Week 14 is nearly complete, and Sunday provided enough highlights, lowlights, and heartbreak for an entire fantasy season. The fantasy playoffs got off to a rowdy start, with the early games providing devastating injuries that put a swift end to many seasons while the Seattle offense delivered a plentiful bounty of fantasy points yet again. With just a Monday night game remaining before the season flips to Week 15, let’s jump in and check out some major storylines from Sunday’s action.
Injuries By The Barrel
Injuries did heavy damage to the fantasy world on Sunday, and many of them occurred during the first quarter of the early games, quickly putting fantasy teams on life support.
Seattle’s Thomas Rawls was mowing down Baltimore defenders in the first quarter on Sunday, racking up 44 rushing yards on his first six carries. Rawls' season came to an end on his sixth and final carry however, as he fractured an ankle on an awkward tackle behind the line of scrimmage and has been declared out for the season. The loss of Rawls is a tough blow, as the rookie running back had become one of the safest bets for a large weekly workload and reliable production at the fantasy running back position. DuJuan Harris was uninspiring in relief, running for 42 yards on 18 carries and losing a fumble. Keep an eye on who Seattle signs this week, but at the moment it appears Harris will lead this backfield for the rest of the regular season.
The Cincinnati Bengals were dealt an awful hand on Sunday in a big game with Pittsburgh, as both Andy Dalton (thumb) and Tyler Eifert (concussion) were injured and departed early. No word on Eifert’s status has surfaced yet, but Dalton’s broken thumb could be “season ending”, according to ESPN’s Bob Holtzman. A.J. McCarron threw for 280 yards and two scores when called upon, so all hope may not be lost for A.J. Green and Marvin Jones in coming weeks with the backup quarterback under center.
Vincent Jackson caught one pass for five yards before departing from a great matchup with the New Orleans Saints. Even with Jackson out, fellow Tampa Bay wide receiver Mike Evans was unable to capitalize on the matchup with New Orleans’ buttery soft secondary in an all-around disappointing day for Jameis Winston’s wide receivers.
T.J. Yeldon missed portions of Jacksonville’s win over Indianapolis with ankle and knee injuries, with the knee causing the most concern. Denard Robinson led the Jaguars’ backfield with 75 yards and a score on 14 carries and will be the main beneficiary if Yeldon misses time.
LeGarrette Blount left Sunday night’s game early with a hip injury, leaving Brandon Bolden to handle rushing duties for the Patriots. Bolden ran 16 times for 51 yards while James White handled the receiving duties out of the New England backfield as usual. This will likely remain the typical split if Blount misses game time moving forward.
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The Seattle Seahawks had another stellar day outside of the Thomas Rawls injury, thumping Baltimore 35-6. Seattle has now scored at least 35 points in three-straight games and didn’t give up an offensive touchdown in recent road games at Minnesota and Baltimore. The Seattle passing game has caught fire and is torching any defense in its path, led by quarterback Russell Wilson and wide receiver Doug Baldwin.
And now for the “Russell Wilson Insane Statistical Recap”, fueled by Nanobubbles.
Russell Wilson has thrown 16 touchdown passes in his last four games. Those 16 touchdown passes in Weeks 11-14 are the most in the NFL, and more than Ben Roethlisberger, Matt Ryan, and Drew Brees have thrown during that span combined. Wilson has also completed 75.4 percent of his passes and avoided throwing a single interception during this run that has included 118 pass attempts. Of Wilson’s 89 completions over the four weeks, number 89 has been on the receiving end of 23 of them. Wide receiver Doug Baldwin has racked up an absurd 381 receiving yards and eight touchdowns in this four-game streak, with all eight scores coming in the last three games. This duo is blazing hot and gets a matchup at home with the gentle defense of the Cleveland Browns in Week 15 as they look to do more damage. It appears this pair will be carrying fantasy teams to title town, so be prepared to carefully craft a handwritten thank you note and mail it to the Emerald City.
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Isaiah Crowell broke out of his season-long slumber and ran for 145 yards and two scores on 20 carries in by far his best performance of the season. …Todd Gurley ended a slump and dished out 140 yards to the Detroit Lions with a pair of touchdowns in his first effort over 100 rushing yards since Week 8. … Tim Hightower is now your undisputed leader of the New Orleans backfield, as he received a beefy 28 carries on Sunday. Hightower ran for 85 yards and a touchdown in a Saints win and is the Mark Ingram replacement of choice. … The Eagles mashed up their backfield touches in a three-way split, with Darren Sproles turning in the best performance on just seven carries. This situation will be messy moving forward. … Calvin Johnson caught one pass for 16 yards, while Allen Robinson caught a four-yard touchdown on his only reception of the day in a 51-point outburst from Jacksonville. Tough games from two stud receivers. … Atlanta was awful again, and Julio Jones managed seven catches for 88 yards in his matchup with Josh Norman, who he will see again in Week 16. … Alfred Blue’s share of the Houston backfield evaporated quickly, as he received zero touches on Sunday night while Jonathan Grimes and Chris Polk led the way for the Texans. … Theo Riddick caught seven of 11 targets for 44 yards, while Bilal Powell snagged five passes for 46 yards and a score on Sunday. Both backs are solid under-the-radar PPR contributors. … Ted Ginn finally used his hands for catching instead of dropping, and hauled in two bombs from Cam Newton for a total of 120 yards and two scores.