Defense. We’re talkin’ about a defense. Not a receiver. Not a running back. Not a quarterback. We’re talkin’ about a DEFENSE. In one of the most brutal ways to have a fantasy season come crashing to an end, the Seattle Seahawks defense turned in a performance for the ages on Sunday, and dashed dreams of fake football titles everywhere. It’s one thing to get bounced from the fantasy playoffs by Adrian Peterson or Aaron Rodgers, but a defense? That will make for one long and cold offseason. Let’s take a look at some of the highs and lows from week 14, starting with the mighty Sea-Chickens…
Seattle Seahawks D/ST: It was the perfect storm in Seattle on Sunday, as the pathetic Arizona offense rolled into town to face one of the most fearsome home stadiums the NFL has to offer. The result was beyond ugly, as the Cardinals were dishing out turnovers like candy canes and hot buttered rum. By the time the Seahawks pulled their starters (in the 3rd quarter!!!) and the game mercifully limped to an end, the Seattle defense/special teams had recorded 8 turnovers, 3 sacks, and 2 touchdowns. Detroit (week 15) and Chicago (week 16) are next in line to feast on the Cards, who have lost 9 straight and officially mailed it in.
Robert Griffin III: RG3 was decent on Sunday as he chipped in 34 rushing yards, but left the ‘Skins 4th quarter comeback early with a knee injury. Initial news out of the nation’s capital paints a somewhat positive picture of the injury, as no ligaments are torn. Griffin will be a player to closely monitor this week as we head into the fantasy semi-finals.
Jay Cutler: Cutler accomplished his two signature moves, targeting Brandon Marshall 1.2 million times and throwing 2 interceptions, before leaving with a neck injury. No concussion was reported here, but keep an eye on Cutler this week in regards to Marshall’s value, as fantasy teams starting Cutler at QB have been done for weeks…
Cam Newton: Cam was a one man wrecking crew on Sunday, throwing for 287 yards and 2 scores and rumbling for 116 yards and a long touchdown run on the ground. If Cam led you past the first round, please promptly move your cart ahead of your horse and take a peek at his week 16 matchup. Title time!
Matt Ryan: With a slew of erratic performances under his belt, Matt Ryan is becoming a bit nerve-wracking for fake football owners. The yardage totals have been decent (342 this week), but dominant fantasy games seem to have disappeared from Ryan’s repertoire. This complaint may sound a tad greedy, as Ryan is having a solid season, but we expect top flight numbers weekly from a quarterback with this set of weapons.
Jamaal Charles: JC busted a blazing 80 yard touchdown run early on in Kansas City’s game on Sunday on his way to 165 yards on the ground. Charles is now the owner of a five game streak second to only the great Adrian Peterson, as he is averaging 117.2 rushing yards per game in weeks 10-14. In case you need even better news, JC draws the pitiful Raiders defense in week 15. Mo’ points on the horizon!
Adrian Peterson: Another week, another amazing performance from the best back on the planet. Peterson is now AVERAGING 123.1 rushing yards per game through 13 contests, and has been over 100 yards in 7 straight weeks. If you own this animal, enjoy your trophy after week 16.
Marshawn Lynch: “Beast Mode” was back in form as the Seahawks pummeled the Cardinals. Lynch racked up 128 yards and 3 touchdowns in barely over 2 quarters of action, as the Seattle coaches chose to rest their star running back while the team was leading by roughly 142 points. A nice matchup with Buffalo is next for Lynch, followed by a more difficult fantasy title week bout with the 49ers.
David Wilson: The Giants’ rookie running back had a big time outing on Sunday, racking up 100 yards on just 13 carries to go along with 2 rushing scores. Wilson also chipped in with 227 return yards and another touchdown for those of you crazy folks in return yardage leagues. Although he still isn’t trusted in the passing game, Wilson is a top-notch speedster with the ball and will continue to get touches when Ahmad Bradshaw needs a breather. Wilson isn’t quite startable outside of return yardage leagues, but his future looks bright.
Montell Owens: As the Jags and Jets played one of the more boring games of the year, Owens tallied a nice fantasy line with 91 yards and a score. The other Jag players to carry the ball on Sunday were Richard Murphy, Jordan Todman, and Greg Jones. You couldn’t find a fantasy football cheat sheet in the world that listed these names in August.
Fred Jackson: As Jackson was busy taking touches from the Bills’ best player, he suffered a right leg injury and left the game. Early reports do not sound promising, but more will be released on Monday. Although this should open the door for more touches for the grossly under-utilized C.J. Spiller, my gut tells me the Buffalo coaching staff with instead use Tashard Choice and pick up Tim Hightower off the street while demoting Spiller to 3rd string. Just kidding….kind of.
Anthony McCoy: In your “no-name tight end performance of the week,” we have Anthony McCoy. McCoy hauled in 3 passes for 105 yards while Seattle was busy hanging 58 on the Cardinals, but do not get sucked in by the fancy stat line. Leave this guy alone, no matter how tempting he looks (I am talking to YOU, Kyle Rudolph and Vernon Davis owners).
Jimmy Graham: Jimbo continued his mediocre (by his standards) season this week, with 5 catches for 56 yards. Graham did receive double digit targets for the first time since week 9, so hopefully he remains a focal point of the New Orleans offense next week as they welcome the timid Tampa Bay defense to the Superdome.
Kyle Rudolph: After three consecutive solid weeks, Rudy pitched a goose egg on Sunday against the Bears. With Harvin out, Adrian Peterson is the ONLY reliable piece of the Minnesota offense, making Rudolph an awfully scary player to start in a fantasy playoff game.
Brandon Marshall: After another monstrous workload on Sunday, Marshall is now averaging 16.7 targets per game over his last three outings. This week, Marshall turned 19 targets into 10 catches for 160 yards and a score as he continued his incredible season. Now with 157 targets on the season, Jay Cutler’s best bud will be at it again next week as Chicago hosts Green Bay.
Kenny Britt: Kenny finally had himself a game this week, as he caught 8 balls for 143 yards. Although this was certainly a promising performance, consider Britt much more of a 2013 draft day target than 2012 fantasy stretch run hero. With Locker’s erratic quarterback play, Britt is still tough to trust right now unless you are thin at receiver.
Mike Wallace: Finally released from the chains of Leftwich and Batch, Wallace welcomed the return of Large Ben by catching 7 passes for 112 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Just in time for the fantasy playoffs, Wallace has returned to WR2 status. Hooray!
Jason Avant: Sure, Avant had a big day (7 for 133), and Foles seems to trust him, but this effort was at the hands of the buttery soft Tampa Bay secondary. If Foles sticks around as the Philly starter in 2013, Avant will be an interesting draft target, but I would need to see another solid stat line from the Eagle’s wide out before trusting him with a fantasy playoff matchup.
Brandon Gibson: Although Chris Givens led the Rams in targets, it was Gibson who led the team in production with Danny Amendola out. Gibson hauled in 6 passes for 100 yards and a touchdown in a nice effort, but is still a shaky wide receiver option, especially with the looming return of Amendola. If you started Givens this week expecting Gibson’s stat line, I extend my sincerest condolences.
Josh Gordon: Quick, name the wide receiver most likely to have his ADP rise more than 3 rounds next summer! You guessed it…Josh Gordon. The hype machine will be out in full force for Gordon heading into 2013 drafts, as the youngster is enjoying a solid stretch run. Gordon has seemingly morphed from a burner to a true #1 wide receiver, as all phases of his production are increasing. Gordon’s 8 catches were a season high and led to 86 yards receiving. Feel free to start Gordon in week 15 as the Browns have a gravy train matchup with the Redskins.
Larry Fitzgerald: I’m not a mathematician (we leave that stuff to Chet here at TheFakeFootball), but I can tell you that 1 catch on 11 targets is just plain awful. As we covered last week, the fantasy value of our dear friend Fitz has flat-lined. For the love of all things sacred, I hope the Cardinals figure something out at quarterback next season so this future hall of famer can resume his dominant ways.