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START/BENCH: Week 14

It seems like only yesterday that we were preparing for the 2020 season opener between Houston and Kansas City. Getting ready to begin what promised to be the most unusual of fantasy seasons. And yet, here we are — at the outset of Week 14.

And that means one thing — it is time for the fantasy playoffs.

Oh, come on — you had to know that was coming.

This time of year, it’s one and done all around. Whether you are already in the postseason or fighting for a spot in the tournament in the final week of the regular season, the edict is clear. Win, and it’s on to play in Week 15. Lose, and the season is over. No more fantasy football fun. Nothing to do now but bake Christmas cookies and spend time with the family.

Terrifying, isn’t it?

It’s a time when every fantasy matchup is a tough one. Where every fantasy point counts that much more. And where every lineup decision can be the difference between advancing and actually having to conversate with other human beings.

Settle down. It will be OK.

It’s a time that leads fantasy managers to ask some difficult questions. Do you stick with Arizona’s slumping Kyler Murray at quarterback or go with the hotter (of late) Minnesota’s Kirk Cousins? Can you dare trust Dallas running back Ezekiel Elliott in a must-win game, or is it time to cede his starter status to someone like the New York Giants’ Wayne Gallman.

You have to find the balance between living in the now without getting cute. And the stakes are sky-high.

Seriously. Chill. We’re here to help.

Week 14 also means that the “Studs” list for this column stays the same from here out. The list is also used to determine the “can’t cut” list for fantasy leagues at My Fantasy League, and it just doesn’t seem fair to make changes to that list once the postseason has begun.

QUARTERBACKS

STUDS

Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City (vs. Miami)

Russell Wilson, Seattle (vs. New York Jets)

Kyler Murray, Arizona (at New York Giants)

Josh Allen, Buffalo (vs. Pittsburgh)

Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay (at Detroit)

Deshaun Watson, Houston (at Chicago)

Justin Herbert, Los Angeles Chargers (vs. Atlanta)

ROLL THEM OUT

Sam Darnold, New York Jets (at Seattle): Darnold didn’t set the world on fire last week against Las Vegas — 186 passing yards and a pair of touchdowns. But there is some streaming potential here against a Seattle defense that continues to lead the league in fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks.

Philip Rivers, Indianapolis (at Las Vegas): Rivers has quietly been a decent weekly starter over the past month — ninth in fantasy points among quarterbacks over that span. There’s a good chance that continues Sunday in a Top 10 fantasy matchup with Las Vegas.

Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh (at Buffalo): The Pittsburgh offense is having all kinds of trouble running the ball, and that’s leading to a ton of pass attempts for Roethlisberger. Against Washington on Monday night, Roethlisberger threw the ball 53 times and eclipsed 300 passing yards.

Ryan Tannehill, Tennessee (at Jacksonville): Granted, much of Tannehill’s production last week came with Tennessee trailing, which is a lot less likely in Week 14. But that doesn’t change the fact that Jacksonville is a highly favorable fantasy matchup for quarterbacks.

SIT THEM DOWN

Josh Allen, Buffalo (vs. Pittsburgh): After watching Allen dissect San Francisco in Week 13, very few fantasy managers would even consider sitting him. But it’s worth keeping in mind that no team in the NFL has given up fewer fantasy points to quarterbacks in 2020 than Pittsburgh.

Derek Carr, Las Vegas (vs. Indianapolis): There wasn’t a quarterback in the league who piled up more fantasy points last week than Carr, but don’t go looking for a repeat performance — Indianapolis has given up the fourth-fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks in 2020.

Kyler Murray, Arizona (at New York Giants): Murray ranks outside the Top 12 in fantasy points per game among quarterbacks over the last three weeks, and a sneaky-good Giants defense has given up the sixth-fewest fantasy points per game to quarterbacks this year. You were warned.

Cam Newton, New England (at Los Angeles Rams): New England is coming off its most impressive win of the season, but Week 14 sets up as a terrible matchup for Newton. The rushing yards he relies on for fantasy production are going to be hard to come by against Aaron Donald and the Rams.

About Gary Davenport

A member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association and Pro Football Writers of America who resides in Columbus, Ohio, Gary has been featured on a number of fantasy websites and in nationally circulated publications. These publications include the USA Today Fantasy Football Preview and the magazines distributed by Fantasy Sports Publications Inc., for whom Gary is a both a contributing author and associate editor. Gary is an nine-time FSWA Award finalist and three-time winner who has been a finalist for that organization's Fantasy Football Writer of the Year award each of the last four years. He won the honor in 2017 and 2019. Gary also appears regularly on Sirius XM Radio (including live from Radio Row at Super Bowl XLIX) and over-the-air stations across the country. Gary was one of the co-founders of, and Head Writer at, Fantasy Football Oasis before joining Fantasy Sharks as an IDP Senior Staff Writer in 2011. He knows football. Or so he's heard.