Fantasy playoffs are either beginning now or starting next week. So it's crunch time in fantasy land, which means you need solid picks everywhere. So, more then ever, this column is, as all the others are, gospel.
Who to Start:
QB Nick Foles (PHI) vs. DET: He's been incredibly impressive all season, even if you throw away the no interceptions stat. That streak will end at some point, but Foles' overall streak of great games probably won't against the usually porous Lions defense. This game has the makings of a shootout, and Foles stands to benefit.
RB DeMarco Murray (DAL) vs. CHI MON: Things are really starting to break his way, as evidenced by his romp on Thanksgiving. The Bears defense is really struggling right now, especially against the run, so Murray could have another monster outing.
WR Vincent Jackson (TB) vs. BUF: Despite being a disappointment in most respects recently, how could you bench him against Buffalo, who have been awful defending the pass all season?
WR Torrey Smith (BAL) vs. MIN: Inconsistent but effective is the phrase I'd used to describe Smith's recent performances. The Vikings are pretty banged up on the back end, while also being naturally bad at defending the pass, so Smith could have a big game.
TE Jared Cook (STL) vs. ARZ: He's been such a frustrating fantasy player this season with both amazing highs and crushing lows. He'll probably get closer to the highs this week, on the back of his Week 1 performance against Arizona and the Cardinals general problem in defending TE's.
DEF New England vs. CLE: I have absolutely no idea who will be starting for Cleveland at QB, which is an instant must-start for any fantasy owner of the Pats D.
Who to Sit:
QB Andrew Luck (IND) vs. CIN: Since the bye week, he's been generally pretty bad in terms of stats. Two things are working against him on Sunday: One is that the Bengals defense is almost unbeatable at home, especially against the pass, and the weather forecast doesn't bode well for anyone trying to throw the ball.
RB Ryan Mathews (SD) vs. NYG: His fantasy points have been dropping of late, and it doesn't help that he's going up against a Giants rush defense that has been much better against the run than you might expect.
WR Marques Colston (NO) vs. CAR: His season long slump has meant that he's been one of the biggest fantasy disappointments all season. Now, he gets to go up against the #1 defense in football. Not a great recipe for success.
WR Michael Crabtree (SF) vs. SEA: He looked good last week for someone coming off a devastating injury as he did, but he's still a risky start against a Seattle defense that has been nearly unstoppable all season, especially last week against the potent Saints.
TE Charles Clay (MIA) vs. PIT: He's not been all that bad recently, but he hasn't been good enough to really warrant starting during the fantasy playoffs, especially against the Steelers who are very good at defending the Tight End.
DEF Detroit vs. PHI: That Turkey day game was a misnomer, and everyone knows it.
3 Super Sleepers:
QB Whoever starts for Chicago vs. DAL MON: The Cowboys secondary has been easily beaten most of the season, which bodes well for whoever is starting under center on Monday night for the Bears.
RB Bobby Rainey (TB) vs. BUF: He's been quiet since his breakout game against Atlanta, but he's a decent flex option if needed, since Buffalo's defense has been pretty terrible in every facet recently.
WR Harry Douglas (ATL) vs. GB: A PPR standout of late, he might be good in standard leagues this week because of the matchup against Green Bay. The Packers D is a shambles at this stage, and Matt Ryan and Douglas could stand to benefit.
QB's Cam Newton and Drew Brees against each other: They're both having great years, and are both coming off less-than-stellar games last week. Even though the Saints offense is almost unstoppable in the Dome, the Panthers D is very good and has made the 49ers and Patriots look bad this season. Cam Newton is going to be under a different kind of pressure on Sunday Night, so he could also struggle some.
Good Luck in Week 14 and in your fantasy playoffs!