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Week 14 NFL Matchups Analysis: Playoffs Start/Sit for Fantasy Football

Vladimir De Wet breaks down the second half of the Week 14 matchups for the 2015 NFL football season. Each week of the NFL season, we will be breaking down each of the NFL matchups and providing you with some fantasy football advice and lineup recommendations based on matchups that we love, matchups that we hate, and some high-risk/high-reward players, as well.

Below, you will find part two of our Week 14 NFL matchups & fantasy football start/sit analysis, which should help you prepare your lineups to win this week. It’s essential to analyze the weekly NFL matchups to find lineup sleepers and gems, while also avoiding those players who may turn out to be busts.

Time for the Fantasy Playoffs to begin. This week the focus is on those players which absolutely have to be in your lineups and those ones worth removing immediately. These last few weeks leave no room for error. Finding the sure bet to produce versus playing that boom/bust candidate is the easiest way to Fantasy stardom or shame. To help out with those tough decisions, make sure to check out the matchups we love and hate for this week.


Redskins @ Bears - Sunday 12/13 @ 1:00 PM EST

Matchups We Love:

Matt Forte, RB, Bears - Forte turned in his most productive game of the season last week. After missing some time and then splitting carries with Jeremy Langford it seems that Forte is locked back in as the starter. When Forte is rolling then the Bears have a decent offense as he can run and catch with the best backs in the league. Matt is a must start for the fantasy playoffs if you have him while Langford should be forgotten about.

DeSean Jackson, WR, Redskins - DeSean has hauled in a touchdown in three straight games. He and Kirk Cousins have found a connection. That connection being -- DeSean run really fast towards the end zone and Kirk will chuck it to you with his eyes closed. This method of offense has helped Jackson earn a lot of money in the league. He is locked in as a WR1 throughout the playoff sas the Redskins will be chucking the ball a lot to stay in the NFC east race.

Alshon Jeffery, WR, Bears - Jeffery has looked really good the last few weeks. The Redskins give up some of the most fantasy points to opposing WRs in the league. Jeffery is locked in as a WR1 because of a little hot streak he has going and a very favorable matchup to keep it going.

Matchups We Hate:

Jordan Reed, TE, Redskins - Reed is the steady hand of the Washington offense compared to Jackson's explosiveness. His consistent targets and great ball skills make him a must start every week TE1. This week he's going against a Bears defense that has given up the fourth fewest fantasy points to opposing TEs and is tied for second when it comes to giving up touchdowns to TEs. After not finding the end zone for the last three weeks, Reed may be a risky flex play. If you have a better option at TE or Flex than this may be the week to consider benching Reed.

Redskins RBs - After another bad performance from all the Washington backs its safe to say that not a single one is worth consideration to start.

Notable Players:

Jay Cutler/Kirk Cousins, QBs - While both Cutler and Cousins have had a decent few weeks to bolster their numbers for the season neither is worth a start. These two players might potentially be on the fantasy radar next year, depending on their contracts in the offseason, but should be avoided at all costs for now because they simply cannot be relied upon.


Falcons @ Panthers - Sunday 12/13 @ 1:00 PM EST

Matchups We Love:

Jonathan Stewart, RB, Panthers - Atlanta has given up the second most rushing touchdowns in the league this season. Carolina has the most rushing touchdowns in the league this season. Stewart has eight straight weeks of 20 or more carries. Cam Newton has been the MVP of the league but, in a strange way, Stewart has been the MVP of that Carolina offense. After years of spliting time with DeAngelo Williams and neither back really taking the job, Stewart has shown that he's more than capable of carrying the load by himself. Because Cam and Tolbert steal a lot of his goal line touches, Stewart is still just a RB2 at the most but one of the most reliable ones in the league.

Devonta Freeman, RB, Falcons - The Panthers have one of the leagues best run defense and that won't change on sunday. But, they have been susceptible to allowing running backs bust out on long catches and screen plays. Freeman is currently second on the Falcons in receptions and has been dangerous from all parts of the field this year. While his rushing numbers may not be the greatest I fully expect Freeman to produce as a RB1 despite the tough matchup.

Matchups We Hate:

Matt Ryan, QB, Falcons - The Falcons have lost six of their last seven games because Matt Ryan just hasn't performed well enough. His performance has hurt the overall fantasy stock of many Falcons skills players as well. Ryan threw for seven touchdowns to just four interceptions in the first six weeks of the season. In the last six weeks he has thrown for nine touchdowns but also nine interceptions. Ryan's inconsistent play makes him and all Falcons skill players not named Freeman and Jones untouchable.

Notable Players:

Julio Jones, WR, Falcons - Julio is still putting up freakish numbers for the year but hasn't been able to find the end zone for four straight weeks. He is a must start even against a strong Panthers defense.

Cam Newton, QB, Panthers - Cam might be the fantasy MVP at the end of the season. With his defense not fully playing up to it's potential the last two weeks he has stepped up his game and thrown for a lot more touchdowns and yards than had been the case earlier in the season. Start Cam Newton. I would do it over Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers.


Saints @ Buccaneers - Sunday 12/13 @ 1:00 PM EST

Matchups We Love:

Jameis Winston, QB, Buccaneers - The Saints have given up 400+ yards in five of their last seven games. Winston has put together a streak of six solid games where he's looked like a rookie thats figured it out. It is always a good idea to start the QB going aginst the Saints but Jameis has warranted consideration just from his recent play alone. His five rushing touchdowns are also a major fantasy boost as he's always looking to score near the goal line. Winston will have a field day against the league's worst defense.

Doug Martin, RB, Buccaneers - After his 235 yard explosion three weeks ago, Martin has folloed it up with 97 and 95 yard games. The Buccaneers offense is getting a consistent rhthym between the run and the pass. There is nothing better to keep this going than playing New Orleans. Martin is playing for a contract this year and if he can have a few more big games than he should get a big one. Ride the Doug Martin train until the season ends.

Brandin Cooks, WR, Saints - Cooks' targets have remained pretty consistent during the season but lately he has been doing more with them. His yards per reception over the last six games is far greater than his first six games. The Saints will have to put up numbers every week to stay in games and Cooks will be one of the main sources of that.

Matchups We Hate:

Saints RBs - Mark Ingram is has been placed on the season ending injured reserve list leaving C.J. Spiller, Tim Hightower, and rookie Marcus Murphy as the only backs left on the team. None of them will be worth the start this Sunday. Spiller should be considered because he still has the speed to take any run or pass to the end zone but his play this year has suggested the team doesn't fully trust him. I expect all three backs to get a look on Sunday meaning that none will have the chance to fully produce.

Notable Players:

Drew Brees, QB, Saints - Brees has come on strong since resting his shoulder and throwing for seven touchdowns against the Giants. If you can start him, then you should.

Buccaneer WRs - Mike Evans and Vincent Jackson are both worth the start against this Saints defense.


Raiders @ Broncos - Sunday 12/13 @ 4:05 PM EST

Matchups We Love:

Ronnie Hillman, RB, Broncos - C.J. Anderson has an ankle injury that might hamper his playing time. That leaves Hillman as the main back even though he has basically assumed those duties anyway. Over the last three weeks the Broncos have averaged over a 100 yards rushing after just an 86 average before that. The renewd focus on the running game has made Hillman a strong RB2 option.

Matchups We Hate:

Cooper/Crabtree, WR, Raiders - Both receivers are having great years but they tend to steal opportunities away from each other. It is rare they both have a great game. Also, Derek Carr has seen fit to spread the ball around more lately as the Raiders offense has sputtered coming down the stretch. The Broncos defense has taken it to another level with Brock Osweiler in and should be locked in on stopping Cooper and Crabtree. While it is without a doubt possible one of these WRs has a good game, it is very unlikely both will. The fantasy champions and losers are seperated by these choices, and if i had to pick -- I'd say Cooper and Crabtree both get shut down. (Full disclosure, every time I've said Cooper would have a bad game, he does great, and every time I've sid Crabtree will be good, he's been really good so there's that).

Latavius Murray, RB, Raiders - Murray has fallen off the latter half of the season and the Broncos have the league's best run defense. Bench Murray.

Notable Players:

Brock Osweiler, QB, Broncos - Osweiler has shown that he's a competent game manager but not much more than that. He just looks like a much taller Alex Smith with a cannon for an arm but is expected to do much of the same. Don't expect Osweiler to put up many fantasy points and definitely don't think of starting him.

Broncos WRs - Much like Cooper and Crabtree both Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas can't be trusted to have simultaneous good games. The offense is hellbent on getting Thomas the ball while Osweiler seems to have a better relationship with Sanders. Both are worthy of the start against a Raiders defense that has given up the 15th most fantasy points to opposing WRs.

Derek Carr, QB, Raiders - Even though I said both of Carr's big time targets and running back will have bad games I still believe Carr will do well. Lackluster individual efforts can all come together to make for a decent day for a QB. Two passing touchdowns and 250+ yards with one turnover is a reasonable expectation for Carr against this defense.


Cowboys @ Packers - Sunday 12/13 @ 4:25 PM EST

Matchups We Love:

Eddie Lacy, RB, Packers - After being basically benched last week for showing up late Lacy barely saw the field. The result was a Packers offense that couldn't get anything going with James Starks. The Packers will still be looking for a spark and assuming Lacy shows up on time I fully expect him to have a bounce back game against Dallas.

Dez Bryant, WR, Cowboys - Dez was basically shut out of last week's Monday Night football game until the very end. It is obvious he is as explosive as ever but the offense just hasn't gone to him enough. I have refused to let this season go for Dez and won't start now. Bryant may have helped ruin a lot of fantasy seasons because of his broken foot but should help many fantasy owners win a championship because of his performance during these playoff weeks.

Matchups We Hate:

Darren McFadden, RB, Cowboys - McFadden has been hit or miss as a starter and for the last two weeks it's been a big miss. The Packers will be keyed in on stopping him and letting Matt Cassell beat them. Without offering much catching capabilities out of the backfield, McFadden will be worth a flex play based on his touches alone. Outside of that he just isn't worth the risk.

Notable Players:

Randall Cobb, WR, Packers - Cobb has been the most inconsistent receiver in the league this season. After three straight weeks of underperforming he is due a huge game. I would start Cobb this week but for those looking on sure fire bets there might be better options at the WR spot.

Richard Rodgers, TE, Packers - Rodgers has been the most consistent Packer receiver over the last four weeks. Remember when the season started and James Jones was their most constant guy? Well I trust Rodgers as much as I trust Jones. Which is to say, I don't trust either of them. But, the TE is on a hot streak right now and that should be ridden out until it's over.


Patriots @ Texans - Sunday 12/13 @ 8:30 PM EST

Matchups We Love:

James White, RB, Patriots - LeGarrette Blount seems incapable of sustaining a running game behind the banged up Patriots offensive line. White provides Brady with the necessary outlet to get rid of the ball when J.J Watt and the rest of the Texans defense comes for the four time Super Bowl champion. White is a high upside flex option that should definiely be started in all PPR leagues.

Danny Amendola, WR, Patriots - Amendola might be the only receiver Brady fully trusts right now and is locked in as a WR1. A healthy Amendola is almost guaranteed six catches and 80 receiving yards.

Matchups We Hate:

Scott Chandler, TE, Patriots - Chandler has faired better than I thought he would, and mainly because of his ability to get into the endzone. With a potential return of Gronk, Chandler's value would all but disappear. Yet, even if Gronk doesn't play I still don't like Chandler against a strong Texans linebacking core. This will probably be the last week Scott is a viable fantasy option.

Alfred Blue, RB, Texans - The Patriots have a sneaky good defense and Blue is begnning to find himself in a more cluttered backfield. Blue has played well but just not spectacular in anyway. Against this Patriots defense and with an increasing running back by committee, Blue should be benched this week.

Notable Players:

DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Texans - After starting the season with 10 or more targets for 10 straight weeks, Hopkins hasn't seen double digit targets over the last two. Teams are focused on stopping him and the Texans have played a more conservative, "let our defense win the game" style of offense. Although Hopkins will likely get the Malcolm Butler plus a safety treatment the whole game he is still a WR1, if not the top receiver in football right now.

Rob Gronkowski, TE, Patriots - Gronk practiced on thursday and is scheduled to practice on friday. If he starts then you start him. If Gronk walks out on the field with a peg-leg and an eye patch, you start him.

Tom Brady, QB, Patriots - Brady has gotten hit more in the last three weeks than he did previously in the season. He is locked in as a QB1 obviously, but don't expect him to put up the huge numbers he always does. This Texans defense has gotten better every quarter for the last four games and will be locked in on putting Brady on his back. The Patriots offensive line is currently being held together with duct tape and gorilla glue so expect Watt and Wilfork to find their way to Tommy Terrific.


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