Every week, Scott Engel of RotoExperts.com reviews five of the biggest fantasy storylines from Sunday's NFL action.
1. Oh no, Bowe! The seemingly unstoppable Dwayne Bowe was stopped by Denver CB Champ Bailey on Sunday in what was the most disappointing game of the week from a fantasy perspective. Those who were expecting a shootout between the Chiefs and Broncos only received 16 points worth of action between the two teams. In Week 10, these two ballclubs combined for 78 points, with Bowe catching 13 passes for 186 yards and two TDs. In Week 13, fantasy football's hottest receiver was blanked by longtime shutdown cornerback Bailey.
A string of seven consecutive games with at least one TD catch (13 total over that span) was halted. Bailey challenged himself to take on the assignment of shutting down Bowe, and he succeeded. He exclusively covered Bowe one-on-one all day and did not let him separate or get loose. Those who started Bowe this week may have seen their fantasy playoff hopes take a big hit. And it does not look too promising with the Chargers on tap next week. San Diego held Bowe to one catch for 13 yards in the season opener. Still, Bowe's owners should not negatively overreact to the donut Bowe ate on Sunday. He has played too well overall this year to reserve him based on one bad outing. Look for the Chiefs to go back to the chalkboard and find more ways to get him unleashed. Bowe simply cannot be judged by one week; you have to look at his whole body of work this season to see how he should perform in most games. Chargers CB Quentin Jammer represents another tough assignment, but Bowe will be fired up to rebound for at least a respectable performance.
2. Falling fast? Now Chris Johnson's owners can officially be concerned. One bad game should not have caused a lot of worry among the CJ supporters after last week. But a bad game, followed up by a mediocre one, should make even the most savvy fantasy players among us question what is wrong with the superstar. Johnson followed the worst game of his career with a 53-yard rushing performance. The return of Kerry Collins did not help the Tennessee offense at all, as the Titans failed to score a TD for the second consecutive game and suffered their fifth loss in a row. The Titans' passing game looked downright shoddy, as Collins completed only 14 of 32 attempts and was intercepted twice. A usually vulnerable Jacksonville defense bottled up Johnson early. If not for a 21-yard run, the RB's numbers could have looked much worse. Opponents seem to be learning they no longer have to fear Randy Moss and can load up against the Tennessee running game. Moss does not appear worthy of commanding as much defensive attention as he did in the past, and Tennessee is not making defenses honor their passing game. That's a real problem for Johnson's owners who head into the fantasy playoffs. Still, with Indianapolis, Houston and Kansas City ahead, the schedule offers some hope for a player that may just be too good to keep down for much longer.
3. Revival:Marshawn Lynch has been a fantasy bust since being traded to Seattle earlier this season. Since his debut with the Seahawks in Week 6, Lynch had rushed for only two scores and surpassed the 80-yard mark just once. In Week 13, he had his best game in a Seahawks uniform, flourishing in the second half as he scored three times. Lynch finished with 100 yards from scrimmage, with the bulk of the work coming on 83 yards rushing yards on 21 carries. The outlook appeared bleak for Seattle as they fell behind 14-0 in the second quarter at home to the lowly Panthers and Lynch was being outplayed by Carolina's Jonathan Stewart. To make matters worse, the Seahawks lost both of their top WRs, as Mike Williams could not make an effective return and Ben Obomanu was also injured. The Seahawks turned to their running game in the second half, and Lynch delivered as hoped when saddled with carrying a large portion of the offense. Lynch remains a tenacious and determined runner and apparently took advantage of a friendly matchup. Carolina was simply not capable of protecting their lead and eventually their defense spent too much time on the field in the second half. Lynch had a great day, but Seattle's offensive line has struggled to open holes for him this year. Keep him on your bench for at least one more week, as the Seahawks' inconsistent blocking and passing game could easily cut into Lynch's effectiveness again at any time. Lack of openings and offensive balance can remain significant concerns.
4. Here come the Cowboys: Dallas was not to be denied in a close game this week, beating the Colts in overtime. Dallas is 3-1 under new coach Jason Garrett, and the team has also revived a sagging running game. The Cowboys' top two RBs combined for 183 rushing yards on Sunday, with Tashard Choice leading the charge. Choice, who replaced the injured and ostensibly ineffective Marion Barber, rushed for 100 yards on 19 carries, including a 20-yard TD. Choice added an instant spark to the offense -- and you have to wonder why the Cowboys stuck with the plodding Barber for so long. Choice is not fully cut out to be a pure goal-line runner like Barber once seemed to be, but he does add obvious life to the Dallas offense when he plays. He is very elusive, has terrific vision and is dangerous as a runner in open space. Look for him to be a quality flex option during the fantasy playoffs. Felix Jones rushed for 83 yards and is also a good flex player going forward. When Jones is healthy, he can be explosive and can score any time he touches the ball. Some of his outings will only be statistically adequate, yet he is capable of simply exploding in any given week. The rejuvenated Cowboys are playing well, and with a "nothing to lose" approach going forward, look for the offense and the RBs to continue to play well overall.
5. Don't doubt No. 28: In the week leading up to Sunday's game against the Bills, there was much unrest among Adrian Peterson's fantasy owners. An ankle injury put the most important player on many teams on the dreaded "game-time decision" list. After witnessing Peterson's performance against Buffalo, his owners may hope for more "questionable" tags going forward. Peterson proved his mettle and fully displayed his toughness, playing through his injury and delivering a 16-carry, 107-yard, three-TD outing. Peterson's wheels seemed to be working just fine, as he scored on a run of 43 yards. The Vikes did a fine job of limiting his workload, as 22 carries went to other Minnesota running backs. Peterson was not overused, and he made the most of every touch. The Vikings' judicious use of their signature player was smart and should bolster the confidence of Peterson's owners if the ankle continues to spur problematic reports in the week ahead. Still, a matchup against the Giants could prove to be much more challenging, especially if Tarvaris Jackson is at QB.