at 49ers. It could be an ugly afternoon for the Dolphins when they travel cross-country to face a defense that has allowed the fewest fantasy points to opposing rushers.  Bush has been up and down all season – mostly down – so there’s little reason to believe he’ll score just the fourth rushing TD of the season against this unit; especially with All Pro LT Jake Long out for the duration.

Danario Alexander, WR, Chargers at Steelers.  It’s hard to sit one of the hottest receivers in the business, but this is a scary matchup for his team.  Philip Rivers is on a three-game slide, and he’ll be facing the league’s stingiest pass defense on their home (sloppy) turf.  Consider a safer option for Alexander.

Miles Austin, WR, Cowboys at Bengals.  Remember what I wrote about Romo a few lines ago? By hook or crook, he’ll find a way to get the ball into the hands of Dez Bryant and Jason Witten.  But Austin (hip) has clearly fallen down the pecking order, dimming his prospects for success this weekend.

More thumbs down: QBs Philip Rivers, Cam Newton, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Ryan Tannehill, Sam Bradford; RBs Ryan Mathews, Mark Ingram, Pierre Thomas, Montel Owens; WRs Brandon Lloyd, Brian Hartline, Steve Smith, Chris Givens, Malcom Floyd.

TAKING A FLIER

Kenny Britt, WR, Titans at Colts.  Most of us gave up on Britt a long time ago; but perhaps we should give him another look.  He has scored in consecutive weeks, despite catching just five balls during that span.  Facing a weak Colts secondary, Britt has a good chance to pay handsome dividends on Sunday.

DON’T BE THE BONEHEAD WHO…hangs onto Percy Harvin, now that he’s been exiled to injured reserve.  Drop him and pick up a sleeper, say T.Y. Hilton, who could potentially help your team through a postseason run.  Anyone is preferable to a guy with “IR” by his name. 

Originally published on the blog Fantasy Fools.

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About the author

Ladd Biro was named 2010 "Football Writer of the Year" by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association. Ladd's nationally syndicated columns have appeared in more than 20 publications -- including the Dallas Morning News, San Francisco Chronicle, Philadelphia Inquirer, Chicago Sun-Times and Sporting News magazine -- since 2003. During the NFL season, he can be heard nationwide on Sporting News Radio as host of the weekly "Fantasy Files" program, dispensing his unique blend of wit and wisdom. Since 2009, all his written fantasy content can be found on the Fantasy Fools blog.

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