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.
Dolphins – Bills
The Dolphins rewarded fantasy owners playing in their championship games with squat. Miami got shut out and only put up 103 total yards. Fred Jackson had a big game for those who started him. Jackson rushed for 111 yards and a score. C.J. Spiller got one more carry than Jackson but as usual did far less, rushing for just 77 yards. Then again, if you’re still starting Spiller you probably stopped playing after Week 2 and aren’t reading this column, so who cares?
Saints – Panthers
Drew Brees really put the screws to fantasy owners last week. After having a subpar game against the Rams, Brees put up a real stinker in Carolina, throwing for just 281 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions. I’m not the kind of guy who would have benched Brees in the finals, but if you did, hopefully you replaced him with a better option. Cam Newton didn’t do much either. Newton threw for 181 yards, a touchdown and an interception. For a game that featured two elite fantasy QBs, this one didn’t deliver when its owners needed them the most.
Cowboys – Redskins
Kirk Cousins was a popular start last week but he ended up turning in an average performance. I even thought about playing him over Tom Brady. In the end they each finished with the same amount of points, which wasn’t good for me, so it didn’t matter. The one thing you can hang your hat on with the Dallas defense is that an opposing team’s top receiver will be wide open all game long. Pierre Garcon was targeted 18 times on Sunday, catching 11 passes for 144 yards and a touchdown. DeMarco Murray rewarded his owners by going over 100 total yards and scoring twice.
Buccaneers – Rams
This game wasn’t expected to feature many fantasy studs and it certainly didn’t disappoint. Zac Stacy rushed for 104 yards and a touchdown, as he continues to eat up carries regardless of the opponent. The only other player who made a fantasy splash was Vincent Jackson. Jackson just missed a 100-yard game, catching five passes for 98 yards. Stedman Bailey was one of my top receivers coming out of this year’s draft. I have no idea why it took the Rams’ coaching staff so long to get him on to the field, but Bailey should be on your radar for 2014.
Browns – Jets
Speaking of games that weren’t expected to produce many fantasy stars, this is the epitome of one. With Jordan Cameron out for the Browns, Josh Gordon was probably the only player in this game started in most leagues. Gordon had a solid day, catching six balls for 97 yards. Some owners may have started Chris Ivory, who went over 100 yards on 20 carries but failed to score. The Jets have some of the worst skill position players in recent memory. They can fire their coach and get another quarterback, but if that team doesn’t get new receivers and tight ends, it won’t matter.
Colts – Chiefs
The Chiefs had been living off of their defense and Jamaal Charles, but only one of them showed up on Sunday. Charles racked up 144 total yards and a touchdown. Those numbers are modest after Charles exploded for five touchdowns two weeks ago but it’s still a strong outing overall. However, the Chiefs’ defense was ripped for 23 points and 367 yards and only recorded one sack despite the Colts missing two starting offensive linemen. Donald Brown closed with a big game, proving he should have gotten more touches all along, while Griff Whalen had his second strong fantasy outing in a row.
Vikings – Bengals
The Vikings’ pass defense is atrocious and Andy Dalton took full advantage, throwing for 366 yards and four touchdowns. Dalton has now maxed out his quota for big games in a season, so the Bengals can sit him next week. Adrian Peterson started but only rushed 11 times for 45 yards. Owners who were hoping for a big game out of Peterson in the finals probably wish he had been inactive for the second straight week instead. Cordarrelle Patterson continues to make plays. On Monday when Leslie Frazier gets fired it will be because it took him eight weeks to get Percy Harvin involved in the offense two years ago and 12 weeks to get Patterson involved this year. That’s great coaching.
Broncos – Texans
If you survived the Broncos’ poor offensive output two weeks ago, they made up for it on Sunday. Peyton Manning threw for 400 yards and four touchdowns, while Eric Decker, Demaryius Thomas and Julius Thomas all had big games. I want to thank Demaryius Thomas for showing up on my fantasy team for the Super Bowl. At least someone did. The Texans are a trainwreck. When Andre Johnson starts dropping sure touchdowns, you know the end of a miserable season can’t get here soon enough.
Titans – Jaguars
It was a tough end to the season for Chris Johnson owners. Johnson ran for 90 yards on 20 carries but owners had to watch Shonn Greene ramble for 91 yards and a score on 19 carries as well. The Jaguars give up a ton of points to tight ends. I put an end to that. After losing Rob Gronkowski I started Delanie Walker last week and he did nothing other than drop passes and get overthrown in the end zone. Speaking of doing nothing, Maurice Jones-Drew had to come back just so he could kill the fantasy value of Jordan Todman. MJD was slow and ran nowhere but now he can go on the radio and joke about how he started himself. That was funny five years ago.
Cardinals – Seahawks
If you started anyone in this game other than the Seahawks or Cardinals defenses, you were obviously disappointed. Each team scored only one touchdown and Seattle was held to less than 200 yards of offense. If you were counting on Russell Wilson, Marshawn Lynch or Larry Fitzgerald in your fantasy championship, hopefully the rest of your team picked up the slack.
Giants – Lions
Reggie Bush owners got a kick in the stones after he was benched for fumbling. Joique Bell was the beneficiary, gaining 154 total yards, catching 10 passes and scoring a touchdown. If you rolled the dice and started Bell as a flex play, it paid off big. Calvin Johnson was another disappointment on Sunday. Megatron was dealing with multiple injuries and finished with just three catches for 43 yards on the day. If you’re sick of watching Jim Schwartz trying to coach, you’re in luck. He could be fired by the time you read this sentence.
Patriots – Ravens
Tom Brady and Shane Vereen helped put the fork in my fantasy season. I knew Brady was going to have a poor game but he was my best option. Vereen screwed owners for the second straight week. He’s one of those guys who can’t be trusted. Take him right off your draft board for next season. He’ll just end up getting injured again. People say you can’t predict injuries. I can. I predicted Beanie Wells would get hurt every year. I predict Darren McFadden will get hurt every year. Vereen will get hurt next season after a couple of games. He’s that guy. Mark it down.
Steelers – Packers
If you started a Pittsburgh receiver other than Antonio Brown, you probably thought he wasn’t playing. Out of Ben Roethlisberger’s 28 pass attempts, Brown saw 13 targets, catching six passes for 105 yards. Emmanuel Sanders did make the most of his two receptions, catching one for a score, but as it has been all season, Brown was a target monster on Sunday. Eddie Lacy might have nailed down Rookie of the Year honors by rushing for 84 yards and two touchdowns. Just think of where the Packers would be right now without Lacy.
Raiders – Chargers
If Lacy doesn’t win Rookie of the Year it will be Keenan Allen. Allen didn’t have one of his best games on Sunday but at least one of his three receptions went for a score. Allen’s poor game wasn’t entirely his fault. Philip Rivers was all over the place with his throws. He badly missed a wide-open Allen coming across the middle for what would have been another touchdown. Ryan Mathews continued his late-season surge by gaining 99 yards and scoring a touchdown. Meanwhile, Rashad Jennings was held in check and stood on the sidelines while that waste of space, Darren McFadden, vultured a touchdown. It was just nice to see McFadden take a hand-off without pulling something. That guy is a real trooper.
Bears – Eagles
The Bears’ run defense is so bad I’m starting to think my fat cousin could gain 100 yards on them. LeSean McCoy ran for 133 yards and two scores but that’s only because he got 18 carries. McCoy could have run for over 300 yards if the Eagles had needed him to. Heck, his backup, Bryce Brown, ran for 115 yards and a touchdown. While McCoy helped owners win a fantasy title, Matt Forte did just the opposite. The Bears got behind early and Forte was a non-factor. He only rushed for 29 yards and did nothing as a receiver. Maybe it’s just me, but I remember Chicago’s offense being a lot better when Jay Cutler was hurt.
Falcons – 49ers
The final game of Fantasy Super Bowl week had some strong performances. Matt Ryan threw for over 300 yards and two touchdowns. Colin Kaepernick had 248 total yards and scored twice. Roddy White rewarded the few owners still starting him by having his best game of the season. White caught 12 balls for 141 yards and a score. Michael Crabtree went over 100 yards, Frank Gore gained 97 yards and scored, Anquan Boldin caught six passes and found the end zone and Tony Gonzalez hauled in eight balls and scored a touchdown. Heck, everyone not named Vernon Davis produced for fantasy owners in this game. It was a great way to end the fantasy season. That is unless you’re in one of the 20 leagues that play into Week 17. If so, see you next Tuesday.