|Notes and Observations Week 15: Patriots Blow Out Dolphins 41-13; Clinch AFC East||Connelly’s Top Ten: Patriots Defense, Special Teams Carry Home Team||Fantasy Football Start ‘Em, Sit ‘Em: Week 15||Right Idea? Red Sox Bring in Rick Porcello, Wade Miley, Justin Masterson|
Well, if you’re still reading this article here in Week 15, looking for fantasy football advice, I applaud you. It must mean that your team, or teams, are still alive, fighting for fantasy glory. And for those of you who play this game for money (and really, why wouldn’t you play for money?), you’re already thinking up ways to spend your winnings.
With it being the gift-giving season, let’s look at five guys that could be stocking-worthy, and another five that will leave you with nothing but coal. But first, I’ll go through what was a pretty miserable Week 14 for my predictions.
Aaron Rodgers, QB: 16 for 24, 180 yds., 0 TDs, 0 INTs (Rough day for an otherwise efficient Rodgers. He’s been a top 5 fantasy QB this season.)
Joseph Addai, RB: 16 carries for 67 yds., 5 catches for 49 yds., no TDs (I’ll take 100+ yds. any day, even if it doesn’t mean a TD.)
Anquan Boldin, WR: 5 catches for 40 yds., no TDs, 1 lost fumble (He had a nice string of good games, but put up a stinker in the loss to San Fran.)
Robert Meachem, WR: 4 catches for 57 yds., no TDs (Another streak of good games ended last week for Meachem.)
Calvin Johnson, WR: 4 grabs for 37 yds., no TDs (He was targeted 12 times, but only made 4 catches…looked like Culpepper was forcing it his way too much.)
Eli Manning, QB: 27 for 38 passing, for a career-high 391 yds., 3 TDs, 0 INTs (Lil’ Manning puts up a huge day, but probably won’t do it again this week vs. Washington.)
Frank Gore, RB: 25 carries for 167 yds., 1 TD (He was an absolute workhorse in Monday night’s stunning win over the Cards.)
Jonathan Stewart, RB: Just 7 carries for 29 yds., no TDs (Stewart has taken a definite back seat to DeAngelo Williams, making him nearly useless in fantasy land.)
Antonio Bryant, WR: 2 catches for 22 yds., no TDs (I can’t see any Buccaneers worth considering for your fantasy playoff run.)
Ben Watson, TE: 3 catches for 37 yds., 1 TD (Nice to see Brady spreading the ball around and including his tight ends in the passing game…I just didn’t see it coming.)
The former Patriot signal caller has been too inconsistent this season to consider starting each and every week, but at home, Cassel’s numbers are much better than his marks on the road. Couple that with him getting another weapon back on the field, as receiver Dwayne Bowe returns from a 4-game suspension, and the fact that the Chiefs take on the woeful Browns this week, that all adds up to a potentially big day for Mr. Cassel.
Who would’ve thought Laurence Maroney would have legitimate fantasy value, ever again? Well he does, in a game where weather will most likely play a big factor up in Buffalo against the Bills. Buffalo has been the worst team in the league against the run, allowing a whopping 171 yards on the ground per game. They’ve allowed an opposing back to rack up 100+ yards or score a TD in every week this season. With Brady at less than 100%, look for the Pats to hop on the Laurence Express this Sunday.
On the flip side of this game, Buffalo’s Fred Jackson should continue his success against the Patriots. In his last two games vs. New England, F-Jack has put up 100 or more multipurpose yards, and with Vince Wilfork and Ty Warren both missing practice all week with different injuries, Jackson should be able to pound the ball for a productive day of running.
He still plays in this league? I know, T.J. Who’syourmama has been a total bust this season, only making three trips to the end zone in his first year with the Seahawks. But this is the week he breaks out for a big day, take my word on it. With fellow receiver Nate Burleson questionable with an ankle injury, look for QB Matt Hasselbeck to look Housh’s way this Sunday against a weak Bucs pass defense.
Houston’s stout defensive corps had a banner day last week against Seattle, holding the ‘Hawks to just 7 points on the day. This week, they get to feast on the St. Louis Rams, led by the two-headed QB turnover machines, Kyle Boller and Keith Null. Not sure who will be under center for the Rams come Sunday, but either way, look for Houston to rack up the turnovers. Boller has 5 INTs and 2 fumbles in his last 4 starts, while in Null’s start last week, he threw 5 INTs in just the 1 game. The Texans are a must-start this week if you’re hoping for fantasy superiority.
Beyond losing carries every week to Ahmad Bradshaw, Jacobs just hasn’t stepped up his game on the road all season long. Jacobs has only 1 TD in his 6 road games, while this week’s opponent, the Redskins, haven’t allowed a rushing TD at home at all this year. Look for B.J. to blow it this week…and yes, you can giggle at that line, it’s ok.
Can someone tell me why the nation is being forced to watch a Panthers game in prime time on Sunday? I mean, I know they’re up against Brett Favre’s Vikings, but seriously, who wants to watch a team led by a quarterback named Matt Moore? Who? Really? Well because a quarterback named Matt Moore will be the one trying to get the ball to Steve Smith, that alone is reason enough for me to sit Steve Smith this week.
Minny’s D is pretty freakin’ good, and Smith should be matched up against a now healthy Antoine Winfield all day long. Carolina’s offensive line is banged up also, so Matt Moore’s going to have no time to get the ball downfield to Smith if he’s running for his life in the backfield.
The rookie receiver has begun to showcase his talents and develop a rapport with Niners QB Alex Smith, but on a short week of preparation after a stunning Monday night win over Arizona, San Fran goes cross country to face off with cornerbacks Asante Samuel, Sheldon Brown, and the Philadelphia Eagles. It all adds up to a fantasy flop for Crabtree this week.
Weather and a weak QB may be major factors in how well Tony Gonzalez does on Sunday against the Jets in New York. Starting QB Matt Ryan’s return to the lineup is questionable, as Ryan battles a nagging toe injury, so it’s possible Chris Redman may be under center for the Falcons. The Jets have given up only 2 TDs to opposing tight ends this season, which points to Gonzalez probably struggling this week against Gang Green.
Did I just put a kicker in this article? Yup, I did. It’s the first time I’ve done this, but really, Nick Folk has personally done me a serious injustice this season, especially down the stretch. He’s missed six field goals in his last five games, and with Dallas’s December struggles continuing, Folk should be dropped in favor of someone else…anyone else.