History always shapes momentous occasions. In most cases, it is the foundation of those occasions, like you see with Armed Forces Day, Independence Day and even St. Patrick’s Day. Yes, contrary to popular belief St. Patty’s Day is more than pub crawls and overflowing pints of Guinness. But let’s keep that our little secret, alright?
Anyway, we are in the midst of another momentous occasion, the fantasy football playoffs, and as you can well imagine, history is playing a large part in the festivities. While you are basking in the excitement and crazed revelry over the next few weeks, take a moment to think of all the quality performances as well as the forgettable ones. The former likely determined a champion, while the latter wrought disappointment and language not befitting a quality site such as this!
Let’s open up the fantasy history books and see what we have for Week 14!
If you were able to weather the storm created by New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees and his shocking five interception performance last week, this week he’ll likely turn things around. The last two times Brees faced the New York Giants, he was incredible. In 2009 he completed 23 passes for 369 yards and four touchdowns. This past season against Big Blue he threw for 363 more yards, four more touchdowns and added a rushing touchdown as well. Another player with quality written all over him regarding past performances against their week 14 opponent would be Chicago Bears QB Jay Cutler. In his last 6 games against the Minnesota Vikings, Cutler has averaged 220 passing yards and has thrown an amazing 14 touchdown passes.
In the Hot and Cold category, we have Pittsburgh Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger. In 2008 he completed 31 passes for 308 but inexplicably was unable to toss a touchdown pass. However in 2009 he turned things around and increased the yardage production with 333 passing yards and added two touchdowns. But bottom line is he is back and you can expect a solid outing.
On the negative side, I have a few surprises. The first would be New England Patriots QB Tom Brady against the Houston Texans back in 2009 he only threw for 186 yards, and interception and did not throw a single touchdown pass. An uncharacteristic performance to say the very least. Baltimore Ravens QB Joe Flacco was equally as terrible. In 2008 he completed only 10 passes for 134 yards, and interception and a complete misery-saving touchdown pass. I would expect both players to bounce back in what are big games for both teams.
We’ll get things started with one of the best in the business in Houston Texans RB Arian Foster. Back in 2009 against the New England Patriots, Foster carried the ball 20 times for 119 yards and scored two rushing touchdowns. Expect the Texans to lean heavy on their star again on Monday night for sure.
I’ll mix things up a bit and get the less –desirable performances out of the way sooner as opposed to later. In his last six games against the Arizona Cardinals, Seattle Seahawks RB Marshawn Lynch has only managed one touchdown. Similarly futile would be Chicago Bears RB Matt Forte. In his last seven games against the Minnesota Vikings, Forte only has one receiving touchdown to his credit and no rushing scores.
Ending the position on a string of positive notes, take Atlanta Falcons RB Michael Turner. He has quite a nice history against the Carolina Panthers. In his last four games against them, he has four touchdowns and 473 total yards from scrimmage. He isn’t overly trusted in fantasy circles, but Carolina Panthers RB DeAngelo Williams recent history against the Atlanta Falcons is worth mentioning. The last two times Williams has faced Atlanta, he has averaged 68 rushing yards and has hit pay dirt on two occasions. With RB Jonathan Stewart again likely to miss this week’s action, Williams has a good shot at putting up some decent numbers. Speaking of decent numbers, take a look at St. Louis Rams RB Steven Jackson. The last time he went up against the Bills was in 2008 and he was a force. He carried the ball 24 times for 110 yards and a touchdown, and also added five receptions for another 78 yards. If the weather is a factor in Buffalo this weekend, chances are Jackson will get plenty of work.
Moving on to the receivers, I have to start with two of the game’s best in Detroit Lions WR Calvin Johnson and Atlanta Falcons WR Roddy White. In Johnson’s last eight games against the rival Green Bay Packers he has averaged over 100 yards receiving, including a monster 244 yard effort last season and has torched the Green Bay secondary for 10 touchdown catches. In his last two games against the Carolina Panthers, White has cashed in with 253 total receiving yards and three touchdowns.
In another Hot and Cold segment, let’s look at White’s teammate, Atlanta Falcons WR Julio Jones. Granted he was hindered in one contest by an injured hand, but history turns a blind eye to maladies, my friends! That was earlier this season, and despite being targeted eight times, Jones was only able to reel in one catch for 30 yards. It is safe to say that fantasy owners will be looking for more along the lines of his 2011 performance against the Panthers when he caught three passes for 104 yards and made two of those catches count for touchdowns.
Taking a look at some subpar outings, I present to you New England Patriots WR Wes Welker. Back in 2009 against the Houston Texans, Welker made his presence felt with only one reception or 12 yards and unfortunately it was not for a twelve-yard touchdown. Seattle Seahawks WR Golden Tate has been playing well, but the team will need him to bring more to the table against the Arizona Cardinals. The teams met twice in 2011 and Tate averaged only 30 yards receiving and has no touchdowns.
Going out in a blaze of receiver glory, let’s look at new Orleans Saints WR Lance Moore against the New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles WR Jeremy Maclin against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. In 2009 Moore grabbed six passes for 78 yards and a touchdown and kept it going against the Giants in 2011 with five catches for 54 yards and another two touchdowns. Given the splendid history his quarterback has in this match up, I would expect the good tidings for Moore to continue. However the future may not hold the same for Maclin. The last time he played Tampa Bay, Maclin was fantastic with six receptions for 142 yards and two touchdowns. With the Eagles offense in a state of flux, coming close to those numbers could prove rather difficult for the Eagles down field playmaker.
Production, especially unexpected production from this position can be a God-send during a playoff run. So I wanted to take a look at a few more players at this position than normal. I will start with Carolina Panthers TE Greg Olsen. In his last two games against the Atlanta Falcons, he caught two passes for 53 yards and a touchdown and grabbed six receptions for 89 yards and another touchdown pass respectively.
A few guys who may decline to bring home the fantasy bacon this week might be San Francisco 49ers TE Vernon Davis, and Detroit Lions TE Brandon Pettigrew. Now Davis and his inclusion here may not come as a surprise to most. Despite the big name talent, he has come up small recently against the Miami Dolphins. The last time he played them he registered 31 receiving yards and no touchdowns. Until Davis is able to right the ship, he is hard to trust on any week, let alone week with possible playoff implications. In his last six games against the Green Bay Packers, Pettigrew has been unable to haul in a touchdown reception. With WR Ryan Broyles and WR Titus Young both done for the season, chances are that much greater for Pettigrew to buck this trend and grab one for six.
To close things out, I have a few more quality past performances to keep in mind when you are putting your lineup together. For starters, lets take a look at Pittsburgh Steelers TE Heath Miller. He’s been having an outstanding season, only to get better with the return of a capable quarterback this week. Back in 2009 against the San Diego Chargers, Miller caught eight passes for 70 yards and two touchdowns. With Roethlisberger back under center, things are looking up for Miller, without question.
The last two times New York Jets TE Dustin Keller faced the Jacksonville Jaguars, he was quite involved in the action. He’s averaged almost 80 receiving yards and grabbed a touchdown pass. Finally, we’ll look at the wonder that is New Orleans WR Jimmy Graham. In his last game against the New York Giants, Graham reeled in five passes for 84 yards and added two touchdowns. Tight end production at its finest.
I hope this helps you a bit in your decision making, or just made for an interesting read. History is quite cool, always expanding and definitely a blast to talk about. Have a great weekend and best of luck to all this week!!
If I can be of any help, hit me up on Twitter – @djleason
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