Back in 2004, Sean Combs (aka Puffy, Diddy, P. Papa, Papa Diddy Pop, or whatever he's calling himself these days) founded the political service group "Citizen Change" to try and motivate America's youth to get out and vote. Their campaign was simple, "Vote or Die!" More than 51 percent of Americans under the age of 30 voted in that election, up more than nine percent from the previous election. Fortunately, for the other 49 percent of Americans under 30, Diddy didn't follow through on his threat. Wuss.
The mantra for this time of the fantasy football season is just as simple. No, it's not "Win or Die!" Although if a loss this week ends your season, it might as well be. Next September is so far from now, the rapture will likely take place before it arrives. No, the mantra is, "Win or Go Home." Better yet, "Win or Stay Home," because you ain't going nowhere ... especially to the championship game. Unless, of course, you've earned a bye this week, or your playoffs start next week and you've already clinched a spot. In which case, what do you care? Your do-or-die moment doesn't come until a week from now. Kick your feet up, grab a cold one and watch your team crush the hopes of another team whose fate rests on this week.
Here's some plays this week that could impact your matchups: some good, some bad, and a little bit of everything else for Week 14.
Week 14 BUYS
Matchups I like this week
QB Andrew Luck vs. Tennessee. Luck threw the ball 54 times last week. That's 47 more attempts than Tim Tebow has had all season! OK, bad example. Luck didn't even complete half of those attempts, and he was still able to post 36 points against the Detroit Lions (most points for any quarterback last week). Sure it was a game that went to overtime, but Luck is second in pass attempts for the season. The dude gets volume. And this week, the dude also gets a matchup against the Titans, a team so far down the ranks in pass defense they can't even see the ones on the top shelf. ( Other favorable matchups: Eli Manning vs. New Orleans, Josh Freeman vs. Philadelphia, Matt Schaub at New England, Joe Flacco at Washington.)
RB Ahmad Bradshaw vs. New Orleans. Bradshaw has reached double-digit fantasy points only six times this season. We're in Week 14. Quick math. Is that a good ratio? Not so much. But now he's facing fewer threats to his workload without Andre Brown lurking on the sideline. David Wilson still isn't getting enough touches to warrant consideration. So now that he gets to face the worst defense in the league this week, he stands a great chance to improve on that ratio. ( Other favorable matchups: Vick Ballard vs. Tennessee, Steven Jackson at Buffalo, C.J. Spiller vs. St. Louis, Alfred Morris vs. Baltimore.)
WR Andre Johnson vs. New England. Disappointing season for Johnson? Pretty safe to assume depending on what you likely had to give up acquiring him at your draft. He probably cost you less if you scooped him up from another team. But outside of strong back-to-back performances in Weeks 11 and 12, he's likely caused you more headaches than relief. His five-point outing last week probably already pushed his 51 points combined from the previous two weeks to the far recesses of your mind. Hopefully this week against the Patriots he can remind you. If you want to score on the Patriots, your best chance is doing it on the outside. ( Other favorable matchups: Jeremy Maclin at Tampa Bay, Torrey Smith at Washington, Marques Colston at New York Giants, Kenny Britt at Indianapolis.)
Week 14 HOLDS
Tough matchups for studs this week
QB Robert Griffin III vs. Baltimore . Heard enough talk about the rookie quarterbacks this year? Good luck with that. You're going to keep hearing it. You'll probably even hear how good this rookie class was next year, since the class of quarterbacks lining up for the 2013 NFL Draft isn't considered to be on the same level. Griffin III is third in scoring right now, above even last year's MVP Aaron Rodgers. The Ravens defense is a Top 5 crew against the quarterback position. But even with that in mind, would you dare sit him?
RB Stevan Ridley vs. Houston. Good running back. Better defense. There are only five running backs that have more points than Ridley this season. Zero defenses currently allow fewer points to fantasy running backs. The Patriots will likely find more success through the passing attack, but would you bench Adrian Peterson, Arian Foster, Doug Martin, Ray Rice or Trent Richardson? WR Dez Bryant at Cincinnati. Find me a hotter receiver in the last three weeks. Go ahead, I'll wait. Still looking? Fine, let me know. Still? You're not going to find one! Bryant has outscored even Calvin Johnson over the last three weeks, who himself is averaging more than 20 points per game during that stretch. Don't know if the light finally switched on, he got it replaced, or what? But he's been phenomenal. This week he plays the Bengals. They're a Top 5 team against wideouts, but you never walk away from the table when you're on a heater. Week 14 SELLS
Matchups to Avoid this week
QB Philip Rivers at Pittsburgh. Oh how the mighty have fallen ... last year ... and stayed down there this season as well. Remember when Rivers was a stud? Don't hurt yourself, it's been a while. Yeah, he used to be a Top 5 fantasy quarterback. But that was back in 2010. Last year, Rivers' production dropped to where he barely finished in the Top 10. This year? Whoa! There are 18 quarterbacks with more points than Rivers. This week he gets to play in Heinz Field against the defense that is currently best in the league at frustrating owners with quarterbacks in the game. ( Other difficult matchups: Christian Ponder vs. Chicago, Tony Romo at Cincinnati, Russell Wilson vs. Arizona, Chad Henne vs. New York Jets.)
RB Reggie Bush vs. San Francisco. ( Insert usual comments about 49ers defense.) Add to that the fact that Bush has been held to six or fewer points in three of his last four matchups. Just don't. ( Other difficult matchups: Darren Sproles at New York Giants, Ryan Matthews at Pittsburgh, Darren McFadden vs. Denver, Frank Gore vs. Miami.)
WR Denarius Moore vs. Denver. Denarius Moore is an exciting player, and one that got a lot of ink earlier in the season when he and Carson Palmer started finishing each other's sentences. Well maybe not "ink." Not sure if you can even buy ink anymore? Fine, a lot of "characters." Glad that's settled. But those days aren't these days. He's had three straight weeks below double-digit fantasy points in standard scoring, and now faces a tough matchup in Denver. Can he break a big play at anytime? Well, yeah. So long as his coach doesn't bench him (again). ( Other difficult matchups: Danario Alexander at Pittsburgh, Larry Fitzgerald at Seattle, Cecil Shorts vs. New York Jets, Stevie Johnson vs. St. Louis.)
Until the next go-round.