Bumps, Bruises and Bowouts
Allen Hurns – Hamstring
John Brown – Hamstring
Walter Powell – Ankle
Quinton Patton – Concussion
Chris Ivory – Hamstring
Odell Beckham – Thumb
Lamar Miller – Ankle
Luke Wilson – Knee
Tyrell Williams – Shoulder
Rob Gronkowski – Back
Derek Carr – Finger
Martellus Bennett – Ankle
Devante Parker – Back
Week 12 saw a much appreciated return to higher fantasy points with 13 players scoring twice or more. This was the first full slate of games since the byes began back in Week 4 but the NFL isn’t done. A quirk in scheduling has the Browns and Titans taking their bye this week to finish out league. While the Browns are mostly limited to Terrelle Pryor as their only fantasy relevant player, the Titans have picked up the pace over the last month. Delanie Walker, DeMarco Murray, Rishard Matthews and Marcus Mariota are all resting right when fantasy owners need the help for a playoff push.
Late season player developments are never as intense as they were in September and October but they still occur. And injuries that seemed to be on the decline are picking up.
Cruising the Medic Tent
Tyrell Williams (Chargers) – The lead wideout for the Bolts left the win over the Texans with a shoulder injury and never returned. Should the injury linger, Dontrelle Inman will have to pick up the slack. He already turned in six catches for 119 yards and a score last week and has been reliable for five or six catches in recent games. Both Antonio Gates and Hunter Henry would see more use should Williams remain out. Gates was held to no catches by the stingy Texans but the Chargers remaining schedule will involve the receivers heavily. For the next four weeks, they will face the Buccaneers, Panthers, Raiders and Colts. All are in the bottom 10 against wide receivers.
Lamar Miller (Texans) – The rushing effort by the Texans has lagged recently but the schedule was tough and Miller was already nursing a sprained ankle. He aggravated it on Sunday and did not return in the fourth quarter. Alfred Blue was already inactive due to a calf injury and Akeem Hunt was the primary back-up.
The undrafted second-year player only ran twice but gained 19 yards. He ran for 52 yards on eight carries back in Week 10 in Jacksonville as well. Miller’s status will become clearer after all practices but Hunt is in line for more work should Miller miss any time. The next four games will be against the Packers, Colts, Jaguars and Bengals. Even if Miller was only gone for the Packers tilt, Hunt is a worthy addition from the waiver wire.
Jordan Reed (Redskins) – The Redskins star tight end suffered a Grade 3 joint separation and could miss time or worse yet, play in games he cannot finish or underperforms. Fortunately, Vernon Davis is having a mini-revival to his career with five of the last six games topping 50 yards. Kirk Cousins will look to connect with his tight end more often in the coming weeks. The Redskins face three road games against the Cardinals, Eagles and Bears. Davis has stand alone value and would see a further spike should Reed be limited or out.
Stefon Diggs (Vikings) – He already missed the Thanksgiving Day matchup with the Lions because of his balky knee. His status for the Thursday game against the Cowboys won’t be certain perhaps until game time but he did not practice early in the week. It is notable that Adam Thielen saw his busiest game of the year with 11 targets that led to eight catches for 53 yards. The Cowboys sport a top 5 defense against the run and the Vikings will have to throw to move the ball. That will have to go through Thielen and Kyle Rudolph.
Rob Gronkowski (Patriots) – Already dealing with the after effects of a perforated lung, Gronkowski was active against the Jets but left with a back issue without a catch. The reality is that the Patriots are tied with the Raiders for the #1 seed. But the team must get healthy before a playoff run and Gronkowski’s health is critical to their success.
Martellus Bennett has not been a factor for two weeks and is nursing an ankle injury. The slack is primary taken up by Julian Edelman who totaled 28 targets over the last two games and caught eight passes in each. Tom Brady has increased the use of the wideouts and suddenly discovered a gem in rookie Malcolm Mitchell. After only seven catches on the season, Mitchell turned four catches into 98 yards and a score in Week 11 and then gained 42 yards on five receptions with two scores in the win over the Jets.
Me and Julio
The Falcons needed a replacement for Roddy White this season and brought in Mohamed Sanu who played through groin, shoulder and elbow injuries. The ex-Bengal wideout stepped up in recent weeks with three games over 60 yards but only scored twice since the season opener.
Taylor Gabriel came over from the Browns and the diminutive slot receiver wasn’t a factor in the first half of the season. But the 5-8/167 lb. speedster is becoming much more than an occasional gimmick. He’s averaged 68 yards per game for the last four weeks and after scoring a 76-yard touchdown in Week 11, he produced two touchdowns on his four receptions for 75 yards in the win over the Cardinals. He may never be used heavily but with an 18 yard per catch average and four scores over the last four weeks, he’s done plenty with what he gets.
New Roles in Cincy
The Bengals lost Giovani Bernard for the season and A.J. Green remains week-to-week with his hamstring tear. The first week after that catastrophe and the workload shift is already apparent. Rex Burkhead replaced Bernard but only rushed five times for 29 yards and had the bulk of his work in the final fourth quarter drive. Jeremy Hill ran 12 times but more importantly caught six passes for 61 yards – sharply up from the one or two catches he was getting.
Tyler Boyd already stepped up in Week 11 when he turned in six catches for 54 yards and one score after Green left the game. He followed that up with five catches for 62 yards in the loss to the Ravens. Brandon LaFell remains stuck under 40 yards per game for the last month. Tyler Eifert saw an increase as well with a team high 11 targets that became five receptions for 68 yards and a touchdown.
It’s Okay Jay
Losing Alshon Jeffery to suspension, Zach Miller to a broken foot and Jay Cutler to a shoulder injury meant missing critical weapons against the Titans in Week 12. Matt Barkley had never thrown a touchdown in his four NFL seasons or topped 160 passing yards in only career start back in 2013. But on Sunday, Barkley accounted for 316 yards and three touchdowns and scored twice in the final nine minutes.
The only receiver of any note was Marquess Wilson who has been hampered by injuries in his four NFL seasons and only recently came off injured reserve because of a broken foot. Wilson caught a team high eight passes for 125 yards. Both Barkley and Wilson are now relevant if only because they face the visiting 49ers this week.
Play it Again, Sammy
The third-year wideout came off injured reserve and was slated to be eased back into a starting role. He was only thrown three passes in the win over the Jaguars. But he caught all three and ended with a team high 80 yards thanks to a 62-yard gain in the third quarter. He returns at a very opportune time with the Bills next four games going against the Raiders, Steelers, Browns and Dolphins.
ARI 19, ATL 38
Carson Palmer passed for 289 yards and two scores but the only Cardinal player with any value was David Johnson who was the leading rusher and receiver with 161 total yards and a score. Matt Ryan threw for 269 yards and two scores that both went to Taylor “All or Nothing” Taylor (4-75, 2 TD). Devonta Freeman ran for 60 yards and two scores. The win keeps the 7-4 Falcons safely atop the NFC South and the 4-6-1 Cardinals can safely shift into 2017 mode. The Falcons host the Chiefs this week and the Cardinals play the Redskins.
CIN 14, BAL 19
Not a lot of points but not many were expected. Andy Dalton passed for 283 yards and one score without A.J. Green but only Tyler Eifert (5-68, TD) really mattered. And Rex Burkhead totaled 49 yards replacing Giovani Bernard. The Ravens won with field goals and the one catch by Brent Perriman. No player gained more than 57 yards for Baltimore. The 3-7-1 Bengals host the Eagles this week and the 6-5 Ravens play the Dolphins.
JAX 21, BUF 28
This was much better of a game than expected though it almost entirely happened after halftime. Blake Bortles only passed for 126 yards but rushed for a team high 81 yards. No Jaguar player gained more than 44 yards in the game. Tyrod Taylor only passed for 166 yards but ran in one score while LeSean McCoy totaled 134 yards and two touchdowns. Most notable was that Sammy Watkins caught a 62-yard pass and ended with 80 yards on three catches to give hope to the future passing game. The 2-9 Jaguars have to host the Broncos this week and the 6-5 Bills head to Oakland.
TEN 27, CHI 21
This was another game far better than was expected. Matt Barkley did himself proud with 316 yards and three touchdowns and Marquez Wilson ended with eight catches for 125 yards and a score but no other receiver managed more than 44 yards. Marcus Mariota only threw for 226 yards and two scores with Ryan Matthews (3-64-1) tops as usual. DeMarco Murray was a disappointment with just 43 yards on 17 carries but added 41 yards on five receptions. Derrick Henry was the best rusher with 60 yards and a score on eight runs. The win sends the 6-6 Titans onto the latest bye week in NFL history and the 2-9 Bears host the 49ers.
NYG 27, CLE 13
While low scoring, there were a few nice performances in this game. Eli Manning passed for just 194 yards but had three touchdowns and Odell Beckham (8-96, 2 TD) was the only Giants receiver that mattered. Josh McCown ended with 322 yards and one score and Terrelle Pryor (6-131) dominated the receiving stats though the rookie Corey Coleman (3-38, TD) finally scored again. Aside from the quarterbacks and #1 wideouts, not much happened and even Ryan Jennings (15-55) could not extend his recent hot streak. The 8-3 Giants won their last six games and head to Pittsburgh while the 0-12 Browns go onto their bye week, thereby lowering the NFL weekly average points scored.
SD 21, HOU 13
The Chargers pull off a minor upset with Philip Rivers passing for 242 yards and three touchdowns and Dontrelle Inman (6-119, TD) and Tyrell Williams (8-70, TD) both turned in good performances against a decent defense. Antonio Gates never had a pass. Brock Osweiler passed for 246 yards and only had three interceptions. At least DeAndre Hopkins ended with 70 yards on five catches. Osweiler did run in a score so that he could even ruin Lamar Miller’s (19-57) fantasy output. The 5-6 Chargers host the Buccaneers this week while the 6-5 Texans are still atop the AFC South and head to Green Bay.
SF 24, MIA 31
More points than usual which is good. Colin Kaepernick passed for 296 yards and three scores like a normal quarterback and ran for 113 yards on ten rushed not like a normal quarterback. There still was no good fantasy play here other than Carlos Hyde with 95 total yards and one score while Vance McDonald (4-60) was the leading receiver. Ryan Tannehill threw for 285 yards and three touchdowns and Kenny Stills (3-72, TD) was the best and Jarvis Landry (4-47) flopped. Jay Ajayi (18-45, TD) was another disappointment but facing the 49ers in their 10th straight loss is starting to make opponents play down to their level. The 1-10 49ers head to Chicago this week while the 7-4 Dolphins play in Baltimore.
SEA 5, TB 14
Man. There’s a brutal game. Worse yet – the only two touchdowns were scored in the first quarter and there was no scoring in the second half. I think we all lose here. The Seahawks never had a touchdown and top receiver Jimmy Graham (6-67) lost a fumble. Russell Wilson threw for only 151 yards and two interceptions though he ran for 80 yards. Thomas Rawks only gained 38 yards on 12 runs against the Buccaneers. Jameis Winston was little better with 220 yards and two scores to Mike Evans (8-104) but then did nearly nothing for three more quarters. This wasn’t even a fun defensive game to watch. The loss drops the Seahawks to 7-3-1 and two and a half games behind the Cowboys for the best NFC record. They will face the visiting Panthers this week while the 6-5 Buccaneers head to San Diego.
NE 22, NYJ 17
By the end, Tom Brady passed for 286 yards and two scores for Malcolm Mitchell (5-42, 2 TD) though Julian Edelman (8-83) took over with Rob Gronkowski taken out of the game. Ryan Fitzpatrick passed for 269 yards and two touchdowns between Quincy Enunwa (5-109, TD) and Brandon Marshall (6-67, TD). Neither team ran much or that well though LeGarrette Blount only had 11 rushes to gain his 67 yards. This was entirely too close and low scoring. Now the 9-2 Patriots will host the Rams and the 3-8 Jets play the Colts.
CAR 32, OAK 35
Definite contender for Game-O-the-Week. This one saw the Raiders jump out to a 24-7 first half lead but then let the Panthers 25 straight points until the Raiders finally tacked on the final ten points in the last five minutes. Cam Newton ended with 246 yards and two passing scores along with a rushing touchdown. Ted Ginn (4-115, TD) was their top receiver and James Stewart ran for 96 yards and two touchdowns. Derek Carr hurt his finger but remained in the game. He ended with 315 yards and two scores and Michael Crabtree (8-110) more than doubled all over receivers including Amari Cooper (4-22). This was more like two games. The Raiders dominated, then the Panthers dominated and finally the Raiders squeaked out the win. That keeps the 9-2 Raiders at home to face the Bills while the 4-7 Panthers head to Seattle where they hope that no one remembers the Divisional playoff game last year.
KC 30, DEN 27 OT
Much higher scoring than expected for a game that was only 9-3 at halftime. Alex Smith got the job done though he only passed for 220 yards and one score to Tyreek Hill (9-52, TD) while Travis Kelce (8-101) also helped out. Trevor Siemian threw for 368 yards and three touchdowns and Emmanuel Sanders (7-162, TD) soaked up much of it. Neither team had the rushing effort that they wanted and the Chiefs won in part because of a punt return score and a safety. The loss makes the 7-4 Broncos two games behind the division leading Raiders and they’ll have to play in Jacksonville this week. The 8-3 Chiefs have to travel again and end up in Atlanta.
Huddle Player of the Week
Antonio Brown – There were several candidates and Brown has certainly been here before. But in a week with several big games, no one delivered quite as well as Brown who caught five passes for 91 yards and three touchdowns. One fantasy team owner in every league went to bed on Thursday night happy with more than the turkey and stuffing. Brown has lacked a bit of the consistency of 2015 but he capable of blowing up every week. And for Thanksgiving, he did exactly that.
Drama 101 – Somebody has to Laugh, Somebody has to Cry
|QB||Colin Kaepernick||296/113||3||QB||Russell Wilson||151/80||0|
|RB||Tim Hightower||105||1||RB||Matt Forte||50||0|
|RB||Matt Asiata||41||1||RB||Jay Ajayi||56||1|
|WR||Marquess Wilson||125||1||WR||Brandin Cooks||0||0|
|WR||Ted Ginn||115||1||WR||Amari Cooper||22||0|
|WR||Quincy Enunwa||109||1||WR||Julio Jones||35||0|
|TE||Dion Sims||53||1||TE||Rob Gronkowski||0||0|
|PK||Matt Prater||3 FG 1 XP||PK||Adam Vinatieri||1 XP|
|Huddle Fantasy Points = 134||Huddle Fantasy Points = 36|
RAMS 21, SAINTS 49
Have to love the Saints.
How else could a rookie quarterback in his second start ever go from only 134 yards and no score to 214 yards and three touchdowns in just one week? Jared Goff threw his first interception as well but he completed a credible 20 of 32 passes.
No Rams receiver had more than 52 yards and a score that Kenny Britt produced. Lance Kendricks (4-51, TD) and Tavon Austin (4-45, TD) also caught a touchdown.
Drew Brees threw for 310 yards and four touchdowns that mostly favored Michael Thomas (9-108, 2 TD) and Josh Hill (6-74). Brandin Cooks
caught eight passes for 142 yards and two scores never had a single target. He was there. He was seen. Not one target.
Mark Ingram ran for 146 yards and a score plus had one catch for a 21-yard touchdown as well.
The game had 70 total points and the only fantasy players in it that were sure to be started were Drew Brees and Michael Thomas. It is not unusual for any wideout to occasionally turn in a clunker. But they usually get a pass in the process.
Playoffs are racing towards us and in some large contests, they start next week. Hope you make it there!
Hope you don’t have DeMarco Murray or Delanie Walker…
Now get back to work…