VIRAL - 3 Up, 3 Down is back for Week 14 despite a rough week of picks in Week 13. Adding insult to injury was the fact that DeSean Jackson once again put up some fantastic numbers while being listed as 3 Down. It’s the third time this season he’s managed to do so.

Trying to predict DeSean Jackson’s fantasy value has owners everywhere feeling like..

Moving on. Many leagues have their fantasy playoffs start this week. Here’s our picks for Week 14.

3 Up

Running Back: Ryan Mathews

Week 14 Opponent: New England Patriots, Sunday, 8:30 PM ET

Ryan Mathews may not be set for a huge week, but don’t overlook the Chargers running back against a weak New England run defense. Matthews is coming off of a 10 point performance against the Baltimore Ravens, the NFL’s top run defense in terms of fewest fantasy points allowed. The week before that, he ran for 16 points against the 7th ranked Rams defense. The Patriots are ranked 21st in run defense.

“Mathews racked up 126 total yards and a touchdown the last time he faced New England.” -ESPN

Despite the emergence of Branden Oliver earlier in the season, Mathews has returned from his injuries to firmly retake the role of Chargers starting running back. He should continue to see most of the touches. The ESPN projection is only six fantasy points, but if his current performance against some of the toughest run defenses is any indication he could be in for a great week.

ESPN Projection: 6

Wide Receiver: Stedman Bailey

Week 14 Opponent: Washington Redskins, Sunday, 1:00 PM ET

It’s rare to see a St. Louis Rams player have fantasy relevance. Tre Mason just had a monster week against the Oakland Raiders, but it’s important to not overlook the recent performance of wide receiver Stedman Bailey.

“Over the past two games, Bailey has become Shaun Hill’s top target, setting him up for another strong Sunday versus a Washington secondary surrendering the eighth-most fantasy points per game to the position.” -ESPN

Bailey put racked up 89 yards and a touchdown against the Chargers in Week 12, and 100 yards against the Raiders in Week 13 (all in the first quarter). He should have no problems continuing his success against the train wreck that is the Washington Redskins. He could be a great flex option if your fantasy team is dealing with injuries.

ESPN Projection: 13

Running Back: Chris Ivory

Week 14 Opponent: Minnesota Vikings, Sunday, 1:00 PM ET

The Jets don’t exactly have one of the best offenses in the league, but Chris Ivory should be able to hold his own against the Minnesota Vikings. The Vikings defense allows the 24th most fantasy points to opposing running backs.

With two young, struggling quarterbacks, this game could fall into the hands of the running backs. Ivory hasn’t reached the end zone since Week 8, but it will likely be up to him to carry the Jets offense this week.

ESPN Projection: 11

3 Down

Running Back: Lamar Miller

Week 14 Opponent: Baltimore Ravens, Sunday, 1:00 PM ET

It’s not just Lamar Miller’s date with the Baltimore Ravens that worries me. It’s his lack of production over the past few weeks. Miller has reached double digits only two times in the past six weeks after doing so five times in his first six games.

This Dolphins-Ravens game in general should be a defensive duel. The Dolphins have one of the better secondaries in the NFL to combat the Ravens top run defense. Expect low fantasy scores all across the board in this one.

ESPN even admits that their projection, 13, is “a little optimistic”. Don’t leave your fantasy football team’s fate up to optimism. Find a better option.

ESPN Projection: 13

Wide Receiver: Jeremy Maclin

Week 14 Opponent: Seattle Seahawks, Sunday, 4:25 PM ET

It pains me to admit it, but I think that the Seahawks’ Legion of Boom has their swagger back.

The Seabirds have allowed a combined 13 fantasy points to opposing receiving corps over the past three weeks. Pete Carroll will have his team ready to face his former USC quarterback Mark Sanchez. They now rank first against opposing wide receivers in the NFL, allowing seven fewer fantasy points than the average defense.

Maclin has put up some monster games this year, but he, like our good friend DeSean Jackson, has been largely a boom-or-bust type of guy. If that’s your style than by all means role with Maclin this week.

ESPN Projection: 14

Wide Receivers: The Smith Duo

Week 14 Opponent: Miami Dolphins, Sunday, 1:00 PM ET

As alluded to during the Lamar Miller segment, the Dolphins-Ravens game should be a defensive battle. The Ravens will especially struggle in the passing game, meaning that both Steve and Torrey Smith will be in for rough weeks.

Torrey Smith is coming off of a two touchdown performance against the Chargers, but he injured his leg. He’s currently probable. Steve Smith has reached double digits just once since Week 7, and he put up a goose egg against the Chargers.

It’s unlikely that either puts up double digits, as the Dolphins have given up just one touchdown to wide receivers (not counting the Broncos) since Week 9, but somehow ESPN has them both projected to do so.

ESPN Projection for Steve Smith: 12

ESPN Projection for Torrey Smith: 11

Recap

That wraps up this week’s edition of 3 Up, 3 Down. As always thanks, for reading and be sure to tune in next week. Sadly, there’s only three more editions of 3 Up, 3 Down until the fantasy football season is over.

3 Up: Ryan Mathews, Stedman Bailey, Chris Ivory

3 Down: Lamar Miller, Jeremy Maclin, Torrey/Steve Smith

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