What We Saw: Week 14

The What We Saw team recaps all of the noteworthy action from Week 14

Dolphins @ Chargers

Final Score: Chargers 23, Dolphins 17

Senior Writer: Benjamin Haller (@benjaminhaller1 on Twitter)


A mouth-watering Sunday Night Football matchup between two playoff-chasing teams with young, exciting quarterbacks did not disappoint as the Dolphins overcame the Chargers at So-Fi Stadium in Los Angeles. Tua Tagovailoa, looking to bounce back after a disappointing outing against the 49ers, faced off against phenom Justin Herbert, who has single-handedly kept his team in the post-season hunt with some miraculous performances.

The first half saw the Chargers find some rhythm on offense while Tua struggled to find his receivers over the middle. Herbert led an opening 15-play, 78-yard drive that was stuffed on fourth down at the goal line after a poor play call to depth wideout DeAndre Carter failed to find the end zone.



A big factor in the game remaining scoreless into the second quarter was the superior defensive line play of Christian Wilkins, who sacked Herbert twice and stopped a promising Chargers drive from reaching the red zone. The Chargers settledfor a field goal.



However, Herbert was not to be stopped from flashing the quality he has around the red zone – after good running by Joshua Kelley moved the Chargers into the red zone, Herbert flushed out of the pocket and hit Williams at the back of the end zone, the big receiver doing brilliantly to get two feet inbounds for the score.



The next drive brought about one of the most bizarre touchdowns you will ever see. Jeff Wilson Jr. ran the ball nearly halfway before fumbling due to a tackle from Alohi Gilman, however as the scramble for the ball ensued, suddenly Tyreek Hill gathered it up as it squirmed loose and went untouched around the scrum before taking the ball all the way to the house for a 57-yard score. Unreal!



The Chargers responded with Herbert connecting with stars Austin Ekeler and Keenan Allen for big gains to set them up for a score prior to the half. On a key third down-and-goal, Ekeler took a check down and shifted through tackles to the one-yard line. Brandon StaleyΒ faced a big decision to either go for the touchdown or settle for the field goal with the clock set to expire. Out of the I formation, with an extra offensive lineman in play, Ekeler hit paydirt thanks to some extra effort after the initial contact.



The second half was a more cagey affair early on, with the Chargers benefitting from a terrible roughing the passer call on Jaelen Phillips to survive when backed up near their own goal line. It felt like the universe was waiting for the Dolphins to wake up. And wake up they did, with a bang! For the first time in the game, Hill was targeted deep and hauled the ball in as cornerback Michael Davis fell down. Another huge play for the MVP-chasing “Cheetah” dragged his team back into the game.



Great quarterbacks answer the call and Herbert did exactly that with his own deep ball to Williams – the 55-yard grab edged the returning receiver over 100 yards on the day. A killer false start penalty cost them a touchdown, however, and Staley had to settle for a field goal.



The Chargers managed to stunt the Dolphins’ offense and get the ball back with a chance to run the clock down. And that is exactly what they did – Herbert brilliantly executing through the air and on the ground to go 79 yards in 17 plays, chewing up nearly nine minutes of the clock as the Chargers went ahead 23-14 with a field goal. Herbert did fumble one snap and everyone held their breath! Still, it was a decisive drive that deserved to win the game. The Dolphins added a late field goal but it wasn’t enough.


Miami Dolphins




Tua Tagovailoa: 10/28, 145 Yards, TD, 2 Sacks | 3 Carries, 28 Yards


It wasn’t a promising start to the game for Tua Tagovailoa, who started just 2-for-11 for 13 yards with just five minutes left in the half – he could have easily been picked off on a couple of ill-advised throws over the middle too. He faced pressure from all angles for the second week running and took a couple of big hits on third down as he tried to make things happen by staying in the pocket. Kyle Van Noy nailing him on this drive.



Tua started the second half with just two passing first downs compared to Herbert’s 16 so something needed to change. That change was to feature Hill, who went off for a big score to pull the Dolphins back into the game. It was also the first time we saw Tua use his legs since returning from injury. Three carries for 28 yards helped to extend a couple of drives.

However, the inaccuracies and ball placement issues we saw against the 49ers reared their ugly heads again as Tua failed to connect with his main receiving duo – Hill, and Waddle. Still, a 36% completion rate is way below what we have come to expect. The gap between the two signal callers was very apparent and fantasy managers will hope this late-season slump ends in time for the fantasy playoffs. Tua gets a showtime outing against the Bills in Orchard Park in a crucial Week 15 matchup.


Running Back


Raheem Mostert: 11 Carries, 37 Yards | 1 Target, 1 Reception, 7 Yards

Jeff Wilson Jr.: 4 Carries, 26 Yards

Salvon Ahmed: 1 Carry, 1 Yard

Alec Ingold: 1 Target


Jeff Wilson Jr. did not see the field for the first two Dolphins drives, then his first touch went for negative three yards before fumbling the ball on just his second touch of the game. Luckily, that was picked up by Hill who went all the way. Wilson then broke off a big run but he suffered a hip injury on the play and left the game. He was then ruled out at halftime.



That opened the door for Raheem Mostert in the second half but the game script did not do him any favors. His longest carry was a nice 13-yard gain on first down, but his opportunities were limited, touching the ball just nine times in the second half as the Dolphins played from behind. He could return to fantasy relevant during the playoffs if Wilson misses time.


Wide Receiver/Tight End


Tyreek Hill: 10 Targets, 4 Receptions, 81 Yards, TD, 1 Fumble (Recovered)

Jaylen Waddle: 4 Targets, 2 Receptions, 31 Yards

Cedrick Wilson Jr.: 2 Targets, 2 Receptions, 19 Yards

Trent Sherfield: 4 Targets, 1 Reception, 7 Yards

Mike Gesicki: 2 Targets


If it had not been for Tyreek Hill‘s fumble recovery for a touchdown, the Dolphins would have had just 51 yards total at the half so there was little to go around for much of this contest for a receiving corps that has propelled many fantasy teams to the playoffs this year. Tua only completed three passes in the first half, and one of those was to the forgotten wideout, Cedrick Wilson.

What made matters worse was that Hill was deemed questionable to return with a high-ankle sprain after the half. He did come back, however, and the Dolphins were glad he did. A big 55-yard score made the game close going into the final quarter.



After being limited with an injury last week, Jaylen Waddle was held without a catch going into the second half. Waddle finally got on the stat sheet thanks to a nice catch-and-run down the sideline on a screen pass for 19 yards. He also had a good catch over the middle for 12 yards on the final scoring drive of the day. Otherwise, he was anonymous. Not a great second half of the year for Waddle so far.

A measly 10 completed passes from Tua really killed this group for the second week running.


Los Angeles Chargers




Justin Herbert: 39/51, 367 Yards, TD, 4 Sacks | 4 Carries, 8 Yards, 1 Fumble (Recovered)


The scoreline does not give Justin Herbert‘s performance the credit it deserves. Herbert was brilliant in the pocket and even better on the move as the Chargers dominated the eye test against a solid Dolphins defense. Herbert was sacked three times in the first half but managed to work around pressure as the drives tagged on to ensure he was giving himself time to find his receiving corps. Herbert spread the ball around with Allen, Williams, Palmer, and Ekeler all featuring in an impressive first-half showing.

As good as his first half was, his second was better. Herbert connected with his receivers when it looked almost impossible – his composure in the pocket, vision downfield, and desire to make plays all infectious. This dart to Allen on the sideline got people exasperating. A masterful throw with heat.



His 18.48 fantasy points (in Yahoo! leagues) certainly seem harsh but the encouraging scenario is that the performance via the eye was terrific on a day when the trio of Williams, Allen, and Ekeler were all healthy, the first time that’s occurred since the opening game. Herbert could be a difference-maker in the playoffs, buckle up.


Running Back


Austin Ekeler: 15 Carries, 45 Yards, TD | 8 Targets, 8 Receptions, 59 Yards

Joshua Kelley: 4 Carries, 29 Yards | 2 Targets, 1 Reception, 6 Yards


The tough all-purpose back of the Chargers has been excellent for fantasy managers this season, coming into the game as the number two running back in fantasy. And Austin Ekeler‘s first half alone made us all smile – eight rushes, seven catches for 78 yards, and a touchdown. After the break, it was a different story as Ekeler was bottled up on the ground and saw only one further target through the air, a criminal output considering how good he was in the first half.

When the Chargers needed him, however, he stepped up with a tough 12-yard run near the end of the game to put the Chargers in field goal range and eventually determine the game. Still, what looked like a huge day at the half turned sour and fantasy managers who were relying on Ekeler for a big score may have come up short.

The good news is that with this win the Chargers now play significantly meaningful football throughout the fantasy playoffs and Ekeler should be in line for a big workload.


Wide Receiver/Tight End


Mike Williams: 6 Targets, 6 Receptions, 116 Yards, TD

Keenan Allen: 14 Targets, 12 Receptions, 92 Yards

Joshua Palmer: 6 Targets, 4 Receptions, 53 Yards

Gerald Everett: 8 Targets, 5 Receptions, 28 Yards

Stone Smartt: 1 Target, 1 Reception, 8 Yards

Tre’ McKitty: 1 Target, 1 Reception, 5 Yards

DeAndre Carter: 2 Targets, 1 Reception


The return of Mike Williams will be a game-changer for this offense, mainly because of his ability in contested-catch situations. Williams proved this on the opening drive, starting to the outside of Xavien Howard before readjusting inside and making a sensational grab to set up the Chargers with good field position. He later added a 10-yard touchdown grab to extend the Chargers’ lead in the first half. It’s so good to see such a playmaker for fantasy (and real-life) back on the field. Williams caught all his targets for 116 yards.



In his absence recently, Joshua Palmer has been lights out for his quarterback and he showed again why he deserves more targets with a number of important grabs in this game. A sideline catch with some toe-drag swag in the first quarter set up the Chargers deep in Dolphins’ territory. Another pass on the move from Herbert was hauled in inside the red zone just prior to the half too. Both illustrated Palmer’s ability to create separation, haul in passes downfield, and show safe hands near the sidelines.



Veteran Keenan Allen also played his part, notching 12 catches for 92 yards which included some fun plays. This flick from Allen sent Allen on his way deep into Dolphins’ territory. The chemistry between these two is something to enjoy. Allen was all over the formation and was a key target on third down. There was a lovely moment between the pair after Allen’s dart to secure a first down – the two exchanging pointing fingers to say you are the man! It was a timely day for such production from the wideout who has missed so much time this year.



Tight end Gerald Everett remains fantasy relevant in this offense with another eight targets and five catches. What is missing, however, is the yards and red zone looks. He had a couple of opportunities over the middle today but struggled under heavy coverage to haul balls in.

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