It was another wild week both in the NFL and for fantasy owners. Here’s a recap of every game in the Tuesday Morning Buzz.
Chargers – Broncos
Peyton Manning and Co. picked a terrible time to have one of their worst offensive outings of the season. Manning threw for 289 yards and two scores with an interception. Both of his scores went to Andre Caldwell, which was an absolute waste. Demaryius Thomas did nothing. Julius Thomas did nothing. Eric Decker did nothing. Knowshon Moreno did nothing. Montee Ball did nothing. The Broncos carried so many fantasy owners all season long and the irony is that those same players are the season why some owners aren’t advancing. For the Chargers, Ryan Mathews ran for 127 yards and a score, while rookie sensation Keen Allen only caught two passes, but they both went for touchdowns.
Patriots – Dolphins
Boy, Shane Vereen picked a great week to put up a stinker. Vereen had been on a tear since coming back from a broken wrist but barely made the stat line on Sunday, costing some owners a win. Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola both had huge games, combing for 23 receptions for 270 yards and a touchdown on 33 targets. I’ve played against Mike Wallace three times this year and he’s gone over 100 yards every time. In case you were wondering, Wallace has only four 100-yard games all year.
Bills – Jaguars
I went with my gut and started Jordan Todman this week over Frank Gore and Harry Douglas as my flex play. My gut was finally right, as Todman racked up 153 total yards and four receptions. He may have scored, too, if the Jaguars hadn’t wasted a handoff on Denard Robinson just to watch him fumble. Fred Jackson ran for 80 yards and C.J. Spiller ran for 67 yards. However, owners were expecting more against this poor Jacksonville rush defense, especially from Spiller. Spiller was a first-round pick in most leagues and a major disappointment this season. He had a chance to repay owners with a big game in the playoffs against a bad defense and didn’t do it. You couldn’t pay me to draft that soft SOB next year.
Texans – Colts
This game was a whole lot of fantasy nothing. It had some decent performances like Ben Tate’s 72 yards rushing and T.Y. Hilton‘s eight catches for 78 yards, but the two offensive touchdowns were scored by Griff Whalen and Trent Richardson. You remember Richardson, don’t you? People used to start him on their fantasy teams before they cut him. The big fantasy news from this game was Andre Johnson being held to four receptions for 18 yards.
Eagles – Vikings
Thank God people like me went out and spent the rest of their free agent money on Toby Gerhart last week. Gerhart sat next to Adrian Peterson on the sidelines and watched Matt Asiata score three touchdowns. Of course short scores are about all Asiata is good for, considering he ran for 51 yards on 30 carries (1.7 YPC). Nick Foles rewarded those owners who picked him up this year by totaling 469 yards and three touchdowns. It was a disappointing day for LeSean McCoy owners though. Shady saw only eight carries because the Eagles fell behind early, but he did contribute as a receiver, catching five passes for 68 yards.
Seahawks – Giants
If you didn’t start Marshawn Lynch, Doug Baldwin, Steven Hauschka or Seattle’s defense, this game was useless from a fantasy perspective. You notice I didn’t mention any Giants? Lynch caught six passes, racked up 120 total yards and scored. Baldwin caught six passes for 71 yards and a touchdown. Hauschka kicked three field goals and the Seattle defense pitched a shutout. To put the Giants’ day in perspective, their biggest offensive star was Jerrel Jernigan. Eli Manning threw five more interceptions. He’s having one of the worst seasons of any quarterback that I can remember.
49ers – Buccaneers
This game didn’t have a ton of offense but the good news for fantasy owners is that the guys who made the most noise where players likely to be in their starting lineups. Colin Kaepernick had a good game, while Vernon Davis, Michael Crabtree and Vincent Jackson all scored. Even Phil Dawson kicked four field goals for owners like me who started him. Some games don’t have a lot of offensive numbers but the right players put up the stats for fantasy purposes. This was one of those games.
Bears – Browns
Jay Cutler returned as the Bears’ starting quarterback and threw for 265 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions. It took Cutler a while to get going but the Bears’ offense didn’t really miss a beat. Matt Forte rushed for 127 yards, while Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery each scored and combined for 11 receptions. The Browns know they really don’t have a running game when they can’t run the ball on the Bears. Chicago’s rush defense is so bad the Bears allow 20 yards per game more than any other team in the NFL. Josh Gordon was finally held to less than 100 yards but still scored, so it wasn’t a total disaster for fantasy owners.
Redskins – Falcons
If you had a hunch and started Kirk Cousins last week, it paid off big. Cousins threw for 381 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions. I know it was against Atlanta, but Washington’s passing game sure looked a lot better with Cousins under center than Robert Griffin. Steven Jackson scored twice, so if you suffered with him all year, at least he delivered late. Then again you probably aren’t starting him anymore, so it doesn’t matter.
Packers – Cowboys
Do you think Monte Kiffin will win the award for top assistant coach this year? I mean when you’re embarrassing the Kiffin family more than Lane, that’s really saying something. Dallas’ joke defense allowed Matt Flynn to throw for just under 300 yards and four touchdowns. Eddie Lacy, at less than 100 percent, ran over the Cowboys for 141 yards and a score. It was nice to see Tony Romo finally throw the ball to Dez Bryant when he wasn’t throwing it to the other team. I’ve argued that Bryant can make catches even when he’s covered and he showed that on his touchdown reception. Bryant finished with 153 yards and the score on 11 receptions.
Jets – Panthers
You probably aren’t starting any Jets on your fantasy team at this point and that’s a good thing considering they are using a defensive lineman to rush for a touchdown. Deangelo Williams had his best fantasy day of the year, racking up 168 total yards and scoring a touchdown. Greg Olsen had a nice outing and Mike Tolbert scored, but other than that this game didn’t have much fantasy appeal, as was predicted.
Chiefs – Raiders
This game was all about Jamaal Charles. Charles caught eight passes for 195 yards and five touchdowns while adding 20 yards and a score on the ground. Owners who played against Charles last week just drew the short straw. I play against him next week for my fantasy title and I’m hoping he blew his wad. Rashad Jennings didn’t put up the same numbers as Charles but he continues to be a revelation for both the Raiders and fantasy owners. Jennings finished with 91 yards rushing and two touchdowns.
Cardinals – Titans
Kendall Wright is always one of those receivers owners wonder if they should start or not. Hopefully last week you put Wright in your lineup because he blew up by catching 12 balls for 150 yards on 20 targets. You know any team playing the Cardinals is going to have a tight end that has a good fantasy day. This time it was Delanie Walker, who caught eight passes for 53 yards and a touchdown. You’d think by this point in the season Arizona would cover tight ends down by the goal line. Andre Ellington had a big game for the Cardinals, finishing with 158 total yards.
Saints – Rams
Drew Brees ended up throwing for 393 yards, but just like with Peyton Manning, this wasn’t the game owners were expecting out of him. Brees threw for one touchdown and rushed for another but also threw two interceptions and lost a fumble. It wasn’t an awful game but it also wasn’t one of his 300-yard, five-touchdown performances either. Jimmy Graham went MIA at the worst possible time for fantasy owners. After dominating all year, Graham was held by the Rams to just 25 yards on two receptions. Zac Stacy has had a great rookie year and he helped fantasy owners who didn’t bail on him. Stacy ran for 133 yards and a touchdown after getting shut down in Week 14 by Arizona.
Bengals – Steelers
Le’Veon Bell started the year injured but paid off for fantasy owners in the playoffs with 107 total yards, five receptions and a touchdown. Antonio Brown has been putting up huge numbers all year and while this wasn’t one of his monster games he still caught five balls for 66 yards and a touchdown. He also scored on a punt return. A.J. Green caught nine passes for 91 yards but didn’t find the end zone. Giovani Bernard scored but did little else. Bernard is a great player, but one of the tougher things I’ve ever had to do in fantasy football is try to decide when to start that guy. I think I guessed right twice.
Ravens – Lions
Let’s go back to August. Who thought during the fantasy playoffs in a game that featured Matthew Stafford, Calvin Johnson, Reggie Bush and Ray Rice that the star would be Justin Tucker? Tucker kicked six field goals, including a 61-yarder. Meanwhile, Stafford had an awful game, throwing for 235 yards, one score and three interceptions. Megatron caught six passes for 98 yards but it wasn’t one of his best performances. Johnson saw 14 targets but dropped more passes than were used to seeing. He could have had a much bigger night if it weren’t for the drops. Rice only had 56 yards but if he’s still in your starting lineup, you’re obviously not trying very hard to win a title.