With the first week of the playoffs in the books, are you feeling more like the Seattle Seahawks or the Arizona Cardinals this week? (If you don’t get that joke, obviously you missed the fact that the Seahawks beat the Cardinals 58-0 this weekend)
If you’re reading this column, there is a also good chance you made it to the next round of your playoffs. So, congrats to all of you who made it this far. It was yet another exciting weekend ripe with intrigue.
You’ll read all about the rest of the week here, as I dissect and analyze the weekend that was. So, without further ado, here is the Weekend 411 from FP911.
Stud of the Week
Cam Newton: Carolina Panthers
After some early-season struggles Newton is making up for lost time with his recent play of late. Newton was at it again on Sunday, passing for 287 yards and two touchdowns (zero interceptions) while also rushing for a staggering 116 yards and a touchdown. Newton is looking like the player he was last year and that makes him a must start for the rest of the playoffs.
Other studs of note: Tom Brady, Brandon Lloyd, Aaron Hernandez, Peyton Manning, Knowshon Moreno, Doug Martin, Jeremy Maclin, Vincent Jackson, Matt Ryan, DeAngelo Williams, Roddy White, Steve Smith, Adrian Peterson, Brandon Marshall, Kenny Britt, Phil Rivers, Ben Roethlisberger, Danario Alexander, Mike Wallace, Jamaal Charles, Trent Richardson, Joe Flacco, Ray Rice, Alfred Morris, Anquan Boldin, Marshawn Lynch, Eli Manning, Drew Brees, Darren Sproles, Victor Cruz, Calvin Johnson and Randall Cobb.
Dud of the week
A.J. Green: Cincinnati Bengals
With the season he is having, Green probably carried many fantasy owners to the playoffs. That said, Green really picked a bad time to have perhaps his worst performance of the year. Green only recorded three catches for 44 yards while being held out of the end zone and dropping many catchable balls.
Other duds of note: Owen Daniels, Marcel Reece, Brandon Myers, C.J. Spiller, Bryce Brown, Dallas Clark, Kyle Rudolph, Chad Henne, Chris Johnson, Jonathan Dwyer, Antonio Gates, Torrey Smith, Brian Hartline, Russell Wilson, Beanie Wells, Larry Fitzgerald, Sidney Rice, Golden Tate, Ahmad Bradshaw, Lance Moore, Aaron Rodgers and Greg Jennings.
Rookies of impact
Rod Streater: Oakland Raiders
Streater is starting to become a larger part of the Raiders’ offense as the season winds down. His late-season surge continued last Thursday night when he recorded four catches for 100 yards.
Nick Foles: Philadelphia Eagles
After a few weeks of ineptitude, Foles finally gave the fans of Philly something to be excited about. Foles was awesome in the Eagles’ upset win over the Buccaneers by racking up 381 passing yards and two touchdowns (0 picks) while also rushing for an additional 27 yards and a touchdown.
Alshon Jeffery: Chicago Bears
After a two-week absence–and missing six out of his last seven games—Jeffery returned to relevance by registering three receptions for 57 yards and a touchdown on Sunday vs. the Vikings.
Vick Ballard: Indianapolis Colts
With Donald Brown out, Ballard is making his case to be the led back in Indianapolis. Ballard was solid once again on Sunday against the Titans, running for 94 yards on 17 carries.
Josh Gordon: Cleveland Brown
Gordon is continuing to cap off an impressive rookie season. On Sunday vs. the Chiefs, Gordon racked up 86 yards on eight catches.
Robert Turbin: Seattle Seahawks
Filling in for Marshawn Lynch in the second half of the Seahawks’ bludgeoning of the Cardinals was Turbin. Turbin gave the Seahawks a pair of 100-yard rushers on the day, as he ran for 108 yards on 20 carries. As long as Lynch stays healthy though, the value of Turbin is limited.
David Wilson: New York Giants
Exploding on the scene in a major way on Sunday was Wilson. Wilson broke the Giants record for all-purpose yards (with a whopping 227 on kickoff returns), and was a boon in giving life to a stale Giants’ running game. Against the Saints on Sunday, Wilson rushed for 100 yards and two touchdowns. Although he will play second-fiddle to Ahmad Bradshaw, Wilson will be sure to get more touches going forward with the day he just had.
Joseph Morgan: New Orleans Saints
There is no disputing the fact that Morgan is fantastic deep threat. Morgan is slowly starting to earn the trust of Drew Brees and on Sunday he had perhaps his best day of the season by hauling in two catches for 106 yards.
Injuries of impact
Dez Bryant: Dallas Cowboys
There is a chance that Bryant could miss the rest of the season with a broken finger.
Dwayne Bowe: Kansas City Chiefs
Bowe’s disappointing season is now likely over after he broke his ribs on Sunday.
Brandon Pettigrew: Detroit Lions
An ankle injury forced Pettigrew out of Sunday’s game vs. the Packers and his availability for this week’s game is in doubt.
Fred Jackson: Buffalo Bills
Jackson’s up and down season is now over after he suffered a Grade 2 knee sprain.
Jay Cutler: Chicago Bears
Once again, Cutler was knocked out of a game; this time with an apparent neck injury. Cutler said he will most likely play on Sunday against the Packers, though.
Robert Griffin III: Washington Redskins
If you saw the hit Griffin III took on his knee on Sunday and how much pain he was in, you would think there would be no chance he would play this weekend. However, Griffin III is being listed as day-to-day and his knee injury is being treated as a bad sprain, as there is no structural damage.
Breakouts of note (waiver wire material)
Donte’ Stallworth: New England Patriots
Take Stallworth’s performance (one catch for 63 yards and a touchdown) with a huge grain of salt, as Stallworth (who just showed up this week) will have to contend with many other options in the Pats’ passing game going forward.
Brandon Gibson: St. Louis Rams
This late in the season you’d be taking a big leap of faith by trusting Gibson. That being said, he looked good on Sunday against the Bills, registering six catches for 100 yards and a touchdown.
Jason Avant: Philadelphia Eagles
With the Eagles down DeSean Jackson, someone has to step up opposite Jeremy Maclin. Avant is a savvy veteran who could fill those shoes. Avant stepped up to the plate big time on Sunday against the Buccaneers, as he recorded seven receptions for 133 yards.
Montell Owens: Jacksonville Jaguars
Someone has to run the ball for the Jags. By default, that would be Owens. It’s not like Owens was stinking it up against the Jets on Sunday; quite the contrary. Owens was good for 91 yards and a touchdown.
Anthony McCoy: Seattle Seahawks
McCoy definitely made the most of his time in Sunday’s trouncing of the Cardinals. McCoy reeled in three catches (on three targets) for 105 yards. However, track history suggests games like this are an aberration, as McCoy is not one for consistency.
Other interesting tidbits to chew on: I guess New England made a statement on Monday Night…Where have you gone Vernon Davis?…Here’s an interesting paradox: Larry Fitzgerald may very well be a top-3 wide receiver in the NFL, but he is barely even a top 40 or 50 receiver for fantasy purposes. Man, I feel for Fitzgerald, as his quarterback play is rendering him useless. Fitzgerald was targeted 11 times on Sunday, but he could only record one reception for two measly yards. Tsk, tsk…Mark Ingram received 13 carries in the Saints’ loss to the Giants. Those 13 carries were three more than what Darren Sproles and Pierre Thomas combined to carry for. So, maybe Ingram is distancing himself as the lead back in New Orleans…
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