Welcome to Week 14 of the Brew Crew Corner. This week is a very important week to a lot of owners. For those starting playoffs this week, it’s Round 1, and you either win or go home. You didn’t get this far just to go out in the first round did you? No, of course not, so make sure you don’t over analyze any lineup decisions this week and play your best players. For the rest of the owners, this is the last week of the regular season and for some of you, you need a win to get into the playoffs.
There is a lot going on right now with holiday shopping, the cold weather and the end of college football. This might be the last week you can make adjustments to your team. See what is available on the waiver wire. Pick up players to replace those that will be injured. For instance, Matt Cassel might miss this week’s game and if you don’t have a decent backup, you need to look for a replacement. Look to see if Tarvaris Jackson will play this week. Kickers are often overlooked but this could be a good time to change out kickers playing in bad weather the next few weeks for one that will have a dome or warmer climate. One or two missed field goals could be the difference between moving on or getting ready for next years draft.
The Golden Mug Award
Awarded to the fantasy player who came through for their team.
Reggie Wayne – 14 receptions, 200 yards, 1 TD. After a poor week against San Diego, Wayne bounced back to post his best stats of the season. If only Peyton Manning would get a handle on those interceptions. He’s thrown 11 in the last three games.
Adrian Peterson- 16 carries, 107 yards, 3 TD. Owners weren’t sure if Peterson was going to play, but for those who stuck with him, they were rewarded well.
Marshawn Lynch – 21 carries, 83 yards, 3 TD. Lynch had his first multi-touchdown game since Week 3 of 2008. So I guess he was due.
The Urinal Cake Award
Awarded to the fantasy player who you would like to, well you know.
Dwayne Bowe – 0 receptions, 0 yards. Just last week Bowe was one of the top dogs of the week with 170 yards and three scores. This week he was shut out and probably cost some owners a playoff spot.
Brian Westbrook – 9 carries, 31 yards. I hope that you read my article last week and didn’t use Westbrook this week. You can’t trust him in your lineup.
Mario Manningham – 2 receptions, 36 yards. With Steve Smith and Hakeem Nicks out, Manningham had a chance to be the No. 1 receiver but was outplayed by Derek Hagen and ran a bad rout that could had led to a touchdown.
Good quarterback matchups this week:
Joe Flacco against the Texans. Flacco and the Ravens will look to make up for last week’s loss. Flacco has played well, even against tough defenses, and this week he gets a great matchup for owners to get a win this week in their leagues. The Texans’ defense looked horrible against the Philadelphia Eagles and it shows that they can’t stop anyone late in the game. Flacco will take advantage of that and Houston’s 287.4 passing yards allowed per game (32nd).
Aaron Rodgers against the Lions. Could there be a better matchup for your stud quarterback on a critical week? I think not, and you have to be smiling this week as Rodgers will look to keep his team in the playoff race by carving up the Lions’ defense. In Week 4, Rodgers was held to 181 yards, but still threw three touchdowns. The Lions’ defense is allowing 222.6 passing yards per game (16th) and have given up 21 touchdowns this season.
Sleeper Pick of the Week: Mark Sanchez against the Dolphins. I know I picked him to do well last week, and many will look at Monday night’s game thinking that Sanchez will play poorly this week. However, Sanchez played well in his last meeting against Miami, throwing for 256 yards and three touchdowns. I think the Jets will want to save face after getting embarrassed and will come out strong in this game. Forget what happened last week.
Good running back matchups this week:
Chris Johnson against the Colts. Is there another running back that is due for a monster game? Johnson has had back-to-back poor games and has just one touchdown in four games. He’s due, and this is the week that he carries your team to a victory. This is the first of two meetings with the Colts and they are poor on run defense, allowing 142.8 yards per game (29th) with 13 touchdowns allowed this season.
Micheal Turner against the Panthers. Last week the Panthers’ defense made Marshawn Lynch look like an All-Pro, and other running backs have enjoyed good success against the Panthers. Carolina has allowed 133.1 yards per game (27th) and has given up 14 touchdowns this season. Turner has scored in three straight games with two 100-plus yard games in that stretch. Expect to see Turner running up and down the field and into the end zone.
Sleeper Pick of the Week: Christopher Ivory against the Rams. Ivory has been a great flex option the past three weeks and he has scored five touchdowns in those games. Last week he added 117 rushing yards, and the Saints trust him more with the ball. Even if Pierre Thomas plays, Ivory should get the most touches because Thomas isn’t in game shape and who knows how healthy that ankle is? The Rams have played the run decent, allowing 103.5 yards per game (14th) but have given up just five touchdowns this season.
Bad quarterback matchups this week:
Sam Bradford against the Saints. Bradford has been playing well, but you don’t want to rely on a rookie to get you a win at this point in the season. Bradford posted poor numbers against the Arizona Cardinals and has an ankle injury. He will be facing the Saints’ defense that has given up just eight touchdowns this season and is third in the league with 199.2 passing yards per game.
Matt Cassel against the Chargers. The team is anticipating that he will be able to play, but fantasy owners shouldn’t be as optimistic. The matchup isn’t good to start with as the Chargers’ defense is the best in the league in pass defense, allowing 186.2 passing yards per game and have 13 interceptions and 34 sacks this season. Brodie Croyle would get the start if Cassel does not play, but the Chiefs will rely more on the run in that case.
Josh Freeman against the Redskins. Many are suggesting that you start Freeman against the Redskins, but that would be a mistake. Freeman has been average the past three weeks, failing to throw for more than 181 yards in those games and only averaging 13.5 fantasy points. The Redskins held Eli Manning last week to just 121 yards and no touchdowns even though the run defense allowed all the scoring.
Bad running back matchups this week:
Mike Tolbert/Ryan Mathews against the Chiefs. Mathews has been a disappointment this season as he has been dealing with an ankle injury and has not produced much in limited time. Last week he didn’t even get a snap. Tolbert has been the poor man’s version of Peyton Hillis and has been a great pick up for fantasy owners. Last week he struggled on the ground, rushing for just 16 yards. This week they face the Chiefs, who will look to sweep the Chargers and move one step closer to winning the division. The Chiefs are holding teams to 101.8 rushing yards per game (12th) and have allowed just six touchdowns this season.
Arian Foster against the Ravens. Foster leads all running backs after 13 weeks in fantasy points and you’re going to play him this week, but the matchup will be tough as the Ravens are stingy against the run, allowing 98.7 yards per game (sixth) and just five touchdowns yielded this season. After how the Texans looked against the Eagles, you have to be concerned this week.
Jahvid Best against the Packers. Best got back in the mix last week with nine carries for 65 yards, and although he hasn’t scored since Week 2 and he’s been probable since Week 4, he still is the 20th running back in fantasy leagues. If he can get healthy down the stretch, he could be an asset again in your lineup. This week may not be the week, though, as he faces a tough game against a Packers team looking to keep pace with the Chicago Bears. Green Bay is allowing 111.2 yards per game (18th), but has held scoring on the ground to just five this season. Temper your expectations this week.
Week 14: It’s do or die for fantasy owners. Don’t be left out in the cold.
Good Luck to everyone in Week 14. Follow @BrewCrewCorner