Doesn’t it seem like the wackiest football performances always occur just when hardworking, dedicated, intelligent, good looking (might be a stretch) fantasy football owners reach the fake football playoffs? Whether it was eye-popping weather, incredible plays, or devastating injuries, Week 14 was far from short on reasons for aficionados of our fake game to scratch their heads over the long, cold offseason. While the Philadelphia/Detroit arctic battle was the most talked about, there were a bucket full of other games that helped make Week 14 the most exciting week of the season. Go snag that last piece of fruit cake from the fridge and get ready to dig in while we check out the highlights and lowlights from Week 14’s fantasy football action:
Da’Rick Rogers: Since Reggie Wayne was knocked out for the season with a knee injury, the Colts have been searching for reliable receiving options. T.Y. Hilton got most of the work initially, but has seen a dip in production of late, leaving tight end Coby Fleener as the most consistent option for quarterback Andrew Luck. Finally, in Week 14, Indianapolis may have found what they were looking for in rookie Da’Rick Rogers. Rogers tied Fleener for the team lead in targets (9), and caught six of them for 107 yards and two touchdowns. I wouldn’t put your Week 15 fake playoff hopes in his hands, but Rogers is definitely worth an add and is oozing with keeper/dynasty appeal. Let’s face it, as long as we never have to watch Darrius Heyward-Bey again, this is a win for everyone.
Eddie Lacy: Lacy handed fantasy owners quite a scare as he limped gingerly into the Green Bay locker room after injuring his ankle prior to half time against Atlanta. Luckily our man Eddie had done most of his damage in the first half, as he wasn’t quite the same in the third and fourth quarters. Keep a close eye on Lacy this week as fake footballers can’t afford for the Green Bay bruiser to miss a gravy Week 15 matchup with the buttery soft Dallas Cowboys defense. However, just the thought of gravy and butter may get the portly running back on the fast track to returning.
Josh Gordon: For what seems like the 172nd consecutive week, Josh Gordon turned in a beastly performance. This week, he caught seven of 10 targets for 151 yards and a score as the Browns coughed up a big lead to New England. This effort marked the fourth straight week of 125+ receiving yards for Gordon and was his seventh such performance of the 2013 season. This guy needs some sort of cool nickname, and I assume he will get one before he graces the first round of 2014 fantasy drafts. Chicago is up next for Gordon and the Browns in Week 15.
Rob Gronkowski: Big Gronk was having a slow day as the New England offense struggled to get on track early in Week 14 before lightning struck the big tight end once again. Gronk is feared to have done major damage to his knee after getting hit low on Sunday and will have an MRI on Monday to get a definitive answer. This is a huge loss for the Patriots and fantasy owners alike, as Gronk was finally back healthy and putting up Gronk-like numbers. The immediate beneficiaries of Gronk’s absence will be Shane Vereen (17 wk 14 targets) and Julian Edelman (nine wk 14 targets), who both had nice games on Sunday in New England’s comeback. Get well soon, big fella!
Marcel Reece: It feels like we inevitably reach this point at least once during every fantasy season, and this guy always delivers. Marcel Reece was called upon to start for the Raiders on Sunday as both Rashad Jennings and Darren McFaddden (shocker!) were unable to suit up for Oakland’s battle with the New York Jets. The full back/H-back/S-back/Q-back/Z-back rewarded gambling fantasy owners on Sunday as he turned in 161 total yards and a touchdown. Reece showed surprising speed on a 63 yard touchdown run and did a great job with the featured role like he normally does during DMC’s annual absence. If Jennings/McFadden miss Week 15, roll out Reece again but if not, he goes back to the shelf.
LeSean McCoy: The DET/PHI matchup was quite a roller coaster this week as it went from potential shootout to apocalyptic blizzard before finally ending in shootout fashion after all. The star of the snowy contest was LeSean McCoy, who rumbled through the tundra for 217 yards and two scores. Both the Lions and Eagles had difficulty in the passing game with the field looking like the outer reaches of the north pole, so it was up to Shady to produce, and produce he did. McCoy gets a great (and much warmer) matchup with Minnesota in Week 15 before ending the fantasy season at home against Chicago in Week 16. McCoy will be helping to hoist plenty of fake football trophies this season.
Bobby Rainey: Week 14 was kicked off in style as Rainey took an early carry 80 yards for a touchdown for Sunday’s first score. The final stat line for Rainey held 127 rushing yards and a touchdown, which was a nice effort for running back starved fantasy teams. While the final 21 of Rainey’s 22 carries netted an average of only 2.2 yards, fake points are fake points in our business. Rainey is back to bench material next week against San Francisco.
Marques Colston: Weeks 11-13 saw Colston rack up a total of 147 receiving yards, so naturally he totaled 125 yards on Sunday night alone against Carolina. Colston also threw in a hat trick in the touchdown department in by far his biggest performance of the 2013 season. Despite the performance, Colston remains a flex option at best for upcoming matchups @STL and @CAR.
Adrian Peterson: In a loss that will have fantasy owners smarting all off season, the great Adrian Peterson left Minnesota’s Week 14 game early with a foot injury after only tallying only 17 total yards. X-Rays were negative (which is positive for some reason) but an MRI is in store for Monday. Check back this week for more news on the Vikings’ stud back and hope for a speedy recovery.
Peyton Manning: Eli’s big brother put the cold weather talk to rest with yet another monster performance on Sunday. Manning chucked the ball 59 times against Tennessee, completing 39 passes for 397 yards and a four pack of touchdowns. The Broncos now have a quick turnaround before hosting division foe San Diego on Thursday. Expect another big day from Peyton on Thursday because that is what he does. Staring at “P. Manning” in the “QB” slot of a fantasy football playoff opponent’s lineup is enough to give even the most seasoned fake football veteran the chills.
Keenan Allen: San Diego’s rookie sensation had a nice day Sunday although it wasn’t without incident. Although Keenan Allen ended up with 59 yards and two touchdowns, he did leave the game briefly with what is being described as a “shoulder sprain.” Allen caught his second touchdown after the incident, but this issue is worth monitoring, especially with a Thursday Night Football game on the horizon. Allen’s health is critical to the fantasy success of mountains of fantasy teams as he has been terrific this season and is staring at two nice matchups (@DEN, OAK) to round out the 2013 fantasy season.