Fantasy Post Mortem: Andrew Luck is the man

(Associated Press)

In the time it took you to read this sentence, Doug Martin just ran for another 60-yard touchdown. You know, if Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Greg Schiano had not inexplicably gone to LeGarrette Blount at the end of the fourth quarter, we could have seen a new single-game record for rushing yards.

As it were, Martin finished with 51.20 fantasy points. It seems like only a few weeks ago when we scrambled to grab Blount off the waiver wire because he had started to poach touchdowns away from Martin, who looked like he was relegated to fantasy obscurity.

Oh, those were the times. I can only imagine how many of you turned down trades for Martin or gloated to those who wasted a draft pick on him. So Martin no doubt is the player of the day, maybe of the year.

Although, why was it Martin who had to lose five yards on a bonus run from scrimmage at the end of the game? Couldn’t Josh Freeman have taken the hit on that? Did anybody lose their fantasy league because of that?

For more on Martin, check out Marcas Grant’s excellent recap on where Martin’s performance ranks in fantasy history.

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Player of the Week who is not Doug Martin
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Adrian Peterson, Brandon Marshall and Aaron Rodgers all had great games. But let’s take a moment to focus on Andy Luck. The rookie out of Stanford had another fantastic home performance with 433 passing yards and two touchdowns.

(Carson Palmer was another candidate, but two late interceptions kind of nuked his epic game.)

But let’s focus on Luck for a moment. Just two weeks ago, people were ready to hand the top rookie title over to Robert Griffin III. But Luck has started to gain on RG3, and it will be Luck who ends up as the most valuable rookie quarterback, especially down the stretch.

Here is Luck’s schedule for the next couple of weeks: at Jacksonville, at New England, vs. Buffalo, at Detroit, vs. Tennessee (start of fantasy playoffs), at Houston and at Kansas City. Luck is a pretty good option to start in all of those games, save the Houston contest, obviously. (And in that week, Russell Wilson, Sam Bradford and Palmer will all have excellent matchups.)

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Chris Johnson is back
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Chris Johnson is a matchup play, which was my assertion prior to Week 9. And for most of the game it appeared it was correct. Johnson was stuck at 54 rushing yards for seemingly the whole game.

And then he broke off a huge touchdown run.

That’s the thing; meaningless touchdowns are still points in fantasy. With a dearth of true No. 1 running backs in fantasy football, I’m not sure how you can bench the guy.

Chris Johnson is back, Darren McFadden is injured, something seems right in the world of fantasy football again. (Yeah, that was kind of mean. Disregard.)

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First-half MVP
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Peyton Manning is going to win the NFL MVP award. It’s ordained. If Manning is healthy, he automatically wins. But he is your fantasy MVP at mid-season. Sure, he does not lead the NFL in points scored. But Manning was likely drafted in your seventh round, or maybe later. He is as productive as guys who you spent a first-round pick on.

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Superman > Hulk
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This was billed as an epic struggle between Cam Newton and RG3. And sure, a lot of pundits like to say things like, “football is a team game.” But we all wanted to see Newton vs. RG3.

Or if you’re a comic book geek like me, it was Superman vs. Hulk. And it should come as no surprise to anybody, Superman came out on top of all of this. (Though, if we throw in Batman, he would likely find a way to defeat both of them, but that’s beside the point.)

The real question is where does Newton go from here? Is this a one-game blip where Newton rose to the occasion to defeat the guy who often draws comparisons to him? Or is this the start of something big?

The schedule isn’t that favorable down the stretch for the Panthers, but they do face the Chargers and Raiders in Weeks 15-16. So he does have some value. I don’t buy the whole notion of “sell high” because, I don’t know about you, but I don’t play with a bunch of dudes who are easily duped. If you do, however, maybe you should think about it.

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Bagel Boys
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Wasn’t this supposed to be the new era of tight ends? The majority of them are lousy. This isn’t hyperbole, but I’m going to pick up Tom Crabtree to be my tight end in leagues where I don’t have Aaron Hernandez or Jimmy Graham (who I have in my league of record).

That’s why we now refer to tight ends as the bagel boys: Kellen Davis, Kyle Rudolph and Jared Cook. Those are guys who scored zero points or less. If we included guys who scored less than four points, well, it would be Tuesday. Needless to say, Jermichael Finley is on the list. Which is why I will go with Crabtree.

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Mega-performance
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There were a number of tweets which came in this week with the question, “Should I start Titus Young or Calvin Johnson?” Typically, this would lead me to threaten users and such. But I understood the concern. Johnson had done nothing this season. Young had the greatest game of his career in Week 8.

But this is a clear example of why you never bench your studs. (We can argue if Hakeem Nicks is a stud or not, later.) But Johnson had 129 receiving yards, and most fantasy enthusiasts will take nearly 13 points from Megatron at this point.

And I don’t know how many times I can explain this, but if you have a guy like Johnson who failed you, at least you can blame him. If you keep Johnson on your bench and he goes nuts, you have to blame yourself. It’s simple psychology.

Seriously, how do you think this guy feels?

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This is also why you start your studs
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Falcons receiver Julio Jones has been awful at home. The numbers have been brutal. Well, Jones had three home games worth of production on Sunday night. Roddy White had a nice game, too. So this is why I’m going to start White at New Orleans next week, even though it’s a road game.

Another takeaway from Sunday night’s game — why don’t the Cowboys just commit to the no-huddle full-time? The Cowboys have looked good when forced to rally. Sure, the defenses might play a little soft with the game seemingly in hand. But what the Cowboys are currently doing isn’t working.

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And finally …
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You can’t spell “ruined my fantasy weekly performance” without E-L-I.

Hey Eli, it was just a few weeks ago when I wrote, and I quote, “Even when Eli Manning is bad, he’s still pretty good.” Eli has struggled in the past, but has still managed to put up decent enough fantasy performances where he wasn’t a total washout. But back-to-back stinkers and now you have to seriously look at other options. Especially if you are in a 10-team league where pretty much everybody has a stud quarterback.

Nicks also disappointed fantasy enthusiasts on Sunday. But that was more a product of Eli, and not Nicks. The two nearly hooked up for a huge touchdown early in the game, but couldn’t connect. If Manning made that throw, we’d talk about Nicks being back.

For the record, you can submit your fantasy questions to NFL Fantasy Live, Michael Fabiano or me on Twitter. But realize, NFL Fantasy Live has 40,000 followers, and Fabiano has 50,000. Me? Just four. See, the odds are better that I will answer your question, so hit me up both via Twitter or via Facebook. Also be sure to catch the latest “Dave Dameshek Football Program.”

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