Monday Morning Takeaway – Week 15

Cincinnati 34, Philadelphia 13


Ben Jarvis Green-Ellis put together a workman like performance on Thursday Night as he was handed the rock 25 times for 106 yards including the first touchdown of the game. Amongst fantasy football’s low end RB1, the Law Firm should be relegated to mid / lower RB2 next week heading to face the daunting Steelers rush defense in a must win situation.

In spite of the score, Andy Dalton has regressed over the past three weeks, thus hindering fantasy owners who thought they had unearthed a solid fantasy sleeper. In this game the second year signal caller struggled to accumulate a meager 127 yards and one touchdown pass. Up next for Dalton is stiff Pittsburgh pass defense. Hopefully you have better options.


Nick Foles is yet another rookie quarterback developing before our very eyes. However the production of the Philly passing game was severely hindered by seven Eagles turnovers. By game’s end Jeremy Maclin had emerged as the team’s leading wide receiver with 74 yards. Hard to rely on these paltry numbers with a fantasy championship in the balance.

So much for plug and play status of rookie Bryce Brown. In this game Brown contributed to the turnover woes of the Eagles with a fumble of his own that resulted in Bengals TD. With LeSean McCoy likely returning for the next two games, Brown will be relegated to a secondary role.


New York 0, Atlanta 34


Getting run out of the building by the Falcons, Eli Manning did his best disappearing act throwing for an alarming 161 yards capped off by two interceptions and zero touchdowns. On the plus side, Manning has a favorable matchup forthcoming against the Baltimore Ravens, if you survived this week’s debacle.

Taking his first start at running back, David Wilson looked awesome early in this game picking up 44 yards on his first five carries. For some reason the Giants didn’t trust the rookie in a full time role as newly signed Kregg Lumpkin nearly matched Wilson’s rushing attempts. Further inhibiting Wilson’s outing was the Giants falling behind 24-0 in the early third quarter. Wilson’s week 16 status is contingent on Ahmad Bradshaw’s return.


For the Falcons, this was a statement game as Matt Ryan delivered in a blowout tossing three touchdowns. It was also encouraging to see the Falcons keep their foot on the throttle despite a route of the Giants. Owners of Falcon’s players can rest easy as Atlanta still need one more victory before clinching home field throughout the playoffs and resting their starters.

Michael Turner is a risky start every week due to his high dependency on touchdowns. However, we can’t argue with production as he just keeps doing it. Turner is a plug and pray in fantasy lineups next week against Detroit.


Green Bay 21, Chicago 13


With Greg Jennings locked down by Charles Tillman, it was James Jones prospering with three touchdowns along with Randell Cobb’s 115 yards. Jones has been a conundrum all season with very sporadic production. Do not feel bad if you sat him this week, and I wouldn’t blame you for sitting him next week.

Alex Green is the lead ball carrier in the Green Bay backfield with 13 rushing attempts. However, the RBBC is alive and well as Ryan Grant, DuJuan Harris and John Kuhn all took carries. No Packers runner is recommended.


Brandon Marshall is a man. Need proof, go ahead and youtube his stiff arm of Packers cornerback Casey Heyward before waltzing into the endzone. Marshall was then put on lock down the rest of the game as the Bears struggled to maintain drives, while Cutler struggled to stay upright.

Matt Forte proves he is a solid RB1 value when the Bears are absent Michael Bush. A plus matchup forthcoming with the Arizona Cardinals, Forte is a solid RB1 so long as Bush remains hobbled.


Washington 38, Cleveland 21


Minus dynamic playmaker Robert Griffin III, the Redskins turned to fellow rookie Kurt Cousins to lead the team The eighth rookie quarterback to start a game this season (don’t forget about Ryan Lindley), Cousins was beyond impressive in a must win completing 26 of 37 passes for 329 yards and two touchdowns, both landing in the hands of Leonard Hankerson.

Although Pierre Garcon was held in check by shutdown cornerback Joe Haden, on the plus side he was targeted a team high 12 times. A positive sign for Garcon owners should Griffin miss next week’s matchup at Philadelphia.


Trent Richardson looks to losing steam as the rookie may have hit the wall averaging under 4.0 yards per carry for five straight weeks. He did score twice in this matchup from inside the five. Temper your expectations as goal line looks will be hard to come by next week facing Denver.

The Cleveland passing game went stagnant for much of this game as the Redskins held quarterback Brandon Weeden to 244 yards and one touchdown while forcing two interceptions. Facing Denver’s 13th ranked pass defense next week, it’s best to sit everyone in a Browns jersey not named Trent Richardson.


Minnesota 36, St. Louis 22


As always we type one name in this space every week, Adrian Peterson. He’s nothing short of amazing, putting the Vikings entire team on his back and having them squarely in playoff contention. Peterson gets my vote for MVP.


Sam Bradford started the game slow terrible pick six to a defensive linemen underneath. He did pick things up as the Rams fell behind finishing the day with a league best 377 passing yards and three touchdowns.

Danny Amendola is a near must start when healthy. He proved that once again hauling in six of his 12 targets for 58 yards and a touchdown. Beyond Amendola (high WR3), it’s hard to know which Rams receiving threat to trust anymore.


Jacksonville 3, Miami 24


Despite the struggles of quarterback Chad Henne (221 yards, zero touchdowns), both Justin Blackmon (six receptions, 93 yards) and Cecil Shorts (six receptions, 101 yards) had a solid fantasy outing. Blackmon’s day could have went beast mode after a would be touchdown called back by penalty. New England will be visiting Jacksonville next week relegating Shorts to a mid WR3 with Blackmon a low end WR3.

Montell Owens received his second straight start in the Jags backfield. Owens had a respectable 11 rushes for 47 yards. Hindering Owens production was a strong Miami rush defense along with the Jags forced into a aerial attack after falling behind. Up next is the Patriots in a game that should once again relegate Owens as mid RB3.



After a full blown RBBC for much of the season, Reggie Bush has inexplicably taken control of this Fins rushing attack over the past two weeks. Against the Jags, Bush capitalized on his 21 rushes for 104 yards highlighted by a 53 yard gallop. With Daniel Thomas suddenly excluded from the Dolphins game plan, Bush is finally living up to his RB2 status and will retain such value next week against Buffalo.


Tampa Bay 41, New Orleans 0


Holy blowout Batman! A mess, a disaster, a travesty; all words that can be used to describe Josh Freeman and the Bucs offense of late. With New Orleans jumping out to a quick 17-0 lead, the Bucs were pushed into a one dimensional attack as the Saints squashed the Bucs with four interceptions and one fumble recovery. Freeman’s inefficiencies with the football killed the fantasy value of all Tampa Bay players, especially Doug Martin who ended the day with 16 yards on nine carries in what was touted as a plus matchup (ouch). Further inhibiting the Muscle Hamster were the Saints taking a page out of the Broncos playbook loading up the box with eight defenders. Nothing we can do as Martin is a must start RB1 every week.


From the word “go” it was clear the game plan was to get Darren Sproles the ball early and often as the scatback had 10 touches for 43 yards and one touchdown. Sproles has proven to be a solid RB2.

Mark Ingram had a surprise game delivering 90 yards rushing capped off by a game ending 11 yard touchdown. With a banged and battered Dallas defensive line up next, Ingram suddenly has very low end RB2 status should you need assistance.


Denver 34, Baltimore 17


The Broncos proved too much for the Ravens in all three phases. The only shift in power from the Broncos offense was resurgence of Eric Decker along with the regressions of Demaryius Thomas. Thomas owners need not worry as it was just that kind of day.


So much for the firing of Cam Cameron jump starting Ray Rice and the Baltimore offense. Rice was held in check by the Broncos defense, further limited by the Ravens falling behind quickly out of the gate going into a pass heavy comeback mode. Joe Flacco didn’t help matters fumbling early in the game then throwing pick-six at the goal line minutes before half. I’d love to see a replay of Flacco calling himself a top five quarterback.

Dennis Pitta did show up in junk time pulling down 125 yards and two touchdowns with the game out of reach. Pitta’s recent surge is the benefit of Dennis Dickson’s absence as the Baltimore tight end would be a lower TE1 facing the Giants next week.

It’s worth noting that Torrey Smith was forced out of the game after sustaining a concussion. The league mandated concussion protocol will require a series of test before allowing him to return next week. Make sure to watch those practice reports.


Indianapolis 17, Houston 29


Early in the game the Colts were content utilizing an RBBC giving the newly resigned Mewelde Moore most of the carries in their second possession. Moore ended the drive with a critical fumble at the goal line.  Ballard was then given the load the rest of the way proving he is a solid fantasy producer accumulating 105 yards on 18 carries against the leagues number one ranked rush defense. Hopefully the Colts learned their lesson as Ballard warrants mid RB2 starter consideration next week facing Kansas City.

As for the Colts passing game, after getting embarrassed on Monday Night the Texans came to play limiting Andrew Luck to 186 yards passing and two touchdowns. We should note 61 of those yards came on a touchdown pass to TY Hilton taking advantage of busted coverage. Otherwise, a very slow outing.


You know the drill. Andre Johnson and Arian Foster. But what about Owen Daniels you ask? He’s certainly fallen off of late with one touchdown over the past five games and only topping six fantasy points once in that same stretch. The Texans simply aren’t using Daniels down the seam, while the red zone looks have dried up. However, averaging just over seven targets per game puts Daniels in the lower TE1 range. He’s only worth sitting if you have a much better option.


Seattle 50, Buffalo 17


My name is Russell Wilson and I’m here to stay. Ok, so his game was a bit fluky, but fantasy owners who went out on a limb and started the rookie in a plus matchup won’t complain. Up next is the real test as the mighty 49ers roll into the Emerald City. Only Marshawn Lynch will receive starter consideration for the Seattle offense.

Can you say, beat down? This isn’t your daddy’s Seattle DST as the ball Hawks from the Pacific Northwest have scored three touchdowns in the past two games. We could be looking at a good ole fashion slugfest next week leading to defensive production.


CJ Spiller proved that when given the load it doesn’t matter which defense he’s playing. Squared off against the eighth ranked Seattle rush defense, Spiller racked up 103 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries. With Fred Jackson gone for the season, Spiller is a must start solid RB1 regardless of matchup.


Detroit 10, Arizona 38


This was an ugly game from Mathew Stafford capped off by three critical interceptions, including two that were returned for touchdowns. In the do or die fantasy playoffs, games like this can sink a fantasy team. Hopefully you survived one of the day’s biggest stink bombs.

So much for the increased role of Tony Scheffler with Brandon Pettigrew now absent. Despite 50 pass attempts from Stafford, Detroit’s newest starting tight end was targeted just seven times. He could have helped the cause had he not dropped a 30 yard pass in the fourth quarter. In what should be a track meet against Atlanta next weekend, and  playing on the league’s most pass heavy offense,, Scheffler still has intriguing low TE1 appeal


Raise your hand if you had Beanie Wells scoring three touchdowns in this game? Keep your hand up if you had the Arizona defense scoring two touchdowns. That’s how weird this game was. Unfortunately the Cards will face the Bears next week as Wells remains a low end RB3.


Carolina 31, San Diego 7


This game was all Carolina as the Panthers dominated time of possession managing the clock and shutting down the Chargers offense.

For the first time all season Carolina handed one running back the football 20+ times as DeAngelo Williams prospered with 144 yards and a touchdown on 24 touches. His day could have been much better had Mike Tolbert not stolen two short yardage touchdowns. Playing the Raiders 28th ranked rush defense breathes life into the fantasy value of D-Will. However, his lack of red zone touches still makes him low end desperation RB2 if you lack options.


A week after dismantling the dominant Steelers defense, the banged and battered Chargers offensive line was exposed as Phillip Rivers was held to 121 yards and one touchdown. As goes Rivers, so goes the rest of the receiving core as the lone score was hauled in by Antonio Gates in junk time. Traveling to face the fifth ranked Jets pass defense next week will be discouraging for all members of the San Diego passing game.

If you’re wondering why the reduced role for Ryan Mathews, it’s been reported that he sustained a broken collar bone on his right side in the early second quarter. Mathews bust season has officially come to a close.


Pittsburgh 24, Dallas 27


Early in the season Jonathan Dwyer was running with patience, fluidity and power. After being named the Steelers lead running back, Dwyer () has struggled by pressing the point of attack while trying to force the issue. That was no more evident than his nine rushes for 22 yards and one touchdown against a hobbled Dallas front line. With a respectable Bengals rush defense up next, Dwyer is a risky mid / high RB3.

Mike Wallace, Antonio Brown and Heath Miller have all proven effective over the past two games with Ben Roethlisberger back in the starting lineup. Wallace and Miller are near must starts while Brown is a lower WR3.


Finger issues had fantasy owners of Dez Bryant running to the waiver wire in search of a warm body. With Bryant ruled active, he was a plug and pray option, but delivered a solid 59 yards and one touchdown for owners ballsy enough to leave him in the lineup. Exiting this game with no repercussions is a positive sign as Bryant will be a must start facing the 30th ranked New Orleans pass defense next weekend.

With Dez ailing it was Miles Austin returning this 2010 role as the Boys lead wide receiver hauling in seven of 10 targets for 79 yards. He too is a must start next week in a favorable matchup.

DeMarco Murray proved that defensive matchups can be overrated as he pieced together a solid outing including 112 total yards and one touchdown against the leagues fifth best rush defense. Owners should be salivating over next matchup with a bottom of the barrel Saints rush defense next week.


Kansas City 0, Oakland 15


Yawn. In what should have been a great matchup for Jamal Charles facing the anemic Oakland defensive line turned out to be an absolute nightmare. Charles never gained traction putting up 28 yards on 12 touches. If you started Charles, odds are your cussing the fantasy Gods this morning.

It’s likely the Chiefs are spending their weekly preparation trying to decide who they’re going to select with the number one pick in the NFL draft.



As the Chiefs struggled to sustain drives, the Raiders leaned on the running game ripping through the Chiefs defense as Darren McFadden set a career high 34 touches for 145 yards. Mike Goodson also tacked on 103 yards on 14 touches. Up next is the 27th ranked Carolina Panthers making DMC a must start.

Where in the heck has Brandon Myers disappeared too? The number two ranked fantasy tight end between weeks 8-13, Myers has produced two fantasy points over the last two weeks. No longer a must start, Myers has fallen to the low end TE1 meaning we must weigh all options.


San Francisco 41, New England 34


Wait a second, isn’t San Francisco the league’s best defense? Colin Kaepernick has been on a tear since taking over the staring position in week 10 finding himself ranked ahead of solid players such as; Mathew Stafford, Matt Ryan and Peyton Manning. Kaepernick will get his best challenge of the season facing the 2nd ranked Seattle pass defense. Given his abiliaties as a duel threat, Kaepernick will rank amongst the low end QB1.

Topping nine fantasy points in six of the past seven games, Michael Crabtree ranks seventh in fantasy point production since week eight. That was no more evident than Sunday Night when Crabtree hauled in seven passes for 107 yards and two touchdowns. Likely to be pitted against Seattle’s cornerback Richard Sherman next week, Crabtree should still be considered a low end WR2, a near must start.


Steven Ridley killed fantasy owners with two critical fumbles finding himself in Belichick’s doghouse for the remainder of the game. In Ridley’s place stepped Danny Woodhead carrying the load for the Patriots resulting in 17 touches for 84 yards and one touchdown. With the 31st ranked Jags rush defense up next, hopefully Ridley can regain the coaches trust and resume his role as a high end RB2.

Brandon Lloyd has become a target monster these past two games. Averaging 4.6 targets per game between weeks 8 thru 13, Lloyd was targeted nine times facing the Texans in week 14, and a whopping 16 times on Sunday against the Niners. What do we make of these developments now facing the Jags? I see Lloyd as a mid RB3.

About Eric Hartvigson