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Week 14 fantasy touches, targets
Did you survive Week 1 of the playoff grid? Did your last-ditch, “throw caution to the wind” attitude propel you to victory and claim you a spot in your league’s bracket?
Or, did you watch as the snow fell in Green Bay and lament your choice of Greg Jennings? Did the utter catastrophe that was Bryce Brown’s production (12 carries for six yards) rob you of your holiday joy?
Many first-round matchups will be decided by the Monday night battle between AFC heavyweights New England and Houston. I was asked about Andre Johnson and Arian Foster in several conversations with co-workers from Sunday night into Monday morning. Instead of feeding them a reassuring line, I talked about Bill Belichick eliminating top threats and Vince Wilfork eating opposing tailbacks.
I suppose I should start working on the holiday spirit concept.
With that in mind, I’ll spare the analysis of Baltimore’s dismissal of Cam Cameron for another venue.
Let’s get inside the white lines and break down numbers from this weekend’s activity. Keep it locked on FOXSports.com for updated player new and information, including practice notes on Robert Griffin III and Jay Cutler as the week progresses.
Red Zone Carries
Adrian Peterson continued his dominance over the Chicago Bears with another monster effort at home. Peterson ripped off a 51-yard run to start the game en route to a 154-yard effort on 31 carries. It was Peterson’s fifth game with at least 153 rushing yards in the past six weeks. Five of his 31 carries occurred in the red zone (22 yards with two touchdown plunges). Peterson’s generated 43 runs of at least 10 yard this season.
The Chiefs did a fantastic job containing Trent Richardson overall, but couldn’t stop him at the painted stripe. Richardson logged five red zone carries, producing two yards and two touchdown runs. Richardson finished the game with 42 rushing yards on 18 attempts. It was his lowest yardage output since Week 7.
The Rams eked out a road win in Buffalo. Steven Jackson contributed only 64 rushing yards (nine receiving yards), but he did provide a one-yard touchdown plunge for trusting fantasy owners. It was his first touchdown since Week 10 and third of the season.
Fantasy owners saw the final score of the Giants-Saints game and logically concluded that Ahmad Bradshaw posted a huge game. Alas, rookie David Wilson (claim and stash him) was the offensive hero from the backfield with his 100 rushing yards with two touchdowns. Bradshaw still posted six red zone touches for 15 yards (33 rushing yards overall).
Red Zone Targets
Jeremy Maclin caught both of his red zone targets (four yards) from Nick Foles, including the game-winning touchdown, in Sunday’s matchup against the Buccaneers. Maclin caught 9-of-13 targets overall for 104 yards, his first 100-yard game since Week 6. He and Foles face a stiff home test against the Bengals this week.
Andrew Hawkins, and not A.J. Green or Jermaine Gresham, was on the receiving end of Andy Dalton’s red zone touchdown toss. Hawkins caught 3-of-4 red zone passes for 18 yards, including the eight-yard touchdown reception. He finished the game with 44 yards on six receptions.
New York Martellus Bennett scored for the second straight game, a six-yard touchdown strike from Eli Manning in a blowout win over the Saints. He caught 2-of-4 red zone targets for six yards. Bennett finished the game with five receptions for 32 yards (eight targets).
Ben Watson caught a 13-yard pass in the red zone from Brandon Weeden. He was targeted twice in the red zone and had a touchdown reception wiped off the board when he was called for an illegal shift. Watson caught 3-of-5 targets for 43 yards overall. He represents a solid spot play this week against the Redskins.
Red Zone Attempts
Fantasy owners had to wait patiently, but Matt Ryan finally delivered red zone touchdown passes to both Roddy White and Julio Jones in the second half of Sunday’s loss to Carolina. Ryan completed 5-of-9 red zone attempts for 43 yards. Ryan passed for 342 yards overall with one interception.
Eli Manning and the Giants set up their base camp in New Orleans territory, so it’s no surprise that he led all quarterbacks with 10 red zone pass attempts. Manning completed 6-of-10 attempts for 42 yards with three touchdowns. He overcame two interceptions to post a monster performance in the blowout win. He passed for 259 yards with four touchdowns overall.
Joe Flacco completed 2-of-4 red zone attempts for 33 yards, including two touchdown passes and an interception. He passed for 182 yard on 16-of-21 attempts with three touchdowns and two turnovers overall (one fumble). He’s passed for fewer than 200 yards in five of his past seven starts.
Nick Foles took advantage of a strong matchup against the generous Tampa Bay secondary and delivered an upset win for the Eagles on the game’s final play. Foles passed for 381 yards with two touchdowns while adding 27 yards and a touchdown on the ground. He did not commit a turnover. Foles completed 3-of-7 red zone attempts for 15 yards, including both of his touchdown throws.
Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers failed to achieve a home victory at home, but he put Mike Wallace and Antonio Brown back on the map in the red zone. Brown will be remembered for another disastrous play against the Chargers. I digress. Roethlisberger completed 2-of-4 red zone attempts for 12 yards with two touchdown throws. Roethlisberger passed for 285 yards with three touchdowns and two turnovers overall. He rushed for 31 yards to largely offset his two turnovers.
Montell Owens joined a long list of running backs to rise up from obscurity to fuel desperate fantasy teams in the fantasy playoffs. Owens produced a strong effort against the Jets in the Jaguars’ 17-10 defeat. He touched the ball 15 times overall and generated 102 total yards, including a 32-yard touchdown run.
The Seattle defense ranked No. 1 overall against the hapless Cardinals and delivered a huge performance. Seattle intercepted John Skelton four times and corralled four fumble while generating three sacks. They added two D/ST touchdowns, one on an interception return and one on a fumble recovery. In standard FOXSports.com leagues, the Seahawks D/ST scored 41 points.
Russell Wilson’s wasn’t required to do much this week. He attempted only 13 passes, completing seven of them for 148 yards with a touchdown (Zach Miller). Wilson rates a strong play in Week 15 against the Bills.
Marshawn Lynch delivered a huge performance for fantasy owners despite logging just 11 carries. Lynch raced for 128 yards, including three touchdown runs. The sixth-year running back from California has scored seven touchdowns in the past six weeks and has run for at least 85 yards in 11 of the Seahawks’ 13 games.
Jamaal Charles’ late-season surge in fantasyland continued against the Browns in Week 14. Charles raced for an 80-yard touchdown run before you blinked. Charles finished the game with 165 rushing yards on 18 carries. He’s rushed for at least 87 yards in five consecutive games.
Brandon Marshall offered his usual brilliance to fantasy owners in the first round of the playoffs. Marshall posted his third consecutive game with a double-digit reception count, producing 10 receptions for 160 yards, including a touchdown grab, against the Vikings. With three games remaining, Marshall’s total of 101 receptions has established a new Bears single-season record.
I can’t talk receivers without acknowledging the continued brilliance of Calvin Johnson, who delivered another 10 receptions and 118 receiving yards against the Packers. Johnson has posted 118 or more receiving yards in six consecutive games and 10 games with at least 94 yards overall.
Philip Rivers passed for 200 yard and threw three touchdown passes to defeat the Steelers in Pittsburgh. He made a fantasy hero out of WR2 option Danario Alexander, who torched the Steelers secondary for 88 receiving yards and two touchdowns on seven receptions. Alexander has recorded 33 receptions (51 targets) for 555 yards with five touchdowns in six starts this season.
Cam Newton produced his third consecutive dominant performance for fantasy owners in a huge home win over the Falcons. Newton passed for 287 yards with two touchdowns, but it’s his rushing total that catches your eye. If you saw the game (or the highlights here on FOXSports.com), you watched Newton sprint for a 72-yard touchdown, his seventh rushing touchdown of the season. Newton finished the game with 116 yards on nine attempts. He’ll look to continue his hot streak on the road in San Diego.
The Colts secured their ninth win of the season in a 27-23 win over the Titans, but fantasy owners were not treated to big output from Andrew Luck or Chris Johnson. Luck completed only 16-of-34 attempts for 196 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions, one of which was returned for a touchdown. Johnson offered fantasy owners 44 rushing yards on 19 carries.
Josh Freeman provided fantasy owners another multi-touchdown game in Sunday’s loss to Philadelphia (189 yards). Vincent Jackson torched the Philadelphia secondary for 131 yards on six receptions (10 targets) and scored his eighth touchdown of the season.
Anquan Boldin was targeted only three times by Joe Flacco on Sunday against Washington. He caught all three targets for 78 yards, including two touchdown receptions. The veteran receiver surpassed 10,000 receiving yards in this contest. Boldin’s finished three of the past four games with at least 78 receiving yards.
Somehow, teammate Torrey Smith was targeted just three times as well. Smith caught a single pass for 21 yards. The big-play threat has generated just four games with more than 60 receiving yards this season.
Aaron Rodgers was held without a touchdown pass for the second time this season by Detroit on Sunday night. Rodgers passed for 173 yards (14-of-24) in the snow, but did afford fantasy owners a 27-yard rushing touchdown (32 yards overall). He was sacked three times and fumbled once. Rodgers has produced just three total touchdowns with four turnovers in his past three games.
Greg Jennings was expected to play a big role against the Detroit secondary in his second game back from injury and with Jordy Nelson sidelined. Jennings was targeted four times by Rodgers, producing a single reception for 27 yards.
• Rodgers and Jennings face an injury-ravaged Chicago defense in Week 15. Finally, I toss a nod to wide receiver Josh Gordon of the Cleveland Browns, who will occupy the WR3 slot of many owners in this playoff week. Gordon caught 8-of-12 targets for 86 yards against the Chiefs. Since the Browns’ Week 10 Bye, Gordon has recorded 23 receptions for 315 yards.
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