100 yard bonuses were tough to come by for the running back (RB) position this week. Heading into the week, I commented on how ugly the position felt and only five players eclipsed the triple-digit yardage plateau: Isaiah Crowell, Todd Gurley, Eddie Lacy, Darren McFadden and Chris Ivory (kudos if you rostered any of them other than Gurley in cash games). This week was simply further proof that the NFL has turned into a passing league and justifies why FantasyDraft consistently prices RBs cheaper than wide receivers (WRs)…because pass catchers simply possess more upside. Many teams are in must-win situations at this point and if they cannot establish the run, such as the Jacksonville Jaguars (after T.J. Yeldon’s injury), resort to slinging the ball all over the field. 19 players scored at least one rushing touchdown (TD) while 33 caught at least one receiving TD. In future weeks, assuming you cannot decide between a RB and WR, the WR should almost always win out unless there are some extenuating circumstances.
Here are other observations I had watching an eventful week number 14:
Aaron Rodgers, Packers – Mediocrity continues for Aaron Rodgers this season as he failed to throw more than two TDs for the 0th time this season. In other words, Rodgers has only thrown for three-plus TDs in three of his 13 games played this season. Last season it only took Rodgers six games to produce his fourth game of three-plus TDs which is an accurate depiction of the contrast of 2014 and 2015 Rodgers. 19, count them 19, QBs have thrown for more yards per game this season than Rodgers. He headed into the week tied for fourth in passing TDs but they clearly have come from three monster games. Otherwise, he legitimately has produced as an average to below average QB. He continues to cost high-end QB1 prices but he’s hardly ever delivering. It’s time to just admit that 2015 just isn’t Rodgers’ year and rostering him is not a smart idea.
Tim Hightower, Saints – 29 year old NFL journeyman Tim Hightower is once again the lead back on an NFL team. For whatever reason C.J. Spiller just can never earn his fair share in any situation because he has yet again been surpassed on a depth chart by an inferior veteran back. This is the last straw; it’s time to throw in the red flag on Spiller’s career. If he cannot receive the lion’s share of carries competing against Hightower then it’s never going to happen for him. It took Hightower 28 carries to register a measly 85 rushing yards (3.0 yards per carry (YPC)) but I’m still throwing in the white flag on Spiller. Hightower scored the TD, Hightower led the team in carries and yardage so eff it, Hightower is the back to own and roster moving forward in the Saints’ puzzling backfield.
Doug Baldwin, Seahawks – From zero to hero: the Doug Baldwin story. Acting as nothing more than a role player for the Seahawks’ first 10 games registering three total TDs, Baldwin has now scored eight TDs in the last three games. E-I-G-H-T. By comparison, Tyler Eifert leads the NFL in receiving TDs with 12 total and his best three game stretch combined totaled four TDs. Maybe it was the injury to Jimmy Graham or maybe it’s the fact that Russell Wilson is just breaking out of his early season slump, but Baldwin has morphed into a weekly cash option. What goes up must come down but Wilson spreads the ball around meaning defenses cannot key in on Baldwin nor does his skill set really substantiate doubling him. While I don’t expect him to continue this torrid pace, it appears all the doubts of this recent two game outburst being an outlier were unwarranted.
Nelson Agholor, Eagles – Welcome the big leagues, Nelson Agholor. It only took him until the 14th week of his rookie season but he finally found the end zone for the first time in his young career. Agholor’s score does not yet catapult him onto the fantasy radar but it’s clear he has a bright future due to his skill set. Unfortunately Coach Chip Kelly is not long for his gym and he’ll likely be out as Eagles head coach at the end of the season. Jordan Matthews has spent his 2015 campaign dropping passes so it’s plausible the Eagles give him a shot to prove he has the ability of a true number one wide receiver (WR) at the NFL level before this season is over. He’s a player who should be firmly supplanted on your radar but tread with caution because his three receptions in week 14 still only gave him 16 for the season on 29 total targets.
Travis Kelce, Chiefs – At this point I am just talking to myself because I actually cannot convince myself to stop using this guy. With a legitimate QB at this disposal, Travis Kelce could produce a Tyler Eifert-esque season yet he’s stuck with game manager Alex Smith and Coach Andy Reid who does not call enough plays for the guy considering how talented he is. Heading into this week, the San Diego Chargers had allowed the seventh most fantasy points to the tight end (TE) position yet Kelce did not catch a pass through the first three quarters. He hauled in three passes in the fourth quarter as if the light had just clicked on in Coach Reid’s head that “oh yeah, I have this beast at my disposal.” The Chiefs still pulled off the victory but it’s clear the Chiefs just will not unleash this guy as they should. Due to the inconsistent nature of the offense, Kelce should be removed from cash consideration moving forward as he could easily register one catch for 12 yards in any given game.