Bryce Brown, welcome back to Earth. Let's go back to Week 14 for a second. Bryce Brown carried the ball 12 times for just six yards. Granted, once they got down, the Philadelphia Eagles went pass-heavy. In Week 15, Brown "improved" to 16 carries for 34 yards. He also fumbled for the fourth time in as many games. To recap, he totaled 43 carries for 347 yards and four touchdowns in his first two starts, but 28 carries for just 40 yards and no scores in his last two. I'm not sure if the league is catching up to him, but he is becoming less of a surefire starter. The Washington Redskins are an average run defense, but I still rank Brown as just an RB3 in Week 16.
Randall Cobb and James Jones are pushing Greg Jennings out of town. Prior to the season, Jennings leaving town would have been inconceivable to me. His early season injury should have derailed the Green Bay Packers passing attack, and with it, its season. Jordy Nelson could be double-teamed, and that would be it. Instead, Cobb has caught 77 passes for 892 yards and seven touchdowns to go with his contributions in the return game, and Jones has contributed 51 catches for 622 yards and an eye-popping 12 scores. Cobb caught six balls for 115 yards and Jones caught five balls for 60 yards and three scores. Their emergence is not only good news for fantasy players, but will also mean the end of Jennings' days in Green Bay. A receiver-needy team will gladly pay Jennings this offseason. As for this upcoming week, I like both Jones and Cobb against Tennessee's poor pass defense.
Sam Bradford is making a push to be a fantasy starter in 2013. This would have been ridiculous at the beginning of the season. And it actually might still be a bit silly, but Bradford has thrown for 3,254 yards, 18 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. I understand those numbers aren't going to blow you away, but he's shown steady improvement this year as he adapts to a new offensive scheme. On Sunday, he completed 35-of-55 attempts for 377 yards and a trio of scores. In the offseason, the St. Louis Rams will attempt to get him a playmaker on the outside (maybe Greg Jennings?), and Bradford should continue to improve. Oh, and he takes on a pretty bad Tampa Bay pass defense this week.
Doug Martin needs Josh Freeman to be effective. Speaking of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, what the heck was that yesterday? Josh Freeman was ineffective, almost from the opening kickoff, and quarterbacks cannot afford to struggle against the New Orleans...
Week 15 Fantasy Headlines:
R. White, Cruz, Rice, Martin & Other Studs Disappoint A. Peterson Marches Closer to 2K Yards M. Ryan & J. Jones Help Falcons Blank Big Blue Cousins Lifts Redskins With a 300-Yard Game Kaepernick Burns Patriots With 4 TD Passes Freeman, Martin and Bucs Offense Bomb Big Time R. Wilson Runs For Three Scores Another 50-Point Outing For the Seahawks Lions Crash & Burn Against the Cardinals A. Rodgers Bounces Back; Bombs the Bears Chiefs Fail To Score On NFL's Worst Defense Another 100-Yard Game for K. Moreno
Game Summaries & Fantasy Commentary:
Thursday Night Game:
Fantasy Focus -- Cincinnati Bengals: BenJarvus Green-Ellis (25-106-1 rushing and 0-0-0 receiving), who notched his fourth 100-yard rushing game in the last five weeks, was the lone bright spot on a Cincinnati offense that looked out of synch most of the evening.
Andy Dalton (13/27 for 127-1-0 passing and 8-18-1 rushing) failed to exploit a sagging Philadelphia Eagles secondary, struggling with his accuracy and looking tentative at times. Dalton also was sacked six times by an Eagles defense that gave us a long-overdue display of its true pass-rushing prowess. The "Red Rifle" salvaged his lackluster fantasy outing with a rushing touchdown.
A.J. Green (6-57-1 on 10 targets) caught Dalton's only scoring strike of the evening -- it was Green's first end-zone visit since Week 11 -- and the two just missed hooking up again on a potential touchdown grab. By the way, Green was the only Bengals receiver to catch a pass. Jermaine Gresham (6-63-0 on nine targets) topped the team in receiving yards. He and Dalton also just missed hooking up on a touchdown reception; Gresham made the catch in the end zone late in the game but couldn't get both feet down in bounds. Andrew Hawkins was targeted just one time while Marvin Jones received four looks.
On defense, Cincinnati allowed 13 offensive points, amassed one sack, one interception and four recovered fumbles (one was returned 25 yards for a touchdown by Wallace Gilberry).
Fantasy Tip: I suspect some of the struggling Cincinnati fantasy stars were looking past the Eagles to their big Week 16 AFC North showdown with the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field. Unfortunately, that matchup against the Steelers looks like a tough one for Dalton, Green, Green-Ellis and Gresham. When the two teams squared off back in Week 7, the Steelers easily contained all...
Cincinnati 34, Philadelphia 13
In spite of the score, Andy Dalton has regressed over the past three weeks, thus hindering fantasy owners who thought they had unearthed a solid fantasy sleeper. In this game the second year signal caller struggled to accumulate a meager 127 yards and one touchdown pass. Up next for Dalton is stiff Pittsburgh pass defense. Hopefully you have better options.
Nick Foles is yet another rookie quarterback developing before our very eyes. However the production of the Philly passing game was severely hindered by seven Eagles turnovers. By game's end Jeremy Maclin had emerged as the team's leading wide receiver with 74 yards. Hard to rely on these paltry numbers with a fantasy championship in the balance.
So much for plug and play status of rookie Bryce Brown. In this game Brown contributed to the turnover woes of the Eagles with a fumble of his own that resulted in Bengals TD. With LeSean McCoy likely returning for the next two games, Brown will be relegated to a secondary role.
New York 0, Atlanta 34
Taking his first start at running back, David Wilson looked awesome early in this game picking up 44 yards on his first five carries. For some reason the Giants didn't trust the rookie in a full-time role as newly signed Kregg Lumpkin nearly matched Wilson's rushing attempts. Further inhibiting Wilson's outing was the Giants falling behind 24-0 in the early third quarter. Wilson's week 16 status is contingent on Ahmad Bradshaw's return.
Michael Turner is a risky start every week due to his high dependency on touchdowns. However, we can't argue with production as he just keeps doing it. Turner is a plug-and-pray in fantasy lineups next week against Detroit.
Green Bay 21, Chicago 13
With Greg Jennings locked down by Charles Tillman, it was James Jones prospering with three touchdowns along with Randell Cobb's 115 yards. Jones has been a conundrum all season with very sporadic production. Do not feel bad if you sat him this week, and I wouldn't blame you for sitting him next week.
Alex Green is the lead ball carrier in the Green Bay backfield with 13 rushing attempts. However, the RBBC is alive and well as Ryan Grant, DuJuan Harris and John Kuhn all took carries. No Packers runner is recommended.
Matt Forte proves he is a solid RB1 value when the Bears are absent Michael Bush. With a plus matchup forthcoming with the Arizona Cardinals, Forte is a solid RB1 so long as...
5 Months Philadelphia Eagles
Coach Andy Reid said he will not be punishing rookie RB Bryce Brown for his spat of fumbles.
5 Months Philadelphia Eagles
Bryce Brown rushed for just 34 yards on 16 carries and caught one pass for 11 yards in the Eagles' 34-13, Week 15 loss to the Bengals on Thursday night.
We take a look at Nick Foles and Bryce Brown in this week's cheesesteak-themed edition of the Rookie Report Card.
The end of the fantasy season is drawing near and that means everyone is running out of ideas and getting lazy. That's why you keep seeing those stupid "Biggest Fantasy Busts" lists that are so annoying. Like we need someone to tell us which players were busts, right? Well, here is my list.
I apologize in advance but when you write a column about trading all season by the time we get to Week 15 you need to be creative because trading has run its course. I have two columns left this season and with all the trading pretty much done I figured I would use my remaining time to look back and ahead. So this week I'm going to look at which players let us all down this fantasy season and next week I'll look ahead to 2013.
Here are the guys I think let us down the most in 2012:
Philip Rivers, QB San Diego -- Some people thought Rivers was going to have a big bounceback season in 2012 and advised fantasy owners to draft him as their starter in the 5th or 6th round of drafts. Unfortunately, I was one of those people beating that drum and I was dead wrong.
Now four months later I think Rivers is one of the 10 worst quarterbacks in the NFL. I mean this guy can't hit simple out routes most of the time. I'm talking about plays where he has time in the pocket and his receiver is open by 10 yards on a 12-yard out. Those are the easiest throws to make and Rivers isn't even close. I no longer think Rivers is declining, I think he is a flat-out disaster.
In fantasy terms, Rivers has topped 20 points four times this year. To put that in perspective, Chad Henne has two 20+ fantasy weeks. I mean, do I really need to go on? This guy is all done. I don't know who will be running the Chargers next season but his first order of business should be to select a young quarterback in the first two rounds of the draft because my 2-year old son throws a nicer ball than Rivers and most of his passes go backwards.
LeSean McCoy, RB Philadelphia -- On most of the "Biggest Fantasy Bust" lists that are coming out McCoy is showing up in the Top 3. I think that's a bit harsh but there is no denying that McCoy didn't have the kind of year fantasy owners were expecting when they selected him with a Top 5 pick.
The only reason I think people are being a little too hard on McCoy is because before he got hurt he scored at least 15 fantasy points in eight of 10 games in PPR formats. I know those aren't elite numbers but on the other hand they aren't far off from what Ray Rice...