Week 14 start and bench advice for fantasy football

Antonio Gates should profit from a Kuechly-less Panthers defense.
Rob Carr/Getty Images

It’s Week 14, which probably means if you are reading this then you are in the fantasy football playoffs. Congrats! Now that you are in win-or-go-home territory, it is important that you go with your gut and try not to tinker too much. Hopefully, we can help with some of the tougher decisions.

Here are your Week 14 starts and sits…

Starts:

QB: Kirk Cousins, Redskins

In back-to-back weeks, Andy Dalton and Aaron Rodgers threw for over 300 yards and two TDs against the Eagles defense. Cousins will get his chance this week as they travel to Philadelphia. For Week 6, Cousins compiled 263 passing yards and two touchdowns. Other than his tough matchups against Arizona and Minnesota, Cousins has thrown for over 300 yards in four straight games. He’s also averaging over two TDs per game during that span.

Others to start: Jameis Winston (Buccaneers), Philip Rivers (Chargers), and Dak Prescott (Cowboys)

RB: Jeremy Hill, Bengals

The yards per carry numbers are dreadful for Hill. Last week, he tallied 33 rushing yards on 23 carries (1.4 ypc). Two weeks ago, Hill notched 21 rushing yards on 12 attempts (1.8 ypc). However, the Browns defense is just as bad. They’ve allowed 140.6 rushing yards per game (second-most) and 29.3 points per game (second-most). Without Gio Bernard, Hill is also getting at least two catches per game.

Others to start: Theo Riddick (Lions), Devontae Booker (Broncos), and Terrance West (Ravens)

WR: Golden Tate, Lions

Tate has a strong grasp on the No. 1 WR title in Detroit. Last week, he led the Lions with 10 targets and eight receptions. Tate tallied 145 yards and a TD against the Saints. He’s now produced at least 77 receiving yards in three of the past four games.

Others to start: Jamison Crowder (Redskins), Stefon Diggs (Vikings), and Kenny Britt (Rams)

TE: Antonio Gates, Chargers

The Carolina defense without Luke Kuechly has been abysmal. They’ve allowed at least 35 points in back-to-back games and opposing tight ends are having a field day against them. Last week, Jimmy Graham caught six passes for 63 yards and a TD. Before that, Clive Walford tallied 43 yards and a touchdown. Gates is also tied with Jason Witten for the most red zone targets among TEs (17 total).

Others to start: Cameron Brate (Buccaneers), Ladarius Green (Steelers), and Zach Ertz (Eagles)

Sits:

QB: Colin Kaepernick, 49ers

Raise your hand if you were burned by starting Kaepernick last week. Yikes, that was rough. CK7 threw five passes and only completed one for a grand total of four passing yards. Four. Sure, the weather was snowy, but Matt Barkley still threw for 192 yards in the same elements. This week, the weather will be better (playing in San Fran), but I wouldn’t put my playoff life in Kaepernick’s hands. I ranked him at QB16 for this week, so there’s a chance he’ll be startable. However, for the most part, Kaep should remain on your bench.

Others to bench: Carson Palmer (Cardinals), Marcus Mariota (Titans), and Joe Flacco (Ravens)

RB: LeGarrette Blount, Patriots

In deeper leagues, Blount can be your RB2 or even a flex player, but don’t expect big numbers from him on Monday night against Baltimore. The Ravens are allowing an NFL-best 73.8 rushing yards per game. If you’re hoping for Blount to find the end zone, no running back has scored a TD against the Ravens since Week 7 (Matt Forte). Before that, you have to go all the way to Week 2 (Isaiah Crowell).

Others to bench: Isaiah Crowell (Browns), Tevin Coleman (Falcons), and Darren Sproles (Eagles)

WR: Allen Robinson, Jaguars

Last week, we knew Jacksonville would struggle against Denver. ARob is far from matchup-proof. On 10 targets, Robinson caught only three passes for 31 yards. He hasn’t surpassed 40 receiving yards in the last three games. While the Broncos have the best defense against the passing game, the Vikings are second-best. Look for another sub-par performance from Jacksonville’s No. 1 WR this week.

Others to bench: Kelvin Benjamin (Panthers), Jarvis Landry (Dolphins), and Rishard Matthews (Titans)

TE: Dennis Pitta, Ravens

Pitta had his best game of the season last week against Miami. He caught nine passes on 11 targets for 90 yards and two TDs. Those were Pitta’s first touchdowns of the season. Before this offensive explosion, Pitta scored last in December…of 2013. He is TE21 on my list and shouldn’t get any consideration against New England on Monday night.

Others to bench: Coby Fleener (Saints), Gary Barnidge (Browns), and Jared Cook (Packers)

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