Week 14: Start 'Em
If you have line up questions and are wondering who to start this week that most likely means this is week 1 of your playoffs. Congrats to you. Making the fantasy playoffs is never easy to do, but there is still work to be done. If you are in the playoffs, my first piece of advice is for you to start the guys that got you to this point, but it's possible you made it into the playoffs with some injury issues. If that's the case, take a look below and if any of these guys are on your bench you might want to consider putting them in your starting lineup. Good luck this week and throughout the playoffs. May the Force be with you.
The Raiders had high hopes when they traded for Carson Palmer and they expected him to help them compete right away. They didn't give up a first (and a possible second first) round pick for nothing. While Palmer's play won't be mistaken for Aaron Rogers or Drew Brees, he has played very well, helping them into a first place tie going into week 14. Palmer isn't an every week fantasy starter, but with all the injured quarterbacks, he makes for a solid start many weeks (especially when he has a good match-up, like he does this week when the Raiders take their shot at defeating the 12-0 Green Bay Packers). The Packers are giving up the 2nd most passing yards per game this season, and that probably won't change this week. Palmer is a very good start in week 14.
Despite the Packers being 12-0 (and quarterbacks like Aaron Rogers and Drew Brees having out of this world seasons), it seems that Tim Tebow is still the most talked about player in the NFL. Some still question if Tebow is a legit NFL quarterback, but one thing seems for sure: that Tebow is a legit fantasy player. His passing stats will probably never match up to Rogers or Brees, but what he lacks in passing he makes up in running. This past week, Tebow had his best passing game of the season, leading the Broncos to another 4th quarter comeback victory. Tebow was 10-15 for 202 yards and 2 touchdown passes. Tebow is always a threat to put up some solid rushing yards and a rushing touchdown; and this week he should have an easier time passing as he faces a Bears pass defense ranked 28th in the league. If you have an injury at QB (or a really bad match-up) give Tebow a look.
The Bears are in big trouble. First they lost Jay Cutler and now they have lost probably the most valuable player on the team -- running back Matt Forte. Forte looks to be gone for the next 2-6 weeks, and stepping into his shoes will be Marion Barber. If Cutler was still around, the Bears might decide to rely more on the passing game, but with him out (and replacement Caleb Hanie looking lost) the Bears will rely heavily on Barber. While Barber will never be mistaken for Forte, he can put up fantasy points in a number of ways: rushing, goal line carries and he also can catch the ball out of the back field. In week 14 the Bears play the Broncos, who just gave up a big fantasy day to another back up -- Toby Gerhart (91 yards rushing as well as 8 receptions for 42 yards). Don't be surprised if Barber puts up similar numbers. If you have Barber on your bench, start him this week.
Like Moss, it looks like I wrote about Spiller a few weeks too early. With Fred Jackson done for the season, the Bills were going to get a look at what their 2010 first round pick can do as the main man in the running game. He struggled in his first start, but seemed to feel more comfortable in his second start -- he had his best day of his young career. Spiller rushed for 83 yards and 1 touchdown (also had another long touchdown run called back on an iffy holding call) and he had 3 receptions for 19 yards. While he still hasn't proven that he can be an effective inside runner, he has proven that if he is going to get 15+ touches he can be an effective fantasy player. The fact that he is a good receiver out of the backfield increases his chances of putting up points. The Bills play the San Diego Chargers (who are in the bottom 10 of rush defenses) this week. Especially in PPR leagues, Spiller makes for a solid RB2 or flex start.
A few weeks ago I wrote about Santana Moss and I was probably jumping the gun a little with it being his first week back from injury. Well now that he has 2 games under his belt and has had no setbacks, look for him to finally have a big game this week. Moss is no longer the big play receiver he was earlier in his career, but he has become a very useful fantasy player (especially in PPR leagues). Moss plays against the Patriots in week 14 and the Patriots are easily the worst defense against the pass this season, giving up a whopping 310 yards per game through the air. In this kind of a match-up I think Moss is a must start in PPR leagues, so don't focus on his lack of output the past two weeks and focus on his opponent. Put Moss in your lineup.