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FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Tunnel Vision: Week 14
David Dorey
December 10, 2012
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Stats to Know Video - Featuring David Dorey
Sunday Salutes
Quarterbacks Yards TD
Cam Newton 287p 116r 3
Nick Foles 381 3
Ben Roethlisberger 316 3
Eli Manning 259 4
Matt Ryan 342 2
Running Backs Yards TD
Adrian Peterson 170 2
Marshawn Lynch 128 3
David Wilson 100

3

Knowshon Moreno 167 1
Darren Sproles 84 2
Wide Receivers Yards TD
Brandon Marshall 160 1
Mike Wallace 112 2
Danario Alexander 88 2
Victor Cruz 121 1
Vincent Jackson 131 1
Tight Ends Yards TD
Clay Harbor 52 1
Dennis Pitta 46 1
Greg Olsen 55 1
Martellus Bennett 32 1
Tony Gonzalez 61 0
Placekickers XPT FG
Steven Hauschka 7 3
Matt Prater 2 4
Graham Gano 3 3
Phil Dawson 3 3
Rob Bironas 2 3
Defense/Special Teams TDs Sacks TOs
Seahawks 2 1 8
Browns 1 4 1
Giants 1 1 4
Titans 1 3 2
Chargers 1 2 2

Bumps, Bruises and bowouts

Jay Cutler - Neck
Robert Griffin III - Knee
Fred Jackson - Leg
Delone Carter - Ankle
Dwayne Bowe - Ribs
Stephen Hill - Knee
Brent Celek - Concussion
Jared Cook - Shoulder
Brandon Pettigrew - Ankle

Stats you need to know

1. PHI QB Nick Foles (381 yards, 2 TDs at TB)

Foles not only had a big game as a passer, he ran for 27 yards and a third touchdown as well. He's been getting incrementally better with each start and took a big step against the admittedly weak Buccaneers secondary. Not a bad roster stash for those in fantasy playoffs since his next two games are at home against the Bengals and Redskins. The rushing attack from the Eagles only gained a total of two net yards on 13 runs in Tampa Bay so the shine is off RB Bryce Brown. Foles will need to pass to stay in games. Weather could be an issue though.

2. MIN RB Adrian Peterson (134 yards)

After 13 games, all Peterson has done so far is to run for 1600 rushing yards. With three more weeks to go, all he needs is 134 rushing yards per game to become the seventh player to ever break 2000 rushing yards. Should he run for 168 yards per game he would break the all-time record of 2105 yards by Eric Dickerson in 1984. The Vikings offense has collapsed around him so that Peterson is the only real weapon. His last five games have averaged 166 yards each so it is certainly possible. It may seem like using up Peterson but what else does he have to play for in Minnesota? The next games are at St. Louis, at Houston and home against the Packers. That seems impossibly difficult but then again - no team has stopped him for five weeks and with Percy Harvin gone the defenses have been specifically dedicated to stopping Peterson without success.


3. NYG RB David Wilson (13-100, 2 TDs vs. NO)

Wilson comes off his first big game and even added a 97-yard kick return for a third touchdown as well. The game was very slanted with the Giants leading from the first quarter on and Ahmad Bradshaw was held to only 11 carries as he played through a sore knee and was not needed for the win. This is still a very positive sign and Wilson was even used at the goal line for one of his touchdowns. WIth the next two weeks on the road against the Falcons and Ravens, the Giants will need all the help they can get. Wilson showed blazing speed once he was out in the open and will serve at least a complementary role with Bradshaw in these final weeks.

4. ARI WR Larry Fitzgerald (1-2, at SEA)

It only gets worse for the Cardinals and drags even Larry Fitzgerald down with the rest of the team. He only caught one pass against the Seahawks though he was targeted 11 times. The Cards went back to John Skelton as the starter but after four interceptions he was yanked and Ryan Lindley was called back up. This all is a reminder that nothing is so bad that it cannot get a little worse. Fitzgerald no longer has any reliable fantasy value and his last three games combined have only totaled five receptions for 65 yards. The final three games are hosting the Lions, Bears and then ending in San Francisco. Nothing there speaks to giving Fitzgerald any more fantasy starts this year.

5. ATL QB Matt Ryan (342 yards, 2 TDs at CAR)

The Falcons quarterback ended well enough in a losing effort but there enough here to be concerned. At 11-2, the Falcons are still two wins ahead of the 49ers and Packers and came out this week flat in Carolina. They trailed 23-0 in the third quarter and this week host the Giants. Should the Falcons win that game - and they are undefeated at home - then it will be a given that week 17 will have no meaning. Depending on what happens when the Packers play in Chicago this week, it is possible that week 16 will be of no consequence for the #1 seed. That could well throw into question how well or even how long Ryan, Roddy White, Julio Jones, Tony Gonzalez or Michael Turner may play just when you need them the most. Prepare now for this potential problem.

6. MIA RB Reggie Bush (14-65, at SF)

The Dolphins starting tailback not only turned in a nice 4.6 yards per carry but he added five catches for 38 yards. Bush has been largely mediocre most of the year while sharing carries with Daniel Thomas and Lamar Miller. But he took almost the entire load against the 49ers while Thomas was left with only two runs for three yards and Miller gained one yard on three carries. Bush may not be back with the Dolphins next season but should be leaving on a slightly higher note. The next two games are both at home against the Jaguars and Bills and is one of the easiest schedules of any running back.

7. Top 8 Tight Ends (2-24, 0 TD)

Drawing from the Average Draft last summer, two catches for 24 yards is what a top eight drafted tight end averaged this week (excluding Aaron Hernandez who plays tonight). Those players and what they did on Sunday were Jimmy Graham (5-56), Rob Gronkowski (out), Antonio Gates (3-31), Vernon Davis (1-4), Jermichael Finley (2-16), Jason Witten (4-62) and Brandon Pettigrew (0 catches). The best tight ends this week were of course Clay Harbor, Dennis Pitta, Martellus Bennett, Greg Olsen, Joel Dreessen, Tony Gonzalez, Anthony McCoy and Scott Chandler. Embrace this - the era of the stud tight end has died. None of them scored this week.

8. GB QB Aaron Rodgers (173 yards, 0 TD vs. DET)

Fantasy leaguers are scratching their heads over the top quarterback drafted last summer. Rodgers has not thrown for more than 286 yards for the last six games and is getting worse as the season progresses. In week 12, he posted just 219 yards and one touchdown in New York against the Giants and then 286 yards and one touchdown versus the Vikings in week 13. On Sunday night, Rodgers passed for only 173 yards and threw no touchdowns for the first time in the last 36 games at Lambeau Field. He salvaged some fantasy value when he ran in a 27-yard touchdown. The weather was bad which historically has not been an issue for him but if it now matters, the next two games are in Chicago and then home against the Titans. Both outside up north and at risk for more inclement weather.

9. TB RB Doug Martin (28-128, TD vs. PHI)

While the Offensive Rookie of the Year is likely to go to either Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III, Martin has made a case for himself. WIth two games left to play, he is second only to Adrian Peterson with 1234 rushing yards. He's also gained 378 yards on 35 catches and his 11 touchdowns are second only to Arian Foster. Best yet - he finishes the fantasy season playing in New Orleans versus the worst defense against running backs and then at home with the Rams visiting along with the second worst defense. His final game happens in Atlanta where the Falcons will probably be starting scrubs and subs in a season finale' that does not matter.

10. BUF RB C.J. Spiller (7-37, vs. STL)

Yet another week of wondering why the Bills say they want to use Spiller more and then do not do it. Fred Jackson was given nine runs that only gained 14 yards against the visiting Rams while Spiller was only gaining 5.1 yards per carry instead of 1.5 yards like Jackson managed. But the Bills will now be without Jackson who injured his knee. Confirmation will come sometime Monday but HC Chan Gailey already acknowledged that it "did not look good". That will once again allow Spiller a full load and he has always responded well in the past. The next two matchups are the visiting Seahawks - never as good away from home - and then week 16 in Miami against the same Dolphins who gave up 130 total yards to Spiller just four weeks ago. The sad reality is that it requires Jackson to be injured for Spiller to meet his potential.

Sunday Snippets

STL 15, BUF 12 Upset. Sam Bradford led the Rams on a winning drive with only 48 seconds left to win the game and went for the two points for the "field goal" differential. Brandon Gibson (6-100, TD) was the only decent receiver and Steve Jackson scored once but had only 73 total yards. C.J. Spiller was limited to only 8 touches in the entire game while Fred Jackson was given nine runs for 14 yards and then left with a leg injury. Another one of those games that screamed "Where is Spiller?". Also with 27 total points it was a yawner anyway. Now the 6-6-1 Rams host the Vikings and the 5-8 Bills host the Seahawks.
ATL 20, CAR 30

Upset. Big Upset. Problem is that the Falcons don't probably care since they already won their division and remain well in the lead for the #1 seed. This could be a problem in week 16 relying on the Falcons in a FF championship game. At least Matt Ryan passed for 342 yards and two scores that were split between Roddy White (9-117) and Julio Jones (5-66). Cam Newton was outstanding with 287 pass yards and two scores plus he ran for 116 yards and a third touchdown. Of course on CAR running backs mattered at all and Steve Smith (7-109) still never scored. It was a trap game of sorts and an uninspired ATL team that could not get back into the game after trailing 16-0 at the half. Now the 11-2 Falcons host the Giants and the 4-9 Panthers go to San Diego.

DAL 20, CIN 19 Upset. This was a horrible game. Literally no decent fantasy stats for anyone. No one had more than 62 receiving yards, both quarterbacks threw one score and 200-ish yards. The biggest surprise here was A.J. Green dropping several passes. The Cowboys scored ten points in the fourth quarter to take the win with a 40-yard field goal as time expired. If you look at the box score, you would think it was halftime. Now the 7-6 Cowboys host the Steelers and the 7-6 Bengals head to Philadelphia.
KC 7, CLE 30

Finally something that makes perfect sense. Jamaal Charles opened the game with a 80-yard touchdown run on the first play. He ended with 165 yards on 18 runs but that was about all. Dwayne Bowe started well with 70 yards on two catches and was knocked from the game in the first half. Trent Richardson ran 18 times for only 42 yards but scored twice. Otherwise all the scoring came from field goals and a punt return touchdown. No passing scores or many yards. Now the 2-11 Chiefs head to Oakland and the 5-8 Browns host the Redskins.

TEN 23, IND 27 This game went all wrong though the Colts were expected to win. Andrew Luck passed for only 196 yards and one score with two interceptions. Jake Locker threw for 262 yards and one score with two interceptions. But Chris Johnson only gained 44 yards on 19 runs while Kenny Britt finally came to life with 143 yards on eight catches. Vick Ballard (19-94) and Reggie Wayne (6-64, TD) were the only Colts of any note. Now the 4-9 Titans host the Jets and the 9-4 Colts head to Houston.
NYJ 17, JAC 10

Yawn. This game was so devoid of offense that the best player was Montel Owens who ran for 91 yards on 14 carries and scored for the first time since 2008. Bilal Powell (19-78, TD) and Shonn Greene (20-77, TD) split up what could have been one decent performance. Chad Henne (185 yds, 2 int) turned back into a pumpkin. Just a sad little game with nearly no fantasy relevance. Now the 6-7 Jets head to Tennessee and the 2-11 Jaguars go to Miami.

CHI 14, MIN 21 Upset. Adrian Peterson (31-154, 2 TD) once again was the entirety of the MIN offense that combined for only 108 more yards and no scores. No other Viking had more than 36 yards in the entire game. Jay Cutler was knocked out later in the second half and Jason Campbell finished. They combined for 324 yards and two touchdowns but lost in part because of a pick six thrown by Cutler. Brandon Marshall (10-160) scored once as did Alshon Jeffrey (3-57). The loss drops the Bears to 8-5 and they host the Packers this week. The 7-6 Vikings now head to St. Louis and hope once again that Peterson can win the game single-handedly yet again.
SD 34, PIT 24

Upset. How exactly does this happen? The Chargers were recently 1-7 in their last eight games and the Steelers were at home with Ben Roethlisberger back. The Chargers just plain kicked their butt. Philip Rivers passed for 200 yards and three scores that included two for Danario Alexander (7-88) against what was supposed to be the premier pass defense in the NFL. Big Ben threw for 285 yards and three scores that included two for Mike Wallace (7-112). Neither team ran well at all. The Chargers recovered a backwards pass in the endzone for a score. They even led 34-10 in the fourth quarter. The big thing here was that the PIT defense was just AWOL at home against a very bad team. Now the 5-8 Chargers host the Panthers and the 7-6 Steelers go to Dallas.

PHI 23, TB 21 Upset. Nick Foles passed for 381 yards and two scores. Jason Avant (7-133) and Jeremy Maclin (9-104, TD) were huge including the game winner caught by Maclin as time expired. Bryce Brown ran for only six yards on 12 runs unlike the 169 yards and two scores against me last week that cost me a thousand dollars in winnings but that doesn't bother me enough to bring it up. The Eagles RBs combined for just 2 rushing yards. Josh Freeman passed for 189 yards and two scores that almost all went to Vincent Jackson (6-131, TD) while Doug Martin ran for 128 yards and one score. Just a weird game and the first win by the Eagles in the last nine weeks. Now the 4-9 Eagles host the Bengals and the 6-7 Buccaneers head to New Orleans.
MIA 13, SF 27

Not that much happening here. The Fins had no fantasy value aside from Reggie Bush with 103 total yards. Colin Kaepernick only threw for 185 yards but ran in a score on his 53 yards from six carries. Frank Gore (12-63, TD) was marginally effective as was Michael Crabtree (9-93). Just not much happened here as expected and the 49ers even let Anthony Dixon run in a touchdown. LaMichael James did run eight times for 30 yards and caught a 15-yard pass while it looks like Brandon Jacobs has already been shelved again. THe 5-8 Dolphins host the Jaguars this week while the 9-3-1 49ers head to New England.

NO 27, NYG 52 Definite contender for Game-o-the-Week if because of sheer points. This game was a thing of beauty in a fantasy sense. Drew Brees passed for 354 yards but only one score and two interceptions. Darren Sproles turned in 84 total yards and two touchdowns whole Joe Morgan continues to make an inconsistent name for himself with two catches for 106 yards. The night was all Giants with Eli Manning tossing four touchdowns and 259 yards. Ahmad Bradshaw was banged up and David Wilson ran 13 times for 100 yards and two scores plus he ran back a kick 97 yards for another touchdown. Victor Cruz (8-121, TD), Hakeem Nicks (4-67, TD) and even Michael Bennett (5-32, TD) all had decent games. On a day that had so many mediocre performances, this is the only game that really delivered. Now the 5-8 Saints host the Buccaneers and the 8-5 Giants head to Atlanta.
ARI 0, SEA 58 Another contender for GOTW because how wonder was this? Not so much for Cardinals fans but otherwise - whoa! The Cardinals have become the saddest team in the league by now. Someone probably said to try Skelton again because he's bound to be better than Lindley. Never say it cannot get any worse. Skelton ended with 11-22-74 and four interceptions before finally letting Lindley play. No Cardinals player gained more than 36 yards in the game and Larry Fitzgerald (1-2) is apparently part of the witness protection program with his second sub-5 yard game of the year. Marshawn Lynch was benched after gaining 128 yards and three touchdowns on only 11 carries and Robert Turbin ran 20 times for 108 yards as well. This was just a beatdown of enormous proportions and the Cardinals were not only shut out, they lost the ball eight times. The 4-9 Cardinals have lost nine in a row now and cannot get any worse than zero points. We will watch next week to see if they can. They host the Lions while the 8-5 Seahawks head to Buffalo.
DET 20 , GB 27 The late game didn't seem nearly so exciting as 47 total points seems to suggest though we were treated to a returned fumble for a score when Matt Stafford did one of those "lose the ball in the windup" things. And of course there was the touchdown by DuJuan Harris, latest in an apparently never-ending line of Packers running backs. Rodgers was just bad throwing for only 173 yards and no scores but running in one touchdown. Randall Cobb (7-102) was the only receiver of note for Green Bay who mixed in four different runners to make sure that none had any value. Stafford only threw for 264 yards and one score and Calvin Johnson, of course, was the only wideout that mattered with 10 catches for 118 yards. Now the 4-9 Lions head to Arizona and the 9-4 Packers go to Chicago.

Huddle Player of the Week

Cam Newton - He's been marginal most of the year, especially considering where he was usually drafted in leagues. But at least for this week there were none better. Newton faced the #1 record of the NFL of the Falcons and passed for 287 yards and two touchdowns and also ran nine times for 116 yards and a third touchdown. The upset win over their divisional rival may be as close that the Panthers get to the Superbowl but for the home town fans - it was a treat.

Salute!

Drama 101 - Somebody has to laugh, somebody has to cry

Comedy Yards TDs Tragedy Yards TDs
QB Nick Foles 381 3 QB Andrew Luck 196 1
RB David Wilson 100 3 RB Ahmad Bradshaw 33 0
RB Knowshon Moreno 167 1 RB Bryce Brown 12 0
WR Jason Avant 133 0 WR Larry Fitzgerald 2 0
WR Anquan Boldin 78 2 WR Torrey Smith 21 0
WR Brandon Gibson 100 1 WR A.J. Green 44 0
TE Clay Harbor 52 1 TE Vernon Davis 4 0
PK Steven Hauschka 7 XP 3 FG PK Matt Bryant 2 XP

Huddle Fantasy Points = 128

Huddle Fantasy Points = 25

Sunday's Couch Commentary

This was a down week for the most part. Only four quarterbacks passed for 300+ yards and two of those (Brees and Manning) only scored once. Running backs managed to have a great week with with monster games by Adrian Peterson, Marshawn Lynch, David Wilson, Knowshon Moreno, Darren Sproles and even Ray Rice was not misused. There has been a number of players who only recently showed up on the scene and yet are now making a difference for the waiver wire hounds. This week had mostly mediocre showings by most teams and yet both the Giants and Seahawks cranked up 50+ point games. There were fantasy points this week, they were just here and there and not often with the guys you would have expected.

The Game-O-The-Week? It could have gone to the Seahawks in honor of merciless beatings. Or the Giants who poured on the points. But a good, close game with fantasy points did happen.

Ravens 28, Redskins 31 OT

The scoring was not that high in this game that saw the Ravens take a 21-14 lead at the half. In the third quarter, The Redskins pulled to within one point 21-20 with two field goals by Kai Forbath.

It was not until the Ravens took over on their own 38-yard line that the game started to come to life. They drove to the WAS 7-yard line where Ray Rice ran in a touchdown with 4:52 left to play for a 28-20 lead.

The Redskins took over on their own 15-yard line and read their own 27-yard line where Robert Griffin III was injured when he was tackled and his leg whipped into a defender and bent in the air in a manner that looked bad. Early reports are fortunately that he only has a sprain but it took him out of the game with 1:42 left to play. Two plays later he was back but could only play for three more plays before his leg seemed to lock up on him and he had to take himself out. The rookie Kirk Cousins then made a completion to Leonard Hankerson and another to Pierre Garcon who scored from 11 yards out with 36 seconds left to play. For a two point conversion, Cousins ended up running it in himself for the tie that sent it into overtime.

Overtime did not last long. The Ravens were unable to get a first down after winning the coin toss and taking the kickoff. The resulting punt was returned 64 yards to the BAL 24-yard line where a couple of runs allowed Kai Forbath to kick the game-winning 34-yard field goal.

We're racing to the end now. By this coming weekend almost all leagues will either be starting or well into their playoffs. We entered into this weekend with yet another death. This time it was a practice squad linebacker Jerry Brown with the Cowboys killed when his friend and starting nosetackle Josh Brent was driving drunk and had a one-vehicle accident at an apparent high speed. Then we had a number of upsets this week and not because one team suddenly played really well, but because the Falcons, Bears and Steelers played so poorly.

It happens every year. The guys that got you there are not always the ones that let you win. It's always a sore lesson in the folly of standing pat and not constantly trying to upgrade your roster even if it is only to deny a player to someone else. Guys like Bryce Brown, Knowshon Moreno and Danario Alexander have been huge difference makers and none were on teams at mid-season.

We're winding down and seeing weather become an issue again. For about 98% of all leagues, the next two weeks are the conclusion of four months of study and research and team management. Have fun if you are in the playoffs and if you are not - wish them well who have made it. As much fun as it is to win, don't lose sight of the fact only one team will win and it should still be fun for all the others. If you are fortunate enough to have a local or work league, make sure you plan a lunch or dinner after it is all done to review your season and renew your relationships.

And let's hope we can focus on the end of the season and not the end of anyone's life.

Now get back to work...


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