FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Tunnel Vision: Week 12
David Dorey
November 26, 2012
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Stats to Know Video - Featuring David Dorey
Sunday Salutes
Quarterbacks Yards TD
Tony Romo 448 3
Tom Brady 328 4
Robert Griffin III 340 4
Matthew Stafford 448 2
Drew Brees 265 3
Running Backs Yards TD
Arian Foster 117 2
Ray Rice 164 0
Shane Vereen 133 1
Trent Richardson 112 1
BenJarvus Green-Ellis 138 1
Wide Receivers Yards TD
Dez Bryant 145 2
Calvin Johnson 140 1
Andre Johnson 188 0
Julio Jones 147 1
Chris Givens 115 1
Tight Ends Yards TD
Charles Clay 84 1
Dustin Keller 64 1
Kyle Rudolph 55 1
Jason Witten 74 0
Dennis Pitta 42 1
Placekickers XPT FG
Rob Bironas 1 4
Dan Bailey 2 3
Connor Barth 2 3
Shayne Graham 4 2
Mike Nugent 4 2
Defense/Special Teams TDs Sacks TOs
Patriots 1 2 5
Browns 0 1 8
Rams 2 2 4
49ers 2 5 2
Steelers 1 4 1

Bumps, Bruises and bowouts

Lance Moore - Concussion
Kendall Hunter - Ankle
Kyle Williams - Knee
Ed Dickson - Knee
Brandon Weeden - Concussion
Jalen Parmele - Leg
Aaron Brown - Broken fibula

10 Stats you need to know

1. RB David Wilson (4.3 YPC) - Wilson is an explosive player who has been limited to special teams as a returner. He now gets more playing time with the news that Aaron Brown broke his fibula. Wilson (5-9, 205) and Brown (6-0, 227) are not equally used so it is not as if Wilson inherits the same role that allowed Brown to score eight times this year. But Wilson is clearly the best back on the roster after Ahmad Bradshaw and will see at least an uptick in use and the next two games are at Washington and hosting the Saints. Both will benefit Wilson even if he is just relief for Bradshaw.

2. QB Charlie Batch (3 interceptions) - Hard to imagine working the same job for ten years and when they finally ask you to do something, this happens. Batch completed 20 of 34 for 199 yards and no scores against the Browns. His level of play infected the entire team and left Mike Wallace with no catches, Jonathan Dwyer as the lead rusher with only 19 yards on nine runs and the Steelers fumbled eight times and lost five of them for a team worst over the last 20 years. It was over ten years ago that any NFL team managed to lose the ball eight times in one game. Next week is the trip to Baltimore in a must-win game. At best they'll try to start Roethlisberger with bad ribs and a sore shoulder.

3. RB Knowshon Moreno (20-85) - Now that McGahee is gone, the assumption was that Ronnie Hillman would see an increase in workload. Then word came out that Knowshon Moreno was discovered to be still on the roster and by the final whistle, it was he who became the 1:1 replacement for McGahee. Moreno not only rushed for 85 yards but also added four catches for 26 yards while Hillman had but three carries for nine yards. Back to the waiver wire if it is still open in your league since the Broncos remaining schedule is TB, @OAK, @BAL and CLE. No sense in trying to make sense of it. Just grab Moreno.

4. TE Aaron Hernandez (2-36) - On the plus side, Hernandez finally played for only the fourth time all year. On the negative - so what? In the first game A.G. (After Gronk), Tom Brady threw for 323 yards and three scores but only three passes were completed to tight ends. Hernandez did catch a touchdown that was called back for offensive pass interference. But it is always good to remember that NFL offenses are about the personnel and not about what the positions are supposed to do in the game plan. With no Gronkowski, Brady merely shifted into more use of Julian Edelman. Hernandez will see more use in the coming weeks since they will not likely be the blowout win that the Jets game became. Particularly against the visiting 49ers and Texans in weeks 14 and 15.

5. RB Michael Bush (21-60, 2 TDs) - Matt Forte left the win over the Vikings after re-injuring the same ankle that sustained a high ankle sprain back in week two. Forte missed one game and was slowed in his first game back. With the Seahawks showing up this week, the Bears cannot afford to be short a running back. Michael Bush will fill in as the starter if needed and take the full load. Bush also can fill in as a receiver if needed. He should be an insurance pick for all Forte owners anyway but he needs to come off the waiver wire this week since Forte could end up as a game time decision.

6. RB Jacquizz Rodgers (10-49, TD) - The Falcons speedster also added two receptions for 30 yards in Tampa Bay. His touches are increasing as the season progresses and Michael Turner is just getting worse. While Turner did score in three of the last four games, his last three weeks combined for only 41 carries for 78 yards and only a 1.9 yards per carry average. Rodgers turned in 18 runs for 94 yards and a 5.2 yard average in that time. Turner will remain the goal line back but Rodgers is making a bigger impact and plays against the Saints this week.

7. WR Pierre Garcon (5-93, TD) - The Redskins prized free agent has been a bust all year thanks to injury but he not only was able to play in Dallas, he led the team in receiving. He scored on a 59-yard touchdown during the second quarter and his seven targets were also a team high. With the next two weeks playing host to the Giants and Ravens, Garcon will be relied on even more heavily in games where the rushing effort is not going to account for much. Garcon is finally healthy right in time for fantasy playoffs.

8. WR Cole Beasley (7-68) - Kevin Ogletree was ruled out because of a concussion last Thursday and in his place, Beasley had a surprising day. He was targeted 13 times - two more than any other receiver for the Cowboys. He did very little with the catches but Tony Romo is not shy about throwing his way and Miles Austin injured his hip against the Redskins and could be unavailable this week depending how quickly he heals. That moves the receiver depth chart up for the home game against the Eagles this week and more so if Ogletree continues to be affected by his concussion.

9. WR Mohamed Sanu (5-29, 2 TD) - The Bengals 3.20 pick in the draft caught a season high five passes this week and while he only gained 29 yards, he scored twice. In fact, he's scored in each of the last three games even though he has yet to gain more than 47 yards in any game. With Andrew Hawkins out because of a knee injury, the rookie Sanu has become the #2 wideout and has already gained the confidence of Andy Dalton when the goal line is near. Considering how much attention that A.J. Green commands from the secondary, being a 6'2" starter on the other side has obvious benefits.

10. TE Robert Housler (8-82) - The Cardinals second-year tight end - and yes, they do have tight ends - comes off a career best game that shattered his previous best of five catches for 55 yards back in week nine. He was targeted by the rookie Ryan Lindley 11 times against the Rams which was right at the same level that both Larry Fitzgerald and Andre Roberts had in the game. His use is still too inconsistent for a fantasy start and he has yet to score a touchdown in the NFL. But at least he is moving in the right direction and bears watching for next season when, God willing, there will be yet another starting quarterback in Arizona.

Sunday Snippets

MIN 10, CHI 28 Predictable outcome given that Percy Harvin did not play but Jay Cutler did. Adrian Peterson (18-108) as usual was not enough by himself. Christian Ponder passed for just 159 yards and one score to Kyle Rudolph. The Bears only needed 188 yards and one score from Jay Cutler since Michael Bush (21-60) scored twice and had to replace Matt Forte who was injured. Brandon Marshall (12-92) was the only receiver anyone should cover and yet they don't. Now the 8-3 Bears will host the Seahawks and the 6-5 Vikings continue their late season slide by heading to Green Bay.
OAK 10, CIN 34

This is a great example of what happens when there is no trap game element and one really bad team cannot hope to surprise an average team. The Raiders were squashed like a bug from the start and Carson Palmer only passed for 146 yards and one score with one interception and no Raiders carried any real fantasy value aside from Marcel Reece who totaled 104 combined yards. Jeremy Stewart is the fourth string back pressed into being the #2 back while Darren McFadden and Mike Goodson are perpetually injured. He ran for 26 yards and caught six passes for 37 yards but that is meaningless and not the start of anything new. Andy Dalton passed for only 210 yards but scored three times and they got plenty of rushing from BenJarvus Green-Ellis (19-129, TD) and Cedric Peerman (8-61). A.J. Green (3-111) finally had his first game without a touchdown but Mohamed Sanu (5-29) scored twice. Now the 3-8 Raiders host the Browns and the 6-5 Bengals go to San Diego.

PIT 14, CLE 20 Seriously, Charlie? Ten years as a back-up in Pittsburgh and this is what you do? Batch passed for 199 yards and three interceptions while five different Steelers took turns losing a fumble in a game that wasn't a muddy or frozen mess. They just played as if it was. Brandon Weeden threw for 158 yards and a score while Trent Richardson totaled 112 yards and one touchdown as the only fantasy gem in this entire game. The 6-5 Steelers now have to play in Baltimore while the 3-8 Browns go to Oakland.
BUF 13, IND 20

This was like the weekend that Points forgot. While the Bills only scored one touchdown, at least Stevie Johnson gained 106 yards on six receptions and C.J. Spiller rushed for 107 yards on 14 carries. Andrew Luck only passed for 240 yards and one score and Reggie Wayne was the only decent fantasy play with eight catches for 102 yards. For being two bad defenses and both offenses with some upside this was one very boring game. Now the 4-7 Bills host the Jaguars and the 7-4 Colts head to Detroit.

TEN 19, JAC 24 My Kingdom for some fantasy points! Jake Locker passed for 261 yards and one score and Chris Johnson gained 109 total yards but the Titans made it through without providing any big performances. Chad Henne still plays like he was not Blaine Gabbert and threw for 261 yards and two touchdowns between Justin Blackmon (5-74) and Cecil Shorts (4-105), Jalen Parmele was injured and Rashad Jennings played as poorly as he did when he lost his job the first time. The 4-7 Titans return home to host the Texans and the 2-9 Jaguars head to Buffalo.
DEN 17, KC 9

Good Lord - really? Peyton Manning passed for 285 yards and two scores against the Chiefs in the whole game, not just a quarter or a half. The great part of this game was that the Broncos never thought that Knowshon Moreno was worth being active in any game but once Willis McGahee went out, he was given 20 carries for 85 yards and caught four passes for 26 yards while Ronnie Hillman was only given three carries for nine yards. So now Moreno becomes the free agent guy of the week if you still get to use free agency. Not exactly what McGahee owners were wanting to see after they lost their starter. The Chiefs were as horrible as they have been all season other than Jamaal Charles (23-107) who is like a purebred greyhound surrounded by a pack of feral dogs. Literally - zero fantasy value beyond Charles. Now the 8-3 Broncos host the Buccaneers and the 1-10 Chiefs lose to the Panthers.

SEA 21, MIA 24 The Seahawks must be afraid to fly. No other reason why they are undefeated at home and 1-5 on the road. The big and bad Seahawk defense made Reggie Bush (14-87, TD) look serviceable again and Davone Bess (7-129) took advantage of everyone covering Brian Hartline (2-17). TE Charles Clay never caught a pass all year and then snagged six passes for 84 yards and a score as the most productive tight end in the NFL this week (that you never heard of before). The Seahawks returned a kick for a score or this would be even worse. Marshawn Lynch switched to Leastmode and ran for 46 yards on 19 runs. Now the 6-5 Seahawks have to board another plane to go lose in Chicago and the 5-6 Dolphins host the Patriots.
BAL 16, SD 13
OT

Wake me when it is week 13. Joe Flacco passed for 355 yards and Ray Rice accounted for 164 total yards and Torrey Smith caught seven passes for 144 yards and they only scored one touchdown which went to Dennis Pitta. The Chargers only got 88 total yards from Ryan Mathews and even Danario Alexander (5-74) had a mediocre game. This was another game with few points but at least a couple of players posted some fantasy relevant performances. Now the 9-2 Ravens will host the Steelers and the 4-7 Chargers host the Bengals.

STL 31, ARI 17 This looks like it had some points in it but two touchdowns were on interception returns for the Rams. Sam Bradford (205, 2 TD) was a little better than normal though he only completed eight passes and Chris Givens (5-115, TD) was the only one with more than a single catch. Steven Jackson (24-139) ran remarkably well. The Cardinals are screwed. Bottom line - totally screwed. They have no quarterback and Ryan Lindley threw for 312 yards but four interceptions and no scores. When Larry Fitzgerald ends with 31 yards on three catches, it says the defense did not care about anyone else. Beanie Wells ran for only 48 yards on 17 carries and his 2.8 YPC shows that he is rested and in top form. But he did score two touchdowns just to add more absurdity to the loss. The 4-6-1 Rams host the 49ers this week and the 4-7 Cardinals go to New York to face the Jets.
SF 31, NO 21

The is off the Kaepernick pumpkin at least a little. He played fine with 231 yards and one passing touchdown and rushed in another but already made an enemy by never completing any passes to Vernon Davis who now says he misses Alex Smith. Gore rushed for 83 yards on 19 runs and scored on his two catches for 18 yards but only he and Kaepernick mattered much. Drew Brees had a far tougher time this year with only 267 yards and three scores against two interceptions. No receiver had more than 65 yards in this relatively quiet game for Saints players. The loss drops the 5-6 Saints below .500 again and they head off to Atlanta this week. The 8.5-2.5 49ers play in St. Louis this week.

GB 10, NYG 38 So much for the winning streak of the Packers and the slide of the Giants. They swapped sides from recent trends and Aaron Rodgers only passed for 219 yards and one score while being constantly battered around by the Giants pass rush. Jordy Nelson caught a 61-yard touchdown to start the game. And that was the entirety of the Packers offensive effort. Pretty much the one play. Eli Manning bounced back from his scoreless ways when he passed for 249 yards and three touchdowns and was able to use both Hakeem Nicks (5-77, TD) and Victor Cruz (3-36, TD). Ahmad Bradshaw posted 119 total yards and one score but Aaron Brown ran 13 times for 64 yards and a touchdown as well just to split up what Bradshaw could have done by himself. The Packers return home to lick their wounds while hosting the Vikings and the 7-4 Giants hope to continue their improved play with a trip to play the Redskins.

Huddle Player of the Week

Tony Romo - This is a perfect example of why fantasy football is so important and enjoyable. Romo played terribly against the Redskins for the first half and then was on fire in the second half. He ended with 441 passing yards and three touchdowns but had two interceptions. In the NFL, he lost the game and was unable to mount a comeback though he came close. In fantasy terms, the interceptions may sting a little but he was a gem regardless in every league this week and you even got to watch him in the middle of Thanksgiving Day. What better way to relax from a huge meal than to watch your fantasy QB throw for 441 yards and three scores that almost entirely happened in the second half?

Salute!

Drama 101 - Somebody has to laugh, somebody has to cry

Comedy Yards TDs Tragedy Yards TDs
QB Coin Kaepernick 258 2 QB Josh Freeman 256 0
RB Shane Vereen 133 1 RB Marshawn Lynch 47 0
RB Michael Bush 59 2 RB Matt Forte 46 0
WR Pierre Garcon 93 1 WR Miles Austin 0 0
WR Chris Givens 115 1 WR Mike Wallace 9 0
WR Davone Bess 129 0 WR Larry Fitzgerald 33 0
TE Charles Clay 84 1 TE Vernon Davis 0 0
PK Rob Bironas 1 XP 4 FG PK Shaun Suisham 2 XP

Huddle Fantasy Points = 145

Huddle Fantasy Points = 23

Sunday's Couch Commentary

This was a brutal week because in many big money leagues, they use weeks 12 or 13 or both to determine league champions and who gets to continue on the final weeks to determine an overall winner. Problem was that there were so many players who delivered very flat performances. It is not unusual in the weeks between nine and thirteen to have a lot of upsets and trap games and road wins. Teams get tired, find it hard to motivate against a vastly weaker opponent or just battle the malaise that sets in once it is blatantly apparent that no post-season play is in store and the coaches are probably gone next year anyway.

Throw on top of that so many games on Sunday with small scores. Twelve teams failed to score 20 points or more including the Packers, Chargers, Ravens, Broncos, Titans, Bills, Raiders and Jets. What was stranger is that the top four quarterbacks this week - Tony Romo, Tom Brady, Robert Griffin III and Matt Stafford all played on Thanksgiving. So did the top three wideouts of Dez Bryant, Calvin Johnson and Andre Johnson. Little did we know that almost all of Sunday was mediocrity and maybe the guys that got you to that Championship game were not there when you needed them most.

The Game-O-The-Week? That was hard this week. Both the Houston and Washington wins were great but that was five days ago. It was like last week. On Sunday, there was only one game that came close and even then it was a bit light on points.

Falcons 24, Buccaneers 23

This game is a perfect example of this week. The Falcons came in with a great passing game to be matched up against one of the worst secondaries in the NFL. What's not to like? Granted, Julio Jones was really iffy to play and last week could not make it long without re-injuring himself. He could only get in limited work in the last two practices so he was a major risk.

The Falcons defense was great against wide receivers this year and that would cut into the strength of the Bucs offense that had been on fire in recent weeks. Josh Freeman had scored 16 times in the last six games and never fewer than two scores.

And what happened?

Matt Ryan passed for 353 yards but only one touchdown and was intercepted and lost a fumble. He didn't use Roddy White (5-57) much because Julio Jones (6-147, TD) apparently drank some miracle water after that last limited practice. Michael Turner is useless rushing for 17 yards on 13 carries but did score once as did Jacquizz Rodgers (10-49, TD).

Josh Freeman only passed for 256 yards and no touchdowns right when you really needed him and were getting rather comfortable owning the hottest new stud quarterback. Doug Martin was held to only 50 yards on 21 runs but scored twice. Vincent Jackson had his worst matchup of the year and yet still ended up with 96 yards on five catches. The guys that should have scored the most fantasy points did not. And the ones that seemed destined for a lower game were just fine.

The game came down to a Atlanta touchdown by Michael Turner who did nothing else in the game. But that was with eight minutes left to play. The Buccaneers would miss a 56-yard field goal with 3:37 left and then the Falcons missed a 48 yard attempt with 13 seconds left to play. Matt Bryant has been a great kicker to own and yet he missed two field goals on Sunday including a 22-yarder.

In the end it was a low scoring weekend and most all the fireworks happened on Thanksgiving. A bitter pill to swallow for those who lost this week in big money leagues after doing so well to get there. You just never really know though. Guys like Julio Jones is banged up for two weeks and yet turns in 3-33 one game and 6-147 in the other. Aaron Rodgers only threw for 219 yards and one touchdown that started the game. You can plan all you want but in the end, there are always surprises, treats and flops that could not be foreseen. It's that way in the real NFL too. Teams game plan for the perfect play, account for every player and every outcome and can know exactly how well a play will work.

And then the lawn sprinklers go off.

Now get back to work...


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