Fantasy football start/sit advice, Week 14

Thomas Campbell-USA TODAY Sports

The fantasy playoffs have arrived for some leagues. We break down the fantasy implications.

Here we are. Week 14 marks the beginning of the fantasy playoffs for many leagues. It's hard to believe the season is already this far along, but it's time for owners to prepare for what will hopefully be a run at a championship.

Last week's slate of games featured three stellar performances from Josh Gordon, Eric Decker and Alshon Jeffery. You're starting those guys every week at this point (although Decker had been down for several weeks). Hopefully you loaded up with reliable week-to-week players for a title run.

If you need help making a call on your first playoff lineup, or if you're trying to clinch a spot in the last week of your regular season, take a look at these names to see who you should start, and who you need to bench for Week 14.

Start

Quarterback

Nick Foles (vs. Lions): Facing Matt Flynn helped pad the Lions stats a bit, but don't forget how awful their secondary has been all year. Detroit has given up multiple passing touchdowns in seven games. Foles is on a roll, coming off another three-score game. Start him if you've got him.

Josh McCown (vs. Cowboys): For the most part, McCown has been solid filling in for Jay Cutler. He gets another start this week, facing a Cowboys defense that has allowed eight quarterbacks to score at least 18 points.

Joe Flacco (vs. Vikings): Flacco and the Ravens passing game has been inconsistent, but you can't deny this matchup. The Vikings are allowing over 20 points per matchup to opposing quarterbacks over the last eight games. There's no better time to start Flacco.

Running back

Le'Veon Bell (vs. Dolphins): After a nasty collision on Thanksgiving, Bell is back to practicing in full. He was outstanding against the Ravens last week, and now he faces the No. 26 defense in points allowed to running backs. Barring some unforeseen setback, he should be in every lineup.

Montee Ball (vs. Titans): Sticking with rooking running backs, Ball eclipsed the 100-yard mark against the Chiefs for the first time in his career. He's getting more reps, and now he's facing a Titans defense that has given up 14 touchdowns to running backs. Expect Ball to find the end zone.

Rashard Mendenhall (vs. Rams): Andre Ellington is back at practice, but regardless of his status, Mendenhall still has a great matchup. The Rams have allowed a running back to score in four straight games. They've allowed 12 rushing touchdowns to running backs in 2013. Mendenhall should be able to score.

Wide receiver

Riley Cooper (vs. Lions): Keep in mind what was mentioned above for the Lions secondary. The unit ranks No. 26 in pass defense, and that's after Flynn threw for only 139 yards. Cooper cooled off the last two games, but he has a great chance to catch fire again facing this porous group.

Julian Edelman (vs. Browns): Back-to-back 100-yard games should convince all owners to start Edelman in Week 14. The Patriots are giving him an expanded role, and he's making the most of it. Aaron Dobson and Kenbrell Thompkins are dealing with injuries, so if they don't play, that means even more snaps/targets for Edelman.

Michael Floyd (vs. Rams): His last three games: 18 receptions, 396 yards, two touchdowns. Not bad. Now becoming a consistent weapon of Carson Palmer's, Floyd faces a middle-of-the-road Rams secondary that let him catch four passes for 82 yards in Week 1. Those numbers should be beaten.

Tight end

Jared Cook (at Cardinals): Arizona has no idea how to defend against tight ends. Honestly, it's hard to tell if this defense even knows the position exists. The Cardinals allowed another THREE touchdowns to Eagles tight ends in Week 13. You're probably safe playing any starting tight end against them.

Brandon Myers (at Chargers): Back-to-back weeks with a touchdown could be a fluke, but maybe Eli realizes he has a valuable tight end who actually deserves more targets each game. The Chargers allowed a touchdown to tight ends in three of the last four games.

Ladarius Green (vs. Giants): Green has posted three solid performances in a row, and he needs to be taken seriously, especially with the lack of depth at tight end this year. Antonio Gates limits his value, but the young tight end is obviously a dynamic weapon that Philip Rivers is taking note of. Plus, the Giants allowed three scores to his position over the last two games.

Sit

Quarterback

Ben Roethlisberger (vs. Dolphins): Miami hasn't allowed a quarterback to throw for multiple touchdowns since Week 4 (against Drew Brees). While Big Ben is finding a rhythm late in the year, it's tough to expect the same production against a secondary that has been stellar as of late.

Eli Manning (at Chargers): We can throw out all sorts of stats, but when it comes down to the fantasy playoffs, how can you trust Eli leading your team? Even with a good matchup last week, he threw for 235 yards, one touchdown and a pick against Washington. He hasn't finished with a 300-yard game since Week 5.

Andrew Luck (at Bengals): Luck has two touchdowns and five picks over the last four games. Playing outdoors isn't his strong suite. The Bengals rank No. 7 in fewest points allowed to quarterbacks. Shall we go on?

Running back

Frank Gore (vs. Seahawks): Nine carries, 16 yards. That was Gore's stat line against the Seahawks back in Week 2. Seattle is No. 13 in the league in run defense, but after holding the Saints to 2.6 yards per carry, it appears to be a wise decision to sit Gore on this time around.

Pierre Thomas (vs. Panthers): He carried the ball four times and had nothing to show for it. Now Thomas faces the No. 2 run defense in the league. If you're a PPR owner, he'll still catch four or five passes, but the Panthers front seven is stout and will likely keep Thomas in check. You can find a better option at RB.

Rashad Jennings (at Jets): The Jets have only allowed one team to pass 100 yards rushing in a game this year. It happened last week against the Dolphins. Don't expect a repeat performance. Jennings suffered a concussion in Week 13, and while he's on track to play, you can't get excited about him taking on the toughest defense for backs fantasy-wise.

Wide receiver

Marques Colston (vs. Panthers): The Panthers have allowed three touchdowns to opposing wideouts all year. Colston is extremely inconsistent, making him difficult to start regardless of the matchup. He does seem to play better at the Superdome, but that's not enough to warrant a green light for Week 14.

T.Y. Hilton (at Bengals): Every week we wait for Hilton's next breakout. It hasn't happened in three games. He finished with five receptions in each of his last three outings, failing to top the 50-yard mark every time. Now he's outdoors against the No. 9 defense in terms of points allowed to wideouts.

Golden Tate (at 49ers): He caught one pass for 19 yards against San Francisco in Week 2. Tate is another off-and-on receiver (there's a lot of that going around), and he's facing a top 10 defense for points allowed to receivers.

Tight end

Jordan Cameron (at Patriots): He just isn't producing anymore. Even with Jason Campbell back under center, there's no reason to believe Cameron will revert back to his early-season ways. He hasn't scored since Week 7. Don't continue to hold out hope.

Rob Housler (vs. Rams): Housler started to look like a promising fill-in, but his production has quickly come back down to reality. The Rams rank No. 3 overall in points allowed to tight ends. Housler should remain a prayer stash on your roster if you need him.

Charles Clay (at Steelers): Aside from their game against Gronk, the Steelers have been stout against tight ends. Clay is as inconsistent as they come, and it would be wise not to be on his matchup this week.

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