1. Adrian Peterson (MIN) – The NFL’s leading rusher matched up against arguably the worst run defense in the history of football. This could get ugly. Peterson is a virtual lock against Detroit and an obvious must start.
2. Michael Turner (ATL) – In his last 5 games, Turner has 7 TD’s and 553 rushing yards, including 96 yards and a TD against New Orleans in week 10. Turner should have a field day against a questionable New Orleans run defense. Turner is a solid starting option. Even if this game turns into a shoot out, the Falcons are unlikely to abandon the run.
3. Matt Forte (CHI) – Forte’s consistency is unmatched by any other RB in the NFL. He should be great against a porous Jacksonville run defense that seems to get worse by the week.
4. Thomas Jones (NYJ) – While it is difficult to believe, next to maybe DeAngelo Williams, Jones is arguably the hottest player in all of fantasy football. He has now scored at least 1 TD in 6 straight games and has 12 total TD’s in his last 8 games. Jones has clearly transcended himself back to elite fantasy status. He has a favorable week 14 match up against a middle of the road San Francisco run defense. Start him!
5. Chris Johnson (TEN) – If not for LenDale White, Johnson probably could have broken several NFL records against the Lions on Turkey day. While week 14 will provide him with more of a challenge, it won’t be by much. Cleveland ranks just 26th in the NFL against the run allowing just over 140 ground yards per game. Johnson should stay hot with this match up.
6. Brandon Jacobs (NYG) – He has scored at least 1 TD in 8 of his last 9 starts with 2 rushing TD’s in 4 of his 11 total starts. In fact, one of his 4 multi TD games came just a few short weeks ago against the very Eagles team he will face on Sunday. In addition to his 2 scores in that game, Jacobs also rushed for 126 yards. Philadelphia is fairly solid against the run and surely they will focus more on Jacobs this time around, but they are still no match for him.
7. Steve Slaton (HOU) – After totaling 182 yards and 2 TD’s against Jacksonville on Monday night, you have to like his chances heading into week 14 against Green Bay. While his durability is a bit of a concern coming off the short week, he should be fine against a weak Packers run defense. Green Bay ranks 27th against the run giving up 142 rushing yards per game in addition to the 17 ground TD’s allowed through 12 games. Keep him active.
8. Peyton Hillis (DEN) – Since taking over the starting RB duties for Denver, Hillis has been nothing short of amazing. He has at least 1 TD in each of his 3 starts (4 total TD’s) and he ran all over a formidable Jets run defense just last week. A defense, by the way, that had not allowed a 100 yard rusher all season until Hillis put up 129 on them. He should keep the momentum rolling with an extremely favorable week 14 match up against the Chiefs. If not for Detroit, Kansas City would have the distinction of being the worst run defense in the NFL. The only one that could damage Hillis’ fantasy value with this match up is Coach Mike Shanahan. Shanahan is notorious for ruining elite fantasy RB’s and Selvin Young is expected to be back this week. That said, Shanny would be crazy to go with Young over Hillis at this point, but we wouldn’t put it past him. Check injury report: hip
9. Larry Johnson (KC) – Granted, Johnson hasn’t put up stud like numbers since returning from suspension, but he has not exactly been terrible either. The good news is that Johnson has an excellent track record against his week 14 opponent, Denver. The last time he faced the Broncos in week 4, Johnson rushed for close to 200 yards and 2 TD’s. In his last 3 starts against Denver, he has averaged 160 ground yards and 1 TD. Fortunately, the Broncos run defense has shown no improvement since the week 4 drumming Johnson laid on them. He should be solid at the very least.
10. Joseph Addai (IND) – Since exploding in week 11 against Houston, Addai has been extremely quiet. That said, there is nothing like a match up against the Bengals at home to get things back on track. Cincinnati ranks just 24th in the NFL against the run and Addai is over due for a big game. He is a bit risky considering his poor effort last week against an equally poor run defense in Cleveland, but the entire Colts offense was a mess. The Colts and Addai alike, typically play well at home and we like his chances with this match up. Check injury report: knee
11. Marshawn Lynch (BUF) – He appears to be firing on all cylinders now with 100 yard rushing efforts in 2 out of his last 3 games, and in the 1 game in which he was unable to hit the magic number, he ran for 79 yards with 25 receiving yards and a TD. He will have his work cut out for him in week 14 against a fairly stingy Miami run defense, but the Bills success this week hinges heavily on getting Lynch the football. He totaled 95 yards and a TD against the Dolphins in week 8. Check injury report: back
12. DeAngelo Williams (CAR) – The hottest fantasy RB in the land, Williams has now found pay dirt in 6 straight games, with 10 total TD’s during that stretch, while rushing for over 100 yards or more in 4 of his last 5 contests. That said, he may meet his match at home on Monday night in the form of the Tampa Bucs. Tampa Bay ranks 9th in the NFL against the run and more importantly, they have allowed just 1 rushing TD all season. We love the momentum that Williams carries into this match up, but it will not be easy.
13. Steven Jackson (STL) – He may not be completely back to form, but all things considered, he looked pretty good in week 13. A week healthier, Jackson will face an underrated Arizona run defense in week 14. He should see a significant workload, and Jackson has big time potential against anyone, but he will be tested by this defense. To put things into perspective, the Cards give up the same amount of rushing yards per game as Tennessee and have allowed 2 fewer rushing TD’s than the Titans. This defense is no slouch, but as long as Jackson doesn’t have any setbacks, he is too valuable to sit. Check injury report: thigh
14. Tim Hightower (ARI) – Sure, he’s been lousy lately and you have every right to leave him on your bench, but we are going to give you a couple of reasons why you might regret making that decision. For one, he’s facing St. Louis at home. The Rams rank 30th in the NFL against the run allowing 162 ground yards per game. They have also given up 21 rushing TD’s so far this season. Only Detroit has allowed more (22), if that tells you anything. In addition, Hightower’s best fantasy performance of the season came against the Rams in week 9. In that game, he had a season high 22 carries for 109 yards and a TD. Isn’t it risky to start Hightower? You may ask. Sure, he plays in a pass happy offense, and the Cardinals will throw the ball a ton as usual against the Rams, but they would be crazy to limit Hightower’s touches against this defense. If you have a lot to lose, you may want to go with a safer option, but Hightower has solid potential with this match up in our opinion.
15. Brian Westbrook (PHI) – Last week’s monster performance was a promising indication that Westbrook is getting healthy and his dry spell has ended just in time for the fantasy playoffs. However, there are few defenses better at slowing progress than that of the New York Giants. The G-Men currently rank in the top 5 against the run holding opposing rushing attacks to just 85 yards per game. In fact, this same defense held Westbrook to just 26 rushing yards and zero scores just a few short weeks ago. We are optimistic that he will be much healthier this time around and a better performance is expected, but this is not a cup cake match up by any stretch. Check injury report: knee, ankle
16. Frank Gore (SF) – We have a love/hate relationship with regard to Gore’s week 14 match up. We hate it because the Jets are typically very stingy against the run, ranking 4th in the NFL, and Gore has been terrible the last 2 weeks. In addition, Gore will almost definitely be the focus of the Jets defensive game plan. We love it because the game will be played in San Francisco. Gore has had at least 100 total yards and/or a TD in every game he has played at home this season. He will have a tough row to hoe against this defense, but we are fairly optimistic that he can rebound this week. After all, Peyton Hillis is no Frank Gore, and Hillis was able to run all over the Jets just last week.
17. LenDale White (TEN) – After putting up a big goose egg in week 12, White was able to rebound nicely on Thanksgiving with a big 106 yard, 2 TD performance. Fortunately, a week 14 match up against Cleveland’s 26th ranked run defense holds similar promise. At the very least, the Titans should get White into primo scoring position at least once which makes him a virtual lock to find pay dirt. There is always a little risk in starting White considering he plays behind Chris Johnson, but this match up bodes very well.
18. Maurice Jones-Drew (JAX) – While you can never be exactly sure what he is going to give you, you do know that he is capable of big things. Even against the Bears 6th ranked run defense, he is a threat to do major damage. The versatile Jones-Drew is probably best suited for PPR leagues with this match up, but the Bears have also given up 13 TD’s on the ground this season, so a rushing score is also not out of the question. He isn’t the safest RB option, but you will kick yourself if you leave a big point total on the bench.
19. Ryan Grant (GB) – You have to love the match up at home against the Texans 23rd ranked run defense, but Grant has been very quiet of late, and his injured thumb could be an issue. At this time, he is expected to start, but he is also at risk of leaving the game early and he will have to wear a brace that could limit his effectiveness to carry the ball. There is also a chance that Brandon Jackson will cut heavily into his workload. Grant has a lot of potential with this match up barring a setback, but he’s a risky fantasy play for week 14. UPDATE: In spite of his thumb injury, Grant is expected to receive a full compliment of carries.Check injury report: thumb
20. Reggie Bush (NO) – He did return last week, but it was barely noticeable as he only managed 8 touches with minimal results. The good news is that Bush practiced in full this week and should see a fairly significant workload with a favorable week 14 match up against Atlanta. While he may not be completely out of the woods, we are optimistic that this week will yield much better results. If you have safer options at RB, you might want to take a wait and see approach with Bush.
21. Willie Parker (PIT) – He is expected to start, but he is a bit risky with a banged up knee and shoulder, and he will likely split carries with Mewelde Moore. Parker will also have his work cut out for him against a solid and improving Dallas run defense that ranks top 10 in the NFL. You might be better off going with another option under the circumstances. Check injury report: knee, shoulder
22. Ronnie Brown (MIA) – He was able to find the end zone in week 13, but Brown also failed to reach 50 rushing yards for the fifth time in his last 7 games. The short lived days of the successful “Wildcat” are finally over and so goes Brown’s fantasy value. He has a decent match up against a middle of the road Buffalo run defense in week 14, but the Bills were able to limit him to just 48 total yards just a few weeks ago. Unless he can turn things around soon, consider Brown a shaky RB2 at best from here out.
23. Warrick Dunn (TB) – A match up against a decent Carolina run defense on Monday night doesn’t hold promise galore for Dunn, but you could do worse. In fact, the last time these teams met in week 6, Dunn ran for 115 yards on 22 carries and caught 3 passes for 18 yards. While it will probably be tougher this time around on the road, he isn’t a terrible fantasy play.
24. Marion Barber (DAL) – If Barber is cleared to start, it would be extremely difficult to leave him on your bench, but with a banged up toe and a horrible match up against Pittsburgh’s top ranked defense, it might not be a bad idea. Barber has yet to practice this week and he is very questionable to play, so you may have no choice in the matter. UPDATE: ESPN's Ed Werder is reporting that Marion Barber did not make the trip to Pittsburgh, thus he will not play on Sunday. Teshard Choice will start in Barber's place. Check injury report: toe (will not play)
25. Le’Ron McClain (BAL) – For the last 2 weeks, McClain has been the feature back for the Ravens and the results have been promising. That doesn’t necessarily mean he will continue in that role, and the way the Raven’s have used their RB’s this season, there’s even a chance that he won’t see more than a couple of carries this week. In addition, McClain will be facing a solid Redskins run defense in week 14, so it will be tough sledding regardless. Based on his hefty workload the last 2 weeks, we can only assume that he will continue in his feature role, but beware. On a positive note, McClain should get any goal line carries that might come up, so at the very least, he should be useful there.
26. Pierre Thomas (NO) – With Reggie Bush returning to full strength, Thomas’ feature back days may be drawing to a close, but he still maintains decent fantasy value, especially now that Deuce McAllister has been suspended. Thomas should continue to get around 8 to 15 touches including the all important goal line looks. He has a favorable match up at home against the Falcons. UPDATE: Coach Sean Payton has stated that Thomas will see a significant workload on Sunday. Of course, a coaches comments have to be taken with a grain of salt, but this is a promising development. He is a decent RB2 option.
27. Cedric Benson (CIN) – It may come as a shock, but Benson actually isn’t a horrible fantasy play this week. Sure, he’s been terrible and his supporting cast is terrible, but what did you expect from him going against the likes of Pittsburgh, Baltimore, and Philly the last 3 weeks. In fact, the last time Benson had a decent match up was week 10 against Jacksonville and he went off for 104 yards and a TD. He’s still a risky play, even against a weak Indy run defense, but he’s not as risky as you might think.
28. Jamal Lewis (CLE) – He doesn’t have a great match up against a solid Titans run defense on the road, but you can bet that he will see a significant workload with the Brown’s bleak situation at QB. Lewis is basically all they have on offense now.
29. Kevin Smith (DET) – If the suspension of the Vikings 2 run stuffing DT’s holds up, Smith could be in for a productive day, but at this point, it appears as if they will play. We will update the situation when the news is released. Smith would move up if the Williams’ are ruled out. UPDATE: Vikings DT's Kevin and Pat William's will play on Sunday. This development is not favorable for Smith's fantasy potential with this match up.Check injury report: groin
30. Clinton Portis (WAS) – Apparently, Portis is trying to finish himself off this week as he plans on starting against the Ravens. At this point, Portis has more injured body parts than healthy ones, so a brutal match up against the Ravens might just do him in for the rest of the season. That said, Portis is a beast, and if healthy, we would suggest using him, even against a run stuffing juggernaut like Baltimore. The fact is, however, he is not healthy and this game holds little promise for him. Check injury report: name a body part
31. Derrick Ward (NYG) – The match up against Philly isn’t great, but Ward continues to put up starter like numbers in spite of his back up role.
32. Leon Washington (NYJ) – If given ample opportunity, Washington can be a great, especially against a mediocre 49ers defense.
33. Chester Taylor (MIN) – Going up against Detroit, he could be this week’s LenDale White?
34. Mewelde Moore (PIT) – He could split carries with Willie Parker this week, but that isn’t set in stone, and the match up isn’t spectacular.
35. Dominic Rhodes (IND) – He’s starting to be used often around the goal line. Rhodes could be a sneaky play against the Bengals if you are in a pinch.
36. Kevin Faulk (NE) – The Pats will probably be throw early and often against Seattle, but that actually bodes well for Faulk who is more receiver than RB anyway.
37. Ricky Williams (MIA) – He found pay dirt the last time he faced Buffalo, but he did little otherwise.
38. Sammy Morris (NE) – The match up against Seattle is favorable, but New England will pass, pass, and pass which could limit his already sketchy fantasy value.
39. Maurice Morris (SEA) – He’s probably too risky to start, but we like his potential.
40. Jonathan Stewart (CAR) – His fantasy value is plummeting with the emergence of DeAngelo Williams and playing on a bad heel, but Stewart is still dangerous.