James Morris hails from Rio Rancho, NM and has been playing fantasy sports for just over 15 years. Not only does he write the Bengals fantasy section, but he also does the Miami Dolphins fantasy section. Crossing over, Morris writes the fantasy sections for the Minnesota Timberwolves in the NBA. Just send him an email and he will reply back the same day with your answer. Or, find him on Twitter (Fantasyguy23) and get all your NFL news before it hits the national media.
Let’s get it out of the way and say I was wrong on Peyton Manning, Andrew Luck and the Raiders defense. In his previous 10 games in cold weather, Manning had seven well below-average games and three above-average games. On Sunday he changed that number to four good games and seven bad games thanks to his 397 yards passing and 4 touchdowns.
Luck turned back the clock on the season and put up top-3 fantasy QB numbers this weekend, and the Jets put up 37 points on the Raiders defense. I should have known better, but I put too much faith in the inabilities of Geno Smith more than the shortcomings of the Raiders defense.
In that same Broncos game, kicker Matt Prater set an NFL record with a 64-yard field goal on the final play of the first half. So, the game was full of great moments for the Broncos on many different fronts and I was absolutely wrong.
An MRI on Rob Gronkowski confirmed that he did in fact tear his right ACL and MCL, ending his season. Because of the severity of the injury coupled with the fact that it happened in December, you have to consider his availability to start next season as highly questionable at best. Before you ask me, I would NOT pick up any of the Patriots TEs off the waiver wire.
Josh McCown – QB, Bears: I told you to start McCown, so hopefully you did. He torched the young and undersized Cowboys DBs all night long, and finished with 348 yards passing, five touchdowns (four passing, one rushing), and a 2-point conversion. His 39.52 fantasy points on NFL.com in their standard scoring format was enough to take home the No. 1 overall spot this week, just ahead of LeSean McCoy, who put up 34.10 fantasy points thanks to his 217 rushing yards and 2 TDs.
Ryan Tannehill – QB, Dolphins: Tannehill is on a roll the last few weeks (four-week average of 277.3 YPG passing, seven touchdowns and four INTs), and finished this week with 200 yards passing, 3 TDs, an INT, and 56 yards rushing. He did throw an INT, but the 3 TDs was enough to overcome that, and the yardage added to the totals to allow him to finish the day as NFL.com’s No. 6-ranked fantasy QB.
Bobby Rainey – RB, Buccaneers: On the second play from scrimmage, Rainey took the handoff 80 yards for a touchdown. When you already have 80 yards and a touchdown 20 seconds into the game, you know it is going to be a good fantasy day for a running back! Rainey didn’t do much after that, finishing with just 127 yards and that touchdown. But, the damage was done and Rainey’s owners who played him won because of it.
Marcel Reece – RB, Raiders: Darren McFadden entered the season as the starter for the Raiders, but he is out with a bad hamstring. Rashad Jennings took over the starting job but too was out this week after a concussion in Week 13. In steps Reece to start in Week 14 and all he does is put up 123 yards rushing, 38 yards receiving, and a touchdown against the No. 1-ranked Jets run defense. Reece is virtually unowned in all fantasy games and formats, and is likely to move back to the Raiders bench when Jennings is cleared to play sometime before Week 15. Chalk it up as a missed opportunity and move on.
Marques Colston – WR, Saints: Like I told one emailer this week, Colston could go off for 100-plus yards and two touchdowns or 0 catches, 0 yards and 0 points, I just don’t know. Well, he managed to do the first one as he racked up 125 yards on nine receptions and topped it off with two touchdowns in Week 14. He finished as NFL.com’s No. 1-ranked WR this week.
Da’Rick Rogers – WR, Colts: Rogers was targeted a game-high nine times and managed to haul in six of them for 107 yards and two touchdowns on Sunday. I’m not one for jumping on bandwagons because that often leads to mistakes, but it does look like Rogers has taken over the “big WR role” that Darrius Heyward-Bey was supposed to play under. I see Rogers as more of a dynasty league player than a true must-add player right now. You could pick him up as a speculation add and block someone else from getting him. But, remember that this was his second career game!
Cordarrelle Patterson – WR, Vikings: Patterson is best at getting the YAC yards (Yards After Catch). That is exactly what he did on Sunday as he finished with five catches for 141 yards and a touchdown, with the touchdown going for 79 yards. Patterson is one of those boom-or-bust WRs that you can’t predict. Prior to Sunday, his season high for yards was 54 (Week 12) and his other touchdown this season came in Week 10. He’s a risky flex option at best.
Charles Clay – TE, Dolphins: Clay has been one of the better sleeper picks off the waiver wire at TE this season, and this weekend he finished as the No. 1-ranked TE on NFL.com thanks to his 97 yards receiving and two touchdowns. Tight end is a feast or famine position, and Sunday was a banquet for the 38.3 percent of people smart enough to own him on NFL.com.
Kansas City Chiefs Defense: After three straight weeks of well below average play by the Chiefs defense, fantasy owners were wondering if they should dump them in favor of a streaming defense this week like the Bills or Raiders. Hopefully you didn’t give up on them because the Redskins made them look like fantasy football studs once again. In the end the Chiefs ran a punt and kickoff back for touchdowns, had four sacks, an INT, and allowed 10 points to the Redskins. The defensive touchdowns alone made them the No. 1 fantasy defense this week; the rest was just gravy.
Matthew Stafford – QB, Lions: Stafford played in the most horrible of weather conditions (almost six inches of snow during the game) on Sunday, and his stats reflected it. Stafford finished with just 148 yards passing, a 2-PT conversion, but also lost a fumble, which all totaled gave him 5.82 fantasy points on NFL.com’s standard scoring fractional format. Stafford was above just E.J. Manuel (starting QBs) at the bottom of the NFL.com rankings.
Russell Wilson – QB, Seahawks: Wilson isn’t someone that I have been in love with as a fantasy player, but he did put up 310 yards and 3 TDs against the Saints last week in a convincing win. This week, however, he only managed to throw for 199 yards with a touchdown and an interception. And, I noticed that he ran for a season-low 2 rushing yards against a tough 49ers defense. Because of his lack of stats, Wilson finished 23rd for QBs on NFL.com this week and gets a Giants defense that is right in the middle of the pack for fantasy points allowed to QBs this season (20.1 PPG, 17th most) next week.
Adrian Peterson – RB, Vikings: AP was forced from the game after just seven carries due to a sprained foot. Peterson gained just 13 yards on those carries, and added four yards receiving for a total of 17 total yards on the day. The 17 yards is 1.70 fantasy points on NFL.com, which is somewhere in the No. 55 range for RBs this week. Peterson cost a LOT of people a shot at the league title with a sprained foot. Toby Gerhart should be picked up in all formats right now as Peterson is almost a lock to miss Week 15 and maybe more with the injury.
Ben Tate – RB, Texans: When talking about this week’s matchups, the Texans and Jaguars game came up right before fantasy people salivated over Ben Tate. I did not because just two weeks prior the Jaguars held Tate to a single yard rushing and 26 yards receiving. On Thursday they held him to 53 yards rushing and three yards receiving, giving him a total of 5.60 fantasy points in NFL.com’s standard scoring format, and a ranking of right around 35-37. That pushes him out of the flex range for RBs and made him not worth playing in standard 12-team formats.
Michael Floyd – WR, Cardinals: After putting up 396 receiving yards and two touchdowns over the last three weeks, Floyd came crashing back to reality in Week 14 as he finished with two catches for 26 yards and no touchdowns. Floyd relies on Carson Palmer to have a good day in order for him to produce, and that can be a risky thing to do. Next week Floyd gets a Titans defense that was roasted by Manning and the Broncos this week.
T.Y. Hilton – WR, Colts: Even though Luck came through for the Colts, Hilton was shut down for the day and finished with just two catches for seven yards and no touchdowns. Hilton has now not scored in five straight weeks and has a yardage high of 46 yards the last three weeks. It seems that defenses have found a way to bottle him up, but next week he gets a Texans defense he torched for seven catches, 121 yards and 3 TDs back in Week 9.
Torrey Smith – WR, Ravens: There is a reason why I never tell people to start Smith anymore, because you can’t trust the Ravens offense. As a team the Ravens threw the ball 50 times, yet Smith only drew five targets, reeling one in for 11 yards and a 2-PT conversion. Since Smith didn’t score a touchdown, he finished with just 3.10 fantasy points on NFL.com, ranking him somewhere in the 50-55 range for WRs this week.
Rob Gronkowski – TE, Patriots: When ranking fantasy TEs the first name you put up is Jimmy Graham, and the second is Gronkowski. Gronkowski managed just two catches for 32 yards before going down with the injury. If Gronk is indeed done with a torn ACL, that puts his 2014 Week 1 status in question and puts even more pressure on the Patriots offense to find ways to move the ball. Tom Brady struggled early in the season, throwing for under 250 yards in five of his first eight games. Brady might find himself wishing he could turn back the clock to 2005 and put Patrick Pass in the backfield to help out before this season is over!
Dallas Cowboys Defense: I knew this was going to be a high-scoring game, so the Cowboys defense was never coming within a country mile of my fantasy lineup this weekend! On Monday night they were only able to record a lone sack for fantasy defensive stats (no INTs, defensive touchdowns, or fumbles recovered). Instead, they allowed 45 points to the Bears offense and actually finished with -3.00 fantasy points on NFL.com.