NFL Week 14 -- The Morning After
Holy offensive explosions on Sunday and no, I’m not talking about me after a night of Indian food. I’m talking about the scores, the yards, the touchdowns and, of course, the fantasy points from Sunday, although it’s super-easy to understand how and why the two could be confused. While yes, there were a number of players who failed to put up the kind of points you would have liked to have seen, for the most part, things got a little crazy.
Just look at some of these numbers:
|Total Passing Yards:||7,243|
|Total Rushing Yards:||3,595|
|Total Passing TDs:||56|
|Total Rushing TDs:||29|
|Total DST TDs:||9|
Week 1 this season saw a total of 791 total points scored in the NFL which broke the previous record of 788 set a full decade ago. Before Monday’s Cowboys/Bears game even starts, we are currently at 786. KA-BLAAAM!! Not a bad way to start your fantasy playoffs, is it? Or maybe it is.
While normally, high-scoring affairs tend to bring out the fun and excitement, this time around, it’s bringing a whole world of anxiety to the table. Throughout the year, you can usually rely on your studs to get the job done for you as they tend to put up the consistent points while the supporting cast just fills in the cracks. But with this type of crazy scoring going on, it’s not just the studs who are producing big points. Now it’s the role players as well, and teams who may have seen a stud or two not show up – Adrian Peterson owners, I’m looking at you –could end up falling short in their playoff match-up because their opponent lucked out with Bobby Rainey and Ryan Mathews while taking a flier on Marcel Reece in the flex spot.
In a week like this, everyone is putting up killer points and teams who are streaming guys in now have as much chance to win as a team filled with studs. The likelihood of that happening on a consistent basis is obviously rare, but you only need it to happen to you once while you’re in the playoffs because when it happens to you, you’ve probably crapped out and are headed home. Sure, it’s just dumb luck for the most part, but when you’re looking at the final score, there’s nothing that says, “yeah, but his team was really sick all year and just ran into a fluke week here.”
Unfortunately, there’s really not a whole heck of a lot you can do to make this go away. That’s just the nature of the game. What I can tell you is to not go crazy with waiver pick-ups right now, hoping to catch lightning in a bottle. With a week of scores like this, there are probably a number of names who don’t often frequent the weekly scoring leaderboard and so not to be left without, many owners will make a slew of roster moves to grab certain players. As we all know, succumbing to the flavor-of-the-week can be a slippery slope, so be sure to pay attention. Some moron in your league – and you probably know exactly who that moron is – will undoubtedly drop someone they shouldn’t be dropping. Make sure you’ve scanned the moves made to see who you may be able to steal once waivers ends for the week.
Here are a few names from this week who may be grabbing a ton of attention this week:
Marcel Reece, RB OAK – Since we brought him up earlier, we should probably touch on him, right? Fourth on the running back depth chart in Oakland, Reece got the start and all the touches because Darren McFadden, Rashad Jennings and Jeremy Stewart were all unavailable for a variety of ailments. He faced a tough task going up against the Jets run defense which has allowed the fewest rushing yards in the league this season, but managed to come away with an impressive 123 yards and a touchdown. But before you start anointing him your fantasy savior, let’s be real honest about his game. With the Jets way ahead on the scoreboard and just generally way ahead of the Raiders throughout the game, Reece found his way to a 63-yard touchdown run when the defense was slacking. His overall performance was nowhere near as exciting as his stat line may indicate. And as far as what lies ahead, go ahead and start him if you dare. McFadden may be back to poach some work, Jennings may find his way back from his concussion, and even if they don’t, it’s doubtful that Kansas City, San Diego or Denver will slack the way the Jets did in the second half.
Dennis Pitta, TE BAL – The Ravens tight end made his long-awaited season-debut on Sunday and was targeted a team-high 11 times, catching six passes for 48 yards and a touchdown. It was a pretty awesome week for him and in leagues in which he is not owned, there will be a number of struggling tight end owners out there who will be using whatever free agent dollars they have left to acquire him. Now while I can’t say that he won’t e productive the rest of the way, we have to remember that this was the Ravens facing an uber-weak Vikings pass defense. Over the next three weeks, the Ravens face Detroit, New England and Cincinnati who rank 10th, 5th and 9th respectively, against the tight end position.
Da’Rick Rogers/Lavon Brazil, WR IND – OK, well someone has to replace Darrius Heyward-Bey as the number two receiver here, right? The guy’s got hands made of granite. But who is it going to be? Both Brazil and Rogers probably wouldn’t have had the days they had if the Bengals weren’t manhandling the Colts most of the way, but it’s obvious that Andrew Luck is looking for one of them to step up as the Colts head towards the playoffs. Rogers saw nine targets to Brazil’s four, but that could have just been a match-up thing. Rogers was just promoted from the practice squad while Brazil has the edge in experience. Gun to my head, I lean towards the targets, so Rogers would be my first choice, but don’t be surprised if they both start to excel.
Justin Hunter, WR TEN – All I can say is, it’s about freakin’ time. He’s been pretty well-ignored over most of the season as the Jake Locker/Ryan Fitzpatrick tandem had been desperately trying to get Nate Washington and Kenny Britt going this season. Finally though, after weeks of banging our heads against the wall, Hunter is getting a more prominent role. He now has two 100-yard games in the last three weeks and has a pair of touchdowns in that span as well. He’s got a bit of a tough match-up with Arizona next week, but could be a sweet little sleeper for Week 16 when he faces the Jaguars.
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