As we wade into a 14th week of action, there are some nuggets that are too in-depth for the podcast, too long for Twitter and a little too short for the full column. Enjoy these Week 14 Quick Hits.
The Buffalo Bills and St. Louis Rams are suddenly DST forces. And they play each other this week. Over their last three games, the Rams have scored the second-most points and the Bills have scored the fifth-most among all DSTs (on the season, the Rams rank 15th and the Bills are 17th). But the more dependable of the two defenses might be the Bills. Over the last three games, Buffalo has four interceptions, 10 sacks and have forced six fumbles. The Rams, meanwhile, got a tremendous boost from their Week 12 performance against the lowly Cardinals -- four interceptions and two defensive touchdowns. They've been getting steady sack numbers, as well -- eight in the last three -- but the Bills will have the advantage in Week 14, as Sam Bradford has been an easy target this year, being the third-most sacked quarterback in the NFL, while Fitzpatrick isn't even in the top 20.
Have a pass-catching running back? The teams that have given up the most receiving yards to opposing running backs this season are ...
New Orleans (52.17 receiving yards per game to RBs)
San Diego (49.67)
New England (48.83)
And their opponents in Week 14? Ahmad Bradshaw (24.7 receiving yards per game over his last three), Vick Ballard (9.3), Jonathan Dwyer (14.3), Arian Foster (15) and Michael Turner (6.7) -- although Jacquizz Rodgers has averaged 20.3 over his last three and Jason Snelling has caught an average of three passes for 28.7 yards per game over his last three, as well.
It seems like Bradshaw could see a decent bump in value, especially in PPR leagues, as New Orleans -- permissive in essentially every defensive measure -- is very bad at containing pass-catching RBs. In deeper leagues, Rodgers and Snelling -- and it should be stressed, we're talking 18-team-ish leagues here -- could see some success against Carolina
The flip side to this? The teams who have allowed the fewest receiving yards to RBs:
Pittsburgh (19.17 receiving yards per game to RBs)
Mathews already faced a tough task going against the Steelers defense, but whatever value Mathews may have left -- and it isn't much, based on his average rank of 30 among RBs in our rankings -- could have come from his ability to catch passes (he's been targeted 17 times in the last three weeks, fourth among RBs). But with Pittsburgh being the hardest on pass-catching RBs, as well as allowing the fifth-fewest Fantasy points to opposing running backs overall, Week 14 does not look especially good for Mathews.
More running back fun! In the last three games, Steven Jackson (268 yards) and Shonn Greene (239 yards) are both in the top 10 among rushing leaders. Jackson is also ninth in receiving yards among running backs over the last three. In fact, since St. Louis' Week 9 bye, Steven Jackson has gained 100 total yards in three of four games. He's been a different player since the bye:
In the first eight weeks, Jackson had 20 carries once.
In the last four weeks, Jackson had 20 carries three times
In the first eight weeks, Jackson's high in catches was four and his yardage high was 31.
In the last four weeks, Jackson's high in catches was five and his yardage high was 69.
Jackson has 195 carries this season and has yet to fumble.
In the first eight weeks, Jackson had 10 or more Fantasy points once.
In the last four weeks, Jackson had 10 or more Fantasy points three times.
If consistency is what you seek ... Then here's a fun exercise in how many players have been able to maintain decent Fantasy scoring levels the last several weeks:
Running backs: In Week 12, 29 running backs scored in double-digit Fantasy points. Fifteen repeated the feat in Week 13. Only five backs (BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Trent Richardson, Mikel Leshoure, C.J. Spiller and Jamaal Charles) have scored double-digits in Weeks 11, 12 and 13. And only Charles and Spiller have gone double-digits in the last four weeks.
Wide receivers: In Week 12, 25 wide receivers scored in double-digits. Six repeated the feat in Week 13. Only four receivers (Dez Bryant, Calvin Johnson, Cecil Shorts and Demaryius Thomas) hit double-digits in Weeks 11-13. And all four actually extended the streak back to Week 10. Only Johnson can go back to Week 9, though, and point to five straight weeks of double-digit Fantasy production.
Tight ends: Six tight ends hit double-digits in Week 12, so we're going to expand the cut-off to eight points -- 14 tight ends managed eight or more points. Only two tight ends (Kyle Rudolph and Jacob Tamme) managed to hit the eight-point mark in Week 13. And neither extended that to a third week. If we make the cut-off six points, though, Jermaine Gresham has hit that mark five weeks in a row and Dallas Clark has done it four weeks in a row.
You want a kicker fact? Here's a nice one: the Jaguars have given up the most Fantasy points to kickers this year, including an average of 11.3 over the last four games. Facing the Jags this week? Nick Folk, who scored one point in Week 13. It's a risky proposition, but the Jags have been especially permissive to kickers, both recently and overall this season, meaning Folk -- despite being out of the top 24 at his position in Fantasy points -- could be lined up for a decent game. Deep league players may want to take note.
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