People say you can’t learn anything this late in the season. I say people are wrong. Why, just look at this past week. Personally, I learned it’s a bad idea to back up a cold weather QB (Jay Cutler) with another cold weather QB (Ben Roethlisberger). I learned that when a team promotes the former RB coach to interim head coach, that’s a good thing for the running back (Knowshon Moreno), and a crap-your-pants awful thing for the quarterback (Neckbeard). I also learned Adrian Peterson got the nickname “All Day” because he runs like a mopey tween girl in gym class during night games (seriously, check out his day/night splits). Most importantly, I learned sometimes seasons are lost because an opposing owner decided to blindly pick-up Jay Feely four minutes before kickoff.

If your fantasy footballing came to a premature end because of one of the above reasons, or another of the myriad of unfortunate happenings this past week, I feel your pain, and I agree you were perfectly justified in sending a 2,000 word e-mail announcing your formal “retirement” to your league mates. The whole bed sheet tied to the ceiling fan thing was a bit too far, though.

Other Week 14 Indigestions (with a look ahead)…

-Getting targeted was never a problem for Pepe Garcon — he’s seen at least seven in every game — it was his ability to successfully handle those targets that drove owners nuts. In the first seven games he caught just 47% of the balls directed at him, but after catching six of seven this past week, he’s now caught 19 of 22 targeted passes over the last three games. My calculator tells me that’s 86%. What my calculator doesn’t tell me is the reason for Garcon’s resurgent hands (stupid technology).

On a Reasonable Explanation Side Note: After suffering from hammy issues early in the year, Garcon finally has his “legs under him,” which no doubt makes a huge difference in his ability to break out of routes in a manner appropriate with Peyton Manning‘s greatness. In other words, the timing issues that plagued the two are now settled, and Pepe is in store for a monster game against a Jags secondary responsible for allowing 340 yards to Jason Campbell.

-I’m fairly certain not even Shaun Hill‘s wife has yearned for him as much Calvin Johnson owners are right now. Drew Stanton was abysmal, as expected, completing 11 passes for 117 yards with a touchdown and two picks against the Packers. The performance prompted Jim Schwartz to compare his QB to a “pitcher who couldn’t find the strike zone,” and as a result, ‘Tron caught just one pass. Stanton doesn’t completely kill the big fella’s value, the one completion was a 44-yard bomb, but unless Hill returns from his broken finger, Johnson has no chance of a playoff freakout, even against abusable secondaries like Tampa (Week 15) and Seattle (Week 16).

-In case you blacked out shortly after Aaron Rodgers was blacked out, Matt Flynn was terrible against a terrible Detroit secondary. He did hook up with Greg Jennings four times for 52 yards, and completed another four passes to tight end Andrew Quarless, but if he’s behind the controls against the Patriots this weekend, there’s not a single Packers pass-catcher I’d trust anywhere near my starting lineup.

-Since we’re talking awful backup quarterbacking, might as well mention how much damage Brodie Croyle did to the Kansas City offense. Coming into the game, the Chiefs offense was averaging 67 plays from scrimmage and controlling the ball 33 minutes per contest. Against the Chargers, they ran 37 plays and were on the field a grand total of 20 minutes. Of fantasy note — Jamaal Charles led the way with 49 yards on 12 touches, while Thomas Jones had one yard on three carries and Dwayne Bowe caught a single three-yard pass. If Matt Cassel can’t convince doctors he’d rather suffer internal bleeding than watch Croyle butcher his offense again, only Charles will warrant a start against St. Louis. And even then, you’ll probably end up disappointed.

-After giving the Lord of No Rings one final middle finger by sitting out the first two games upon his reinstatement, Vincent Jackson finally made himself useful on Sunday. More so to the Chargers than fantasy owners, but at this point, any kind of production is a positive. He finished with three touches — two catches and a 14-yard run — with all three of his handles coming within the first five minutes of the game, and all resulting in successful third down conversions. The Chargers got up big early, so his services weren’t necessary after the opening quarter, but Jackson stayed in the game, snagging a 37-yarder in the fourth quarter that was negated because of a penalty. If you’re playing against the guy who owns Philip Rivers, you have to roll with­ V-Jax Thursday night.

Ronnie Brown has been mostly irrelevant in rushing for 644 yards and three touchdowns this season, and his 55 yards on 16 carries last week against the Jets is nothing to get excited about, but the next two weeks could make the unfounded Brown love slightly founded. The Bills and Lions are the opposition, and with Chad Henne‘s recent ineptitude, the Dolphins are sure to stick to the ground against two of the leagues worst run stopping units. Brown’s seen an uptick in action of late, carrying it 56 times to Ricky Williams 40 in the last three games. The heavy workload combined with the penetrable upcoming defenses should equate to quality RB2 production the next two weeks, although I find it hard to fathom a fantasy championship involving Ronnie Brown.

-The Zach Attack is back! Not the band, unfortunately, although I hear they may play the halftime show at the Super Bowl. I’m talking about the tight end. Zach Miller. The one in Oakland. Miller had four catches for 68 yards against Jacksonville, and wasn’t seen noticeably limping for the first time in a month. Even better, he wasn’t relegated to blocking duties the majority of the game. With Darren McFadden at his unstoppable best, Miller was allowed to release from the line and roam the second-shelf, coming away with a pair of 20-plus yard catches. Two crappy run defenses (Denver and Indianapolis) round out the fantasy schedule, which means less blocking and more partying in the secondary for the healthy-enough Miller.

-When a talented rookie wideout completely freaks-out in Week 14, topping his previous career best in yards by 69, you have to ask yourself three questions: Was it a matchup issue? Was there flukiness involved? And did he impress enough to earn a continued role? In the case of Arrelious Benn, he was facing the Redskins 29th ranked unit, but he burnt the shizz out of DeAngelo Hall on a 64-yard go-route, and added a diving 43-yard grab on his way to four catches for 122 yards. He also picked up 17-yards on an end-around, further displaying his legitimacy in the offense. As for his continued role, OC Greg Olson said simply, “we need to find ways to get him the ball.”

-Okay, now I’m really confused – which one is Batman, again? I was certain Terrell Owens was cruising around in the Bat Mobile, while Chad Ochocinco was stuck wearing that gay Robin outfit, but now, I’m not so sure. Ocho had six catches for 71 yards on a team-high nine targets against the Steelers, the fourth time in the last five games he’s seen more love from Carson Palmer. Owens hauled in only one of the six passes thrown his way, and hasn’t topped 50 yards in three weeks, yet I’d still rather own him down the stretch. He’s been chirping incessantly this week about a lack of adjustments, and lamenting the fact he can’t throw the ball to himself. As we all know, the squawking bird gets the pellets in Cincy. Look for Batman, errr Robin, errr whatever you want to call Owens to resume his WR1 activities this weekend.

On a Money, Money, Money Side Note: Owens is only one touchdown away from earning a $333,333 bonus. He’s also 28 receptions and 317 yards away from another $666,666 (pay no attention to the consecutive sixes, it’s a purely coincidental number … as far as we know). As long as there are still dollar bills on the table, you can trust that T.O. will stay as hungry as a narcissistic lumberjack.

  1. Fletch says:
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    Zach Miller or Owen Daniels?

  2. drew crew says:
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    Jamaal charles or Knowshon in ppr. Also Need 2 out of Miles Austin, Earl Bennet, and Kenny Britt.

  3. herschel says:
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    @Doc: PPR league, Britt vs Hou or S. Moss at Dal?

    Thanks.

  4. barker says:
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    .5 PPR
    tolbert ronnie brown jacobs bradshaw hightower pick 2

    jennings mike wallace gaffney

    1 PPR
    felix ronnie brown hightower goodson choice pick 2

  5. Craig says:
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    Fitz or Welker?

    LT, PT, starks, best, or matthews? Pick 1. (i know, they all stink)

    Thanks

  6. Joel says:
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    Doc: in survivor, DAL home v WAS or CHI at the Joe Webb Vikings?

  7. Radiohead says:
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    Doc, I’m intrigued by your “start V-Jax if your opponent has Rivers” strategy. I’m in a 10 team, .5 PPR league.

    I’ve got Vick starting over Brady. At WR, I have Andre, Calvin and Maclin. Would you sit Maclin for V-Jax with my opponent starting Rivers?

    Thanks for the help!

  8. Doc

    Doc says:
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    @Fletch: Miller

    @drew crew: Knowshon Austin/Britt

    @barker: Bradshaw/Hightower Wallace Felix/Hightower

    @herschel: Britt

    @Craig: Welker, Best

    @Joel: Chicago if Webb goes

  9. Ian says:
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    Is Joe Webb a better flex option than choice or goodson assuming he gets the starting nod before Sunday?

  10. Fletch says:
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    @Doc: Steve Johnson or Joe Webb at WR? (I can plug Webb at WR in my league.)

  11. zk says:
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    PPR league where we start 3 WR/TE. Who sits?:
    Nicks
    Bowe
    Branch
    Witten

    Also PPR
    J. Stewart v. AZ
    or
    Ray Rice v. NO?

    Thanks.

  12. Bandit says:
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    Doc,

    Semi-finals!

    1. I think Ryan is a no-brainer over Schaub. Agree?

    2. I have Nicks and Roddy as 2 of my WR. I need to choose 2 from Santonio, VJax, Floyd (and the hammy) or Stevie J. (Do I risk two Chargers tonight?)

    Thanks, Doc.

  13. Neck Beard says:
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    What can we honestly expect tonight from VJAX?? My WRs are already set for my first playoff matchup; A. Johnson, R. Wayne, W. Welker, but really considering throwing him in the flex spot over Jamaal Charles in a TD heavy league..

  14. elwood blues says:
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    Who to start at
    WR3?? (PPR league) :
    V-Jax or Crabtree (he of the 1 catch last week)

    I also have MSW, Gibson, and Armstrong

  15. Dan Z says:
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    @ DOC

    12 team 3 player keeper league, can keep players for up to 3 seasons.

    I trade: Darren McFadden
    I get: Peyton Manning and Knowshon Moreno

    Keepers would be Mcfadden, Fitz, ? without trade, after trade Manning, Moreno, Fitz. What say you?

  16. Joel says:
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    Doc: Joe Webb is a WR,QB on Yahoo. we get 6 points for TD passes. Is he a better play than either Boldin or Blount?

  17. Doc

    Doc says:
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    @Ian: His upside is good, but his downside is also bad. It doesn’t take much for even a crappy QB to get decent points, especially in some leagues. I think Goodson/Choice makes a little safer choice than Webb.

    @Fletch: I’d lean Johnson, but like I said above, Webb has a lot of upside.

    @zk: If Cassel doesn’t go I’d sit Bowe, if he does I’d sit Branch. Rice.

    @Bandit: I think Ryan is safer, but Schaub has more upside. It really depends on your need to take risks or not. That Charger WR duo is almost impossible to figure. I like VJax, but he is still risky. Would hat for Floyd’s hammy to flare up again. And I like Santonio.

    @Radiohead: This is Rex’s post, but I do like playing the opponent’s QB’s receivers. I also like Maclin as far as safety goes. I do feel a good game coming from him tonight, but that just might be all that coffee. I would lean Maclin to play it safe. He had a good game against NYG in week 11.

    @Neck Beard: I couldn’t play him over JC.

    @elwood blues: I’d go VJax

  18. Denys says:
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    fuckin’ tough decisions for me this week. i’m locked @ QB – Rivers.
    definitely running Foster @ RB, but have to split between McCoy or Jackson (advice? i’m leaning Jackson, but it’s a PPR league).

    And pick 3 of this bunch: Reggie Wayne (starting him for sure), Wes Welker, Hakeem Nicks, Brandon Lloyd, Vincent Jackson.

    I’m learning towards Wayne, Welker, Nicks – that’s the safe approach.

    Lloyd’s been terrible of late.

    But I love the idea of Rivers and Jackson just tee-ing off on the 49ers tonight… Might sit Nicks… No guts, no glory, right?

  19. Peter says:
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    Hey Doc,

    Need your help in 2 leagues! The Chargers WR situation and Rodgers/Jenning predicament is really throwing me for a loop…

    Pick 3: Floyd, V-Jax, Jennings, Mike Williams TB, and Megatron

    And in the other league, I have 2 WR spots, 1 RB spot, and a Flex I don’t know what to do with. Options:

    WR: Jennings, Maclin, V-Jax, Mike Williams TB
    RB: Mendenhall (NYJ), Ricky Williams (Buf), Michael Bush (Den)

    Thanks a ton!

  20. batman the horse says:
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    pick 3 (0.5 ppr)

    Megatron
    DJax
    VJax
    Wallace (likely covered by Revis this week)
    Harvin

  21. McNulty says:
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    Doc,

    Standard scoring with .5 ppr would you go with Miles Austin against Wash or Brandon Lloyd against the Raiders?

  22. Tom Sellick says:
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    Howdy,

    I need to start 3 RB. The choices are:

    J Stew v. Ari
    Forte @ Min
    Rice v. NO
    Turner @ Sea
    PT23 @ BAL

    What say ye?

    Gracias

  23. LoudNoises says:
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    Hello- Should I start Blair White or Sidney Rice? Who will throw to Sidney? It’s too cold to catch footballs, I think. Thank you.

  24. Wilsonian says:
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    In a league where I don’t really care what happens, I’m in Round 2 of the ‘offs. Who do I play:

    Rodgers, Big Ben, Collins, Kitna, Freeman (would have to drop Ben for one of the last three)?

    Welker, Branch, Garcon, Wallace, Maclin, Holmes (pick 3)?

    CJ, Hillis, Foster (pick 2)?

    Yep teeny tiiiiny league.

  25. Moonlight's Grahams says:
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    I have the unfortunate choice of Cutler in some real cold weather again, and Palmer who seems to have forgotten what position he plays. HELP!
    Side note: Jason Campbell is on waivers and my indecision is leaning me to picking him up as the dark horse in this terrible race.

  26. Wilsonian says:
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    Would you start VJax over Buc Williams (0.5 PPR)?

  27. Wilsonian says:
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    Also, Cutler, Fitzpatrick, Collins, Garrard, Campbell, Freeman?

  28. Craig says:
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    Are t. Choice, javarris James, maurice morris, a. Dixon, or b. jackson better plays than jahvid best ?

    Thanks Doc

  29. Cole says:
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    does anyone think felix jones’ goal line carry (and subsequent td) is any indication of him taking over that role from choice? I have to start 3 from megatron, branch, felix, and brit. I really want to start brit, but am finding it hard to bench megatron or branch. ppr league.

  30. Dan says:
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    I have to start 2 defenses this week.

    I currently have SF (@ SD) and Indy (hosting Jacksonville).

    Available on waivers are Carolina (hosting AZ, 1pm game) and Dallas, hosting Washington.

    I’m really tempted to take both free agent defenses. Thoughts?

  31. Nate says:
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    “As long as there are still dollar bills on the table, you can trust that T.O. will stay as hungry as a narcissistic lumberjack.”

    Please tell me that’s a reference to this video: http://vimeo.com/22366

  32. Sol says:
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    I am in a ppr league that requires starting 5 WR’s for this weeks playoff round I am starting Djax, Maclin, and T.O. I need help deciding on the final 2 spots between:

    Moss – Has done nothing as a titan
    Harvin – Hurting with migraines and Joe Webb starting
    Arrelious Benn – Possibly on the rise
    Derek Hagan – Bumped up to 3rd on depth chart
    Braylon – On the decline with Holmes there plus Pitt Defense
    Obamanu – been hot as of late

    Lastly was debating over McCoy or Torain for this weeks matchup

  33. Doc

    Doc says:
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    @Denys: I like McCoy. He’s becoming very hard to sit. That first bunch is the way I go, but I agree that you have to go with your gut there and I do like VJax.

    @Peter: Megatron, VJax, Jennings Maclin, VJax, Mendy

    @batman the horse: Tron, DJax, VJax

    @McNulty: Leaning Austin

    @Tom Sellick: Stew, Turner, Rice

    @LoudNoises: Rice loses a lot with Webb in there, but with Collie back White will be on the bench.

    @Moonlight’s Grahams: If the weather looks too tough i could see going Campbell.

    @Craig: I like Best

    @Cole: hard to say who will get the goal line looks. Probably not too defined. I would probably play Jones over Branch.

    @Dan: I would take and start both WAS/CAR

    @Sol: I’d lean Obo and Benn and McCoy

  34. Joel says:
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    Doc: Joey Webb over either Boldin at wr2 or Blount in the flex? non-ppr.

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