Monday Recap, Week 14

Ravens QB Lamar Jackson carted into locker room with ankle injury; ruled  out for rest of game vs. Browns - Baltimore Sun

Did you make the fantasy playoffs? Are you on the cusp but in need of a heroic Monday night effort? With the high-powered Rams facing the high-powered Cardinals, that feels possible. I’ll look at the Monday night game in a minute, first it’s time to consider all the other takeaways from a wild Week 14 that we just experienced.

The Ravens are in Trouble

It’s not just that the Ravens lost to the Browns, creating an incredibly tight race in the AFC North and dropping to 1-3 in the division. Now, Lamar Jackson is injured. We don’t know how long he’ll miss, if he does miss, but it deals a blow to the 8-5 Ravens, who seem merely mortal. The team has been winning ugly for a few months now and the injuries are continuing to pile up. The Ravens’ defense is struggling and the offense won’t be the same without Jackson, or with a hobbled Jackson. The 7-6 Browns and Bengals are a game back, with the 6-6-1 Steelers lurking. And all three teams have beaten the Ravens already this season.

The Bills are in Trouble

It’s been a tough schedule, but the Bills are struggling. The team is 7-6, suffering back-to-back losses to the Patriots and Buccaneers to drop into a logjam of AFC teams at seven wins. Their chances of winning the AFC East are looking remote and the Bills are barely clinging to a playoff spot. They could turn it around, but the Bills don’t look like the favorites they were coming into the season. The defense is beat up, the running game doesn’t exist and the Bills have struggled to beat good teams. They need a strong finish to build momentum for a playoff run, especially one that could be all on the road.

Urban Meyer Should be Done in Jacksonville

It’s not just the record, though that’s bad. The Jaguars are 2-11 and look inept in all three phases of the game. Meyer’s personal conduct has been a distraction at times, and now there are widespread reports of dissent in the locker room and among coaches. That’s a bad recipe, especially as star players like Trevor Lawrence seem to be speaking out against the coach, even in veiled terms. Meyer’s hire was a high-profile grab for the Jaguars in the off-season but now it seems like a nightmare. It would be best for Meyer and the NFL to part ways in January.

And now, on to the Monday night game.

Monday Night Preview

The NFC West title is likely on the line tonight as the Rams (8-4) travel to Arizona to battle the Cardinals (10-2). The Rams pushed their chips in on 2021 but it hasn’t been smooth. A three-game losing streak didn’t help, nor did the Rams losing to the Cardinals in their first meeting. With five games left, if the Rams drop a second game to the Cardinals they’ll all but assure themselves of playing for a Wild Card.

The Cardinals, meanwhile, have flown under-the-radar, entering Week 14 with the NFL’s best record. A win here would keep that intact and put the Cardinals in great shape to not only win the NFC West but to have a First-Round bye and homefield advantage. Can they get it done? Each time we’ve counted the Cardinals out, they’ve responded with a win.

In terms of fantasy, this one offers plenty of intrigue, too. For the Cardinals, Kyler Murray is a QB1, while both Chase Edmonds and James Conner are RB2 plays for me. DeAndre Hopkins is a WR2 play and I like Zach Ertz as an upside tight end option. For the Rams, Matthew Stafford is a QB1 and Cooper Kupp has been the best receiver in the league through 13 weeks. Darrell Henderson is out again, so Sony Michel is an RB2 for me, while Odell Beckham, Jr. and Van Jefferson have appeal as WR3s.

I’m going out on a limb and picking the Rams to win and start the surge toward the NFC West crown.

Matthew Fox is a graduate of the Radio, Television and Film program at Biola University, and a giant nerd. He spends his free time watching movies, TV, and obsessing about football. He is a member of the FSWA. You can find him @knighthawk7734 on Twitter and as co-host of the Fantasy Football Roundtable Podcast.

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