Scouting Notebook: Gordon the Great

Rob Gronkowski’s injury is the big news in Week 14 and has his owners who survived scrambling for a waiver-wire replacement and owners of Tom Brady pondering whether he can be trusted for the remainder of the fantasy football playoff season.

Meanwhile, Josh Gordon just keeps delighting his owners and is now as dangerous as any player in our game. No defensive back can handle him and the really good ones are dumb enough to try so you should especially look forward to days like Sunday against Aqib Talib.

With all the volume in the Browns passing game, you should never have gotten off of the Jordan Cameron bandwagon, either. When a team is throwing over 40 passes a game and the TE is always running patterns on third down, you must start him unless you have Vernon Davis or a pre-injury Gronkowski.

Ryan Mathews’ 29 carries were the story in the Chargers victory over the Giants. But the volume will be down again next week in Denver. More important is the status of the one of the best rookie technicians I’ve ever seen at the wide receiver position, Keenan Allen. The feeling from beat reporter and former Yahoo! scribe Michael Gehlken, now a Chargers beat reporter, is that Allen will be fine.

An example: On the long TD, Allen gave Philip Rivers plenty of room to find him instead of drifting too close to the sideline/12th defender.

If you are still alive after drafting Victor Cruz, pat yourself on the back but please bench him because he’s worthless now against everyone and gets Seattle next week.

If you’re playing Russell Wilson and Marshawn Lynch, the loss by Seattle in San Francisco ensures that Seattle will be playing for keeps in Week 16. Luke Willson (and those two Ls are not a misprint) has definite sleeper potential in 2014 as a TE/WR hybrid. Wilson talked him up as a gym rat in the summer. He’s a decent plug-in for Gronkowski owners next week, too. Seattle needs to see right now if he can be a mismatch player in the passing game given Percy Harvin’s shaky status.

Carson Palmer can still play. He was 12-for-12 on throws to Larry Fitzgerald. Only five of 32 passes hit the ground all day. And he did it without many big plays. Michael Floyd was left in the cold but that’s the life of a No. 2 receiver. Definitely play Floyd next week at Tennessee.

The Titans showed that they are not a big-time passing defense. How can you be with the rules in place now? People were worried about Peyton Manning in the cold but I’ve been telling everyone not just this year but for years that it’s wind that’s the killer, and for all QBs. Manning, like Brees, throws a wobbly ball, which increases accuracy but may generally not react as well in the denser, colder air and also the wind. The former is marginal, as Manning showed on Sunday. But the latter is just a killer. Here’s what we mean -  Note the effect of the weather on a wobbly pass vs. a perfect spiral is speculation by me.

To be clear, I respect Wes Welker as a player despite the, um, fun I have with his fans/owners here. And of course I wish him a full and speedy recovery from his concussion, the second one in the last few weeks. But it seems clear his loss will have little impact on Peyton Manning’s productivity and means upgrades not just for Eric Decker, obviously, but for Demaryius Thomas, too.

Justin Hunter is next year’s Gordon. Him and Cordarrelle Patterson. I don’t even care who the QB is with freaks like these. Again, I want you at least 6-foot-2 when I’m fishing in the middle rounds, with at least 4.55 speed. Taller and faster is even better. And I can deal with faster and shorter. But slower and shorter? No, not for me. This doesn’t mean that I think every taller, faster guy is better than every shorter, slower one. Don’t be dumb about this. I’m talking about surplus value relative to cost. I do not and have never thought that Wes Welker-types are worthless. It’s just that someone always takes them before me and that’s okay.

I took a lot of heat for saying that T.Y. Hilton was overrated due to his lack of size, especially as a TD threat, and now the Andrew Luck crowd is including him in the “bad Colts wide receiver” pile without even admitting that most of them LOVED Hilton three months ago.

And not all small guys are going to be disappointing nor all tall (and fast) guys good. I was as wrong as you can be about Stephen Hill, for example. We’re merely trying to increase our odds, that’s all.

I don’t know what to make of Marcel Reece but I would roster him just so he doesn’t beat me in the playoffs.

Rod Streater: Tall and fast. I told some desperate Twitter followers to play him against the pathetic Jets pass defense but I didn’t see that kind of day coming.

I thought Daniel Thomas was out for the year.

The Bills run defense is bad, but an 80-yard TD is random. Bobby Rainey is borderline next week against the 49ers.

The 300 rushing yards for the Eagles is a shock in those conditions, though we know that runners are slightly more effective in the snow since 2000. But this was SNOW in Philadelphia. I guess LeSean McCoy is a mudder because he sure found sure footing. The Eagles were 3-for-12 on third downs despite all those yards. This was a really strange game that you can’t really draw any conclusions about on either side of the ball. For example, the Lions run defense had been epic of late.

Note though that Chip Kelly is very run heavy for the modern game when it comes to play-calling splits. I think McCoy is the No. 1 overall pick next year and best non-Peyton fantasy asset right now.

Eddie Lacy owners maybe now get Aaron Rodgers back next week to super-charge this Green Bay offense against Dallas. With a loss, Rodgers probably gets shut down. Add the Detroit loss and the Packers are very much alive. So hold on to all the Green Bay wide receiver shares, too, while keeping your fingers crossed.

Harry Douglas really disappointed me. But just shake it off next week in Atlanta against a Washington team in total disarray. Roddy White has clearly surpassed him though.

That’s the kind of game that Jamaal Charles owners should root for: 20 touches. Less is more with him. He is simply not built for the 25 or 30 touches a week he was getting earlier in the season. I do not think the efficiency spike is coincidental.

What to Read Next