I have to say that the most asked question the past couple of weeks from Bengals fans has been "who do I start between Giovani Bernard and Jeremy Hill?" The answer to that question really depends on the match-ups and gameplan from week-to-week. This week against the Steelers I would say the better bet is Hill, but Bernard isn't that far behind. Hill is seeing more touches than Bernard lately (19 each in Week 12, then 17-11 in Hill's favor in Week 13), but Bernard found more success with his chances last week (4.9 YPC to Hill's 3.1 YPC).
Looking around the NFL, Justin Hunter went on the I.R. for the Titans, which in turn gives a sizable boost to whatever defense they play each week. With Zach Mettenberger dealing with a banged up shoulder, and Bishop Sankey yet to put up more than 61 yards on the ground in a game this season, consider shadowing the Titans with the opposing fantasy defense.
And finally, Latavius Murray's status has been upgraded to probable for Week 14 against the 49ers. Murray set an unreasonably high bar in Week 12 as he rushed for 112 yards and 2 TDs on just 4 carries. And in true Raider fashion, Coach Tony Sparano said that Murray will not be utilized as a workhorse down the stretch. I know… what sense would it make to see exactly what you have in a 24-year-old RB who set an NFL record in Week 12 when you have washed up RBs like Maurice Jones-Drew and Darren McFadden on the roster? Murray is still a flex play, but we'll have to take a wait-and-see approach before sticking him into the starting line-up in the fantasy playoffs.
Russell Wilson – Seahawks: It's not that Wilson is a sleeper by any stretch of the word, but this is one of those weeks where the most owned QBs are the ones you want to start. When you look at the match-ups and injuries, I think the games will end the way most of us think they will. Wilson is the #5 QB on NFL.com and he has a nice match-up with an Eagles defense that is hit or miss for production. Given his ability to both throw and run, coupled with BEASTMODE (Marshawn Lynch) in the backfield to keep the defense honest, I could see Wilson finishing with top 5-7 stats this weekend.
Ryan Tannehill – Dolphins: Tannehill and the Dolphins squeaked out a victory against the Jets in Week 13, disappointing fantasy owners with his lackluster performance. I had him pegged for a two week starter run since the Ravens are allowing 22.7 PPG to QBs this season, the 4th most in the NFL. Nothing has really changed other than perhaps the Miami media lighting a fire under the Dolphins offense after they barely beat a team that is clearly less talented.
Tre Mason – Rams: Mason is clearly the feature back in St. Louis, and the offense leans heavily on the running game with their glaring weakness at QB. Mason is now averaging 4.6 YPC this season and 97.3 yards over the last three games. With the Redskins giving up 102.8 YPG on the ground this season, I am looking for Mason to get somewhere around that with maybe a TD or two.
Isaiah Crowell – Browns: There is some worry in Cleveland that Crowell won't be able to play against the Colts this week, so make sure you have a back-up plan in place just in case. With that said, the Browns are on the brink of benching Brian Hoyer in favor of Johnny Manziel due to Hoyer's 0:5 TD:INT ratio the past two weeks. With Hoyer falling apart the Browns are likely to try and keep the ball on the ground against the Colts. This has more to do with the Browns QB problems than it does with Crowell's ability as a runner.
Kenny Stills – Saints: Still has stepped up with Brandin Cooks done for the year, putting up 13 receptions, 260 yards, and a TD over the last two games. This week he gets a Panthers defense that has been nothing short of disappointing with their 28th overall fantasy ranking for defenses. I would still consider Stills a WR3 because of bounce-back candidate Jimmy Graham (0 targets last week), but I also won't be shocked if he jumps into the WR1/2 ranking either.
Donte Moncrief – Colts: Moncrief has out-snapped Hakeem Nicks in each of the past two games, almost certainly pushing Nicks down the depth chart (even if it is unofficial). The rookie showed us his talent in Week 13 when he put up 134 yards and 2 touchdowns on just 3 catches. The only real problem I see is his still low playing time (44.9 percent of the offensive snaps last week). The Colts are going to need Moncrief to step up this week (as you will see down below in the Sit 'em section), and I think he is worth a dice roll this week as a WR3.
Jordan Reed – Redskins: The Redskins have seemingly moved on from Robert Griffin III now, and newly crowned starter Colt McCoy seems to have found immediate chemistry with TE Jordan Reed. In Week 13 Reed was on the receiving end of 11 of McCoy's 47 passing attempts, catching 9 of them for 123 yards. Even without a touchdown, 9 receptions for 123 yards is fantasy gold for TEs. Even with the Rams giving up just 5.5 PPG to TEs this year (7th best), McCoy may not have other options with DeSean Jackson hobbled.
Minnesota Vikings defense: The Vikings have somewhat quietly put together a top-10 fantasy defense this season thanks to their 35 sacks, 11 INTs, 4 recovered fumbles, and 4 defensive touchdowns. And this week they get a chance to pad those stats against Geno Smith and a Jets offense that has scored the 3rd fewest points this season at 190. I would consider picking them up (owned in just 9.1 percent of NFL.com leagues) as a streamer defense that could easily finish in the top 5 for fantasy defenses this week.
Colt McCoy – Redskins: As much as I like Reed, I'm not as sure about McCoy overall with Jackson at less than 100 percent. If Jackson can't go this weekend (which is possible), that would put Pierre Garcon in the No. 1 WR slot with Andre Roberts in the No. 2 slot. I don't see that duo getting in the way of the Rams defensive plans for Week 13. McCoy is a weak QB2 option this week.
Mark Sanchez – Eagles: Sanchez has been about average for the Eagles this year, averaging 281 yards with an 8:6 TD:INT ratio in five games. This week he gets the Richard Sherman led Seahawks defense that has allowed just 6 points in their last two games. The Seahawks have ramped up their defensive effort now that we are headed into the home stretch of the season, and Sanchez has once again proven that he is nothing more than a serviceable QB when your regular starter is hurt.
Fred Jackson – Bills: The Bills have the #2 ranked fantasy defense this season, but the Broncos have the 5th best offense in the NFL with 413.9 YPG and 361 total points scored. Because we all know what Peyton Manning is capable of at home, I could easily see the Broncos jumping out to a lead and forcing the Bills to abandon the running game early on. If that happens, Jackson won't get the touches he needs to put up quality fantasy numbers.
Any Cardinals RB: With Andre Ellington dealing with a "severe" hip pointer injury, it looks like he won't play in Week 14, leaving Marion Grice, Stepfan Taylor, Michael Bush, and Robert Hughes to share the workload. With the Cardinals already down to Drew Stanton at QB, and now without their lone noteworthy RB, look for the Chiefs to just pin their ears back and demolish the Cardinals in Week 14.
Michael Crabtree – 49ers: Normally playing the Raiders is a good thing for anyone on the offense, but I can't get excited about Crabtree given the terrible play of Colin Kaepernick since Week 7 (213.3 YPG passing, 5 INTs, and 4 TDs).While Crabtree does have 4 TDs this season, he has yet to hit 100 yards in a game. And to make matters worse, he is averaging just 48.1 yards and 4.25 reception per-game this season. If you can get Stills or Moncrief off the waiver wire, it's time to dumb Crabtree.
T.Y. Hilton – Colts: With the Browns almost certain to stick Joe Haden on Hilton this weekend, I'd find other options at my WR spot if at all possible. With Haden shadowing him this weekend, Hilton might find that the Colts will just target others like Moncrief and Coby Fleener instead of pushing their luck (pun intended).
Greg Olsen – Panthers: I warned people before the season to stay away from Cam Newton (13:11 TD:INT ratio with 5 lost fumbles), but people didn't listen as his average draft position was about the 54th overall pick (7th QB off the board). Combine Newton's problems with the Saints ability to shut down opposing TEs (5.0 PPG allowed, 2nd best in NFL) and the fact that Olsen put up a 3-30-0 line against them back in Week 9, and you have a TE who should be on benches around the world this week.
New England Patriots defense: The Patriots own the 8th best fantasy defense this season, but I could see the score getting a little high this week as the Chargers try and keep pace with the Broncos in the AFC West. If this game becomes a high scoring affair, it will take more than just a few sacks to keep the Patriots in the plus column for fantasy numbers this week. I'd look at the Vikings, Rams, or Giants defenses as alternatives for Week 14.