Reviewing the Week 14 games from a fantasy perspective.
HOU 7, CHI 36
The Bears gave up a big lead last week but that wasn’t a problem here since the Texans were playing without David Johnson and Brandin Cooks. Deshaun Watson only passed for 219 yards and a score to Keke Coutee (3-24, TD). Chad Hansen (7-56) and Duke Johnson (2-53) were the top receivers, and Johnson also ran for 38 yards on seven carries. The Texans could never get much going and their lack of defense meant the Bears ate up the clock and controlled the ball.
Matt Trubisky threw for 267 yards and three scores with Allen Robinson (9-123, TD) as the only receiver with more than 42 yards. Both Jimmy Graham (4-23, TD) and Darnell Mooney (2-22, TD) scored. David Montgomery broke an 80-yard touchdown but was only given 11 carries in the game to gain 113 yards. As usual, the Bears wasted six runs on Cordarrelle Patterson for no apparent reason other than keeping Montgomery from hitting production marks where bonuses would be triggered. The Bears lead throughout and only gave their highly productive running back 11 carries. The 4-9 Texans head to Indianapolis this week, while the 6-7 Bears end their six-game losing streak and play in Minnesota.
DEN 32, CAR 27
Christian McCaffrey continues to be a no-show this year. Mike Davis ran for 51 yards and two scores on 11 carries and added five receptions for 42 yards. Teddy Bridgewater passed for 283 yards and no scores. Robby Anderson (8-84) and Curtis Samuel (7-68) were the most productive receivers but almost all of the passes were short. They trailed 25-10 at halftime and fell short in their comeback attempt.
Drew Lock passed for 280 yards and four touchdowns. The rookie KJ Hamler (2-86, 2 TD) led the Bronco receivers, and Jerry Jeudy (2-42) and Tim Patrick (3-36, TD) did a lot with just a few catches. Melvin Gordon ran for 68 yards on 13 rushes while Philip Lindsay gained 24 yards on his 11 runs. Drew Lock was the difference-maker here, completing 21-of-27 passes and keeping the Broncos in the lead. Now the 4-9 Panthers head to Green Bay and the 5-8 Broncos host the Bills.
TEN 31, JAG 10
Nothing new here. Derrick Henry cruised for 215 yards and two scores on 27 carries and added two receptions for seven yards. Ryan Tannehill only bothered to pass for 212 yards and two scores between A.J. Brown (7-112, TD) and Geoff Swaim (3-34, TD), while Corey Davis settled for three receptions for 34 yards. The Titans never trailed and the Jaguars’ only touchdown came in the late third quarter.
The disastrous year continues unabated for the Jaguars who ended up benching Mike Glennon and going back to Gardner Minshew. Keelan Cole (7-67, TD) and Laviska Shenault (6-49) were the lead receivers but all the passing was short from both quarterbacks. James Robinson ran for 67 yards on 12 carries and added four receptions for 16 yards. The Jags looked worse than usual but the Titans were playing a divisional rival and needed the win. The 9-4 Titans host the Lions in the final home game while the 1-12 Jaguars head to Baltimore where nothing gets any better.
KC 33, MIA 27
The Dolphins put up a good fight despite trailing 30-10 at the end of the fourth quarter. They brought the score to 30-24 with four minutes to play but the Chiefs managed to hold them off. Patrick Mahomes threw for 393 yards and two scores but had a shocking three interceptions. Travis Kelce (8-136, TD) continues to be in a class all by himself while Tyreek Hill (3-79, TD) also added a 32-yard run for a second score. Clyde Edwards-Helaire ran for 32 yards on 16 rushes and added five receptions for 59 yards. The Chiefs added a 67-yard punt return for a score by Mecole Hardman and also recorded a safety.
Tua Tagovailoa passed for 316 yards and two scores since he was trying to catch up from the second quarter onward. Mike Gesicki (5-65, 2 TD) continues to show chemistry with the rookie quarterback while Devante Parker left injured without a catch. Lynn Bowdon (7-82) and Mack Hollins (5-66) were much more productive than usual. DeAndre Washington (13-35) didn’t add much but was the primary rusher with Myles Gaskin out. The impressive part was Tagovailoa throwing to eleven different receivers. The 12-1 Chiefs play at the Saints this week while the 8-5 Dolphins host the Patriots.
ARI 26, NYG 7
The Giants were never remotely in this game and their only score came with they were already down 20-0 in the third quarter. As a team, they only passed for 145 yards with no receivers gaining more than 39 yards or scoring. Wayne Gallman gained 57 yards on 12 carries and added three catches for 16 yards as the only Giant with a shred of fantasy value. The Cardinals defense is below average in every fantasy category this year and it looked like the Giants were playing a Top-5 defense.
Kyler Murray threw for 214 yards and one score while adding 47 yards on 13 rushes. DeAndre Hopkins caught nine passes for 136 yards but no other receiver topped 27 yards in the game. Dan Arnold caught the only score. Kenyan Drake (23-80, TD) only added a 10-yard catch in this dull, spark-less game. The 7-6 Cardinals return home to host the Eagles while the 5-8 Giants ended their four-game winning streak in a decidedly disappointing manner. They host the Browns this week.
MIN 14, TB 26
The surprise here is that the Buccaneers are ranked No. 27 versus wide receivers, but Justin Jefferson (4-39) and Adam Thielen (3-39) were ineffective and Kirk Cousins only passed for 225 yards and one score despite trailing from the second quarter. Irv Smith (4-63, TD) was the only decent fantasy play for receivers. Dalvin Cook ran for 102 yards and a score on 22 rushes and added two catches for eight yards. But this wasn’t the fireworks that were expected with the Buccaneers’ weak secondary and the Vikings featuring one of the top pairs in the NFL.
Tom Brady also faced a weak secondary and yet only threw for 196 yards and two scores. Mike Evans (3-56), Antonio Brown (5-49), and Chris Godwin (2-25) only water each other down while Scott Miller (1-48, TD) and Rob Gronkowski (1-2, TD) handled the scoring. Leonard Fournette was a healthy scratch and Ronald Jones ran for 80 yards and a score on 18 carries but only caught one four-yard pass. The Vikings gained more yardage than the Buccaneers but were sacked six times and lost a fumble. Brady was never sacked and had no turnovers. The 6-7 Vikings have their final home game against the Bears this week while the 8-5 Buccaneers play in Atlanta.
DAL 30, CIN 7
The Cowboys controlled the entire game and the Bengals lost three fumbles. Brandon Allen was unable to take advantage of one of the weaker defenses. He passed for 217 yards and one score to A.J. Green (6-62, TD) who led the team while Tee Higgins (5-49) and Tyler Boyd (5-43) were held in check. The running game was handled by three different running backs and Trayveon Williams (12-49) was the most effective. The Bengals were at home against a weak defense and yet still looked like they did not belong on the field.
Andy Dalton had a chance to stick it to his old team but only passed for 185 yards and two scores. Amari Cooper (4-51, TD) and CeeDee Lamb (2-46) were the top receivers from the meager passing. Ezekiel Elliott played with a sore calf and only gained 48 yards on 12 carries while Tony Pollard ended with 11 runs for 39 yards and a seven-yard touchdown catch. The 4-9 Cowboys host the 49ers this week while the 2-10-1 Bengals hope to trap the visiting Steelers.
IND 44, LV 27
The Raiders led 14-10 in the second quarter but the Colts scored 17 points in the fourth quarter, including a 50-yard interception-return for a touchdown. The Raiders managed a touchdown in the final minute to make the score look closer than it really was. Philip Rivers passed for 244 yards and two scores to T.Y. Hilton (5-86, 2 TD) but no other receivers gained more than 44 yards or scored. Jonathan Taylor had his first monster game with 150 yards and two touchdowns on 20 carries that included a 62-yard scoring run. Even Nyheim Hines ran for 58 yards on seven runs with the Raiders’ rushing defense almost nonexistent.
David Carr threw for 316 yards and two scores with two interceptions and ran in a touchdown. Josh Jacobs posted a sure-to-be-infamous Instagram post saying he would be active but not be used. He ran for 49 yards on 13 carries and added three catches for 25 yards. Nelson Agholor (5-100, TD) and Darren Waller (7-75) were the top receivers though Foster Moreau caught a 47-yard touchdown on his only reception. Despite the loss, the 7-6 Raiders are still in contention for a wildcard even if it looks like they won’t go far in the playoffs. They host the Chargers this week and the 9-4 Colts host the Texans.
NYJ 3, SEA 40
And that is what the white flag looks like. The Jets actually scored first in this game, and then headed for the tunnel. Sam Darnold faced the worst secondary in the NFL and only bothered to throw for 132 yards and no scores. Braxton Berrios (3-49) and Breshad Perriman (3-26) were the top receivers. The backfield welcomed back Frank Gore (8-23) and then still went to the bother of a three-man rotation that included Josh Adams (6-27) and Ty Johnson (8-16). The only thing that you can hope for in a Jets matchup is that their opponent has a reason to not mail in their effort.
Field position was rarely a problem so the yardage was lower than the score would usually suggest. Russell Wilson threw for 206 yards and four touchdowns. DK Metcalf (6-61, TD), Tyler Lockett (5-52), and Will Dissly (2-23, TD) were the top receivers. Chris Carson (12-76, TD) and Carlos Hyde (15-66) ran at will and Carson added three catches for 22 yards. Plenty of touchdowns to share but almost the entire game happened in Jets territory. The 0-13 Jets hurdle towards infamy and face the Rams while the 9-4 Seahawks get to figure out how Washington wins games without any players. Might have to do with their defense.
GB 31, DET 24
This was more competitive than expected, but since the Lions dumped HC Matt Patricia, they look undeniably better. The Packers led 28-14 with six minutes left to play and had to hold off the surging Lions. Aaron Rodgers passed for 290 yards and three touchdowns between Davante Adams (7-115, TD), Marquez Valdes-Scantling (6-85, TD), and Robert Tonyan (5-36, TD). Aaron Jones rushed for 69 yards on 15 carries but only caught two passes for six yards. The Packers though they had it won and lightened up almost too much in the fourth quarter.
Matt Stafford threw for 244 yards and one score but left with injured ribs late in the game. Danny Amendola (6-66), Marvin Jones (4-48), and T.J. Hockenson (6-43, TD) were the best receivers. D’Andre Swift started but only ran seven times for 24 yards and one score since they fell behind and threw 40 passes. Swift added 26 yards on four receptions but the Packers’ normally paper-soft rush defense was adequate and the Lions only attempted 13 rushes. The Lions lost, but they looked competitive. The 10-3 Packers host the Panthers this weekend while the 5-8 Lions head to Tennessee.
ATL 17, LAC 20
Not a lot of scores or even passing in this matchup and that was a bitter disappointment. Matt Ryan’s decline looked steep when he only threw for 224 yards and one score with three interceptions versus the Chargers. Calvin Ridley ended with 124 yards on eight catches with one score thrown by Russell Gage on a trick play. Gage also caught five passes for 82 yards replacing Julio Jones but no one else gained more than 12 yards as a receiver. Todd Gurley only ran for 19 yards on six rushes, and Ito Smith led the team with 11 runs for 42 yards. The Falcons are starting to look like a car that didn’t make it to the gas station in time.
Justin Herbert only threw for 243 yards and two scores. Austin Ekeler (9-67) and Tyron Johnson (6-55, TD) led the receivers but Keenan Allen was the most targeted catching 9-of-11 for 52 yards and a touchdown. Ekeler also rushed for 79 yards on 15 carries. Two bad teams met and it wasn’t a case of both teams taking advantage of the other inferior defense. It was just a low-key offensive effort by both franchises. Now the 4-9 Falcons host the Buccaneers and the 4-9 Chargers travel to play the Raiders.
WAS 23, SF 15
And another upset. No matter that the Football Team did not have their star running back Antonio Gibson, and they lost their starting quarterback. Or that they only passed for 108 yards and one interception. Washington won this game because they returned both a fumble and an interception for touchdowns. Logan Thomas led the team with six receptions for 43 yards and no other receiver gained more than 24 yards. Alex Smith injured his leg and Dwayne Haskins took over with the same lackluster results that saw him benched in the first place. But the defense recorded four sacks, an interception and returned two turnovers for scores.
Nick Mullens passed for 260 yards and one touchdown but Brandon Aiyuk (10-119) had 16 targets. Deebo Samuel left injured before he had a catch and no other receiver managed more than 42 yards. Raheem Mostert gained 65 yards on 14 carries but only gained five yards on two catches. Jeffery Wilson scored on his 11 runs for 31 yards and added a 13-yard catch. The Football Team was opportunistic on defense and and would have lost were it not for the two defensive scores. The win sends the 6-7 Football Team home to host the Seahawks while the 5-8 49ers head to Dallas.
PIT 15, BUF 26
The Steelers opened the scoring but then stayed off the scoreboard until the fourth quarter. Ben Roethlisberger only threw for 187 yards and two touchdowns, along with two interceptions. As usual, even the meager passing yardage was split up between the five usual receivers and JuJu Smith-Schuster (6-55, TD) and James Washington (3-29, TD) caught the scores. Diontae Johnson (4-40) and Chase Claypool (3-15) disappointed. James Conner was back as the primary back but only gained 18 yards on ten carries. The Steelers offense couldn’t generate long drives, much less score many points.
Josh Allen passed for 238 yards and two scores, though only Stefon Diggs (10-130, TD) offered any fantasy value among the receivers. Cole Beasley was next best with just 41 yards on five catches. The Bills didn’t get much from their rushing offense as well. Zack Moss (13-43) and Devin Singletary (7-32) failed to score or catch more than one short pass. But Diggs was the difference-maker and the defense held the Steelers wideouts to just marginal production. The 11-2 Steelers head to Cincinnati looking to end their two-game losing streak while the 10-3 Bills travel to Denver.
NO 21, PHI 24
Welcome to “any given Sunday.”
The Saints fell to a 3-8-1 team that no one had ever faced since Jalen Hurts was given his first NFL start. He passed for 167 yards and one score to Alshon Jeffery on his only catch. Jalen Reagor (2-46) and Dallas Goedert (4-43) were the top receivers. The Eagles won the game mostly because Jalen Hurts running for 106 yards on 18 rushes and Miles Sanders gaining 115 yards and two touchdowns on 14 carries, plus he added four catches for 21 yards. Hurts lost a fumble but threw no interceptions and was never sacked.
Taysom Hill only ran for 33 yards and threw for 291 yards and two scores with one interception. He was also sacked five times and lost a fumble. Michael Thomas (8-84) and Tre’Quan Smith (3-60) were the leading receivers but Emmanuel Sanders (3-48, TD) and Jared Cook (3-37, TD) caught the touchdowns. Alvin Kamara ran for 50 yards and a score, and added seven receptions for 44 yards while finally being used as a receiver by Hill. The Eagles led 17-0 at halftime and then held off the Saints thanks to a rushing offense that consumed the clock. The 10-3 Saints host the Chiefs this week while the 4-8-1 Eagles head to Arizona.