Sunday Scene, Week 13: Josh Gordon, record-setting fantasy beast

Just in case you were wondering what it looks like when a 5-foot-11 rookie DB gets stuck on Josh Gordon in single-coverage, here's a clip for you. That matchup was completely unfair.

Of course it can be argued that almost any one-on-one matchup with Gordon is unfair, because No. 12 is an impossible cover. The man has size, speed, strength, and a quarterback who (for all his faults) isn't afraid to lob jump-balls downfield.

Gordon finished his afternoon with 10 catches for 261 yards and two scores, which is just silly. He checked out briefly in the second half following a helmet-to-helmet pop, but returned to haul in this 95-yard go-ahead touchdown, shedding multiple defenders on his way to the end zone. Again, silly.

In Gordon's last two games, he's accounted for 498 receiving yards and three TDs. Four-ninety-eight, friends. He's the first receiver in NFL history to reach the 200-yard plateau in back-to-back weeks. Clearly, Gordon has emerged as an unbenchable fantasy asset. If that was ever a debate, it's now settled.

I'd like to take this opportunity to remind you what a filthy steal Gordon was on draft day (ADP 111.3), due to his suspension in the opening weeks. This dude was perfectly healthy, yet we let him slip outside the top-100 picks. Next year, let's maybe try not to overrate the importance of September football — fantasy is a head-to-head game, after all, where titles are decided in December. If you snagged Gordon three months ago, you're gloating today, likely headed to the playoffs.

As phenomenal as Gordon was on Sunday, another second-year receiver nearly outproduced him. Alshon Jeffery had a stellar day for Chicago, delivering 36.9 standard fantasy points. Look at this ridiculous 46-yard touchdown reception by Jeffery, a strong play-of-the-day candidate. Goodness. That's a grown-man catch right there. Jeffery simply out-jumped and out-muscled Chris Cook on the play (then watched as the Minnesota DB got himself ejected). That insane TD snag was Jeffery's second score of the afternoon. He finished with 249 receiving yards on a dozen grabs, the second time this year he's broken the franchise receiving yardage record. Like Gordon, you have to view Jeffery as an upper-tier fantasy wideout for 2014.

The Bears and Vikes played an overtime game on Sunday that involved an improbably four-and-long conversion, multiple missed field goals (including a 66-yarder), and a career milestone for Adrian Peterson (10K rushing yards). Everyone knew All-Day would feast, right? Of course you did.

Those of us who were actively rooting for Chicago on Sunday are now emotionally drained, physically exhausted and in poor shape for column-writing. But this thing won't write itself. Sigh.

Arizona's defense is a perfectly respectable group in most ways, but the Cards have been destroyed by opposing tight ends this season. On Sunday, Zach Ertz and Brent Celek combined for nine catches, 97 yards and three touchdowns. Arizona has now allowed 13 TDs and 939 receiving yards to the tight end position this season, in just 12 games. So yeah, you can stream against that defense.

I'd written a really good blurb on the Titans-Colts game, but Darrius Heyward-Bey dropped it.

Donald Brown got the start for Indy, we should note, dominating backfield touches over Trent Richardson, 16 to five. Brown gained 64 yards from scrimmage on the day, crossing the goal line late in the fourth quarter. He's the Colts back to own moving forward, if you're determined to own one.

Lamar Miller had the day we all should have expected against the Jets excellent run defense (22 carries, 72 yards), but it's worth mentioning that he lost TDs to penalty and to replay review on Sunday. Rough breaks for anyone forced to start him in a lousy matchup. Ryan Tannehill had a much better afternoon than ... well, than I ever expect him to have. He passed for 331 yards, connecting with Brian Hartline and Mike Wallace for TDs. Hartline, Wallace and Charles Clay all topped 80 receiving yards and seven receptions.

Meanwhile, Geno Smith and Matt Simms combined for 13 completions, 108 yards and two picks on 28 attempts for the Jets. New York scored just three points. Such a big green mess.

Really, Ben Tate? Really?


I'm done trying to understand Houston. Done, I say.

After Tate's disastrously poor performance last Sunday — seven carries, one yard — that guy was on my can't-trust list for Week 13. And wow was that a mistake. Tate punched in three scores in a surprisingly narrow loss to New England, carrying 22 times for 102 yards. Dennis Johnson was barely a rumor this week (three carries, 13 yards).

The Pats' running game was a riddle entering Week 13, but Stevan Ridley's inactive status added a bit of clarity. Unfortunately (for me), I started Brandon Bolden in multiple leagues. He was an afterthought against Houston, while Shane Vereen and LeGarrette Blount ran reasonably well. Both Vereen and Blount found the end zone; Bolden found only four touches for 20 yards.

Cam Newton didn't exactly play his best game of the season on Sunday (two INTs), nor did he get much of a performance from Steve Smith (3-51-0). And still, Newton ranks as the No. 2 scorer at his position in Week 13 as of this writing. He passed for 263 yards and two scores, plus he added 68 rushing yards and a goal line dive. He also made some awesome footwear choices, and some that were, um ... kaleidoscopic.

Bottom line: The man is having a good week, what with the Auburn thing and all the winning.

Tip of the cap to Jacksonville, a team that put 32 points on the board on Sunday, which was maybe 26 more than I thought they'd score. Maurice Jones-Drew threw a touchdown pass, which is the greatest, and he finished with 81 yards from scrimmage. Not a bad day against a respectable defense. Ace Sanders led the Jags in catches and yards (8-67), continuing his quiet surge.

Well, better late than never, CJ Spiller. He ran for 149 yards and a score on 15 carries against Atlanta's stop-nothing defense, in a game that was surprisingly entertaining. The Falcons and Bills combined for 828 total net yards and 65 points. Not only was Spiller suddenly productive, but all your disappointing Atlanta skill players finally showed up, too. Steven Jackson broke the plane twice, Roddy White hauled in 10 balls for 143 yards, and Gonzo found the end zone.

Also, this happened...

...which is tremendous.

So much for that end-of-season Gio Bernard takeover, eh? BenJarvus Green-Ellis carried 20 times for 92 yards and a score on Sunday, in Cincinnati's 17-10 win over the Chargers. You just know there's a deadbeat fantasy owner out there somewhere who hasn't set a lineup since October, yet still cruised to a win behind BJGE, Spiller and Roddy. Sometimes, fantasy is the worst.

Sleeper-ish tight end Ladarius Green drew six targets from Philip Rivers, plus he made another house call. Over the past three weeks, the 6-foot-6 Green has 206 receiving yards and two scores on 16 targets. He was a buzzy player in the preseason, and his athleticism is hard to miss. Get interested, deep league gamers.

Vernon Davis jumped over a couple dudes today, which is always fun. He finished his day with four catches for 84 yards and a score. Michael Crabtree caught just two balls in his debut, though one of the catches went for 60 yards. He's approved for use down the stretch, and he gets the Bucs and Falcons in Weeks 15-16.

Peyton Manning made some spectacular throws on Sunday at KC — just look at this dart — while carving up the Chiefs defense. Eric Decker was on the receiving end of four of Manning's five TD passes, and he accounted for 174 of Peyton's 403 yards. (Remember all the raging about Decker, after his opening week nightmare? Well, apparently he's still OK at football.) Manning is now up to 41 passing TDs (and one rushing!) through 12 games, an absurd total. Only seven quarterbacks in league history have topped 40 in a single season.

Wes Welker had another quiet week for Denver (3-38-0), but you'd be crazy to quit him. If you're fed up, send him my way. I'll take all the shares of the Broncos offense I can get.

Alex Smith completed passes to 11 different receivers, though none of 'em finished with more than 56 yards. Smith should be an acceptable play next week at Washington (and the next week at Oakland. And then against Indy.) He's on the pickup radar following Sunday's 293-yard effort.


QB Jay Cutler, Chi (vs. Dal)
QB Alex Smith, KC (at Was)
QB Joe Flacco, Bal (vs. Min)
RB Donald Brown, Ind (at Cin)
RB LeGarrette Blount, NE (vs. Cle)
RB Jonathan Dwyer, Pit (vs. Mia)
WR Michael Crabtree, SF (vs. Sea)
WR Ace Sanders, Jac (vs. Hou)
WR Andre Holmes, Oak (at NYJ)
TE Jared Cook, STL (at Ari)
TE Charles Clay, Mia (at Pit)
TE Ladarius Green, SD (vs. NYG)