Week 14 Fantasy Football Last Second Decisions
December 8, 2012 | Kevin Roberts
Jim Mora is sounding off in my ear. Playoffs? Playoffs? Yeah, buddy. The fantasy playoffs have arrived, and it’s the sweetest time of the football season if you’re in them. And if you’re not, well, then you’ve got no business reading this column.
But that’s why you’re here: because you drafted like a fantasy pro, ran the waiver wire like your brother in law, and made that one sweet trade that took complete advantage of your wife’s dad. After all, if he doesn’t know Robert Graffin Two is, then he deserves it, right?
But you’re here, and you just loaded up a good portion of your roster with Denver Broncos. They had a meaty date with the hapless Raiders, and it only made sense. What you forgot, however, is that Thursday Night Football has turned into a pedestrian platform and a laughing stock for NFL competition. You entered that fateful day with grand aspirations. Instead, Peyton Manning threw just one touchdown, Demaryius Thomas didn’t catch it, and Brandon Myers, the season-long ppr mad hatter, caught one freaking ball.
To top it off, even if you get out of week 14 alive, you might have to enter the second round of the fantasy playoffs without Run DMC, with got hurt – yet again.
Regardless of your situation, you’re here because you need answers to your fake (but ever so real) questions. Let me spit and shine the glove with my segments, and then hit me at the comments or on Twitter (@NFLSoupKevin). Without further social media plugging, let’s get to our week 14 Fantasy Football Last Second Decisions:
Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Pittsburgh Steelers (Shoulder/Ribs)
The Clock will play this week. He’s not the best play against a fairly solid San Diego defense, but his numbers have been good overall on the year. I’d only use him if you have no real alternative, however.
LeSean McCoy, RB, Philadelphia Eagles (Head)
Shady is shaky in the brainy. He’ll sit another week, allowing Bryce Brown to add to his insane two-game production.
James Starks, RB, Green Bay Packers (Knee)
Starks started to show signs of life last week but is on the shelf for at least a couple of weeks – if not the remainder of the year. Alex Green will pick up the pieces in his place, while freshly signed oldy Ryan Grant could get sprinkled in.
Donald Brown, RB, Indianapolis Colts (Ankle)
Brown has been declared out against the Titans. That gives Vick Ballard (who scored his first career TD last week) most of the touches against a soft Titans defense. You gotta like him as a solid Flex.
Rashad Jennings, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars (Head)
The Jaguars don’t really want to play Jennings even if he’s healthy at this point. He’s a shaky bet to suit up this week, which gives plodding fullback Montell Owens the keys to the back-field.
Jordy Nelson, WR, Green Bay Packers (Hamstring)
Nelson is looking like a scratch for week 14. Greg Jennings, Randall Cobb and James Jones are all suitable fantasy options if he indeed sits out.
Cecil Shorts, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars (Head)
Shorts is still a bit fuzzy, so he’s no lock to play this week. You kind of have to throw him in your lineup if he goes, though, as he’s been on a tear.
Danny Amendola, WR, St. Louis Rams (Foot)
The Armadillo is getting closer to a return, but he’ll be shaky this week any way you look at it. Chris Givens should have solid value regardless of whether or not Amendola suits up.
Brandon LaFell, WR, Carolina Panthers (Toe)
LaFell will probably play this week despite a battle with turf toe, but I’m not overly eager to give him a shot as a WR3 or Flex. There’s just a ton of other options with more upside or better matchups this week.
- The Titans and Colts are set up for a shootout. We know Andrew Luck and his chronies can ball, but what about Jake Locker and the teeny tiny Titans? Yeah, I think they’ll show up, too.
- Colin Kaepernick didn’t wow anyone last week, but he might this week. He gets a swiss cheese Miami pass defense. Yummy.
- Carolina’s defense isn’t elite, but for some reason they play well against the pass (even without Chris Gamble). Don’t be shocked if Matt Ryan and the Falcons’ explosive passing attack struggles a bit.
- Color me Brown, but I like Cleveland fantasy options this week. The Chiefs can rise to the occasion at times, but I don’t see it happening two weeks in a row. I particularly like big-play WR Josh Gordin in this one.
- The 49ers will bottle up Reggie Bus and Daniel Thomas, but don’t be surprised to see Brian Hartline get a few big plays in and have a nice day for Miami’s passing game.
- I expect to see a Larry Fitzgerald sighting with John Skelton under center. He’s no Kurt Warner, but he’s leaps and bounds better than Ryan Lindley.
- I’m well aware that the Buccaneers can stop the run pretty well, but I’m not betting against Bryce Brown at this point.
- Ultimately, it’s the playoffs. Unless you have a clear competitor for a specific position (see below), you need to start your studs. That means go blindly into week 14 with Adrian Peterson despite a tough matchup with the Bears.
Versus Star Gallactica
Robert Griffin III, QB, Washington Redskins vs. Cam Newton, QB, Carolina Panthers
You can’t really go too wrong either way, but both guys have limitless potential and have tough matchups (on paper). However, I think both go off this week. I am favoring RG3, though, as the Ravens are a shell of their formerly elite selves right now without Ray Lewis, Terrell Suggs and their top corner.
Bryce Brown, RB, Philadelphia Eagles vs. Matt Forte, RB, Chicago Bears
Forte has upside on any given day, but he’s been pretty restrained in 2012 (over 100 total yards just once in last six games). They both have tough matchups on paper, though, so I’m going with the guy who is on fire and arguably holds more upside right now, and that’s Bryce Brown.
Chris Givens, WR, St. Louis Rams vs. Kenny Britt, WR, Tennessee Titans
Britt sounds awesome on paper, and he has a touchdown in his last two games, but he hasn’t caught more than five balls in a game since week three. Givens, on the other hand, can kill defenses with big plays or as a possession receiver. If Danny Amendola is out, it’s without a doubt Givens. And that’s probably the case even if he plays, too.
Vernon Davis, TE, San Francisco 49ers vs. Jermichael Finley, TE, Green Bay Packers
Both guys have been disappointing for stretches in 2012, but it’s pretty clear who’s been the dud of late (Davis). However, his matchup with Miami is very solid and he’s due to get off the schneid. I’m taking V-Dog over Finley, simply because he has better hands and he has come up clutch late in the year in the past.
Still got questions that need some answering? Hit me up in the comments below or bug me on Twitter @NFLSoupKevin!