A bit of a sibling rivalry is developing between the City of Brotherly Love and Sixburgh, Pa. The teams from Pennsylvania won their divisions Sunday but are heading in two different directions. The Eagles are the NFC East champions while the Steelers are kings of the AFC North. The Steelers are firing on all cylinders offensively, but the Eagles just lost their MVP candidate, Carson Wentz, to a torn ACL.
Ben Roethlisberger and Wentz had a couple of the best fantasy performances for quarterbacks in Week 14, typically the first round of playoffs for fantasy leagues. Roethlisberger looks to gain a first round bye while Eagles fans are hoping Nick Foles can do enough to keep their Super Bowl hopes alive.
Roethlisberger threw for 506 yards and two touchdowns in a big comeback win over the Ravens on Sunday night. He had a lot of help in the process. Antonio Brown caught 11 passes for 213 yards. Fantasy owners will forgive him for not scoring a touchdown.
Le’Veon Bell also put up big numbers, catching one of Roethlisberger’s touchdown tosses while gaining 77 yards receiving. He also rushed for 48 yards and scored twice on the ground. It was Bell’s fourth time scoring a rushing touchdown and catching a touchdown pass in the same game. That’s tied for most since he entered the league in 2013, according to NFL Research on Twitter.
Not to be completely outdone on Sunday night was Alex Collins. He’s been fantastic for four straight weeks. Collins rushed for 120 yards and a touchdown. He’s currently riding a four-game scoring streak and faces the Browns and Colts in the next two weeks. Collins could end up being a playoff MVP for a lot of owners.
Bell wasn’t the only player to rush for a touchdown and catch another this week. Two other running backs, Rod Smith of the Cowboys and the Packers’ Jamaal Williams, completed that task.
Smith rushed for 47 yards, at 7.8 per carry, and scored on the ground before he caught a game-breaking 81-yard touchdown reception. He totaled 115 yards receiving on five catches.
Williams totaled 118 yards and scored twice in the Packers’ comeback victory over the Browns.
Jonathan Stewart had one of the biggest weeks as well, scoring three touchdowns as he rushed for 103 yards. He’s on a three-game scoring streak as the Panthers seem to be picking up steam.
Week 14 was a resurgent week for a couple of players. Kareem Hunt finally rushed for more than 100 yards again and Dak Prescott finally rid himself of his month-long funk. Hunt gained 116 yards on the ground and scored while adding three receptions for 22 yards. Prescott threw for 332 yards and three touchdowns. It was the first time he threw for at least 300 yards this season. In fact, he hadn’t thrown for at least 200 yards since Week 9.
This week’s list of quarterback duds is very long. Most of these guys lost playoff games for fantasy owners: Josh McCown, Derek Carr, Alex Smith, Matt Ryan, Andy Dalton and Marcus Mariota.
A surprising performance came from DeShone Kizer. He threw three touchdown passes as the Browns came up just short of their first win against the Packers. I wouldn’t recommend picking him up now, as he has a tough schedule coming up.
Another QB1 performance came from Brett Hundley, though you shouldn’t pick him up with Aaron Rodgers likely to return in Week 15.
The injury to Wentz wasn’t the only one with fantasy impact. What happened to Alvin Kamara can’t be overlooked. He suffered a concussion Thursday night. Most owners who had Kamara likely had byes this week, so they could at least adjust or work on a contingency plan for Week 15. If they had to play this week, it’s very likely they didn’t make it out of the first round.
Owners of injured tight end Zach Ertz were worried about not advancing beyond the first round. All they had to do was pick up Ertz’s teammate Trey Burton by Sunday to save the week. Burton caught five passes for 71 yards and two touchdowns.
With Wentz out, Foles might be a decent waiver wire pick this week. Here’s who else you should look into picking up off the wire.
Top waiver wire picks
Blake Bortles, QB, Jaguars: 268 yards passing, 2TDs. He’s still available in some leagues and, with matchups against the Texans and 49ers, he could very well be a fantasy championship quarterback for Wentz owners.
Marquise Goodwin, WR, 49ers: 6 rec., 106 yards. Goodwin is still available in a lot of leagues despite his solid play the last few weeks. He’s a decent start in Week 15, but that may be it since he faces Jacksonville in championship week.
Nick Foles, QB, Eagles: You could do a lot worse in terms of streaming a quarterback to replace Wentz. Foles has been relegated to backup roles in recent years, but in 2013 he threw 27 touchdowns against just two interceptions.
Rod Smith, RB, Cowboys: If you need help at the position, this isn’t a bad addition. He’s on a three-game scoring streak and is effective catching out of the backfield. Plus there’s one more week before Ezekiel Elliott returns.
Tyrell Williams, WR, Chargers: 4 rec., 132 yards, TD. With Keenan Allen having a lot of success, things opened up for Williams. He’s not a consistent receiver, but he can have big days. If you’re looking for a glory play in the next couple of weeks, he’s got great matchups.
Theo Riddick, RB, Lions: 29 rushing yards, 2TDs, 6 rec., 64 yards. Ameer Abdullah isn’t in good standing with the Lions so Riddick is benefiting from the extra touches.
Joe Flacco, QB, Ravens: 269 yards passing. He’s had two good games in a row and faces the Browns next week.
Tyler Lockett, WR, Seahawks: 4 rec., 90 yards, TD. If you’re confident about your matchup this week, you may want to stow Lockett away for his matchup in Week 16 when he faces the Cowboys.
Dede Westbrook, WR, Jaguars: 5 rec., 81 yards, TD. He gets to face the Texans and the 49ers in the next two weeks. Adding him would be a luxury and a backup plan if you have injury concerns with your regular starters.