Week 14 was a crucial week for many fantasy football owners who were in the playoffs, or trying to reach the playoffs, in their leagues. We turn to our fantasy guru, James Morris, to recap the best and the worst from Sunday’s action around the league.
Week 14 Winners & Losers by James Morris
It’s rare to see a 50-point game in the NFL, but on Sunday we saw two of them at the same time! In one game the Giants racked up 52 points against the Saints; and in the other, the Seahawks absolutely embarrassed the Cardinals to the tune of a 58-0 spanking. Now it’s time to take a look at some of the other winners and losers from the first week of the fantasy playoffs.
And, before any of you mention how horrible I did with my picks, let’s just move on and forget this week ever happened. Week 14 of the fantasy season was by far the worst week I’ve seen all year and something that felt like it was straight out of the twighlight zone!
Nick Foles – QB Eagles: Just when you think you have the Eagles offense all figured out, they throw a monkey wrench in the whole thing and kill fantasy owners chances of a win in week 1. Foles took the spotlight this week by throwing for 381 yards, running for 27 yards and scoring 3 TDs. He finished as the #2 ranked QB for week 14, but isn’t worth starting to finish out the season in any format.
Ben Roethlisberger – QB Steelers: Big Ben came back from his rib injury and managed to put up 285 yards in the air, 31 yards on the ground and throw for 3 TDs on the day. He did lose one fumble, but the yards and TDs more than made up for it and he looks like he hasn’t missed a beat since going to in week 10.
Knowshon Moreno – RB Broncos: Moreno had his best game of the season on Thursday night as he ran the ball 32 times for 199 yards and a TD, and caught 4 passes for another 48 yards. What helped Moreno out this week was that the Broncos played the Raiders, so Peyton Manning was able to get up early and rely on the ground game to run out the clock. Moreno should be owned in all formats, but I wouldn’t count on 32 carries again this season unless the Broncos are up big and they need to run out the clock.
Darren Sproles – RB Saints: I had a few owners ask me via Twitter about playing Sproles this week and I said no because his production hasn’t been there since returning. Wouldn’t you know this is the week he breaks out for 56 yards rushing, 28 yards receiving on 4 catches and 2 TDs! All total he scored 24 points in NFL.com PPR leagues and ranked in the top 5 for fantasy RBs this week.
Danario Alexander – WR Chargers: One of the only things that went right for me this week was Alexander. I recommended him to my Facebook and Twitter followers as a good sleeper pick for week 14 (owned in 27.1 percent of NFL.com leagues) and he racked up 7 catches for 88 yards and 2 TDs against the Steelers. He has taken over as the go-to guy for Philip Rivers and should be owned in all formats to finish the season out.
Jeremy Maclin – WR Eagles: And finally making an appearance in 2012, Jeremy Maclin! The Eagles #1 WR (by default, not skill) finished with 9 catches for 104 yards and a TD thanks to his QB finally having a respectable day. This was a flash in the pan for Maclin and if the trade deadline hadn’t passed I would tell you to sell high before someone realizes this was a fluke.
Clay Harbor – TE Eagles: Clay who? Harbor came in for Brent Celek when he went down with a concussion on the very first drive of the game. Harbor proceeded to haul in 6 passes for 52 yards and a TD, which was good enough to take home the #1 ranking for fantasy TEs in NFL.com PPR scoring formats (17 points). Since I don’t see Foles having this kind of game again this season, I’d leave Harbor on the waiver wire where he belongs.
Cleveland Browns defense: In a bright spot for my otherwise horribly horrible fantasy weekend, the Browns defense stepped up and finished #2 for fantasy purposes. They allowed just 7 points while amassing 5 sacks, 1 INT and a 93-yard punt return that was pretty impressive. All-in-all they scored 18 points in NFL.com standard defensive scoring, but you’ll want to cut them next week as they face the Washington Redskins.
Christian Ponder – QB Vikings: When Percy Harvin went on the I.R., I dropped Ponder in the few remaining deep leagues I had him in because I knew this was exactly the type of production he was going to put up with nobody of value to throw to. When all was said and done, Ponder threw for just 91 yards with no TDs and 1 INT. He finished dead last for all starting QBs this week in fantasy points (1-2 points, depending on the scoring format) and should be cut by the 12.8 percent of people who still own him in NFL.com leagues.
Andrew Luck – QB Colts: Finally Luck looked like the rookie he is, and it came at the worst possible time with the first round of the playoffs kicking off for most fantasy leagues. He threw for just 196 yards, 1 TD and 2 INTs on the day, which scored him 10 points in standard NFL.com leagues and ranked him 25th for all QBs.
Beanie Wells – RB Cardinals: There is little to talk about for the Cardinals that went right on Sunday, so it is no surprise to see Wells end up at the top of the RB losers list. He managed to run for just 18 yards on 6 carries, and didn’t even get garbage time yards with the Seahawks up by 50-plus points at the end of the game. He isn’t an option and should be owned in 60.0 percent of NFL.com leagues.
Bryce Brown – RB Eagles: The waiver wire darling of the past few weeks came crashing back to reality this week as he ran for 6 yards on 12 carries. For any mathematicians, that is 0.5 YPC. The Buccaneers showed why they have the #1 ranked run defense in the NFL, and Brown never had a chance in this one. It doesn’t look much better next week as he faces the Bengals #10 ranked run defense.
Larry Fitzgerald – WR Cardinals: Who remembers back in week 8 when I traded Larry Fitzgerald for Tony Gonzalez in our Dolphins NFL.com league? I got so much flack for that via Twitter and Facebook, but I knew it was the right decision in the long run. This week Fitzgerald did what I knew he was capable of and hauled in just 1 catch for 2 yards. I would be absolutely shocked of he doesn’t demand a trade out of Arizona this summer as the Cardinals are wasting away a super star in his prime years by running out John Skelton and Ryan Lindley at QB.
Torrey Smith – WR Ravens: Smith was targeted just 3 times on the day and finished with just 1 catch for 21 yards. Joe Flacco threw the ball just 21 times, which is amazing considering that Ray Rice ran the ball 20 times. This is exactly the problem with owning any Ravens WR or TE, the team isn’t committed to throwing the ball. I knew in my gut not to trust Smith, but did I listen? NO!
Vernon Davis – TE 49ers: I don’t care how many wins the 49ers run off this season or how good they look; all I know is that Davis is numero uno on my Do Not Draft list for fantasy TEs each and every season. The Dolphins defense held him to just 1 catch for 4 yards and that is dead last for starting fantasy TEs this week.
Pittsburgh Steelers defense: The Steelers got into a bit of a shoot-out with the Chargers this week and gave up 28 points while getting just 1 sack to help their defensive stats. They ranked 31st this week and are owned in 78.8 percent of NFL.com leagues, and started in 59.3 percent of them. The only good news is that because they did get the lone sack, they were able to break even (0.00 points) this week and while they didn’t help you, they also didn’t technically hurt you either.
Be sure to check back here tomorrow for fantasy waiver wire advice heading into Week 15.
Also, for more fantasy guidance, follow James on Twitter here.
The opinions, analysis and/or speculation expressed by The Finsiders Blog represent those of individual writers, and unless quoted or clearly labeled as such, do not represent the opinions, policies or desires of the Miami Dolphins organization, front office, coaches and executives. Writers' views are formulated independently from any inside information and/or conversation with Dolphins officials, including the coaches and scouts, unless otherwise noted.