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2013 Fantasy Football Start/Sit – Week 14

There are only four games left in the season, but the playoff picture is starting to take shape in the NFL.  The Seattle Seahawks appear to be the front-runner in the NFC and unless they have an epic collapse, should earn home field advantage throughout the playoffs.  The Denver Broncos have the edge in the AFC, although they will need to avoid a slip up, otherwise they could lose their grip on the top seed to the New England Patriots.  The New Orleans Saints and Carolina Panthers look to control the NFC South with the loser earning a Wild Card.  The Indianapolis Colts are the clear-front runner in the AFC South.  The San Francisco 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs are entrenched as Wild Cards.

I hope that your fantasy season looks a lot like one of these teams.  If not, hopefully you are like the Detroit Lions, Dallas Cowboys or Philadelphia Eagles.  You may not have had the strongest season, but you still control your own destiny.  If you are the Houston Texans or Atlanta Falcons, there is always next year.

For those of you that need some lineup help as we close the season, here are some players to consider starting and sitting this week.

Start of the Week


QB Tony Romo does not figure to be throwing much this week, which is going to make RB DeMarco Murray a top play at running back.

Dallas Cowboys RB DeMarco Murray – Opposing running backs have gashed the Chicago Bears the last few weeks.  They made Vikings RB Adrian Peterson look like his old self; despite a bad hamstring, he topped 200 yards rushing.  The St. Louis Rams had a committee of running backs that dominated the Chicago Bears for over 200 yards rushing.  Even RB Ray Rice turned back the clock and looked like his old self against the Bears.  Playing Chicago seems like a guarantee for a big week at this point.

Murray was not particularly impressive with 17 rushes for 63 yards on Thanksgiving, but he did have three rushing touchdowns, which turned an average day into a great one.  If he sees the ball 17 times this week, he figures to top 100 yards rushing and score a rushing touchdown, at the least.  He should be penciled in as a RB1 this week.

Players to Start

Denver Broncos RB Monte Ball – Ball had 117 yards rushing last week and he faces a Titans D that has allowed the second most points to fantasy backs this year.  Ball should have flex value in this matchup, even if starting RB Knowshon Moreno is able to go on his bad foot.

Kansas City Chiefs QB Alex Smith – Alex Smith has been heating up in recent weeks and plays a Washington Redskins team that has allowed the third most points to fantasy quarterbacks over the last five weeks.  I would plug Smith into my lineup if I were having quarterback issues this week.

Chicago Bears QB Jay Cutler – I am not sure that Cutler is going to be back this week, but there is talk that he might be.  If he were playing this week, I would plug him into my lineup because the Dallas Cowboys have allowed the most points to fantasy quarterbacks over the last five weeks.  If Cutler sits, confidently start his backup quarterback, Josh McCown.

Baltimore Ravens WR Torrey Smith – Smith has a dream matchup against a Vikings secondary that has been torched by fantasy receivers this season.   The Vikings are currently allowing the fifth most points to fantasy receivers.  I expect Smith to have a monster day; he has WR1 upside in this matchup.

Oakland Raiders WR Andre Holmes – Oakland plays a New York Jets secondary that has allowed the fourth most points to fantasy receivers over the last five weeks.  At 6’ 4” and 210 lbs. with 4.53 speed, Holmes has a ton of athletic ability.  If starting WR Denarius Moore is healthy, he figures to be a low WR2 to high WR3.  If Holmes plays, he is a low WR3 to high WR4 with tremendous upside against a struggling Jets secondary.

St. Louis Rams TE Jared Cook – The Cardinals are the worst tight end defense in the NFL by a mile and Cook dominated the Cardinals in the opener.  I would roll with Cook this week; he is a TE1 play in this dream matchup.

Sit of the Week


QB Andrew Luck has a bright future, but he is in a slump and he does not figure to break out this week against a tough Cincinnati Bengals D.

Indianapolis Colts QB Andrew Luck – Luck has not been particularly good in recent weeks.  He has not topped 250 yards passing in his last three contests, has only one passing touchdown in those three games and has thrown two interceptions.  The only thing that has salvaged those bad games is his 103 yards rushing and one rushing touchdown in those three games.

This week, he plays a Cincinnati Bengals team that has allowed the fourth fewest points to fantasy quarterbacks over the last five weeks.  Luck just is not playing well enough to warrant QB1 consideration. He will be an average QB2 in a terrible matchup.

Players to Sit

San Francisco 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick – Kaepernick has not had much success the two times he has played the Seahawks and the Seahawks are allowing the fifth fewest points to fantasy quarterbacks.  I would look elsewhere this week, even if the 49ers win the game, it is likely to be a low scoring affair.

St. Louis Rams RB Zac Stacy – Stacy rushed for 72 yards on 19 carries against the 49ers in Week 13, so the concussion seems to be a problem of the past.  Keep in mind that Stacy takes on the toughest fantasy running back defense in the NFL this week.  Stacy will have flex value , if you have other options though, I would start them.  There is little to no upside in this matchup.

San Diego Chargers RB Ryan Matthews – Matthews plays a New York Giants defense that has allowed the fifth fewest points to fantasy backs over the last five weeks.  Matthews is a poor flex play to RB4 this week in what figures to be a tough matchup.

San Francisco 49ers WR Anquan Boldin – Boldin had one reception for seven yards the last time he played the Hawks, there is not much upside for the 49ers offense in this matchup.

Indianapolis Colts WR T. Y. Hilton – Hilton has not topped 100 yards receiving in three weeks and has not scored a touchdown since his three-touchdown explosion against the Houston Texans.  I would sit Hilton going against a Bengals secondary that allows the sixth fewest points to tight ends over the last five weeks.

Philadelphia Eagles TE Zach Ertz – I would not chase the points from last week’s two-touchdown performance.  The Cardinals are not on the schedule again, this week the Eagles play a Detroit Lions D that has allowed the fourth fewest points to tight ends over the last five weeks.  Ertz will go back to being a dicey TE2.



  1. Luke Kuechly, Derrick Johnson or Sean lee? Pick 2.. Thanks

    • Derek Lofland /

      Jason – Thanks for the question. All good choices, I would lean Kuechly and Johnson. Those two are weekly Top 10 plays and your best options. Good luck.

  2. I have a flex question for two of my leagues. Standard scoring in both.

    First league
    On the fence with K Allen, Z Stacy, and Shane Vereen — hate Stacy matchup, but he has a high floor point value with the bulk of carries and nervous about Giants D and if ridley comes back in the picture, that he will take snaps away from Vereen again…

    Second league
    Iffy about Stacy again, have Spiller, Roddy, Jordy N, Vereen, and Allen (who is currently in there as my WR2)…

    Please HELP


    • Derek Lofland /

      TJ – Thanks for the question. I would go with Vereen, I think he is going to get the bulk of the carries, I’m not worried if Ridley comes back this week. I don’t think he’ll see enough carries to be a viable option. In your other league, I would go with Spiller. I have him a couple spots ahead of Stacy. I’d leave Allen in there as your WR2. Good luck

  3. GNatty /

    Hi Derek.

    Baltimore or Seattle?

    I have to choose 3 WRs: currently have Andre Johnson, D. Thomas, K. Allen, E. Sanders and can pick Andre Holmes. Whom should I start in PPR league?


    • Derek Lofland /

      GNatty – Thanks for the question. I would play Baltimore at home against Minnesota. For receivers, I like A. Johnson, D. Thomas and K. Allen. Holmes is a good pickup, but not to play over those guys. Good luck.

      • GNatty /

        Hi Derek.

        One more question please. Flacco or Fitzpatrick and why?


        • Derek Lofland /

          GNatty – Thanks for the question. I would go Flacco, love his matchup against the Vikings. Good luck.

  4. Mike Davis /

    Hi Derek quick question. I really need a win heading into the playoffs as for the past 4 weeks I have scored less than 95 points and have gone 1-3 in that time. Should I play:

    KC defense or New England Defense

    Julius Thomas or Vernon Davis

    Pierre Garcon or Danny Amendola

    Romo or RGIII

    Thanks a lot

    • Derek Lofland /

      Mike Davis – Thanks for the question. I’d play the Patriots on Defense. I like Vernon Davis this week and Thomas is dicey with his injury. At receiver, go with Garcon. At quarterback, I’d go Romo. Good luck.

  5. Damian /


    Thanks for the feedback. Fingers crossed.

    Now, the next league…

    QB, RB, 2 RB/WR, WR, TE, FLEX..non-PPR league

    Brees or Foles?

    Lacy, Bell, Rainey, Woodhead…
    Andre Johnson, Torrey Smith, Josh Gordon (duh), Steve Johnson…
    Witten, Gates, Fauria.

    I like Foles, Lacy, Gordon…but the rest is a bit of a jumble for me this go-round. What do you think?

    Again, thank you. 90% of the time you’re right all the time.

    • Derek Lofland /

      Damian – Thanks for the question. I like both Brees and Foles, have Brees 2nd and Foles third this week. I don’t think you can sit Brees, but Foles is a great play. At running back, I’d go with Lacy and Bell. At receiver, I’d go Josh Gordon, tight end I like Witten and at the flex, I’d go with Torrey Smith. Like Andre Johnson, but you have too many good options. Good luck.

  6. 12 std league .. Alex smith or Matt Ryan & of these 4 who should I start at WR and who at flex.. Garcon, Welker, Keenan Allen, Montee Ball. I also have Josh Gordon, but am a little worried, seeing how Belichick is quite good at neutralizing an opponent’s best player. That said this is my 1st time ever in the playoffs, so I’m excited/nervous and really want to put my best line-up together. Thanks for your assistance!

    • Derek Lofland /

      b – Thanks for the question. I like Ryan playing the Packers. You have to play Gordon, he is too good to sit at this point. In the flex, I would go with Garcon playing a struggling Chiefs secondary. Good luck.

      • So with Garcon at the flex & Gordon at WR1 go Welker or Keenan Allen at WR2? I have Lacy & Forte at RBs. Everyone laughed at me when I took Lacy in the 3rd rd. I took Gordon in the 7th, knowing that OC Turner would exceed expectations with whatever small amount of talent he had going into the season. Congrats on you high wk 13 accuracy scores at Fantasy Pros & again thanks for the advice.

        • Derek Lofland /

          b – Thanks for the question. I would go with Allen at the WR2. Welker hasn’t done much recently and the Titans are good against receivers. Thanks for the congrats and good luck.

  7. Hey Derek–opinion on which of these RBs are starter-worthy:
    Pierre Thomas (v. Carolina)
    Gio Bernard (v. Indy), or
    Rashard Mendenhall (v. St. Louis)
    Much obliged

    • Derek Lofland /

      Rako30 – Thanks for the question and sorry for the delay. I would go with Bernard, like his matchup the best out of those 3 and his big play ability. Good luck.

  8. PPR league

    Wrs- decker, k. Allen, Holmes(OAK), shorts(need 2)
    Rbs- SJAX, p.thomas, r. Mathews (need 1)
    Flex- any above

    • Derek Lofland /

      Jay – Thanks for the question, sorry for the delay. I would go with Decker and Allen. I like Holmes, but not well enough to start him over those two. I would go with Jackson against the Packers. At the flex, I would go with Pierre Thomas. Good luck.

  9. Derek–J Charles, spiller, Stacy, Fred Jackson, Ivory. Besides Charles what other two would you start? I’m thinking Stacy and Jackson. Thanks!


    • Derek Lofland /

      Tim – Thanks for the question, sorry for the delay. I would go with Charles, Spiller and Stacy. No sense in playing both Jackson and Spiller and not liking the Jets backfield right now. Good luck.

  10. Round 1 of playoffs, time to defend the titles you helped me win last year. All PPR. Current Starters in all CAPS. Here we go. I really appreciate all your help.

    League 1:
    CHARLES is my RB1 stud, need help deciding RB2 between MATTHEWS, green-ellis, J Stewart, Bobby Rainey; Blount, Starks, Pierce, McGahee are also available. I also need a flex between any of these RBs or STEVE SMITH or D Moore(if he plays). Dez and J nelson are my WRs.

    League 2:
    WR need 2: BOWE, MARSHALL, hilton, t williams, h nicks
    RB need 2: A MORRIS. R RICE, G BERNARD(flex), t rich, d mcfadden. And I need a flex between any of the WR or RB above. Also J bell, riley cooper, Harry douglas, and Kendall wright are all available.

    Thanks guys and good luck to everybody!!

    • Andre Brown is also available in league 2.

      • Derek Lofland /

        Bryan – Pick up Brown instead of Bell and play him in Bernard’s place. Good luck.

    • I keep looking at my WR in league 2 and Marshall is the only one I feel ok about. The following are available, let me know what you think, thanks. K Wright, T Austin, Cotchery, Jacoby Jones, C Patterson, J Boykin, H Douglas, Hartline, Steater, and Andre Holmes. Probably need to stick with what I got but barely made the playoffs so I figured I’d ask the pros what you think.

      • Derek Lofland /

        Bryan – I would play Harry Douglas over Bowe, so if he is available, I would pick him up.

    • Derek Lofland /

      Bryan – Thanks for the question, sorry for the delay. At your receiver, if Moore plays I would go with him in a good matchup with the Jets. If he doesn’t play, go with Smith. At your flex, I like Rainey going against a struggling Bills running game.

      In league 2, I would go with Marshall. I like your 3 backs of Morris, Rice and Bernard. Would play all three. I also think you could drop Richardson and McFadden at this point and pick up J. Bell in case Bush doesn’t play and sub him in for Bernard. Also think Douglas is a great pickup to play instead of Bowe, Hilton, Williams or Nicks. Good luck.

  11. Damian /


    I’ve been more of a lurker this season, but still made the playoffs in both of my leagues thanks in large part to referring to your weekly player rankings. Now that you’re being recognized as one of the best out there, it’s great to see you still giving us your time and attention.

    So here goes…

    In my PPR league, there is 1QB, 1 RB, 1 RB/WR, 2 WR, 1 TE, a D/ST, and a K. I am certainly starting the following:

    QB Cam Newton
    RB Marshawn Lynch
    WR Eric Decker
    TE Gronk
    D/ST SEA
    K Gotstkowski

    Which leaves me a RB/WR and a WR and these cats to choose from:


    Which 2 would you pick?

    Thanks again. You rock.

    • Derek Lofland /

      Damian – Thanks for the question. Sorry for the delay in responding, been a hectic. Bell looks like he is going to be good to play, so I would put him in the flex. I would go with Burleson in the other spot, I think the Lions will target him more this week and he has been pretty good in the games he’s played, except for that Packers game. If he’s too risky for you, Hartline is also a good play against a struggling Steelers secondary. I’ve soured on Nelson without Rodgers there, but if Rodgers plays, then you need to go with him. Good luck.

  12. PPR Flex – CJ2K or Keenan Allen
    Also, Romo or Foles?

    • Derek Lofland /

      A – Thanks for the question. I’d be inclined to go with Allen in a PPR league, although it’s close. At quarterback, I would go with Foles. Detroit has a much friendlier fantasy defense for quarterbacks than Chicago. Good luck.

  13. Christopher /

    PPR league. Looking for advice on flex.

    Alf Morris or C. Shorts?

    • Derek Lofland /

      Christopher – Thanks for the question, this is a tough one. If it was a standard league, it would be a no brainer to play Morris. In PPR, I’d have to lean Shorts. The Texans are just 19th against fantasy receivers over the last five weeks and even though the Chiefs have given up the third most points to fantasy backs over the last five weeks, Morris has only one touchdown in his last four games and hasn’t topped 100 in his last three games. He also has only six receptions on the season. I think with the extra points Shorts gets for receptions, Shorts is the better play. Good luck.

  14. Zach roper /

    Hello, I got two questions for you this week. Lamar miller or Pierre Thomas for my flex, and start two out of these 3 wr Crabtree, decker, and Rieley cooper. Thanks

    • Derek Lofland /

      Zach Roper – Thanks for the question. I would go with Decker and Copper. Until Crabtree shows he is capable of a big game, I’d park him on the bench. Seattle is not the matchup for him to breakout. At running back, both have tough matchups, like Thomas one spot over Miller. Good luck.

  15. Need to start 3 out of the 5 in a standard league; Zac Stacy (ARI); Fred Jackson (TBAY); Reggie Bush (PHI); Frank Gore (SEA); Steve Johnson (TBAY) opponents in brackets

    • Derek Lofland /

      Steve – Thanks for the question. Bush is a no brainer, so we’ll get him out of the way and start him. I would go with Stacy and Gore at your other spots. Jackson has a tough matchup against the Bucs run defense. Johnson has a good matchup, but with his up & down rookie QB, he is a borderline WR3. Even though Gore and Stacy have tough matchups, I would play them and hope for the best. Good luck.

  16. Derek, I’m pretty much set this week except for 3 positions. TE vernon Davis, tony gonzo or Ladarius green? Obvious choice is Davis, but Seattle scares me. Flex harry Douglas or Ellington if he plays ? Defense rams or bills? Thanks

    • Derek Lofland /

      Jason – Thanks for the question. The Hawks are 23rd against fantasy tight ends over the last five weeks, I’d stick with Davis. I would play Douglas in the flex spot, I like Ellington’s matchup, but not sure how they will use him coming off injury or if he plays at all. I like the Rams D. Bills don’t usually play well on the road, I’d like that matchup more if they were in Buffalo. Tampa should be able to pass the ball with ease against the Bills. Good luck.

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