Fantasy Football Week 14: Buying and Selling Breakout Performers from Last Week
You made it. Congratulations are in order.
Chances are you are reading this because you made the playoffs. That is, unless you are in an eight- or 10-team league with one week to go, of course.
In either case, there is still plenty to glean from late-season fantasy performances. Will Eric Decker score even half as much the rest of the year as he did in Week 13? Can you count on Tom Brady to steer you to that elusive championship?
Click through to find out.
Buy: Torrey Smith, WR, Baltimore Ravens
Statistics: 6 receptions, 93 yards, 1 touchdown
It was a predictably good game for Torrey Smith against the middling Pittsburgh Steelers defense. Pittsburgh had given up the 10th-most fantasy points to opposing receivers over the past five weeks, and Smith is a speedy guy who can wreak havoc downfield.
Smith's schedule the rest of the way is rather enticing. He gets the Minnesota Vikings (allowing the fifth-most fantasy points to opposing receivers), Detroit Lions (third most) and New England Patriots (20th most—sixth most in the past five weeks).
Let your team soar alongside Smith.
Sell: Brandon Myers, TE, New York Giants
Statistics: 5 receptions, 61 yards, 1 touchdown
Up until last week, Brandon Myers was an absolute dud. Suddenly, he faces Washington's Swiss cheese defense, and—voila—he becomes what some hoped he would be when he signed with the New York Giants.
While this was the second consecutive week with a touchdown for the tight end, Week 13's was just his third on the year.
Eli Manning and that Giants offense are just too inconsistent to trust Myers if you have comparable options.
Buy: Tom Brady, QB, New England Patriots
Statistics: 29-of-41, 371 yards, 2 touchdowns, 1 interception
After a horrendous first half of the year, Tom Brady has become a reliable fantasy quarterback once more.
It helps to have a healthy arsenal. Brady dealt with absences to tight end Rob Gronkowski, running back Shane Vereen and wide receiver Danny Amendola to varying degrees, and he finally got them all back and healthy at the same time a couple of weeks ago.
It's no coincidence that Brady has been a top-five fantasy scorer over the past four weeks, and you can expect that to continue the rest of the way. Provided his cohorts stay relatively healthy, of course.
Sell: Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Pittsburgh Steelers
Statistics: 28-of-44, 257 yards, 2 touchdowns; 1 carry, 11 yards
Ben Roethlisberger has quietly put up a nice fantasy season so far. He is the No. 7-ranked quarterback on the year. If you were counting on him to get you through the fantasy playoffs, though, you might want to reconsider.
Big Ben gets the Miami Dolphins and Cincinnati Bengals in the next two weeks. They have the fifth- and seventh-best defenses, respectively, against opposing quarterbacks. That doesn't mean Roethlisberger will necessarily have awful games, but he could be in for a letdown.
You can't afford letdowns in the fantasy playoffs.
Buy: Colin Kaepernick, QB, San Francisco 49ers
Statistics: 19-of-28, 275 yards, 1 touchdown; 4 carries, 21 yards
It wasn't an epic performance for Colin Kaepernick last week, but it was a nice step forward in a struggle-filled season for the third-year quarterback.
Kaepernick led the San Francisco 49ers to an easy win against the St. Louis Rams, moving the ball well in the process. It helped that he got Michael Crabtree back from injury, and Crabtree should only get stronger after recovering from a torn Achilles.
The 49ers do face off against the vaunted Seattle Seahawks in Week 14, but they do so at home, without the 12th Man to buoy that defense. Kaepernick is surely looking for revenge after the dud he had up in Seattle in Week 2 (13-of-28, 127 yards, three interceptions).
Kaepernick follows that up with a matchup against the Buccaneers, who have given up the third-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this season.
Sell: Alex Smith, QB, Kansas City Chiefs
Statistics: 26-of-42, 293 yards, 2 touchdowns, 1 interception; 4 carries, 46 yards
It has been a magical couple of weeks for Alex Smith, who got to face the porous defenses of the San Diego Chargers and Denver Broncos, respectively.
He gets Washington next—a bad defense as well—but he goes on the road to do it. It's likely he won't be involved in a shootout either, given the state of that team from the capital.
Look for the Kansas City Chiefs to lean on Jamaal Charles and that defense, meaning Smith won't be tossing a bunch of touchdowns.
Buy: Cecil Shorts III, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars
Statistics: 6 receptions, 64 yards, 1 touchdown
It took some last-second heroics from Cecil Shorts III to pull out an unexpected win, for both his team and perhaps your fantasy squad.
Shorts hauled in a game-winning touchdown to beat the Cleveland Browns on the road. That put him in the top 15 in fantasy scoring at his position for Week 13.
Up next are the Houston Texans, against whom Shorts had 71 yards receiving just a couple of weeks ago. Then come the Buffalo Bills, who have given up the second-most fantasy points to opposing receivers this season.
Sell: Eric Decker, WR, Denver Broncos
Statistics: 8 receptions, 174 yards, 4 touchdowns
Of all the big performances to poo-poo as indicators of future success, Eric Decker's easily takes the cake.
Up until his four-touchdown explosion against the Chiefs, Decker had caught just three touchdowns on the season. He had just nine catches for 128 yards in his previous three games combined.
Last week he benefited from a depleted arsenal around him, with Julius Thomas out and Demaryius Thomas gimpy from a shoulder injury early in the game.
Decker certainly has the potential to put up a big game again, but betting on it is like betting on a horse's maiden race—you never know what you're going to get.
Buy: Donald Brown, RB, Indianapolis Colts
Statistics: 14 carries, 54 yards, 1 touchdown; 2 receptions, 10 yards
It was a bit of a shock to find out Trent Richardson had been benched in favor of Donald Brown. In one sense, it should not have come as a surprise given Richardson's season-long struggles. In another, trading a first-round pick for a player only to bench him later in the season sure reflects poorly on the transaction.
At any rate, Brown got his opportunity to shine, garnering 16 touches on 52 snaps to Richardson's five and 13, respectively. He sandwiched two good games against the Tennessee Titans around a complete dud against the Arizona Cardinals, but he wasn't the starter in that game.
Sell: Ben Tate, RB, Houston Texans
Statistics: 22 carries, 102 yards, 3 touchdowns
Where was this last week?
Ben Tate shook off an abysmal performance in Week 12 to put up a 30-spot on the Patriots, who have a bit of a depleted defense. But is this the Tate we have all hoped for?
That is not to say Tate won't have decent games the rest of the way—he gets another crack at the Jacksonville Jaguars next—but don't bank on him having another top-five week.
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