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Football Daily Dose

Playoffs Round 1: Who Helped, Who Didn’t

by Lauren Carpenter
Updated On: December 14, 2020, 5:23 pm ET

Week 14 is nearly in the books save tonight’s matchup between the Browns and the Ravens. For many of us, it’s the first round of the playoffs, and Sunday’s matchups either have you excited for Week 15, nervous about tonight’s game, or depressed because you know you’re done.

Let’s dive right into our fantasy studs and stinkers from Sunday’s Week 14 slate of games.

Fantasy Gems

QBs

Aaron Rodgers continues to thumb his nose at adversity and prove that he is indeed an incredible quarterback. He threw 290 yards through the air for three touchdowns and even splashed 13 rushing yards to his stat-line, just because. He leads our fantasy QB studs with 30.9 points and is the only QB to score above 30 this week.

Rodgers is the only predictable name on our top-five quarterbacks for Week 14. Dolphins rookie QB Tua Tagovailoa and the Dolphins Defense kept Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs on their toes with 316 passing yards, two passing touchdowns, and a rushing touchdown for 27.04 points. Drew Lock made our list at number three facing the Carolina Panthers with 280 passing yards and four touchdowns. He and Russell Wilson were the only QBs to throw four touchdowns. Although Wilson did not make our list by only a hair, he had an excellent day with 22.14 points against the Jets, even after sitting out at the end of the game thanks to the Seahawks' massive lead. 

I recently remarked that watching the Bears play was a difficult task unless you are a Bears fan. They haven’t had much to write home about on offense and their defense is so good that they shut down opposing offenses. 

I take it all back. Mitch Trubisky is our QB4 on the day who threw for 267 yards, three touchdowns, and 24.98 points in a commanding 36-7 victory over Deshaun Watson and the Texans. He looked better, played with confidence, and he should be interesting to watch for both real and fantasy football moving forward.

Derek Carr rounds out the top-five QBs in their loss to the Colts. He threw for 316 yards, two touchdowns, and rushed in a touchdown for 23.8 points. 

I would also like to shout out backup QB Jalen Hurts for the Eagles who faced the vaunted Saints defenses and didn’t seem fazed. He finished as the QB8 with 19.28 on 168 yards passing, a touchdown, and over 100 yards rushing. 

RBs

Would you be surprised if I told you that Derrick Henry had a monster game against the Jaguars? No? Well, he certainly had a nice day as our RB1 from Sunday with 215 rushing yards, two touchdowns, and even two receptions for seven yards and 36.2 points. 

Colts rookie RB Jonathan Taylor continues his breakout campaign with 30.5 points on 150 yards and two touchdowns and two receptions for 15 yards. His counterpart Nyheim Hines didn’t find the end zone but he did have 58 on the ground and 17 through the air on four receptions for 11.5 yards if you’re curious. Eagles RB Miles Sanders is our RB3 (finally) with 29.6 points after posting three games in a row without eclipsing double-digits. Mike Davis continues to churn out points in Christian McCaffrey’s absence and is our RB4 with only 51 yards rushing but two touchdowns and five receptions for 42 yards for 26.3 points.

If you read my columns before your trade deadlines then you know that I was advocating trading for Bears RB David Montgomery. I hope you were able to secure him on your squad because he is taking advantage of the juicy matchups. This is his third game in a row with at least 24 points or more in PPR scoring and rounds out our top-five running backs.

WRs

Before I get into the top-five fantasy scorers for wide receivers, I just want to note that it was like watching the ghosts of receivers past. T.Y. Hilton, A.J. Green, and Alshon Jeffery all scored a touchdown on Sunday. 

It is 2020, correct? Sometimes, I don’t know anymore. If it weren’t for football, I might not know what day it is.

Our top wide receiver on Sunday was the Bills Stefon Diggs who had his third straight game in the double-digits since their bye in Week 11. He has steadily increased his production since the bye and is heating up just in time. He had 130 receiving yards, second only to his Week 2 performance for 153 yards, and a touchdown for 29.1 points.

Allen Robinson continues to crush in fantasy as our WR2 with nine receptions for 123 yards and a touchdown for 27.3 points. Calvin Ridley filled in well for the sidelined Julio Jones even though the Falcons ended up losing to the Chargers. He posted eight receptions for 124 yards and a touchdown for 26.4 points. 

Of course, Tyreek Hill makes our list the WR4 with only three receptions for 79 yards and a touchdown, but he impressively rushed for 32 yards that ended in a touchdown. (I didn’t mention this in the quarterback section but the Dolphins picked off Patrick Mahomes three times and they even sacked him for a 30-yard loss on one play.)

Fun fact: Hill’s 32 rushing yards were only 15 yards shy of the entirety of the Steelers rushing yards against the Bills.

Hilton found himself in the end zone not once, but twice in this matchup against the Raiders. He is also heating up at just the right time and may be the waiver wire grab that wins you a championship. He had five receptions for 86 yards and two touchdowns for 25.6 points.

Although they didn’t make the top-five, Davante Adams (24.5), A.J. Brown (24.2), and KJ Hamler (22.6) also had great games. In fact, there were several WRs who posted 20 points or more. Too bad not enough of them were on my fantasy team, but I digress.

TEs

Travis Kelce is our Sunday TE1 with 27.6 points on eight receptions for 136 yards and a touchdown as he continues to be a freak of nature at the tight end position. Mike Gesicki also had a nice 20-plus point game with 23.5 on five receptions for 65 yards and two touchdowns, but he was hurt before the end of the game. It will be important to keep an eye on his status moving forward if he is your starting tight end.

Lions TE T.J. Hockenson tried his best to combat the Packers' scoring with six receptions for 43 yards and a touchdown, finishing with 16.3 points. On the other side of the ball, Robert Tonyan took advantage of the Lions and finished with 14.6 points on five receptions for 36 yards and a touchdown and is our TE5. It’s a pretty good showing for the tight end position to feature the TE2 and the TE5 in one game.

Irv Smith, who has been sidelined the past two weeks, is tied with Hockenson at 16.3 points. He posted 63 yards on four receptions and a touchdown. Since we have a tie at TE4, let’s go ahead and remind everyone the Darren Waller is really good and scored 14.5.

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Fantasy Bombs

This is my least favorite part about covering fantasy football, but, alas, where there is good … there is also really, really bad. 

QBs

Of the startable options at the QB position, we had some real stinkers. Daniel Jones wasn’t able to do much coming back from injury and only logged 127 yards passing for 3.08 points after being sacked six times for a loss of 52 yards. 

Sam Darnold wasn’t able to exploit the Seahawks' porous passing defense. Actually, Seattle’s defense practically ate him alive. He threw for only 132 yards with an interception. He was also sacked three times for a loss of 16 yards.

Matt Ryan also struggled mightily against the Chargers who stepped up their defense and special teams games. He passed for over 200 yards and a touchdown, but he also threw three interceptions and finished with 7.26 points.

Nick Mullens (12.4), Ben Roethlisberger (13.48), and Matthew Stafford (14.36) also disappointed managers. Even Gardner Minshew, who got his shot at redemption after Mike Glennon was benched, scored 13.32 without playing a full game.

RBs

There is no other way to put this, but Ezekiel Elliott has been bad without Dak Prescott. He had only 48 yards rushing for 7.9 points while Tony Pollard got the end zone look for a touchdown. Packers RB Aaron Jones couldn’t take full advantage of the Lions' terrible run defense and only posted 9.5 points on 69 rushing yards, two receptions, and six receiving yards. The 49ers' pair of runners in Raheem Mostert (9) and Jeff Wilson (9.5) was another big letdown.

However, the biggest letdown was from the Raiders RB Josh Jacobs who took fantasy players on an emotional roller coaster. After missing last week and being limited during practice with an ankle injury, Jacobs's managers were sweating bullets while they waited for some kind of news of his status for Sunday. 

Finally, some news came on social media from Jacobs himself. He said simply “Sorry guys I’m not playing today” with some crying laughing emojis.

The joke didn’t go over very well.

Either way, with only 49 rushing yards, three receptions for 25 yards, and only 10.4 points, Jacobs upset a lot of people in their nasty 44-27 loss to the Colts. So, the joke’s on him?

WRs

Because of the nature of the position, there were a lot of wide receivers who had sub-par performances, so I’ll just stick to the big names like Mike Evans (8.6) and Chris Godwin (4.5). TE Rob Gronkowski and WR Scotty Miller saw the end zone instead. The Vikings receiving pair of Adam Thielen (6.9) and Justin Jefferson (9.9) had disappointing finishes in their battle against the Buccaneers. It wasn’t a great day for receivers in that game.

Cole Beasley hasn’t been involved all that much for the Bills thanks largely to Diggs’ huge performance. His hot streak came to an end against the Steelers with five receptions for 41 yards and 9.1 points. On the other side of the ball, Diontae Johnson had another case of the dropsies and only pulled in four receptions for 40 yards and eight points.

Despite being the de facto WR1 for Texans with Brandin Cooks sidelined and Will Fuller suspended, Keke Coutee could not get over double-digits. He scored 9.4 points that included a touchdown but only hauled in three receptions for 24 yards aside from his score.

The Packers WR Allen Lazard was disappointing with only 3.9 points while Marquez Valdes-Scantling rotated in to annoy Lazard managers with six receptions, 85 yards, a touchdown, and 20.5 points instead.

TEs

If you wanted to play the matchup against Carolina’s poor defense then you likely started Noah Fant. Unfortunately, he became ill at the beginning of the game and you were forced to watch Drew Lock target every other tight end on the Broncos for touchdowns and points while Fant gave you a goose egg.

Jonnu Smith (4.3), Evan Engram (3.8), Zach Ertz (2.8), and Hayden Hurst (1.7) were also glaring scores that you wished you could swap out. 

If you have any starters in tonight’s game, good luck. Here’s to a successful Week 14.

Injury Updates

49ers WR Deebo Samuel left the game early with a hamstring injury and did not return. … Washington QB Alex Smith suffered a calf sprain and left the game early. … Dolphins TE Mike Gesicki left the game with a shoulder injury. … Broncos TE Noah Fant left early with an illness and did not return. … Browns TE Austin Hooper is not expected to play Monday with a neck injury.

Lauren Carpenter

Lauren Carpenter (@stepmomlauren) is a St. Louis native, graduate of the University of Missouri's Journalism school, and all-around fan of sports. She is a fantasy football analyst and writer who enjoys communicating about sports and fantasy football, but will not inflate your vanity or listen to condescension. Let's all be kind to one another.