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, he had 7 well below average games and 3 above average games. On Sunday he changed that number to 4 good games and 7 bad games thanks to his 397 yards passing and 4 touchdowns. Luck gets explained, 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 from before, kicker Matt Prater set an NFL record with a 64-yard field goal on final play of first half. So, the game was full of great moments for the Broncos on many different fronts and I was absolutely wrong.
With regards to Gronkowski, the initial fear with the Patriots is that he tore his right ACL, but they will do an MRI on Monday to confirm it. Coach Bill Belichick simply said Gronk was “taken to the hospital for evaluation.” Classic Belichick! It’s all a wait-and-see game now, but I don’t think the news will be good.
Andrew Luck – QB Colts: Luck had been on the decline for the last month, throwing 5 INTs to just 2 TDs and averaging 237 yards in the air. But on Sunday in Cincinnati, Luck turned back the clock on the season and finished with 326 yards passing and a season-high 4 touchdown passes! Luck finished as NFL.com’s #1 ranked offensive player (the 32 rushing yards for Luck gave him a slight edge over Manning) and single handedly led many teams to the second round of the fantasy playoffs.
Ryan Tannehill – QB Dolphins: Tannehill is on a roll the last few weeks (4-week average of 277.3 YPG passing, 7 touchdowns and 4 INTs), and finished this week with 200 yards passing, 3 TDs, 1 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 #6 ranked fantasy QB.
Andy Dalton – QB Bengals: Fantasy owners love to hate Dalton because he is one of the more erratic fantasy players in the NFL. But, like Luck, Dalton stepped his game up for the fantasy playoffs and finished with 275 yards passing, 13 yards rushing, and 4 touchdowns on the day. It’s ironic that two of the more inconsistent fantasy QBs played each other on Sunday (Luck and Dalton) and finished #1 and #4 this week.
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 band hamstring; Rashad Jennings took over the starting job but too was out this week after a concussion in week 13. In steps Marcel Reece to start in week 14 and all he does is put up 123 yards rushing, 38 yards receiving, and a touchdown against the Jets #1 ranked 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.
Marquis Colston – WR Saints: Like I told one emailer this week, Colston could go off for 100-plus yards and 2 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 9 receptions and topped it off with 2 touchdowns in week 14. He finished as NFL.com’s #1 ranked WR this week.
Da’Rick Rogers – WR Colts: Rogers was targeted a game-high 9 times and managed to haul 6 of them in for 107 yards and 2 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, the Yards After Catch. That is exactly what he did on Sunday as he finished with 5 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 #1 ranked TE on NFL.com thanks to his 97 yards receiving and 2 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 kick-off back for touchdowns, had 4 sacks, an INT, and allowed 10 points to the Redskins. The defensive touchdowns alone made them the #1 fantasy defense this week, the rest was just gravy.
Matthew Stafford – QB Lions: Stafford played in the most horrible of weather conditions (almost 6” 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 7 carries due to a sprained foot. Peterson gained just 13 yards on those carries, and added 4 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 #55 range for RBs this week. Peterson cost a LOT of people a shot at the league title with a sprained foot.
Ben Tate – RB Texans: When talking about this week’s match-ups, 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 3 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 2 touchdowns over the last 3 weeks, Floyd came crashing back to reality in week 14 as he finished with 2 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 2 catches for 7 yards and no touchdowns. Hilton has now not scored in 5 straight weeks and has a yardage high of 46 yards the last 3 weeks. It seems that defenses have found a way to bottle him up, but next week he gets a Texans defense he torched for 7 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 5 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 Rob Gronkowski. Gronkowski managed just 2 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 5 of his first 8 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!
Cincinnati Bengals defense: Because of the high scoring game (70 points total), both defenses with negative points on NFL.com. The Colts defense is ranked 17th among defenses this season and owned in just 13.4 percent of NFL.com leagues, so theirs is somewhat expected. But, the Bengals entered this game ranked 4th and owned in 86.9 percent of the leagues. Not only did they allow a season-high 28 points to the Colts, but they didn’t record a single sack, interception, or defensive touchdown on the day. They finished with -1.00 fantasy points on NFL.com, and the 26th ranked fantasy defense with MNF still to play.
The opinions, analysis and/or speculation expressed by The Finsiders Blog represent those of individual writers, and unless quoted or clearly labeled as such, do not represent the opinions, policies or desires of the Miami Dolphins organization, front office, coaches and executives. Writers' views are formulated independently from any inside information and/or conversation with Dolphins officials, including the coaches and scouts, unless otherwise noted.