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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Wednesday, April 16, 2014

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In Sports

Russell Wilson has been great all year, but this might not be the week to start him. (PHOTO: Larry Maurer / WikiCommons)

Fantasy football week 14 picks


It's the first week of the playoffs – congratulations!

That means you're one of (likely) eight team owners left and now it's all on the line.

At this point, there aren't waiver wire pickups to run and go get. Chances are, your team is pretty solid and you've already made the moves you needed to make.

The only problem is that maybe you've got that guy stashed on your bench that might be poised for a breakout, or is a coin flip with another starter on your squad, or you're playing the team with Peyton Manning this week.

Well, we're here to help you with who to go with if you're looking for maximum points this week:

Start 'em

Matt Ryan, Atlanta quarterback vs. Green Bay
Ryan has been a dink-and-dunk passer since Julio Jones was lost for the season and Roddy White has been hampered with his own injuries, but on the road last week Ryan looked like his usual self – throwing for 311 yards and a score. The Packers are sacking the quarterback but they don't come up with interceptions and have allowed the 12th most fantasy points to QBs in Yahoo! leagues. The Packers have also allowed at least one passing touchdown in the last five weeks.

Shane Vereen, New England running back vs. Cleveland
Vereen has become the fantasy monster everyone thought he would be at draft time, and picked up right where he left off despite missing eight games. While the Browns aren't very good, they can defend the pass, so look for Vereen to see a flood of touches both running and catching the ball.

Sit 'em

Note: We're assuming, that as a playoff team, you have a good second option for these players.
Russell Wilson, Seattle quarterback vs. San Francisco
Yes, Wilson is coming off a monster game, but sometimes bad matchups are bad matchups and he's running into one on the road in San Francisco. Wilson threw for only 142 yards and a score, along with a pick, in week 2 against the 49ers, and that was at home. As a team, the 49ers are allowing the fifth fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks across all Yahoo! leagues.

Josh Gordon, Cleveland wide receiver vs. New England
OK, call this a gut feeling, but you figure that any player who is coming off back-to-back 200 yard receiving games and who has scored nearly 100 fantasy points by himself the last two weeks is in for a rude awakening against a Bill Belichick-led defense. Now, a lot of this hinges on how healthy Patriots corner Aquib Talib is, but you figure the odds are stacked against the Browns receiver from going off for a third straight week. In fact, you might think he'll under-produce. (Also, the Patriots are allowing the 10th fewest fantasy points to receivers in Yahoo! leagues)

Sleeper

Houston defense vs. Jacksonville
If one good thing could come out of this Thursday night suck fest, it's that Houston's terrible defense might actually have a really good game. The Jaguars are allowing the third most points to opposing defenses across Yahoo! leagues and just two weeks ago the Texans came up with four sacks and a blocked kick against the Jaguars. True, Jacksonville has played better football of late, but if you're looking for a sneaky play to start your playoff week strong, this might be it.

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