Fantasy football sit/start advice, Week 14

Scott Cunningham

The playoffs are starting for the majority of leagues. We break down the fantasy implications.

We've finally reached that time of the year again. The fantasy playoffs kick off this week for most leagues, so hopefully you're not hurting too bad with injuries by this point.

Bryce Brown became one of the most added players over the last two weeks after tearing up two different defenses. His fumbles might be an issue, but that shouldn't deter owners from utilizing his potential. There are still a few players out there, like Brown, available for pickup right away.

With a crucial weekend ahead, let's take a look at who you need to start in Week 14, and who needs to find a spot on the bench.

Start:

Andrew Luck, quarterback - He only plays well on the road, right? Luck threw for a career-high four touchdowns at Detroit last week, racking up 391 yards in the process of making a huge comeback on the Lions. The Titans have allowed the second-most passing touchdowns in 2012. Luck should be in for another huge day here.

Bryce Brown, running back - Look at Brown's numbers over the past two weeks and tell me you don't want him in your lineup. A combined 347 rushing yards and four touchdowns should be a good enough resume to warrant a start against any matchup right now. The Buccaneers are strong against the run, but Brown's torrid pace is enough to keep you feeling confident. LeSean McCoy still hasn't passed his concussion test. He hasn't been officially ruled out, though it appears Brown will be starting again. His big-play ability can payoff for your playoff hopes.

Michael Crabtree, wide receiver - In four games since his bye week, Crabtree only let his owners down once with a 26-yard outing against the Saints. Last week he returned to prominence, catching seven passes for 101 yards. His rapport with Colin Kaepernick is improving, and he should be able to exploit Miami's weaker secondary in Week 14. PPR owners should certainly feel comfortable starting him.

Dennis Pitta, tight end - Two of Pitta's last three games were appalling. Those two games also happened to come against the Steelers defense, so don't worry yourself with those low outputs. Pitta faces a Redskins defense this week that has allowed the most receptions to opposing tight ends this season, along with eight touchdowns. His fantasy status jumps back up this weekend.

Browns defense/special teams - Cleveland's defense ranks in the middle of the road in several categories. While this D/ST isn't anything exciting for fantasy owners, their matchup against Kansas City should be beneficial. If you need a spot start for your lineup, give the Browns a look.

Sit:

Christian Ponder, quarterback - I'm not sure who is still starting Ponder, but those owners are likely out of the playoffs. He threw for just 159 yards against Chicago two weeks ago, and his potential isn't looking promising against them again in Week 14. Percy Harvin is now on injured reserve. The Vikings don't possess another big playmaker in the passing game. Please find another option at quarterback for your lineup.

Reggie Bush, running back - San Francisco gave up 187 rushing yards over the last three games. Bush's numbers improved in his last two performances, but his timeshare with Daniel Thomas still limits his upside. Add in the fact that the Niners have given up two rushing touchdowns to opposing backs all season, and it looks like a good time to find a replacement for Bush.

Steve Smith, wide receiver - Smith exploded for 120 yards and a touchdown last week against the Chiefs. However, the Falcons defense plans on keeping him contained like they did in Week 4, limiting Smith to just three receptions for 52 yards. Atlanta's defense hasn't allowed an opposing wideout to score in three games. This secondary is a little banged up, but the Falcons are stepping up against the pass. You might not bench one of your top WRs, but if you're stacked at receivers, consider subbing Smith out.

Antonio Gates, tight end - The Steelers allowed just four touchdowns to opposing tight ends in the first 13 weeks. They also average giving up just 39.25 yards to this position. Gates fell from elite fantasy status this year, and the Chargers offense isn't doing him any favors. Find another tight end.

Texans defense/special teams - Houston only allows 18.4 points per game. That's nice and all, but the Patriots average scoring 35.8 points per game, best in the league. It's not looking good for the Texans D/ST. You can find a better matchup.

For more fantasy info, head over to the SB Nation Fantasy War Room 4-8:30 p.m. ET Monday through Thursday and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Sunday. Check out SB Nation's own Fantasy Football game, Pick 6!

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