The worst of the week is complicated. It's not really fair to call someone "worst" if they get hurt and miss most of the game, but an early injury is a fantasy killer, so in fantasy, the hurt guys just aren't exempt.
In fact, the Detroit Lions' Reggie Bush almost made the Worst of the Week this week, without even playing. Bush was announced as active for the team's 1 p.m. ET game, before slipping in warmups and aggravating his calf, and ultimately not participating in the team's 34-20 loss. If the game had been a late-afternoon matchup, Bush would have made the Worst of the Week, as the late status-change would have come too late for fantasy owners to fix their lineups. Between the early hour and the awful weather in Philadelphia, though, fantasy owners had the opportunity to fix their lineups. And so Bush escapes this page. I'm sure he's thrilled.
Others who got injured mid-game weren't so lucky. If you start a top-at-his-position guy and he goes out after three touches, fantasy owners can't do anything about it. Sorry guys.
Worst quarterbacks in Week 14
E.J. Manuel, BUF (184 passing yards, 0 touchdowns, 4 interceptions, 29 rushing yards, 1 fantasy point)
Manuel had been a mediocre fantasy quarterback this season. He scored in the teens five times in eight starts, with his bad ones coming right around his injury. Until Sunday, when there was nothing redeeming about Manuel's outing. He had only four interceptions in eight games before throwing four, and his only start without a touchdown pass before Sunday was when he was hurt in Week 5. Basically, there wasn't much to indicate Sunday's utter meltdown. But Manuel was intercepted once each in the first and second quarters and twice in the third, and the Bills were forced into four other three-and-outs against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Next game: The Bills play the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 15, and while the Jags have improved their defense in recent weeks, that still ought to be a decent matchup for Manuel. Expect the rookie to bounce back to at least mediocrity.
Kellen Clemens, STL (181 passing yards, 0 touchdowns, 2 interceptions, 10 rushing yards, 4 fantasy points)
Against all odds, Clemens had actually been decent of late, with five touchdowns, only one interceptions, 12.5 fantasy points in his last four. No, that's not anything special, but for a quarterback who was considered a step behind Brett Favre a few weeks ago, it was acceptable. Sunday, though, was a huge step back. Facing a tough Arizona Cardinals defense, and with running back Zac Stacy held to only 1.8 yards per carry in the game, Clemens was ill-equipped to carry the team, and it showed.
Next game: This could get ugly. The next three weeks, the Rams face a tough New Orleans Saints defense, a Tampa Bay Buccaneers team that just shut E.J. Manuel down, and the best-in-the-league Seattle Seahawks ... in Seattle. Whatever good there was for Clemens is well on its way out the door.
Matthew Stafford, DET (148 passing yards, 0 touchdowns, -1 rushing yard, 5 fantasy points)
Nick Foles threw his first interception of 2013 in Sunday's Eagles-Lions game. The two teams combined for no field-goal attempts and one extra-point attempt, which was blocked. Basically, there was a lot of weirdness in Sunday's game. But Foles improved in the second half, throwing for a touchdown and running for another. Stafford never did. He didn't turn the ball over, but he never produced a touchdown. He was basically a non-factor, which you ... don't really want your quarterback to be. It was Stafford's first time below 15 fantasy points all season.
Next game: It seems unlikely the Lions are going to play many more games in a complete blizzard, especially in Week 15, when the team has a home game against the Baltimore Ravens. And home games are dome games. (Corny.) Stafford will be fine.
Worst running backs in Week 14
Adrian Peterson, MIN (13 rushing yards, 4 receiving yards, 1 fantasy point)
Peterson's injury is the reason he appears here. He had to be carted off the field with a mid-foot sprain in the second quarter of Sunday's game, totaling only 17 yards from scrimmage before he left. After Peterson left, his backup, Toby Gerhart, ran for 89 yards and a touchdown, production that was meant to be Peterson's.
Next game: It really doesn't matter who the Vikings play next (the Eagles) -- if Peterson's foot is better, and he's on the field, he'll be better, and you play him. If he's out, you don't. Of course, his injury Sunday might have knocked his fantasy owners out of the playoffs, so this might be moot.
Alfred Morris, WAS (31 rushing yards, 3 fantasy points)
The Redskins are rapidly falling apart this season, and Morris' production is flagging as well. He had 52 yards in Week 12, 53 a week ago, and only 31 Sunday. The running back had 70 or more yards every game from Week 2 to Week 11, but that's just gone away in recent weeks. His worst yards-per-carry average through Week 11 was 3.8; he hasn't topped 3.7 since.
Next game: Morris was a top-seven-or-so fantasy running back a few weeks ago, and is still right around the top 10. His fantasy owners are probably stuck riding him as long as it goes, but with his struggles of late, it's hard to do so confidently. Still, the Redskins face the Atlanta Falcons in Week 15, and that really ought to be Morris' chance to get back in the good.
Fred Jackson, BUF (12 rushing yards, 26 receiving yards, 3 fantasy points)
C.J. Spiller, BUF (22 rushing yards, 26 receiving yards, 4 fantasy points)
The Buccaneers have a decent run defense, but nothing that would have suggested they would keep two top-30 running backs to a combined 34 rushing yards on 2.125 yards per carry. Jackson hadn't produced less than 34 rushing yards in a game all year; Spiller had, but that was mostly due to injury. The problem with Jackson and Spiller is that you never knew which running back would have a big game; it never seemed possible that both would fall apart.
Next game: The Bills play the Jacksonville Jaguars next week; just as it was in the E.J. Manuel entry, it's true that the Jaguars, while better of late, aren't likely to totally shut down a team's running game. At least one of Jackson and Spiller will bounce back next week; there's every chance both will.
Worst wide receivers of Week 14
T.Y. Hilton, IND (7 receiving yards, 0 fantasy points)
Hilton has become a regular entry in this space, which is just a sad sentence. He's totaled only 11 fantasy points and 135 receiving yards in his last four games. In Hilton's first two games after Reggie Wayne's injury, he had at least 121 yards in both. It looked promising. But since, he's fallen apart, and on Sunday Andrew Luck looked more toward Da'Rick Rogers and LaVon Brazill than Hilton. It's hard to say what has happened, but that just makes it hard to say when it will end.
Next game: The Colts play the Houston Texans in Week 13. At this point, any fantasy owners that are still running Hilton out there basically have to be able to find a better option. He's not worth playing again until something changes.
Kendall Wright, TEN (17 receiving yards, 1 fantasy point)
The thing about Wright this season is that, as unspectacular as he's usually been, he's also never really been disastrous. Wright had at least 59 yards every week from Week 2 to Week 13, with 70 or more yards in seven of those weeks. So fantasy owners were pretty sure they knew what they could count on out of Wright. Except that he caught only two balls for only 17 yards against the Denver Broncos, which makes no sense at all. A receiver who had at least five fantasy points in 11 straight games scoring only one had to be a huge disappointment for his fantasy owners.
Next game: The Titans play the Arizona Cardinals in Week 15. One week shouldn't be enough to knock Wright from his theoretical predictability. While the Cardinals have a tough defense, that should leave Wright merely at the bottom of his established range, not as bad as his Sunday performance.
Calvin Johnson, DET (49 receiving yards, 4 fantasy points)
When fantasy prognosticators make predictions amid bad weather, most will say to start your studs, regardless of the weather. Of course, that advice comes amid normal bad weather, not the hellacious (and unexpected) storm the Lions and Eagles played in on Sunday. Still, it's hard to imagine anyone would have benched Johnson Sunday, even knowing how bad the snowstorm in Philadelphia would be. Fantasy owners in the playoffs who rolled with Johnson might have seen their season disappear in the snowflakes.
Next game: On the other hand, anyone who owns Johnson who survived Week 14 get to use Johnson in a home game in Week 15. That's really all the information you need to be confident in using Johnson again.
Worst tight ends in Week 14
Ladarius Green, SD (0 receiving yards, 0 fantasy points)
Green had become the darling of fantasy owners who had struggled along with a cavalcade of guys at the bottom of the position's top 10 in recent weeks, averaging 10.7 fantasy points in the three games leading up to Week 14. While he still had to battle Antonio Gates, Keenan Allen, Eddie Royal, Vincent Brown, Ryan Mathews, and Danny Woodhead for touches, and as such couldn't be expected to suddenly be a must-use, a complete goose-egg had to come as a shock.
Next game: It'll be interesting if anything comes out about why Green was so little-used Sunday. Assuming it was just "one of those things," then he should have a decent matchup in Week 15 against the Denver Broncos. Still, those that had built him up in their minds into a must-use tight end were overstating things. He's got upside, but overall, he's not a must-anything.
Rob Gronkowski, NE (32 receiving yards, 3 fantasy points)
This one hurt. Gronkowski had been hugely productive since his return from injury in Week 7, almost moving himself into top-10 tight end status in basically half the time of his position-mates. That was all great until Gronkowski suffered what appears to have been a season-ending ACL tear in the third quarter against the Browns on Sunday. It was a crushing blow.
Next game: It doesn't matter. He won't play. :(
Worst defense/special teams in Week 14
Tennessee Titans (51 points allowed, -12 fantasy points)
Most weeks, "the defense facing the Broncos" would fill this role, and this week is one of them. The Titans were a top-10 fantasy defense coming into Sunday, but this performance likely drops them to barely inside the top 20. On the plus side, Titans, you don't have to face Denver anymore. Congrats for that.