FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Tunnel Vision: Week 14
David Dorey
December 9, 2013
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Sunday Salutes
Quarterbacks Yards TD
Peyton Manning 390 4
Andrew Luck 358 4
Jason Campbell 416 3
Andy Dalton 286 3
Tom Brady 418 2
Running Backs Yards TD
LeSean McCoy 221 2
Jamaal Charles 159 2
Shane Vereen 156 1
Joique Bell 127 1
Marcel Reece 161 1
Wide Receivers Yards TD
Josh Gordon 185 1
Da 'Rick Rogers 107 2
Andre Johnson 154 0
Larry Fitzgerald 96 1
Rod Streater 130 1
Tight Ends Yards TD
Charles Clay 97 2
Jordan Cameron 121 1
Jimmy Graham 58 2
Garrett Graham 73 1
Andrew Quarless 66 1
Placekickers XPT FG
Matt Prater 6 3
Nick Novak 4 3
Phil Dawson 1 4
Nick Folk 4 3
Mason Crosby 1 3
Defense/Special Teams TDs Sacks TOs
Chiefs 2 6 2
Buccaneers 0 6 5
Cardinals 1 4 2
Falcons 1 5 2
Lions 2 0 1

Bumps, Bruises and bowouts

Rob Gronkowski - ACL
Adrian Peterson - Foot
Lamar Miller - Concussion
Eddie Lacy - Ankle
Evan Royster - Ankle
Reggie Bush - Calf
Wes Welker - Concussion
Brandon Stokley - Head
Eddie Lacy - Ankle
Jonathan Stewart - Knee

Looking back at week 14

There were 95 touchdowns scored on Sunday - the most in NFL history. The worst weather of the year at the end of a season full of injuries and substitutions and this was the highest numbers of NFL touchdowns ever scored in one day. How great was that? Fantasy playoffs are kicking off and the NFL explodes with points.

But it wasn't all fun. Fantasy owners were hard hit when Reggie Bush re-aggravated his calf in pregame warm-ups and was unable to play. That left Joique Bell to run for 69 yards and one touchdown and become the leading receiver for the Lions with four catches for 58 yards. The Lions face home games against the Ravens and Giants up next and Bush has been much better at home than away. If he doesn't bounce back, Bell suddenly becomes a nice start during fantasy playoffs.

Adrian Peterson went down with a foot injury that won't take too much to keep him out a week or two given that the Vikings season is long over and there is no reason to rush their franchise player back. This is one time when owning his handcuff will pay off since Toby Gerhart ran for 89 yards and a touchdown against the Ravens. This week he will face the visiting Eagles for another nice surprise starter though week 16 in Cincinnati is less likely to produce much.

It is very unlikely that Wes Welker will bounce back quickly from his concussion because the Broncos play again on Thursday and this is Welker's second concussion in the last few weeks. He's not only at risk for missing the Chargers tilt this week but it could bleed over into their week 16 meeting with the Texans. Eric Decker gets the biggest boost should Decker be unable to play and even Demaryius Thomas could see a few more targets.

Rob Gronkowski was carted off the field with a knee injury that was immediately considered a torn ACL. Beyond the devastating effect it will have on the Patriots playoff fortunes, it takes out a major fantasy player from the field as well. Gronkowski owners already had to wait seven weeks into the season before they could start him. Now he'll be gone right when they need him the most. The Patriots face two tough matchups next up when the travel to Miami and then to Baltimore. The absence of Gronkowski will make Shane Vereen even more important as a passing outlet and boost the need for Julian Edelman to provide possession catches.

Matt Prater finally did what was expected from all Bronco kickers. He used the thin air in Denver to break the record longest field goal. The 63-yard kick by Tom Dempsey was later tied by Jason Elam, Sebastian Janikowski and David Akers. Now Prater stands alone with a 64-yard effort and here is a reminder for leagues that award distance bonuses for kicks that the Broncos kicker should always be one of the very first kickers drafted.

There were numerous bad weather games this week with the worst being in Philadelphia. The near-blizzard that opened the game lightened in the second-half but depressed what was hoped to be a shoot-out between the Eagles and Lions. Nick Foles only threw 22 passes in the game and completed 11 for 179 yards and one touchdown. He added another score on a run. But Matt Stafford is more used to playing under a roof and was only able to pass for 148 yards and no scores. He fumbled five times and lost one. At least his next two games are at home versus the Ravens and Giants. Matt Ryan played in Green Bay managed 206 yards and two scores and nearly won the game but won't deal with it again since the next two opponents are the visiting Redskins and then a trip to play the 49ers. This week there are no dome quarterbacks in danger of playing in bad weather.

Want a rule of thumb about which team will win? The 14 games played on Sunday saw only two road teams win - the Chiefs at the Redskins and the Dolphins at the Steelers. Otherwise ever game ended up with the home team. That's not a hard and fast rule, but it is far more common the deeper you get into the season and in particular when games count more and the weather may not be perfect. When picking between two kickers, always take the one from a game that his team will win. It is the only statistically significant difference between kickers. Winning kickers score more points.

Josh Gordon is one of the elite receivers every week and was coming off two straight 200+ yard games. The Browns were facing the Patriots along with shutdown cornerback Aqib Talib who had contained everyone this year - Jimmy Graham, Antonio Brown, and so on. But against Gordon he allowed an 80-yard touchdown catch and eventually seven catches for 151 yards. Plus a run for 34 yards. That makes Gordon as the most productive receiver over a four game span in the history of the NFL. He gained 774 yards in that time and even scored on three pass plays longer than 70 yards. He's already set the single season mark for the Browns with 1400 yards that bested the previous mark of 1289 yards owned by Braylon Edwards. Except Gordon did it after missing the first two weeks on a suspension and he still has three more games to play.

Notable as a late season development is in Indianapolis where Da 'Rick Rogers was finally given playing time in week 13 but never had a pass thrown to him versus the Titans. In Cincinnati, he made his first NFL catches when he reeled in a team-high six catches for 107 yards and two touchdowns. He was targeted nine times while replacing Darrius Heyward-Bey who has finally let his chance to rekindle his career slip through his fingers like most of the passes thrown his way. Rogers is a 6-3, 207 pound wideout who played at Tennessee in his first two years at college but was indefinitely suspended by the Vols. He was undrafted this year and originally signed with the Bills who cut him prior to the start of the season.

Rogers' suspension at Tennessee was never explained but he did admit to failing three drug tests while there. He was considered the second-best receiver recruit in the nation coming out of high school in 2010. He's another receiver who is vastly talented and yet his own worst enemy since he struggled to be a team player and adhere to rules. And sure, that sounds like Josh Gordon and like a hundred other knuckle-headed players you never heard of because they never delivered on their potential. In a dynasty league, Rogers is certainly worth a stash. Facing the Texans this week, he may be worth an actual fantasy start.

Dennis Pitta also returned for the first time this year and immediately made a difference. He caught six passes for 48 yards and score once versus the visiting Vikings. He'll be playing in Detroit this week and then home against the Patriots for two straight weeks that the Ravens will be throwing the ball a lot.

The weather this week did not affect most players and it likely helped several. Aside from the Lions trying to play in six inches of snow, you could argue that weather still did not have that big of an impact in a week that just the NFL record for touchdowns in one day. Chances are the next two weeks will serve up even worst conditions so at least consider the most severe situations when you make starting decisions. Unless it involves Josh Gordon then apparently nothing matters.

Sunday Snippets

HOU 20, JAC 27 Here's a coach killer. The Texans dumped Gary Kubiak in the wake of this loss. Both QBs combined for 357 yards and two scores with two interceptions. Andre Johnson gained 154 yards on 13 catches but no one else that much in the game. Garrett Graham was decent with 73 yards and one score. The Jaguars just made no mistakes and that was enough. Chad Henne only passed for 117 yards and two scores with a third one coming on a trick play when Ace Sanders threw it. But no receivers had more than 42 yards and Maurice Jones-Drew ended with 123 total yards but no scores. Now the 2-11 Texans have DC Wade Phillips acting as temporary head coach when they head to Indianapolis and the 4-9 Jaguars host the Bills.
MIN 26, BAL 29

Obvious GOTW contender. The Vikings lost Adrian Peterson to a foot injury but saw Toby Gerhart run for 89 yards and one score on 15 carries because he is not Peterson and the defense did not care. Matt Cassel passed for 265 yards and two scores with Cordarrelle Patterson (5-141, TD) almost winning the game when he scored from 79 yards out with 45 seconds left to play. Joe Flacco ended with 245 yards and three scores with three interceptions but Marlon Brown (7-92, TD) was the best receiver and Dennis Pitta (6-48, TD) also was back on the field finally. Ray Rice gained 109 total yards in maybe his final decent game of the year. The 3-9-1 Vikings now host the Eagles and the 7-6 Ravens head to Detroit.

IND 28, CIN 42 The Colts were overmatched but put up a good fight. Andrew Luck passed for 326 yards and four touchdowns that were split between Da 'Rick Rogers (6-107, 2 TD) and Lavon Brazill (5-68, 2 TD) and while no running back matters, at least Trent Richardson caught five passes for 68 yards. Andy Dalton passed for 275 yards and three scores with A.J. Green (6-72, TD) and Marvin Jones (3-60, TD) as top receivers. Giovanni Bernard ran for 99 yards and caught four passes for 49 more yards while BenJarvus Green-Ellis scored twice on his 17 runs for 48 yards. The win sends the 9-4 Bengals to Pittsburgh while the 8-5 Colts will host the suddenly leaderless Texans.
CLE 26, NE 27

Obvious GOTW contender. How was this ever a game? Jason Campbell passed for 391 yards and three scores - that's Jason Campbell - and Josh Gordon becomes the first top wideout to make the Pats look bad when he gained 151 yards and a score as a receiver and ran for 34 yards. Jordan Cameron had a season high nine catches for 121 yards and a touchdown. There was no rushing game of course and really little happening besides the two receivers. Tom Brady ended with 418 yards and two scores with Shane Vereen (12-153) as the top receiver who also scored a rushing touchdown. Julian Edelman (6-64, TD) again was a top receiver while Rob Gronkowski is expected to have torn his ACL. Steven Ridley was active and ran eight times for 35 yards. The 4-9 Browns will host the Bears this week and the 10-3 Patriots head to Miami.

OAK 27, NYJ 37 Need a win? Call the Raiders. Matt McGloin passed for 245 yards and two scores that mostly favored Rod Streater (7-130, TD) and Marcel Reece was the last man standing in the backfield was surprised with 123 yards and one score on the #1 defense against running backs. He added 38 yards as a receiver as well. Geno Smith turned in 219 yards and one score with just one interceptions. But Kellen Winslow (3-61) was the best receiver and Jeremy Kerley (4-41, TD) is back form injury and already making a difference. Chris Ivory ran for 76 yards and one score while Geno also ran in a score on his five runs for 50 yards. The 4-9 Raiders will host the Chiefs this week and the Jets will head to Carolina.
DET 20, PHI 34

Like the weathermen said, the light snow would start falling by the end of the game but they missed the white-out blizzard that happened for the first half. No matter, this was a real man's game and a reminder of just how no other sport can stack up to football. Matt Stafford is used to a dome and only passed for 148 yards when you needed him most. Calvin Johnson only caught three passes for 49 yards while Reggie Bush was hurt in pregame warmups and dressed but never played. Joique Bell was a nice surprise with a score on his 23 runs for 69 yards and he was the top Lions receiver with 58 yards on four catches. Nick Foles only passed for 179 yards and one score but ran for 23 yards and a second touchdown. He also finally threw an interception but it should come with an asterisk in that game. DeSean Jackson (4-59, TD) was good but not great. LeSean McCoy ran for 217 yards and two scores on 29 carries in his best game ever. Now the 7-6 Lions will host the Ravens and the 8-5 Eagles head to Minnesota.

MIA 34, PIT 28 The Fins scored 10 points in the final three minutes to win this. Ryan Tannehill passed for 200 yards and three touchdowns divided up between Charles Clay (7-97, TD) and Brian Hartline (5-51, TD). Mike Wallace (2-19) did not hurt his old team much. Lamar Miller was injured and Daniel Thomas stepped up with 105 yards and a score as a runner. Ben Roethlisberger passed for 349 yards and three touchdowns to his wideouts with Antonio Brown (5-137, TD) as the too receiver., Le'Veon Bell gained 89 total yards. Now the 7-6 Dolphins will host the Patriots and the 5-8 Steelers welcome the visiting Bengals.
BUF 6, TB 27

Hard to believe the Buccaneers are 4-1 in their most recent five games. Mike Glennon passed for 90 yards and two touchdowns because that was all he had to do. Vincent Jackson (3-70, TD) almost caught all the passes. Bobby Rainey opened the game with a 80-yard touchdown run and ended with 127 yards on 22 carries. E.J. Manuel only passed for 184 yards and four interceptions and was also the lead rusher. There were no decent fantasy plays for the Bills and combined the backfield only ran for 34 yards on 16 carries. Stevie Johnson (5-67) was as good as it got. The loss sends the 4-9 Bills to Jacksonville and the 4-9 Buccaneers host the 49ers.

KC 45, WAS 10 Though nothing has happened, this one felt like a coach killer too. Robert Griffin was yanked later in the game but Kirk Cousins was just as bad. Alfred Morris ran for only 31 yards on 12 carries. Pierre Garcon only caught five passes for 37 yards. It was more one of those "be gentle, be quick" lay downs by the Skins who were at home. Alex Smith passed for 137 yards and two scores and Dwayne Bowe (4-69, TD) was actually decent in a road game. Jamaal Charles ran for 151 yards and one score while adding a second touchdown on a catch. The 10-3 Chiefs will head to Oakland and the 3-10 Redskins will head to Atlanta and actually lose to the Falcons.
ATL 21, GB 22

Another GOTW contender but no one scored in the final 12 minutes. The Falcons were plenty competitive here against the non-Rodgers Packers. Matt Ryan passed for 206 yards and two scores and Roddy White (8-74) once again had a game that said he's back to health. Steven Jackson ran for 71 yards and a score while Tony Gonzalez (3-25, TD) had a small game but scored once. Matt Flynn threw for 258 yards and one touchdown to Andrew Quarless (6-66). Jordy Nelson (4-85) was the best receiver while Eddie Lacy ran for 65 yards and one score. Not as many points as you would want from either team if they were all healthy. Now the 3-10 Falcons host the Falcons and the 6-6-1 Packers will head to Dallas.

TEN 28, DEN 51 The Broncos started flat like usual and let the Titans stay in the game for the first half. But in the end Peyton Manning passed for 397 yards and four touchdowns with every wideout catching a touchdown - Eric Decker (8-117), Demaryius Thomas (7-88) and Wes Welker (5-61) though Welker was concussed. Both Knowshon Moreno (14-78, TD) and Monte Ball (15-77, TD) were more than enough to control the game. Ryan Fitzpatrick passed for 172 yards and one score that almost entirely ended up with Justin Hunter (4-114, TD). Shonn Greene ran for 46 yards and two touchdowns while Chris Johnson gained 55 total yards and score once. Now the 5-8 Titans will host the Cardinals and the 11-2 Broncos will face the Chargers.
STL 10, ARI 30

The road Rams scare no one. Kellen Clemens passed for just 181 yard and two interceptions and no receiver was better than Jared Cook with just 49 yards. Even Zac Stacy only gained 22 total yards but at least scored once. It was a flat performance all around. Carson Palmer threw for 269 yards and one score that ended up with Larry Fitzgerald (12-96). Both Andre Ellington (11-46, TD) and Rashard Mendenhall (17-41, TD) were able to score. Outside of Fitzgerald, no one in this game did much. The 5-8 Rams will host the Saints this week and the 8-5 Cardinals head to Tennessee.

NYG 14, SD 37 The Giants winning ways of late are over since they had to leave home. Eli Manning only passed for 259 yards and one score with two interceptions. Somehow Hakeem Nicks ended up as the best receiver with 135 yards on his five catches but no one else had more than 42 yards. Andre Brown ran for 81 yards but let Peyton Hillis steal the touchdown. Philip Rivers was in great form with 249 yards and three touchdowns that included Keenan Allen (3-59, 2 TD) and Danny Woodhead (4-52, TD). Ryan Mathews ran for 103 yards and one score. Now the 5-8 Giants host the Seahawks and the 6-7 Chargers go to Denver.
SEA 17, SF 19

Another GOTW contender at least in an NFL sense. The Seahawks held in tough but Russell Wilson only threw for 199 yards and one score to Luke Willson (3-70, TD). Marshawn Lynch only gained 72 yards on 20 runs but rushed in a touchdown. Colin Kaepernick passed for 175 yards and one score and added 31 yards on nine runs. Anquan Boldin (6-93) was the best receiver though Vernon Davis (2-21) scored the lone passing touchdown. Frank Gore stepped up with 110 yards on 17 carries including a late 51-yard run that helped to win the game. Now the 11-2 Seahawks will hit the road to play the Giants and the 9-4 49ers will be going to Tampa Bay.

CAR 13, NO 31 The Panthers find out what playing against a good team ready to play them is all about. Cam Newton only passed for 160 yards and one touchdown that went to Steve Smith (6-49). DeAngelo Williams ran for 52 yards but Jonathan Stewart was injured. Newton rushed for 48 yards but they never scored a touchdown until late in the fourth quarter. The Saints won thanks to Drew Brees throwing for 313 yards and four touchdowns that went to Marques Colston (9-125, 2 TD) and Jimmy Graham (6-58, 2 TD) but no one else did much in the entire game. The Saints only rushed for 24 yards on 11 carries by three running backs though Darren Sproles gained 38 yards on his one run. The loss sends the 9-4 Panthers home to face the Jets and the 10-3 Saints will go to St. Louis.

Huddle Player of the Week

LeSean McCoy - He played in a blizzard but he was just a blur to the defense on most plays. McCoy ran for a personal best 217 yards and scored from 57 and 40 yards out. He added one catch for four yards and was just unstoppable as a runner once he hit the open field. It was a day with many monster games and yet McCoy was the best of the bunch.

Salute!

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

Comedy Yards TDs Tragedy Yards TDs
QB Jason Campbell 416 3 QB Matt Stafford 147 0
RB Marcel Reece 161 1 RB Adrian Peterson 17 0
RB Joique Bell 137 1 RB Alfred Morris 31 0
WR Da 'Rick Rogers 107 2 WR Kendall Wright 17 0
WR Marlon Brown 93 1 WR Victor Cruz 42 0
WR La 'Von Brazill 53 2 WR Calvin Johnson 40 0
TE Andrew Quarless 66 1 TE Rob Gronkowski 32 0
PK Caleb Sturgis 10 points PK Alex Henery zero points

Huddle Fantasy Points = 147

Huddle Fantasy Points = 21

Sunday's Couch Commentary

All but two home teams won this week. We were treated to snow and in Philadelphia, it was SNOW. The first head coach has been fired and the Redskins have the look of a team thinking about the same "moving on" idea. This was a high scoring week with four more running backs totaling over 150 yards and two wideouts hitting the mark. One of the best running backs (Peterson) and tight ends (Gronkowski) may be out for the rest of the season.

There were five different games that could all be Game-O-The-Week.

Seattle 17, San Francisco 19 - A bit point starved but SF drove six minutes to the Seattle 4-yard line and kicked a field goal with 31 seconds left. Russell Wilson threw an interception to end the game.

Miami 34, Pittsburgh 28 - Steelers led 28-24 but then Fins scored a touchdown with 2:53 left to play t make it 31-28. Big Ben threw three incompletions from his own ten-yard line then went for it on fourth down when he ran one yard short of the first down. Fins ran three times and kicked the field goal with 1:08 to play ahead 34-28. Steelers get it with one minute, drive to their 21-y7ard line where the last play "lateral - lateral - lateral" play happens and it works only Antonio Brown's 60 yards should have been about 75-yards and game winning but he accidentally stepped out of bounds by about an inch.

Minnesota 26, Baltimore 29 - The entire game took place in the fourth quarter. It was 12-7 entering the final period and it wasn't until 2:07 was left to play when Joe Flacco hit Dennis Pitta for a touchdown and a 15-12 lead. Then two plays later, Toby Gerhart ran for a 41-yard touchdown and a Vikes lead of 19-15. The ensuing kickoff was returned 77 yards by Jacoby Jones for a 22-19 advantage by the Ravens. That all took place in just one minute. Three plays later, Matt Cassel hits Cordarrelle Patterson for a 79-yard touchdown with 1:01 left to play. 26-22 for the Vikings.

Only six plays later, Joe Flacco throws a 9-yard touchdown to Marlon Brown for the win with only nine seconds left. That is 28 points in the final two minutes.

Cleveland 26, New England 27 - This would be epic were it not for the Patriots almost being beaten at home by the Browns. The Browns still led 19-14 when Steven Gostkowski kicked a 50-yard field goal with 5:48 left to play. The Browns marched down and Jason Campbell threw a touchdown to Jordan Cameron with 2:43 left to play for a 26-14 lead. The Patriots marched 82 yards in 11 plays when Tom Brady threw a 2-yard touchdown to Julian Edelman to cut the lead to 26-21 with only 1:04 left to play. Then the onsides kick was recovered by the Pats because these are the Browns on the road. Then they go from the CLE 40-yard line down to the goal line in one play when every Patriot season ticket holder will agree there was pass interference in the endzone (but not like anyone else including the announcers). Placed at the goal line by "one of those calls" Brady threw a touchdown to Danny Amendola for the win.

But the winner of the Game-O-The-Week has to be:

Detroit 20, Philadelphia 34

No, it wasn't close and Calvin Johnson only gained 49 yards with no score. But it was played in six inches of snow that fell so heavily that you could barely make out the players on the field. They had to stop the game to use heated blowers to clear away the goal line so they could tell if anyone scored.

You just do not get that in any other sport I ever head of. Basketball? No sport should be air conditioned. Baseball? They won't even play in a light sprinkle. Hockey? Close but only for cold temperatures. Same set-up used for Disney On Ice the night before. Can't be that bad. Soccer? Admittedly never watch it but never heard of soccer during rain or snow. More like watching a very lengthy and yet untimed cardio workout for a bunch of dudes in shorts.

Football in the snow. A thing of beauty.

And so is Josh Gordon.

Now get back to work...


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