By Neil Dutton, Lead Fantasy Football Writer
If failure is ever treated as acceptable, it would instantly become expectable.
This is true of many things in life, but especially fantasy football. We are staring down the barrel of the Playoffs here, and need all parts of our engine to fire. Sadly, some of the parts have broken down, and may leave us stranded by the side of the road, instead of motoring to post season success. I take a look at six sinners from the week that was Week 14, and wonder where it all went wrong.
Fantasy points are, as always, based on NFL.com standard scoring.
Matt Ryan (owned in 91.5% of all NFL.com fantasy leagues) 3.37 Fantasy Points
Sunday was just another day at the office for the Carolina Panthers, and just another bad day down the pit for Ryan and the Falcons. He was held to 224 passing yards in the 38-0 shutout, generously offering an interception to his hosts. Ryan has been held under 300 yards passing in each of his last four games, and has just five touchdowns against seven picks. He is stuck in reverse, and his poor form is taking Julio Jones down with him. Thanks, “Ice Man”.
C.J. Spiller (73.4%) 0.90 FP
This number was the most staggering of all that I observed this weekend. WHY, oh why, do so many people still have Spiller on their rosters? It’s not 2012, get over it people. If you can’t beat out a washed up re-tread in Tim Hightower for prominence in the Saints backfield, it’s probably time to go. Cut him loose people, it’s never going to happen.
Danny Woodhead (90.0%) 1.30 FP
A fantasy darling earlier in the year, Woodhead has gone over the cliff with the rest of the Chargers offense. He was targeted in the end zone on the last play of Sunday’s laugher against the Chiefs, but it was entirely in keeping with his current trot that he couldn’t reel it in. Always more of small wide receiver out of the backfield than a pure runner, Woodhead toted the rock just three times for five yards, and hasn’t scored a rushing touchdown since the season’s opening weekend. His last receiving score came way back in Week 9. He may enjoy more success next week against a Dolphins defense bleeding fantasy points to running backs, but he’s a hard start at present.
Vincent Jackson (79.0%) 0.50 FP
VJax saw just one target, that he secured for five yards, before leaving the action with an injury to his knee. There is early speculation that it could be an aggravation of the same injury that caused him to miss so much time earlier this campaign. Some may excuse injury when numbers are posted as low as this. I am not one of those. Jackson had topped 10 fantasy points just once in the five games prior to Sunday, despite appearing to be developing a workable chemistry with his rookie quarterback Jameis Winston. It’s always nice to have a mentor out there, but maybe you could have thrown him the ball a bit more.
Dez Bryant (98.4%) 0.90 FP
Yes, the Cowboys are being piloted by a below standard starting quarterback. But players who are amongst the highest paid of their position, and such an important position as receiver, should be able to help lift an awful supporting cast to somewhere approaching mediocrity. Diva Dez has done no such thing. He secured one of his five targets for a paltry nine yards against the Packers, and also tipped one of those looks in the end zone allowing an interception. Dez has battled injury himself, of course, but he looks nowhere close to being the dynamic playmaker and team leader the Cowboys no doubt thought (hoped?) a huge contact would turn him into. He’s teetering on the brink of losing WR2 status. I could certainly name at least 15 wide receivers I’d rather have heading into the fantasy playoffs.
Charles Clay (72.9%) 0.90 FP
After a number inflating, game winning score in Week 13, Clay and the Bills came up against an Eagles defense that has not allowed opposition tight ends to enjoy themselves too much, even during the recent poor run of results. Clay was targeted twice by Tyrod Taylor, reeling in one of those for a nine yard catch, before he was forced from the game with injury. The preseason recruit from Miami looked like a potential lower round star earlier in the season, but the success enjoyed by LeSean McCoy and Sammy Watkins has marginalised Clay. If he even shrugs off this latest injury, he’s not a recommended start.