NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) -
Week 14 was already due to be a wild one with several prominent injuries, but some of the huge performances were enough to make up for those injury losses and/or win your match-up right away. Other big names, however, came with some huge letdowns that might be the cause for your early playoff exit. We’ll call those two categories game-breakers and heart-breakers.
RB Derrick Henry, Titans (17 carries, 238 yards, 4 TD)
There's so much irony here. First of all, if you drafted Derrick Henry and made the playoffs, good for you. I don't know many others that did. His draft cost / production just haven't evened out most of the season, but boy did they on Thursday. He did whatever he wanted against the Jaguars (of all teams) en route to a four-touchdown night. If you started him, go buy a lottery ticket because no one saw that coming.
RB Saquon Barkley, Giants (14 carries, 170 yards, TD)
Washington's defense has been pretty hot and cold, but overall, I'd consider them capable. Still, Saquon Barkely put up a season-high 170 yards rushing on just 14 carries. It wasn't as big as Henry's night on Thursday, obviously, but it's an impressive showing from a rookie in Week 14 when the grind of the NFL season starts to set in.
WR T.Y. Hilton, Colts (9 receptions, 199 yards)
And to think he was questionable going into Sunday's game. No ailment could hold Hilton back from a huge game in Houston. He's proven that with Andrew Luck healthy, they're as lethal of a combination as any in the league.
TE George Kittle, 49ers (7 receptions, 210 yards, TD)
All it takes is one big play to go from average fantasy day to week winner. Kittle's 85-yard touchdown did just that, and hopefully, it vaulted you into the next round of the playoffs as well. He's been one of the few consistet pieces with in San Francisco's banged up offense, and he couldn't have picked a better week to have his best outing.
WR JuJu Smith-Schuster, Steelers (8 receptions, 130 yards, 2 TD)
Personally, this isn't as surprising as the rest to me, considering that any given week, Smith-Schuster may get more targets than even Antonio Brown. He's got big talent in a big offense, and with James Conner down, more receptions to go around meant more for the second-year receiver. He ate all day against Oakland.
WR Amari Cooper, Cowboys (10 receptions, 217 yards, 3 TD)
This has already proven to be the trade of the year. Cooper's bounced back with a vengeance in Dallas, and as I pointed out in last week's blog post, he should be a starter each and every week. He's become a big-play machine with Dak Prescott. Cooper's match-ups are also pretty nice the next two weeks (at Colts, vs Bucs), which could mean a trip to your league championship game.
RB Leonard Fournette, Jaguars (14 carries, 36 yards)
It was the corresponding result to Derrick Henry's big game. Playing from behind, and with an inept offense, Fournette never got going against a Titans defense that gives up an average of 115 yards rushing per game. The danger with Fournette is also his biggest strength. He runs well with a higher volume of carries, but when the rush attempts aren't there, neither is his yardage. Fournette's 3.4 yards per carry this year leaves much to be desired.
RB Alvin Kamara, Saints (17 touches, 87 yards)
I hate listing him here in a winning effort for the Saints, but it's worth mentioning the recent trend (it's also a mark of how ridiculously good Kamara's been during his first two seasons). For the first time in his young career, Alvin Kamara's gone three straight games without a touchdown. The biggest disappointment this week was the expectation for another big game against Tampa Bay. In his three previous match-ups against the Bucs, Kamara's scored a total of seven touchdowns. However, his tiny totals left fantasy owners in a tough spot this week.
RB Todd Gurley II, Rams (11 carries, 28 yards; 3 receptions, 30 yards)
Whether you took Gurley first or second overall, you knew you'd be relying on him to carry your team. And if you were this week, tough. The Bears shut him down like he hasn't been all year. Hopefully, you had one of the other studs listed above to carry you through to the next round.
QB Jared Goff, Rams (20/44, 180 yards, 4 INT)
Given the choice, I wouldn't have started Goff on the road in Chicago. But I also wouldn't blame you if you did. I actually thought the Rams offense would still perform well with Sean McVay at the helm. I couldn't have been more wrong. Not only was Goff incapable of completing most passes with less than 50 percent of his throws finding their mark for the first time this year, but he threw four interceptions in the process, which to negative points. This team couldn't get back to the warm Los Angeles weather fast enough.
All that said, we’ve got another doozy of a week ahead of us. More injuries (ahem, Chargers) could have you searching for answers. I’ll do my best to provide them each week. Just submit your questions on the Final Word feature of the Final Play app. Good luck!