Hopefully, you’re reading this column and are still in contention for a Fantasy title in your league. If not, however, don’t be one of those owners who doesn’t set a lineup next week. Sure, it’s frustrating to be eliminated but as they say, misery loves company. If I’m going down, I want to take someone else down with me. Submit a real lineup and deal out some misery. Here’s what happened in Week 12.
Minnesota at Detroit
Sam Bradford’s completion percentage may have looked good after this game but every pass was dink and dunk. It was rare to see him throw the ball further than the first down marker. Stefon Diggs missed the game with a knee injury, which didn’t help matters any. Even when he’s in the lineup, there just aren’t enough playmakers there. It shouldn’t have come as a surprise that this wasn’t going to be a game in which Detroit would breakout offensively. They did what they had do to win the game. Marvin Jones is no longer a starter and hasn’t been for a few weeks now. This offense seems to be stagnant, as defenses have caught on to what they are trying to do.
Washington at Dallas
Kirk Cousins should continue to be a Top 10 Fantasy QB for the rest of the season. He has the weapons around him to make this an extremely dangerous passing offense, and he’s not afraid to throw the ball deep and take his chances for the big play. Jordan Reed had a big game but also suffered a dislocated shoulder that could keep him out for Week 13. Teams will have to continue to pick their poison with the Dallas offense. Washington chose to have Josh Norman follow Dez Bryant all over the field as long as he didn’t line up in the slot. While Bryant didn’t have a big game, he did make the big catches when it mattered. Dak Prescott continues to impress, as he just doesn’t make mistakes.
Pittsburgh at Indianapolis
The Steelers seemed to approach this game with the mentality of let’s just do what we have to in order to get a win and then get out of Dodge. It may seem like the defense stepped up and played well, but if the Colts receivers would’ve held onto a couple of TD passes this would’ve been a completely different game. Andrew Luck missed the game with a concussion, but if the game would’ve been played on Sunday rather than Thursday, he probably would’ve been cleared to play. T.Y. Hilton also had to be removed from the game after suffering a back injury. One would think he’ll be healthy for Week 13 as well. Donte Moncrief is becoming the new Cris Carter in that all he does is catch touchdowns.
Tennessee at Chicago
It’s starting to look like no one may need the bye week more than DeMarco Murray. He had another subpar game, and may need a week off to feel fresh and rest the toe injury. This may have been the last time you will automatically start your Titans, as the schedule gets much tougher after the bye (Kansas City & Denver). Kudos to Matt Barkley for having a much better game than anyone could’ve expected in his first start this season. He threw for 316 yards and three TD passes and those numbers would’ve been even better if not for a host of dropped passes by Chicago, including what could’ve been the game winner by Joshua Bellamy.
Jacksonville at Buffalo
All you need to know about this game is that Blake Bortles had more yardage as a runner than any other back or any receiver had catching the ball. How does that happen? This was always going to be a tough matchup but not that tough. Still, the 81 rushing yards actually saved his Fantasy day. It’s getting more and more dangerous, though, to trust this offense. Chris Ivory was off to a good start with 44 yards rushing and a TD before leaving with a hamstring injury. He just hasn’t been able to get untracked this season. Depending on whether or not you started LeSean McCoy, you feel vindicated or extremely frustrated. He was a difficult start as the thought process after having surgery for a dislocated thumb; he could have ball control issues, trouble stiff arming defenders, and trouble bracing himself when being tackled. Well, he put all those of those issues to bed with a big game for Fantasy owners. Sammy Watkins had what really was a quiet game in his return but a 62-yard catch ended up making his numbers respectable if you gambled and started him. McCoy and Watkins should both be safe to start in Week 13.
Cincinnati at Baltimore
The run game was non-existent in this game. Was that because of the loss of A.J. Green and Baltimore having a game plan to stop Jeremy Hill and the run, or is it because the Ravens have one of the better run defenses in the NFL? I tend to believe it’s the latter, but I’m not completely sold on this. The good news for Fantasy owners is that even though the run game bogged down, Hill saved his Fantasy day with six receptions for 61 yards. If he can catch the ball out of the backfield and take on the Giovanni Bernard role, along with his rushing responsibilities, then his value may go up a tick or two. This was sort of a ho-hum game for Baltimore. They had a couple of scoring drives early then just seemed to go through the motions for the remainder of the game, just doing enough to win. Kenneth Dixon finally out-touched Terrance West (17-16). If you own both it will likely be a difficult decision each week as to whom to start. Neither one is more than a RB3/flex play right now.
Arizona at Atlanta
It’s fair to wonder right now if Carson Palmer will be done in Arizona after this season. He just doesn’t look like the same QB. Unless there is an injury we don’t know about his skills have deteriorated and seems to see the pass rush now. He still throws for a decent yardage amount, but that seems to be because the team is trailing, and he has to put the ball in the air 40-plus times. Unfortunately, with that yardage comes turnovers as well. Where did Taylor Gabriel come from? He looked like a pinball out there with the ball in his hands, stopping on a dime and zig zagging across the field. Tevin Coleman returned and while he did reach the end zone, he didn’t do all that much yardage-wise with his 10 touches. Mohamed Sanu had a nice game again, but he’s going to be hit or miss Fantasy-wise each week. Matt Ryan looked his way more this game because Patrick Peterson followed Julio Jones all over the field.
Giants at Cleveland
The G-men almost seemed to mail this game in at one point. The offense was stagnant but picked things up in the second half. Why Sterling Shepard wasn’t targeted during the game is a big question, though. Does Eli Manning only have eyes for Odell Beckham now? I wouldn’t blame him if he did. If you started Rashad Jennings you’re certainly disappointed but really, it shouldn’t come as a shock. He was, and will be, a risky start. So much for the thought that Josh McCown starting at QB would make Gary Barnidge interesting again. That didn’t happen. McCown’s first look was often to Terrelle Pryor, and rightfully so, but after that he spread the ball around pretty good. Isiah Crowell has fallen on hard times over the past month and is only a flex consideration now.
Los Angeles at New Orleans
Jared Goff threw three TD passes so that’s a pretty good improvement from last week but a majority of his passes were of the short variety. There really isn’t anyone who is an automatic start here. Do you think Sean Peyton was trying to stick it to former Saints’ defensive coordinator Gregg Williams in this one? I do. The Saints looked delighted in piling on the points. I mean, you’re up three scores yet you have your WR throw a TD pass, talk about salt in the wound. Speaking of wounds, Fantasy owners have to be livid that Brandin Cooks didn’t see a target in this one. No injury was reported so this is nothing short of shocking. Maybe he missed Thanksgiving dinner at Drew Brees’ house. Mark Ingram showed no ill effects from his concussion and had a monster game. He’s been inconsistent this season, but when he’s right, you can see why he’s a RB1. Speaking of starters, how long until we consider Michael Thomas the number one WR over Cooks?
San Francisco at Miami
If we started a Fantasy draft right now, where would you take Colin Kaepernick? He’s a Top 15 Fantasy QB for me right now. He’s not pretty but he gets the job done. Next season, assuming he stays in SF and they acquire an outside weapon or two for him, he could actually sneak into the Top 12. Quarterback is so deep in Fantasy. If you’re wondering why Jay Ajayi had such a tough game Sunday, with only 45 yards on the ground versus a SF run defense that has been Swiss cheese this season, look no further than the fact that the Dolphins were missing 60-percent of their offensive line. Any RB would have trouble running under that circumstance. When you look at the final numbers (3-64) you would think that DeVante Parker had a ho-hum game, but when you find out he had two TDs and about 60 yards worth of passes taken back on instant replay, you realize just what a big game he could’ve had. If he is still available on your WW, go and get him.
San Diego at Houston
The big news here is that Tyrell Williams was forced to leave the game with a shoulder injury. As of now, we don’t know how severe the injury is but with Keenan Allen (knee) already lost for the season and Travis Benjamin (knee) severely hampered, any injury to Williams that keeps him out of action could be crippling to the San Diego passing offense. Phillip Rivers didn’t seem to have all that much interest in throwing to his TE on Sunday, as Antonio Gates didn’t have a reception and Hunter Henry only had three targets. I see this as just a blip on the radar and not anything to truly worry about. Lamar Miller left the game after tweaking his ankle. It didn’t look to be anything serious but his status will still be worth watching this week.
Seattle at Tampa Bay
The good news is that Russell Wilson looked 100-percent healthy, as he was able to run all over the field, rushing for 80 yards. The bad news is everything else was a bust. The passing game wasn’t working, and being down 14 points early forced them out of their comfort zone, and didn’t allow them to try and establish the run. No reason to panic here, though, just one of those days. Mike Evans showed in this game why you don’t sit him no matter who is lining up against him. We knew late in the week that Richard Sherman was probably going to travel with Evans, and he did. It didn’t matter though, as Evans had two early TD to make everything else that happened during the game nothing but gravy. The schedule only gets better for TB.
Carolina at Oakland
I know Kelvin Benjamin had the long TD but only two catches on six targets is concerning. This is the second straight matchup in which he and Cam Newton just didn’t seem to be on the same page. He’s at best a low end WR2 for me right now. Jonathan Stewart can be maddening to start but when he has a big game, he has a big game. Derek Carr showed quite a bit of heart by only missing a series after dislocating the pinky finger on his throwing hand and leading the Raiders to a big victory. I’m not worried about him next week. Michael Crabtree may have had a terrible game in Mexico on Monday and had an ankle injury to deal with during the week but he brushed both aside and posted big numbers against Carolina. He’s a must start each week, that hasn’t changed.
New England at Jets
Rob Gronkowski was always going to be a risky start this week. I blame no one for starting him but in the only league I have him, I benched him. I just couldn’t get the Houston game, when was a decoy, out of my head. It was a back injury that ended his day versus the Jets. Hopefully, it’s not severe and Gronk will be at full strength next week. Dion Lewis is eating into more and more of James White’s playing time but the truth is, right now, either one would be a risky start. If you need a WR, you could do worse than Marvin Mitchell, as Tom Brady seems to like to look for him in the end zone. As long as Ryan Fitzpatrick remains the starter at QB, Brandon Marshall will be usable as a low end WR2/3 but after yet xanother loss the team would be better off starting Bryce Petty and finding out what his future is in the organization.
Kansas City at Denver
Was Sunday night the coming out party for Tyreek Hill? He had a rush, reception, and return for a TD. He only became a focal point of the offense due to the loss of Jeremy Maclin. We don’t talk about IDP much here, but Justin Houston had a big defensive effort with three sacks in his second game back from a torn ACL. Trevor Siemian had a monster game against what is supposed to be a very good KC defense. Perhaps he has come into his own or maybe it’s just one good game. I know I said QB is deep in the NFL but Siemian isn’t in start consideration, not yet anyway. Emmanuel Sanders was the beneficiary of quite a few of those passes from Siemian. Devontae Booker may have looked earlier this season like he was a threat to take over the starting job from C.J. Anderson but hasn’t done much in the role since CJA went down for the season.
As always feel free to follow me on Twitter and ask any questions you, @georgekurtz.