Cam Newton, piling up points (USA Today Sports Images)
Cam Newton accounted for 403 yards of offense in Week 14, rushing for 116, passing for 287, completing 23 of his 35 throws, and generally looking like a dual-threat fantasy monster. Newton gained 72 of Sunday's yards on this third quarter touchdown run, embarrassing the Falcons defense via read-option. He picked up another 53 on a fourth quarter screen pass to DeAngelo Williams that essentially clinched the win for Carolina.
Over the past four weeks, Cam has delivered eight passing TDs, three rushing scores and zero turnovers. He's now on pace to finish the season with 3,963 yards through the air and 788 on the ground, with 28 total touchdowns — not bad for a guy who, just a few weeks ago, seemed stuck in a sophomore slump.
Cam has favorable match-ups remaining with Oakland and New Orleans (Weeks 16-17), so there's a decent chance the second-half surge will continue, carrying his owners through the fantasy playoffs. If you bought low, congrats. We salute you. Take a victory lap, champ.
Newton was the top-scorer at his position in Week 12 (37.44 points), he finished second in Week 13 (29.08), and he's likely to lead the field again in Week 14 (37.08). So this is really an obscene scoring binge, with history-making potential. If you don't own Cam, let's hope you can avoid him in December.
• On the flip side of the Atlanta-Carolina game, Matt Ryan delivered another unimpressive 300-yard effort. That's become his specialty over the past six weeks. Check the game log. Ryan connected with both Roddy White and Julio Jones on second half scores, finishing with 342 yards on 49 attempts. Michael Turner was awful, yet he still poached a goal line score. And yeah, I've got that last sentence saved on the clipboard for weekly use.
• At this point, a reasonable case can probably be made to relegate the Arizona Cardinals to the Pac-12, with either Oregon or Stanford making the jump to the NFC West. Arizona was absolutely housed at Seattle on Sunday, losing 58 to zip — and I'm not sure the final score expresses just how fully the Seahawks owned the Cards. John Skelton and Ryan Lindley combined for six turnovers and just 139 passing yards. So much devastation. Marshawn Lynch proved unstoppable, rushing for 128 yards and three scores on just 11 carries. Seattle eventually turned to the junior varsity in the second half, as Matt Flynn, Robert Turbin and Leon Washington piled up yards.
Seattle's D/ST steamrolled the Cards (USAT Sports)
• We discussed RG3's knee injury earlier in the afternoon, fearing the worst, but it sounds like he avoided any major ligament damage. Griffin took a wicked shot to his right knee following a 13-yard scramble, then struggled to put any weight on the leg. We don't yet know his status for Week 15 — you have to expect him to miss some practice time — but he's avoided the worst-case scenario. Huge relief, obviously.
Griffin's injury was the dominant fantasy story in Washington's come-from-behind OT win, but we should note that the Ravens and 'Skins combined for 59 points and 779 yards. Neither defense covered itself in glory. Alfred Morris and Ray Rice both found the end zone, each rushing for over 120 yards. Anquan Boldin made the most of his three targets, catching 'em all, finishing with 78 yards and two scores.
• Colin Kaepernick was having a relatively quiet fantasy day against Miami, until this happened. The read-option strikes again. That 50-yard score vaulted Kaepernick into the top-10 at his position for the week. He went 18-for-23 through the air against the 'Fins, finishing with 185 passing yards and a QB rating of 100.2. He'll face the Pats defense next Sunday, a group that ranks 29th in the league against the pass.
It's worth noting that rookie LaMichael James finally put his name in the box score for San Francisco, gaining 45 yards on nine touches. That kid is a dangerous weapon, with the potential to make noise in the final weeks. Remember, Kendall Hunter is on IR and Brandon Jacobs is ... well, he's doing Brandon Jacobs things, deactivated in Week 14.
• Well, AJ Green really picked a lousy week to have his only poor game of 2012. His real-life team really could have used a win, and his fantasy owners were expecting another double-digit performance. Instead, we received a three-catch, 44-yard, no-touchdown stat line. That won't pay the bills. Green had a pair of drops, one of which could have easily gone for a score. If you're an AJ owner who's somehow moving on to Week 15, expect a bounce-back against Philly on Thursday night.
• Fred Jackson again functioned as the lead back for Buffalo on Sunday, receiving 14 touches to CJ Spiller's eight. But Jackson suffered a right knee injury in the loss to St. Louis, and — in Chan Gailey's words — "it did not look good." Brutal news for Jackson, bump in value for Spiller. We've had this drill before.
Chris Givens again led the Rams in targets (10), but he didn't convert 'em into anything useful for fantasy purposes. Givens finished with three catches for 25 yards, while Brandon Gibson hauled in six balls for an even 100, crossing the goal line in the fourth quarter.
David Wilson sticks the landing, shreds the Saints (Getty Images)
WHERE WERE YOU WHEN I NEEDED YOU, ROOKIE?
Wilson had an absurd day against the Saints, the team that allows the most fantasy points to opposing running backs. He split the backfield touches with the slightly dinged Ahmad Bradshaw, but he didn't share the stats. Wilson rushed for 100 yards and two touchdowns on 13 carries, and he delivered 224 kick return yards, with a special teams TD. Look at this nonsense. Wilson might be fumbly, but he's also live-wire quick, tough to tackle, and deadly fast.
Predictably enough, Eli Manning enjoyed a nice day against New Orleans, tossing four touchdown passes. Eli spread the wealth, connecting with four different receivers on the scoring plays. Drew Brees finished with a nice yardage total (354), but it was another sloppy effort, full of risky, ugly throws. His afternoon could have been much worse. Darren Sproles had a sneaky-good fantasy performance, breaking the plane twice and gaining 84 scrimmage yards. He's keeping my teams alive in two leagues (barely), not that you care.
• We learned two things about Philly's Nick Foles on Sunday: 1) He runs at the approximate speed that glaciers retreat, and 2) he can win games in the NFL.
Foles passed for 381 yards on 51 attempts against the Bucs, throwing for a pair of fourth quarter scores, including a 1-yard game-winner to Jeremy Maclin as time expired. Tampa Bay's defense completely shut down Bryce Brown on the ground (12 carries, six yards), but they couldn't stop Foles anywhere. He ran for an early score that only covered 10 yards, but seemed to take 10 minutes. He'll face Washington in Week 16, the league's 31st ranked pass defense. If you have a need at QB, consider the add.
• Considering the insane start to Adrian Peterson's day, it's fairly impressive that Chicago's defense limited him to only(!) 170 total yards and two scores. Peterson is reportedly looking way past the 2,000 yard plateau, eying the all-time single-season rushing record. I'm not at all interested in telling AP that he can't do things; let's just enjoy the final three games of his Tecmo-style season.
Brandon Marshall caught 10 another passes for the Bears on 19 targets, gaining 160 yards, finding the end zone in the fourth quarter. You may have noticed that the TD pass was thrown not by Jay Cutler, but by back-up Jason Campbell. Cutler checked out late with a neck issue of unknown severity. Apparently it's not a concussion, so that's non-terrible news.
• Montell Owens entered the season as Plan D (or E, or F) for the Jags at running back, but he nonetheless got the nod in Week 14. I haven't yet seen the full tape of his 91-yard rushing performance against the Jets, but I caught the highlight run, a 32-yard score. Owens jumped over a fallen defender at the line, broke the run outside, then broke the plane. He's the last man standing in Jacksonville's backfield, though the match-up ahead in Week 15 (at Miami) is less than ideal.
Bilal Powell and Shonn Greene combined for 39 carries in New York's 17-10 win, which sure seems like a viewer's nightmare. Both backs found the end zone, yet neither reached 80 yards. And that's quite enough Jets coverage for today. Let's move on...
Welcome to the 2012 season, Kenny Britt (Getty)
• The running backs handled most of the scoring in Cleveland on Sunday, as Trent Richardson crossed the goal line twice for the Browns and Jamaal Charles delivered a 165-yard performance for KC. Charles went 80 yards on the first play from scrimmage for the Chiefs, displaying his pre-injury bounce and speed. But the play of the game in this one, without question, was Travis Benjamin's 93-yard punt return TD. Highlight here. Benjamin switched spots with Josh Cribbs pre-snap, then broke off a nifty run. Josh Gordon saw 12 targets from Brandon Weeden, catching eight for 86 yards. Gordon is still available in way too many leagues (51 percent).
As if the Chiefs and their fans needed more rough news, it sounds like Dwayne Bowe may have cracked a rib or two in KC's loss. He exited early on Sunday, after catching two balls for 70 yards.
• Ben Roethlisberger was a garbage-time all-star in his return from injury, tossing three touchdown passes in the final 18 minutes of Pittsburgh's Week 14 loss to San Diego. He connected with Mike Wallace for two of the scores, a huge relief for those of us who still stubbornly expect good things from No. 17. Wallace finished with seven catches for 112 yards on 11 targets.
Philip Rivers delivered an unexpectedly terrific line against the Steelers' top-ranked (but Ike Taylor-less) pass D, completing 21 of 41 attempts for an even 200 yards and three scores. It helps, of course, that he can lob the ball to this dude. Danario Alexander caught another seven passed for 88 yards and two TDs. When healthy, the 6-foot-5 Alexander is an unfair weapon, a ridiculous coverage assignment. He's graduated to the every-week club, no doubt.
EARLY ADDS FOR WEEK 15
QB Nick Foles, Philadelphia (vs. Cin)
QB Russell Wilson, Seattle (at Buf)
QB Chad Henne, Jacksonville (at Mia)
QB Brandon Weeden, Cleveland (vs. Was)
RB David Wilson, NY Giants (at Atl)
RB Bilal Powell, NY Jets (at Ten)
RB LaMichael James, San Francisco (at NE)
RB Montell Owens, Jacksonville (at Mia)
RB Joique Bell, Detroit (at Ari)
WR Josh Gordon, Cleveland (vs. Was)
WR Jon Baldwin, Kansas City (at Oak)
WR Alshon Jeffery, Chicago (vs. GB)
WR Darrius Heyward-Bey, Oakland (vs. KC)
TE Jared Cook, Tennessee (vs. NYJ)
TE Tony Scheffler, Detroit (at Ari)
DEF Detroit Lions (at Ari)
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