With the Minnesota Vikings eking out a wild card spot in 2012, and with the Detroit Lions in control of their destiny down the stretch of 2013, it would have been strange to think recently that their Week 17 showdown would have no playoff implications.
But that's just what happened, as with both teams in evaluation mode, there was not much to play for presently, and their on-field play reflecting that is something fantasy football owners can attest to. But in terms of the future, one player certainly asserted himself as a potential game breaker in fantasy matchups for years to come.
When Matt Asiata got his first start in place of Adrian Peterson, he posted one of the strangest box score lines, carrying the ball 30 times for 51 yards and scoring three touchdowns. He made up for that yards per carry average in start No. 2, logging 115 yards on 14 carries against a Lions defense that had allowed the fourth fewest rushing yards in the league entering Week 17.
But the story here is Patterson, who proved from day one that when he has the ball in his hands, he can be a difference maker. His explosive speed and acceleration makes him a threat to score from anywhere on the field, and that's just what he proved with a 50-yard touchdown run in the first half of the game.
Patterson also cashed in with a receiving touchdown and totaled 31 yards on two catches to put his standard fantasy point total over the 20-point mark while the only member of his team to find pay dirt on Sunday. Patterson's usage has increased down the stretch of the season, and if that trend continues in his sophomore season, expect him to be a staple in fantasy lineups of all formats.
Fantasy players who were worth it: Reggie Bush
It wasn't the most efficient day on the ground on Sunday for Reggie Bush, and that was to be expected. With Calvin Johnson out of action with a knee injury, Minnesota made sure to limit the playmaking running back, and did so for most of the game. Bush amassed just 32 yards on 14 carries, but chipped in with 33 more yards on five catches. The team's only touchdown of the day came on a 19-yard hookup from Stafford to Bush.
Matthew Stafford predictably struggled without the aid of his superstar receiver, and his numbers certainly reflected that. Stafford dinked and dunked his way to completing 22 of 33 passes for 217 yards and a touchdown, but it was not a total that his fantasy owners needed to clamp down a championship. Things could have certainly been worse, but one score from a quarterback isn't likely adding to owners' trophy cases.
As for Joique Bell, an uptick in targets was to be expected with a depleted receiving corps, but he saw just four total. Bell caught all four of those for 25 yards and added 31 on the ground, but 56 total yards without the benefit of a touchdown leaves plenty of room to be desired from fantasy owners despite a solid season.