In the Books: Week 14
By: Chase Wheetley
Robert Griffin III Injured- This debate has been raging for quite a while. With the hits Robert Griffin takes, he’s obviously an injury risk, so how far down your dynasty rankings should he slide? There are several quarterbacks you could argue for, but it’s hard to put him outside your top 7 or 8. Aaron Rodgers is the only one I rank ahead of him easily. Then there’s a group with Cam Newton, Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin, Matt Ryan, and Matthew Stafford, and it’s all up for debate. I’m becoming more and more concerned with the hits he’s taking, and he’s slipping in my rankings as I become more concerned. The more they take the handcuffs off Griffin, the more he will bear the risk of injury as he hangs in there until the last second to make the read. He offers huge fantasy upside, but you’d better have a solid backup plan.
A Personal Note… I watch NFL Red Zone like any shameless addict, and the first five minutes this week were like fantasy crack. During the regular season I’m more like an NFL fan. I don’t get too worked up about my fantasy teams, but now that the playoffs are here the adrenaline is pumping. It started out with Jamaal Charles’ 80 yard run, then Adrian Peterson had an incredible first quarter, and I felt like my fantasy teams were off and running. Unfortunately my opponents also had players with good games, but during those first five minutes, everything was perfect this week.
Cam Newton and the Mythological Sophomore Slump- All offseason people were talking about Cam Newton and using the words sophomore slump. It’s understandable to expect some regression after his rookie year, but now that we’re 14 weeks in there’s no more talk of a slump. Newton started a little slow, but in the last 3 weeks, he has scored 40.5, 31.4, and 39.95 points respectively. Cam Newton is now the QB2 in most formats after three of the best weeks you’ll see from a quarterback. One play in Sunday’s game against the Falcons summed up what you have in Cam Newton. On third and 11 he was wrapped up by Corey Peters for a sack, but instead of going down, Newton spun around and somehow twisted away, kept his feet, and ran for the first down. Cam Newton has the ability to shed tacklers like Ben Roethlisberger, but he can run when he gets free, and he has the arm talent of an elite passing quarterback.
Jimmy Graham M.I.A.- Jimmy has some making up to do in the next few weeks for his desperate fantasy owners. Jimmy Graham has been the type of player the past couple seasons that can lift a fantasy team on his shoulders, but if you’ve been dependent on him the past few weeks have probably been pretty painful for you. Next week he plays the Buccaneers, who struggle (and by struggle I mean they’re next to last) against the pass. I have a feeling the Reverend Jimmy Graham is in line for a huge game next week. Hopefully your team is still alive.
A Monday Night Worth Previewing: Houston Texans vs. New England Patriots
Something about primetime week night football has been brutal this season. The matchups have been boring and a lot of the games have been less than boring. Week 14 should be the best matchup of the season for Monday Night Football, so let’s look at what we’ve got.
New England Patriots
How many targets for Aaron Hernandez?- Last week Hernandez got 13 targets, and if he continues to be targeted heavily he could be the key to some playoff games. If Rob Gronkowski is back next week Hernandez’s numbers will take a hit, though.
Stevan Ridley for another touchdown?- Stevan Ridley has a touchdown in each of his last 5 games, but the Texans are by far the toughest rush defense he’s faced during that stretch. Ridley is a weekly start if you have him, but with such a limited role in the pass game it’s important that he gets that touchdown.
Arian Foster’s Huge Workload- Arian Foster has had at least 20 carries in 9 out of 12 games so far this year and there’s a decent chance he could reach the 370 carry mark that has been the demise of so many running backs before him. Of course 370 isn’t a magic number, but the big workload could have an effect on Foster’s future. More to come at a later date on that…
Andre the Magnificent- My friend Gino was talking about buying low on Andre Johnson earlier this season and I thought he was a fool. A few weeks later and he looks like a genius. I lucked into Andre Johnson in a few leagues before he blew up, but I was too stupid to see this coming. He’s only 31 and still has plenty in the tank. He should have another big game Monday.
Prediction: New England Patriots 27, Houston Texans 21
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