Gregg Rosenthal

Goal Line Stand

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Week 14 Rankings Update

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Balance wins fantasy football games at this time of year. Of course, it doesn't hurt to have huge difference makers. In the wild 2010 season, there hasn't been a difference maker than Antonio Gates.

Playing on one foot last week, Gates still hauled in six catches for 73 yards and a score. He didn't look that hurt. On one play, he pivoted to make a much smaller defender miss. On another, he ran a beautiful deep pattern to make a catch on the sideline. This all came on a day when Philip Rivers was strikingly, shockingly inaccurate.

In standard scoring leagues this year, Gates is averaging 5.3 points-per-game more than the second highest per-game tight end (Marcedes Lewis; we're excluding Dallas Clark because of his injury.) That's ridiculous. To put in perspective, Gates is scoring 66% more per-game than the second best tight end.

That percentage difference is roughly like going from Dwayne Bowe to Braylon Edwards at receiver. Or Arian Foster to Matt Forte at running back. Or Michael Vick to Kyle Orton at quarterback. That's how much better Gates is than the competition.

Football Outsiders says Gates doesn't need another catch to have the best tight end season of the last 17 years. No argument here.

Week 14 Quarterbacks

RankPlayer NameOpponentNotes
1Michael Vickat DAL Probable(quadriceps)
2Aaron Rodgersat DET -
3Drew Breesvs. STL -
4Philip Riversvs. KC -
5Peyton Manningat TEN -
6Tom Bradyat CHI Probable(foot)
7Joe Flaccoat HOU -
8Kyle Ortonat ARZ -
9Jay Cutlervs. NE -
10Ben Roethlisbergervs. CIN -
11Matt Schaubvs. BAL Probable(knee)
12Eli Manningat MIN -
13Matt Ryanat CAR -
14Jon Kitnavs. PHI -
15Ryan Fitzpatrickvs. CLE -
16Josh Freemanat WAS -
17David Garrardvs. OAK -
18Carson Palmerat PIT -
19Jason Campbellat JAC -
20Sam Bradfordat NO -
21Brett Favrevs. NYG Questionable(shoulder)
22Donovan McNabbvs. TB Probable(hamstring)
23Mark Sanchezvs. MIA -
24Alex Smithvs. SEA -
25Brodie Croyleat SD -
26Chad Henneat NYJ -
27Matt Hasselbeckat SF Probable(left wrist)
28Jake Delhommeat BUF -
29Drew Stantonvs. GB -
30Kerry Collinsvs. IND -
31John Skeltonvs. DEN -
32Jimmy Clausenvs. ATL -

QB Notes: As I mentioned above, Rivers was oddly off-target last week. We're so used to seeing him play lights out that you wonder if something is wrong when he just starts missing open throws. It wasn't just timing issues with receivers that have been out too long or Oakland's pass rush getting to him. I'll chalk it up to a fluke; the Chiefs secondary has talent but can still be thrown on. … Jason Campbell is impossible to predict week-to-week, but he'd be an interesting desperation play down the stretch if he kept making like Cam Newton like he did last week. Few quarterbacks have a better play-action fake.

Carson Palmer quietly played one of his best games of the year against the Saints. Maybe it was a fluke, but he's finally getting those timing patterns down with Chad Ochocinco again. It's amazing how poorly it seems Palmer has played, yet he's on pace for over 4,000 yards and 27 scores. With his fantasy playoff schedule, however, you are unlikely to use him except perhaps next week against the Browns. … The vertical plays are back for the Saints offense. Even against an underrated Rams defense, Brees is a top-three play. … Bill Belichick says Jay Cutler is playing as well as any quarterback the Patriots have played all year. New England's defense is doing a better job disguising coverages, but is still a plus opponent for Cutler. He's trustworthy because the Patriots don't rush the passer well.

Matt Ryan owners have to worry about the Falcons sitting on an early lead in Carolina. Dangerous week to use him. The Panthers pass defense isn't that bad. … Ben Roethlisberger is getting the Bengals secondary at the right time. They aren't playing well. … Keep the faith in Kyle Orton, at least against Arizona. … The Texans have the type of offense that can give Baltimore's secondary trouble. I wouldn't sit Schaub unless you have another top-ten option. … The possible return of Steve Smith would make a big difference for Eli Manning. … Matt Cassel is ranked just in case he starts.

Don't think about sitting Peyton Manning. He's leading the league in passing yards and attempts. Don't get to cute. … The Browns defense has steadily improved, especially in the secondary. That's why Ryan Fitzpatrick is a so-so play. … Josh Freeman's slump and possible bad weather in Washington make him tough to use. … It is sad to watch Donovan McNabb these days. He's almost unrecognizable. … Chad Henne's lack of development shows up in the two minute drill more than anywhere else.

Editor's Note: You can get our Season Pass package at a discount rate for the fantasy playoffs. Tons of extra stat tools, projections, columns, and early rankings.

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Gregg Rosenthal has directed Rotoworld's football content since 2003. He co-hosts the NBC Fantasy Fix and covers the NFL for and Catch him on Twitter.
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