The private conversations among the Denver Broncos coaching staff about the quarterback position must be something to listen to these days.
The Broncos were winning early in the year with Peyton Manning at quarterback, but they were struggling badly on offense. It all came to a head during a home loss to the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 10 when Manning fell apart, as he completed 5-of-20 passes for 35 yards with no touchdowns and four interceptions.
Manning is injured and had little left in the tank. He was replaced in that game by Brock Osweiler, and Manning has remained on the bench as he tries to get healthy.
Meanwhile, Osweiler has led the Broncos to three straight victories, and the offense is functioning at a higher level than it did with Manning at quarterback.
By the time the Broncos get to the final two weeks of the season, Gary Kubiak may have a tough decision to make based on Manning's standing in the game and his prominent career. However, based on the way they have played this season, the job should belong to Osweiler.
He also has become a viable fantasy football quarterback, and players who need an end-of-season waiver-wire pickup should give Osweiler a shot. He has completed 73-of-119 passes for 832 yards with five touchdowns and three interceptions.
While those numbers are not stellar, Osweiler is winning over his team and coaches with every game. The Broncos have given him conservative game plans to this point, and that's not likely to change.
However, the Broncos host the Raiders this week, and Oakland quarterback Derek Carr threw three interceptions last week against Kansas City. If he continues to turn the ball over, Osweiler will get opportunities on the plus side of the field.
That should help him improve his numbers. Look for Osweiler to throw three TD passes and exceed 250 passing yards.
|Week 14 Waiver-Wire Pickups|
|QB||Marcus Mariota||Tennessee||N.Y. Jets|
|RB||Ameer Abdullah||Detroit||St. Louis|
|RB||Bilal Powell||N.Y. Jets||Tennessee|
|WR||Ted Ginn Jr.||Carolina||Atlanta|
|WR||Malcolm Floyd||San Diego||Kansas City|
|TE||Richard Rodgers||Green Bay||Dallas|
RB Darren Sproles, Philadelphia
Chip Kelly understands that DeMarco Murray is not going to be the kind of running back for the Philadelphia Eagles that he was with the Dallas Cowboys.
Now, he understands that he has a better running back on his roster in Darren Sproles. The Eagles apparently handed the torch to Sproles in their surprising Week 13 victory over the New England Patriots.
Sproles had a highlight-film 83-yard punt return for a score in the second half against the Pats, but that's not what we are talking about. Sproles consistently took the ball from Sam Bradford while Murray spent most of the game on the sidelines.
Sproles had 15 carries for 66 yards against New England, and he also caught four passes (targeted six times) for 34 yards. Murray had just eight carries for 24 yards, and that was third among Eagles ball-carriers. Kenjon Barner had nine carries for 39 yards.
Yes, the mighty have fallen. But when one door closes, another opens, as Sproles is a good waiver-wire pickup for your lineup when the Eagles host the Bills this week.
WR Ted Ginn Jr., Carolina Panthers
The Carolina Panthers have been opening eyes around the NFL throughout the season. Cam Newton is an MVP candidate, Jonathan Stewart is a hard-driving running back who does not go down after first contact, and Greg Olsen may be the best tight end in the league not named Rob Gronkowski.
But as the Panthers have been winning week after week, their wide receivers have been dismissed on a regular basis. Carolina appeared to suffer a huge blow when Kelvin Benjamin (torn ACL) was lost for the season during training camp.
But the Panthers are undefeated without Benjamin, and with games left with Atlanta (two), the New York Giants and Tampa Bay, there is a good chance that they will go through the regular season with a perfect record.
That means they are getting some decent production out of the wide receiver position. Ted Ginn Jr. is not an All-Pro, but he has done some good things this season. He has caught 35-525-6 for the Panthers, and his ability to get into the end zone should not be overlooked.
Ginn does not have the best hands, and he will drop the ball more than head coach Ron Rivera and fantasy owners want to see, but his explosive speed makes him a good waiver-wire pickup.
Put him in your lineup when the Panthers host the free-falling Falcons this week.
|Week 14 Player Rankings|
|1||QB||Cam Newton, Carolina||295 yards, 3 TDs|
|2||QB||Russell Wilson, Seattle||285 yards, 3 TDs|
|3||QB||Tom Brady, New England||305 yards, 2 TDs|
|4||QB||Tyrod Taylor, Buffalo||285 yards, 2 TDs|
|5||QB||Carson Palmer, Arizona||275 yards, 2 TDs|
|1||RB||Doug Martin, Tampa Bay||115 yards, 2 TDs|
|2||RB||LeSean McCoy, Buffalo||110 yards, 2 TDs|
|3||RB||Adrian Peterson, Minnesota||125 yards, 1 TD|
|4||RB||Mark Ingram, New Orleans||110 yards, 1 TD|
|5||RB||Thomas Rawls, Seattle||95 yards, 1 TD|
|1||WR||Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh||155 yards, 2 TDs|
|2||WR||Odell Beckham Jr., N.Y. giatns||135 yards, 2 TDs|
|3||WR||DeAndre Hopkins, Houston||135 yards, 1 TD|
|4||WR||A.J. Green, Cincinnati||115 yards, 1 TD|
|5||WR||Julio Jones, Atlanta||110 yards|
|1||TE||Greg Olsen, Carolina||95 yards, 1 TD|
|2||TE||Travis Kelce, Kansas City||85 yards, 1 TD|
|3||TE||Scott Chandler, New England||80 yards, 1 TD|
|4||TE||Delanie Walker, Tennessee||80 yards, 1 TD|
|5||TE||Gary Barnidge, Cleveland||75 yards, 1 TD|