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What Did We Learn – Week 14 Edition

Javarris James continues to produce. On Thursday night, James scored once again for the Colts. He now has six rushing scores on the year, including several of the goal line variety. He’s decent catching the ball. And with Indianapolis’ injury issues, especially in the offensive backfield, James seems to have carved himself a nice little niche there. I’m not saying he’s going to put up huge numbers every week, but 40 yards and a touchdown? Not bad for a Week 15 waiver wire pickup, huh?

Ryan Torain blows up. Torain ran over, through, around, and pretty much every other place he could have on the Buccaneers. He eventually finished with 24 carries for 172 yards, but that was after he slowed down. Torain was effective earlier in the year prior to getting hurt. Looks like he’s back to his old form. He gets the shaky run defenses of Dallas and Jacksonville in the next two weeks, and should continue to perform.

Aaron Rodgers gets concussed. This hurt. Rodgers not only got pounded into the ground, but it was his second concussion this year. While this isn’t confirmed, it seems like he almost has to sit out at least a week. If you’re looking for insurance on the waiver wire, there are guys with favorable matchups to be had. Josh Freeman, if available, has Detroit and Seattle the next two weeks. Jason Campbell gets Denver and Indianapolis. And Ryan Fitzpatrick gets Miami and New England.

Brian Westbrook emerges. He scored on a long catch and run that brought me back to his days in Philadelphia. Now I’ll be the first to tell you that touchdowns, especially long ones, are fluky. And given that Anthony Dixon outcarried and outgained him, you might think I’m crazy. But while the game was close, Westbrook was on the field. That showed me that he’s got a bit of an edge over Dixon for crunch time touches.

I feel awful for Steven Jackson. Every year I am excited to draft Jackson. And every year I am frustrated as he puts up numbers, can’t get in the end zone and always seems to be the only good player on a rudderless team. It’s gotten better this year with the addition of Sam Bradford and a viable passing attack, but Jackson still struggles to score. I hope he can stay healthy and get some scores. And if Bradford can be as good as he looks, Jackson just may end up with some running room.

Matt Cassel is just as important to the Chiefs running attack as Jamaal Charles. With Cassel out on Sunday, the Chiefs found it difficult to get anything going. Brodie Croyle apparently doesn’t intimidate defenses, so they stack the line. For weeks, the Chiefs had at least been able to threaten with the pass, but with Cassel’s Wednesday appendectomy, Croyle earned the start. The top rushing team in the league got just 40 yards on the ground in Week 14.

David Garrard is having a stellar season. Garrard is coming out of nowhere this year. He’s throw 20 touchdowns to just 12 interceptions, and seven of those interceptions were in just two games. And he gets Indianapolis and Washington the next two weeks. The Jaguars’ run game means Garrard has plenty of space to work in the defensive secondary, and he’s taken advantage of it. If you saw it coming, congratulations. If you can still capitalize on it, buy a lottery ticket.

Christopher Ivory helps sort out the Saints’ backfield. Ivory, who had taken over once Pierre Thomas and Reggie Bush went down, got hurt himself on Sunday. He’d been the guy, getting seven carries early before leaving. His early exit, due to an injured hamstring, opened the door for Pierre Thomas to reclaim his role as lead back. Thomas ran the ball 12 times for 39 yards and caught four balls for 29 yards. He’s the back you want going forward, although I don’t know how confident you are in starting him, especially this week against Baltimore.

Tim Hightower shows up big. Apparently, Chris “Beanie” Wells annoys more than just his fantasy owners. Hightower received 18 carries to Wells’ six, and he was productive, going for 148 yards and scoring twice. Even with John Skelton getting his first start, the Cardinals seemed to be able to run on the admittedly poor Broncos’ run defense. Hightower will get Carolina and Dallas in Weeks 15 and 16, respectively, and he could be a big contributor to your fantasy squad.

Derrick Mason scores twice. Mason caught two touchdowns for the Baltimore Ravens on Monday night. It’s misleading because it happened against a terrible Houston Texans’ defense, but it’s still a nice game. His 78 yards led the team and he continues to prove himself as a trustworthy target for Joe Flacco. Mason isn’t a Top 10 guy, but could be a valuable depth guy for fantasy owners who find themselves in a bind.

Good luck going forward.

Drew Magyar is a staff writer and can be reached at

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