Let the playoffs begin! Well at least for some of us. For the rest of us wrapping up the regular season, this week is just as important. This week features some questionable starts with good matchups and some fantasy favorites with poor matchups. We'll wade through it all together. To the matchups we go!
Analysis: Steven Jackson has been running well of late and a matchup with the Bills should keep that train rolling along. Jackson and Chris Givens are players to keep an eye on this week. Sam Bradford likely won't be great, but he should spread the ball around effectively. Beware of the Fred Jackson-C.J. Spiller timeshare. Both backs have a chance to put up a decent fantasy score -- if they don't take away from each other. Beyond that, look for average production all around from the Bills' offense.
Analysis: The matchup doesn't favor Matt Ryan, who has been quite mortal in recent weeks. It might be hard to find other options on your roster, but take a cautious approach with Ryan this week. Michael Turner, on the other hand, is in prime position to roll. If the home-road trends continue, Julio Jones is the play over Roddy White this week. But Matt Bryant is a quality choice this week, even if the two teams were playing in a parking lot.
Analysis: Cincinnati's secondary hasn't been kind to opposing players. That's bad news for Tony Romo, Dez Bryant and Miles Austin. Bryant's play lately makes him hard to sit, but he could be in for some depressed totals. The same can be said of the Bengals' offense. You're not sitting A.J. Green, but the Cowboys could make things hard for him. BenJarvus Green-Ellis remains a strong play. He might not earn his fourth straight 100-yard game, but he'll be productive for fantasy owners this week.
Analysis: It's been an up and down year for Dwayne Bowe, but this has the potential to be one of his "up" weeks. Jamaal Charles has seen plenty of carries lately and should be started in just about all formats -- hopefully he finds the end zone this weekend. Brandon Weeden has a great matchup, but unless you're supremely confident (or have no other options), he's a risky playoff start. Josh Gordon, on the other hand, should be able to hit a big play or two against Kansas City's defense.
Analysis: On paper, this looks like a fantasy bonanza. The always hard-to-figure Chris Johnson should be able to punish Indy's defense for 100 yards and a score this week while Nate Washington and Kendall Wright each land a handful of receptions. There's little to worry about with Andrew Luck and his receiving corps -- including Dwayne Allen and Coby Fleener. Plus, Vick Ballard should approach 80-90 yards rushing against a weak Tennessee defense.
Analysis: If TEN-IND is a fantasy bonanza, this game is a fantasy famine. Chad Henne faces arguably his toughest test in his return to a starting role and will do it without Cecil Shorts at receiver. That means Justin Blackmon will have to contend with Antonio Cromartie. And there's no way fantasy owners can trust Montell Owens. On the other side, the Jets are, well...the Jets. If you're feeling saucy, you can try rolling with Shonn Greene or Bilal Powell, but it's risky to say the least.
Analysis: There's no need to worry about Brandon Marshall. He will continue to produce. Matt Forte on the other hand could continue to find his goal line touches taken by Michael Bush. However, neither may have a ton of yards from scrimmage. Adrian Peterson is who he is. He's your starting running back, that's who he is -- and that's not changing regardless of the matchup. But with no Percy Harvin and a struggling Christian Ponder, there isn't much value left in Minnesota. As the sole consistent weapon, Kyle Rudolph may have a tough time getting open.
Analysis: Philip Rivers' inconsistency combined with the Steelers' ability to stymie opposing passers makes him a tough start this week. Ditto for Ryan Mathews. If there's a Charger to target this week, it's Danario Alexander, who's played very well since getting into the lineup. Ben Roethlisberger is a risky start until he shows he's recovered from his injuries. That also casts doubt on Mike Wallce and his WR compatriots. Give Jonathan Dwyer a shot as an RB2 or flex option. He's had the hot hand in recent weeks.
Analysis: The general disarray of the Eagles makes it hard to find anyone worth starting. With one exepction -- Bryce Brown. The matchup may not favor him, but he's been lights out the past couple of weeks and is seeing more touches than LeSean McCoy did as a starter. Conversely, the Bucs have plenty of options to choose from. Josh Freeman has had a hot hand in the second half of the season, and Vincent Jackson has prospered because of it. Doug Martin has played too well to bench, even if the numbers don't favor him this week.
Analysis: The Ravens are on the road, which automatically rules out Joe Flacco. Cam Cameron says the team will try to get the ball to Ray Rice more, which should be a relief for fantasy owners ... if it actually happens. This could be one of the games in which Dennis Pitta returns to fantasy relevance. The ability of Robert Griffin III and Alfred Morris to run the ball will make things better for the rest of the Redskins offense. Pierre Garcon is back and has been a big play machine. That should continue again this week.
Analysis: The Dolphins will have to face an angry San Francisco defense, which bodes poorly for Ryan Tannehill, Reggie Bush and the rest of the Fish. There isn't much to like offensively with Miami this week. Colin Kaepernick's playmaking ability should help a bit, especially for Michael Crabtree. Yet once again, Vernon Davis is a tough start simply because he has been nearly invisible for much of the season. That trend is likely to continue.
Analysis: It could be tough sledding for the Saints running backs, but Drew Brees and his merry band of receivers should be able to have their way with the Giants questionable secondary. However, Big Blue has been pretty good against tight ends, so temper your expectations for Jimmy Graham. If you have a New York Giant, they should be in your lineup. Eli Manning, Victor Cruz, Hakeem Nicks and Ahmad Bradshaw are all in line for solid production in Week 14.
Analysis: The Cardinals are a mess offensively. The return of John Skelton to the starting job isn't likely to change anything. Unless you're endowed with some deep sense of loyalty, sadly it's probably time to sit Larry Fitzgerald. Arizona's defense hasn't been as stout lately as it was at the start of the season, especially against the run. Marshawn Lynch has value as a RB2 this week. Russell Wilson has been great at home this season, which boosts his value along with Sidney Rice and Golden Tate.
Analysis: When these teams met in Week 11, Matthew Stafford was held under 10 fantasy points. That likely won't happen this time around. But don't be surprised if Mikel Leshoure duplicates his 14-point outing from the first meeting. Aaron Rodgers has underperformed this year, but he should get back on track this week. Plus, can you really stomach going away from him in the playoffs? No Jordy Nelson means more targets for Greg Jennings, who should look more like his former self this week. Jermichael Finley could even make a cameo appearance this week.
Analysis: This contest is filled with bad fantasy matchups. But this contest is also full of players you can't really afford to sit. Arian Foster, Tom Brady, Wes Welker and Stevan Ridley are just a few of the names fantasy owners will likely start and hope for the best. If there's a matchup that is favorable, it's the Matt Schaub-Andre Johnson connection against the Patriots' secondary. Even the two defenses are tough plays considering how well the two offenses have played this season. But remember: magic often happens on Monday night.