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FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Tunnel Vision: Week 12
David Dorey
November 25, 2013
Follow Follow @DMDorey
 
Sunday Salutes
Quarterbacks Yards TD
Philip Rivers 392 3
Tom Brady 344 3
Matthew Stafford 297 3
Alex Smith 294 3
Josh McCown 356 2
Running Backs Yards TD
Jamaal Charles 157 2
Knowshon Moreno 230 1
Eddie Lacy 158 1
Maurice Jones-Drew 144 1
Adrian Peterson 148 1
Wide Receivers Yards TD
Josh Gordon 237 1
Rob Gronkowski 90 1
Jason Witten 37 2
Jared Cook 80 1
Ladarius Green 80 1
Tight Ends Yards TD
Jimmy Graham 100 1
Jason Witten 37 2
Jared Cook 80 1
Ladarius Green 80 1
Martellus Bennett 62 1
Placekickers XPT FG
Jay Feely 4 4
Blair Walsh 2 4
Justin Tucker 1 4
Sebastian Janikowski 1 4
Rob Bironas 2 3
Defense/Special Teams TDs Sacks TOs
Steelers 1 5 4
Ravens 0 3 3
Buccaneers 1 2 4
Rams 1 1 3
Cardinals 1 1 1

Bumps, Bruises and bowouts

Chris Ivory - Ankle
Ryan Matthews - Hamstring
Daniel Thomas - Ankle
Zac Stacy - Concussion
Jason Campbell - Concussion, ribs
Johnathan Franklin - Concussion
Dwayne Harris - Hamstring
Mychal Rivera - Concussion

If week 12 taught us anything, it is that no team is that bad or that good. Both the Broncos and Chiefs lost. Both the Jaguars and Buccaneers won. In the AFC, there are only five teams with a winning record. And just when fantasy playoffs loom, the weekly performances from many players swing from one extreme to the other.

The Broncos not only lost, but Peyton Manning's struggles in cold weather depressed the numbers of all Denver receivers. How will that play out in the coming weeks playing at the Chiefs, hosting the Titans and Chargers and wrapping up in Houston? Sure, they could win those games but will they need big efforts from Demaryius Thomas, Wes Welker or Eric Decker? When the Broncos start out as the most prolific offense of all time, watching them only pass for only 150 yards and two scores doesn't prompt the same dreams that fantasy owners had even just two weeks ago.

Julian Edelman ran under the fantasy radar the last month but ended Sunday night with nine receptions for 110 yards and two touchdowns in the same cold that limited the best Bronco receiver Jacob Tamme to only 47 yards on five catches. Before you run out to grab Edelman, realize he only totaled 99 yards over the previous four games.

If you are in a league that awards reception points, remember Shane Vereen next summer. He's only played in three games this year and yet caught no fewer than seven passes in each. That's a pace for 122 catches by a running back and he'll be getting more work as a rusher too if Stevan Ridley continues to lose the ball. He lost his fourth fumble and was benched in the win over the Broncos and that starts to be a liability that Bill Belichick won't stand for when he has other viable options.

Fantasy owners have enjoyed Drew Brees this season but he only threw for 278 yards and two scores on the Falcons. That's easy enough to dismiss as a "mail-in" game that they won anyway. But right when you need him and the rest of the Saints the most, they play in Seattle this week, then sandwich a trip to St. Louis around both meetings with the Panthers. Week 16 in Carolina will be a great game to watch but maybe less so for fantasy owners of Saints players.

Weekly starting decisions consider your player’s match-ups and now need to factor in the impact weather might be. In most cases it is over-valued. The worst weather of the week was in Cleveland where Josh Gordon ended up with 14 catches for 237 yards and one score. Antonio Brown not only played in the cold weather but went against shut-down corner Joe Haden and walked away with 92 yards and a touchdown on six catches. Both teams struggled to run and yet passing produced plenty of fantasy points. But think ahead because it affects some more than others – particularly teams that normally play in a good climate.

Rushing success is more prevalent now than earlier in the season. That will happen in colder weather for most teams. The Cowboys and Giants played in the season opener and generated 713 passing yards but only 130 rushing yards. On Sunday they only managed 324 combined passing yards but rolled up 308 joint rushing yards. The scores are lower, the rushing yards are bigger and all those receivers that got you this far are starting to tail off.

Andre Brown not only invigorated the rushing offense of the Giants, he's also a reason why Eli Manning and the receivers continue to disappoint. Brown ran for 127 yards in the loss to the Cowboys while no receiver totaled more than 64 yards. Brandon Jacobs also gained 75 yards on nine carries. The Giants will try to use Brown as much as possible every game but three of the next four weeks will be on the road and the only home venue is versus the Seahawks. But it is a reason to downgrade all Giants receivers who are used even less. The free-fall decline in passing stats for the Giants is even less likely to change.

Rookie wideouts are on the rise in recent weeks because talent shows up at least eventually. After blowing up for three scores in week 11, Tavon Austin ran in a 65-yard touchdown against the Bears. Cordarrelle Patterson is already a special teams ace and added eight receptions for 54 yards in Green Bay. This week will be against the Bears and their injury-ravaged defense. Justin Hunter comes off a career best six catches for 109 yards and one score in Oakland to lead his team to the win. His next games are in Indianapolis and Denver where passing will once again take center stage. Keenan Allen was already a success and yet was never more impressive than when he caught nine passes for 124 yards in Kansas City on Sunday.

Maurice Jones-Drew ran 14 times for 84 yards and one score in Houston. He added six catches for 60 yards. Granted it was against a softer match-up but his next four games are in Cleveland and then at home for three weeks to face the Texans, Bills and Titans. Jones-Drew was a major disappointment this season but should be ending on a higher note.

The changing of the guard for Charger's tight ends may already be in progress. The 33 year-old Antonio Gates offered only marginal fantasy value since week four but next-in-line Ladarius Green is a second-year tight end who caught four passes for 81 yards in the win over the Dolphins and then last Sunday turned in three catches for 80 yards including a 60-yard touchdown where he plain out ran all the defenders. Two weeks he's been a very nice target for Philip Rivers and used more than Gates.

Matt McGloin remains well below fantasy relevance but he is making Rod Streater worthy of consideration for the first time this year. Streater gained 84 yards on six catches in the win over the Texans and followed that up with five receptions for 93 yards in the win over the Raiders. The next two matchups will be on the road to Dallas and then the Jets. Both are profitable for primary wideouts. Notable too is the continued success that Rashad Jennings enjoys. He's broken 100 total yards in each of the last four games including 122 yards in the loss to the Titans. He remains one of the main receivers for McGloin as well as rushing the ball so well. Given that the Raiders play the Cowboys on Thanksgiving, a more simplified game plan is bound to rely on the running back more. There is a small chance that Darren McFadden returns but he's already been told he'll just be part of a committee from here on out.

A late season surge is also happening for the Cardinals receivers. Larry Fitzgerald scored once against the Jaguars and then twice last Sunday versus the Colts. He's averaging about 50 yards per game now and the touchdowns are big difference makers. Michael Floyd is also on a two game streak with 193 yards and a score in week 11 and then 104 yards last Sunday. The Cardinals play in Philly this week where it could extend to three in a row so long as weather doesn't get in the way.

Sunday Snippets

NO 17, ATL 13 This game went exactly as expected other than the Saints were supposed to score 71 instead of 17 points. Drew Brees threw for 278 yards and two scores which is akin to most quarterbacks being held to negative yardage. This was a standard mail-in game. Jimmy Graham turned in a standard 100 yards and a score on five catches but no one else had more than a mediocre day. Marry Ryan passed for 292 yards and no scores while Steven Jackson ran for 63 yards and one touchdown in his best fantasy game of the year. Roddy White is billed as healthy but his two catches for 24 yards says either that is not true or that the defense opts to cover no one else but him. Tony Gonzalez (4-43) at least is increasing his record totals by a marginal amount each week. Now the 9-2 Saints travel to Seattle and the 2-9 Falcons head to Buffalo.
NYJ 3, BAL 19

No surprises in this point starved game. Geno Smith just gets worse and threw for only 127 yards and two intercetpions.The entire team was devoid of any fantasy value. Joe Flacco only passed for 273 yards and one score to Jacoby Jones (4-103). Torrey Smith (2-74) had one 60-yard catch to help out. But Ray Rice ran for just 30 yards on 16 carries and overall this was a pretty fantasy point deficient game that really makes both teams hard to consider as the weather gets even worse. The 5-6 Jets will host the Dolphins and the 5-6 Ravens host the Steelers.

PIT 27, CLE 11 Hats off to the Steelers for not being intimidated by Joe Haden. Ben Roethlisberger passed for 217 yards and two scores that including six catches for 92 yards and a score by Antonio Brown who beat Haden. Emmanuel Sanders (6-52, TD) also shined while Le'Veon Bell ran for 80 yards on 23 carries. The Browns ran through two quarterbacks and the entire offense was nothing more than Josh Gordon who caught 14 passes for 237 yards and one touchdown. No other Brown gained more than 32 yards in the game. Gordon was outstanding while the other 52 members of the Browns still need a lot of work. The 5-6 Steelers head to Baltimore and the 4-7 Browns host the Jaguars.
TB 24, DET 21

This could have been the GOTW. The Buccaneers won on the road against a vastly improved Lions team which all smacks of a trap game. Mike Glennon threw for 247 yards and two scores which both ended up with Tiquan Underwood (3-108) with Timothy Wright (8-75) and Vincent Jackson (8-75) pitched in. Bobby Rainey had his fifteen minutes of fame already and only gained 35 yards on 18 runs. Matt Stafford was still productive with 297 yards and three scores but threw four interceptions to kill their chances. Calvin Johnson (7-115) appreciated that Darrelle Revis left the game injured and Nate Burleson is back with seven catches for 77 yards and a touchdown. Reggie Bush ended with 100 total yards. Now the 3-8 Buccaneers will visit the Panthers and the 6-5 Lions host the Packers.

MIN 26, GB 26 Overtime Another GOTW contender. The Scott Tolzien era has given way to the Matt Flynn era which they hope just reverts this bad dream back to Aaron Rodgers era this week. Christian Ponder was better than usual meaning only 233 yards and one score but no turnovers. Adrian Peterson ran for 146 yards and one touchdown but no other Viking had a big game besides perhaps Cordarrelle Patterson who only gained 54 yards but caught eight passes. Eddie Lacy saved the Packers with 158 total yards and one touchdown and James Jones (7-80) finally had a better game. Jarrett Boykin also stepped up with 60 yards and the lone passing score on his five catches. Now we have to use that stupid extra column. The 2-8-1 Vikings will host the Bears and the 5-5-1 Packers head to Detroit for Thanksgiving.
JAC 13, HOU 6

This has to be a very bad time to be in the Texans locker room because if you cannot beat the visiting Jaguars, you might as well fold up the tents and hit the road. Chad Henne only passed for 239 yards but no turnovers and Maurice Jones-Drew turned in 144 total yards and one touchdown for clearly one of his best games if the year. Cecil Shorts (8-71) and Ace Sanders (4-61) were decent enough. Case Keenum has lost all magic by now with only 169 yards and an interception. To make matters worse, Andre Johnson only gained 36 yards on two catches and Ben Tate was benched after netting one yard on seven carries. Dennis Johnson took over and ran for 74 yards on 13 carries just to make next week even less predictable. the 2-9 Jaguars go to Cleveland this week and the 2-9 Texans host the Patriots.

CAR 20, MIA 16 The Panthers had to mount a comeback to win this and there wasn't much in the way of fantasy points along the way. Cam Newton only passed for 174 yards and one score but ran in a touchdown as well on his eight runs for 51 yards. That was about it - Steven Smith caught five passes for 69 yards with no scores. Ryan Tannehill threw for 310 yards and one touchdown which mostly went to Mike Wallace (5-127, TD) and Brian Hartline (5-78) but the running backs only gained 16 yards on 13 carries. Now the 8-3 Panthers host the Buccaneers and the 5-6 Dolphins go to New York to play the Jets.
CHI 21, STL 42

Apparently the Rams are either dominating or horrible with no room in between. This week they steam rolled the Bears from the start even though Kellen Clemens only passed for 167 yards and one score that mostly went to Jared Cook (4-80, TD). Tavon Austin broke a 65-yard touchdown run and little else. Zac Stacy was having a big game with 97 yards and a score but suffered a concussion in the second quarter. Benny Cunningham came in to gain 109 yards and a touchdown on only 13 carries. Josh McCown threw for 352 yards and two scores split between Brandon Marshall (10-117) and Martellus Bennett (4-62). Matt Forte ended with 117 total yards. The loss sends the 6-5 Bears to Minnesota and the 5-6 Rams go to San Francisco.

IND 11, ARI 40 What's up Indy? There was no rushing effort as expected but Andrew Luck only managed 163 passing yards and one score that went to Corey Fleener (4-55) and T.Y. Hilton did well enough to catch five passes for 38 yards dancing with Patrick Peterson. Carson Palmer ended with 314 yards and two scores that both went to Larry Fitzgerald (5-52). Michael Floyd (7-104) had another nice game. The Cards ran for 104 yards and one score in this big time beatdown. The Colts have looked lost since Reggie Wayne left the offense. They have to host the Titans this week while the Cardinals head to Philadelphia.
TEN 23, OAK 19

Close game that the Titans pulled out at the last minute. Ryan Fitzpatrick passed for 320 yards and two scores that were split between Justin Hunter (6-109) and Kenny Wright (6-103). Chris Johnson ran for 73 yards on 20 carries. Matt McGloin threw for 260 yards and one score and preferred Rod Streater (5-93). Rashad Jennings turned in 122 total yards as the Raiders fell short. Playing the Raiders is a pretty good experience for most wideouts lately. Now the 4-7 Raiders head to Dallas and the 5-6 Titans go to Indianapolis.

DAL 24, NYG 21 Proving the NFC is competitive only among themselves, the Cowboys pulled out the win with Tony Romo passing for 250 yards and two scores with Dez Bryant (9-102) back to bigger numbers and Jason Witten (4-37, 2 TD) doing little besides catching touchdowns. DeMarco Murray ran for 86 yards on just 14 rushing attempts. Eli Manning only passed for 174 yards and two scores on the usually porous Cowboys secondary. Andre Brown held his own with 127 yards on 21 carries but this was the same matchup that produced 450 passing yards and four scores for Manning back in the season opener. Now the 6-5 Cowboys host the Raiders and the 4-7 Giants go to Washington.

Huddle Player of the Week

Josh Gordon - Forget about the Steelers having the best passing defense. Gordon merely carved them up for 14 receptions and 237 yards with one touchdown. The Browns as a team only had 152 other yards of offense That's 61% of the offense with one receiver. Imagine Gordon on a team with a top quarterback and maybe a rushing offense that a defense had to respect. Gordon helped many fantasy owners win at a critical time.

Salute!

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

Comedy Yards TDs Tragedy Yards TDs
QB Ryan Fitzpatrick 346 2 QB Matt Ryan 292 0
RB Benny Cunningham 109 1 RB Ray Rice 27 0
RB Marcel Reece 58 1 RB Ben Tate 33 0
WR Justin Hunter 109 1 WR Victor Cruz 27 0
WR Jacoby Jones 103 1 WR Andre Johnson 36 0
WR Tavon Austin 104 1 WR Vincent Jackson 60 0
TE Ladarius Green 80 1 TE Antonio Gates 21 0
PK Blair Walsh 14 pts PK Nick Folk 3 pts

Huddle Fantasy Points = 127

Huddle Fantasy Points = 32

Sunday's Couch Commentary

The week started out looking like nothing but low scoring games but the second half really picked up in several tilts and produced six teams with more than 30 points and a very unusual eight of 13 road teams winning. We ended up with our first detestable tie between the Vikes and Packers so the standings can use the third column from now on.

The playoff race in the AFC seems destined to include the Patriots, Bengals, Broncos and Chiefs. But he Colts are suddenly no longer as impressive and the final wild card currently belongs to one of the six 5-6 teams. The NFC there are only six losing records and in the NFC South we have the Falcons with their five game losing streak, the Saints and Buccaneers on three game winning streaks and the Panthers now seven wins in a row.

The best game of the week? Usually it is very apparent. Too often it is just picking which decent game was best. This week there were two games that were so outstanding in every way that I have to call for the rare co-winners of the Game-O-The-Week.

Chargers 41, Chiefs 38

The Chiefs went from unbeaten to a two game losing streak and at home against the Chargers was just a big surprise. But Philip Rivers passed for 392 yards and three touchdowns led by Keenan Allen with nine catches for 124 yards. Danny Woodhead only totaled 70 yards but both rushed in and received a touchdown. Ryan Matthews scored once with 65 total yards which you could not even dream of getting in 2012 when he was a first or second rounder. Alex Smith passed for 294 yards and three scores and even Dwayne Bowe caught one of the touchdowns along with 51 yards on five catches. Donnie Avery led all receivers with 91 yards on four catches with one score. Jamaal Charles just put even more distance between himself and the rest of the NFL running backs when he gained 157 total yards and two touchdowns.

The Chiefs went ahead with the 5-yard touchdown pass to Bowe with only 1:28 left to play. But Rivers led a drive from his own 22-yard line to the KC 26-yard line with 31 seconds left to play when he hit Seyi Ajirotutu for 26 yards and the winning score on his only catch in the game. The Chiefs are mortal apparently and now have to play the Broncos again this week. The Chargers return home to face the Bengals.

Broncos 31, Patriots 34 Overtime

This game was short of points from the Chargers-Chiefs tilt but it was a great game to watch. It was painful to watch Peyton Manning held to only 150 passing yards and two scores but Knowshon Moreno ran for a career best 224 yards on 37 carries and scored once. Montee Ball lost yet another fumble and was never seen again. Worse yet, Stevan Ridley fumbled in his third straight game and may never be seen again. But Brady passes for 344 yards and three touchdowns, Julian Edelman (9-110, 2 TD) had a monster game and Rob Gronkowski (7-90, TD) had a standard showing. The only players not that productive were the Denver wideouts who normally are the #1 unit in the NFL.

The first half was all Broncos scoring 24 points to zero for the Pats. The second half was all Patriots until it drew to a tie in regulation when Demaryius Thomas finally caught a touchdown with only 3:10 left to play,

In overtime the Pats won the coin toss and elected to use the wind and play defense. The Broncos reached their 42-yard line and punted.

The Patriots reached their only 37-yard line and punted.

The Broncos reached the Pats 37-yard line and a third down pass to Wes Welker was incomplete but maybe catchable at the 30-yard line where a field goal attempt may have happened. But they punted.

The Pats started at their own 20-yard line and five plays later had to punt. But Wes Welker did not call off the return quick enough and the punt struck special teamer Tony Carter and was recovered by the Patriots who just centered the ball and ran down the clock before kicking the game winner.

Makes you wonder.

Peyton Manning returned to Indy and lost that game. Wes Welker returned to New England and made more gaffs than plays in that loss.

Maybe you can't go home. Maybe when you do go back home everyone there taunts you, jeers you and hang banners wishing you poorly. Doesn't matter what your true successes have been. You know you are in for a hard time. Maybe get a beer thrown at you. They question your manhood. Actually, speaking of all that reminds me of something.

Sounds like Thanksgiving to me! Have a great one!

Now get back to work...


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