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Fantasy Intelligence Report – Week 14

N.N. – News Nuggets

According to the
Houston Chronicle, Texans’ wide receiver Andre Johnson will not play on Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals. This will be Johnson’s seventh game missed due to hamstring injuries, and he, like fantasy owners, is growing frustrated.

“It’s very disappointing,” Johnson said after Friday’s practice. “You work your butt off to get back after missing six games, and then to have something like this to happen again is very frustrating.”

According to the
St. Paul Pioneer Press, Minnesota
Vikings’ quarterback Christian Ponder is insisting that he’ll be ready come Sunday.

“I’m confident that I’ll be able to go. I think it’s a matter of my effectiveness,” Ponder said. “I don’t know how effective I’ll be. I would like to think I’d be playing 100 percent, but I don’t know if that’s 100 percent true.” Ponder is listed on the injury report as questionable with a hip injury.

According to the
St. Petersburg Times, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are optimistic Josh Freeman will be ready to play this week.

“He went out and threw the ball pretty productively, felt pretty good,” head coach Raheem Morris said Thursday.

Freeman is listed on the injury report as questionable. The Buccaneers play the Jaguars this week, a defense that will be without pass rusher Aaron Kampman and that was ripped apart by San Diego Chargers’ quarterback Philip Rivers on Monday night.

According to the
Boston Globe, the speculation that there is something wrong with Wes Welker’s wrist was put to rest quickly by the Patriots wide receiver.

“I never wore a brace, so I’m not sure where that’s coming from,’’ Welker said. “I don’t know. Whatever they think, they think. I’m just trying to play some ball.’’

Welker is listed as probable on the injury report with a minor knee issue. He should be good to play.

According to the
Newark Star-Ledger, Giants’
running backs Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs are expected to play on Sunday night against the Dallas Cowboys. Jacobs said his hamstring injury won’t be a problem, but there is still some concern about Bradshaw’s foot fracture healing properly. The good news is that both runners are listed as probable on the injury report. The bad news is that the Cowboys have surrendered just 100.5 yards per game and seven touchdowns on the ground this season. In other words, it may be wise to look elsewhere for fantasy production.

According to the
Green Bay Press Gazette, with running back James Starks set to miss this week’s game against the Oakland Raiders, Ryan Grant sees it as an opportunity to get some steam back.

“I think it’s a great opportunity for myself to just get back in a rhythm, for the backfield, I think we’re going to get some opportunities this week,” Grant said. “But I do think individually I have set a standard for myself and what I’m trying to do.”

The Packers have been subpar running the football lately, but the Raiders’ defense has been historically known to allow a lot of yardage on the ground, and is currently allowing 141.4 yards and almost a touchdown per game. Brandon Saine could also be a nice option, especially for fantasy owners who get points for receptions.

W.14.R.T. – Week 14 Random Thoughts

– Green Bay Packers’ quarterback Aaron Rodgers looked jittery and irresolute against the New York Giants on Sunday. In other words, Rodgers had an off day, which is ridiculously sad considering he threw for 369 yards and four touchdowns. What does that say about the Giants’ defense?

– To all those who have been enjoying a late season surge from Chris ‘Beanie’ Wells or Marshawn Lynch, don’t get too comfortable in your playoff recliners just yet. Running backs are falling victim to the San Francisco 49ers’ ferocious run defense (71.8 yards per game, no touchdowns allowed) this season (no joke), with the latest being St. Louis Rams’ star runner Steven Jackson, who went for 19 yards on 10 carries on Sunday.

– I feel like every time Philip Rivers doesn’t throw an interception in a game I have to play the song “Celebrate Good Times” like I’m at some 1990s wedding featuring a cheesy DJ. That’s two weeks in a row now.

– Detroit Lions’ wide receiver Calvin “Megatron” Johnson has apparently fallen victim to the Autobots. One touchdown in the last four weeks probably isn’t what fantasy owners had in mind for the playoff push. In other words, Johnson has lived up to his Decepticon-like name.

– Third stringers T.J. Yates, Dan Orlovsky, Matt Moore and Tyler Palko all started at quarterback last week against teams with winning records. All four of them put up better numbers than Baltimore Ravens’ starter Joe Flacco, who was up against the four-win Cleveland Browns’ defense. Am I missing something here? Is Flacco that erratic?

– Turn up the burners, because it’s time to cook your fantasy opponents with Michael Turner. That’s right. Turner has owned the Carolina Panthers throughout his career (101 yards per game and 11 touchdowns in seven contests), and the Falcons will need him to have a 25-carry day to keep Cam Newton off the field.

– If you still have any Jacksonville Jaguars on your team besides Maurice Jones-Drew, please throw them in to the fantasy shredder immediately, and scream ‘Yee-haw!’ You don’t want to be tempted to start a fantasy loser in the playoffs, because you’re a winner.

– I’m not sure if it’s good or bad that Indianapolis Colts’ wide receiver Pierre Garcon has had the best season of his career. The Colts are 0-12, it’s only Week 14, and Peyton Manning is not behind center. I guess you could just chalk it up to “Luck.”

W.14.F.H.S. – Week 14 F.I.R. Hot Sheet

The weekly hot sheet is intended to give fantasy owners a quick reference guide/card to help with the filling of starting lineups. It is in Google Docs format, and is provided below.


Y.Y. – Yackety YAC

Here’s a quick look at the top three fantasy wide receivers in standard non-points-per-reception formats combined with yards after catch. These three wide receivers need to be in every fantasy lineup from here on out no matter what the matchup.

Jordy NelsonNelson has been the most well-rounded wide receiver in the NFL this season. Yes, he does have Aaron Rodgers throwing him the football every week, but he averages 6.87 yards after each catch, and has the best catch percentage (75 percent) of any receiver with at least 40 receptions.

Wes WelkerWelker leads all receivers with 547 total yards after the catch, but also has a league-high 93 receptions. What amazes me the most about the New England Patriots star, though, is that he’s third in the NFL with 18 catches of 20-plus yards, with most of those coming after the pigskin hits the paws.

Victor CruzFor a receiver who didn’t really start to find any real playing time until Week 3, Cruz’s 352 yards after the catch and his 10th-best 43 first downs are very impressive numbers. Even more impressive, though, is the fact that he has been targeted just one less time than star Hakeem Nicks, and has five more receptions than him.

S.O.A.T. – Speaking Out Against Tebowmania

This is an all-around rarity this week. I mean, I’m usually not the type to beg and defer on Tim Tebow, but I feel that it’s more than necessary when it comes to the topic of NFL MVP. Seriously. There are some in the media that have been spewing out some, what I consider to be, obscenities, and have almost transformed the topic, this topic, in to a bad Will Ferrell movie. What they need to do is take a timeout and look at their playbook for a more sensible play.

In other words, Tebow will not and should not be thrown in to the same sentence as Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees or Tom Brady when it comes to that three letter acronym, MVP – Most Valuable Player for those who don’t pay attention in NFL class.

Now, I’ll be the first to admit that I really like Tebow. Just read some of previous speaking out pieces. However, I’m not ready to stretch the field with a ridiculous formation that calls for passing on quarterbacks who have the numbers and the record, for a running play that doesn’t make sense.

Yes, Tebow is the Denver Broncos’ team MVP; you won’t hear an argument from me on that. And yes, as Greg Couch pointed out, “The Broncos are losers without Tebow. Now, everyone on the team believes all the way to the finish line.” But let’s not get too lost in the Tebowmania and ignore what we learned in NFL class about what it means and takes to be the most valuable to the NFL. I don’t think I need to repeat those last five words either.

To be considered for the second most prestigious award you have to …

1) Put up great numbers.

2) Be on a playoff team.

3) Have a fair share of big game moments.

4) Play in every single game.

Note: This means that all those who believe Peyton Manning should be front and center because the Indianapolis Colts are so bad need to get off the red bull and pixie sticks as well.

Sorry folks, but Tebow doesn’t fit the bill, as he currently only meets one of those four criteria. His numbers by comparison equal that of Carson Palmer, a joke not even funny enough for the real Mister Rodgers’ neighborhood. Furthermore, the Denver Broncos are no lock for the playoffs just yet. And Tebow hasn’t played in every single game, at least according to my third-grade math teacher. And if you think not actually playing enough downs to give your team a chance to win more games isn’t important, then I suggest you stay away from coaching any kind of sports team, including the kindergarten recreational basketball team.

The bottom line here is that Tebow clearly just doesn’t fit in the NFL MVP picture frame. It’s like trying to make a 5-by-7 look good in a 11-by-13 frame. It just doesn’t work.

Thanks for reading!

Eric Huber is a staff writer for

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