Drew Magyar
What Did We Learn? - Week 14

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Well, I feel fatter.

I hope that your holiday travels were safe, your portions were large, and your teams victorious.

If you fell short of the fantasy playoffs, do yourself a favor and keep following the league. It may come in handy next season. If you made the playoffs, it’s time to make that push to the fantasy championship. First, pat yourself on the back for getting this far. I’ll wait …

Alright, let’s get down to business. This week, we’ll discuss those guys that performed at a high level. It’s more interesting to discuss this group than those who disappointed, so we’ll do a double-batch of Week 13 studs.

Nick Foles has the Philadelphia Eagles squarely in the conversation for the NFL postseason. But he’s also been turning heads in fantasy circles. On Sunday, he posted 237 passing yards and three touchdowns against a tough Arizona defense. All the talking heads are now talking up his 19 touchdowns without an interception. Fantasy owners need to be aware of ball security, but Foles has been putting up numbers, not just playing the role of game manager. In the seven games he’s started, he’s thrown for 1,742 yards and 18 scores. Foles is going to be the Eagles quarterback next season in this high-powered offense, and he needs to be considered a top-12 option.

Ben Tate may have remembered that he’s a pretty talented guy. Tate was disappointing in Week 12 against Jacksonville, rushing seven times for just one-yard, and ultimately giving way to Dennis Johnson . He responded this week against New England, running 22 times for 102 yards and three scores. Now that he’s reestablished himself as the lead back in Houston, he’ll face Jacksonville, Indianapolis and Denver in the next three weeks. Three solid matchups that should make him a fantasy playoff stud.

Shane Vereen has become the only New England running back whom you can trust. With Stevan Ridley inactive on Sunday, Vereen shared the load with LeGarrette Blount. While Blount got 12 carries and a rushing score, Vereen got 10 carries of his own, and he’s a big part of the passing game, adding five catches for 37 yards and a touchdown. I’m not ready to count on Blount going forward, but Vereen seems to have a clearly-defined role in the New England offense.

C.J. Spiller finally put a complete game together in what turned out to be his best performance of the season. He ran 15 times for 149 yards and a touchdown. Obviously, we should celebrate Spiller, as there hasn’t been much to get excited about with him this season. But pump the brakes. He broke a 77-yard run on Sunday, and scored on a 36-yard scamper. That’s two of his runs for 113 yards, meaning the other 13 carries went for just 36 yards. And, he’s still competing with Fred Jackson for playing time. Is it nice to see? Absolutely. Does this mean Spiller is back? I’m not so sure.

Montee Ball has played second fiddle to Knowshon Moreno in Denver. And with good reason. Moreno has been a top-5 fantasy back this season, and Ball has had issues with ball security. But on Sunday, it was Ball making the big impact, rushing 15 times for 117 yards and a score. Ball finally showed the combination of burst and power that Denver had seen in his college film, and he may have run his way into more of a timeshare with Moreno. That said, he’s still the No. 2 running back in that backfield, but he’s now a more appealing start against Tennessee’s Swiss cheese run defense.



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