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Rookie Review – Week 14

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The bye weeks are done and most fantasy football leagues are starting their playoffs. Hopefully you are still playing. Let’s see what rookies might help you to your championship.

Quarterbacks

Mike Glennon – Glennon can look good one week, and not so good the next. He fell into the latter category this past week, but in his defense it was against a very good Carolina Panthers defense. The Panthers’ defensive front mauled Tampa Bay’s offensive line all day. Glennon did go 14-of-21 for 180 yards with one interception and one fumble, and he was sacked five times. He did not have a lot of time to throw. Is he worth a shot this week? I don’t think so; not with a decent Buffalo Bills defensive line that rushes the passer pretty well.

Geno Smith – Another terrible effort for Smith. That makes it three games in a row. In fact, he was so bad that he got benched. Smith was 4-of-10 for 29 yards with one interception and a sack. He was never really on target all game. It does sound like he is going to start this week, but you should stay far, far away from him. In fact, many might want to consider picking up the Oakland Raiders defense.

Matt McGloin – The Oakland Raiders were one of the Thanksgiving Day games and they actually played OK. McGloin was 18-of-30 for 255 yards and an interception. But with his starting running back suffering a concussion and Darren McFadden one hit away from another injury, who will run the ball for Oakland? I think the New York Jets know this and will prepare the defense that way for the game this Sunday. With questions on both teams and possible bad weather, I suggest not playing any players from either team this week, just the defenses.

EJ Manuel – Sure is nice to see this guy back, as the Buffalo Bills are a much better team with him at quarterback. Once again, Manuel was very effective, going 18-of-32 with 210 yards and a touchdown and also running in a score. I know I have said this before, but this offense could be very good in a year or two. He could be a very sneaky play this Sunday against Tampa Bay.


Running Backs

Eddie Lacy – It is really hard to give a guy a grade when the offensive line does not give you any room to work with. That is what happened against the Detroit Lions on Thanksgiving. Detroit ran roughshod against the Green Bay offensive line and did not allow any running lanes whatsoever. Lacy ended up with 10 carries for 16 yards and he also caught two balls for 23 yards on four targets with a drop. Lacy does have a great schedule to run against for the fantasy playoffs and the possibility of Aaron Rodgers coming back. Lacy could be very key in your championship dreams.

Le’Veon Bell – You know every time Pittsburgh and Baltimore play that it is going to be physical. That was the case on Thanksgiving night with both teams beating each other up. Bell looked like one of the better players in the game with 16 carries for 73 yards and a touchdown and also grabbing seven passes for 63 yards on nine targets. A very good game indeed. But, at the very end of the game, he suffered a major hit that knocked his helmet off at the 1-yard line and looks to have a concussion. He will have had 10 days to pass the concussion testing before this week’s game. Check his status for the game on Sunday. If he can play, it is a friendly matchup against the Miami Dolphins.

Zac Stacy – Stacy was able to play this week after sustaining a concussion last week, so that is a good sign. The problem is that he faced a now healthy San Francisco defense. It is not that he didn’t play well; he did with 19 carries for 72 yards. It is the fact that the Rams don’t scare many with their passing game right now and so San Francisco could focus on stopping the run game. I still remain impressed with him.

Dennis Johnson – You really can’t blame the Houston Texans not playing him much this week. After all, they found themselves in a shootout against New England and Ben Tate had a great game. Johnson ended up with just three carries for 13 yards and one catch for 11 yards. Johnson could be a desperation type play if you need one this week against Jacksonville, but remember that lately Jacksonville has played much better.

Giovani Bernard – In a game in which the Cincinnati Bengals ran a ton, both Bernard and BenJarvus Green-Ellis had their fair share of carries. Bernard had 14 carries for 57 yards and one catch for 9 yards. The problem is that with all the running is that it takes away from the pass catching skills and open-space running that makes Bernard so special. The end of season schedule is very friendly for Bernard. He could pay off nicely for you.

Montee Ball – The injury to Knowshon Moreno was pretty evident in this high-profile game against the Kansas City Chiefs this week. He just didn’t have the explosion that you are used to. Denver gave Ball extended playing time because of that and he did not disappoint. Ball had 13 carries for 117 yards and looked very powerful at times. Broncos fans have to be very excited after this performance knowing they now have two guys to carry the rock for them. Look for Ball to get more playing time to help spare Moreno for the playoffs.

Knile Davis – With the contest so important against Denver, Davis did not see a lot of time with only one carry for 20 yards and two catches for 27 yards. He did, however, get some notice with a very nice 108-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. Keep your eyes on him. All Jamaal Charles owners should have him rostered.

Kenjon Barner – Cam Newton sure could use help running the ball; it is too bad that he can’t rely on any of his backs too often. With ailing running backs playing in Carolina, Barner got a chance to show what he could do against a very outclassed Tampa Bay team. Barner managed 6 yards on five carries. Move on, nothing to see here.

Theo Riddick – Thanksgiving has not been very nice to Detroit lately, as the Lions had not won on Turkey Day in what seemed like forever. The Lions beat up Green Bay badly, so I thought we might see more of Riddick. Nope, guess again. He only had one reception for 5 yards. He will not do much for you at this time.

Benny Cunningham – Zac Stacy recovered nicely from his concussion, so that prevented Cunningham from getting the start for the St. Louis Rams. St. Louis was playing to win the game, so Cunningham did not get much time on the field and only had two carries for 16 yards. He is the unquestioned backup to Stacy, so he may still have value in case Stacy does show signs from his concussion again.

Stepfan Taylor – The promise of Andre Ellington was put on hold this week because of injury and that gave Taylor another chance to show us something. Taylor ran the ball three times for 15 yards and also had two catches for 45 yards on three targets. I can’t say he will do much the rest of this year, but something tells me that Arizona moves on from Rashard Mendenhall and Taylor becomes more of the picture next year.

Michael Cox – Cox did not get a carry in this game, but is being brought up because of his duties returning kickoffs. The New York Giants loved what they saw in preseason when Cox returned kicks, so they gave him primary kickoff returner for the season. He muffed a kickoff deep in his zone and could have cost the Giants the game against the Washington Redskins. The Giants were making a move in the division and plays like that will keep you off the field. He needs to get his head on straight.

Mike Gillislee – Another injury, another chance for a rookie to show his stuff. Many experts had Gillislee on their “sleeper” list at the beginning of the year. He got his first carries of the season last week and had 21 yards on six attempts. It sounds like Daniel Thomas is out so he should get more carries during the rest of the season, but not enough for you to count on. Like for Miami to throw it more the rest of the year.


Wide Receiver

Cordarelle Patterson – Patterson now finds himself splitting reps with Jerome Simpson nearly 50/50. That shows the Minnesota Vikings are trying to get him more involved in the game. But when you have the best running back in football gaining more than 200 rushing yards, that doesn’t give the passing game much. Patterson had one catch for 4 yards on four targets with a drop, but he also had two carries for 27 yards and a touchdown. One of these games, Patterson is going to go off, but can you pick which one?

Kenny Stills – To be quite honest, the New Orleans Saints did not look good on Monday night. Seattle blew them out. Drew Brees did not have a lot of time to throw, and that usually means that the deep ball is taken out. Stills is more or less a deep ball kind of guy. Still only had one catch for 3 yards. He is fun to watch, but not real trustworthy for a fantasy owner to count on.

Keenan Allen – You can see the improvement in Allen each week, and his game just keeps on improving. Once again, Allen was the main weapon for the San Diego Chargers with eight catches for 106 yards on 10 targets. I have him locked and loaded in my starting lineup each week and you should also.

DeAndre Hopkins – This seemed to be a lost year for Houston, yet the Texans showed up against New England and played very hard till the end. With 65 points scored, I would have figured that maybe Hopkins finally woke up and did something. Hopkins had two catches for 77 yards on five targets. While the yardage is nice, the catches-to-targets ratio scares me some. Need to see improvement from him and the quarterback before I change my mind.

Darius Johnson – Atlanta finally found themselves in a game this year! With that said, I would have hoped for more out of Johnson than the two catches for 16 yards on four targets shows. Roddy White finally seemed back close to his former self and dominated the passing game. Johnson will probably go back to not much playing time.

Ace Sanders – The Jacksonville Jaguars are now stating that they are implementing more play to showcase Sanders and his skill set. With Mike Brown still a little banged up, Sanders once again had a decent outing with eight catches for 67 yards on 11 targets and one rush for 4 yards. It sounds like Jacksonville want to line him up “all over the field” to create plays for him. Keep your eye on him.

Marlon Brown – The slugfest that is Pittsburgh-Baltimore usually doesn’t offer much in the passing game, and is shows with Brown getting one ball for a 12-yard catch. With the cold weather now changing gameplans to more runs and shorter passes, Brown should not warrant your attention.

Kembrell Thompkins – Can any receiver stay healthy for the New England Patriots? With Aaron Dobson already out with injury, now you can add Thompkins who injured his hip while landing on it following an attempt on a high pass. Thompkins had one catch for 16 yards on three attempts before leaving the game. Check his status as the Patriots offense seems to be rolling right now.

Justin Hunter – Hunter seems to have risen up to No. 3 on the Tennessee depth chart at wide receiver. The problem is that Kendall Wright is by far the No. 1, and new tight end Delanie Walker is now a new favorite target for Ryan Fitzpatrick. That doesn’t leave much for Hunter. Hunter had one catch for 9 yards on five targets. I’m afraid he won’t offer much the rest of the season.

Terrence Williams – Miles Austin is now back and it looks to be a 50/50 split in reps between Austin and Williams. When you already have Dez Bryant demanding the ball so much, a very good tight end in Jason Witten, and DeMarco Murray running well, it doesn’t offer much to who is left. Williams had three catches for 23 yards and a fumble on six targets. Williams better focus more if he wants to see the field.

Tavon Austin – The St. Louis Rams are trying every which way to use Austin. In addition to his return duties, he also passed, ran and received balls in this game. His pass fell incomplete and his one rush gained him 10 yards. Austin had four receptions for 25 yards on seven targets but also allowed a ball to get picked off. Austin needs to be more protective of the ball and learn to fight for it more.

Stedman Bailey – St. Louis seems to be giving Bailey more playing time as he learns during his rookie year. Bailey saw four balls thrown at him and he caught three of them for 46 yards. Are they grooming him for future use?

Robert Woods – Nice to see him more involved in the game again. Woods only had two catches for 39 yards on three targets, but remember both C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson had decent games at running back. I still think Woods might do something yet this year.

Josh Boyce – As mention above with Thompkins’ and Dobson’s injuries, somebody has to play wide receiver for New England. It may have been more of an emergency than anything else as Boyce only had one catch for 6 yards on one target. Watch the injury reports on Thompkins and Dobson.


Tight Ends

Tim Wright – Is it me, or is it one week on, one week off for this guy also? Wright again had an off week with only two catches for 17 yards on three targets. Will this be a week on?

Mychal Rivera – Rivera seems to have slowed down a little since a good middle-of-year run. Rivera had two catches for 30 yards on three targets. Maybe he just needs to get on the same page as Matt McGloin.

Levine Toilolo – The Atlanta Falcons came out and said that they want to use Toilolo more. Maybe it is because they are preparing for the retirement of Tony Gonzalez. Toilolo had one catch for 12 yards this week. Watch what happens on Sunday.

Luke Wilson – One catch for 2 yards, nothing to see here.

Tyler Eifert – Like I said above, the Cincinnati Bengals ran it often on Sunday. Eifert only had one catch for 9 yards on two targets. When the need arises, I’m sure they will pass more to help secure a playoff spot.

Zach Ertz – The big winner of the week as Ertz had five catches for 68 yards and two touchdowns on six targets. He led all Philadelphia Eagles in the receiving categories. The tight ends were always a big part of the plan for Chip Kelly in Oregon. Is it changing now for the Eagles?

Nothing doing right now: Quinton Patton, Travis Kelce (Injured Reserve), Jonathon Franklin (Injured Reserve), Brice Butler, Joseph Randle, Matt Barkley, Jeff Tuel, Zach Sudfeld, Mike James (injured), Denard Robinson, Chris Gragg, Ryan Griffin, Da’Rick Rogers, Christine Michael, Marquis Goodwin, Jordan Reed (injured), Markus Wheaton, Kyiry Robinson, Gavin Escobar, Joseph Fauria, Aaron Dobson (injured), C.J. Anderson, Andre Ellington (injured), Vance McDonald

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