Fantasy Football's Biggest Winners and Losers from NFL Week 14
It's Week 14 of the 2012 NFL season, which means that in a great many fantasy leagues we have bid adieu to the regular season and welcomed in the fantasy playoffs.
In the postseason, it's simple. Lose a game and you're toast, so huge performances are badly needed, and one faceplant can spell the end of the road for your fantasy squad.
Luckily for fantasy owners, there were a lot more of the former than the latter in Week 14, especially at running back and wide receiver. So let's take a look back at the explosions and implosions with fantasy football's best and worst from Week 14.
Cam Newton and the Winners at Quarterback
Fantasy owners that were able to survive the early-season slump of Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton are reaping the rewards now, as the second-year pro appears to be breaking out of that funk at the best possible time.
Over Newton's past four games, he's scored 11 total touchdowns with zero turnovers, punctuated by Sunday's performance against the Atlanta Falcons where Newton threw for 287 yards and two touchdowns while pitching in 116 more yards and a score on the ground.
Other winners at quarterback: Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons (342 passing yards, 2 touchdowns, 1 interception); Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers (285 passing yards, 3 touchdowns, 1 interception), Eli Manning, New York Giants (259 passing yards, 4 touchdowns, 2 interceptions)
Drew Brees and the Losers at Quarterback
If Cam Newton has picked the perfect time to break out his funk, then Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints picked the absolute worst time to start one.
Granted, Brees threw for 354 yards in Sunday's loss to the New York Giants, but he threw only one touchdown and two more interceptions, giving the 33-year-old an eye-popping nine picks over the past three games.
Other losers at quarterback: Chad Henne, Jacksonville Jaguars (185 passing yards, 2 interceptions); Jay Cutler, Chicago Bears (260 passing yards, 1 touchdown, 2 interceptions); Joe Flacco, Baltimore Ravens (182 passing yards, 3 touchdowns, interception, fumble lost)
Marshawn Lynch and the Winners at Running Back
After watching Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson shred the Chicago Bears Sunday, I had a lovely little writeup all planned out for "All Day."
Then the late games started, and that plan got Skittled.
Marshawn Lynch was in full "Beast Mode" in Sunday's win over the hapless Arizona Cardinals, and by the time all was said and done, the seventh-year pro had racked up 128 rushing yards and three touchdowns while averaging over 10 yards a carry.
Other winners at running back: Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings (170 total yards, 2 touchdowns); Jamaal Charles, Kansas City Chiefs (165 total yards, touchdown); Doug Martin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (132 total yards, touchdown); Ray Rice, Baltimore Ravens (136 total yards, touchdown), Knowshon Moreno, Denver Broncos (167 total yards, touchdown)
Bryce Brown and the Losers at Running Back
Over the past two weeks, no running back in the NFL has scored more fantasy points than rookie Bryce Brown of the Philadelphia Eagles, who topped 150 yards on the ground and scored a pair of touchdowns in each of the last two games.
And then came Week 14.
Against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' top-ranked run defense, Brown experienced a fall from grace to rival Icarus, gaining all of six yards on 12 carries in a performance that probably ended more than a few fantasy seasons.
Other losers at running back: Chris Johnson, Tennessee Titans (59 total yards); Fred Jackson, Buffalo Bills (30 total yards, fumble lost); Beanie Wells, Arizona Cardinals (18 total yards)
Brandon Marshall and the Winners at Wide Receiver
It's been a long time coming, but for the first time in a decade, not only do the Chicago Bears have a 1,000-yard receiver but they have one of the most productive players in the National Football League at the position this season.
Seventh-year wide receiver Brandon Marshall trails only Detroit's Calvin Johnson in receiving yardage this year. Marshall added to that total while also reaching the 100 reception mark on the season with 10 grabs for 160 yards and a touchdown against the Minnesota Vikings.
Other winners at wide receiver: Mike Wallace, Pittsburgh Steelers (7 catches, 112 yards, 2 touchdowns); Roddy White, Atlanta Falcons (9 catches, 117 yards, touchdown); Vincent Jackson, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6 catches, 131 yards, touchdown); Danario Alexander, San Diego Chargers (7 catches, 88 yards, 2 touchdowns)
Larry Fitzgerald and the Losers at Wide Receiver
The fantasy season of Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald has officially hit "tragic comedy" levels.
The ninth-year veteran remains one of the most talented wideouts in the NFL, but stranded in the third circle of bad quarterback hell. Fitzgerald has struggled through one of the worst seasons of his career, as typified by his one catch for two yards in Arizona's blowout loss to the Seattle Seahawks.
Other losers at wide receiver: A.J. Green, Cincinnati Bengals (3 catches, 44 yards); Torrey Smith, Baltimore Ravens (1 catch, 21 yards); Chris Givens, St. Louis Rams (3 catches, 25 yards)
Dennis Pitta and the Winners at Tight End
This one actually causes me physical discomfort because no player in the NFL has single-handedly been a bigger pain in my rear end this year than Baltimore Ravens tight end Dennis Pitta.
Start him, and I get a big fat bag of nothing. Sit him, and he has a great game.
Pitta was on my bench in Week 14 so, of course, the latter was the case. Pitta reeled in five passes for 46 yards and a touchdown in an overtime loss to the Washington Redskins.
Other winners at tight end: Greg Olsen, Carolina Panthers (4 catches, 55 yards, touchdown); Tony Gonzalez, Atlanta Falcons (8 catches, 61 yards)
Brandon Myers and the Losers at Tight End
After the biggest game of his four-year NFL career, and with a top-five fantasy matchup on tap, Oakland Raiders tight end Brandon Myers was certainly in more than a few fantasy lineups for this week's matchup with the Denver Broncos.
Myers responded by catching all of one pass for seven yards, which undoubtedly led to quite a few of the teams that started him getting bounced from the fantasy playoffs.
Other losers at tight end: Kyle Rudolph, Minnesota Vikings (0 catches), Dallas Clark, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1 catch, 19 yards); Antonio Gates, San Diego Chargers (3 catches, 31 yards)