by ANDREW HORN
Before I start with my fantasy football recap, I would like extend my thoughts and prayers to Cam Newton and family. As reported around yesterday, Cam Newton was involved in a two-car accident that resulted in Newton having two transverse process fractures in his lower back. The other driver was taken to the hospital, but that driver’s condition is not known at this time.
Back to football on the field, I won my first round playoff game. It was not a pretty week and he made a ferocious comeback with Jordy Nelson, but I had enough to hold on and win. Making to the semifinals is enough to brag to some of your friends, but the end goal is to hoist that trophy at the end of the year. Here are the Week 14 winners and losers.
Winner: Matt Ryan (ATL) 50.1 points:
He may have lost the game but “Matty Ice” was on fire at Lambeau Field Monday night. Ryan threw for 375 yards, four touchdowns and one interception. 259 of those yards went to Julio Jones. It was a two man game for the Falcons. Ryan is having a successful season individually. The only problem is the Falcons only have a 5-8 record to show for it. But that record is good enough to lead the NFC South. The Falcons will look to take a firm lead in the division next week against Pittsburgh. Start Ryan because he is 39-13 at home in his career.
Loser: Brian Hoyer (CLE) 3.3 points:
It has finally happened. Brian Hoyer has lost the starting job to Johnny Manziel. Hoyer has led the Browns to a 7-6 record, but his recent struggles forced coach Mike Pettine to make the change to Manziel. Hoyer did have fourth quarter heroics against New Orleans and Tennessee, but he had to fall at some point. The Browns are still in the playoff race in the AFC North, making this move a little puzzling in terms of timing. There is no doubt which quarterback is more electric. But will electric spark a playoff run? Only time, and a Hoyer-less Browns squad will tell.
Winner: Le’Veon Bell (PIT) 46.5 points:
Well Mr. Bell has certainly taken his game from top of the league to the top of the history books. Bell becomes the second running back in history to accumulate at least 200 yards from scrimmage in three straight games. The other was Walter Payton in 1977. That’s right in the past four weeks; I have compared Bell to Walter Payton and Gale Sayers. Bell is playing like an MVP and will be firmly in the running this year. The Steelers play in Atlanta next week. This is absolutely a must start for Bell.
Loser: Alfred Morris (WSH) 1.7 points:
Alfred Morris started Sunday’s contest against the Rams with a 12-yard carry. He ended the game with six rushing yards on eight carries and 11 receiving yards. This is a pitiful ending to a very bright start. The Redskins are so frustrating to fantasy owners. Morris has put up six weeks of double digit points. Kirk Cousins, when he was playing, put up over 40 points. The team lacks a consistent defense to be a contender in the NFC East again. The division has been remade form mediocrity to top tier offenses. Morris plays the Giants in New York next week. Start him at your own risk.
Winners: Julio Jones (ATL) 35.9 points and A.J. Green (CIN) 32.4 points:
Jones was flying high Monday night against the Packers. Jones went off for 11 catches for 259 yards and one touchdown. Jones joins T.Y Hilton and A.J. Green as other standout performances. Jones did injure his hip, which puts him as questionable for Week 15 against the Steelers. Jones will be at home, where quarterback Matt Ryan excels. Start him and hope there is a repeat performance.
A.J. Green was unfortunately overshadowed by the performance of Julio Jones. Still, Green was extremely impressive in a 42-21 loss to the Steelers. Green also caught 11 balls for 224 yards and one touchdown. The Bengals seemed to be on the way to a win, but the Steelers roared back and demolished the Cincinnati defense. Green continues to be a premier receiver and number option for Andy Dalton. Cincinnati plays Johnny Manziel’s Cleveland team in Week 15. Start Green and expect a more human performance.
Loser: Josh Gordon (CLE) 1.5 points
Well the switch to Johnny Manziel should help increase these numbers. Gordon is still trying to find his footing since coming back after a 10-game suspension. Gordon’s yardage has declined in each of the past two games. A sample size of three games is not enough to place any blame on Gordon, especially with the interesting quarterback situation in Cleveland. Start Gordon and see if Manziel throws to him. He is 100% risk, 100% reward.
Winner: Jared Cook (STL) 20.1 points
Welcome to my winner list Jared Cook. Your prize is a great review of your game against the Redskins. Cook set a season high in points with 61 receiving yards and two touchdowns in the Rams’ 24-0 win against the Redskins. Tight ends have found space in the Redskins defense all season, so production from Cook is not unexpected. Up next is the Arizona Cardinals. Cook had his previous best point total against Arizona in Week 10, making him a start if you don’t have a top-5 tight end.
Loser: Antonio Gates (SD) 3.4 points
Just like Reggie Wayne and Andre Johnson, Antonio Gates is in the twilight of his career. On a positive note, he did have five catches. But, Gates has not gone for double digits points since Week 8 against Denver and he only had 34 yards against the Patriots. Gates has had a long career, one that will put him in Canton with the other greats. Until then, he has to finish out strong if the Chargers want to get into the playoffs. That starts in Week 15 against Denver. Ride Gates into the starting lineup.