Fantasy game-by-game previews: Week 14

The RotoExperts Staff looks ahead to Week 14, with lineup recommendations in every game capsule.

Knowshon Moreno is a worthy flex play considering his three TDs and 5.6 yards-per-carry mark in the last three games. While the pesky Correll Buckhalter has carried the ball 32 times in the last two weeks, Moreno is the primary goal line back. Every time Brandon Marshall touches the ball these days, he's breaking off impressive plays. In his last five games, Marshall has tallied 32 catches, 452 yards, and three TDs. He's a must-start WR while he's rolling. Kyle Orton, on the other hand, belongs on fantasy benches. With the Broncos running game establishing itself, Orton has averaged just 25 pass attempts and 197 yards in the last four weeks. Though Peyton Manning has just two multi-TD efforts in his last six games, you simply cannot sit him in the fantasy playoffs (even against the eighth ranked pass defense). Manning's recent "struggles" have hurt the production of Reggie Wayne and Dallas Clark. Wayne has just seven catches in his last two games, while Clark has four or fewer receptions in three of his last four contests. Like Manning, they don't belong on the bench when it's all hands on deck in the fantasy post-season. With all the attention being paid to Clark and Wayne by opposing defenses, Pierre Garcon has been free to collect 17 catches and 307 yards in the last three games. Garcon makes perfect sense as a WR3. With seven scores in his last five games, Joseph Addai deserves to be started as a RB2, despite the underwhelming 3.7 yards-per-carry. - Chris Carbonell

Standout Starts: Addai, Garcon, Moreno

Banish to the Bench: Orton

Carson Palmer is averaging 179 passing yards on 25 attempts in his last three games; numbers that should go up against a Minnesota defense ranked in the bottom half of the league in pass defense. Look for the Bengals to open things up aerially, and for Palmer to put up around 250 yards with at least one score. Coming off his best effort of the season, Chad Ochocinco will again be a WR1 option this week. Cincinnati ran Cedric Benson 36 times in his first game back from injury, so -- while he's not a great start against the Vikings -- he'll still get enough opportunities to keep from seeing your bench. Think 70 yards rushing and a couple catches. Minnesota will look to establish Adrian Peterson early against the Bengals' second-ranked rush defense. It's a tough matchup, but Peterson has proven throughout his career to be matchup proof. Don't doubt him now. Same goes for Brett Favre. He's a touchdown machine who will flirt with a 20-point fantasy day at home in the dome. Sidney Rice and Visanthe Shiancoe long ago established themselves as every-week starters, and more recently, so has Percy Harvin. He's caught 17 balls for 259 yards and three touchdowns in his last three contests. With his rushing ability, he's a top-tier WR3 against Cincinnati. Bernard Berrian's shown a little bit of spark lately, but he's too inconsistent to trust heading into the playoffs. -- Chris Ryan

Standout Starts: Palmer, Harvin

Banish to the Bench: Berrian

In his only full game this season, Daunte Culpepper threw for 282 yards with a touchdown and an interception against the Steelers in week five. The Ravens are a middle-of-the-pack pass defense, and with Calvin Johnson finally healthy, Culpepper could make for a sneaky good start if you're desperate. Think 250-plus yards with two scores and a couple turnovers. Johnson should be on the receiving end of at least one of those touchdowns, and he's a good bet to turn in another 100-yard game. Kevin Smith always finds a way to be around 100 total yards, and this week will be no different. Detroit's surrendering over 270 passing yards a game and they've allowed a league-high 28 touchdowns through the air. A 225-plus yard, multiple score afternoon is in Joe Flacco's future. After a one-catch effort against the Packers, Derrick Mason will bounce back and contribute as a high-end WR3/Flex play. If you're looking for a touchdown vulture, Willis McGahee has found the end zone in his last two games, and there should be plenty of scoring opportunities for the Ravens. -- C.R.

Standout Starts: Flacco, Mason, Culpepper (if desperate)

Banish to the Bench: Kelley Washington, Mark Clayton, Todd Heap

Prior to be being held under 100 yards passing against the Jets last week, Ryan Fitzpatrick had revitalized the Buffalo passing game. Always good for some additional running yards, Fitzpatrick should have a fine fantasy afternoon against the Chiefs 28th ranked pass defense. That's great news for Terrell Owens owners. Look for the malcontented wideout to produce around five catches and 80-plus yards. Don't bother with Lee Evans. He has only four catches in his last three games. Fred Jackson has surpassed Marshawn Lynch on the Buffalo depth chart, but both could be valuable RB3 plays in Kansas City. Chris Chambers came back to earth with two catches for 11 yards last week but, with Dwayne Bowe still under suspension, he's all the Chiefs have in the way of a vertical receiving threat. Consider him a decent Flex option. The Bills rank dead last in rush defense, meaning visions of open field jaunts should be running through the heads of Jamaal Charles owners. He's averaged over 97 total yards in his past four games, and against a team surrendering nearly 175 rushing yards a game, Charles could be in store for his best day as a pro. At the very least, he's a confident RB2 play for the all-important week 14 matchup. -- C.R.

Standout Starts: Owens, Charles

Banish to the Bench: Evans

Houston allows 214.3 passing yards per game, so look for Matt Hasselbeck to top 200 yards and find the end zone. Hasselbeck sat out some practice this week with a shoulder injury, but will start against Houston. The Texans' weak pass rush (19 sacks, third fewest in NFL) means Hasselbeck should stay mostly upright this week. That lack of pressure could mean John Carlson won't be in blocking so much and could come back to life in the passing game. He hasn't topped 42 yards since October and has just four catches in the last four games. Houston was solid against top wide receivers against the Colts and Jags, so T.J. Houshmandzadeh and Nate Burleson aren't likely to blow up in this one. The Seahawks' insistence on starting Julius Jones over Justin Forsett makes both just average options. Matt Schaub is probable to play through his dislocated shoulder (non-throwing) and should be in for a big day, along with Andre Johnson, against Seattle's smallish secondary. Expect 280-300 yards and a pair of TDs for Schaub and over 100 yards plus a TD for Johnson. Steve Slaton is out for the season, so Chris Brown and Ryan Moats get the carries. Moats is the safer option for yards and touches, but Brown will likely get any short TDs. -- Adam McFadden

Standout Starts: Schaub, Johnson

Banish to the Bench: Burleson, Houshmandzadeh

The Chicago defense is struggling, so all of the typical Packers look like great starts. That includes Aaron Rodgers, Donald Driver, Greg Jennings and Ryan Grant. Tight ends have been finding production against the Bears, so Jermichael Finley is a strong play. He has 17 receptions in the past three games. Matt Forte should get back on track this week after finding space against the Rams last week (96 total yards, one TD). The Packers are fourth against the run and have allowed just four rushing TDs this season. Even with his involvement in the passing game this season (47 receptions), Forte hasn't shown an ability to be productive against good defenses. Jay Cutler is a shaky play. He's hampered by a sore hand and an ever-present proclivity for throwing interceptions. Sit Cutler against a Green Bay defense playing lights out. Charles Woodson and crew will dampen any chances for Devin Hester and Earl Bennett to succeed. Greg Olsen is the best option for production on Chicago's offense. He had just two catches for one yard last week, but he caught five or more passes for a four-game span before that. He should get 5-7 catches and 50-60 yards. -- A.M.

Standout Starts: Driver, Jennings, Finley

Banish to the Bench: Forte, Cutler

Chad Henne pounced all over the Patriots last week (335 yards, two TDs), but he's far from a sure thing to get 52 passing attempts again this week. That said, Jacksonville is 23rd against the pass (242.1 yards allowed per game) so Henne is a sleeper if you have problems with your regular starting QB. Davone Bess continues to be solid in PPR leagues and borderline in non-PPR leagues. Anthony Fasano, Greg Camarillo and Brian Hartline are all risks since Miami doesn't throw much and none of them have found consistent production. Coming off an average week (75 yards, no TD), Ricky Williams is still a great option and should top 100 yards and find paydirt. The Dolphins have allowed fine games to the likes of Jake Delhomme and Ryan Fitzpatrick lately, so David Garrard looks good this week. Expect 240 yards and at least one TD. Marcedes Lewis averaged over 56 yards per game in the past four weeks. Since Miami allows 242.9 passing yards per game he is a good TE option. Expect another 50 yards. Mike Sims-Walker struggled last week (one catch, 12 yards), but will rebound this time. Maurice Jones-Drew is a starter every time out. -- A.M.

Standout Starts: Lewis, Williams

Banish to the Bench: Fasasno, Camarillo

If DeAngelo Williams plays (missed last week with an ankle injury), he starts for fantasy teams. If not, Jonathan Stewart is the one fantasy owners want. Expect 100 yards from the starter, though a TD may be hard to come by. New England has allowed just three rushing TDs this season. The Patriots haven't been able to dial up much of a pass rush, so Steve Smith could be in for a productive day - even with Matt Moore starting at QB. Smith has just one 100-yard game this season but he will have plenty of passes thrown his way. Beyond Smith and the RBs, everyone else on Carolina is a very risky play. The Panthers allow quite a bit of production to running backs (133.3 rushing yards per game, 13 rushing TDs), so Laurence Maroney is due for a bounce-back from his 41-yard performance last week. Sammy Morris will likely continue to steal a few carries, but Maroney will get enough touches to accrue 80 yards and/or a TD. Tom Brady, Randy Moss and Wes Welker obviously start. Benjamin Watson does not as he has just three total receptions in the past four games. -- A.M.

Standout Starts: Smith, Maroney

Banish to the Bench: Morris

With Mark Sanchez nursing a PCL sprain, Kellen Clemens will get the start at QB. Jerricho Cotchery, Braylon Edwards, and Dustin Keller were already fringe fantasy starters in this run-heavy offense. With Clemens now under center, all Jets receivers should be planted on the bench. Thomas Jones makes a solid RB1, as the team will run it even more with Sanchez out. Bucs QB Josh Freeman is in for a rough day. The Jets come into this game with the third rated pass defense and have allowed just seven passing TDs all season. Antonio Bryant won't fare much better. Bryant will likely draw Jets CB Darrelle Revis, who has held top WRs to miniscule numbers while playing at an All-Pro level. The only receiving option worth using on the Bucs is TE Kellen Winslow, who leads the team in targets (94). For the first time all year, it seems that a Bucs RB may have the committee edge. Cadillac Williams saw 17 carries in Week 13, a season-high. However, the Bucs have spread out the carries for most of the year and it would be foolish to trust that Williams is now the feature back. It's possible that last week's effort was the result of Tampa Bay riding the hot hand as Williams looked sharp. Continue to reserve the entire Tampa Bay backfield. - C.C.

Standout Starts: Jones, Winslow

Banish to the Bench: All Jets receivers, Bryant, Freeman, all Bucs RBs

On a five-game scoring streak, Robert Meachem is a WR3 play against a shady Falcons secondary. With 13 receptions in the last two games, it's clear the Saints are trying to get him more involved. Interestingly, during Meachem's scoring binge, Marques Colston is averaging less than three receptions a game and has been hurt by his QB's ability to spread the ball around. Drew Brees has completed passes to at least seven different receivers in the past four games. The bench-worthy Jeremy Shockey has not found the end zone since week five and is losing playing time to back-up David Thomas. The Saints backfield continues to be a fantasy headache as no RB has surpassed 16 touches since week eight. Whether Matt Ryan or Chris Redman starts, neither is worth considering against the second-rated pass defense of New Orleans. Both QBs have combined for an unappetizing TD-to-INT ratio of 19:14. While logic dictates Roddy White and Tony Gonzalez would see a boost in value with Ryan under center, the numbers say otherwise. In the last two games, White and Gonzalez have seen 66 percent of the pass attempts come their way. Both players are elite options, regardless of who starts at QB. Unless Michael Turner starts, it's hard to trust the Falcons ground game. Jerious Norwood is still limited by a hip injury and Jason Snelling has been uninspiring, (2.9 yards-per-carry in last three games). - C.C.

Standout Starts: White, Gonzalez

Banish to the Bench: All Falcons RBs, Redman, Shockey, all Saints RBs

The Redskins have named Quinton Ganther the starting back. The four-year pro has never done anything worthwhile in fantasy, but he could put up solid totals against Oakland, (league-worst 18 rushing TDs allowed). Jason Campbell was impressive against the Saints last week, completing over 71 percent of his passes en route to 367 yards and three scores. With injuries to their backfield, it seems Washington is re-identifying itself as a pass-first unit, (over 60 percent of plays in the last two weeks have been pass attempts). However, unless fantasy owners are really hurting at QB, inserting Campbell in your lineup based on one terrific game is ill advised. Devin Thomas was Campbell's favorite target last week, finishing with seven catches for 100 yards and two TDs. Since this was the first time he has recorded more than four receptions, Thomas is a low-end WR pickup (let alone starting option). Redskins TE Fred Davis has quietly scored in consecutive games, but this is too small a sample size to warrant a fantasy roster spot. Though Bruce Gradkowski is coming off a 300-yard, three TD performance, fantasy owners would be nuts to believe in the journeyman QB during the fantasy playoffs. The only Raiders receiver that can be semi-trusted is TE Zach Miller, (19 targets in last three games). As always, the Raiders running game is not worth using due to the lack of a feature back and the fact that offensive lineman Robert Gallery is out indefinitely. - C.C.

Standout Starts: None

Banish to the Bench: All Raiders RBs, Gradkowski

The Rams offense is one hurtin' unit. Steven Jackson, despite nursing a sore back, is the only obvious start. Donnie Avery injured his shoulder but returned to the Chicago game - albeit wearing a brace. He could be worth a flex or WR3 start if he's active, but there's no guarantee the Rams will even compile 150 passing yards given their current situation with Kyle Boller and young backup WRs (Danny Amendola, Brandon Gibson) in the offensive mix. The Titans, winners of five-straight before last week's loss to Indy, are a team chock full of offensive weapons. Vince Young should have an easier time targeting his receivers over the middle of the field with Rams safety O.J. Atogwe recently placed on IR. Reliable tight end Bo Scaife, rookie WR Kenny Britt and former Steeler Nate Washington (ankle) are all viable red zone threats. The passing game is also starting to truly complement the electric running of fantasy Uber-stud Chris Johnson - who's nursing a minor ankle injury but is on track to play on Sunday. Young also gets back veteran WR Justin Gage, who's been cleared to return Sunday and will be in the rotation. Gage probably won't play as many snaps as the Titans' other wideouts, but he could help free up Britt for a deep touchdown. -- Antonio D'Arcangelis

Standout Starts: Jackson, Young, Britt

Banish to the Bench: Boller, all Rams WRs, Gage

The Chargers have won seven in a row and look like the superior team - even on the road against the Cowboys. Most of the Chargers' offensive stars, including Philip Rivers, Vincent Jackson, Antonio Gates and a rejuvenated LaDainian Tomlinson, are solid starts this week in Dallas. While they'll likely use Darren Sproles to spell LDT, he's a risky play facing a stalwart defense in Big D. Malcom Floyd is one Charger who's probably not wise to use given the Cowboys' effectiveness defending in the red zone. If you're a Tony Romo owner, it's likely you don't have better options this week, but Marion Barber, Tashard Choice and Felix Jones owners should beware. The Cowboys only chance to effectively run the ball is to pound the one and two gaps of the Chargers 3-4 scheme, and the Cowboys offensive line is just not cutting it right now when it comes to interior run blocking. Roy Williams is worth a spot start considering his recent red zone success, and Miles Austin and Jason Witten are must-plays. -- A.D.

Standout Starts: Jackson, Tomlinson, Austin, Witten

Banish to the Bench: Cowboys RBs, Sproles, Floyd

There's a chance Brian Westbrook (concussion) plays Sunday night, which would seriously diminish the value of both LeSean McCoy and Leonard Weaver. If Westbrook doesn't go, McCoy is a weak RB2/decent flex play in 12-team leagues, while Weaver is a deep league flex with upside. But the Eagles, as a rule, are a pass-first team, and Donovan McNabb should have a decent day regardless of who's starting at WR -- a position with its own share of turmoil. DeSean Jackson, who missed last week's game with a concussion, is a must-start at WR2 if active; rookie Jeremy Maclin is now fighting plantar fasciitis. Consider Jason Avant a solid WR3 if either Jackson or Maclin is out on Sunday. As always, Brent Celek is a solid Tier 2 TE with upside. For the Giants, it's wise to bench Eli Manning unless he's your only option, but receivers Steve Smith (a viable WR2) and Hakeem Nicks (WR3 at best) could fill in nicely. Mario Manningham is coming off a rough game in Dallas where he only caught one ball, so expect the Eagles to clamp down on him in similar fashion. Manningham's best game of late was a six-catch, 126-yard performance against the Falcons that's not likely to be repeated. Kevin Boss, like his counterpart Celek, is a solid second-tier TE with upside. Brandon Jacobs is an OK RB2, but don't count on any more 74-yard TD receptions from him or any huge runs from a hobbled Ahmad Bradshaw. -- A.D.

Standout Starts: McNabb, Smith, both TEs

Banish to the Bench: Manningham, Eagles RBs (if Westbrook plays)

If the 49ers hadn't taken the first matchup between these two teams, it'd be easy to call this a Monday night mismatch. The Cardinals looked amazing facing the Vikings last week and should be primed for a big offensive output via the pass -- as usual. Kurt Warner suffered a hip pointer but should be okay to go by game time, and WRs Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin remain must-plays at WR1. With Boldin healthy, Steve Breaston is rapidly declining as a receiving option. The running game probably won't get going for either team, since both struggled in Week 1 and the Cards run defense has only gotten better. Sitting Beanie Wells is a smart move, and Frank Gore owners should use him as nothing more than an RB2. Tim Hightower's value will skyrocket in PPR leagues, especially considering he had 12 catches against the 49ers in the first meeting. Alex Smith should be fine to start in deeper leagues and will excel if the line can give him the protection he needs. Both Michael Crabtree and Josh Morgan will be limited by the touchdown-gathering abilities of TE stud Vernon Davis, but could be solid as WR3s in deeper formats. Crabtree is the better start of the two, especially in PPR leagues. -- A.D.

Standout Starts: Warner, Hightower, Smith

Banish to the Bench: Breaston, Wells

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide - from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Seth Davis, and more - delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.