NFL fantasy football: Week 14 game recaps
- Published: Dec. 9, 2012 at 07:41 p.m.
Baltimore Ravens at Washington Redskins
Analysis by Michael Fabiano
Joe Flacco recorded three touchdown passes, but he also threw for just 182 yards and had two turnovers. He finished with a respectable 16.18 fantasy points, but it's still tough to trust him on road. ... Ray Rice was spectacular with 121 rushing yards and one touchdown, though he did suffer a minor hip pointer late. He should be fine for Week 15. ... Anquan Boldin scored twice, recorded 19.80 fantasy points and has now posted double-digits in two straight games. He's back on the radar as a No. 3 fantasy wideout. ... On the flip side, Torrey Smith was held to just one catch against one of the league's worst pass defenses. ... Dennis Pitta had a nice game with 46 yards, one touchdown and 10.6 fantasy points. He's a viable matchup-based option.
Robert Griffin III left the game late with a right knee sprain and was unable to return, but he still finished with 17.24 fantasy points. Check back with NFL.com on his Week 15 status. Kirk Cousins would get the call if RG3 were unavailable to face the Cleveland Browns. ... Alfred Morris rushed for 122 yards with one touchdown and scored 16.20 fantasy points, and he would have had more had it not been for a penalty that cost him a long run. Morris did lose a fumble for the second straight week, but it shouldn't cost him playing time. ... Pierre Garcon is back to being a solid No. 2 fantasy option, as he put up 87 yards and one touchdown. He has found the end zone in three straight games. ... Josh Morgan scored a touchdown, but his value is limited.
Dallas Cowboys at Cincinnati Bengals
Analysis by Elliot Harrison
Your fantasy playoffs are underway, and I can tell you, playing anyone on the Cowboys' offense is a real tough call. Tony Romo did not have a good fantasy performance (12.7 points) in Cincinnati. I realize the matchup versus the Saints looks real attractive, but until the offensive line plays worth a damn, Romo is not worth a start. ... Ditto DeMarco Murray, who got nothing going Sunday rushing (although he did have a touchdown to finish in double digits.) Dez Bryant was a non factor most of the afternoon because Romo was running for his life every play of the second half, but got a touchdown late when the Cowboys actually gave Romo 1.6 seconds to cock his arm. ... Miles Austin was so-so, but 4.6 fantasy points ain't good enough. Again, with the problems the Cowboys have up front, I'd recommend sitting Austin. Jason Witten, however, is still a guy I would play. He had 62 yards receiving, which isn't a bad start. He's good for about that every week, so you play him and hope for a touchdown.
For the Bengals, Andy Dalton (10.24 points) was off all day while being victimized by some big drops. Still, many of his passes were wobbly and off the mark despite having perfect pass protection much of the day. Cincy threw the ball a lot early, which made it look like BenJarvus Green-Ellis would have a bad day. But he surpassed 100 scrimmage yards (again) and, like Jason Witten, is a guy you have to play every week. ... A.J. Green didn't have his best day, dropping some balls he normally catches easily, but you're not sitting one of the top wideouts in fantasy football no matter what. Just a blah day for a definitely-not-blah player. Meanwhile, Andrew Hawkins is a sneaky flex play (10.4 points). If you are struggling to find the right guy to plug in your lineup in deeper leagues, he's worth a shot. ... The Bengals defense was a disappointment versus the Cowboys, but with the Eagles next up, they might be worth picking up on your waiver wire.
Chicago Bears at Minnesota Vikings
Analysis by Matt "Money" Smith
There's not a whole lot to be taken away from the Bears-Vikings game that you don't already know. Adrian Peterson is going to be named fantasy football MVP considering his ADP (Average Draft Position) was somewhere in the late second or early third round. Brandon Marshall isn't too far behind him considering he likely went a couple rounds later in most drafts. Peterson and Marshall owners got their playoff average and then some to help their team advance to the next round, AD posting a 29-spot while Marshall wasn't too far behind with 22 points himself.
Neither quarterback can be trusted in the postseason regardless of the opponent, so Jay Cutler's 11.6 points or Christian Ponder's one point shouldn't get anyone bounced from the playoffs. ... With Percy Harvin out, the Vikings have no receivers you would start on a FFL Super Bowl squad, and the tight end Kyle Rudolph has been too hit and miss to be trusted. That means the only wild card against Green Bay next week is Matt Forte. ... Forte once again got his yards, 85 rushing and another 34 receiving, but no touchdowns left you with a solid, but not spectacular 11.9 points for the week. Looking forward to the home contest against Green Bay, I would classify Forte as a flex player at best. Meaning if there was a better option sitting on your bench, say Knowshon Moreno or Montell Owens, I would opt for one of them instead.
Atlanta Falcons at Carolina Panthers
Analysis by Akbar Gbajabiamila
What a difference from the beginning of the season to end of the season. Cam Newton is the offense for the Carolina Panthers, he led the team in rushing. Newton displayed why he was drafted in the first round of the fantasy draft. The Falcons did not have an answer for the NFC South quarterback and was destroyed with 37 fantasy points. ... Steve Smith benefitted from Newton's ability to make plays outside of the pocket with 11 points. ... DeAngelo Williams looked solid but don't expect that type of performance when his quarterback can run for 100-plus yards in a game.
The Atlanta Falcons' offense in the first half had fantasy owners everywhere concerned. It's all about how you finish in fantasy and Matt Ryan finished with 19 points -- solid performance. Roddy White and Julio Jones inked out double-digit fantasy points. ... The player to watch in the playoffs is Jacquizz Rodgers, it's clear that the running game is slowly tilting his way and the screen game belongs to him.
New Orleans Saints at New York Giants
Analysis by Jason Smith
Well, so much for your worries about the New York Giants offense. Both Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks had terrific fantasy days against the Saints. Even Martellus Bennett has proven to be a reliable fantasy TE the last few weeks - and those guys have been hard to find. With a matchup against the Falcons in Atlanta next week, I expect more offensive fireworks. ... Just when we thought we had a handle on the Giants backfield, David Wilson goes and turns it upside-down. Wilson didn't light the world on fire until his 52-yard TD run, but because he did, now we have a situation. The Giants may be leaning towards using him more as a playmaker if he can handle the load. So it looks like the team could be headed to the dreaded time-share, with Ahmad Bradshaw pounding it and Wilson the home-run hitter. You can pick up Wilson if you're desperate, but it's hard to throw him in and expect a repeat performance next week. As for Bradshaw, coming into the game he was a strong No. 2 RB, and now he's a shaky No. 2 RB. He'll still get most of the carries, but expect the division of labor to be more equal than it's been.
Drew Brees had a horrendous start to the day fantasy-wise, before rallying enough for respectable, if not stellar, numbers. It's just two bad games at the worst time for Brees. ... What's worrying me more is Jimmy Graham, who's in the midst of a three-game stretch where he's given you next to nothing. But he's Jimmy Graham. You're not benching him because his potential for success is so huge. So keep gutting it up and putting him in there. ... I'll say the same thing for Marques Colston and Lance Moore. ... Darren Sproles has once again proven that he's the only RB you can think about playing in the Saints offense. The problem is, he's just as liable to not carry the football at all as he is to get 30-40 yards rushing and maybe a TD. Take a look at this upcoming week against the Buccaneers. They own the best run defense in pro football (just ask Bryce Brown). So to expect Sproles to give you production on that end is too risky. So approach it like this: if you have a player on your roster you're convinced can give you at least 70 yards rushing or receiving, go with them over Sproles. If you don't, then give him a whirl.
San Diego Chargers at Pittsburgh Steelers
Analysis by Adam Rank
Philip Rivers could be somebody who gets a lot of starts next week thanks to injuries to quarterbacks in Week 14, and he had a big game with 200 passing yards and three touchdowns. The Chargers play host to the Panthers next week, so the matchup isn't great, but Rivers should be on your radar now. ... Ryan Mathews certainly had his chances against the Steelers with 25 carries, but he did nothing with it. But if the Chargers are going to show that kind of commitment to him and with a nice matchup against the Panthers next week, Mathews could find his way into your lineups. ... Why is Danario Alexander still available in 72 percent of NFL.com leagues. How is this possible? He should be your top waiver-wire priority and it's clear he is the guy Rivers trusts the most in the offense. Alexander had a pair of touchdown receptions. ... Antonio Gates was targeted eight times but had just three receptions.
Ben Roethlisberger was able to clean up in garbage time for a pretty decent stat line. Roethlisberger tossed three touchdowns as soon as the Chargers blew the game wide open. Roethlisberger has the Dallas Cowboys next week. ... Mike Wallace certainly benefited from Roethlisberger's return. We said on NFL Fantasy Live that Wallace just needs one big strike to have a huge game, and you could see he got a couple of chances early. And it eventually did pay off and Wallace ended up with a pair of touchdown receptions. He should be in your lineups going forward. ... Jonathan Dwyer was supposed to be the bell-cow back for the Steelers, but he had just eight attempts. Part of it could be because the Steelers fell behind by a great deal. But Dwyer didn't do much when he was given the chance.