Fantasy Football Advice for Week 14
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Every Tuesday during the NFL season, WhatIfSports.com will release its fantasy projections for the upcoming week. The statistical inputs to the thousands of NFL games simulated are based on rigorous analysis of each team's roster, depth chart and statistically-based player rankings. In addition to our computer forecasts, WhatIfSports.com will also offer a "creative" perspective at its fantasy football coverage in a weekly feature called "Fantasy Fever." Enjoy.
QB: Kyle Orton, Broncos. This is somewhat of a risky play, as uncertainty surrounds the Denver Broncos after the firing of Josh McDaniels. Yet the offensive strategy should remain intact, equating to a pass-happy attack. Orton's opponent in Week 14 is the Arizona Cardinals, who are surrendering 242.6 yards through the air. The combination of McDaniel's departure and Arizona's anemic secondary should correlate into fantasy fruition for Orton.
RB: LeGarrette Blount, Buccaneers. The Tampa Bay running back racked up his second career 100-yard game against the Falcons last week. Blount has solidified his claim as the Buccaneers' top back with 569 yards and four touchdowns in the past seven games. A matchup with Washington should prove opportunistic as the Redskins have allowed 1,644 yards (137.0 per game) and 12 touchdowns on the ground this season.
WR: Terrell Owens, Bengals. Although his numbers are down the past month, Owens is a must-start this week as the Bengals should be behind early against Pittsburgh, forcing Cincinnati to attack from the air. And despite holding opponents to 15.9 points per game, the Steeler defense can be had in the passing arena, as Pittsburgh is conceding 239.3 yards per game. In a related note, can anyone really blame TO proclaiming frustration with the Cincinnati offense? You'd be pissed too if your quarterback was less accurate than Chuck Knoblauch and the offensive coordinator's philosophy was a simplified script of the eight plays from Tecmo Bowl.
TE: Visanthe Shiancoe, Vikings. Be it Favre or Jackson, the Giants will harass the Viking quarterback into hurried and short-distance throws. This should bode well for Shiancoe, who has failed to live up to his preseason expectations following a breakout 2009 season.
DEF: New Orleans Saints. When most conjure images of the Saints' identity, offensive firepower is usually first to mind. Yet defensive coordinator Gregg Williams has New Orleans oppressing opponents to 18.9 points per game. A matchup with the Rams, who are putting up a mere 19.3 points on the scoreboard, will mean more success for the Saints' D.
QB: Matt Schaub, Texans. Whether it's the emergence of Arian Foster, Owen Daniels failing to fully recover from injuries or simply a down year, Schaub has been a disappointment in 2010. This week's battle against Baltimore offers little hope for Schaub owners as the Ravens are stifling signal callers to a 77.6 QB rating.
RB: BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Patriots. The Patriots running back has been on fire the past month, scoring five touchdowns to go along with 314 yards during New England's four-game win streak. But Green-Ellis faces the arduous adventure of the Chicago Bears in Week 14, a unit that's first in the NFC against the rush (84.9 yards per game). Keep Green-Ellis on the bench if suitable substitution is available.
WR: Sidney Rice, Vikings. Rice submitted his finest performance since returning from hip surgery, garnering five passes for 105 yards and two touchdowns against Buffalo. But Rice and Minnesota face a formidable foe against the New York Giants, who are suppressing adversaries to 192.8 yards per game. Add in the ambiguity at the Minnesota QB position and Rice's stock for Week 14 is plummeting.
TE: Dustin Keller, Jets. Statistically, the New York TE is having a stellar season: 42 receptions, 555 yards and five touchdowns. But subtract Keller's performances in Week 2 and 3, and the former Purdue product has accumulated just 29 receptions for 342 yards and two scores. Keller's inconsistent play of late as earned him a spot on your fantasy bench.
DEF: New York Jets. Was the New England game an aberration? Or is this unit doomed without leader Jim Leonhard?
Fantasy Flashback Performance: Fantasy Flashback Performance: With the news that Alex Smith will be given the reins of the 49er offense (again), let's revisit one of Smith's finest performances in his six-year career. Down 21-0 to the Texans on October 25, 2009, San Francisco head coach Mike Singletary benched starter Shaun Hill to bring in the former #1 overall pick of 2005. Smith, who last appeared in November of 2007, came out and threw three scores to TE Vernon Davis and racked up 206 yards in the second half. Unfortunately, the comeback fell just short as San Fran lost to Houston 24-21.
Waiver Wire Watch: For those in the fantasy postseason, be attentive of weather conditions and act accordingly. For example, Tom Brady has been the most productive QB for the past five weeks. However, Brady could be facing some stiff opposition from Mother Nature in the final weeks with games in Chicago, New England, and Buffalo. Be prepared for a sudden blizzard by searching the waiver wire for those participating in dome games. Pedestrian players inside will likely outscore stars in the snow.
This Week in Kevin Walter: Although the defeat all but kills playoff aspirations for Houston, K-Walt did manage to rack up four catches in a losing effort against Philadelphia. You can guarantee the Texan Tornado is asking for a new offensive coordinator from Santa this Christmas.
Walter's 2010 stats:35 receptions, 417 yards, 4 touchdowns.
Walter's 2010 CBC (Cornerback Body Count) : 9
Rookie Review: John Skelton, come on down! After failing with Matt Leinart, Derek Anderson and Max Hall, the Cardinals look towards their fifth round pick out of Fordham to save their season. Skelton was impressive during the preseason and came in relief against St. Louis in Week 13. Skelton does have the fortune of facing a relatively easy opponent in the Denver Broncos, who have relinquished 24 touchdowns through the air.
Personal Foul On: the MVP chances of Manning and Philip Rivers. Granted, their respective offensive arsenals are depleted. But it's hard to make a case for the award when your team is .500.
Varsity Blues Quote of the Week:
Bud Kilmer: Son, you are f-ing up my universe. You're fat, you're slow, now all of a sudden you're lazy.
Let us know what you think of Whatifsports.com's Fantasy Fever. Shoot us an email at BtB@whatifsports.com.