Fantasy
Things we learned in Week 14
Compiled by Thomas Harrigan, Jesse Pantuosco, and Steve Schwarz

Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Fantasy owners saw much of their lineup battle the elements almost as much as the opponent, but the best owners found a way to survive and move on to the second round of the playoffs.

Below are a few more things we observed on Sunday afternoon.

Minnesota at Baltimore

Adrian Peterson getting carted off the field isn't an image most associate with fantasy success. It sounds like he's going to be alright (he's been diagnosed with a sprained foot), but for fantasy owners competing in the playoffs this week, the damage is already done. "AP" finished with 13 yards on just seven carries. That's one fantasy point if you're keeping score at home.

With Peterson out, Stanford alum Toby Gerhart bullied his way to 89 yards on 15 touches. His 41-yard touchdown dash in the fourth quarter was his second of the season. If he didn't have Peterson in front of him, Gerhart could be one of the better running backs in fantasy football. If only.

This game didn't get good until the last two minutes. That's when 65 percent of the scoring happened (36 of 55 total points).

Here was Adam Schefter's attempt at humor: "No coach to block Jacoby Jones this time." Jones' 77-yard score in the fourth quarter was his fifth return touchdown in the last three seasons. And no, Leslie Frazier did not attempt to interfere. If he did, it probably would have cost him six figures.

When I saw the words "Dennis Pitta touchdown" roll across the screen, I thought I might be hallucinating. Turns out, this actually happened. Pitta, who sat out the first 12 games with a dislocated hip (glad they finally located it), finished with six catches for 48 yards. The touchdown was his first since last year's Super Bowl.

Cordarrelle Patterson was a first-round pick in last year's draft. Sunday, he finally played like one. His 141 receiving yards were a career-high. Patterson's previous best had been only 54 yards.

Indianapolis at Cincinnati

Since Week 9, the Colts have scored a combined 24 points in the first half. Over that same stretch, they've scored 102 in the second half. On Sunday, all 28 of their points came after half-time.

Andrew Luck's 113.1 quarterback rating on Sunday was his highest since Sept. 8 when he delivered two touchdowns in a win against Oakland. It's the fifth time in his career he's finished with a QB rating of at least 100.

Colts receivers Da'Rick Rogers and LaVon Brazill combined for four touchdowns on Sunday. Neither player had scored all season. Rogers didn't even have a catch before Sunday.

Sunday marked BenJarvus Green-Ellis' first multi-touchdown effort of the season and also his first as a Bengal. Replays showed that one of them shouldn't have counted, but that doesn't matter, to fantasy owners. Points are points.

Marvin Jones is tied with A.J. Green for the team-lead in touchdown receptions with eight. Sunday's score was his first since Week 7.

Andy Dalton needs just two more touchdowns to tie his career-high for a single season (27). With three games to go, it would be surprising if Dalton didn't get it.

Atlanta at Green Bay

The Packers won and they did it without Aaron Rodgers. Somebody give Matt Flynn a new contract!

Jordy Nelson caught a 46-yard missile from Flynn in the third quarter. It was his 15th catch of at least 25 yards this season. That leaves him one shy of the team record for a single season. It's also the most in the NFL in 2013.

Roddy White has been money this month. In two December games, he's snagged 18 catches for 217 yards. It's great to see White getting involved in the offense, but what took him so long (209 yards total in his first eight games)?

Tony Gonzalez secured his sixth touchdown of the season on Sunday. You have to wonder if it's the last one he'll score in the NFL. With three games to go, he's at 109 touchdowns for his career, the most ever by an NFL tight end. What a journey it's been

Cleveland at New England

What ... just ... happened? I feel like we ask this question every week with New England. If Auburn is college football's team of destiny, the Patriots are certainly the NFL equivalent.

And of course Billy Cundiff misses the game-winning field goal. Because of course!!!

Sunday marked Tom Brady's sixth career 400-yard game. It was also his 34th career fourth-quarter comeback. It's good to be Tom Brady.

New England's title hopes took a big hit on Sunday when Rob Gronkowski was carted off the field in the third quarter. Early reports out of Foxboro indicate he may have suffered a torn ACL. That would obviously end his season.

No one would ever accuse Bill Belichick of being unoriginal. With Aaron Dobson and Kenbrell Thompkins both sidelined with injuries, Josh Boyce (three catches, 49 yards), Austin Collie (one reception), James Develin (31 yards receiving) and Matthew Mulligan (one catch for 15 yards) were all out there on Sunday. Somehow, they made it work.

Shane Vereen's 50-yard catch in the third quarter was the longest by a Patriots' running back this season. The longest catch before that was a 32- yard grab by LeGarrette Blount earlier in the game.

Speaking of Vereen, his 153 yards receiving were the most by a Patriot since Week 15 of 2012 when Brandon Lloyd broke off 190 yards against San Francisco. Vereen is already at 40 catches and he's only played five games this season.

New England's streak of 330 games in a row without recovering an onside kick ended on Sunday. It had been the longest active streak in the NFL.

Yes, the Browns also played on Sunday. Josh Gordon led the team in both receiving (151) and rushing yards (34). His 1,400 receiving yards this season are the most in Browns history. Braylon Edwards was the previous single-season record holder with 1,289 yards in 2007.

Tight end Jordan Cameron caught all nine passes that came his way on Sunday. The 121 yards he totaled was a career-high.

Oakland at New York Jets

Oakland's offense couldn't do much with Matt McGloin so they tried Terrelle Pryor. They went back to McGloin in the second half and he found a way to score a couple of times.

Fullback Marcel Reece was the Raiders' primary ball carrier and exploded for 123 yards and a score. The Raiders were down three running backs (Rashad Jennings, Darren McFadden, Jeremy Stewart) so former tailback and current cornerback Taiwan Jones moved back to the offense. Don't get excited, he ran two times for three yards.

Rod Streater was the receiver this week, far out-distancing last week's "breakout star" Andre Holmes. Denarius Moore who?

The Jets scored 10 points in the first quarter. That's four more than they scored in the last eight quarters. Geno Smith actually looked like an NFL QB Sunday and with a solid running game and a defense putting points on the board too, the Jets posted a season-high 37 points.

Detroit at Philadelphia

Reggie Bush slipped in pregame warmups and didn't play a down. Fantasy owners had about six minutes to change their lineups. Many didn't. Joique Bell ran well, but lost two first-half fumbles.

The Lions were able to move the ball in the snow storm, but couldn't hold onto it. A total of seven fumbles spoiled their day - five by Matthew Stafford.

Nick Foles finally threw an interception. It wasn't a well thrown ball, but in the snow storm it was understandable.

The Eagles' style of offense didn't work in the snow during the first half, but the team adjusted at the half and McCoy went crazy in the final stanza with touchdown runs of 40- and 57-yards. He finished with a team record 217 rushing yards (148 in the fourth quarter).

The formerly sieve-like Eagles defense hasn't given up more than 21 points in nine consecutive games.

Miami at Pittsburgh

Ryan Tannehill didn't throw the ball very well early, but he ran for 56 in the first half. He adjusted after the break and finished with three touchdown passes.

Lineup surprise Daniel Thomas scored from four yards away to the dismay for Lamar Miller owners everywhere.

Ben Roethlisberger is usually a very good bad weather quarterback and his numbers were ok in the first half, but he stepped it up in the second and made fantasy owners happy with a three-touchdown performance.

Buffalo at Tampa Bay

For once the Bills were playing in nice weather while most everyone else suffered from a snow storm, but they still couldn't get their offense going, posting just two measly field goals.

A Bobby Rainey 80-yard lightning bolt rewarded fantasy owners who gambled on the better weather or against the Bills' bottom-10 run defense.

Kansas City at Washington

Jamaal Charles scored on a couple of early short touchdowns then added a couple of long runs to push his total to 151 yards on the ground.

Kansas City's defense/ST showed up after struggling for the past month. (Note: they did play against Peyton Manning two of those times) Dexter McCluster was a monster on punt returns with a team record 177 yards and a score on seven returns), Quintin Demps scored on a kickoff return and the defense sacked Robert Griffin III six times.

Dwayne Bowe has scored in three of the last four games. He's become useful again.

More poor play from RGIII has fantasy owners moving to the rail to jump ship. If rumors are true, they will all be lined up right behind Mike Shanahan.

When the Redskins got down big early, Alfred Morris was taken out of the game. He finished with just 31 yards on 12 attempts. Blame his bad total on a 31-0 second quarter deficit.

Tennessee at Denver

The Titans offense scored on two short touchdown runs in the first quarter one set up by a Leon Washington 95 yard kickoff return and the other off a long Justin Hunter reception. All that did was get the Broncos offensive juices flowing.

Hunter had two receptions over 40 yards on his way to his second 100-yard bonus in three games. He's going to be very good.

Shonn Green had his fifth career two-touchdown game, but considering he had scored just once in the first 12 games, fantasy owners could hardly be blamed for leaving him on the bench.

Peyton Manning wasn't his pinpoint self, but his receivers didn't help him much early on. Wes Welker, Demaryius Thomas and Julius Thomas dropped touchdown catches in the second quarter alone. Still, he finished the first 30 minutes with 217 yards and a pair of scores. He nearly matched that in the second half finishing with another outstanding effort - 397 yards and four touchdowns.

There should be additional bonus points for breaking a yardage record. Matt Prater's record 64-yard field goal should be worth more than Phil Dawson's 52- yarder. Of course, I also believe that as in the Olympics, a "wind-aided" kick shouldn't count in the record books.

St. Louis at Arizona

The Cardinals' run defense came into the game ranked fourth in yards allowed and didn't disappoint - except for Zac Stacy fantasy owners. His first five carries netted -1 yards. He finished the half with just 11 yards and for the game totaled 25 yards.

The Cardinals' defense (eight points) nearly outscored the Rams' offense (10).

Carson Palmer enjoyed an excellent first half missing just one of 17 throws for 169 yards and a touchdown to Larry Fitzgerald. He wasn't needed much in the second half as Arizona cruised to the victory. I'm betting he likes playing indoor in Arizona a lot better than outdoors in Cincinnati or on the baseball field in Oakland.

The shared backfield of Andre Ellington and Rashard Mendenhall continues to be a difficult one for fantasy owners. Both reached double-digits, but we'd like the team to make a choice for one guy to carry the load.

New York Giants at San Diego

Keenan Allen continues to be a fantasy stud and Philip Rivers' favorite outside receiver. He scored on two of his first three receptions as the Chargers built a big early lead.

Rivers played an impeccable first half throwing for 177 yards and three touchdowns. He's thrown nine touchdown passes versus just two interceptions over the past five games and 26-9 for the season. He was averaged 16 INTs per season from 2010-2012.

Hakeem Nicks had just two 100-yard days in the last 22 games heading into today. He earned his 100-yard bonus during fourth quarter garbage time, but it still counts.

Just when you thought the absence of Brandon Jacobs would mean more red zone carries for Andre Brown, Peyton Hillis steals one from a yard out.

Seattle at San Francisco

The defensive struggle we expected in San Francisco materialized as both teams found room in the first quarter, but things opened up in the second stanza to the tune of 24 points. Sanity was restored in a scoreless third period and each team managed a lone field goal in the fourth.

The return of Michael Crabtree has helped Anquan Boldin find open space, but he was already playing better when the team's No. 1 receiver returned from his Achilles injury. Boldin is averaging 12.5 fantasy points over the last four games.

Frank Gore (17-110-0) is still the engine that drives the 49ers.




Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Steve Schwarz at sschwarz@sportsnetwork.com.