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Week 14 Start 'Em, Sit 'Em: Rams' Jackson set for playoff stardom

You have made it this far this season -- into the fantasy playoffs -- so you should be congratulated. You know exactly what you're doing. You played the right matchups. You made the right roster moves. And, most importantly, you received the right kind of luck.

It is going to take even better fortune to navigate the minefield know as the fantasy postseason. It can be as dicey as having too much spiked punch at your holiday parties.

Week 13 reminded us how random results can be. We'll try to help you reduce some of the luck needed with our game-by-game analysis in SI.com's eminently important Week 14 Start 'Em, Sit 'Em:

Start

Broncos -- Peyton Manning, Knowshon Moreno, Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker, Jacob Tamme, Matt Prater, Broncos D/ST: This is a start-all game for the Broncos, especially Moreno. He has taken over the feature-back role and might be in for the best game of his career against a Raiders defense that has been the second-worst team in fantasy versus running backs. Tamme is also a nice sleeper after taking over as Manning's leading tight end target and facing a game against the sixth-worst team in fantasy against the position.

Raiders -- Darren McFadden, Brandon Myers: Run DMC is a risk against seventh-best team in fantasy versus running backs, especially coming off injury, but he has been held out until healthy and reports are he has a burst in practice now. This start recommendation is based on the fact DeMarco Murray came back so impressively last week. McFadden rates as one of the top-25 running backs to start in fantasy crunch time, no matter the difficulty of the matchup. Myers, meanwhile, is scorching and faces the second-worst team in fantasy versus tight ends, a dream matchup.

Sit

Broncos -- Ronnie Hillman, Lance Ball, Brandon Stokley, Joel Dreessen: These fringe options just aren't getting enough touches to trust even in such a favorable matchup.

Raiders -- Carson Palmer, Marcel Reece, Mike Goodson, Denarius Moore, Darrius Heyward-Bey, Rod Streater, Juron Criner, Sebastian Janikowski, Raiders D/ST: Reece is a bit banged up and should be affected adversely by McFadden's expected return. The receivers are a crapshoot right now, particularly with Moore's recent disciplinary issues. Finally, SeaBass is a bad play against a defense that has allowed the sixth-fewest field-goal attempts.

Start

Rams -- Steven Jackson: The Bills' defense has improved after an awful start, but Jackson is the only sure starter for the Rams in the fantasy playoffs, especially against a Bills defense that has allowed the most touchdowns to running backs (and ranks fourth-worst overall in fantasy versus running backs).

Bills -- C.J. Spiller, Fred Jackson, Stevie Johnson: The Rams' defense hasn't been an especially vulnerable one, but it is still bottom 10 in fantasy versus running backs. Spiller and Jackson remain in a timeshare, but both will get plenty of touches in a running back-first offense. Johnson (hamstring) says he's going to play and he should still rate as a top-25 option this week, even if the Rams rate among the top-10 defenses against wide receivers.

Sit

Rams -- Sam Bradford, Daryl Richardson, Danny Amendola, Chris Givens, Brandon Gibson, Lance Kendricks, Greg Zuerlein, Rams D/ST: Amendola's (foot) uncertainty makes the receiving distribution a guess. Avoid the St. Louis pass catchers unless you have concrete, late information on Amendola's availability and health. Zuerlein has been top 10 most of the season among fantasy kickers, but the Bills have allowed a league-low 14 field goals this season.

Bills -- Ryan Fitzpatrick, Donald Jones, T.J. Graham, Scott Chandler, Rian Lindell, Bills D/ST: Lindell is likely the only viable option here, but it's impossible to be sure of the Bills' offense in December.

Start

Ravens -- Joe Flacco, Ray Rice, Torrey Smith, Dennis Pitta, Justin Tucker: This is almost a start-all game for the Ravens in a local rivalry game. The Redskins, despite slowing down the Giants on Monday night, are third-worst versus quarterbacks, second-worst versus wide receivers, the worst versus tight ends and 10th-worst versus kickers. These numbers make Smith a must-start, while Flacco, Anquan Boldin and Pitta are sleeper starts.

Redskins -- Robert Griffin III, Alfred Morris, Pierre Garcon: Garcon's strong return has brought some clarity to the Redskins' options. After the above-mentioned trio, owners might even consider kicker Kai Forbath against a Ravens team that is sixth-worst against kickers. Only the Panthers have allowed more field goals than the bend-but-don't-break Ravens defense.

Sit

Ravens -- Ravens D/ST: The Baltimore unit is an option only if you have a viable alternative. The Ravens still rate as a top-12 option for their consistency, but the Redskins are the third-best team in fantasy versus D/STs because they don't allow turnovers or return scores. The Packers and Redskins are the only teams to have not allowed a return touchdown this season.

Redskins -- Santana Moss, Josh Morgan, Aldrick Robinson, Leonard Hankerson, Logan Paulsen, Redskins D/ST: Garcon has made all of the Redskins receivers a big risk in fantasy, because the targets are so inconsistent to the fringe receivers. Washington runs a limited passing offense with RGIII, even if he executes it to near flawless perfection.

Start

Eagles -- Bryce Brown: Brown is facing the No. 1 run defense in the NFL, but the Bucs also have given up 10 touchdowns to running backs. It is expected LeSean McCoy (concussion) will sit, but even if he didn't, it would be hard to not start someone as hot as Brown, no matter if he fumbles multiple times a game. If you need a sleeper at wide receiver, consider Jeremy Maclin or perhaps even Riley Cooper. The Bucs are the worst team in fantasy versus wide receivers and second-worst against quarterbacks.

Buccaneers -- Josh Freeman, Doug Martin, Vincent Jackson, Connor Barth: The Eagles are a lost cause, so this quartet is likely to be very productive. You might even consider Mike Williams (The Eagles are 10th-worst versus wide receivers.), and the Buccaneers D/ST (Eagles rank dead last against D/STs).

Sit

Eagles -- Nick Foles, LeSean McCoy, Jason Avant, Brent Celek, Alex Henery, Eagles D/ST: Foles has a good matchup, but he's far too inconsistent to trust in crunch time. Also, even if McCoy plays, he will be limited. The best option here -- Henery -- is facing a team that has given up the second-fewest field goals in the NFL this season, so avoid him.

Buccaneers -- None: There is no reason to fear the Eagles as a fantasy matchup. Even Dallas Clark has been productive enough to consider if you need a fill-in tight end. That position has been inconsistent top to bottom. At least Clark is trending up.

Start

Chargers -- Danario Alexander: We had to stretch to even mention D.A. as a start against a Steelers defense that is first versus quarterbacks, sixth versus running backs, first versus wide receivers and second versus tight ends. Alexander has at least proven to be the team's go-to target in recent weeks. Start him as a top-30 option at his position. There could be some garbage-time numbers coming his way.

Steelers -- Jonathan Dwyer, Heath Miller, Steelers D/ST: The uncertainty at the quarterback position ruins most of Pittsburgh's receivers, except Miller. He will be the featured target in what will be a "dink-and-dunk" attack, regardless of who is at quarterback. The Chargers are mostly a neutral matchup in fantasy, save for opposing D/STs (eighth-worst). San Diego has allowed the second-fewest field-goal attempts, so that might be a reason to look beyond Shaun Suisham for a kicker, especially with the offense in a bit of disarray.

Sit

Chargers -- Philip Rivers, Ryan Mathews, Malcom Floyd, Antonio Gates, Nick Novak, Chargers D/ST: This is about as awful of a matchup as the Chargers can face right now. Considering how they have already failed you in the most favorable of matchups, don't dare trust them here.

Steelers -- Ben Roethlisberger, Isaac Redman, Rashard Mendenhall, Antonio Brown, Mike Wallace, Emmanuel Sanders: Until Big Ben proves healthy and productive, you are mostly taking risks with the Steelers. They are risks best not taken right now.

Start

Bears -- Matt Forte, Brandon Marshall, Robbie Gould, Bears D/ST: The Vikings have a decent run defense, but Forte remains a must-start as he dominates the snaps in the backfield. The other three options here are potential top-five plays at their positions.

Vikings -- Adrian Peterson, Kyle Rudolph: The Bears figure to rebound this week, but Peterson and Rudolph have emerged as must-start fantasy stars no matter the opponent.

Sit

Bears -- Jay Cutler, Alshon Jeffrey, Earl Bennett, Kellen Davis: The Vikings are a neutral matchup, but Cutler is just too reliant on Marshall to consider him or his secondary targets as fantasy-caliber starters.

Vikings -- Christian Ponder, Percy Harvin, Jarius Wright, Jerome Simpson, Michael Jenkins, Blair Walsh, Vikings D/ST: Ponder's sophomore struggles have hurt the Vikings' attack as much as A.P. has helped it -- which is quite a bit. Ponder and company just won't have the success the Seahawks surprisingly had a week ago in Chicago.

Start

Falcons -- Matt Ryan, Michael Turner, Julio Jones, Roddy White, Tony Gonzalez, Matt Bryant: The only question mark among Atlanta's top options is Turner, but he faces the sixth-worst team in fantasy versus running backs. That makes Turner a must-start and backup Jacquizz Rodgers a potential sleeper as a flex. Ryan has slowed of late, but he remains too important to any team's chances. Let him win things for you.

Panthers -- Cam Newton, Steve Smith, Greg Olsen: Newton's revival figures to continue even in a tough matchup. You might even consider DeAngelo Williams an option as a flex in deeper leagues. Jonathan Stewart (ankle) likely is out, and the Falcons have been the ninth-worst team in fantasy versus running backs to date.

Sit

Falcons -- Falcons D/ST: This unit just isn't among the top-12 options to start this week, but the matchup shouldn't scare you much if the unit is needed.

Panthers -- Brandon LaFell, Louis Murphy, Graham Gano, Panthers D/ST: Smith is good enough to rely on, but the Falcons are the seventh-best team in fantasy versus wide receivers. They are also ninth against kickers and fifth versus D/STs.

Start

Cowboys -- Tony Romo, DeMarco Murray, Dez Bryant, Miles Austin, Jason Witten: The Bengals are hot right now, but the Cowboys figure to be fighting for their playoff lives and a solid Bengals team can push the pace and force Romo to throw from behind. That makes all of the primary Cowboys must-starts, including the now-healthy Murray.

Bengals -- BenJarvus Green-Ellis, A.J. Green, Jermaine Gresham, Bengals D/ST: These guys are just going too well to sit in any format right now. The defense is particularly intriguing against an error-prone quarterback and a team that has been sixth-worst in fantasy versus D/STs.

Sit

Cowboys -- Felix Jones, Cole Beasley, Kevin Ogletree, Dan Bailey, Cowboys D/ST: Jones is not worth owning with Murray healthy again. For those scraping for a kicker or defense, Bailey and the Cowboys' D/ST are facing a marginally favorable matchup here.

Bengals -- Andy Dalton, Andrew Hawkins, Mike Nugent: The Cowboys' defense is better than it has shown, so be more wary of Dalton than you have been in weeks. Dallas has been top 10 in fantasy versus quarterbacks and wide receivers for most of the season.

Start

Chiefs -- Jamaal Charles: Charles isn't getting in the end zone consistently, especially with Peyton Hillis healthy and serving as the goal-line back, but Charles is getting enough touches and yards to keep active every week, regardless of the matchup. That's about it for the reeling Chiefs on the road.

Browns -- Trent Richardson, Browns D/ST: The Chiefs have played better defense in the second half of the season, but they are still 11th-worst in fantasy versus running backs, and Richardson is a must-start in a running back-first offense. The defense is a streaming option here, too, facing a quarterback-deficient-team that is third-worst in fantasy versus D/STs.

Sit

Chiefs -- Brady Quinn, Peyton Hillis, Dwayne Bowe, Jon Baldwin, Dexter McCluster, Tony Moeaki, Ryan Succop, Chiefs D/ST: Hillis isn't certain to get any goal-line carries on the road, especially with Quinn's shaky play at quarterback. That also ruins Bowe's fantasy value in crunch time. Avoid your non-Charles Chiefs right now in any matchup.

Browns -- Brandon Weeden, Josh Gordon, Greg Little, Ben Watson, Jordan Cameron, Phil Dawson: Of these options, the only worthwhile consideration at this time of year is Gordon. Remember, though, the Chiefs have a solid secondary that has allowed the fewest receptions to wide receivers in the NFL.

Start

Titans -- Chris Johnson, Kenny Britt: The Colts are eighth-worst versus running backs and fifth-worst versus wide receivers. It could be a good week for C.J. and Britt.

Colts -- Andrew Luck, Vick Ballard, Reggie Wayne, Adam Vinatieri: This home game should be another bountiful week for Luck and his receivers. T.Y. Hilton and Donnie Avery are also considerations coming off their big weeks at Detroit. Also, Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen are potential sleepers against the third-worst team in fantasy versus tight ends. The best sleeper play, however, is Ballard. He will be the feature back with Donald Brown (ankle) already ruled out. Plus, the Titans the third-most forgiving team in fantasy against running backs.

Sit

Titans -- Jake Locker, Kendall Wright, Nate Washington, Jared Cook, Rob Bironas, Titans D/ST: The Titans' offense is still a big question mark under its struggling quarterback and new coordinator, so consider Wright, Cook and company just out the starter-worthy category in even the most favorable of matchups.

Colts -- Delone Carter, LaVon Brazill, Colts D/ST: There has been some moments for these fringe fantasy options, but there are too many better options to consider when points are their most meaningful.

Start

Jets -- Shonn Greene, Bilal Powell, Jets D/ST: For all the questions surrounding the Jets, they still have maintained a commitment to run and play defense. The Jaguars rank in the bottom five against running backs and bottom 10 against D/STs. Powell might even reach the end zone once or twice, spelling Greene.

Jaguars -- None: The only consideration -- Cecil Shorts (concussion) -- needs to be cleared to play first. Still, the Jets are still the sixth-best team in fantasy versus quarterbacks and wide receivers.

Sit

Jets -- Mark Sanchez, Tim Tebow, Greg McElroy, Jeremy Kerley, Chaz Schilens, Stephen Hill, Dustin Keller, Nick Folk: Keller is worth a look among this pile of also-rans, but he is dealing with a swollen ankle. Look elsewhere. This is a week-to-week train wreck.

Jaguars -- Chad Henne, Montell Owens, Jordan Todman, Richard Murphy, Maurice Jones-Drew, Rashad Jennings, Justin Blackmon, Marcedes Lewis, Josh Scobee, Jaguars D/ST: Owens draws the start, but he figures to split time in the backfield, and the Jets' defense is better against the run than their seventh-worst ranking in fantasy suggests. They give up yards mostly because teams can stick to the run in low-scoring games. The Jags' running game has been putrid without Maurice Jones-Drew, though. Many are going to jump on the Jags' D/ST against the quarterback-poor Jets, but the bet here is that is a bad streaming play.

Start

Dolphins -- None: A struggling Dolphins offense minus their left tackle (Jake Long) for the season at the best defense in football? Uh, no thanks.

49ers -- Frank Gore, Michael Crabtree, Vernon Davis, David Akers, 49ers D/ST: Gore is still a must-start even against the fifth-best team in fantasy versus running backs. Also, stick with Crabtree and Davis as the 49ers try to iron out their down-field passing in a tune-up game. Crabree and Davis will both rebound and reach the end zone in this one. Akers and the defense, albeit disappointing this season, can have their best week here.

Sit

Dolphins -- Ryan Tannehill, Reggie Bush, Daniel Thomas, Brian Hartline, Davone Bess, Anthony Fasano, Daniel Carpenter, Dolphins D/ST: This is a sit-all game on the road against a good defense coming off a loss. The 49ers are second versus quarterbacks, running backs and wide receivers, third versus tight ends and No. 1 versus kickers. Look away. This one figures to get ugly for the least productive rookie quarterback in the NFL.

49ers -- Colin Kaepernick, Brandon Jacobs, Mario Manningham, Randy Moss: Until Kaepernick proves more consistent, don't trust the secondary 49ers fantasy options in any matchup. A good performance here will make Kaepernick and Manningham intriguing sleepers against the Pats next week, though.

Start

Saints -- Drew Brees, Darren Sproles, Marques Colston, Lance Moore, Jimmy Graham: The Giants' defense has played better of late, slowing Aaron Rodgers and Robert Griffin III to below-average days, but this is still a good matchup for the Saints in the passing game. Stick with Brees coming off his five-interception game, and his top four targets. The Giants are eighth-worst in fantasy against quarterbacks and fourth-worst against wide receivers.

Giants -- Eli Manning, Ahmad Bradshaw, Victor Cruz, Hakeem Nicks, Lawrence Tynes, Giants D/ST: This is a good week for a Giants rebound, much as they did against the Packers in Week 12. The Saints rank last against quarterbacks and running backs and are also third-worst versus wide receivers. The Giants' defense is a fringe option against the potent Saints, but it has been playing very well against elite quarterbacks of late, so consider this unit among the top 12.

Sit

Saints -- Pierre Thomas, Mark Ingram, Chris Ivory, Devery Henderson, David Thomas, Garrett Hartley, Saints D/ST: Quietly, despite allowing five 120-plus-yard rushers (Alfred Morris twice), the Giants are still fourth-best in fantasy versus running backs, so it's unsafe to trust any rusher (Sproles is more a receiver). Hartley and the Saints' D/ST have proven too unproductive to be owned at this point.

Giants -- David Wilson, Rueben Randle, Martellus Bennett: Wilson is looking more like a track star than an NFL running back. Randle and Bennett are potential options, but the bet here is they prove to be something less than starter-worthy as Manning gets back to going down-field and to the outside to Cruz and Nicks.

Start

Cardinals -- None: The quarterback situation has ruined everything here. Who would have thought they would miss Kevin Kolb (shoulder).

Seahawks -- Marshawn Lynch, Seahawks D/ST: The Cardinals' defense is still one to be wary of in fantasy. The unit is in the top half against quarterbacks (fourth), running backs (10th), wide receivers (13th), tight ends (fourth) and kickers (11th). The Seahawks' defense is arguably the best play of the week at the position, while Lynch should be counted on for 100 yards and at least one touchdown at home. Russell Wilson is hot, but just out of the starter category in a game that figures to be played tight; the same goes for wide receivers Sidney Rice and Golden Tate.

Sit

Cardinals -- Ryan Lindley, John Skelton, Beanie Wells, LaRod Stephens-Howling, Larry Fitzgerald, Andre Roberts, Michael Floyd, Rob Housler, Jay Feely, Cardinals D/ST: Seattle's defense, coupled with the Cardinals' woeful quarterback play, makes everyone a sit here. Even Fitzgerald has proven to be worthless in fantasy. Even with the fantasy stakes at their highest, Fitzgerald is not worth starting.

Seahawks -- Robert Turbin, Doug Baldwin, Zach Miller, Steven Hauschka: Don't own them; don't start them. Any questions?

Start

Lions -- Matthew Stafford, Mikel Leshoure, Calvin Johnson, Brandon Pettigrew, Jason Hanson: The loss of Ryan Broyles (ACL surgery) and Titus Young (knee) for the season adds value to Leshoure and Pettigrew, considering the Lions can't call Stafford to Megatron on every play right? Mike Thomas figures to start opposite Johnson, but he and Brian Robiskie aren't yet fantasy options.

Packers -- Aaron Rodgers, Greg Jennings, Randall Cobb, James Jones, Jermichael Finley, Mason Crosby, Packers D/ST: The expected absence of Jordy Nelson (hamstring) should be a boon to Jennings, Cobb, Jones and even Finley, who draws the fifth-worst team in fantasy versus tight ends. Finley had his best week of the season against the Lions in their past meeting (three catches for 66 yards and a touchdown). The Lions are also bottom five against kickers and defenses.

Sit

Lions -- Joique Bell, Lions D/ST: It is unclear how many touches Bell will get spelling Leshoure, who clearly is the feature back in the Lions' offense. The Packers are also one of the 10 toughest opponents for D/STs.

Packers -- Alex Green, Ryan Grant, Donald Driver: The running back situation is muddled again with the season-end injury to James Starks (knee). Green figures to start at least until recently signed Grant gets up to speed, but the Lions are among the better defenses in fantasy against running backs. The Packers will stick with a pass-happy game plan, which could make Driver a sleeper. At best, Driver is a fifth option behind those starts above.

Start

Texans -- Matt Schaub, Arian Foster, Andre Johnson, Owen Daniels, Shayne Graham: The Pats are playing better, but their pass defense still presents opportunities. The Pats are fourth-worst against quarterbacks and tight ends and eighth-worst versus wide receivers. Schaub also does a good job getting the ball to his primary guys. This should be a high-scoring slugfest, which could mean chances for Graham.

Patriots -- Tom Brady, Stevan Ridley, Wes Welker, Brandon Lloyd, Aaron Hernandez, Stephen Gostkowski, Patriots D/ST: The loss of Julian Edelman (foot) for the season should raise the value of Welker and Hernandez as Brady's most frequent targets and Lloyd as a sleeper (especially against the ninth-worst team in fantasy versus wide receivers). There will be no hiding them now. Ridley should remain active, even against the No. 1 team versus running backs. Gostkowski and New England's defense also face a top-five opponent against their positions, but they still rate among the must-starts in fantasy crunch time.

Sit

Texans -- Justin Forsett, Ben Tate, Kevin Walter, LeStar Jean, Keyshawn Martin, Texans D/ST: These guys have had their moments, but the Pats' defense is top 10 against the run and No. 1 in fantasy versus D/STs.

Patriots -- Shane Vereen, Danny Woodhead, Brandon Bolden, Visanthe Shiancoe, Daniel Fells: The return of Bolden from suspension makes Vereen and Woodhead risks, especially against the No. 1 team in fantasy versus running backs. One of the tight ends will have to step forward, but there's no telling which one, if either, will wind up getting enough targets. Fells is merely a speculative guess at this point.

For those that play in those weekly salary-cap games, here are some of the suggested plays by position:

QB -- Eli Manning, Andrew Luck, Josh Freeman (or Drew Brees if you go top shelf)RB -- Ahmad Bradshaw, Trent Richardson (or Doug Martin off the top shelf)RB -- Michael Turner, Chris Johnson (DeAngelo Williams or Bilal Powell as darkhorses)WR -- Reggie Wayne, Hakeem Nicks, Marques ColstonWR -- Torrey Smith, Greg JenningsWR -- Wes Welker or Victor Cruz (if you want to go top shelf)TE -- Brandon Myers, Heath MillerK -- Mason Crosby, David AkersD/ST: 49ers, Bears, Seahawks, Browns and Jets

Eric Mack writes fantasy for SI.com. Track his weekly starts and sits every Thursday, his last-minute Cheat Sheet on Sunday mornings and his Fantasy Fast Forward on Sunday nights. You find also him on Twitter, where you can mock him, rip him and (doubtful) praise him before asking him for fantasy advice or challenging him to a head-to-head fantasy game @EricMackFantasy. He reads all the messages there (guaranteed) and takes them very, very personally (not really).

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