Week 12 was actually a great week for injuries. No big players went down, and the significant injuries we saw were to players of little consequence in fantasy.
One such player is Ryan Mallett, who is done for the season after tearing his pectoral Week 12 against the Bengals. It is a tough break for Mallett. He looked serviceable in his first NFL start Week 11 in Cleveland but was clearly struggling with the injury during the Bengals game.
The Texans will likely turn back to Ryan Fitzpatrick to lead the offense. That could be good news for DeAndre Hopkins, who averaged 10 targets and over 100 yards a game in the three games before Fitzpatrick was benched this season.
Ryan Mathews missed about 20 minutes of game time with a shoulder injury suffered on his 32-yard touchdown scamper in the third quarter. He did eventually return to the game and should be good to go for Week 13. Mathews has 28 carries in the two games since returning from injury.
Marshawn Lynch missed two series in the first quarter due to what Pete Carroll called a stomach ailment, though it is more likely his troublesome back tightened up. Lynch still saw 18 touches and should be good to go for the Seahawks’ Thanksgiving night clash with the 49ers.
Austin Seferian-Jenkins left the Bucs’ Week 12 loss to the Bears with a back injury. He said after they game he would be okay, but there has been no official update on his status.
Editor’s Note: Rotoworld’s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-week $1.75 Million Fantasy Football league for Week 13’s games. It’s only $25 to join and first prize is $175,000. Starts Sunday, November 30th at 1pm ET. Here’s the link.
Another week and another spin on the Patriots’ running back wheel of fortune. Last week Jonas Gray exploded onto the scene with a 201-yard, four touchdown performance, but was undone by the cruel mistress that is a dead phone battery. Enter LeGarrette Blount, who mere days after being cut by the Steelers and re-signing with the Patriots led the team in rushing and found the end zone twice against the Lions. It is perhaps the most New England story ever told.
Blount’s stat line hides the reality of what happened on the field on Sunday, however. Blount was basically an afterthought until late into the fourth quarter. He earned eight of his 12 carries, 49 of his 78 yards and one of his two scores on New England’s final drive of the game.
Blount was out-snapped 62-17 by Shane Vereen, and the vast majority of his 17 snaps came on the final drive. He could certainly become more involved as he gets his feet back under him with the team, but there is also the possibility Gray returns from what ultimately was a week of punishment to be a thorn in Blount’s side.
Blount breaking out in his first week back was almost an inevitable as a Christopher Walken impression at open mic night, but predicting his usage going forward will continue to be an issue. Just like I said last week about Gray, the New England running back situation is a roller coaster I am not interested in riding.
Dan Herron earned the start Week 12 against the Jaguars and gained 96 total yards on 17 touches. He was out-snapped by Trent Richardson 42-to-33 but was very predictably the more effective runner. Herron even saw more red-zone touches than Richardson, though Richardson found the end zone with a one-yard run early in the third quarter.
Richardson claims he did not start the game because he was under the weather, which is patently ridiculous considering he entered the game on the third play. Perhaps those 87 seconds were enough to fix whatever was ailing him, but the more likely explanation is the Colts were putting the best back on the field first.
Herron had a very successful preseason and looked just as good against the Jaguars. He has an opportunity to produce Ahmad Bradshaw-lite numbers for the rest of the season, and he needs to be owned in all formats.
Rest apparently did Delanie Walker very well. After missing Week 11 with a concussion, Walker exploded for 155 yards on five catches against the Eagles Week 12. He had a 68-yard reception to set up a touchdown in the second quarter and was a drop away from another big play. He was targeted three times more than twenty yards downfield.
With the strong-armed Zach Mettenberger at quarterback, the seams should be Delanie Walker’s playground down the stretch this season. With enticing matchups against the Giants, Jets, Jaguars and Colts on the horizon, Walker could be a hot property over the fantasy playoffs.
Odell Beckham Jr.
As it turns out, Odell Beckham Jr. is pretty good at football. He roasted the Dallas Cowboys for 10 catches for 146 yards and two touchdowns, the second of which was a sprawling, one-handed grab that will go down as one of the greatest catches in the history of the NFL. Not a bad day.
I have maintained for quite some time that Beckham will win fantasy championships. He has an amazing schedule down the stretch, and as we have seen the last several weeks is one of the most exciting players in what will turn out to be the best wide receivers class in the history of the NFL draft. If you are somehow in one of the 19% of Yahoo! leagues Beckham is still available, please pick him up immediately.
The best second-year receiver on the Vikings’ roster is not named Cordarrelle Patterson. Charles Johnson played 67-of-69 snaps Week 12 against the Packers, hauling in 3-of-11 targets for 52 yards and a touchdown. He was wide open for another touchdown after an ankle breaking route in the second half but was missed by Teddy Bridgewater, which was a theme throughout the game.
Johnson has played 79 percent of the Vikings’ snaps over the last two weeks and has a team-high 18 targets over that span. Bridgewater’s struggles make me hesitant to call Johnson startable in 12-team leagues, but he certainly needs to be owned and is worth a start in deeper leagues.
Stash and See
These players may not be worthy of a start Week 13, but they are certainly worthy of a roster spot.
Tim Wright played 61-of-81 snaps and found the end zone twice. His workload was likely game-plan specific, but Wright would be on the TE1 streaming radar if he starts to see that many snaps. … Donte Moncrief saw more snaps and targets than Hakeem Nicks. Finally, I have something to be thankful for on Turkey Day. … Kyle Rudolph played almost every snap and went for 50 yards on three catches. He still does not look 100 percent but should only get better down the stretch. … Steadman Bailey saw nine targets against the Chargers and played 44-of-66 snaps. … With Marshawn Lynch picking up a new malady seemingly every week, Robert Turbin is not a bad stash.
Matthew Stafford struggled for the second game in a row Week 12 against the Patriots. He completed 18-of-46 passes for 264 yards and zero touchdowns, and now has 447 yards total and zero touchdowns over the last two weeks. The Detroit offense has not scored a touchdown since Theo Riddick’s game-winning reception in the fourth quarter Week 10.
He has looked like a player scared to make a mistake the last two weeks and has been holding the ball far too long behind a banged-up offensive line. The receiving corps outside of Golden Tate and Calvin Johnson are not winning enough to open up the passing game, but Stafford has to play better for this offense to move.
The good news is the schedule is very easy down the stretch for Stafford. He gets the Bears on Thanksgiving Day followed by the Bucs, Vikings, Bears again and Packers. The Bears have given up the most points per game to quarterbacks over the last five weeks, and no one else on the schedule fills me with fear. Despite the two-game blip, Stafford is in a great position to finish the fantasy season strong.
Denard Robinson had a disastrous Week 12, rushing 14 times for 25 yards (1.8 YPC). He salvaged his day somewhat with four catches for 47 yards, but it was by far Robinson’s worst game since becoming the starting running back in Jacksonville.
Robinson did not play well, but a lot of the blame for the bad day falls at the feet of Blake Bortles. Bortles attempted only three passes that traveled more than 10 yards, and nine of his 15 completions came behind the line of scrimmage. Without any downfield threat, there was nothing stopping the Colts’ defense from teeing off on the run.
Nothing suggests Bortles will suddenly improve overnight, but he almost necessarily will play better against the Giants Week 13. Still getting the lion’s share of the snaps and work, Robinson will likely be a good value in daily formats against the Giants.
Andre Ellington struggled to 24 yards on 10 carries Week 12 against Seattle. It was not a surprising performance against a tough Seattle rush defense, but it is yet another disappointing day for the ailing Ellington. He is averaging 1.89 yards per carry over the last three games, though all three have been tough matchups.
Ellington’s foot is clearly bothering him, but I am not panicking after three poor performances against good defenses. There are literally no challengers to his workload, and he has continued to dominate snaps and touches despite his struggles. Ellington has a great chance to turn things around Week 13 against Atlanta.
Davante Adams caught one pass for 10 yards Week 12 against the Vikings. He played 47-of-66 snaps against Minnesota and has played 64 percent of the Packers’ snaps since the bye, roughly the same percentage as Richard Rodgers and Andrew Quarless. Adams only has eight targets total and four catches total over that span.
The Packers have started using more two tight end sets, and that has seriously eaten into Adams snap count. As the handcuff to both Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb, Adams is still a high-upside hold, but he is not startable in most formats.
These players are unlikely to make any noise this season. They are not must drops, but can be replaced without worry.
Cordarrelle Patterson played 33-of-69 snaps Week 12 against the Packers. He has fallen well behind Charles Johnson in the passing-game pecking order. … Doug Baldwin is averaging 36 yards a game over his last five. That passing game just does not work. … Michael Floyd is a weekly enigma I am finished trying to solve. … The touchdowns finally dried up for Terrance Williams, and now there is not much left.
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