Here are 13 AFC-based deep thoughts from an intriguing Week 14—none of which detail the second-rate duel of third-tier quarterbacks Mark Sanchez and Chad Henne.
1. The sad-sack Kansas City Chiefs accounted for only seven points, 12 first downs and 310 total yards against the Browns. And yet Jamaal Charles (165 rushing yards, one TD) easily clinched a spot in this week's 'Dream Team' countdown. That alone should reveal why Charles is a healthy lock for Round 2 in next year's 12-team drafts.
2. Mental note for Week 16 of next year: In his four-year career, Mike Wallace (seven catches, 112 yards, two TDs vs. San Diego) has scored multiple touchdowns in Weeks 13, 14 and 15 (different seasons, of course).
3. Thanks to head coach Chan Gailey, we know it's mathematically possible for the Bills to control a lead for all but 48 seconds (against the Rams) and still only tab C.J. Spiller (52 total yards vs. St. Louis) and Fred Jackson (30 total yards) for 22 combined touches. Unfortunately, we also know that Buffalo Bills QB Ryan Fitzpatrick can kill a potential game-winning drive like few others.
4. There are two plausible explanations for Joe Flacco's first three-touchdown road outing since Week 3 of last year (spanning 14 roadies): Either the football gods were randomly appeasing Joe Cool in a crucial game for the Ravens, or Redskins corner DeAngelo Hall sometimes runs with a piano on his back in press coverage. (The film doesn't lie.)
5. I'm not too concerned about Andrew Luck's Week 15 prospects after his middling effort against the Titans (196 yards passing, one TD). For Weeks 11-13, the Texans surrendered 1,104 yards passing (courtesy of opposing QBs Chad Henne, Matthew Stafford, Jake Locker). Plus, I don't expect Donnie Avery (three catches, 31 yards) to drop any more Luck rainbows in the end zone.
6. In just five short weeks, Danario Alexander (seven catches, 88 yards, two TDs vs. Pittsburgh) might have already usurped Malcom Floyd as the Chargers' go-to receiver. And this is coming from one of Floyd's greatest admirers (potential-wise). Since Week 10, Alexander boasts stellar averages of six catches, 99 yards and one touchdown.
7. For Weeks 1-12, Browns rookie Josh Gordon didn't register one outing of six or more catches. But in the last two weeks, he has a superb a two-game tally of 14 catches, 19 targets, 202 yards and one touchdown. That comes before a juicy home matchup with the Redskins, the NFL's 31st-ranked pass defense.
8. Even if Ahmad Bradshaw remains the Giants' No. 1 tailback next season, I'd still rather own David Wilson over Ryan Mathews (65 total yards vs. Pittsburgh) in the August drafts. Among the elite backs, Mathews has incurred the most precipitous fall from fantasy grace, with no tangible explanation for it.
9. Speaking of one-time disappointments, Kenny Britt (nine catches, 143 yards vs. Indy) still has time to finish on a high note and earn a top-40 spot in next year's receiver rankings. In his last three games, Britt has notched either 100 yards or one TD. Of equal importance, he's had seven outings of six-plus targets since Week 3.
10. Fantasy owners couldn't have asked for a more symmetrical time share than Jets rushers Bilal Powell (78 rushing yards, one TD) and Shonn Greene (77 rushing yards, one TD), who combined for 165 total yards and two scores against the Jaguars. Ay, the rub: I'd wager that less than two percent of 12-team-league owners started Greene and Powell over the weekend.
11. On paper, Cincy's Andy Dalton, BenJarvus Green-Ellis (102 total yards vs. Dallas) and A.J. Green (three catches, 44 yards) should post stellar numbers against the sagging Philadelphia Eagles this week. However, of the 14 Thursday night tilts this season, the road club has averaged only 21.1 points per game.
12. Thankfully, I started Jaguars tailback Montell Owens (102 total yards, one TD vs. the Jets) in two Week 14 playoff battles. I'm even more relieved to report the following: Of the three playoff matchups that Owens didn't start for yours truly, I came away victorious on all fronts anyway. Whew!
Which brings me to this: Owens may have been a sight for sore eyes against the Jets' porous run defense, but I don't like his chances for 80 total yards and one score against the Dolphins next week. With or without Maurice Jones-Drew.
13. Here's a good example of why I simultaneously love and loathe the randomness of the fantasy playoffs:
During the fourth quarter on Sunday, Dolphins tailback Reggie Bush was one spinning shoelace tackle (via Patrick Willis) from scoring a big-time touchdown. If he had found the end zone, Bush would have been a 100-yard, one-TD playoff hero—good for 16 points in standard-scoring leagues.
Instead, he was just another 93-yard, zero-TD asset in Week 14, neither helping nor hindering his owners' chances of advancement.
Jay Clemons can be reached on Twitter, day or night, at @ATL_JayClemons.
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