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Tunnel Vision of Week 14 – The Huddle

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QB Lamar Jackson – Ankle
QB Taylor Heinicke – Knee
QB Josh Allen – Foot
QB Justin Fields – Hand
QB Aaron Rodgers – Toe
RB Kareem Hunt – Ankle
RB Giovani Bernard – Hip
RB Rex Burkhead – Groin
RB Austin Walters – Illness
RB Austin Ekeler – Ankle
WR Terry McLaurin – Concussion
WR Emmanuel Sanders – Knee
Tis the season for quarterbacks and running backs.
QB Lamar Jackson (BAL) – Was carted to the locker room  with what is expected to be a high-ankle sprain. He’ll get tests on Monday to determine the severity but this is not the sort of injury that a running quarterback needs. Tyler Huntley replaced him and put in a credible effort and mounted a comeback bid in the loss to the Browns. The remaining games all face teams with winning records and will need an effective passing offense.
QB Taylor Heinicke (WAS) – Left the loss to the Cowboys with a knee injury. HC Ron Rivera said that it didn’t look bad but that they would have it evaluated on Monday. Kyle Allen would replace him again this week if Heinicke was unable to play at the Eagles.
QB Josh Allen (BUF) – Injured his foot during the loss in Tampa Bay but refused to come out of the game. Allen was in a walking boot at the press conference. He will have an MRI on his foot and ankle on Monday. If Allen misses any time, Mitchell Trubisky will take over.
QB Justin Fields (CHI) – Still nursing sore ribs, Fields injured his non-throwing hand and played with it swollen. It was X-rayed, but Fields said it wasn’t a major issue. With Andy Dalton already out with his own hand injury, Nick Foles would start if Fields were to miss any time.
QB Aaron Rodgers (GB) – He turned in a monster game against the Bears but suffered a setback to his fractured toe. Rodgers indicated that surgery is a lost resort, but he would not rule it out. The Packers will win the NFC North but need to continue to win if they hope to get the No. 1 seed and the single bye for the conference. The Packers could rest Rodgers knowing that they are going to the playoffs anyway. This should remain a topic until Rodgers or the team addresses the outlook.
RB Kareem Hunt (CLE)  – Left the win over the Ravens with an ankle injury but HC Kevin Stefanski is optimistic that injury won’t extend into this week’s matchup with the Raiders. They’ll get an MRI on Monday to make sure, but Hunt wanted to return to the game and didn’t believe it was anything significant.
RB Rex Burkhead (HOU) – The Texans’ lead running back left the loss to the Seahawks with a groin injury and David Johnson is already out on the COVID-19 list. Royce Freeman replaced him for the rest of the game but ended with only 15 yards on 11 carries. This week the Texans play at the Jaguars, so there could be minor fantasy value for a very desperate fantasy team.
RB Austin Ekeler (LAC) – Left the win over the Giants with a sprained ankle. He had his ankle re-taped after leaving the medical tent but never returned to the easy win.  HC Brandon Staley later said that Ekeler is fine and could have returned to the game but there was no need. Barring  a surprising report this week, it appears Ekeler should be good to go for Thursday night against the Chiefs.
WR Terry McLaurin (WAS) – Knocked from the matchup with the Cowboys without a catch. He left with a head injury and was downgraded to out with a concussion. If McLaurin misses the game in Philly this week, expect Cam Sims and Adam Humphries to see an uptick in targets.
WR Emmanuel Sanders (BUF) – Injured his knee and was ruled out for the rest of the game. There was no word after the game regarding the severity but there should be more news no later than Wednesday and likely on Monday.
WR K.J. Osborn (MIN) –  Replaced Adam Thielen when he was injured in Week 13 with four catches for 47 yards and a touchdown. He started this week and ended with three receptions for 83 yards and a score. His nine targets were second only to Justin Jefferson.
Falcons backfield – Mike Davis went through a few weeks where he was  phased out and Cordarrelle Patterson dominated the rushing and receiving. Over the three games, Patterson has taken over a heavy load as a rusher, but fallen back to minimal use as a receiver. Davis is now a third-down back with four or five catches per game and this week, he ran for 44 yards on 11 carries and caught five passes for 42 yards. Five catches and 86 total yards say he is still a major part of the backfield again.
WR Robby Anderson (CAR) – Turned in his best game of the season when he caught seven passes for 84 yards and a touchdown. That was more yardage than his five previous games combined. P.J. Walker threw him the score, so Anderson reverts to his old lack of production when Cam Newton plays since he only managed 33 yards when Newton played.
WR Rashod Bateman (BAL) – The rookie still hasn’t scored in the NFL but comes off his best showing yet – seven catches for 103 yards in the loss to the Browns.
RB Rashaad Penny (SEA) – After four years of injuries and disappointing results, Penny turned in a career-best effort in Week 14. He was slated to share the backfield with Alex Collins (7-16), but Penny blew up with 16 runs for 137 yards and two touchdowns. His scores came from 47 and 32 yards. Too bad next week is at the Rams because Penny has earned more touches.
QB Davis Mills (HOU) – He replaced Tyrod Taylor again and threw for 331 yards and a score against the Seahawks. His previous start was in Week 13 when he threw for 310 yards and two scores. The Texans are still not competitive, but at least Mills generates fantasy points. Brandin Cooks caught eight passes for 101 yards with Mills playing.  He only had 38 yards last week with Taylor as the starter.
WR Hunter Renfrow (LV) – The Raiders continue to crumble, but Renfrow became the focus of the offense for the last three weeks. In each game, he’s gained over 100 yards and at the Chiefs, he accounted for 13 catches for 117 yards and a touchdown.
RB Corey Clement (DAL) – With Tony Pollard out, Clement backed up Ezekiel Elliott, who was bothered by his nagging knee injury. Elliott was pulled from the game for most of the second half and while he ended with 45  yards on 12 runs, Clement gained 44 yards on 13 carries. He’s the current insurance until Pollard returns.
RB Jonathan Williams (WAS) – The itinerant running back has been on a different team in each of his  five NFL seasons. Team #5 is Washington, where he never had a touch until he was allowed four runs, one of them being a 1-yard touchdown instead of using Antonio Gibson (10-36) who flopped hard after three-straight games that suggested he was healthy and ready to be elite.
RB Craig Reynolds (DET) – He should be a poster child for the 2021 fantasy football season. Just when  D’Andre Swift and Jamaal Williams were both out, it was finally safe to roll out Jermar Jefferson and Godwin Igwebuike. But no. Jefferson was active but never used. Igwebuike managed 25 yards on eight rushes. And the undrafted second-year player of Craig Reynolds was a Jaguar with one carry last year. His first action with the Lions resulted in 11 rushes for 83 yards and two catches for 16 yards. He pops up with 99 total yards and may return to the practice squad this week, or he may start against the visiting Cardinals. In 2021, you just cannot ever be certain.
WR Josh Palmer (LAC) – The rookie had never gained more than 25 yards in any game, but Keenan Allen was out this week and Palmer was the most targeted receiver (7) and ended with five catches for 66 yards and a touchdown for his best performance. Mike Williams ended with six catches for 61 yards and no score.
TE George Kittle (SF) – When he returned in Week 9, he started to score in every game with moderate yardage. In Week 13 at  Seattle, he posted  a season-best 181 yards and two scores on nine catches. Versus the Bengals this week, he was nearly unstoppable and ended with 13 receptions for 151 yards and a touchdown. And this week, he faces the Falcons with their Bottom-5 defense against tight ends.
WR Allen Lazard (GB) – With Randall Cobb gone, Lazard became the No. 2 target behind Davante Adams in the win over the Bears. Lazard caught six of seven targets for 75 yards and a touchdown and even added a 14-yard run for his best yardage of the season.
RB Dalvin Cook  (MIN)  –  He missed three games this year and was questionable for the matchup with the Steelers with a shoulder injury that kept him out in Week 13. Was he worth the risk of starting? Kinda. All he did was to run  for 205 yards and two scores on 27 carries and added a 17-yard catch. Imagine what he could do if he was healthy.
Now get back to work…
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