Fantasy football start/sit advice, Week 14: Vikings vs. Ravens

Rob Carr

The Ravens are on a two-game winning streak, while the Vikings are on a two-game not-losing streak. No, those aren't the same thing.

The Minnesota Vikings are 0-5-1 on the road. The Baltimore Ravens are 5-1 at home. Sunday, the two teams play, and it's in Baltimore. Sorry, Minnesota. The game takes place at 1 p.m. ET, with the Ravens needing a win to hold on to the AFC's six-seed in the playoff hunt, and the Vikings needing a loss to stay alive in its hunt for the No. 1 overall draft pick. Basically, the writing's on the wall for this one, and much of the fantasy situations follow suit:

Vikings

Start in every league: Adrian Peterson, Blair Walsh

Start if you're desperate: ...

Bench: Matt Cassel, Christian Ponder, Toby Gerhart, Cordarrelle Patterson, Jerome Simpson, Greg Jennings, John Carlson, Defense/special teams

Yes, the Ravens are one of the best teams against opposing running backs. Sure. That's awesome. If you're considering benching Peterson, you're still dumb. ... Walsh's production flagged a bit in the middle of the year, but he's bounced back lately, with at least two field goals and nine fantasy points in four straight games.

It appears Cassel will start at quarterback for Minnesota, with Ponder benched, and he has more upside, but neither one is worth even idle consideration in fantasy. ... Gerhart fell back to basically no relevance Sunday, and it seems he'll stay there. ... Maybe Patterson has a big-ish game. Maybe Simpson does, maybe Jennings does. The odds are that one very easily could. But you don't know which, and you don't need to be staking your fantasy playoffs on that choice. ... Carlson has averaged 7.5 fantasy points a game since Kyle Rudolph got hurt; that would rank seventh among tight ends if he did it all season. Still, he was barely in the league before that. You can't count on him. ... The Vikings' defense literally has one total point since Week 7. That's insanely bad.

Ravens

Start in every league: Ray Rice, Torrey Smith, Justin Tucker, Defense/special teams

Start if you're desperate: Joe Flacco

Bench: Bernard Pierce, Marlon Brown, Jacoby Jones, Ed Dickson, Dallas Clark

It's been a wildly frustrating year for Rice owners; he's only missed one game, but has averaged barely over seven fantasy points a game when he's played. Still, he's getting the touches, and the Vikings' defense is terrible; he could have a good bounce-back game. ... Smith has scored at least seven points in five straight, and in 10 of 12 games this season. Again, the Vikings don't really stop anyone. ... Tucker has averaged almost 15 fantasy points a game in his last three, and hasn't missed a field goal since Week 2. He's been incredibly good. ... The Ravens' defense was shut out against Pittsburgh on Thanksgiving, but had 15 the week before and has been on the edge of the top 10 all season. Facing a terrible quarterback, it should be fine.

Flacco has averaged only 12.4 fantasy points per game this season; that number falls to 10.25 in his last four. Facing Minnesota's defense bumps him up to a high-end QB2, but you can't vault him much higher than that.

After 23 fantasy points in Weeks 2 and 3 combined, Pierce has barely averaged two since. He's unusable. ... Also unusable are Brown, Jones, Dickson and Clark, who have combined for two big games total in the last two months.

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