Fantasy Feedback: Week 14

  • Just when we thought we knew all there was to learn about the Packers offense…they discover a running game. Ryan Grant shredded the Raiders for 85 rushing yards and a pair of touchdowns. So far this season, Green Bay’s RBs had been a non-factor. But with James Starks out of action, Grant could have some value. Especially with a game at Kansas City next week.
  • Where has the Bills’ offense gone? At the start of the year, they were one of the top offensive outfits in the league, led by Ryan Fitzpatrick, Fred Jackson and Stevie Johnson. They started to decline midway through the year, but fell off a cliff after Jackson’s injury. Sunday, they posted just 281 yards of total offense against a Chargers defense that has been up and down this year. The lone bright spot was Johnson catching four passes for 116 yards. With Miami and Denver coming in the next two weeks, there’s no reason to think Buffalo’s poised for a turnaround.
  • New fantasy rule: start Philip Rivers in December. Since the calendar has changed, Rivers looks like the fantasy QB everyone expected. So far Sunday, the Chargers QB has thrown for 240 yards and three TDs, including a pair to Antonio Gates. But next week, Rivers will be put to the test with the Baltimore Ravens coming to town.
  • Once again, John Skelton comes in and Larry Fitzgerald prospers. Since Skelton took over, Fitzgerald has six catches for 141 yards and a TD. With Kolb’s status for next week up in the air, it would seem that Fitzgerald’s value is as well.
Observations from the early games
  • It might be time to start believing in T.J. Yates. For the second straight week, Yates scored double-digits fantasy points — this time throwing for 300 yards and two touchdowns against a respectable Cincinnati defense. In the next two weeks, the Texans face the Panthers and Colts, two teams that are ripe for the picking.
  • Calvin Johnson was held in check Sunday, limited to just three catches and 29 yards. But don’t panic yet. He’s too much of an important cog in the Lions offense to give up on him and next week Detroit visits the Raiders. That should be just what the fantasy doctor ordered.
  • If you’re looking for the secret to LeGarrette Blount’s production, it’s the number 12. When Blount has 11 carries or fewer this season, he’s averaged 25.5 yards per game. When he has 12 or more carries, it’s a much more robust 90.7 yards per game. Sunday, Blount saw 18 carries and ripped off 71 yards and a TD. Someone should alert coach Raheem Morris.
  • We’ve said in this space that the Jaguars should continually feed Maurice Jones-Drew the football at every opportunity. Sunday, MJD had 33 touches and combined for 136 yards and four touchdowns. He’s Jacksonville’s only consistent offensive producer, which means he should see 30-35 touches each week. The former UCLA Bruin should be in your lineup every week and the sooner the Jags figure out his value, the better off fantasy owners will be.
  • Reggie Bush has done wonders for his fantasy value over the past month. Sunday was no different with Bush posting a combined 130 yards (103 rushing). In the next two weeks, the Dolphins visit the Bills and Patriots, two teams with awful defenses. Bush needs to be in your lineup and has done quite a bit for his draft stock in 2012.
  • Not really sure what to say about the Chiefs offense. Besides warning people not to play any of them, that is.
  • Yes, it was against Kansas City, but there’s really no overlooking what Shonn Greene did Sunday. 129 rushing yards, 58 receiving yards and a touchdown is no small feat. And with the Eagles and their Swiss cheese run defense coming next week, Greene’s a solid No. 2 running back in  most leagues.
  • In the fantasy version of Press Your Luck, the Saints WRs have been a nightmare to figure out. This week, the big winner was Marques Colston, who had seven catches for 105 yards and two TDs. Some of that had to do with TE Jimmy Graham being limited by back spasms. Still, it’s hard to recommend one New Orleans receiver over another simply because you never know who’s turn it’s going to be. And with Minnesota next on the schedule, there are potentially big WR points to be had…if you can figure out who will score them.
  • In a relief effort (and perhaps a glimpse of Tennessee’s future), Jake Locker threw for 282 yards and a TD as well as running for another score. With the Colts up next for the Titans, Locker might not be a terrible start for teams struggling to find a QB to start.
  • Despite a late interception, it was a pretty good fantasy day for Rex Grossman, throwing for 252 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Granted, it was against New England’s porous secondary, but in the next two weeks, the Redskins face the Giants and Vikings — both pretty good matchups. In addition, Grossman spread the ball around nicely between Donte Stallworth, Jabar Gaffney and Santana Moss. All three receivers deserve consideration in deep leagues.
  • Although slightly more productive than their Green Bay counterparts, the Patriots running back corps is as confounding as any in the league. Just when it looks like BenJarvus Green-Ellis is going to take control, Danny Woodhead shows up and gets eight carries for 41 yards. Then again, so long as Rob Gronkowski and Wes Welker still walk the earth, there’s little reason for New England to consider running it. The next two weeks, the Patriots have some very RB-unfriendly matchups. If you can help it, avoid any New England runners.
  • In the first half, Cedric Benson shredded the vaunted Texans run defense for 92 rushing yards. He’s always been a matchup-based start, so getting good numbers this week is a bonus. His next two games are against St. Louis and Arizona, so plan on having him in your lineup.
  • Shonn Greene has become a serious fantasy player in the past couple of weeks. So far Sunday, Greene’s gained 117 combined yards with a touchdown against the Chiefs. The next two weeks feature favorable matchups. As long as the Jets continue to feature him, he should be somewhere in your lineup.
  • Now that Roy Helu has grabbed the Redskins’ featured back spot, he’s making the most of it, picking up 55 yards on his first 12 carries against the Patriots Sunday.
  • The Panthers running back duo of Jonathan Stewart and DeAngelo Williams have been a frustrating pair all year with Cam Newton taking such a large chunk of the rushing offense. Sunday, Armanti Edwards picked up a carry. If he suddenly starts to get touches, the other two will see their value fall to nearly nil.
  • The Saints are using their three-headed rushing attack to the fullest with Chris Ivory (three rush, 28 yards), Darren Sproles (two rush, 18 yards) and Pierre Thomas (two rush, 12 yards) all looking effective with their early touches.

– Marcas Grant

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