Thursday, December 8, 2011

Fantasy Fragments: Who to Start for Week 14

Bigger surprise: The 49ers incredible season, or the fact that a Mike Shanahan RB can be considered a "safe play?"
Written by: Jon Gale

Six players screaming “START ME” for Fantasy Football Week 14:

Philip Rivers, SD- Oddly enough, December seems to be a month that keeps on giving for Rivers and his fantasy owners, as it has been a month in which he has compiled a 19-2 record since taking over every week duties in 2006. Although I predicted him to further extend his abysmal season last week, Malcolm Floyd’s healthy reemergence seemed to take him back to the days of 2010 in which he compiled 30 TD’s and over 4700 yards. Look for him to have another useful week as he goes against a Buffalo defense that has been the 12th friendliest to opposing QB’s. Proj. 24-37, 315 yards, 2 TD’s.

Tony Romo, DAL- I’m not going to lie, if I had to choose a quarterback to build a team around, I’m not sure Romo would be in my top 10. With that being said, and despite the number of times Romo will get knocked around in this game, I still expect a profitable game from him as the Giants D is giving up just short of 4 scores per game (26.25/game) and is dealing with several injuries to their defensive line. With the driver’s seat of the division on the line, look for Tony to find the way to our hearts once more in this epic clash of borderline elite quarterbacks on Sunday night.
Proj. 27-39, 295, 3 TD’s.

Roy Helu, WAS- Just when we thought we had finally pegged Shanahan’s shenanigans, he throws us completely off by holding true to his word about his backfield plans. Helu garnered 27 touches last week (23 rushing, 4 receiving) and totaled 142 yards with a score to follow up his 162 yards-and-score performance against Seattle in week 12. Expect him to be a little more involved in the passing game this week as New England will likely have Washington on the ropes by the third quarter. Proj. 16 carries, 72 yards, 8 receptions, 64 yards, 1 TD.

Antonio Brown, PIT- With Mike Wallace in line to get a large dose of Joe Haden, look for Brown to reap the benefits of the open space provided by the TJ Ward-less Browns secondary. Although Brown has only topped 5 receptions twice on the season, he is making the most of his touches averaging 15.5 yards/reception. Look for him to reach the century mark this week with a possible score while Wallace occupies “lockdown Joe.” Proj. 6 receptions, 115 yards, 1 TD.

Julio Jones, ATL- In a matchup that has extreme potential of fantasy goodness, a healthy Julio is almost a sure bet for 8+ targets against the felines of Carolina. Look for Atlanta to try to get a quick start on Carolina through the air, involving the rookie in the passing game early. Assuming he stays injury free, this could be a nice rebound game for Mr. Jones. Proj. 5 receptions, 85 yards, 1 TD.

Jermaine Gresham, CIN- I’m not sure why I‘ve yet to succumb to selecting Rob Gronkowski every week at TE. However, I will humor you and roll the dice on Gresham instead. With many owners suffering the loss of a consistent TE this week (insert Fred Davis rant), Gresham poses the potential for a fruitful day at the office versus the Texans. While Houston currently sits as the 3rd best defense among fantasy TE’s, look for Dalton to target Gresham a few times in the red zone in hopes to get on the scoreboard. Who are these Bengals anyways? Proj. 5 receptions, 54 yards, 1 TD.


  1. Hey Gale... interesting. I actually went out and picked up Winslow this week specifically so I wouldn't have to start Gresham vs. the Texans. Now you have me second-guessing. Would you really start Gresh over Winslow this week, or is this more of a "you lost your TE, here's one to consider." Unless you're very convincing, I think I'd stick with Winslow this week over him.

  2. While I'm at it... the hardest decision for me so far this year facing me this week... Darrius Heyward-Bey vs. Deion Branch as a flex play. I am absolutely terrified to pick either of them, but I will have to go with one. I'm leaning Branch, but don't ask me why. Every other fantasy site you go to offers completely different advice on these two. I refuse to be fooled by DHB's "positive" matchup against GB.

  3. I might still go DHB, Casey, as his targets continue to be up since the injury to Moore-with only 2.5 receiving options in Oakland, he might be an "accuracy by volume" start.

  4. Green Bay gives up a ton of garbage time points. That's about all I can say for Heyward-Bey.

  5. I would stick with Winslow, Casey. He has a pretty favorable matchup with Jacksonville. However, it could get dicey if Freeman misses again. Josh Johnson is clearly more interested in running the football than playing the QB position as the NFL dictates. As for the WR's, I would go with Branch. DHB is very unpredictable. He had a great showing one week, and then barely saw the field the next week. Branch is the best WR option in New England, and aside from Gronk, he will probably receive a greater number of targets than DHB. For the record, a statistical projection source I use has them ranked at 42 and 45 WRs this week, with Branch as the 42.

  6. For the record, pretty happy with my Antonio Brown pick, haha.

  7. Thanks for the thoughts guys. Gee, how great it is to see your WRs ranked in the 40's in most major fantasy projections!

  8. Don't be too depressed! At least you weren't the proud owner of BOTH Adrian Peterson and Matt Forte before they both went down with injury during the critical stretch of the season!

  9. No, but he is the proud owner of Andre Johnson! (Note: So am I in my pay league)

  10. Yeah... So glad I never found a trade for him (although I tried vigorously prior to Schaub's injury).

  11. No, I'm just the proud owner of Andre Johnson, Marques Colston, Ahmad Bradshaw, Chris Johnson (thank God I miraculously survived the regular season so I can benefit from his apparent 'resurgence'), and Peyton Manning (okay, probably asked for it on that one).

  12. Yeah, I did too... in the second round. He was followed by Vincent Jackson, Mike Williams, and Austin Collie. Needless to say, it's fairly impressive that I even made the playoffs lol.