Week 14 RankingsSunday, December 09, 2012
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Last updated at 12:15 p.m. ET on Sunday, Dec. 9.
With fantasy playoff berths on the line, Tom Brady, Drew Brees, and Matt Ryan all finished between 23-30 in Week 13 points. One of the easiest pitfalls for fantasy owners and NFL talking heads is overstating the importance of the previous week’s game while overlooking trends, matchups, and momentum.
Ryan had his first career four-game streak of 300+ yards entering Week 13, highlighted by a career game of 411 yards and three scores at New Orleans in the previous Week 10 meeting. Ryan has scored his Week 14 opponent in their last four matchups. Tom Brady had multiple touchdowns in six consecutive games prior to last week’s. Don’t overthink your lineup decisions entering the most important stretch of the season.
In a potential shootout, Brady welcomes an injury-depleted Texans secondary that has surrendered an average of 368 yards to Chad Henne, Matthew Stafford, and Jake Locker the past three weeks.
Even better, the passing game’s focal point, Aaron Hernandez, is back to being the NFL’s most explosive tight end after the catch. After nearly scoring three separate times on the opening drive, Hernandez came up just shy of the pylon on the first play of the fourth quarter. He was inches from a monster fantasy game last week.
In a fantasy world without reliable tight ends, Hernandez is the exception to the rule.
Week 14 Quarterbacks
QB Notes: While it’s true that the sloppy spate of Thursday night games have generally led to fantasy disappointment, this matchup is too good for a streaking Peyton Manning to botch. The tanking Raiders defense has allowed 37.8 points per game since Week 9, the highest average in the league.
Robert Griffin III’s 104.4 passer rating is the highest through 13 weeks for any rookie since at least 1960. Russell Wilson’s 95.2 is fourth on the list, behind Dan Marino and Ben Roethlisberger. RGIII remains the most efficient deep passer in the league. … Since Todd Bowles took over as defensive boss, the Eagles have turned opposing QBs into an unholy amalgam of ‘84 Marino, ‘99 Warner, ‘04 Manning, ‘07 Brady, and ‘11 Rodgers. According to statistics and film, matchups don’t get any better than Josh Freeman’s this week.
Andrew Luck’s fantastic finish at Detroit marked the third time he’s passed for 350+ yards and led a game-winning drive. The only other QB to accomplish that feat in a season was Warren Moon in 1991. Luck ranks at the top of the list with Aaron Rodgers and Ben Roethlisberger in QBR under duress and continues to attack downfield more aggressively than any QB in the league. He’s on pace for 4,795 yards, which would break Cam Newton’s rookie record by a whopping 744. … Don’t look now, but Newton is fantasy’s No. 1 QB over the past five weeks. He’s a legit QB1 in an otherwise tough matchup against Mike Nolan’s masterful pass defense.
With 300+ yards in five of the past six weeks, Tony Romo is just under a 5,000-yard pace on the season. ... Even against an improving Saints defense, Eli Manning is a fine Week 14 play in a potential shootout with Drew Brees. ... Colin Kaepernick has posted a QBR of 70+ in three consecutive starts, a feat that Alex Smith never accomplished in the past five seasons. Over that three-game span, Kaepernick’s +10.7 is the highest QB grade handed out by Pro Football Focus. NFL Films analyst Greg Cosell insists Kaepernick “did not play poorly by any stretch” in the loss at St. Louis. In other words, don’t listen to any of the talking heads second-guessing one of the smartest coaching staffs in the NFL.
The matchup and home/road splits suggest Joe Flacco has borderline QB1 appeal this week. … Ben Roethlisberger appears to be on track to start against the Chargers, though the Steelers figure to lean more on the ground attack as he eases back in. … Nick Foles has been sacked just twice in the past two games, which suggests Michael Vick’s hesitance was the biggest factor in the Eagles’ aberrant sack, hurry, and hit totals. The rookie faces a defense allowing 300+ passing yards per game.
Russell Wilson has been downgraded due to matchup. The Cardinals have been horrendous on run defense over the past six weeks but remain one of the toughest pass defenses in the league. … Christian Ponder is last in the league in percentage of passing yards through the air. That’s no surprise. First in the league, though? Mark Sanchez. Ponder’s YPA has plummeted from 6.7 with Percy Harvin to 5.0 without him. … John Skelton has reclaimed the Cardinals job after Ryan Lindley authored one of the worst quarterback games any of us have ever seen. … Brady Quinn is coming off the best game by a Chiefs QB in a half-decade. History tells us he’s in for a faceplant this week.