A lot of Fantasy owners had angst about starting Reggie Wayne this week because he was facing a Broncos secondary led by Champ Bailey. Others had the same issues about Pierre Garcon simply because Andre Goodman was going up against him.
Turns out that both struggled. Wayne had 43 yards on four catches and Garcon had just 39 yards on two catches. Both gave way to Joseph Addai as a backfield receiver and Dallas Clark as a red-zone monster (three of his five catches were touchdowns). Throw in a little Austin Collie (three catches for 39 yards and a touchdown) and Wayne and Garcon were bottled up.
Now comes the issue of whether or not the Colts' star players -- Peyton Manning included -- will play complete games going forward. The Colts have locked up the No. 1 seed in the AFC and the road to the Super Bowl will lead through Indianapolis.
The Colts have traditionally rested their starters when they've had nothing to play for, but the team does have something to play for: An undefeated season. At 13-0, they'd be foolish not to try and chase history. They also have an NFL-record 22 consecutive straight regular-season wins, something they can easily build on with three games left at the Jaguars, vs. the Jets and at the Bills.
"I don't think there is a right answer. I think whatever plan Coach Caldwell gives us that will be the right plan because that's what he decided and what we will carry out," Manning told CBSSports.com Senior NFL Writer Clark Judge on Sunday. "... I think every competitive player wants to be out there playing. That's what we'll plan to do, and whatever direction he wants to go in -- and I don't know anything else -- we'll go from there and play to win. I will say this: One thing we have done in the past which I haven't really liked is revealing our plan. I don't think it's Jacksonville's business or anybody's business what we're going to do before we get out there Thursday [their next game]."
A hunch? They'll make their run for history, and as soon as a game has been decided (win or loss), the starters will head for the sidelines. Against Jacksonville, that might take a while, but against the Jets and Bills we might not get even three quarters out of Manning & Co. This makes starting most Colts a little risky, especially the receivers and especially Reggie Wayne because he's failed to get over 100 yards in four straight games.
It might be time to move on if you have the guys to cover for him.
Let's take a look around at the rest of the Week 14 action.
Start of the Week result: Jamaal Charles did it again -- another week with a touchdown (his fifth straight) and 181 total yards to boot! Hysteria over Charles has hit a new level -- he's become the stuff of Fantasy legends, the kind of midseason pickup that pushes a good team into a Fantasy championship squad. He's joining the likes of Corey Dillon, Samkon Gado and Tashard Choice in that realm, though the long-term upside is really strong with Charles. The reality is that he's putting up a ton of yards (861 total) in spite of a rag-tag offensive line and accompanying passing game. There's little doubt he'll be a part of what the Chiefs do in 2010, and of course he'll play a role in Week 15 vs. the Browns. Jamaal Charles is a must-start in all leagues.
Sit of the Week result: Telling you to sit Jay Cutler wasn't exactly rocket science, but if you chose another good quarterback in place of him you probably turned out fine. Yes, Cutler had two touchdowns, but he also threw two interceptions and just barely topped 200 passing yards. He could be in for worse stats at Baltimore next week.
Insane stat line of the day: The most surprising two-touchdown performer from Week 14? Redskins running back Quinton Ganther, the former practice squad player who had 93 total yards to go along with his two scores. Like Charles, he'll have the chance to earn a 2010 spot with the Redskins with a strong finish, but his road to that goal becomes challenging with the Giants, Cowboys and Chargers left on his schedule. No pushovers like the Raiders he trounced this week.
Out-of-nowhere stat line of the week: Ben Roethlisberger at Cleveland and Aaron Rodgers at Chicago: Zero touchdowns. Two of the safest, most productive young Fantasy players in the league went into one of their bitter division rivals' stadiums and couldn't notch a touchdown. Roethlisberger even lost his game! Wind, snow and cold weather aside, there's no way anyone saw those stats coming.
Guy we were way right about: How about a team we were way right about: The Seahawks. Other than John Carlson, everyone else on that roster didn't come through to help you guys out. Justin Forsett wound up splitting reps with Julius Jones almost 50-50, T.J. Houshmandzadeh made it four straight games without as many as six Fantasy points and Nate Burleson made it seven straight games without a touchdown.
Guy we were way wrong about: Maybe we've been taking Steven Jackson for granted. For the third straight week Jackson missed practice and was active for Sunday, but his 53-total-yard performance at Tennessee snaps an eight-game streak of at least 100 total yards. What didn't help Jackson was the Rams giving rookie Keith Null the starting quarterback spot, effectively leaving the Titans to dare St. Louis to throw. Null threw five interceptions and Jackson was stonewalled.
Overachieving defense of the week: How can it not be Cleveland? The Browns held Pittsburgh to six points and 216 total yards -- something no one else had done to them all season. The worst (or best) part of it? Only one percent of owners in CBSSports.com leagues started the Browns DST, which means that no one was helped or harmed from their performance. Well, one percent of owners were harmed -- tough to lose in the Fantasy playoffs to a team that started the Browns DST.
Underachieving defense of the week: Let's keep it in Ohio with the Bengals, who were throttled by the Vikings and Adrian Peterson. Many Minnesota players said after the game that they went back to basics with the playbook and opted to run the football and be physical with the Browns. It worked -- the Bengals allowed 30 points but did manage to keep Brett Favre under 200 yards passing.
Names to add to your scout team:
Devin Aromashodu, wide receiver, Chicago (eight catches, 76
Josh Cribbs, wide receiver, Cleveland (eight carries, 87 yards; one catch, 9 yards)
Arian Foster, running back, Houston (13 carries, 34 yards, four catches 54 yards)
Quinton Ganther, running back, Washington (14 carries, 50 yards, two touchdowns; three catches 43 yards)
Chris Jennings, running back, Cleveland (20 carries, 73 yards, touchdown)
Maurice Morris, running back, Detroit (replaced injured Kevin Smith)
Correll Buckhalter, ankle; considered questionable for Week 15
Bruce Gradkowski, leg; considered questionable for Week 15 at Denver
Kevin Smith, knee; might be out for the season
DeMarcus Ware, neck; considered questionable for Week 15 at New Orleans
Vince Young, hamstring; considered questionable for Week 15 vs. Miami
The last word: Week 14 will be remembered as a week of boom or bust. There wasn't much middle ground -- Fantasy players either did amazing or did poorly. Those owners who had enough big producers won out; those who were disappointed are left holding the bag until next year.
The following players (non quarterbacks) scored two or more touchdowns this week: Reggie Bush, Dallas Clark, Fred Davis, Quinton Ganther, Ryan Grant, Andre Johnson, Chris Johnson, Thomas Jones, Brandon Marshall, Willis McGahee and Adrian Peterson.
The following teams had their receivers individually fail to top 85 yards receiving: Bears, Bengals, Bills, Browns, Buccaneers, Colts (!), Cowboys, Falcons, Jaguars, Jets, Lions, Packers, Panthers, Raiders, Rams, Redskins, Saints (!), Seahawks, Titans and Vikings. That's 20 teams. Yikes.
Driving that point home further, only seven quarterbacks threw two or more touchdowns during the week (excluding the Sunday and Monday night games). Not a good week to rely on receivers. Unless, you know, they scored two or three touchdowns.
What stood out to you this week? How did your Fantasy teams do? Tell us via Twitter @daverichard. Or drop us a line and tell us about it at firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to put Attn: Week 14 in the subject field. Please include your full name, hometown and state and we'll respond to as many as e-mails we can.