Now that all but the Monday night game has been played, it is time for a weekly look at the top performers from the games on Sunday, and on Thursday. After going over my thoughts, I will select a few other players who either performed above expectations, or maybe have you questioning whether you should continue starting him or not.
The goal of this article is to highlight those top guys, and if you can expect similar performances in the future. If you can’t though, I will detail what you should do with that player, and what expectations are going forward. Because some of you reading this may be out of the playoffs now, I will add a little bit on some players for what to expect in 2017 from them. Let’s get right into the top performers from week 14.
QB - Aaron Rodgers 246 Passing Yards, 3 TD’s, 21 Fantasy Points
Once again I am writing about Aaron Rodgers. He just seems to be constantly in the top 3 at his position week in and week out. Even with an injury that is clearly hurting him, Rodgers is fighting through it and putting up great numbers. He is the most trustworthy QB the rest of the way due to this. Next year he should be drafted as a top 3 QB.
QB - Matt Ryan 237 Passing Yards, 3 TD’s, 21 Fantasy Points
Yeah it wasn’t a great week for the QB position. After getting out to that strong start he has been all over the place lately. While his floor isn’t as low as some other top QB’s, his ceiling is capped by the run game. As of right now for next year Ryan is a top 10 QB for me, and depending on how he finishes the year will dictate how high in my top 10.
RB - Le’Veon Bell 38 Carries for 236 Yards and 3 TD’s, 4 Receptions for 62 Yards, 47 Fantasy Points
I guess Bell was a little tired of me talking about Ezekiel Elliott and David Johnson as the top backs for fantasy the past few weeks. Bell with this effort has now made it a three horse race to see who finishes as the top back on a per game basis to end the season. For 2017, his ranking will vary based on whether the Steelers resign him or not. If he is on the Steelers, Bell is going to be in the conversation for the top pick with Elliott and Johnson.
RB - Bilal Powell 29 Carries for 145 Yards and 2 TD’s, 5 Receptions for 34 yards, 29 Fantasy Points
Well we always expect a back to put up big numbers against the 49ers, but I did not think it would end up being Powell this week. After an injury early in the game to Forte, Powell was inserted as the lead back going up against a weak 49ers defense. Powell is an automatic add in all leagues at this point, however I don’t think he will have anymore games of over 100 yards even if Forte is out. The defenses he has to face the next three weeks are decent and look like stars compared to the 49ers.
RB - Carlos Hyde 17 Carries for 193 Yards, 1 Reception for 7 Yards and 1 TD, 25 Fantasy Points
This is just the second time all year that Hyde has rushed for over 100 yards in a game. The expectation that Hyde in a Chip Kelly offense would lend itself towards a Hyde breakout season just hasn’t come to fruition. He has yet to rush for a TD since week 5. Usually the inclusion of a running QB like Kaepernick helps out RB’s, but that just hasn’t been the case here. We need to see who his coach and QB are next year before making any conclusions about what Hyde’s value is. Currently he would be around the top 20 for me, but again that will change once we have more information.
WR - T.Y. Hilton 13 Targets, 9 Receptions for 115 Yards and 1 TD, 17 Fantasy Points
With Donte Moncrief once again getting hurt, Hilton took the extra looks and put up a very nice performance. When Moncrief is out, Hilton becomes a top 10 receiver as he will get a large volume of targets. What that does is raise his floor. Going into 2017 I see Hilton being a top 12 receiver that may creep into my top 10.
WR - J.J. Nelson 2 Targets, 1 Reception for 8 Yards and 1 TD, 1 Rush for 56 Yards and 1 TD, 17 Fantasy Points
You fooled me once Nelson into thinking you might actually become something in the Cardinals offense. The fact that you only touched the ball 2 times and were targted only twice all game shows me how far you have fallen. Sure you have the speed to do something like this every once in awhile, but to buy in again would be foolish. You can safely ignore. If the WR corps in Arizona starts to thin out this offseason, then we may be seeing Nelson as a sleeper heading into 2017.
TE - Tyler Eifert 6 Targets, 5 Receptions for 48 Yards and 2 TD’s, 16 Fantasy Points
Another game without A.J. Green and another game where Eifert scores. This is going to continue to happen, and that alone makes him a top 5 TE the rest of the way with Jordan Reed, Travis Kelce, Greg Olsen, and Jimmy Graham. Next year I would be looking to draft Eifert as either the third or fourth TE as he and Travis Kelce are neck and neck right now.
TE - Kyle Rudolph 8 Targets, 4 Receptions for 60 Yards and 1 TD, 12 Fantasy Points
Rudolph is apart of that TE class that you keep starting because of the increased chance of a TD. This week it finally paid off as he scored for the first time since week 10. It is tough to say if he will score again the rest of the way, but you have to keep starting him because the alternatives really are not any better.
This is the part of the article where I usually talk in depth about three other players, but this week I am going to change it up. Instead I will just be going through the players that let there fantasy owners down with some real dud performances.
Drew Brees was perhaps the biggest disappointment as he was supposed to be in a shootout but instead it turns out he decided he doesn’t know how to run an offense for the second straight week. He has combined for 11 points the last three weeks. Even in a single week that would be a terrible outing for him. With him only scoring 7 and 4 points the last two weeks I can bet that this is the guy most owners are upset with. Hopefully you had a guy like Le’Veon Bell as well on your team to help balance it out, but rarely does it ever work like that.
If we are counting injuries, the injuries to Melvin Gordon and Matt Forte were real killers this week. Both guys got hurt so early in the game that they both failed to put up any fantasy points. Forte especially is disappointing because of his great matchup against the 49ers.
Going back to the Saints game, Mike Evans failed to score even 5 fantasy points for the first time this year. Again the game was supposed to be high scoring and I thought Evans was as good as it got for the week next to Antonio Brown.
Again if injuries count, the late scratch of Julio Jones had to leave a lot of owners in a frenzy an hour before the late game kickoff. The fact that it was a late afternoon game made the inactive status worse as you had far less options available to use to replace him. Hopefully you were able to replace him with a Taylor Gabriel, but nonetheless, it was a tough pill to swallow.
Good luck to those of you that advanced. Next week I will be adding to the article my list of breakout candidates for the 2017 season, so there will be something for people who have been knocked out of the playoffs.