Originally written on Fantasy Sports Locker Room  |  Last updated 11/6/14

Shane Vereen, a running back don’t forget, had 17 targets from Tom Brady… and that should continue given the injury to Rob Gronkowski. If you missed this, it was a brutal real time hit straight to the knee and was evident to most watching that a torn ACL was the most likely diagnosis. Of course, we’ll wait for the MRI but it simply looked awful – seeming like an injury that would keep him out for the remainder of 2013 but also into 2014 (stop me if you’ve heard this before). It is, of course, a downgrade to the New England offense to be without Gronkowski and there isn’t a natural TE to replace his production (so, no roster moves seeking Matthew Mulligan) but for Shane Vereen and Julian Edelman it serves as a virtual guarantee that they will maintain their value on volume alone. As part of a second half assault Vereen totalled 162 yards and a score on 15 touches (12 receptions) and Edelman had his third straight impressive fantasy outing – going 6/9/64 with a clutch TD late in the game. The schedule isn’t spectacular for wide receivers to close the season with the still-tough Miami defense on tap and the Ravens in the following week but I’ll likely rank Vereen as a borderline RB1 in each of the remaining contests. When Aaron Dobson and/or Kenbrell Thompkins return, each could see some late season as value. After an awful first half, Tom Brady wound up over 400 yards on 52 attempts, with over 300 yards in the second half and if their early struggles continue, he’ll have lots of attempts as the season comes to a close. I’m not anticipating a return to he fantasy futility we saw from Brady in the first weeks of the season without Gronkowski but we can’t expect his strong four week run to continue, either. Peyton Manning through 37 first half passes, so he clearly isn’t that worried about the sentiment that Peyton Manning throws poorly in the cold. All told, Peyton threw an absurd 59 passes in the game, given that the Broncos won it in a blow out, and had another four touchdown passes, indeed putting to bed any questions about his ability to succeed in December. Wes Welker received his second concussion diagnosis of the season, but not until after catching one of four Manning TD passes, caught one apiece by each of the big four. Should Welker miss time, the other three will just pick up the slack. Knowshon Moreno had a nice day but rotated very evenly with Montee Ball. With six catches Moreno had two more touches but the two had nearly identical 14-78-TD/15-77-TD rushing lines, confirming the fact htat Moreno’s load should lessen a bit to keep him fresh and that there is plenty of rushing work to go around. Josh Gordon was barely used in the first half, but became a productive weapon for Cleveland when called upon – taking over the game for a stretch of a quarter and a half against the Patriots, until Shane Vereen and Julian Edelman did the same for New England. Gordon also led the Browns in rushing, naturally. He finished with seven catches on 10 targets for another 150 yards and a score. As it turns out, Jordan Cameron was productive this weekend as well after a heavily targeted underwhelming stretch, going 9/9/121/TD. For the Titans, Ryan Fitzpatrick threw an equally absurd 24 passes in a game they lost by 23 points. Both Shonn Greene and Chris Johnson ran well enough (though Johnson’s -10 yard rush/fumble combination didn’t exactly help his fantasy owners). Kendall Wright was targeted just twice, his lowest number of the season, in a game where I projected a season high in looks… Justin Hunter returned to the stat sheet, at least. Bobby Rainey took his first carry 80 yards for a score against the Bills – I’d been saying all week to trust Rainey with big workloads but coming off consecutive challenging matchups, and I didn’t see this coming, but that’s why you have to be attentive to opponent rather than writing a player off. With that said, thereafter Rainey carried 21 times for 127 yards. Still, his lock on the backfield workload makes him a very useful play down the stretch. In other uneven Buccaneer rookie news, Mike Glennon threw for two TDs and won in a walk, but was just 9/25 for 90 yards with two interceptions (half of EJ Manuel’s four). Only one WR had caught a touchdown against the Dolphins this season until Emmanuel Sanders’ first quarter TD. Thereafter, Antonio Brown added one of his own and Jerricho Cotchery had a late score, triple the number they had allowed in 12 previous games. Dwayne Bowe’s TD came early this week – he’s scored a couple of times in recent weeks but had largely been in garbage time. It was nice to see a first quarter touchdown. Of interest, he posted points this week despite the fact that Kansas City was able to coast for most of the entire second half. Jamaal Charles was the same runner he has been all season. Robert Griffin III and Alfred Morris were both awful against a Chiefs defense that was able to use a matchup against Washington to reassert it’s dominance. In what is reasonably good news for Griffin, Kirk Cousins did nothing productive in close out duty (7/16). Over the last four games the Jets had allowed less than eight fantasy points per game to RBs, and the lowest in the league on the season. Marcel Reece, the Raiders’ 3rd string option forced into this one with both Rashad Jennings and Darren McFadden unavailable, played reasonably well for most of the contest – and started the 3rd quarter with a 12.3 points play, scoring on a 63 yard carry. Reece isn’t likely to carry lasting relevance, but anyone who was able to take advantage of his 161 total yard outing was thrilled. In Stevan Ridley’s return, both he and LeGarrette Blount had eight carries and went for an average of over four yards per. While eight carries won’t do much for you moving forward, it is a positive sign that Ridley was in the mix. The Jets shocked the world (at least, they shocked me) today rendering the Oakland DST useless and Jeremy Kerley made it into the endzone in his return with four catches for 41 yards and a score. He’ll be the only Jet receiver you have an interest in moving forward, while Chris Ivory maintained relevance finding the endzone and posting 76 yards on 18 carries. I’m still in on Andre Holmes. He made three catches for 63 yards on seven targets so the volume should be there, but it was Rod Streater’s day. Donald Brown’s tenure as starter and workhorse back lasted one week. Today, Trent Richardson out-touched and outproduced him, though neither player had enough work to be truly relevant. Speaking of relevance, Da’Rick Rodgers had two scores and six catches but I’m expecting LaVon Brazill’s 2TD outing to be more translatable moving forward. For the second straight week both Giovani Bernard and BenJarvus Green-Ellis but Green-Ellis got the chances to score again – doing so twice. Each player will be useable moving forward but BJGE’s production at the goal line of late should be noted as it may mean that he will continue to cut into Bernard’s chances there. Adrian Peterson’s day ended abruptly with a foot sprain and was underwhelming prior to it. Toby Gerhart – who you should have added per my discussion around Adrian Peterson’s groin injury – is in line for matchups against the Eagles and Bengals to close the season. They aren’t the best of mathcups, but not the worst either. Gerhart carried 15 times for 89 yards and scored a TD.  This game featured 42 fourth quarter points and just 13 throughout, so it is hard to glean much about the values of any of the players involved but you’ve got to be impressed with Cordarelle Patterson’s late game play, and the fact that Dennis Pitta made six catches and scored in his return to the field. I was back and forth on LeSean McCoy’s value this week, given a challenging matchup against the stout Lions run defense but a) talent and b) eight inches of snow had their way in this game. His Philadelphia record 217 yards rushing and two scores were impressive as he paced the offense throughout. The weather managed to render Calvin Johnson a non-factor on the other side – and this game, though extreme, showed us that conditions are something that we absolutely need to be mindful of moving over the final two weeks. Even before Lamar Miller’s concussion the surprising return of Daniel Thomas was impacting his workload. After Thomas ran well against Pittsburgh (16-105-TD, including an impressive 55 yard scamper late in the game). For Miami, despite a dream matchup for WR1s Mike Wallace was not heavily targeted meaning that his unpredictable use has returned after a reasonably strong two game stretch. Harry Douglas made just two catches on seven targets while Roddy Whit went 8/10, with his second productive outing for Atlanta. Given that, it looks like it is time to start trusting White, just in time for your fantasy playoffs.  I won’t recommend him as much more than a mid-range WR3 mind you, but he should have utility for owners who hung on to him all season. Michael Crabtree made one of the finer catches you’ll ever see in the first quarter against Seattle. He didn’t really break out in this one for San Francisco, but received a healthy eight targets in his second game back, catching four of them. Vernon Davis caught a TD pass and continues to be one of just two players who have accomplished the feat with Colin Kaepernick this season. Frank Gore had 17 carries for 110 yards including an impressive 51 yard dash after I’d written him off in this column/in our broadcast last week. Reiterated, he’s still getting volume in an offense designed to succeed with the run so he’s not written off but Gore was caught on the end of the 51 yarder… Carson Palmer’s elbow injury turned out to be much ado about nothing. The veteran QB threw for just one score but he looked fine against St. Louis, and connected with Larry Fitzgerald for another score. In fact, it was nice to see Fitz get into the endzone on a redzone target with only one touchdown being scored. He is the anchor in their passing game as his 12/12/96 performance underscores. Michael Floyd had just 26 yards after being limited in practice all week. Ryan Mathews continued his quiet ascension to stud back status. This week, he had a career high 32 touches (I didn’t even look that up, but I think we can write it in pen) with 29 carries for 103 yards with a score. Much of the high carry-load has to do with how thoroughly the Chargers handled the Saints but he has been one of the more productive backs in the league over the last five weeks. Ladarius Green (0 catches) disappeared, though that could also have been a function of game flow. Keenan Allen needed just three targets to have a monster fantasy day, catching all of them and posting two touchdowns. The post Inside the Locker Room, NFL Week 14 Review: A look at Sunday’s action appeared first on Fantasy Sports Locker Room.

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