Fantasy Football Week 14: Lineup suggestions

Fantasy Football Week 14: Lineup suggestions
January 23, 2013, 10:45 pm
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• Good news, bad news. If you’re reading this, you’ve likely made the playoffs in your league(s). Congratulations on that. And condolences if you have Aaron Rodgers. The Green Bay quarterback is making life far more complicated for his owners than anyone could have anticipated. Rodgers has been average at best lately. In four of his last five games, he has 20 or fewer fantasy points. Minnesota should have been a good matchup for him last week (the Vikings allow 22.3 fantasy points per game to QBs), but he threw for one touchdown and 286 yards. Rodgers has another solid matchup in Week 14 against Detroit (21.2 fppg vs. QBs), and it’s tough to imagine sitting him. It’s also difficult not to be a little worried about his recent production.        

• What if you have Rodgers and Andrew Luck or Rodgers and Robert Griffin III? Those are conceivable combos given their average draft positions. You’d have to at least consider starting one of the rookies in place of Rodgers, wouldn’t you? Luck has thrown seven touchdowns in his last three games, and he mustered a career-high 42 fantasy points at Detroit a week ago. This weekend, he’ll be home against the Titans, who surrender the ninth most points to opposing quarterbacks. RGIII, meanwhile, has put up 40, 40 and 19 points respectively in his last three outings. The 19 looks a little light, but that’s just one fewer point than Rodgers’ best game over the last three weeks.

• Regardless of LeSean McCoy's status (concussion), Bryce Brown remains a solid flex option for the rest of the season. And if McCoy stays out moving forward, Brown is obviously a must-start No. 1 RB. Despite his fumbling issues, Brown has been a monster over the last two games, rushing for 347 yards and four touchdowns on 43 carries. Tampa has been slightly better than average against running backs (16.5 fppg, 12th fewest in the league), but that clearly shouldn’t scare Brown owners.

• After a six-game layoff, DeMarco Murray (foot) returned to the Cowboys and carried the ball 23 times for 83 yards. He also caught four passes for 19 yards. It was encouraging to see him get so much work. Though Cincinnati held the Chargers to 46 rushing yards in Week 13, it still appears to be a favorable matchup for Murray this weekend. For the season, the Bengals allow 18.7 fppg to RBs (13th most).

• With the exception of a few auto-start candidates (Tony Gonzalez and Jimmy Graham, among the select group), tight end production has been nearly impossible to predict on a week-to-week basis. Consider Brandon Myers, who had 22 points a week ago and zero on Thursday night against the Broncos. Unless you’re lucky enough to have one of the elite players at the position, you’re likely in a plug-and-play scenario. For Week 14, you might be able to grab Dallas Clark or Jermichael Finley off waivers. Both have good matchups. Clark -- who has become a consistent part of the Tampa offense lately -- has three touchdowns in his last four games, and he’ll be up against the Eagles, who surrender 7.4 fppg. Finley, who has been maddening for much of the year, has recently played better. He’s been targeted 15 times in the last three games, and he’ll face the Lions (fifth most points to TEs) in Week 14. The last time Finley played against Detroit, he had his best game of the season: 66 yards and a touchdown.

• You can start almost everyone on the New England offense and expect production – except Brandon Lloyd. That’s how bad he’s been this season. Lloyd’s average draft position according to NBCSports.com had owners taking him as a high-end No. 2 WR. He’s done nothing so far to repay that confidence. Despite being on one of the most explosive offenses in the league, and even though he has one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL throwing the football his way, Lloyd has just three double-digit outings. He has four or fewer points in each of his last four games. He hasn’t caught more than five passes in his last seven games. And he has only three touchdowns all season and none since Week 8. There are only two options for Lloyd at this point: bench him or drop him.

• While we’re on the topic of disappointing receivers, Dwayne Bowe had a team-high 64 yards on four catches against the Panthers in Week 13. He was targeted seven times. Here’s the sad part: It was his best game since Week 9 against the Chargers. Bowe has talent, but he’s been hampered by the sluggish Chiefs offense and Kansas City’s glaring quarterback problems. Bowe has two double-digit games all year and none since Week 4. He also hasn’t scored a touchdown since Week 4. Maybe he’s not droppable, but you can’t start him, either.

• For those not already on-board, now is the time to hop on the T.Y. Hilton bandwagon. Hilton has benefited greatly from Luck’s continued development. The Colts’ wide receiver has been excellent recently. Over the last three games, Hilton has 233 yards, 15 catches and three touchdowns on 24 targets. The Colts will host the Titans (23.0 fppg vs WRs) on Sunday.

• If you’re searching for an emergency wide receiver replacement, Chris Givens is worth a look. The Rams’ wideout has played well in his last two games, amassing 16 catches, 207 yards and a touchdown on 20 targets. St. Louis will be up against the Bills (23.4 fppg vs. WRs) in Week 14.

• Quick hits: Mike Williams had one of his best games of the season (six catches, 93 yards, TD) against a generally-stingy Denver pass defense in Week 13. This weekend, Williams will be up against the Eagles' secondary (23.8 fppg vs WRs, 10th most in the league). ... Golden Tate has a touchdown and double-digit points in three of his last four games. ... Michael Turner isn’t getting a ton of carries, but he’s been an OK flex option because of his goal-to-go work. He has a touchdown in four of his last five games. ... The Patriots have allowed the fourth most fantasy points per game (24.3) to quarterbacks. That’s good news for Matt Schaub, who’s had 20 or more points in four of his last five games.