Fantasy Clicks: Marshall, Johnsons lead Week 14 Revelations
Brandon Marshall: Andy Lyons/Getty Images
As for the Colts, we'd like to formally apologize to Indy's Dallas Clark for not earning pictorial prominence in this week's Revelations. In most cases, receivers with three touchdown catches go straight to the front of the Clicks line. We'd also love to give more, um, love to Peyton Manning (220 passing yards, 4 TDs, 3 INTs) and RB Joseph Addai (116 total yards) ... but we're still knee-deep in historical comparisons involving Marshall. Perhaps we'll return to earth for Wednesday's Clicks -- just in time for Colts-Jags on Thursday night. (Here's a preview: Start Manning, Addai, Clark, Wayne and Pierre Garcon on national TV.)
Philadelphia 45, N.Y. Giants 38
The Giants took the more traditional route to fantasy brilliance, although no one could've forecasted Eli Manning's 401 total yards (382 passing) and three touchdowns ... or Hakeem Nicks' 68-yard scoring catch/run -- just milliseconds after dropping two easy balls (including one sure-thing TD). In essence, this was the type of output fantasy owners have been expecting since Week 6 -- with no less than seven Giants having fantasy nights to behold: Manning; RBs Brandon Jacobs (69 yards, 1 TD) and Ahmad Bradshaw (101 total yards, 1 TD); WRs Steve Smith (7 catches, 74 yards), Nicks (4 catches, 110 yards, 1 TD), Domenik Hixon (1 catch, 61 yards, 1 TD) and TE Kevin Boss, who has at least 70 yards receiving and/or one touchdown in four of his last six games. All this begs the question: What lies ahead for the Giants and their Week 15 trek to Washington? Truth be told, we're a little nervous about recommending any Giants next week (Manning, Bradshaw aside) -- especially when compared to the Texans.
Houston 34, Seattle 7
Do you recall The Julius Rules from September? It was a time-tested Fantasy Clicks system where owners could only start Seahawks RB Julius Jones (43 total yards vs. Houston) against mediocre defenses for home games ... and divisional opponents on the road. Well, The Julius Rules apparently worked too well for Week 14 -- because no other Seattle player (Matt Hasselbeck excluded) eclipsed 75 yards in the team's eye-opening loss. In fact, the only fantasy bright spots dealt with Hasselbeck (247 passing yards, 1 TD) and RB Justin Forsett (73 total yards); and let's face it, folks ... neither player had anything to do with your team miraculously advancing to Week 15, aka, the fantasy semifinals. Speaking of which, fantasy owners can feel free to start Hasselbeck, Forsett, T.J. Houshmandzadeh (4 catches, 52 yards), Nate Burleson (3 catches, 50 yards) and even Lord Julius next week against Tampa Bay ... at home ... and with Sunday's debacle long forgotten by Seattle's schizophrenic playmakers.
New Orleans 26, Atlanta 23
The Falcons, in turn, should be commended for pressing on without the dynamic talents of QB Matt Ryan and RB Michael Turner, in the form of substitutes Chris Redman (303 yards passing, 1 TD) and Jason Snelling (102 total yards, 1 TD). But after last week's home shellacking at the hands of Philly, we're hard-pressed to find anyone who started the duo during the fantasy playoffs. After all, dance with the one who brung ya, right? Speaking of which ... Tony Gonzalez (6 catches, 50 yards) and WR Roddy White (2 catches, 41 yards) certainly fell flat against the Saints in Week 14; but they likely won't be benched, as a tandem, against the No. 1-ranked Jets (and Darrelle Revis) in Week 15. Chalk it up to name-brand loyalty.
Chris Johnson: Joe Robbins/Getty Images
It's not everyday you hear the word freakazoid used in NFL circles. But who among us can resist the temptation to hail Chris Johnson's output -- after just 13 games -- as the best fantasy season of this decade (besting Tom Brady (2007), Randy Moss (2007) and LaDainian Tomlinson (2006)? On Sunday, he amassed 186 total yards and three touchdowns, while singlehandedly staking the Titans to a 23-0 halftime lead. But truth be told, this might've been CJ's third-best performance of the year, lagging behind his 284-yard, 3-TD day in Week 2 and 228-rushing-yard, 2-TD effort in Week 8. If that doesn't say 'MVP' ... nothing does. And bonus, Johnson (2,017 total yards, 11 TDs in '09) is primed for fantasy greatness in Weeks 15 (vs. Miami) and 16 (vs. San Diego) -- both home games!
As for the other Titans, the jury's still out on Vince Young's hamstring injury. But then again, it's not like Kenny Britt (2 catches, 75 yards), Nate Washington (3 catches, 54 yards), Alge Crumpler (4 catches, 41 yards, 1 TD) or Bo Scaife (4 catches, 43 yards) are strong locks for fantasy goodness in 10- or 12-team leagues for Weeks 15-16. If anything, those guys can only hope (pray?) that Johnson doesn't convert every one of his long runs/catches into touchdowns. But that's a lot to ask.
Regarding the Rams, Week 14 marked the first time we could recall Steven Jackson being a nonfactor early in a game. He finished with 53 blah yards, giving fantasy owners some concern as to whether his back injury is getting cumbersome. At the very least, those same owners now have proper motivation to pluck backup RB Kenneth Darby (58 total yards) off midweek waivers ... just in case S-Jax misses a game or two. The same holds true for little-known WR Brandon Gibson (6 catches, 43 yards), who is morphing into a poor, poor man's Wes Welker with each passing week -- especially in PPR leagues. Unfortunately for Gibson, though, he'll never see the light of day in standard-scoring starting lineups -- at least until the St. Louis quarterbacks endure a complete overhaul ... starting with Sunday's punching bag du jour, Keith Null (157 yards passing, 1 TD, 5 INTs).
New England 20, Carolina 10
Regarding the Panthers, we should have known that Jonathan Stewart (29 total yards) would continue his distubring trend of one-game-up/one-game-down. We should've known that J-Stew's amazing physical gifts are only surpassed by his maddening inconsistencies when running the ball. Furthermore, we should realize that Stewart can never be a franchise back without the capacity for catching multiple passes out of the backfield. Thank goodness Steve Smith (2 catches, 83 yards, 1 TD) and DeAngelo Williams (97 total yards) brought their B-plus games to Foxboro ... otherwise, we'd have no choice but to discuss QB Matt Moore's permanent fantasy ceiling of 220 yards/1 TD.
Washington 34, Oakland 13
It's been said many times, many ways in recent weeks: The Raiders, even with Bruce Gradkowski at the helm and a never-say-die spirit for road games, are still a fantasyland mess. How else could one explain Darren McFadden cracking the century mark for the first time this season -- off 84 receiving yards? And how else could we possibly explain that JaMarcus Russell -- yes, THAT JaMarcus Russell! -- had twice as many receptions as Louis Murphy (1 catch, 8 yards) ... and more than twice the receiving yards on Sunday?
N.Y. Jets 26, Tampa Bay 3
San Diego 20, Dallas 17
The Cowboys, for the most part, posted better fantasy numbers than the 17 points suggest. From Tony Romo (249 passing yards, 2 TDs) and Felix Jones (53 total yards) to Miles Austin (6 catches, 71 yards, 1 TD) and Roy Williams (4 catches, 74 yards) ... it was a passable performance for all, with few negative consequences carrying over to Week 15 (@ New Orleans -- a bona fide shootout). But enough about that: We're curious to know how many playoff games were won/lost on Patrick Crayton's garbage-time-supreme TD with just two ticks left ... and San Diego assured of victory? Perhaps this is why there are no bathroom breaks in fantasyland.
Adrian Peterson: Rich Gabrielson/Icon SMI
Oh sure, Carson Palmer (104 total yards, 1 TD) might've done enough damage in one day to scare off owners from starting in Weeks 15-17 ... but ya gotta love Cincinnati's dates with San Diego (in sunny SoCal!) and Kansas City (does it matter where this one's played?) in the next two weeks. Hence, he's a starting consideration next Sunday -- assuming your fantasy team is still alive. The same holds true for RB Cedric Benson (100 total yards) and Chad Ochocinco (3 catches, 27 yards, 1 TD) ... but that's where the Bengals' gravy train comes to a sudden stop -- regardless of your misguided faith in Andre Caldwell (4 catches, 25 yards) or Brian Leonard (18 total yards).
Green Bay 21, Chicago 14
On the flip side ... there aren't too many encouraging signs with the Bears and their phalanx of fantasy poseurs: Yes, Jay Cutler threw for 209 yards and two scores, but no self-respecting fantasy owner would possibly start him at Baltimore next week. Yes, Johnny Knox pulled down five catches for 83 yards and one touchdown ... but he's nothing more than a deeper-league consideration at this point. And we'd love to give out hearty endorsements for Matt Forte (68 total yards) and Greg Olsen (2 catches, 14 yards) for Week 15 ... but that would require the Bears coaches to think creatively with their two biggest playmakers. Yikes!
Baltimore 48, Detroit 3
As for the comical Lions, there's nothing more to say, really. You already know that Calvin Johnson (4 catches, 37 yards) has difficulty getting open when hounded by FIVE Baltimore defenders on any given play. You already know that RB Kevin Smith (88 total yards) is the NFL's quietest lock for 80-plus yards from week to week. And you already know that Matthew Stafford will be a top-5 fantasyland QB in 2011 ... and that sitting out a game in '09 (separated left shoulder) won't affect that proclamation. Here's something you may not have known: At the ripen age of 32, Daunte Culpepper (146 total yards, zero TDs, 2 INTs) actually has the physical/mental stamina to survive an entire 60-minute meltdown ... even though he should've been replaced midway through the third quarter. Oh, the irony!
Buffalo 16, Kansas City 10
Regarding the Bills, yes, they prevailed on the scoreboard. But there's little to celebrate on the fantasy tote board -- aside from Fred Jackson's expected output of 122 total yards. We're not even going to scream and shout about Terrell Owens' scoring catch or Marshawn Lynch's 94 total yards from out of the blue. Bottom line: If Buffalo can only muster 273 yards against the AFC's worst defense, what chance does it have against New England in Week 15? If fantasy owners are searching for a ray of hope here, it begins and ends with F-Jax at running back ... at the flex spot.
Miami 14, Jacksonville 10
Jay Clemons can be found on Twitter, day and night (@SI_JayClemons), accessing your fantasy questions and comments. You can also read his award-winning Revelations every Sunday and Monday during the NFL season.