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Instant reactions from Week 14

Senior Fantasy Writer
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While Sunday was fun for a lot of Fantasy owners, it was a disaster for others. Two prominent injuries ruined the day and might have ended a few playoff runs.

Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski might have suffered a torn ACL against Cleveland. And Vikings running back Adrian Peterson was carted off the field at Baltimore with a foot injury.

Gronkowski finished with two catches for 32 yards. His season is apparently over just when it was getting started after being out the first six games with back and forearm injuries. He had five games with double digits in Fantasy points in six games prior to Sunday, and it will be hard to replace him.

You can look at someone like Houston's Garrett Graham (63 percent ownership on CBSSports.com) or Baltimore's Dennis Pitta (15 percent) or play the matchups through the end of the season. But no one will give you guaranteed production like Gronkowski.

His absence will also hurt Tom Brady. He had one game with more than 20 Fantasy points through the first six weeks, but he had more than 20 points in four of his past five games, including Sunday against the Browns. I'd be hesitant to start Brady in Week 15 at Miami, and he had just eight points against the Dolphins in Week 8.

Julian Edelman, who had his third big game in a row with six catches for 64 yards and a touchdown and a two-point conversion against Cleveland, will see more production. And hopefully Danny Amendola, who scored against the Browns, starts to step up. But this was a horrendous blow for the Patriots offense moving forward.

As for Peterson, we hope he's not out for the season, but it doesn't look promising. The good thing is you have a direct replacement option in Toby Gerhart, who shockingly is owned in just 18 percent of leagues. We've been telling you for weeks to add the handcuff, and now you can miss out as the Peterson owner if someone else grabs Gerhart.

Gerhart had 15 carries for 89 yards and a touchdown against the Ravens, and he would be a No. 2 running back or flex option against Philadelphia at home in Week 15. Obviously we'd rather have Peterson, but Gerhart could end up starting for Fantasy owners as the playoffs roll on.

Injuries of note: Lamar Miller (concussion), Wes Welker (concussion), Reggie Bush (calf) and Tavon Austin (ankle).

Miller finished with six carries for 20 yards and two catches for 13 yards before leaving at Pittsburgh, which opened the door for Daniel Thomas. We'll see if Miller can return for a great matchup against New England in Week 15, but Thomas (24 percent) will be a must-add running back this week. Thomas finished with 16 carries for 105 yards and a touchdown and one catch for 4 yards against the Steelers.

Welker suffered his second concussion of the season against the Titans, but not before he ended his four-game slump. He finished with five catches for 61 yards and a touchdown, and we hope he can return in Week 15 against San Diego, although don't count on him with the game Thursday night. It's unlikely he'll get clearance in time to return.

Bush was hurt before Sunday's game at Philadelphia when he re-injured his calf during pregame warm-ups. We hope he can return against Baltimore in Week 15, but if he's out then Joique Bell could again shine. Bell was solid against the Eagles with 23 carries for 69 yards and a touchdown and four catches for 58 yards, but he also lost two fumbles.

Austin was hurt on a highlight-reel play at the end of a 56-yard run at Arizona. He also had one catch for 9 yards. He would be just a boom-or-bust Fantasy option in Week 15 against the Saints if he plays.

Ben Roethlisberger is matchup proof: Prior to Sunday's game at Pittsburgh, the Dolphins had allowed only Drew Brees in Week 4 to throw multiple touchdowns against them, but Roethlisberger didn't care. He was dominant with 297 passing yards and three touchdowns.

Roethlisberger has now scored at least 23 Fantasy points in consecutive games against tough pass defenses in Baltimore and Miami, and he has at least 20 points five of his past six outings. He should be considered a must-start Fantasy option in all leagues against Cincinnati in Week 15 based on his recent production.

Matthew Stafford swallowed up in snow: Weather played a role in many of Sunday's games, but it appeared like Stafford and the Lions were impacted the most. Not having Bush probably hurt the offense, but Stafford had his worst game of the season with five Fantasy points. He was 10 of 25 passing for 148 yards and had five fumbles, but only lost one.

We expect Stafford to rebound in Week 15 against Baltimore at home, and you should start him despite the tough matchup -- if you were able to advance. He should be able to get back on track in normal conditions.

Also in this game, LeSean McCoy and the Eagles shattered the Lions vaunted run defense. Again, weather probably played a role, but the Eagles racked up 299 rushing yards and three touchdowns, with McCoy leading the way with 29 carries for 217 yards and two scores.

Marcel Reece stars for the Raiders: Oakland was without Rashad Jennings (concussion) and Darren McFadden (ankle) at the Jets, so Reece was the only healthy body left. He made his opportunity count with 19 carries for 123 yards and a touchdown and two catches for 38 yards.

Reece (7 percent ownership) is worth adding in all leagues, and he could be considered at least a flex option in Week 15 against the Chiefs. Just keep an eye on Jennings and McFadden, and if both are out then Reece should again play in a featured role.

C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson fall flat: Just when it looked like Spiller and Jackson were back after their dominant performance against Atlanta in Week 13, both were awful against Tampa Bay on Sunday.

Spiller had 11 carries for 22 yards and one catch for 26 yards. He had a potential 83-yard touchdown called back in the fourth quarter due to holding, but those points won't count. Jackson also struggled with five carries for 12 yards and four catches for 26 yards.

I'd be hesitant to start either running back at Jacksonville in Week 15. They are flex options since Jackson is strictly touchdown dependent, and Spiller needs to break a big play for him to succeed. The Jaguars have also done a nice job in run defense with only one running back reaching double digits in Fantasy points against them in their past five games.

Colts find weapons: The Colts passing game has been struggling since Reggie Wayne (knee) went down in Week 7, but they may have found some receivers to help out the reeling T.Y. Hilton. On Sunday at Cincinnati, Da'Rick Rogers and La'Von Brazill stepped up in a big way.

Rogers had his first catch of the season against the Bengals, but he didn't stop there. He finished with six catches for 107 yards and two touchdowns on nine targets. Brazill also played well with three catches for 53 yards and two touchdowns on four targets.

Hilton again struggled with just two catches for 7 yards on five targets, but Week 15 against the Texans could be a big game for all the receivers in Indianapolis. And Rogers (1 percent) and Brazill (1 percent) are worth adding off the waiver wire, especially Rogers, because he easily has the highest ceiling.

Jordan Cameron bounces back: Cameron had gone five games in a row without scoring a touchdown and four games in a row with 45 receiving yards or less. So of course he was dominant when most Fantasy owners gave up on him.

Cameron had nine catches for 121 yards and one touchdown on nine targets against the Patriots, and he was finally on the same page with quarterback Jason Campbell. We hope this is a sign of things to come, and Cameron will be considered a quality starting option in Week 15 against Chicago.

Waiver Wire preview: Here is a preview of the players we will highlight in Playing the Waiver Wire on Tuesday.

Quarterbacks: Jay Cutler, Bears (66 percent), Joe Flacco, Ravens (63 percent), Ryan Tannehill, Dolphins (46 percent), Geno Smith, Jets (20 percent), Jason Campbell, Browns (13 percent), Matt McGloin, Raiders (7 percent), Matt Cassel, Chiefs (2 percent)

Running backs: Daniel Thomas, Dolphins (24 percent), Peyton Hillis, Giants (21 percent), Shonn Greene, Titans (21 percent), Knile Davis, Chiefs (19 percent), Toby Gerhart, Vikings (18 percent), Marcel Reece, Raiders (7 percent), Jordan Todman, Jaguars (1 percent), Chris Polk, Eagles (0 percent)

Wide receivers: Brian Hartline, Dolphins (70 percent), Emmanuel Sanders, Steelers (69 percent), Marvin Jones, Bengals (63 percent), Jerricho Cotchery, Steelers (61 percent), Rod Streater, Raiders (44 percent), Marlon Brown, Ravens (23 percent), Cordarrelle Patterson, Vikings (21 percent), Jerome Simpson, Vikings (14 percent), Jeremy Kerley, Jets (11 percent), Justin Hunter, Titans (7 percent), Ace Sanders, Jaguars (6 percent), La'Von Brazill, Colts (1 percent), Da'Rick Rogers, Colts (1 percent), Drew Davis, Falcons (1 percent)

Tight ends: Delanie Walker, Titans (66 percent), Garrett Graham, Texans (63 percent), Timothy Wright, Buccaneers (46 percent), Brandon Myers, Giants (23 percent), Dennis Pitta, Ravens (15 percent), Marcedes Lewis, Jaguars (3 percent), Andrew Quarless, Packers (3 percent), Mychal Rivera, Raiders (1 percent), Logan Paulsen, Redskins (0 percent), Luke Wilson, Seahawks (0 percent)

Start 'Em/Sit 'Em star: Our Start of the Week was great in Week 14 with Bobby Rainey. He had 22 carries for 127 yards and a touchdown and three catches for minus-4 yards against Buffalo. Rainey made his day -- and mine -- when he scored from 80 yards out on the second play of the game. He should be considered at least a flex option against the 49ers at home in Week 15.

Start 'Em/Sit 'Em flop: It looks like Andrew Luck figured out how to play outdoors, and it came in bad weather at Cincinnati. Prior to Sunday, Luck had one game in his career with more than 20 Fantasy points outdoors, but he did well at the Bengals with 326 passing yards and four touchdowns and two carries for 32 yards, which is 40 points in a standard league. Luck got tremendous help from Rogers and Brazill, who both scored two touchdowns. Luck is a great starting option in Week 15 against the Texans.

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us via Twitter @CBSFantasyFB . You can also follow Jamey at @JameyEisenberg .

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Player News
Cowboys' Stephen Jones: Chris Johnson on team's 'short list'
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(9:31 pm ET) Free-agent running back Chris Johnson recently said he'd love to join the Cowboys. Though the Cowboys aren't in any rush to add another running back, Johnson isn't too far off the team's radar. 

Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones was asked about Johnson in a conference call with season-ticket holders. Via the team's website, Jones said the team has at least some interest in Johnson

“We haven’t visited with Chris, and we can’t talk about him because he’s a free agent. But right now we’re looking at the guys that we have on our roster,” Jones said. “He is somebody that is on a short list of ours that we think could ultimately come in and do some good things for us if we asked him to. But I wouldn’t say it’s a priority right now.”

After running for 2,006 yards in 2009, Johnson has been unable to live up to expectations since. With the Jets a year ago, Johnson only totald 663 yards and one touchdown while notching just one start. 

The Cowboys added Darren McFadden this offseason after DeMarco Murray left for Philadelphia. Joseph Randle, Lance Dunbar and Ryan Williams are the other backs on the roster. 


Linebacker Dane Fletcher visits Patriots
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(9:13 pm ET) Free-agent linebacker Dane Fletcher visited the Patriots on Wednesday, according to a report from ESPN.com. 

Fletcher spent the 2010-2013 seasons with the Patriots before playing 2014 with the Buccaneers. In four NFL seasons, he's totaled 120 tackles and 4 1/2 sacks. 


Report: Vikings' Matt Kalil underwent two knee surgeries
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(9:09 pm ET) Vikings left tackle Matt Kalil underwent arthroscopic surgical procedures to both of his knees so far this offseason, according to a report from USA Today

Kalil also had injections to help manage joint pain. Both knees were scoped in January before having a Regenexx procedure performed on them in March. Kalil also had platelet-rich plasma therapy performed, too. 

Throughout the procedures, Kalil has been working out and rehabbing at the Vikings' team facility. 


Jets' Mike Maccagnan: 'Not actively shopping' Muhammad Wilkerson
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(8:58 pm ET) Jets defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson has long been talked about as a potential trading chip. 

However, Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan, who appeared on The Michael Kay Show on ESPN New York 98.7 FM, said that the organization isn't looking to try and trade Wilkerson at this time. 

"We're not actively shopping Mo," Maccagnan said, via ESPN.com. "It's not part of our plans. But, again, his name comes up periodically at times, but nothing active right now."

Wilkerson has been productive for the Jets but is entering the final year of his contract. The Jets also just drafted Leonard Williams, who figures to earn some immediate playing time. 

"Mo's a good player, he's part of this organization and he's currently under contract," Maccagnan said. "We'd like to keep him in this organization. We just have to go through a process with him to figure out, you know, if we can find a middle ground."


Bengals' Whitworth posts tweet about Mike Brown, said wife did it
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(8:33 pm ET) A message criticizing Bengals team president Mike Brown was posted on left tackle Andrew Whitworth's personal Twitter account, according to ESPN.com. 

"Mike Brown told me I'm done here," the tweet read. "Said I can play this year and go home. So I told him I want a raise or I'll sit my a-- at home this …"

Moments after the tweet hit the social media site it was deleted. After deactivating his Twitter account, Whitworth logged back on but made his account private. 

Whitworth told ESPN that the tweet originated from his wife, who was trying to send a private message to a teammate for him. Whitworth said his wife is upset over the ordeal but downplayed the message as more of a joke. 

Whitworth is entering the final year of his contract. 


Eagles announce signing of three 2015 draft choices
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(5:50 pm ET) The Eagles have announced that they have signed three of their draft picks. Included are second-rounder and cornerback Eric Rowe, sixth-rounder and cornerback Randall Evans and seventh-rounder and defensive end Brian Mihalik.

Cardinals announce move to Kareem Martin to OLB
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(5:23 pm ET) What was rumored is now official. The Cardinals are moving Kareem Martin from defensive end to outside linebacker despite his 6-foot-6, 270-pound frame, per CBSSports.com NFL Insider Pat Kirwan.

Martin started two of the 11 games in which he played last season. He contributed eight tackles and one sack.


Cardinals announce waiver claim on CB Alfonzo Dennard
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(5:17 pm ET) It certainly didn't take long for cornerback Alfonzo Dennard to land a job. One day after his release from the Patriots, the Cardinals officially announced a waiver claim on him.

The three-year veteran fell off the charts in 2014 after two strong years with New England in which he played in 23 games and contributed to 75 tackles.


Colts WR T.Y. Hilton not thrilled over drafting of Phillip Dorsett
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(4:54 pm ET) Colts standout wideout T.Y. Hilton is talking like teammate and newcomer Phillip Dorsett is after his job rather than another wide receiver that can help his team.

But what Dorsett could prove to be is insurance in case Hilton leaves. The young veteran is approaching his contract year.

"There's nothing I can do about that," Hilton told the Indianapolis Star. "That's who they picked. That's cool with me." Hilton went on to talk about his "battle" and "competition" with Dorsett.

Dorsett is certainly no immediate threat to Hilton in regard to playing time. The latter racked up a career-high 1,345 yards in receiving a year ago with seven touchdowns.


Broncos NT Sylvester Williams working to improve game
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(3:45 pm ET) Broncos third-year defensive lineman Sylvester Williams has much to prove heading into the 2015 season. He must show he can play nose tackle and that he can fill the void left by the departure of Terrance Knighton.

Williams has been working toward accomplishing those goals. He stayed in the area during the offseason to better his game and remain in peak shape. He has emphasized diet and shedding body fat as well as film study in an attempt to learn of areas in his game that require improvement.

"I already went into this offseason with a lot of motivation from within," he told the Denver Post. "I put a lot on myself to get stronger this year and come back with a better year."

Williams started 13 games last year and contributed to 21 tackles.


 
 
 
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