As we enter Week 14 in most fantasy football leagues, this time marks a crucial juncture. It signals either the final or penultimate week before the postseason. For many fantasy football managers, the stakes are high. That's whether it's about improving seeding, securing a postseason spot, or steering clear of the dreaded last place. Consequently, the decisions to start or sit players carry added significance.
The encouraging news is that, unlike the previous week where six teams had byes, only two teams are on bye in Week 14. Additionally, the impact of key lineup losses is relatively limited. Making accurate lineup choices becomes paramount, and to assist you in this crucial task, we're shining a spotlight on some of our top recommendations for starts and sits in the upcoming matchups.
Ahead of Week 14 of the 2023 NFL Season, it’s time to see which running backs to start and which ones to sit in your fantasy football team.
Running Backs to Start in Week 14
Zack Moss, IND (@ CIN)
Despite a challenging outing in Week 13 against Tennessee, Zack Moss should rebound here as he resumes the lead role without Jonathan Taylor. He faces the Bengals, who have allowed consistent production to running backs. As such, Moss is a favorable start. Cincinnati has permitted a running back to score a minimum of 15.9 PPR points in four consecutive games and six of their last seven matchups. This makes Moss a surefire running back choice across all leagues.
James Cook, BUF (@ KC)
Under the new offensive coordinator, Joe Brady, James Cook has showcased consistent performance in his last two games. His involvement in the passing game, combined with rushing attempts, makes him an appealing option. This is especially true in a potential shootout against Kansas City. Remember that the Chiefs have conceded at least 13.5 PPR points to running backs in five of their last six games. As such, Cook should maintain his momentum coming off Buffalo's bye.
Austin Ekeler, LAC (@ DEN)
Austin Ekeler continues to be a reliable fantasy football option. This is especially true in this matchup against the Broncos. Denver has struggled against running backs throughout the season. He ranks high in yards allowed, both rushing and receiving. Despite some less-than-ideal metrics, Ekeler's consistent volume, including six-plus targets in four of his last five games, makes him a strong play in Week 14.
AJ Dillon, GB (@ NYG)
AJ Dillon is known for his steady floor. He has delivered more than nine fantasy football points in four straight games and six of his last seven. The Giants present a favorable matchup, having allowed the most runs of 10-plus yards. This is in addition to his significant rushing yards and touchdowns. Keep an eye on Aaron Jones' practice status, though. Dillon's potential upside increases if Jones is sidelined. In the absence of Jones, Dillon is a solid RB2 option. That said, his status may shift to a flex if Jones decides to play.
Start ‘Em: Joe Mixon, CIN (vs IND) and Jerome Ford, CLE (vs JAC)
Running Backs to Sit in Week 14
Najee Harris, PIT (vs NE)
Despite being a big-time starter last week, Najee Harris disappointed with just 9.7 PPR points against the Cardinals. Harris faces a challenging outlook with a reliance on scoring touchdowns and a recent trend of limited rushing yards and receptions. The Steelers' quarterback change to Mitch Trubisky further adds uncertainty. New England's defense has also recently stifled Saquon Barkley and Austin Ekeler. The Patriots held them to a combined 10.9 PPR points. If the Patriots can keep Harris out of the end zone, his Week 14 production will likely be minimal.
Gus Edwards, BAL (vs LAR)
Gus Edwards finds himself in a three-headed committee with Keaton Mitchell and Justice Hill. His inconsistent workload was evident in Week 12 against the Chargers. While Edwards had a streak of five consecutive games with a touchdown, that streak was broken. In addition, the Rams are ranked No. 7 in fewest fantasy football points allowed to opposing running backs. They present a formidable challenge. The Rams haven't also allowed a rushing touchdown in three consecutive games. In fact, only five running backs have scored against them this season.
Alexander Mattison, MIN (@ LV)
Although the Raiders were initially favorable for running backs earlier in the season, the narrative has shifted since Week 9. The Raiders now rank in the bottom 10 in rushing yards allowed to running backs. They surrendered just 3.8 yards per carry. Alexander Mattison has also struggled to reach double digits in fantasy football points. He was held to single digits in three of his last six games. Without a rushing touchdown all year and sharing workload with Ty Chandler, Mattison poses a risky option in Week 14. Avoid falling into the trap of the seemingly favorable matchup against the Raiders.
Sit 'em: Zach Charbonnet, SEA (@ SF) and D'Andre Swift, PHI (@ DAL)
As we approach Week 14 of the NFL season, careful consideration is crucial when deciding which running backs to include or exclude from your fantasy football lineup. Some players, like Zack Moss and James Cook, present favorable matchups and performance trends. However, caution is advised with others. Najee Harris, coming off a disappointing week, faces a challenging matchup against a resolute Patriots defense that has recently shut down top-tier running backs. Gus Edwards confronts a formidable Rams defense that has proven stingy against running backs. Alexander Mattison, despite an initially favorable matchup, faces a Raiders defense that has tightened its grip on opposing rushing yards. As fantasy football managers make pivotal decisions for Week 14, a balance between opportunity and matchup dynamics is extremely essential.