As with the NFC North piece, we’re going to do away with talking about players who might get you a few points, but won’t realistically help you win in the playoffs this week. As such, there’ll be no talk of the Vikings QB situation, or the Vikings TE situation, or the VIkings…….you get the idea.
MINNESOTA VIKINGS at Baltimore Ravens
Peterson is matchup-proof, we all know that. That’s a good thing as he’s facing a Ravens defense giving up the 4th fewest points to opposing RBs. A bigger concern for Peterson is his health, as he was still listed as questionable on Friday. As long as he suits up, he’s a threat to go for over 100 yards and a TD. But this week, he’s “merely” a top-5 option rather than a top 1-2.
We aren’t fooled by Jennings’ big day last week. While the Raven’s secondary hasn’t been fantastic, they’ve been a sight better than the Bears of late. The only other time Jennings has scored or posted double digit points in standard leagues was against Pittsburgh in week 4, so a repeat of last week’s performance is highly unlikely. 50 yards and no score seems a much more likely scenario.
If you have to start any Vikings receiver, it should be Patterson. His role in the offense is increasing and he’s still a threat to score in the return game. His upside is much higher than that of Jennings, but he’s a real boom-or-bust risk. His 30-yard floor mean you shouldn’t use him as anything more than a flex, but we have a sneaky feeling Patterson scores this week.
Atlanta Falcons at GREEN BAY PACKERS
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Last week, Lacy struggled against the Lions’ ferocious front seven. But that’s been the case with almost every running back facing the Lions’ ferocious all season. The Falcons have not been impressive defending the run all season, and Lacy will continue to be the centrepiece of the offense in Rodgers’ absence. Over 100 total yards and a score should be a given, and Lacy is a borderline top-5 RB option this week.
Rodgers’ absence has torpedoed Nelson’s value to his fantasy owners, with neither Matt Flynn nor Scott Tolzien able to get on the same page as “White Lightning”. He’s now squarely in WR2 territory at best, and you shouldn’t go in expecting more than around 70 yards. If you have an option like Harry Douglas in the same game, it’s not a crazy thought to bench Jordy.
Jones has been getting closer and closer to breaking off one of his patented long play TDs. We think it might happen this week, with the Falcons focusing on stopping Lacy and the running game. Like any Packers player, he’s a risky start, but if you’re an underdog and need a high upside play, there are worse options than Jones.
DETROIT LIONS at Philadelphia Eagles
The Eagles defense has stiffened in recent weeks. In spite of that, Stafford is still our top ranked QB this week, and we like him for over 300 yards and 3 scores. With the weapons he has at his disposal and his O-line playing at a high level, the sky is the limit for Stafford, and we like him as the top scoring QB for week 14.
Let’s be honest – if Bush suits up, you’re playing him. But he’ll lose work this week, and expectations should be tempered to a certain degree at least. Bush is still worth a spot in your line-up, but we have him closer to a low-end RB1 / high-end RB2 than his usual top-5 status. Of course, we’ve been wrong before.
Hands up if you knew Bell was the 16th highest scoring RB in standard leagues? That’s more an indictment on the position than Bell’s production which has been spotty at best, but with Bush nicked up this week there’s a perfect opportunity to play him. We like Bell to put up over 80 yards, and he’s a good bet to score. He’s a good RB2 this week.
#1 WR. Defense giving up most points to opposing WRs. There’s a very real chance Calvin sets some records this week.
Dallas Cowboys at CHICAGO BEARS
Make no mistake, McCown is a QB1 this week. He’s performed terrifically well in each of his performances, and this week he gets the defense giving up the most points to opposing fantasy WRs. Throw in that he has great weapons and a stout O-line and there’s really not a lot not to like about McCown this week. He will help owners win playoff games this weekend.
The Cowboys are giving up most fantasy points to opposing RBs – notice a theme here? Forte has the third most scrimmage yards in the league this season, and ought to feast on the Cowboys’ spongy defense. He’s our number 2 ranked running back this week, and anything less than 120 total yards and a score will be a big disappointment.
Marshall had a bad game last week. He likely won’t again this week against a Cowboys secondary which has been torn up all season, giving up the most yards to wide receivers out of any team in the league. Marshall is a lock for over 100 yards, and is a virtual certainty for a score.
Jeffery has had an incredible season, but it’s been slightly inconsistent. This matchup could be one of the few where he and Marshall have productive games at the same time. Were it not against the Cowboys, chances are that Jeffery would be a prime candidate for a huge letdown game. But a generous secondary means he should see at least 80 yards, and he has a good chance to score also.
We think Bennett has a chance to record his first back-to-back scoring games since weeks 1 and 2. He’s fallen away from “must start” status after a very strong start to the season, but there are worse plays than The Black Unicorn this week. He’s still a low-end TE1, and should have at least 60 receiving yards.