A normally scheduled Week 14 is now in the record books. This week featured some big performances from some unexpected players — specifically at the quarterback position.
While Lamar Jackson and Aaron Rodgers leading the way is nothing new, the next best five fantasy QB performances were from: Baker Mayfield, Tua Tagovailoa, Drew Lock, Mitchell Trubisky, and Derek Carr. As Russell Wilson is then a regular, Teddy Bridgewater and rookie Jalen Hurts’ rounded out the top ten at the position.
The fantasy season is always full of surprises, especially when the playoffs start to role around. Speaking of the playoffs, our attention now turns to Week 15, or as we like to call the Fantasy Football Semi-Finals. But, before we get too ahead of ourselves, let’s recap this past week’s action.
Stud: Aaron Rodgers (303 total yards, 4 total TDs, 30.9 fantasy points)
Rodgers tossed three touchdowns and added a fourth with his legs as the Packers defeated the Detroit Lions 31-24. Rodgers has now tossed three or more touchdowns in four straight games, while his season total now sits at 39 touchdowns to just four interceptions. With the win, the 10-3 Packers sit atop the NFC and Rodgers appears to be the frontrunner for the MVP.
Dud: Daniel Jones (127 yards, 1 FUML, 3.08 fantasy points)
Returning from a one game absence, Jones and the Giants offense was stuck in the mud all afternoon. Jones completed just 11 of 21 passes for 127 yards while fumbling three times, losing one. He also did not record a rushing attempt, perhaps due to the hamstring injury. Jones has now has gone three straight games without a passing touchdown and is no way a fantasy option - especially with a hamstring that is less than 100 percent.
Injuries: Alex Smith, Brandon Allen, Matthew Stafford
Smith left Sunday’s game after he was spotted with a pad on his lower right leg - the same one he injured in 2018. Head coach Ron Rivera said after the game that Smith was removed from the game for precautionary reasons due to muscle soreness. Rivera added he was available to return if something went wrong with backup Dwayne Haskins.
Allen suffered a right knee injury in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s game against Dallas. Head coach Zac Taylor said Allen is “day-to-day.” Stafford also left late in the Lions game with a ribs injury after an awkward slide/hit. His Monday X-rays returned negative, but NFL Network Ian Rapoport reports the veterans status for next week could be in doubt, as the injury caused significant pain.
Waiver Wire: Jalen Hurts (273 total yards, 1 TD, 19.28 fantasy points)
Rostered: 8.9 percent
In what seemed like a horrible matchup for Hurts’ first career start, the rookie made a huge impact against the Saints’ top defensive unit. Hurts threw for 167 yards and a score, while adding another 106 yards on the ground. Most importantly, he did not turn the football over and also did not take a sack all game. It was an extremely quality start for the 2020 second round pick considering the opposition. Hurts’ rushing ability makes him an intriguing fantasy option going forward, especially in what could be high scoring games against Arizona and Dallas the next two weeks.
Stud: Derrick Henry (222 total yards, 2 TDs, 36.2 fantasy points)
Tractorcito rebounded quite nicely from his poor Week 13 performance, rumbling for 215 yards and two scores against the hopeless Jaguars. It’s the second time this season he’s eclipsed the 200-yard mark, as his 1,532 rushing yards leads the league. Henry should continue to dominate on the ground next week against Detroit’s poor run defense.
Dud: Giovani Bernard (23 total yards, 1 FUML, 3.3 fantasy points)
Bernard’s lead-role in the backfield did not last long, as he lost a rare fumble on his first carry of the game. He did not see another touch until the third quarter, finishing with just eight rushing yards and three receptions. Bernard will continue to take top snaps if Joe Mixon (foot) remains on IR, but he has not topped 35 rushing yards in his last five games.
Injuries: Ronald Jones III, Raheem Mostert
Jones played the entire game Sunday, carrying the ball 18 times for 80 yards and a score, after potentially suffering a fractured pinky. The severity is not yet known, but Jones should not be in danger of missing time.
The story of Mostert’s season continues, as the running back will undergo further imaging on his ankle this week. Head coach Kyle Shanahan said they’ll know more about Mostert’s status on Wednesday.
Waiver Wire: Cam Akers (194 total yards, 21.4 fantasy points)
Rostered: 55.0 percent
Yes, we are breaking our over 50 percent roster rule, but 55 percent owned is way too low for Akers. The rookie carried the ball 29 times Thursday night, marking the second straight week he’s set a career-high in that category. He averaged 5.9 yards per carry as he broke off for a career-high 171 yards. Akers did not get into the end zone, but has clearly become the go-to back in the Rams backfield. Pick him up immediately, as his success should continue with a pair of plus-playoff matchups.
Jeff Wilson Jr. (44 total yards, 1 FUML, 1 TD, 9.4 fantasy points)
Rostered: 8.4 percent
Wilson lost the touch battle to Mostert (16-12), but was the one called upon near the goal-line - plunging in a score to salvage his fantasy outing. Wilson only recorded one reception, but saw three targets as his passing game usage adds to his value. If Mostert is forced to miss time, Wilson becomes the go-to man in the 49ers backfield.
Stud: Stefon Diggs (10 catches, 130 yards, 1 TD, 29.1 fantasy points)
Diggs was Buffalo’s best player Sunday night, constantly getting open against the highly ranked Pittsburgh defense. Diggs was able to find the end zone for the first time since Week 10, leaving his assignment on the ground after a clean route. The 10 catches mark the fourth time he’s hit double digits this season, as he now has 100 receptions on the season (through 13 games). He’ll be a locked in WR1 next weekend despite another tough matchup against the Broncos.
Dud: Corey Davis (3 catches, 34 yards, 4.4 fantasy points)
After a career Week 13 performance, Davis, and the Titans other pass catchers, watched as Derrick Henry carried the load all afternoon. Davis recorded three catches for 34 yards as Tennessee threw the ball just 24 times in the victory. With a Week 15 matchup against Detroit now on the schedule, Davis could fall victim to a Henry takeover yet again.
Injuries: Deebo Samuel, Mike Williams, DeVante Parker
Samuel left’s Sunday’s game with a hamstring injury after a carry on the first play from scrimmage. After a MRI Monday, Head coach Kyle Shanahan hinted that the hamstring strain will keep Samuel out for the rest of the regular season. Williams also left the game early, logging just two snaps before being forced from the game with a back issue. He was listed as a non-participant in the Chargers’ Monday practice and his status should be up in the air for this Thursday’s game.
Parker was forced out on Sunday with a leg injury. After being listed as questionable to return, he never made his way back out on the field. NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reported Tuesday that Parker suffered a slight hamstring strain in the Dolphins loss, and his Week 15 status is to be determined.
Waiver Wire: Nelson Agholor (5 catches, 100 yards, 1 TD, 21.0 fantasy points)
Rostered: 27.5 percent
Agholor has quickly become the Raiders No. 1 wide receiver this season, hauling in his seventh touchdown of the season on Sunday. Agholor has now seen 37 targets over his last four games, averaging 5.0 catches and 70 yards per game. With his steady floor and big play potential, Agholor is a viable option for the fantasy playoffs.
Russell Gage (5 catches, 121 total yards, 1 TD, 18.76 fantasy points)
Rostered: 12.1 percent
Gage has now posted at least seven targets in three of his last four games, while scoring over double-digit fantasy points in that same stretch. His 82 receiving yards last week were his most since Week 1, as he has now seen at least four receptions and 50-plus receiving yards in two straight games. Gage also delivered a gadget-play touchdown, tossing a 39-yard touchdown to Calvin Ridley to boost his fantasy day. He has cemented a role in Atlanta’s offense and is specifically intriguing with Julio Jones (hamstring) out.
Stud: Travis Kelce (8 catches, 136 yards, 1 TD, 27.6 fantasy points)
Welcome back, old friend. After taking a back seat to Darren Waller’s monster performance last week, Kelce was right back on top of the tight end rankings this week. Continuing to operate as Mahomes’ most reliable target, Kelce hauled in eight passes for 136 yards and a score for the second consecutive week. He has now caught eight passes in five of his last six games, while going over 100 receiving yards in the same amount. Kelce continues to be one of the most consistent players in fantasy, as he provides the biggest mismatch at any position in the league.
Dud: Hayden Hurst (1 catch, 7 yards, 1.7 fantasy points)
After a stretch of consistent games before the Falcons’ Week 10 bye, Hurst has been nearly invisible since. He’s hauled in just one reception in back-to-back games, being held to under 10 receiving yards in three of his last four contests. Hurst has now gone scoreless in seven straight games as the slump is completely on.
Injuries: Mike Gesicki, Noah Fant
After hauling in two touchdowns, Gesicki left Sunday’s game in the fourth quarter with a shoulder injury. He appeared to be in a lot of pain coming off the field, as the early report looks like he could miss at least one game.
Fant did not see a target on Sunday and eventually left after feeling ill. Denver removed him for Covid-19 precautionary reasons as the tight end then had to remain in Charlotte Sunday night. Fant has since tested negative two times, meaning he’ll avoid being placed on the Covid-19/Reserve list. Head coach Vic Fangio said it may have been food poisoning.
Waiver Wire: Logan Thomas (6 catches, 43 yards, 10.3 fantasy points)
Rostered: 34.9 percent
Thomas will continue to be on this list until he is rostered at a high percent. For a position that is famously weak in fantasy terms, Thomas has provided steady production at the position all season. The former QB has seen at least four targets in every single game this season, and has seen 16 total targets over the last two weeks. Scoring double-digit fantasy points in four of his last five games, Thomas is a must own for anyone with poor consistency at the tight end position. He’ll also get a plus-matchup next week against Seattle.
Patriots Player of the Week
Damiere Byrd (5 catches, 48 yards, 9.8 fantasy points)
Can we pass? What a forgetful game from the Patriots offense on Thursday night as no player scored over 10 fantasy points. Throwing the ball just 16 times, Byrd led New England with five receptions and eight targets. No Patriot player looks worth trusting going forward.
That is all for this week’s recap. Leave a comment below or reach out on Twitter @iambrianhines with any and all questions about your fantasy team!