I knew Jeremy Hill would have a good game this week, but I had some concerns about Tyreek Hill now that Jeremy Maclin is back in the mix. Tyreek Hill put those concerns to rest as he continued to show he will find ways to score on offense, or on special teams.
Injuries once again wreaked havoc on the NFL, as Melvin Gordon, Matt Forte, and Ryan Tannehill suffered injuries that will leave their owners scrambling to the waiver wire when it opens. Tannehill (knee) will miss the rest of the year; Gordon suffered unspecified knee and hip injuries, leaving him questionable at best for Week 15; Forte suffered a knee injury early in the game, and never returned. With the Chargers and Jets out of the playoff hunt, it makes no real sense for them to risk further injury to either player. Owners need to keep a close eye on both players throughout the week.
With those injuries, savvy owners will want to grab Kenneth Farrow and/or Bilal Powell on the waiver wire. And remember, Alshon Jeffery is back from his suspension this week. Make sure he is owned in your league as he should return to immediate WR2 value.
Ryan Tannehill – Dolphins: The word is Tannehill injured his ACL and MCL, putting him out for the rest of this season. Before the injury though, Tannehill was able to throw for 195 yards, 3 touchdowns, and 1 interception. It may not sound pretty, but it was good enough to rank him in the top 3-5 for QBs in a down week at the position.
From a fantasy standpoint, the injury pretty much kills any value the Dolphins WRs did have. For Jay Ajayi, it remains to be seen if Matt Moore will help, or hurt, his chances at success. Ajayi owners are still living off his successes in Weeks 6, 7, and 9.
Andy Dalton – Bengals: Playing the Browns has a magical way of turning a season around in an instant, and Dalton owners got top-10 QB play out of him this week. Much like Tannehill, the stat line isn't immense, but it will get the job done. Dalton finished the game with 180 passing yards, 2 TDs, no INTs, and 17 rushing yards for an additional point in fantasy leagues.
The Bengals have a much tougher game next week against the division rival Steelers. Dalton will likely find himself in the QB2 rankings with A.J. Green out, but Jeremy Hill and Tyler Eifert will find themselves as RB1 and TE1 plays respectively. A TE can still have a good game if the QB isn't a QB1, simply because of how thin the position is.
Bilal Powell – Jets: Powell got the workhorse load this week after Forte went down with a knee injury following his 3rd carry of the game, allowing Powell's few faithful fantasy owners to cash in on an unexpected early Christmas gift. Powell finished the game with 179 total yards, 2 TDs, and chipped in 5 receptions for those in PPR formats (likely the only people who own him are in PPR formats).
With Forte looking like a long-shot to play in Week 15, Powell is going to be a hot waiver wire add this week.
Jeremy Hill – Bengals: Hill did exactly what I expected of him: he put up top-5 RB numbers against the worst team in the NFL. Hill had his second 100-yard game of the season this weekend as he finished with 111 rushing yards and a touchdown. And, to reward his owners for sticking with him, Hill caught 3 of 4 targets for an additional 30 yards.
Hill's numbers won't be the same next week against the Steelers, but I will still trust him as a low-end RB1 for my fantasy teams. With A.J. Green and Giovani Bernard out, it's all up [to] Hill now.
Tyreek Hill – Chiefs: It's hard to imagine Tyreek Hill finishing a week as fantasy football's #1-ranked WR, but that is what happened in this down offensive week. What is even more crazy about it is the way Hill did it, finishing with 6 receptions, 66 receiving yards, 1 receiving touchdown, 124 return yards, and a return touchdown.
When a WR has a line like that, and is ranked #1 for WRs, it's a telling sign of what the passing games were around the NFL in Week 14. Hill has certainly earned himself a role in the Chiefs offense, but his role is more akin to a utility player in baseball. He does whatever the Chiefs need him to do, and plays wherever they need him to.
J.J. Nelson – Cardinals: J.J. Nelson is proof that all you need to do is score in fantasy football, and you'll come out a winner. Nelson ran the ball 1 time, on an end-around, which he took 56 yards for a touchdown. Then, late in the 4th quarter, he hauled in his lone reception for 8 yards and another touchdown.
One run; one catch; 2 touchdowns; fantasy stud! Nelson ranked out as a WR1, despite the complete and total lack of any real role within the offense. Welcome to fantasy football!
Tyler Eifert – Bengals: Eifert, much like Jeremy Hill, did exactly what I expected him to do this week, finishing the game with 5 catches for 48 yards and 2 TDs against the winless Browns. Tight end is an all-or-nothing position in fantasy football, so when you can get a touchdown or two from yours, you just got yourself a winning lottery ticket for the week.
Eifert should continue to give TE1 stats for the remainder of the season. He has a strong connection with Dalton, and he gets plenty of looks in the redzone. A fantasy owners can't ask anything more from his tight end than that.
Atlanta Falcons defense: I've had a few people ask me via email and social media what "mollywhopped" means. Well, if you watch the Falcons/Rams game from this weekend, you will walk away knowing EXACTLY what the word means!
The Falcons defense stepped up in a big way, racking up 3 sacks, 3 recovered fumbles, 2 INTs, and scoring 2 defensive touchdowns. On top of that they allowed just 14 points to the Rams, which is another 5 points in most leagues. All told, the Falcons defense netted its fantasy owners around 30 points this week, which would put them within the top 10 for ALL fantasy players for Week 14. Not just defenses; ALL of fantasy football!
Russell Wilson – Seahawks: Wilson had probably the worst game of his career against the Packers this weekend, charging 5 interception to his fantasy line in one game. It wasn't all his fault, with WRs tipping balls up and dropping passes all game long. Nevertheless, Wilson and his owners are the ones who will have to deal with the ramifications of the game.
Wilson did manage to throw for 240 yards and a touchdown, salvaging at least SOME points for those of us who expected him to have a great game against a weak Packers secondary. The lone bright spot is if you survived the first round of the playoffs despite Wilson's numbers, it CAN'T get any worse [for him] than it did this weekend. Right?
Dak Prescott – Cowboys: All that "Dak for MVP" nonsense can hopefully be put to rest after this weekend's game against the Giants. I've long said that Prescott is a game manager, not a QB that will come from behind and win you a game you should have lost. He proved that Sunday night as he managed to throw for just 165 yards, 1 TD, and 2 INTs.
If you want to find an MVP on the Cowboys, the search should start with the entire offensive line sharing a co-MVP award. Prescott is a lot like Alex Smith in fantasy terms; does well for his NFL team, not the best option out there for fantasy teams. He's a multi-TD-dependent fantasy QB, as the yards will never be enough to carry him in down weeks.
Melvin Gordon – Chargers: Gordon was carted off the field Sunday, leaving his fantasy owners cringing with fear that their No. 1 RB was lost for the season. The good early news out of San Diego is Gordon's hip is "fine," but we will have to wait for the results of an MRI to know the extent of the injury.
Gordon saw just 3 carries and 1 target before the injury, leaving his owners with 5 yards rushing on the day. Gordon's owners will want to put in a waiver claim for Powell immediately. Hip injuries limit a player's movement at the very least, and could cause the Chargers to shut him down at the most. If I were a betting man, I'd put my money on the latter of the two scenarios.
Matt Forte – Jets: Forte said he felt "cracking and popping" in his knee after the game, which is never a good sign. On top of that, Powell did extremely well in his absence, likely forcing the Jets to ask themselves if they should risk further injury to Forte with their season long over.
Forte only had 8 yards this week, leaving fantasy owners in a tight spot with his 0-point fantasy effort. God help you if you owned, and played, both Forte and Melvin Gordon this week! Shutting Forte down is a possibility, so his owners will want to plan for that as you look at the waiver wire this week.
Devonte Freeman – Falcons: Freeman was expected to at least put up RB2 numbers this week against a Rams team that is imploding on itself this season. Instead, Freeman managed to run the ball just 6 times, gaining 6 yards, and caught 2 of 3 targets for 12 yards on Sunday. What's worse, Freeman was out-touched by both Tevin Coleman and Terron Ward.
There was nothing wrong with Freeman, and he did nothing to deserve a lesser role. The Falcons simply didn't need him with Matt Ryan throwing 3 TDs and the defense scoring twice. Freeman draws the 49ers next week, and you have to believe the Falcons coaches will make up for this one next week.
Mike Evans – Buccaneers: Evans is the league's most-targeted WR with 146 on the season, so it's no surprise to know that he is the #2-ranked fantasy WR through 14 weeks of the season. He was again heavily targeted this weekend (8), but couldn't turn those looks into fantasy numbers as he reeled in just 4 receptions for 42 empty yards.
These things happen with WRs from time to time, as even Antonio Brown (#1-ranked WR) had a line of 5/78/0 this week. The Bucs running game may come back around now that Charles Sims is back in the mix, but that won't affect how Evans is used. Jameis Winston has nobody else he can rely on in the passing game, putting Evans in line for plenty of targets to finish out the season.
Donte Moncrief – Colts: Much like Gordon and Forte before, Moncrief was a total bust this week and suffered an injury in the process. Before exiting the game with a hamstring injury in the 4th quarter, Moncrief managed to go 0-for-4 in the target department, giving his owners a big fat goose egg in points.
It's frustrating to see that line in a game in which Andrew Luck threw for 276 yards and 2 TDs. The Texans have one of the better pass defenses in the NFL, but I wasn't expecting an 0-fer kind of day for Moncrief.
The hamstring is sounding like a setback from the one he suffered a few weeks back. Hamstring injuries have a way of keeping RBs and WRs out of games, so keep an eye on the injury report this week to see what his prognosis is for Week 15.
Jimmy Graham – Seahawks: Graham had a cupcake matchup against a Packers defense that came into this game giving up the 7th-most fantasy points to TEs this season at 9.0 PPG. Since you already saw what Russell Wilson did (or didn't do) on Sunday, you can just image what Graham was able to pull out of the fire that was the Seahawks offense.
Graham finished the game with 1 catch for 16 empty yards, and was targeted just 4 times. With all the drops the WRs were having in the snow, you would have thought Wilson would go to his TE more than just 4 times. After a while, I was watching the game with the Benny Hill theme music playing in my head! Do what the Seahawks are doing right now, and try to forget this game ever existed!
Denver Broncos defense: The Broncos have been one of the few elite defenses you could stick in your defensive slot and walk away until their bye week. If you did that, you were disappointed this week as the Broncos managed just 2 sacks for fantasy stats. No interceptions, fumbles, or defensive touchdown this week.
The Broncos did limit the Titans to 13 points, which should have gotten their owners around 6 points. But when a defense scores 6-7 fantasy points, they end up near the bottom of the list in fantasy rankings. With New England, Kansas City, then Oakland left on the schedule, it is time to find a streaming defense to finish out the season.