Once again, C.J. Spiller owners are left scratching their heads. The difference is, now the games really count and owners expect far more than seven rushing attempts for 37 yards and a single reception for fifteen yards. This time, however, Fred Jackson, wasn’t the reason Spiller received such little work. Jackson himself only tallied nine carries for fourteen yards, but did add another five receptions for 16 yards. Any way you slice it, neither back can be counted on going forward. Spiller is far too talented not to play but he’s quickly proving to more of a flex talent with a high ceiling than an every-week advantage. And with Seattle and Miami up next over the next two weeks, the running lanes aren’t going to be any wider.
Can #2) Double Covered Dez
The Bengals were able to limit Dez Bryant’s production on Sunday holding him to four receptions for 50 yards. But Bryant was still able to break free for a relatively easy 27 yard touchdown in the fourth quarter that set the Cowboys up to win the game on Dan Bailey’s forty yard field goal as time expired . For Bryant, that now makes seven touchdowns over the past five weeks. As for the other Cowboys, no single receiver lit up the Bengals but Tony Romo did find nine different players on the way to a 20-19 victory. With two home contests against Pittsburgh and New Orleans on tap, fantasy owners will want to continue to ride the hot hand of Bryant, especially in week 16 (championship week) against a hapless New Orleans’ defense.
Can #3) Two Scores to Settle
As mentioned previously, the Saints are certainly hapless on defense. They can’t stop anyone, let alone the New York Giants with a trio of solid receiving weapons, Hakeem Nicks, Victor Cruz and newcomer Martellus Bennett. But while Eli Manning did throw for 259 yards and four touchdowns, with two interceptions and the run game churned out 135 yards, the real star of the show was rookie David Wilson. The ultra-dynamic back started the scoring if the first quarter with a 97 yard kickoff return for a touchdown, followed by a pair of second half touchdown runs. In the end, Wilson finished with a team-record 327 all-purpose yards as the Giants rolled the not-playoff-bound Saints, 52-27. Drew Brees, for his part, did throw for 354 yards and a single touchdown, but also threw two interceptions and was uncharacteristically sloppy on the day. Victor Cruz led all Giant receivers with 121 yards on eight receptions along with a fourth quarter touchdown. The Giants maintain a one game lead in the NFC East while the Saints will be left hoping for a miracle over the next three weeks.
Can #4) Lambeau Passing Academy
Yuck. Blame it on the weather, blame it on conservative play calling or blame it on defensive coverage schemes that threw Aaron Rodgers for a loop in week 14. Whatever you wish to blame it on, it was an uninspiring performance for Rodgers and the Packers. 14/24, 173 yards, no touchdowns, no interceptions and one lost fumble on the night for the discount double-check front-man. Save for a 27 yard scamper for a touchdown and Rodgers’ performance would have been disastrous in one of the most important weeks of the fantasy season. The only receiver of note was Randall Cobb who pulled down seven receptions for 102 yards. Matthew Stafford faired similarly with 27/45, 264 yards, one touchdown, one interception and one lost fumble. And like the Packers, only a single receiver was noteworthy on the night. Calvin Johnson caught 10 balls for 118 yards. A passing academy it wasn’t.
Can #5) Kaepernick Komeback
In a game that was much tighter than its 27-13 score, San Francisco slinger Colin Kaepernick engineered a win simply by managing what the Miami defense gave, wider running lanes than expected. Three different players scored on the ground for the 49’ers, the most noteworthy a 50 yard scoring run near the two-minute warning that sealed the victory. Kaepernick finished the contest 18/23 for only 185 yards with no touchdowns through the air, but also no interceptions. And for fantasy owners of Michael Crabtree, you have to be happy that there’s certainly a chemistry between him and the new quarterback. Crabtree hauled in nine receptions for 93 yards on the day. But once again, Vernon Davis was nowhere to be found, finishing with one reception for four yards.
Can #6) Skelton’s Return
I don’t often talk about my own fantasy contests in articles but I will tip my hat to the Seattle Seahawks this week. Having started them in a must win game against the Arizona Cardinals, whom have yet to have any semblance of quarterback play, their 36 points will carry me into the playoffs. It was as ugly an offensive performance by the Cardinals that you’ll see in the NFL. Even the 58-0 final score wasn’t surprising while watching this contest. John Skelton and Ryan Lindley combined for 111 yards passing and four interceptions, all by Skelton. The running game, too, was non-existent, the backs slogging their way to 43 yards on 16 totes. Over the past four contests, Larry Fitzgerald has reeled in a total of six receptions for 67 yards. He’s a fantasy non-factor and can’t be used again in 2012. Yet through it all, Fitzgerald continues to take the high road and maintain his standing as one of the most respected and high-class players in the game. My hat is off to him for showing the class and determination to not let frustration win the day.
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