Even if you wanted to avoid the bad weather games this week, it was hardly possible. We had wintry conditions all over the map. Philadelphia basically looked like Hoth (see above). Snow covered the fields in Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Washington and Green Bay, too.
And in the end, league-wide statistical production didn't exactly suffer. Here's a look at total points and yards from Sunday's snow games:
DET-PHI – 54 points, 706 total net yards
MIA-PIT – 62 points, 772 yards
KC-WAS – 55 points, 607 yards
MIN-BAL – 55 points, 703 yards
ATL-GB – 43 points, 619 yards
Not exactly a fantasy snowpocalypse.
Matthew Stafford's owners might be whining about weather tonight, sure, but we should note that Nick Foles delivered 20.46 points on the same field. Ryan Tannehill had never previously played a game in the snow, and he'll finish as a top-10 QB.
Honestly, there are not many things that fantasy owners overrate more than the impact of snow — maybe Jared Cook, but that's it.
Granted, the kicking game was non-existent in Philly, and pass attempts were often treacherous. That was a nasty scene, tilting toward the run. I won't pretend that Sunday's sloppy conditions had zero impact. But really, there were very few weather-related fantasy duds this week, despite all our pre-game fretting.
Most of the worst sit/start decisions I've made in my fantasy career have involved great players in poor weather, so I've learned not to sit my beasts, except in the most extreme conditions. High winds are occasionally an issue; snowfall generally is not.
• While we're talking weather, let's please all agree to never again pretend that Peyton Manning can't produce in low temps. That was always a ridiculous argument. First of all, Manning had never played a home game in cold weather until 2012. And secondly, HE'S PEYTON MANNING. This is an all-time quarterback having an all-time season. Manning is, right now, as unbenchable as any QB has ever been. Peyton threw for another four scores and 390 yards on Sunday, finding Wes Welker, Eric Decker and both Thomases for touchdowns. Knowshon Moreno and Montee Ball split the backfield work, and both crossed the goal line. Denver hung 51 points on Tennessee, a team with a respectable defense. Fear the Orange, people.
Broncos kicker Matt Prater put himself in the record book, we should note, with this badass 64-yard boot. So congrats to him.
(Somewhere, Janikowski cracks his toes, extinguishes a smoke on his palm, seethes.)
The only bad news for Denver this week is that Welker apparently sustained a concussion against the Titans, his second of the season. There's no chance we'll see him in the Thursday nighter against the Chargers this week, so make sure Plan B is on your roster.
• Bobby Rainey ran for an 80-yard score on his team's second play from scrimmage against Buffalo, and Mike Glennon later added a pair of passing TDs (one to V-Jax, one to Tim Wright). Aside from those three plays, it was a Lindell-vs.-Carpenter catfight. The Bills managed just 67 rushing yards on 22 carries, which is of course sad. EJ Manuel completed 18 passes to his teammates for 184 yards, and four to Bucs defenders for 75.
• Adrian Peterson was carted off with an ugly-looking foot/ankle injury at Baltimore, and he quickly left the stadium for mid-game testing. Brutal news. It's tough to feel optimistic about this one, given AP's on-field writhing. Let's hope for a quick recovery, but prepare for a prolonged absence. Toby Gerhart remains the handcuff in Minnesota, and he had a quality day at Baltimore in a tricky matchup, rumbling for 89 yards on 15 carries. The Vikes face Philly and Cincinnati over the next two weeks — not ideal opponents, but not terrifying, either. Gerhart is a bull at the goal line and he's averaged 4.7 yards per carry for his career. He's a competent receiver, too.
One additional Vikings note: If that team manages to add a non-terrible quarterback during the offseason, Cordarrelle Patterson has a chance to be a monster. He finished with 141 receiving yards on Sunday, catching five of seven targets, and he added 111 yards on kick returns. Scary dude, Patterson.
• Miami's defense had allowed just one touchdown to a wide receiver entering Week 14 (which is crazy), but Emmanuel Sanders, Antonio Brown and Jerricho Cotchery all found the end zone on Sunday. Brown was thisclose to scoring a second time, on a nutty multi-lateral game-ending play, but he (barely) stepped out of bounds.
Despite the quality day from the Steelers' passing game, the Dolphins still managed to pull out a 34-28 win at Heinz Field. Tannehill was excellent, tossing three touchdown passes (two to Charles Clay) and finishing with an even 200 yards. Daniel Thomas returned from his ankle injury, running for 105 yards on 16 carries. Lamar Miller was concussed in the first half, so Thomas' return was particularly well-timed.
• Oakland lost at New York (in a game that I pretty much ignored, having few fantasy connections), but Marcel Reece had a productive day against the league's top-ranked run defense. Reece gained 161 yards from scrimmage on 21 touches, filling in for the concussed Rashad Jennings and the eternally injured Darren McFadden. Rod Streater had another quality day for the Raiders (7-130-1), and Andre Holmes was useful, too (3-63).
• LeSean McCoy was of course the beastliest runner in Philly on Sunday (217 yards, 2 TDs), but it's never a surprise to see Shady go off. Detroit's Joique Bell also had a huge afternoon, gaining 127 total yards on 27 touches, leading his team in both rushing and receiving. He scored the Lions' only non-special teams touchdown, adding a two-point conversion. Reggie Bush, we should mention, was a late scratch after re-tweaking himself in warmups.
• Josh Gordon had an unusually quiet first half for Cleveland, but it's not as if he was blanketed by anyone...
Jason Campbell finally finds Josh Gordon, who is open on every play.
— Tony Grossi (@TonyGrossi) December 8, 2013
He then blew up in the second half, to no one's surprise, beginning with this 80-yard score on which Aquib Talib was roasted. Gordon finished with 151 yards on seven catches, giving him an insane 774 yards over his last four games. And still, Gordon's contributions weren't quite enough for the Browns on Sunday. Cleveland somehow coughed up a game they controlled late in the fourth quarter. The Pats scored twice in the final 61 seconds, thanks to a recovered onside kick and a phantom PI penalty. Tom Brady finished with 418 passing yards and two scores. Shane Vereen led New England in receiving, catching 12 balls for 153 yards on 17 targets.
All is definitely not well for the Patriots, however, because Rob Gronkowski checked out with a knee injury, and the team fears the worst...
Source says Rob Gronkowski suffered what's believed to be a torn ACL. MRI tomorrow to confirm. Not surprising but another bad break for him. — Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) December 8, 2013
So that's awful. If you find yourself seeking replacement TEs, scroll down now for the early adds. These other bullets can wait.
• Cincinnati and Indy combined for 70 points and 780 total yards in Week 14, as Andy Dalton and Andrew Luck both topped the 30-point mark in standard formats. Dalton's three TD passes went to the usual suspects (Green, Jones, Gresham), but Luck's four touchdowns went to lightly owned wideouts Da'Rick Rogers (6-107-2) and LaVon Brazill (3-53-2). Rogers entered the season as a talented-yet-undrafted deep sleeper attempting to catch on in Buffalo. He'll end it in a much better offensive environment, tied to outstanding young QB. I'm interested.
BenJarvus Green-Ellis found the end zone twice this week for the Bengals, but one of the scores followed a highly questionable replay ruling by Jeff Triplette. If you're a BJGE owner, you might consider sending a small share of those playoff winnings direct to the league office, for distribution to Triplette. (And yeah, I'm facing the Law Firm in one league, benched him in another. NOT PLEASED. NOT AMUSED.)
• Each week, it seems, we salute KC head coach Andy Reid for giving the ball to his best player near the goal line. In the NFL, sometimes this is considered a radical idea. Jamaal Charles scored two more touchdowns this week as the Chiefs destroyed Washington, 45-10. Charles totaled 159 yards on 21 touches, exceeding 100 scrimmage yards for the eleventh time this season.
Washington is a train wreck with surprisingly few onlookers. Mike Shanahan could be launched any minute, and RG3 clearly can't be trusted in our game, rest-of-season. And Jordan Reed remains concussed. Not your best day, DC.
• For a game that gave us plenty of lousy moments — injuries, turnovers, lots of Matt Cassell — the Vikes-Ravens tilt really was a fun watch. If you missed it, treat yourself to the fourth quarter highlights. That was a blast. Welcome back, Dennis Pitta.
• Seattle and San Francisco gave us the game we all expected — low-scoring, much jawing, more running than throwing. Neither quarterback reached 200 passing yards. If you didn't need a big fantasy line from any of the participants, the game was highly entertaining. I'm not at all upset about the Seahawks loss (even though I'm a multi-league Russell Wilson owner), because we can't have that team clinching home-field by Week 16.
• We had a brief injury scare with Philip Rivers this week, but there's no obvious reason for ongoing concern. Rivers completed 21 of his 28 throws against the Giants, passing for 249 yards and three scores (two to Keenan Allen, who remains great). Ladarius Green had a quiet day (one target for nothin'), but he remains a TE of interest for me. Ryan Mathews topped 100 rushing yards for the fourth time this season, making another house call. The Bolts close with games at Denver and vs. Oakland, so plenty of stats are still ahead.
• Larry Fitzgerald caught all 12 of his targets against the Rams, and a few were degree-of-difficulty plays. Fitz finished with 96 yards and one TD in the Cards' 20-point win. Andre Ellington returned to his half-share of the Arizona rushing workload, carrying 11 times for 46 yards and one score. Rashard Mendenhall carried 17 times for 41 yards, per his usual.
PRIORITY ADDS FOR WEEK 15
QB Jay Cutler, Chi (at Cle)
QB Alex Smith, KC (at Oak)
QB Jason Campbell, Cle (vs. Chi)
RB Daniel Thomas, Mia (vs. NE)
RB Toby Gerhart, Min (vs. Phi)
RB Marcel Reece, Oak (vs. KC)
RB Jordan Todman, Jac (vs. Buf)
WR Rod Streater, Oak (vs. KC)
WR Ace Sanders, Jac (vs. Buf)
WR Andre Holmes, Oak (vs. KC)
WR Da'Rick Rogers, Ind (vs. Hou)
WR Cordarrelle Patterson, Min (vs. Phi)
WR Andre Caldwell, Den (vs. SD)
TE Delanie Walker, Ten (vs. Ari)
TE Scott Chandler, Buf (at Jac)
TE Dennis Pitta, Bal (at Det)
TE Owen Daniels, Hou (at Ind)
TE Zach Miller, Sea (at NYG, then vs. Ari)