Here are my picks to roll, and get rolled, in Week 14 of the 2013 season.
Watch ‘em roll
Matt Ryan, QB, Falcons at Packers. If you managed to make it to the playoffs with Ryan as your quarterback, congrats. With Roddy White as healthy as he’s been all year, the Falcons’ passing game finally appears to be back on track. Next up: A Packers secondary that has coughed up 22 passing TDs while collecting a near-league-low six INTs.
DeMarco Murray, RB, Cowboys at Bears. My enthusiasm for Murray isn’t just related to his three-TD outburst on Thanksgiving. It has everything to do with Chicago’s pathetic run defense, and the fact that backup Lance Dunbar is out of the equation due to a season-ending knee injury.
Bobby Rainey, RB, Buccaneers vs. Bills. Remember him? Rainey has had some tough sledding since his Week 11 breakout game. That was expected, due to the stout run defenses he’s been facing. Fortunately, the rookie has settled into a workhorse role and will once again have a chance to soar with the soft Bills rush defense coming to town. Rainey is a solid RB2 with upside this weekend.
Julian Edelman, WR, Patriots vs. Browns. Right on cue, Tom Brady has stepped up his game. It helps, of course, that his receiving corps is in better shape than it’s been all season. Edelman has risen to the top of the Patriots’ wideout pecking order in targets and production, though Danny Amendola is still considered the No. 1. That should mean Cleveland CB Joe Haden will be locked on Amendola, freeing Edelman to excel against the Browns’ second-tier defenders.
Kendall Wright, WR, Titans at Broncos. Do you believe the Titans will be playing catch-up for a good portion of this game? Then you must believe Wright will continue to receive double-digit targets. Add in the generous nature of the Broncos’ secondary, and you have a prescription for fantasy success. Remember, garbage-time stats can be beautiful things.
More thumbs up (excluding the no-brainers): QBs Josh McCown, Tony Romo, Philip Rivers, Robert Griffin III; RBs Knowshon Moreno, Le’Veon Bell, Steven Jackson, Eddie Lacy, Gio Bernard, Andre Brown, C.J. Spiller; WRs Roddy White, Harry Douglas, Torrey Smith, Alshon Jeffery, DeSean Jackson, Riley Cooper, Pierre Garcon, Michael Floyd, Dwayne Bowe, Mike Wallace, Keenan Allen.
Roll ‘em back
Colin Kaepernick, QB, 49ers vs. Seahawks. On the positive side, Michael Crabtree is back in fine form, and Kaepernick’s production has steadily improved over the last three weeks. But all you have to do is check Kaepernick’s results from his previous matchup with Seattle (127 passing yards, 87 rushing yards, 0 TDs and 3 INTs) or look at how the Seahawks humbled Drew Brees on Monday night. Either way, Kaep must sit.
Chris Johnson, RB, Titans at Broncos. Remember that part above about the Titans playing catch-up? That scenario will also limit CJ1K’s impact on this game. Though he has been playing better of late, Johnson can’t be trusted against a decent Broncos run defense.
Zac Stacy, RB, Rams at Cardinals. As much as I like the rookie, and the high volume of carries he’s getting, I am concerned about his fate in Arizona. The Cards have surrendered the fewest fantasy points to backs, including only four rushing scores all season. Hopefully you have safer options.
Jordy Nelson, WR, Packers vs. Falcons. With Aaron Rodgers almost certainly out again this week, Nelson’s talents will be squandered by the amateurish play of Matt Flynn. Forget the excellent matchup; Flynn only targeted Nelson four times (completing just two passes for 14 yards) against an equally lousy secondary in Detroit on Thanksgiving. Any passing yards and scores produced in this game will be the product of dumb luck.
Marques Colston, WR, Saints vs. Panthers. Colston has recently emerged from his mid-season funk, but he’s been consistently held down in tough matchups (see Monday night at Seattle). Carolina presents another stiff test. While you can never sit Jimmy Graham, Colston is a different story.
More thumbs down: QBs Ben Roethlisberger, Andy Dalton, Andrew Luck, Matt Flynn; RBs Pierre Thomas, Rashad Jennings, Frank Gore, Lamar Miller, Donald Brown, Chris Ivory, Ray Rice, DeAngelo Williams; WRs James Jones, Jarrett Boykin, Hakeem Nicks, Anquan Boldin, Golden Tate, Emmanuel Sanders, Lance Moore, T.Y. Hilton, Greg Jennings, Miles Austin, Terrance Williams.
TAKING A FLIER
Montee Ball, RB, Broncos vs. Titans. Denver is cruising to the AFC’s No. 1 seed while Knowshon Moreno is still nursing a sore ankle. Both situations have opened the door for Ball, who ran hard and kept hold of the ball against the Chiefs last week. That should earn him even more touches; and, with the soft Titans run defense coming to town, Ball’s arrow is pointing skyward.
DON’T BE THE BONEHEAD WHO…sits Brees following his debacle in Seattle. True, he’ll be facing a stingy Carolina defense; but as veteran fantasy players know all too well, you never sit your studs. Especially in the playoffs. Brees did you a solid and got his stinker out of the way last week. He’ll make up for it Sunday night.