Week 15 disappointments: Brady underperforms
The fantasy playoffs are a time for celebration and fond
remembrances of brilliant draft-day selections and waiver wire
additions. Unfortunately, more than a few players fail to answer
the proverbial bell and leave your squad flat at this glorious time
of year. Let me be the first to offer my condolences for any
disastrous ends to the season that you may have endured this week.
I start the list of misery in Buffalo, where Tom Brady and the Patriots were tested once again by the pesky Bills. Brady completed 11-of-23 pass attempts for 115 yards with one touchdown and one interception. His lone touchdown pass was caught by Randy Moss, who issued a tremendous statement to the media and walked off into the chilly night. Brady has averaged 153.5 passing yards in the past two weeks.
Wes Welker posted a smallish game against the Bills, registering just four receptions for 40 yards. It was his second game with fewer than 84 receiving yards in the past 10 games.
Brett Favre was under duress from the Carolina defense line all night long and managed a meager 224 yards with an interception in the blowout loss to the Panthers. Favre absorbed four sacks in the loss. He’s thrown one touchdown pass in the past two weeks. The shutout effort was his second of the year, and I don’t know that too many were overly shocked by the weak effort. After all, Carolina did enter the game as a top-10 defense against the pass. Favre received little help from his receivers, and Adrian Peterson was positively invisible in the ground game.
Naturally, Favre’s shutout performance means that top target Sidney Rice was quieted by Chris Gamble and the secondary. Rice caught four passes for 69 yards and lost a critical fumble following a big play down the middle.
Visanthe Shiancoe was quieted for the second straight week, producing three receptions for 24 yards against the Panthers. Shiancoe had caught two passes for 19 yards in Week 14.
I need to slide back to Saturday night for a brief moment. Drew Brees passed for 298 yards and a touchdown against the Cowboys with three turnovers (one interception and two lost fumbles) and four sacks. This was Brees’ fifth multi-turnover game of the season.
Jason Witten was invisible once again despite the strong effort by the Dallas offense. Witten caught five passes for 44 yards. It was Witten’s 10th game this season with fewer than 50 receiving yards. His lone touchdown of the season came in Week 2.
San Francisco quarterback Alex Smith had been on a nice run. Smith got shut down by the Eagles on Sunday, limited to 177 yards with one touchdown, three interceptions and three sacks. He’s thrown five interceptions in the past two weeks.
Super tight end Vernon Davis was held in check by the Eagles (it takes a team with a dominant tight end to know one). Davis was limited to three receptions for 43 yards, thus ending his four-game scoring streak.
Michael Crabtree was on the radar as a possible third receiver against the Eagles, but he was nearly invisible. Crabtree was limited to four receptions for 26 yards.
In what stood out as one of the most catastrophic performances of Week 15, Matt Hasselbeck doomed more than a few fantasy owners. Hasselbeck was tormented by Raheem Morris’ defense all day. He finished with 256 passing yards with one touchdown, four interceptions, a lost fumble and a sack. Hasselbeck’s tremendous run at home came to a close with a resounding thud.
Cincinnati tailback Cedric Benson was bottled up by the San Diego run defense. Benson carried the ball 15 times for 53 yards, adding two receptions for 19 yards. He hasn’t scored since Week 9. However, those Benson owners who survived this tepid effort have to be intrigued to see a Kansas City defense that ceded 286 rushing yards and three scores to Jerome Harrison on the schedule next week.
The Raiders scored 20 points to defeat the Broncos, a game that included a game-winning drive engineered by JaMarcus Russell. As a result, the Broncos were dud-worthy in Week 15.
The defense is joined by Knowshon Moreno, who failed to produce the expected monster effort against the Oakland run defense. He didn’t have to contend with Correll Buckhalter (ankle) for carries, yet amassed only 42 yards on 19 carries. Moreno added three receptions for 39 yards, but that isn’t enough to sway me.
Detroit wideout Calvin Johnson was a game-time decision, but he was virtually invisible against the Cardinals. Megatron caught three of the six passes thrown to him for 35 yards. The Lions are still awful, but Johnson was at least a fantasy factor in 2008. Sigh.
As expected, Roddy White was shut down by Darrelle Revis and became the latest victim for the star New York cornerback. White caught four of the 10 passes thrown to him for 33 yards. Does Revis nail his game gloves to a wall with a plaque naming his latest vanquished foe a la Willie Mays Hays?
Mark Sanchez returned to the field and threw one of his best passes of the season, a 65-yard bomb to Braylon Edwards. Alas, that was Sanchez’s only contribution to the tepid loss against Atlanta. He passed for 226 yards with two sacks and three interceptions.
The Falcons also did a fabulous job to derail the seemingly unstoppable Thomas Jones. Jones’ 10-game run of efforts with at least 75 rushing yards or a touchdown came to an end on Sunday. Jones finished with 19 carries for just 52 yards.
The Bears get a number of nods in this week’s piece. The assistant to the traveling secretary failed to get a simple weather alert and the team didn’t get out of Chicago before “Operation Shutdown” began at the airports. The Bears finally arrived in Baltimore to play the Ravens … or did they?
Jay Cutler was terrible again, completing 10-of-27 attempts for 94 yards with another three interceptions. The call came for Caleb Hanie, and he promptly threw an interception of his own upon entering the game.
Matt Forte ran for 69 yards and lost a fumble. Greg Olsen caught one pass for eight yards. My head officially hurts.
Finally, if you blinked, you missed the brief appearance by super sleeper Arian Foster against the Rams. Foster carried the ball twice for seven yards and fumbled after catching a pass (13 yards). He didn’t touch the ball again. Get ready for Mike Shanahan’s return to the sidelines. He has a lot of work to do if he wants to take the “fantasy devil” title back from Gary Kubiak.