Instant reactions from Week 14
Three big-time injuries in Week 14 may derail title hopes for many owners. Our Jamey Eisenberg shares his observations from a memorable Sunday of action.
While Sunday was fun for a lot of Fantasy owners, it was a disaster for others. Two prominent injuries ruined the day and might have ended a few playoff runs.
Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski might have suffered a torn ACL against Cleveland. And Vikings running back Adrian Peterson was carted off the field at Baltimore with a foot injury.
Gronkowski finished with two catches for 32 yards. His season is apparently over just when it was getting started after being out the first six games with back and forearm injuries. He had five games with double digits in Fantasy points in six games prior to Sunday, and it will be hard to replace him.
You can look at someone like Houston's Garrett Graham (63 percent ownership on CBSSports.com) or Baltimore's Dennis Pitta (15 percent) or play the matchups through the end of the season. But no one will give you guaranteed production like Gronkowski.
His absence will also hurt Tom Brady . He had one game with more than 20 Fantasy points through the first six weeks, but he had more than 20 points in four of his past five games, including Sunday against the Browns. I'd be hesitant to start Brady in Week 15 at Miami, and he had just eight points against the Dolphins in Week 8.
Julian Edelman , who had his third big game in a row with six catches for 64 yards and a touchdown and a two-point conversion against Cleveland, will see more production. And hopefully Danny Amendola , who scored against the Browns, starts to step up. But this was a horrendous blow for the Patriots offense moving forward.
As for Peterson, we hope he's not out for the season, but it doesn't look promising. The good thing is you have a direct replacement option in Toby Gerhart , who shockingly is owned in just 18 percent of leagues. We've been telling you for weeks to add the handcuff, and now you can miss out as the Peterson owner if someone else grabs Gerhart.
Gerhart had 15 carries for 89 yards and a touchdown against the Ravens, and he would be a No. 2 running back or flex option against Philadelphia at home in Week 15. Obviously we'd rather have Peterson, but Gerhart could end up starting for Fantasy owners as the playoffs roll on.
• Injuries of note: Lamar Miller (concussion), Wes Welker (concussion), Reggie Bush (calf) and Tavon Austin (ankle).
Miller finished with six carries for 20 yards and two catches for 13 yards before leaving at Pittsburgh, which opened the door for Daniel Thomas . We'll see if Miller can return for a great matchup against New England in Week 15, but Thomas (24 percent) will be a must-add running back this week. Thomas finished with 16 carries for 105 yards and a touchdown and one catch for 4 yards against the Steelers.
Welker suffered his second concussion of the season against the Titans, but not before he ended his four-game slump. He finished with five catches for 61 yards and a touchdown, and we hope he can return in Week 15 against San Diego, although don't count on him with the game Thursday night. It's unlikely he'll get clearance in time to return.
Bush was hurt before Sunday's game at Philadelphia when he re-injured his calf during pregame warm-ups. We hope he can return against Baltimore in Week 15, but if he's out then Joique Bell could again shine. Bell was solid against the Eagles with 23 carries for 69 yards and a touchdown and four catches for 58 yards, but he also lost two fumbles.
Austin was hurt on a highlight-reel play at the end of a 56-yard run at Arizona. He also had one catch for 9 yards. He would be just a boom-or-bust Fantasy option in Week 15 against the Saints if he plays.
• Ben Roethlisberger is matchup proof: Prior to Sunday's game at Pittsburgh, the Dolphins had allowed only Drew Brees in Week 4 to throw multiple touchdowns against them, but Roethlisberger didn't care. He was dominant with 297 passing yards and three touchdowns.
Roethlisberger has now scored at least 23 Fantasy points in consecutive games against tough pass defenses in Baltimore and Miami, and he has at least 20 points five of his past six outings. He should be considered a must-start Fantasy option in all leagues against Cincinnati in Week 15 based on his recent production.
• Matthew Stafford swallowed up in snow: Weather played a role in many of Sunday's games, but it appeared like Stafford and the Lions were impacted the most. Not having Bush probably hurt the offense, but Stafford had his worst game of the season with five Fantasy points. He was 10 of 25 passing for 148 yards and had five fumbles, but only lost one.
We expect Stafford to rebound in Week 15 against Baltimore at home, and you should start him despite the tough matchup -- if you were able to advance. He should be able to get back on track in normal conditions.
Also in this game, LeSean McCoy and the Eagles shattered the Lions vaunted run defense. Again, weather probably played a role, but the Eagles racked up 299 rushing yards and three touchdowns, with McCoy leading the way with 29 carries for 217 yards and two scores.
• Marcel Reece stars for the Raiders: Oakland was without Rashad Jennings (concussion) and Darren McFadden (ankle) at the Jets, so Reece was the only healthy body left. He made his opportunity count with 19 carries for 123 yards and a touchdown and two catches for 38 yards.
Reece (7 percent ownership) is worth adding in all leagues, and he could be considered at least a flex option in Week 15 against the Chiefs. Just keep an eye on Jennings and McFadden, and if both are out then Reece should again play in a featured role.
• C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson fall flat: Just when it looked like Spiller and Jackson were back after their dominant performance against Atlanta in Week 13, both were awful against Tampa Bay on Sunday.
Spiller had 11 carries for 22 yards and one catch for 26 yards. He had a potential 83-yard touchdown called back in the fourth quarter due to holding, but those points won't count. Jackson also struggled with five carries for 12 yards and four catches for 26 yards.
I'd be hesitant to start either running back at Jacksonville in Week 15. They are flex options since Jackson is strictly touchdown dependent, and Spiller needs to break a big play for him to succeed. The Jaguars have also done a nice job in run defense with only one running back reaching double digits in Fantasy points against them in their past five games.
• Colts find weapons: The Colts passing game has been struggling since Reggie Wayne (knee) went down in Week 7, but they may have found some receivers to help out the reeling T.Y. Hilton . On Sunday at Cincinnati, Da'Rick Rogers and LaVon Brazill stepped up in a big way.
Rogers had his first catch of the season against the Bengals, but he didn't stop there. He finished with six catches for 107 yards and two touchdowns on nine targets. Brazill also played well with three catches for 53 yards and two touchdowns on four targets.
Hilton again struggled with just two catches for 7 yards on five targets, but Week 15 against the Texans could be a big game for all the receivers in Indianapolis. And Rogers (1 percent) and Brazill (1 percent) are worth adding off the waiver wire, especially Rogers, because he easily has the highest ceiling.
• Jordan Cameron bounces back: Cameron had gone five games in a row without scoring a touchdown and four games in a row with 45 receiving yards or less. So of course he was dominant when most Fantasy owners gave up on him.
Cameron had nine catches for 121 yards and one touchdown on nine targets against the Patriots, and he was finally on the same page with quarterback Jason Campbell . We hope this is a sign of things to come, and Cameron will be considered a quality starting option in Week 15 against Chicago.
• Waiver Wire preview: Here is a preview of the players we will highlight in Playing the Waiver Wire on Tuesday.
Quarterbacks: Jay Cutler , Bears (66 percent), Joe Flacco , Ravens (63 percent), Ryan Tannehill , Dolphins (46 percent), Geno Smith , Jets (20 percent), Jason Campbell , Browns (13 percent), Matt McGloin , Raiders (7 percent), Matt Cassel , Chiefs (2 percent)
Running backs: Daniel Thomas , Dolphins (24 percent), Peyton Hillis , Giants (21 percent), Shonn Greene , Titans (21 percent), Knile Davis , Chiefs (19 percent), Toby Gerhart , Vikings (18 percent), Marcel Reece , Raiders (7 percent), Jordan Todman , Jaguars (1 percent), Chris Polk , Eagles (0 percent)
Wide receivers: Brian Hartline , Dolphins (70 percent), Emmanuel Sanders , Steelers (69 percent), Marvin Jones , Bengals (63 percent), Jerricho Cotchery , Steelers (61 percent), Rod Streater , Raiders (44 percent), Marlon Brown , Ravens (23 percent), Cordarrelle Patterson , Vikings (21 percent), Jerome Simpson , Vikings (14 percent), Jeremy Kerley , Jets (11 percent), Justin Hunter , Titans (7 percent), Ace Sanders , Jaguars (6 percent), LaVon Brazill , Colts (1 percent), Da'Rick Rogers , Colts (1 percent), Drew Davis , Falcons (1 percent)
Tight ends: Delanie Walker , Titans (66 percent), Garrett Graham , Texans (63 percent), Timothy Wright , Buccaneers (46 percent), Brandon Myers , Giants (23 percent), Dennis Pitta , Ravens (15 percent), Marcedes Lewis , Jaguars (3 percent), Andrew Quarless , Packers (3 percent), Mychal Rivera , Raiders (1 percent), Logan Paulsen , Redskins (0 percent), Luke Willson , Seahawks (0 percent)
• Start 'Em/Sit 'Em star: Our Start of the Week was great in Week 14 with Bobby Rainey . He had 22 carries for 127 yards and a touchdown and three catches for minus-4 yards against Buffalo. Rainey made his day -- and mine -- when he scored from 80 yards out on the second play of the game. He should be considered at least a flex option against the 49ers at home in Week 15.
• Start 'Em/Sit 'Em flop: It looks like Andrew Luck figured out how to play outdoors, and it came in bad weather at Cincinnati. Prior to Sunday, Luck had one game in his career with more than 20 Fantasy points outdoors, but he did well at the Bengals with 326 passing yards and four touchdowns and two carries for 32 yards, which is 40 points in a standard league. Luck got tremendous help from Rogers and Brazill, who both scored two touchdowns. Luck is a great starting option in Week 15 against the Texans.