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What Did We Learn – Week 15 Edition

Vincent Jackson puts up numbers. Apparently, Jackson is still pretty good. This was obvious, but I had already chalked this year up as all but lost for Jackson. I figured that he’d return too late to ultimately make a difference for fantasy owners. I was wrong. He racked up five catches for 112 yards and three scores. I guess if you’re 6-foot-5 and 230 pounds, and are in the prime of your career, it might be like riding a bike. Jackson becomes a Top 15 wide receiver in the meantime, and possibly higher going forward.

Even Donald Brown‘s mom would sell high on him right now. That’s right. I don’t believe. Maybe I’m a natural skeptic or a pessimist. Or maybe I have eyes and a brain. Brown rushed 14 times for 129 yards and a score, but here’s my problem. Brown had a 49-yard run early in the first quarter and a 43-yard touchdown run early in the third. That’s two runs for 92 yards. Take away those busted plays and his other 12 rushes went for 37 yards. It’s difficult to excuse those big plays, but in the case of someone who’s never really done it before, I have a hard time believing the light just went on in Week 15.

Blair White becomes really interesting. First, our thoughts and prayers go out to Austin Collie. He plays hard, but at this point how much do you really want to be on the field? His replacement is White, and when given a chance, White has been solid. I think he can replace at least a portion of Collie’s production and provide a boost to fantasy owners with a hole in their roster for this week.

Rex Grossman was serviceable, but can you really trust him? Oh dear. I thought Grossman had walked off into the sunset. But with the Shanahans in Washington, anything’s possible. In a strange twist of events, Donovan McNabb gets benched for “Sexy Rexy,” and after McNabb had just played one of his better games on the season. Grossman filled in and played admirably, throwing for 322 yards and four touchdowns. Did he also have three turnovers? Yes. But four touchdowns is still nice. Take it with a grain of salt, since I’m pretty sure my wife could throw for 250 and three scores against Dallas, but Grossman might be worth something, especially with Jacksonville on the slate for Week 16.

Mario Manningham is like a change of pace receiver. Hakeem Nicks is obviously “The Guy” in New York, but Manningham provides a different look on the other side. The Giants have the 1-2 punch of Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw out of the backfield, and now Manningham is stepping up as a No. 2 to Nicks’ No. 1. Manningham caught two first half touchdown passes en route to 113 yards receiving. He’s an interesting play going forward, but by no means is he safe.

Brandon Marshall is alive? I know. It’s crazy. Marshall has been a disappointment all year, but he showed up in a big way on Sunday against Buffalo. He looked like the old Marshall, hauling in 11 balls for 106 yards and a score. It looks like he’s starting to turn it on late, and there’s a precedent here. He did this last year also, going on a late season run, including a game with 21 catches and 200 yards. He could just be getting started.

Maurice Morris is an interesting play. I’m not saying he should definitely be in lineups, but if he’s available, grab him if for no other reason than to keep your opponent from getting him. With Jahvid Best obviously not healthy, Morris got the bulk of the carries, posting 109 yards on 15 carries with a touchdown, and looks like he’ll be the primary runner to close out the season. This week will be tough sledding against a stingy Miami Dolphins’ run defense, but he’s still interesting.

Tim Tebow? Tim Tebow! That’s right, put me on the bandwagon. Again, I’m not saying he’s Tom Brady. He’s not. But, is he a unique double threat? Absolutely. Tebow only threw for 138 yards, but that included a touchdown. He also ran for 78 yards and a score. Those are numbers I can get behind, and while I don’t see many more 40-yard runs, I see him able to make some things happen in the last two weeks. And he gets Houston’s “Swiss cheese” pass defense this week.

Matt Flynn can fill in for Aaron Rodgers. He’s not Rodgers, but Flynn was an adequate substitute. Flynn stepped into the Sunday night spotlight against Tom Brady in Foxboro and put up 251 yards with three touchdowns and a pick. Like many other Rodgers’ owners, I ended up going with a non-Flynn option last week. Luckily it didn’t kill my fantasy dreams, but it could have. But I’d steer clear of Flynn, who has a tough draw against the New York Giants who will come after him, especially after last week’s epic collapse at the hands (or wings) of the Eagles. Let’s all hope it’s Rodgers this week.

Jay Cutler remains a frustrating quarterback to own. He’s baffling. Cutler went out to the frigid conditions in Minnesota and put up a respectable 194 yards passing, but added three touchdowns. His interception was one of the ugliest passes I’ve seen, but that’s par for the course with Cutler. He’s cut down on the poor decisions, but he’s still a roller coaster ride. He follows up his terrible game against New England with a big one against the Vikings. He’s an interesting play against the New York Jets in Week 16.

Good luck going forward.

Drew Magyar is a staff writer and can be reached at

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