Week 14 disappointments: Where's Moss?
As I sat down to begin my preparations for this column, the list of disappointments and zeroes from Week 14 of the NFL season read like Santa Claus' naughty list.
Seriously, I was scrawling out names and situations (including a couple officials) as I prepped for my morning radio rambling and video wrap-up segments.
It's never a good feeling to be wringing your hands as you watch games, seeing horrid performance after horrid performance. Those owners enjoying the love from Drew Brees, Brandon Marshall, Adrian Peterson, Johnson & Johnson and the top-tier heroes of Week 14 are breathing a sigh of relief and will be moving on to fight another day.
For the rest of you, let's air the proverbial grievances in this week's fantasy disappointments. You expected the Patriots to seize the opportunity and crush the Panthers in front of the home crowd.
Instead, New England lost two fumbles inside the red zone, and there are now concerns about Randy Moss quitting on his team after getting sent home from practice on Friday. I'll save that rant for another time.
In the interim, I'd be remiss if I failed to acknowledge he caught only one pass for 16 yards (four looks) and fumbled. Sigh.
Tom Brady completed 19-for-32 yards for 192 yards with a touchdown and an interception. His yardage total against the Panthers marked his lowest output of the season.
Brett Favre and the Vikings rolled over the Bengals. Favre completed 17-of-30 attempts for 192 yards with a touchdown and an interception with two sacks, and his 192 passing yarda marked his lowest output since Week 2.
Visanthe Shiancoe was limited to just two catches for 19 yards. Alas, his three-game scoring streak ended with a thud in the blowout win over Cincinnati.
Calvin Johnson was a non-factor against the Ravens in the horrific, unwatchable game against the Ravens. Baltimore absolutely destroyed the hapless Lions, and Daunte Culpepper was unable to connect with his No. 1 target. Johnson caught four passes for 37 yards and was targeted 12 times.
With Michael Turner sidelined once against, we expected to see a fairly equitable split of the workload between Jerious Norwood and Jason Snelling. Snelling ruled the day and found paydirt, while Norwood was limited to nine carries for 33 rushing yards and didn't catch a pass in the narrow loss.
Admit it, you saw the final score of that Atlanta-New Orleans game and assumed you'd received some support to your fantasy efforts from Roddy White or Tony Gonzalez. But both players were held in check by the Saints, as Chris Redman instead looked for a long-lost connection with Michael Jenkins (three catches for 82 yards and a touchdown). White caught two of six passes thrown to him for 41 yards, while Gonzalez aided owners in PPR leagues with six receptions, but finished with just 50 yards.
Reggie Wayne was shut out of the end zone for the third time in four games, contributing just four receptions for 43 yards in the win over Denver. He's also finished with fewer than 50 yards in three of his past four starts.
Fantasy owners entering the playoffs, even with the horrid Jacksonville pass defense on tap in Week 15, must be concerned. Pierre Garcon caught two passes for 39 yards early in Sunday's win over Denver, but was virtually invisible down the stretch. This performance marked his lowest output since Week 7.
The meltdown continues in Kansas City for high-priced offseason acquisition Matt Cassel, who passed for 224 yards in the loss to Buffalo while absorbing four sacks and tossed another four interceptions. He's turned the ball over eight times with one touchdown pass in his past three games.
Lee Evans was on the radar for a possible third receiver slot against the sieve-like Kansas City pass defense. Alas, he contributed a single catch for 11 yards to the bottom line in a lackluster contest.
We put the weight of the world on Steven Jackson in St. Louis. He receives zero help from the offense, and Kyle Boller's late scratch didn't help matters. Jackson carried the ball 19 times for 47 yards with two receptions for six yards in his worst output of the season.
Donnie Avery was limited to two receptions for 14 yards while running routes for rookie quarterback Keith Null.
As expected, LeSean McCoy received a larger workload against the Giants. However, he wasn't among the many players on either side to enjoy the warm glow of the end zone. He carried the ball 10 times for 28 yards while adding four receptions for 26 yards.
Jason Witten rallied for back-to-back 100-yard games to help propel fantasy owners into the playoffs in Weeks 12 and 13. He returned to the list of flops with a pedestrian effort against the Chargers in Week 14, catching just four passes for 49 yards in the home defeat. This was his eighth game with fewer than 50 yards.
Finally, I understand Tony Romo gets tagged with another December loss after the 20-17 loss to San Diego, but can we fault him for the play-calling and lack of execution on the horrid goal-line possession that fell flat?
He handed the ball to Marion Barber on four consecutive plays from inside the four-yard line, and Barber was unable to push it across. He finished with 47 yards on 14 carries while adding two receptions for 22 yards.