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Fantasy football start/sit advice, Week 14: Cowboys vs. Bears

Week 14 wraps up with the Dallas Cowboys facing the Chicago Bears for Monday Night Football. We take a look at the fantasy implications.

Ronald Martinez

The match between the Dallas Cowboys and Chicago Bears will be an interesting one. Monday Night Football may be an offensive showcase, but both teams have struggling defenses. Of course, many football fans will be keeping their eye on quarterback Tony Romo. At this point, Romo's December struggles have been well documented. It's likely you're hearing all about him right now. Romo will look to improve upon his 11-15 December record beginning Monday night.

The Bears will be no easy task for Romo and company. The Bears are averaging just over 22 points per game in the absence of starting quarterback Jay Cutler. It's worth noting that both teams could possibly be playing in single-digit weather. The Bears are more conditioned for cold weather than the Cbwboys, but Chicago's lowly defense may have difficulty stopping Dallas' third best scoring offense. Of course, fantasy owners will be watching Monday's game intently as the fantasy playoffs enter the picture for many leagues around the country. As usual, we're here to discuss what owners can expect from the final game of the week.


Tony Romo: Romo will be facing a fairly tough Chicago defense, at least from a fantasy perspective. Chicago has given up the 10th fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks this season. Because Chicago is vulnerable to the running game, there is a risk that the Cowboys could run the ball all night. In fact, fantasy owners were likely discouraged with Romo's Week 13 performance against Oakland because DeMarco Murray churned out three rushing touchdowns, leaving Romo with just 225 passing yards and one touchdown. Regardless, Romo always has the potential for QB1 numbers. He'll be a low-end QB1 for fantasy owners on Monday.

Running backs: DeMarco Murray enters RB1 territory in Week 14 against a generous Chicago defense. The Bears are giving up the fifth-most points to fantasy running backs this season. Murray is in store for a big day and should be started with confidence.

Wide receivers: The Bears may be able to create turnovers against quarterbacks, but that doesn't mean they will completely stop receivers. They're average in limiting fantasy wide receivers, and Dez Bryant is an above average fantasy option on a weekly basis. The Bears just gave up 78 yards and a touchdown to Greg Jennings in Week 13. It's hard to imagine them shutting down a player like Bryant. Start him as the high-end WR1 that he is.

As easy as it is to recommend staring Bryant, there isn't much certainty for the rest of his fellow wide receivers. Miles Austin has just two receptions for 35 yards since he returned in Week 12. Terrance Williams isn't faring much better and is arguably declining in productivity since Austin's return. It'd be best to avoid starting either receiver with fantasy playoffs on the line.

Tight ends: At the moment, it seems as if Dallas' true No. 2 receiver is tight end Jason Witten. He's averaging around six targets per game over the past four games. However, he's been very touchdown dependent lately, averaging just 39 yards over the past three weeks. Still, his ability to get into the end zone on any given week makes him a mid-range TE1 in Week 14.

Defense/ Special teams: As we mentioned earlier, the Bears are averaging 22 points per game in the absence of Jay Cutler. They haven't scored less than 18 points all season. Dallas will have difficulty shutting down Chicago's offense, especially in Soldier Field. They certainly aren't the worst defense you could start. However, there are simply must better options with your playoffs at stake.


Josh McCown: It looks as if McCown will be the Bears signal-caller another week with Jay Cutler sidelined yet again. He's been a great start over the past two weeks, totaling 707 yards, four touchdowns, and one interception. Week 14 welcomes another great match up for McCown. The Cowboys are giving up the 2nd most fantasy points to quarterbacks this season. He's a borderline top-10 start with upside.

Running backs: Dallas is giving up the most fantasy points to running backs. Matt Forte is an absolute must-start RB1. He's averaging top-five numbers all season. In PPR leagues, Forte is an even more dominant option. Forte owners will be starting him as they look to progress through their fantasy playoffs.

Wide receivers: After Alshon Jeffery's absurd Week 13 numbers (12/249/2), owners of Brandon Marshall may be a bit concerned. In a way, Jeffery's surge of production should be welcomed by Marshall owners. It will be interesting to see how Dallas will handle the two talented receivers. Marshall is a clear cut WR1 against Dallas' vulnerable secondary. Jeffery will teeter between WR1 and WR2 territory for the remainder of the season. Start both with confidence on Monday.

Tight ends: The Cowboys give up a lot of fantasy points to tight ends, but Martellus Bennett will still be a low-end TE1 at best in Week 14. Bennett has scored just one touchdown over the past eight weeks. He's averaged 48 yards during that same time frame. If you're hoping for around 50 yards from your tight end, Bennett will likely get you those yards. He's better than most TE2 options out there, but he won't explode in production often.

Defense/ Special teams: Chicago's defense is owned in 85 percent of Yahoo! leagues at the moment. It isn't entirely shocking that owners refuse to give up on the 2012 stud fantasy defense. The reality is that Chicago is averaging well outside top-10 numbers in 2013. To top it off, Dallas is giving up the third-fewest fantasy points to opposing defenses. Because they are owned in so many leagues, it's worth pointing out that Chicago's defense should be benched if owners can afford to do it.

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