Week 14 Startability Index (Start ‘Em/Sit ‘Em)

The Startability Index is a slight spin on your usual Start/Sit advice. I mostly take reader/Twitter follower requests for players, and sprinkle in some extra guys worth covering.

Players are assigned a “Startability” number from 1-10 based on their value for that week. That way you can take two guys worth starting, and see which one is the more valuable start. At least based on my projection. If two guys you’re debating between have the same score, you can either ask me, and the TFG readership for a deciding vote, or go old fashioned and use your gut.


Andy Dalton vs. Dallas (5): Dalton is coming off a lackluster fantasy performance and just doesn’t have the depth of weaponry to be a real fantasy stud at this point.  Based on the matchup, look for Cincinnati to pound it on the ground all day.

Colin Kaepernick vs. Miami (6): Jim Harbaugh is sticking with Kaepernick and you should too.  The young quarterback’s ability to throw (and run) it down the field vs. the Dolphins 27th ranked pass defense is too tempting an advantage to pass up.

Tony Romo at Cincinnati (7): Keep riding the hot arm of Romo. Unless 744 passing yards and six touchdowns the past two weeks isn’t hot enough for you?

Matt Ryan at Carolina (8): Struggled last week, but has four 300-yard (and one 400-yard performance in the past several weeks.  Ryan’s Week 4 numbers against the Panthers were 369 yards. 3 TD and 1 INT. Not too shabby.

Russell Wilson vs. Arizona (7): Love Wilson at home coming off the best game of his career in Chicago. The Seahawks passing game is not explosive but Wilson makes up for those points on the ground.

Running Backs

Vick Ballard vs. Tennessee (6): Ballard is coming off his first touchdown of the season and continues to run well. Owners will be happy to learn that Donald Brown has already been ruled out this week.

Bryce Brown at Tampa Bay (6): Brown is pretty much the hottest fantasy player these days. But the Bucs have not allowed a 100-yard rusher since Week 8.  Given his explosiveness and recent numbers, Brown remains a solid start – just temper expectations, especially on the road.

BenJarvus Green-Ellis (8): The Law Firm has quietly put up three 100-plus yard games in a row. The Cowboys have allowed three 100-plus yard rushers in a row. (Well, Trent Richardson technically had 95 during Week 11, but close enough.)

Shonn Greene at Jacksonville (7): Watch for the Jets de-emphasis on the passing game to continue, and for Green to get close to the 24 carries he had last week. Jacksonville is 31st in rushing defense.

Darren McFadden vs. Denver (3): McFadden makes his return tonight, a phrase many fantasy writers have been itching to type. But owners should take a wait-and-see approach given the length of McFadden injury and emergence of Marcel Reece. In other words, the workload could be limited.

Marcel Reece vs. Denver (5): The mystery of McFadden (namely, his workload) makes Reece more of a risky play. Look for a decent number of carries, and for Reece’s continued workload as a receiver.

Jacquizz Rodgers at Carolina (4): Rodgers is a fun change-of-pace to Michael Turner but owners need to realize he is still a bona fide seconder stringer. Your proof?  Rodgers has no more than 60 rushing yards in any game and only 2 TDs (one rushing, one receiving) on the season.

Wide Receivers

Danario Alexander at Pittsburgh (7): The Steelers are a tough matchup but should be without CB Ike Taylor. Alexander has put up good numbers against other top secondaries (Ravens and Broncos).

Chris Givens at Buffalo (7): Number is based on Amendola being out. If Amendola plays, Givens gets downgraded to a (5) and is best as a flex. Either way he will get some targets after developing nice chemistry with Sam Bradford.

Josh Gordon vs. Kansas City (6): Gordon is coming off a career game (116, TD), and has a decent matchup. But his numbers have been inconsistent and you never know when the entire Browns offense will be stymied – even by Kansas City.

T.Y. Hilton vs. Tennessee (6): Hilton’s number are inconsistent – 33 yards sandwiched in between 100-yard games – but he has three touchdowns in his last three games.  With Luck’s hot arm and Tennessee’s bottom of the barrel pass defense (24 passing touchdown allowed), Hilton should have a respectable day.

James Jones vs. Detroit (5): Rodgers loves throwing to Jones in the end zone.  But his overall targets are too low to recommend Jones any higher than a WR3/Flex.

Mario Manningham vs. Miami (2): Manningham’s inclusion is more of a bulletin that he sat out of practice Wednesday with a shoulder injury and is questionable or Sunday. Even if Manningham plays Sunday the 49ers playbook is too unpredictable these days to recommend a start.

Roddy White at Carolina (6): Owners should be a little cautious of White due to his inconsistent numbers, including just one catch last week. But Brady Quinn won an AFC Player of the Week award against this Panthers defense so there should be plenty of chances for Atlanta and Roddy White.

Tight Ends

Martellus Bennett vs. New Orleans (7): Bennett Is coming off his best game of the season (82 yards, TD), and looking to be an important target for Eli manning as he tries to to get his groove back.  New Orleans has given up seven touchdowns to opposing tight ends, 

Owen Daniels at New England (5): New England has given up a lot of fantasy points to tight ends, but because Daniels keeps losing targets to fellow TE Garrett Graham, he’s a risky play.  The back issue seems to be lingering.

Greg Olsen vs. Carolina (6): Like most tight ends, Olsen’s numbers are inconsistent. But given that he put up 89 yards and a touchdown in the first meeting with Atlanta, and there may be plenty of garbage point time, Olsen’s a smart Week 14 play.

Jacob Tamme at Oakland (6): Tamme is coming off his best two games of the season so forget his 5 catch, 38-yard performance against the Raiders earlier this season. Oakland is one of the worst defenses vs. opposing tight ends.