Fantasy Football Week 14 Awards
By Guest Writer John Belaska:
The playoffs are officially in full swing. Whether you started last week or you are entering your first round in week fifteen, we are now entering the most important piece of the season. This is the time of year we all wait for year round. It is where champions are made and dreams come true. The air smells different this time of year. It is a bit sweeter if you are still playing and if you did not make the playoffs, the air still smells different, just not in a good way. Here are players that made fantasy owner’s wishes come true in week fourteen.
Quarterback of the Week- Peyton Manning (Denver Broncos)
In big time fantasy games, you always want your big time players to show up. Peyton Manning showed up against the Tennessee Titans. He threw for 397 passing yards and four touchdowns. His fantasy point total was the third highest among quarterback in week fourteen, behind Josh McCown and Andrew Luck. All three players were very deserving of the award, but this is the playoffs. The playoffs allow no room for error, and therefore fantasy owners tend to start the players who they know will show up. Josh McCown was a shot in the dark and Andrew Luck has been terribly underperforming recently, making it a bit difficult to pull the trigger and start either. Peyton Manning is a must start every week and he did not disappoint. Next week, Manning will be taking on the San Diego Chargers. The Charger beat the Broncos earlier this season, but there is still no reason to think Peyton will not put up some good numbers.
Running Back of the Week- LeSean McCoy (Philadelphia Eagles)
Fantasy owners have been waiting for a huge day like this from LeSean McCoy ever since his promising week one performance. He has been one of the best fantasy running back all season long, and in week fourteen showed he is an absolute lock as a top three. McCoy burned through the Philadelphia snow for 217 rushing yards and two touchdowns. He reclaimed the top position in the race for the NFL rushing title. With Adrian Peterson banged up, there is no reason why Shady will not be able to take it. Next week, we will have the privilege of seeing both of them on the field, injury permitting, in what could turn out to be a huge day for both McCoy and Peterson.
Wide Receiver of the Week- Marques Colston (New Orleans Saints)
For those of you who forgot, the Saints have an excellent wide receiver, not just a top notch tight end. Marques Colston has been dimmed from our memory this year, but he is still a very relevant fantasy wide receiver. He proved this in week fourteen. The Saints’ wide out caught nine passes for 125 receiving yards and two touchdowns, leading New Orleans to victory against their division rival. At this point in the season, Colston’s value has been limited to either a third fantasy wide receiver or flex player. This performance does not change that, but it does give his fantasy owners’ a lot to smile about. Next week he will be going up against the St. Louis Rams. The Rams have been able to give some good teams trouble throughout the season, but more than likely the Saints will come out on top in the matchup. Colston is a good option to start, but hopefully he is not your number one wide receiver.
Tight End of the Week- Charles Clay (Miami Dolphins)
Charles Clay has been one of the best sleepers of the entire season. Prior to 2013, nobody knew who he was. The Dolphins had brought in a fancy, new, expensive tight end from New York and Clay was simply his full time back up. That particular tight end goes down in preseason and Clay emerges as one of the premier players at his position. Last week, he caught seven balls for just shy of 100 yards and scored two touchdowns against the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Dolphins are hosting the New England Patriots next week. The Patriots’ pass protection is on the same level as the Steelers, so there is no reason not to expect Clay to have another good outing.
Kicker of the Week- Matt Prater (Denver Broncos)
Matt Prater is a stud. One can easily argue he is the best kicker in all of fantasy football. In week fourteen he knocked three field goals through the upright. One of those came from over fifty yards out. The most interesting stat that set him apart from all the other kickers this week, however, was his amazing number of successful point-after attempts. Prater got six fantasy points just on point-after attempts. This is one reason some fantasy owners like to choose kickers who play on high-octane offenses. They get the easy points. Those easy points add up. This week, they added up to Prater being the best kicker in the league. He is a must start every week for the rest of the season.
Team Defense of the Week- Kansas City Chiefs
The Kansas City Chiefs’ defense rebounded this weekend and reminded all of us they are the best fantasy defense. It has been a tough road for them since the middle of the season. They had lost three consecutive games and fantasy owners were starting to get annoyed. This is especially the case due to the amount of trade value this defensive unit carried. After a couple of poor outings, the Chiefs showed up big in week fourteen. The unit collected six sacks and an interception and fumble recovery that both went for defensive touchdowns. They only allowed ten points during the matchup. Next week, the Chiefs are playing in the Black Hole of Oakland. The Raiders are the fourth best team at running the football, but struggle considerably in the passing game. The Chiefs will look to shut down the running lanes and when they do, because they will, they will once again be able to put up a ton of fantasy points.
Rookie of the Week- Geno Smith (New York Jets)
Geno Smith continued his up and down rookie campaign with an up performance in week fourteen. He threw for 219 passing yards, one touchdown, and an interception. He also ran for 50 yards and a touchdown. These stats are not particularly great by any means. This just shows how the rookie class did not really do anything too impressive this past weekend. The Jets are in Carolina next week. Absolutely do not under any circumstances start Smith; not like you have to be told.
Sleeper of the Week- Shane Vereen (New England Patriots)
It is starting to become very obvious who the number one running back in New England is. Shane Vereen showed a lot of promise in the first week of the season, but unfortunately got injured during that campaign. He is back in action and his total number of fantasy points has increased in each of his three games back. Last weekend he only rushed for nine yards, but he did pick up a touchdown on the ground. However, Vereen’s value comes from his ability out of the backfield. He is very much like a young Darren Sproles. He had 153 receiving yards against the Cleveland Browns. That total was second in the league next to Andre Johnson of the Houston Texans. Vereen will see a lot more action this weekend against the Miami Dolphins who rank 23rd against the run and 12th against the pass. Expect another good game from him. He should be thought of as a very strong flex option or an above average second running back.
Bust of the Week- Alfred Morris (Washington Redskins)
Alfred Morris’ rookie season was one of the most impressive in recent memory. Morris is following up his 1600 yard year with another good performance, but he has left a lot to be desired. Fantasy owners will take 90 rushing yards and a forty percent chance at a touchdown any week, but one cannot help but think he could be doing more. Week fourteen was Morris’ biggest disappointment of the entire season. After averaging over 100 rushing yards over the past few weeks, Morris one ran for a mere 31. Fantasy owners should not be discouraged because he has a great chance for a huge bounce back this weekend against the Atlanta Falcons’ 30th ranked run defense.
Comeback Player of the Week- Steve Smith (Carolina Panthers)
Steve Smith is still drawing a lot of attention in the twilight years of his NFL career. Unfortunately, most of the attention has come from his off the field comments instead of his stellar play. Against the New Orleans Saints, Smith caught his first touchdown since the seventh week of the season. He also caught six passes for 49 yards. He has not posted a single 100 yard performance this year, so it is a bit difficult to say whether or not he is about to turn the corner and build off of his nice performance. There is a chance this could happen since he is playing the New York Jets who have a poor pass defense this weekend. Being that it is the playoffs, it is better to sit Smith if at all possible based on his year to date performance, but if no other opportunities are presenting themselves at the wide receiver position Smith is a decent option based on his matchup.
Fanspeak.com Most Valuable Player Award- LeSean McCoy (Philadelphia Eagles)
Everyone expected the Lions and Eagles game to be very high scoring. That was until they saw the massive amount of snow falling from the sky. Right then, anyone with McCoy in their lineup should have been thanking their lucky stars. The harsh weather conditions primed the game for a ground and pound style of offense. McCoy was sure to be given the ball as much as possible. Best of all, this scenario actually played out. McCoy went for over 200 rushing yards and posted his second multi-touchdown game of the season. He was by far the highest scoring running back in the league. On big weeks you need the big time guys to show up and McCoy did just that and then some.