There were some surprising performances in the second tier of performances Sunday. The top performers from Sunday -- guys like Peyton Manning, LeSean McCoy, and Josh Gordon -- were the big names, but there were some interesting performances just below that warrant mention as well.
Below, we take a look at a few:
Sleeper quarterbacks in Week 14
Jason Campbell, CLE (391 passing yards, 3 touchdowns, 27 rushing yards, 29 fantasy points)
All week we wondered if it would be Campbell, or Brandon Weeden, or Alex Tanney, or Caleb Hanie who would start at quarterback for the Browns. Regardless, everyone was bumping the Patriots up their position rankings, figuring whichever quarterback made the start was going to struggle. Instead, Campbell had one of his best games in years -- in fact, he's never had more passing yards than his 391 Sunday, in a career that stretches back to 2006. In fact, with the exception of his week 11 disaster performance against the Cincinnati Bengals, Campbell has been a perfectly fine quarterback this season.
Geno Smith, NYJ (219 passing yards, 1 touchdown, 1 interception, 50 rushing yards, 1 rushing touchdown, 21 fantasy points)
After three abysmal weeks in a row, and no more than 11 fantasy points since Week 7, Smith finally bounced back to good performance Sunday, beating up on the Oakland Raiders as the Jets got back in the win column, bringing their season record to 6-7 despite all the problems they've had. His 50 rushing yards were the most he has had in a game all year, and his passing touchdown (a 25-yard connection to Jeremy Kerley in the first quarter) was his first passing touchdown since Week 7 against the Patriots.
Sleeper running backs in Week 14
Marcel Reece, OAK (123 rushing yards, 1 touchdown, 38 receiving yards, 21 fantasy points)
Reece was stuck behind Rashad Jennings and Darren McFadden on the Raiders' depth chart all season, but with both other running backs injured sunday, Reece had his best game of the season -- he hadn't topped 58 yards from scrimmage in a game all season before his 161 yards Sunday. So long as Jennings and McFadden are out, Reece should be a strong RB2. Even if one of the backs returns, Reece could be a flex option. He really only loses value if both backs return.
Joique Bell, DET (69 rushing yards, 1 touchdown, 58 receiving yards, 15 fantasy points)
Bell led the Lions in both rushing and receiving yards amid the snowstorm Sunday, with running back Reggie Bush held out with injury. It was Bell's most receiving yards since Week 3, and with seven touchdowns on the season now, there aren't many better backup running backs out there. assuming Bush is back next week, Bell slides back to only a flier flex play, but if and when Bush misses more time, Bell could be a sneaky pickup.
Sleeper wide receivers in Week 14
LaVon Brazill, IND (53 receiving yards, 2 touchdowns, 17 fantasy points)
Just like his teammate Da'Rick Rogers, who had no career catches before his two scores Sunday, Brazill came from somewhat out of nowhere to offer his big Sunday. He had only eight catches and 97 yards -- with no scores -- so far this season coming into Sunday, but his two scores were a big moment. With T.Y. Hilton struggling, Brazill and/or Rogers could see a long-term boost in value, though you'll want to see at least one more performance of note before jumping in.
Hakeem Nicks, NYG (135 receiving yards, 13 fantasy points)
Nicks' fantasy value was almost completely gone before Sunday; he hadn't topped 51 yards since Week 6, only had two hundred-yard games, and he's still looking for his first touchdown. It's hard to see any way the Giants bring the free-agent-to-be Nicks back for next season, but if he can prove he still has this ability another time or so down the stretch, he could be a good fantasy play next season.
Sleeper tight end in Week 14
Dennis Pitta, BAL (48 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 10 fantasy points)
Pitta was supposed to be a key cog in the Ravens' offense this year, a big part of the reason they let go of Anquan Boldin in the offseason. He dislocated his hip in the offseason, though, making Sunday his first game of 2013. He didn't have a huge game, but did tie for the team lead in targets, and his 1-yard touchdown catch in the fourth quarter kicked off the Baltimore-Minnesota game's insane last few minutes. It'll be interesting to hear what the Ravens say about Pitta's usage going forward, but for now, he's in the Ladarius Green/Garrett Graham level of tight ends at worst, with high upside.