Players I think have favourable/unfavourable match ups heading into week fourteen.
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(CHI) QB Josh McCown vs. (DAL) – Yes McCown was on the list last week and played off for me with 350 yards and a pair of touchdowns, good for 5th best among all quarterbacks. I am going back to the well with him this week as well as he takes on the Cowboys and could be great for owners once again. He has 700 yards and four touchdowns in his last two outing and will be looking to continue that streak. I imagine he will be aided by an awful Bears defence that I think will have him playing from behind for most of this one. McCown has been forces to throw the ball 83 times in the Bears last two games, both losses.
(TEN) QB Ryan Fitzpatrick @ (DEN) – I always try to include two quarterbacks in each section of my Sit’em/Start’em articles, and while I will include Fitzpatrick as my second this week, be aware of the circumstances. The other quarterbacks that would fill out my top-12 are all guys that are too obvious to include in the list other than perhaps Alex Smith and Carson Palmer. With that said I don’t expect Fitzpatrick to be a top-12 quarterback, but think he has the potential giving he is taking on the Broncos and will likely need to throw the ball a lot more than usual. Since taking over for Jake Locker he is yet to throw for three touchdowns and has only gone over 300 yards once, but has a chance for 300 and a pair of touchdowns in a losing effort against the Broncos.
(ARI) Rashard Mendenhall vs. (STL) – Mendenhall saw a season high 18 carries last week in the loss to the Eagles, and was able to take them for another season high 76 yards. While the yardage total in not that inspiring, he does have three touchdowns in his last five games and ha a great matchup against the Rams, a bottom-5 team at defending opposing running backs. I am not expecting a massive game from Mendenhall, but think he is worth getting into your lineup as an RB2 or flex option. I am predicting about 80 totals yards and a touchdown from the veteran rusher.
(ATL) RB Steven Jackson vs. (GB) – Jackson is finally looking like his old self with three touchdowns in his last two games to go along with a 147 yards rushing. While his yards per carry average has not been over four in these last two games, he has been getting the ball on the goal line regularly an making it count. The Packers were scorched for 40 points last week against the Lions, so I should hope that the Falcons can at least move the ball against them and give Jackson another attempt or two at finding pay dirt. Like Mendenhall, I am expecting another 70+ yards and a score from Jackson against the Packers. The Packers are likely going to be without Rodgers once again, while this does not directly impact Jackson, it could mean shorter drives for Flynn and the Packers, and more possession time for the Falcons.
(GB) WR Jordy Nelson vs. (ATL) – Jordy, along with pretty much every other Packer wide out was a disappointment in the Packers big loss to the Lions. It is important to keep in mind however that the Lions possess possibly the best front four in the NFL and gave Matt Flynn almost no time to make his throws, constantly putting pressure on him. The Falcons have no such pass rush, which should make things much easier on Flynn this weekend. Flynn will hopefully be able to keep the teams drives alive longer against the Falcons, and he should have more time to make his reads and get the ball out to Nelson, a very talented wide out. I think Jordy can come back this week and be a solid WR2.
(DET) WR Nate Burleson @ (PHI) – Despite having a goose egg last week for fantasy owners as a member of my Start ‘em list, I am going to count on him once again this week in a great matchup against the Eagles. It was shocking to see Burleson, someone who had at least six catches in his previous four starts not even see one play called for him; his only target came on a Stafford scramble where he threw it away in Nate’s direction. Helping his case for a bounce-back week however is the Eagles awful secondary and the injury suffered by young wide out Chris Durham. I am counting on Burleson to come back with another 6-8-catch effort for about 80 yards and hopefully a touchdown.
(PIT) TE Heath Miller vs. (MIA) – While I am going to write about Heath Miller as a tight end to start this weekend, I am quickly going to mention Jared Cook of the Rams. The Rams take on the Cardinals who have allowed 14 touchdowns to tight ends this year and are by far the worst defence against the position; just look at what the Eagles did to them last week (three touchdowns from Celek and Ertz). Heath Miller also has a great matchup, taking on the Dolphins, who have allowed just one touchdown to opposing wide receivers but eight touchdowns to tight ends. If Big Ben is going to throw for a touchdown or two on Sunday, there is a very good chance Miller hauls one or more of them in.
(SEA) QB Russell Wilson @ (SF) – With eight touchdowns and no interceptions in his last three starts, Wilson has been great for fantasy owners recently and for most of the season, but has a tough match up this weekend. His second worst passer rating of the season came against the ‘49ers earlier this year when he threw for just 142 yards, a touchdown and an interception. If you have a solid backup option like McCown, Foles or Carson Palmer (all players available on the waiver wire at some point this season) then I think I would go with them instead. I don’t know that I would start Fitzpatrick over Wilson; I would not be surprised if Fitzpatrick has the better fantasy day.
(PIT) QB Ben Roethlisberger vs. (MIA) – The Dolphins have still allowed just one passing touchdown to an opposing wide receiver all year long, so you know things are not going to be easy for Big Ben. Ben is coming off a pair of solid games against the Lions and Ravens, and he could throw a touchdown to the likes of Heath Miller as the Dolphins have been much worse against tight ends, but don’t see him cracking the top-12 quarterbacks for the week.
Frank Gore vs. (SEA) – Gore has not gone for more than 50 yards in his last three outings and has just one touchdown in his last four games. This is partly do to him being given only 16, 13, 13 and 15 carries in those last four efforts, but I’m not sure I trust him to break out against the vaunted Seahawks, a team coming off a dominant performance against the Saints on Monday night. I am expecting Gore to be held to single digit points for the third time in four weeks this weekend.
(STL) RB Zac Stacy @ (ARI) – Stacy has been great for fantasy owners this season, rushing for 4 touchdowns in his last four games (two against the Titans), but has a very tough matchup this weekend against the Cardinals. The Cardinals have on of the best rush defences in the league this season and have been particularly solid when playing at home. If I had another solid option to replace him with I would consider making the move, as I don’t see him going for more than 80 yards on the ground. He could get a few extra yards as a pass-catcher but is going to nee a touchdown to have a big game for those in their first week of the playoffs.
(NO) WR Marques Colston vs. (CAR) – With only two touchdowns on the season and 596 total yards, Colston has been something of a bust this season. This weekend he will get the Panthers, and while the Saints will be back home and looking for a big win after getting drubbed by the Seahawks, I just can’t trust him as a WR2 or even a WR3. I doubt he is going to have just his second 100-yard game of the season and can’t trust him to catch a touchdown.
(IND) WR T.Y. Hilton @ (CIN) – Did you know that Hilton has five touchdowns this season, but they come in just two games? In his last three games he has been held out of the end zone and has just 128 yards. The Bengals have one of the better defences in the league and should make things very tough on him once again. I am expecting the Bengals to win this matchup against the Colts, which could mean some extra pass attempts from Andrew Luck, but would still try to find a replacement for Hilton if I had him as my WR2.
(CLE) TE Jordan Cameron @ (NE) – Since losing Brian Hoyer is his quarterback, Cameron has been awful for fantasy purposes with his last touchdown coming back in October. He also has not gone for more than 80 yards since October and has just 108 yards in his last four games. I would look elsewhere if I needed a big game from my tight end this weekend.