Fantasy Football playoffs have arrived! Week 14 Monday Night Football has a lot of fantasy players in the mix, and there is no doubt owners will be glued to the screen for this one to see if they live or die in their matchups. The Windy City will host some Cowboys Monday Night as Dallas heads to Chicago to take on the Bears. This game has the makings of a shootout, with both defenses leaving much to be desired, and both with several impressive offensive weapons. Although the cold will be a factor, there are must starts for both teams at all positions in your lineups this week with the exception of the team defenses which should be avoided like the plague. I think the Cowboys will walk away with a close victory in a high scoring game. Let’s take a look at the players that will close out week 14 for your fantasy teams! You can safely start all of the likely owned players for both teams. This should be an offensive heavy game from all angles.
The quarterbacks this week are both excellent matchups against the opposing defenses. However the forecast in Chicago is 22 degrees, which will certainly affect both passers no matter how you slice it. With that said, I still would have no problem starting either quarterback this week if they are your guy. Josh McCown is likely a backup on your roster but even he is matched up as a QB-1 this week against the depleted Dallas defense. Tony Romo has cooled off in November, as we have seen his QB rating fall by month from 105 in September, to 98 in October, to 84 in November. Obviously this is not a good trend. However the Bears defense has been so terrible that you can start Romo Monday night without hesitation. He should reach his projected totals.
I think the running game on both ends will be big play makers in this one. The below freezing temperatures could lead the offenses to a stronger push with the ground game which will be huge payouts for fantasy owners of Matt Forte and Demarco Murray. Yes, Matt Forte hasn’t had a rushing touchdown in 5 games but he is an elite runner and a must start. Demarco Murray feasted on the Raiders in the red zone on Thanksgiving. He only averaged 3.7 yards on 17 carries but he caught 5 passes for just under 40 yards receiving, and had 3 touchdowns. He is a must start against arguably the worst rushing defense in the NFL. The Bears give up the most rushing yards per game, and most average yards per carry. The stars are aligned for Murray to have a huge game Monday night.
As I mentioned before, the cold weather could impact the passing game, which then of course affects your receivers targets. We can talk about that all day but there is no way you are not starting any of the fantasy relevant receivers in this game. Dez Bryant is one of the best receivers in football and is your WR-1. Brandon Marshall has had quiet games in 2 of the Bears last 3 contests, but with nearly one thousand yards receiving and 9 touchdowns, he is a top 5 fantasy receiver. Those two guys are obviously in your lineups this week, but then there is Alshon Jeffery who went on a tear last week for just under 250 yards and 2 touchdowns. He is just as much of a WR-1 as Bryant and Marshall, and is also a must start against the beat up Dallas secondary.
As far as tight ends go, Jason Witten is a tier-1 tight end, especially against the Bears’ defense. Martellus Bennett has flashed some great fantasy weeks, and can be considered a top 10 tight end. Dallas gives up the fourth most points to the tight end position according to “Yahoo! Sports”, so by all means plug him in your lineup.
All of the hype I have been giving to the offenses for this game says all I need to say about the defenses. Neither defense should be touched this week, or in any week for that matter.
THE BOTTOM LINE: The bottom line is that you can safely start Romo, McCown, Forte, Murray, Marshall, Jeffery, Bryant, Witten, and Bennett and expect to at the very least hit the projected points. I think Murray is going to have a monster game. You are staying away from both team defenses. Ultimately, the Cowboys are going to win because they have the better quarterback, and overall better team, but it should be a high scoring game on a frigid Chicago night. Good luck to your fantasy squad, I know you’ll be watching this game to close out the fantasy playoff week!