Fantasy Football Week 14 Start ‘Em, Sit ‘Em

Start ‘Em

Ray Rice, Baltimore Ravens

Rice had a big performance against the Bears a couple of weeks ago—the last-ranked run defense in football—and he draws another weak opponent in the Minnesota Vikings this Sunday. Minnesota is the third-worst team in fantasy against running backs, so patient and loyal Rice owners should be rewarded with 100 yards and a touchdown again.

DeMarco Murray, Dallas Cowboys

Speaking of those Bears, Murray is coming off his three-touchdown performance on Thanksgiving Day and getting that dream matchup in the first week of the fantasy postseason. The Bears have been ripped on the ground by a 100-yard rusher in each of the past five games, including a season-high 211 yards to Adrian Peterson last Sunday. It is the reason the Bears are the second-worst team in fantasy against running backs.

C.J. Spiller, Buffalo Bills

He might not be 100 percent from his early-season ankle issues, but he is getting better and is coming off a season-high 149 yards. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have allowed just two rushing touchdowns all season, but the Bills are going to be stubborn with the run. The only instances an opponent rushed for more than 15 times on the Bucs, it gained over 100 yards. It takes a stubborn running team to beat the Bucs run defense, so we expect Spiller to eventually pop one, like he did a week ago. He is the much better play over Fred Jackson.

Rashard Mendenhall, Arizona Cardinals

Andre Ellington (knee) missed last week and is not 100 percent, so expect the game plan to feature Mendenhall, particularly inside the 10. The St. Louis Rams have given up the fourth-most points to fantasy running backs, so we expect Mendenhall to crack 60 yards and a touchdown at home, where he has scored four touchdowns in his five games played there this year.

Willis McGahee, Cleveland Browns

The New England Patriots have been approaching the Bears’ basement level against the run of late—they are 31st in the NFL—and the Browns’ McGahee is coming off 71 combined yards and a touchdown. Jason Campbell is back under center for the Browns, so we should expect a conservative game plan and a healthy dose of McGahee once the Browns get inside the five. McGahee won’t be a great option, but he’s headed for 60 yards and a touchdown like Mendenhall.

Sit ‘Em

Rashad Jennings, Oakland Raiders

Jennings has not been cleared from his concussion, according to the San Francisco Chronicle‘s Vic Tafur. Further, he will be facing the New York Jets run defense, No. 1 in football, on the road in an early game. West Coast teams notoriously struggle in 1 p.m. ET games in the East. Jennings will be a subpar play if active, so find a replacement for him now.

Darren Sproles, Pierre Thomas and Mark Ingram, New Orleans Saints

The Panthers have allowed the third-fewest points to fantasy running backs this season, which includes just four touchdowns. Only the Bengals and Cardinals have allowed fewer touchdowns to backs this season. You might consider using Sproles in PPR leagues, but the 30-year-old fantasy bust couldn’t prove to be a fantasy factor Monday against the Seahawks. He is headed for fewer than five fantasy points in standard leagues again.

Donald Brown and Trent Richardson, Indianapolis Colts

Speaking of those Bengals, the Colts have a tough task to try to get their running game started on the road in Cincy. The Bengals haven’t given up a rushing touchdown to a running back since Week 3 or a touchdown of any kind since Week 4. Brown and his now-backup Richardson are impossible to trust in this tough matchup.

Stevan Ridley, LeGarrette Blount and Brandon Bolden, New England Patriots

No one knows for sure exactly how the Pats backs will split carries on a weekly basis, so consider receiving back Shane Vereen the only useful play of the lot at this point. Also, the Browns defense has been in the top five against the run, allowing just 98.9 yards per game. Even if you expect a Patriots blowout here, you would be playing running back roulette by guessing which back gets the carries and fantasy numbers.

Bobby Rainey, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Despite the fact the Bills have given up five touchdowns to running backs in the past three weeks, this is a much better defensive front than the numbers suggest. Outside of those five touchdowns, the Bills have allowed just two more touchdowns the rest of the season. Sure, they are trending the wrong way of late, but so is Rainey after his Week 11 breakthrough. Rainey looks headed for 20 carries for 55 yards in our eyes, which would make him a huge bust in crunch time. Put your trust in a better player in a crucial week. 

Week 14 Running Backs Rankings—Eric Mack
1 DeMarco Murray Dal at Chi 4 +3
2 Jamaal Charles KC at Was 1 -1
3 Adrian Peterson Min at Bal 3 0
4 Matt Forte Chi vs. Dal 2 -2
5 LeSean McCoy Phi vs. Det 9 +4
6 Ray Rice Bal vs. Min 17 +11
7 C.J. Spiller Buf at TB 22 +15
8 Reggie Bush Det at Phi 10 +2
9 Eddie Lacy GB vs. Atl 5 -4
10 Knowshon Moreno Den vs. Ten 6 -4
11 Marshawn Lynch Sea at SF 7 -4
12 Shane Vereen NE vs. Cle 15 +3
13 Frank Gore SF vs. Sea 20 +7
14 Le’Veon Bell Pit vs. Mia 11 -3
15 Alfred Morris Was vs. KC 13 -2
16 Chris Johnson Ten at Den 14 -2
17 Zac Stacy StL at Ari 19 +2
18 Ben Tate Hou at Jac 12 -6
19 Andre Brown NYG at SD 8 -11
20 Steven Jackson Atl at GB 21 +1
21 Giovani Bernard Cin vs. Ind 23 +2
22 Chris Ivory NYJ vs. Oak 28 +6
23 Rashard Mendenhall Ari vs. StL 29 +6
24 Ryan Mathews SD vs. NYG 30 +6
25 Danny Woodhead SD vs. NYG 31 +6
26 Willis McGahee Cle at NE 42 +16
27 Montee Ball Den vs. Ten 33 +6
28 Darren Sproles NO vs. Car 36 +8
29 Rashad Jennings Oak at NYJ 26 -3
30 Donald Brown Ind at Cin 27 -3
31 Maurice Jones-Drew Jac vs. Hou 16 -15
32 Lamar Miller Mia at Pit 25 -7
33 Joique Bell Det at Phi 34 +1
34 Bobby Rainey TB vs. Buf 18 -16
35 LeGarrette Blount NE vs. Cle 38 +3
36 Fred Jackson Buf at TB 24 -12
37 BenJarvus Green-Ellis Cin vs. Ind 35 -2
38 Chris Ogbonnaya Cle at NE 39 +1
39 DeAngelo Williams Car at NO 41 +2
40 Mike Tolbert Car at NO 43 +3
41 Bernard Pierce Bal vs. Min 48 +7
42 James Starks GB vs. Atl 59 +17
43 Stevan Ridley NE vs. Cle 47 +4
44 Jonathan Stewart Car at NO 44 0
45 Trent Richardson Ind at Cin 53 +8
46 Brandon Bolden NE vs. Cle 45 -1
47 Peyton Hillis NYG at SD 55 +8
48 Roy Helu Was vs. KC 57 +9
49 Dennis Johnson Hou at Jac 52 +3
50 Kendall Hunter SF vs. Sea 71 +21
51 Pierre Thomas NO vs. Car 32 -19
52 Bilal Powell NYJ vs. Oak 40 -12
53 Benny Cunningham StL at Ari 54 +1
54 Jacquizz Rodgers Atl at GB 51 -3
55 Shonn Greene Ten at Den 50 -5
56 Mark Ingram NO vs. Car 56 0
57 Bryce Brown Phi vs. Det 61 +4
58 Robert Turbin Sea at SF 74 +16
59 Michael Bush Chi vs. Dal 62 +3
60 Knile Davis KC at Was 65 +5
61 Brian Leonard TB vs. Buf 64 +3

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