Bye Weeks: N/A
Grab a Helmet
Tate @ JAX: I recommended Tate in this same matchup just two
weeks ago and he thanked me by rushing for precisely ONE yard on
seven carries in the Texans’ embarrassing home loss. It appears
I was just a week premature on that endorsement as he rebounded
for a mammoth 28.2-point effort in the narrow loss to New England
last Sunday. So which Tate do we get for the NFL Network’s Week
14 episode of Toilet Bowl Thursday? I don’t have much data to support
this conclusion, but I think we get “good” Ben Tate. Coack Kubiak
pulled his plug early in Week 12, a panic move that won’t likely
be repeated. Moreover, Tate seems to be the kind of back who gets
better the more touches he gets. He’s garnered 15 or more carries
in ten career games and has recorded 100+ yards in four of them.
I think he has a really good chance to make it 11 and five if his
coach stays the course.
Ben Tate's previous meeting with the Jags
didn't go as planned.
Bush or Joique
Bell @ PHI: Very few teams possess two studs at the running
back position a la the Texans. Fewer still possess two you could
actually start at the same time. Detroit’s duo of Reggie Bush and
Joique Bell has been the most productive of these two-headed monsters
in 2013, posting three “double-doubles” (double-digit fantasy days
for both backs) in 12 Lions contests. Their latest tag-team demolition
came at the expense of Green Bay’s hapless Pack during last week’s
Thanksgiving Day massacre, wherein Bush notched 24.2 points and
Bell 18.8. That ranked them third and ninth overall, respectively,
at the position for Week 13. Most are expecting plenty of points
in Philly this weekend and if that turns out to be the case, you
can bet these two will be accounting for some, if not most of them.
Start either back (or both) against the Eagles Sunday.
Moreno or Montee
Ball v. TEN: Bush and Bell are making tandem backfields
downright sexy again, but it’ll take a few more dynamic duos to
get cynical fantasy GMs hopping on board the RBBC bandwagon. Like
these two guys, for instance. Ball’s been a bit of a late bloomer
in his rookie campaign due mostly to rudimentary pass-blocking skills
and an early inability to secure the pigskin. Moreno, on the other
hand, has been a REALLY late bloomer, blossoming into a top 10 back
in this, his fifth professional season. Did I say top 10? I meant
top 3. Who would’ve guessed that way back in September? If he’d
have borne fruit earlier, Ball might not be sharing the Denver backfield
with him. Regardless, no NFL RB corps has accounted for more fantasy
points and the load’s been steadily leveling since Week 11. Start
either Bronco back with confidence against the Titans.
Grab a Gatorade
Jennings @ NYJ: Jennings and the guy he replaced, Darren McFadden,
looked like another possible tag team heading into the Week 13
matchup with Dallas. That plan never really materialized, however,
as McFadden only logged five carries (for a measly 13 yards) and
is now missing practices again in advance of the Week 14 matchup
with New York. We’ve seen this movie and we know how it ends:
with Jennings handling most of the workload again (provided he’s
also cleared to play). Two touchdown trots salvaged an otherwise
forgettable Thanksgiving for the former Jaguar, but the Jets D
isn’t likely to share the Cowboys’ holiday spirit this Sunday.
Rex Ryan’s boys have yielded the fewest rushing yards in the league
thus far (77 per game) and still haven’t come close to allowing
a 100-yard rusher. Pass on all Raider RBs.
Stacy @ ARZ: St. Louis’ surprise meal ticket cooled considerably
last week following a blistering midseason run wherein he averaged
nearly 15 points per game (Week 5 through Week 12). That’s not
terribly surprising considering what he was up against, the fearsome
San Francisco defense on the road. It would be a mistake to think
Arizona’s front seven shouldn’t instill that same measure of fear,
though. The Cardinals have actually performed much better than
the Niners against the run this year (83.3 yards/game and 3.5
per carry) and fared pretty well against one of the league’s best
and brightest, Shady McCoy, last week (just 79 yards). They desperately
need a win to stay in the thick of the NFC playoff race and I
think the Cardinals know they can get it if they force Kellen
Clemens to beat them. That means loading up on Stacy so steer
clear of the former Commodore this weekend.
Gore v. SEA: Gore was one of the more solid RB options just
a month or so ago, but a nagging ankle injury and several poor
performances have rendered him suspect as we head into the playoffs.
Had he not tallied a three-yard TD run against the Rams last Sunday,
in fact, he’d have easily posted his third single-digit
outing in as many weeks. That’s not good news when you consider
who’s next up for San Fran on the schedule. The Seahawks
have played down to their competition on more than one occasion
this season, but they always show up for the big games and they’ve
really clamped down on opposing ball carriers since yielding consecutive
100-yard performances in Weeks 8 and 9 (the aforementioned Stacy
and Mike James). Don’t forget this final piece of lousy
info for Gore’s owners: He tallied just 16 yards on nine
carries in the Week 2 meeting at Qwest Field. You shouldn’t
be staking your playoff hopes on him.