Studs and Duds: Week 14

Going into week 14 of the NFL season, I’m assuming that this is the first round of the playoffs for most managers out there. Hopefully some of my suggestions last week were able to give you that final push to secure a playoff spot (and hopefully they didn’t cause you to miss the playoffs!) If you listened to my recommendations and started Justin Fargas or Derrick Ward, you were most likely pleased with your decision. Also performing well was the Colts passing game, especially the Manning to Wayne connection. Then, as expected, Kevin Jones played poorly…although I can’t take credit for just how terrible he’d actually be. Three carries for one (1) yard?!!! At least he got 16 receiving yards I guess.

Anyways, there were a few players who apparently didn’t read my post last week, like Larry Fitzgerald (didn’t even play!), Anquan Boldin (played, but poorly), as well as David Garrard, Laurence Maroney and Willis McGahee, all who had a chip on their shoulder and played much better than I gave them credit for. In my defense though, Maroney got most of his yards through the air…something I actually hope to see more of as a Patriots fan. He’s a beast once he starts moving vertically, so what better way to get him going that way then to send him out on a receiving pattern instead of letting him dance around behind the line of scrimmage.

Studs

Fred Jackson / Marshawn Lynch (BUF): At this point, Lynch is considered day-to-day, so keep an eye on this situtation before making any decisions. However, once it has been decided who will start for the Bills, make sure to plug them into your lineup if you can. The Bills are playing a Dolphins team that is allowing nearly 150 rushing yards a game, plus over a score a game on the ground.

Kolby Smith (KC): Although Smith didn’t repeat his week 12 performance last week against the Chargers, he has a chance to return to those big stats this week against the Broncos, who are allowing the second most rushing yardage per game in the NFL.

Ryan Grant (GB): On a team that went into the season with major running back questions, Grant has put those worries to rest. He is averaging about 100 yards and a touchdown his past four games and should be solid aainst a very week Oakland rush defense that has allowed an NFL worst 20 (!!!) rushing touchdowns this season so far (along with 148 rushing yards per game).

Jamal Lewis (CLE): The Jets have allowed around 140 yards and a touchdown to opposing running backs this season, so Lewis should be able to get around 100 yards and a score this weekend.

Clinton Portis (WAS): The Bears defense has been a HUGE disappointment this season, and this week they’re playing on short rest (Thursday night game). With FB Mike Sellers out though, Portis hasn’t been as effective as of late…I see this changing this week though.

Thomas Jones (NYJ): Will T.Jones find the endzone two weeks in a row? Possibly. While the Browns have been fairly good at keeping running backs out of the endzone, they’ve still allowed over 130 rushing yards a game, so maybe Jones can convert some of that yardage into a touchdown scamper.

Tony Romo / Terrell Owens / Jason Witten (DAL): If Tarvaris Jackson can throw for over 200 yards and two touchdowns against the Lions, imagine what a really good quarterback can do. Expect big things from this group as the Cowboys look to knock the Lions from playoff contention this week.

Roddy White (ATL): Even though the Saints are allowing about 250 passing yards a game and have allowed 21 passing scores, it’s hard to promote any quarterback on the Falcons. However, Roddy White has been the constant here, and he should be able to exploit this weak secondary for some pretty solid fantasy stats.

Torry Holt (STL): As with the Falcons, it’s hard to recommend starting Marc Bulger this week when he’s returning from a concussion. No matter the case though, Torry Holt is a star and should get his 100 yards and a touchdown against the Bungles pass defense that has allowed 24 passing touchdowns this season.

Duds

Frank Gore (SF): Are you expecting Gore to lead you to a first round victory this week? Think again. He’s playing a Vikings defense that is allowing 70 rushing yards a game and has only surrendered 5 rushing touchdowns all season. The 49er’s offense is inept…don’t start anyone on it.

Laurence Maroney (NE): Maroney was lucky last week as he racked up major stats in the passing game. This week against the Steelers though, I expect Maroney to return to his mediocre running back self. The Steelers are solid against the run and have only allowed 3 scores this season on the ground…doesn’t sound promising to me.

Kevin Jones (DET): Last week: 3 carries for 1 yard. This week: plays a Dallas defense that is only slighly less-dominant thank the Vikings rush defense. Maybe he gets 5 carries for 10 yards? Sounds awesome to me.

Kyle Boller / Derrick Mason (BAL): Don’t let last game fool you…Boller is not the new Tom Brady. The Colts will bring him and the Ravens back to reality this week.

Trent Edwards / Lee Evans (BUF): I’m scared to give any part of the Dolphins defense props this week after the domination they suffered last week against the Jets, but I’ll give them one more chance. The ‘Fins are allowing the third least passing yards per game in the NFL at this point, and Edwards is not the quarterback that is going to change that fact.

Quarterback (HOU): Will Matt Schaub play? Will Sage Rosenfels play? It doesn’t matter. Tampa Bay has only allowed 10 passing touchdowns all season, to go along with tier fourth lowest passing yards per game. Whoever the quarterback is for the Texans this weekend is in for a long game and does not make for a strong start…especially considering it’s one-and-done in the playoffs.

Slightly-biased scoring (Hits-Misses-Pushes)

Week 13: 11-6-5
Season: 95-42-44