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Jacksonville Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew turned in the biggest fantasy performance of the day as the Jags picked up their first win of the post Del Rio era. MJD rushed for 85 yards on 27 carries and scored two touchdowns. He also caught six passes for 51 yards and another two touchdowns.
In a completely lost season, the Jaguars have at least been able to rely on the performance Jones-Drew. Despite playing on one of the NFL's worst teams, and one that basically lacks a credible passing threat, the diminutive running back has managed to average nearly 115 all-purpose yards per game.
In Week 12, he actually showed signs that he was improving, despite the destitute situation. Against the Houston Texans last week, he 99 yards and picked up another 67 receiving.
Unsurprisingly, he hasn't really managed to get into the endzone as much as his fantasy owners would probably like, but those five touchdowns he had heading into Week 13 really weren't that bad. He had also avoided fumbling, losing the ball just once.
For more on Jones-Drew's performance, be sure to check out Jaguars blog Big Cat Country.
The Minnesota Vikings surprised many folks this past April with their first round selection of QB Christian Ponder. They surprised others when they decided to jettison veteran QB Donovan McNabb and turn the keys over to Ponder. Although the Vikings are 1-5 in Ponder's six starts thus far, he is at least making things interesting for the team. He put together one of his best fantasy lines of the season on Sunday with 381 passing yards and three touchdowns. He struggled with decision-making and threw two picks, but for fantasy purposes, it was a strong showing.
Ponder is not at a Cam Newton point where he is a great fantasy start week in and week out. In realty, if you are starting him at quarterback, you probably are not going to be winning your league this season. Nonetheless, Ponder is worth keeping an eye on (I couldn't go with "pondering") as we move towards the 2012 NFL season. If the Vikings can get him some more weapons, he could become a consistent fantasy option.
The Washington Redskins struggled to a 34-19 loss to the New York Jets, but they are seeing their running back position get further solidified. Roy Helu rushed for 100 yards and a touchdown while also hauling in four receptions for 42 yards. He lost a fumble, but otherwise had his second consecutive strong start, netting his second consecutive 100-yard rushing effort.
Helu bounced around the roster for much of the first two months before getting his most extensive action week nine against the 49ers. Helu did not get big rushing numbers, but he set the franchise record for receptions in a game. Over the next two games he got some work but not a starting load. However, in week 12 against the Seahawks he finally took over the starting role and ran with it.
Washington hosts the New England Patriots in week 14 in a tough matchup for getting some rushing value. The Redskins will need to run to control the clock and keep the Patriots offense off the field. However, it could also turn into a shootout. The good news is that Helu has shown skills as a receiver out of the backfield, so he could be fine for fantasy value whatever the final outcome of the game.
The New York Jets have had an up and down 2011 season and part of that has been due to the immense struggles of running back Shonn Greene. the Jets number one back has not had an awful year, but he simply has not been able to get much positive momentum going. Entering Sunday's game against the Washington Redskins, Greene had only two rushing touchdowns on the season and was averaging four yards per carry. Four yards each carry equates out to league average.
Sunday, he finally had a monster game for fantasy owners. Although Greene's 88-yard rushing total wasn't spectacular, he added three rushing touchdowns to the mix. After weeks and weeks of waiting, fantasy owners finally benefited. There has been some concern of Joe McKnight and Ladanian Tomlinson grabbing carries from Greene, but he might have re-established his place in the pecking order with that game.
The Jets have some intriguing matchups over the remaining few weeks. They face a Chiefs rush defense that is a bit up and down, and then they follow that up against a poor Eagles rushing defense. As fantasy owners head into their playoffs, Shonn Greene is not a fantastic option, but he has some decent matchups.
The Denver Broncos managed another fourth-quarter comeback victory on Sunday as they defeated the Minnesota Vikings 35-32 on a pair of late field goals. The Broncos have not done things in a traditional manner this year, but they continue to roll up wins and suddenly find themselves tied for first place in the AFC West.
While the victories are a total team effort, it is hard not to be amazed by what quarterback Tim Tebow has done this year. From a fantasy perspective he has been a revelation and is developing into a weekly must-start. On Sunday against the Vikings, he took advantage of a banged-up secondary and put up a strong fantasy performance using more traditional methods. Tebow put up approximately 17 fantasy points thanks almost entirely to the passing game. He finished with 202 passing yards and two touchdowns, while only rushing for 13 yards on four carries.
Tebow remains an excellent fantasy option every week. He faces a tough Bears defense this coming Sunday, but can you really justify sitting him right now? He could very well struggle against a quality Bears defense, but he is also on a solid roll. You might as well stick with the hot hand.
The Minnesota Vikings were the latest team to succumb to a wild Tim Tebow/Denver Broncos comeback, but they put together some impressive numbers nonetheless. Percy Harvin was a major star of the game as he finished the day with 156 receiving yards and two touchdowns. The Vikings have cut back Harvin's return duties but he is showing an ability to pick it up in the passing game.
One area he did not get as much production in as some hoped was as a change of pace running back. When Adrian Peterson sprained his ankle, Toby Gerhart took over as the starting running back. When Gerhart has made spot starts in the past, Harvin has served as his backup. Against the Broncos, Harvin rushed five times for 19 yards to go along with his big receiving day.
There remains tremendous upside with Harvin in part because of his work in the rushing game. He did not put up big numbers against Denver, but the more touches he gets on offense, the better for fantasy owners. If he continues in this role, he is very likely to break a big run one of these days. He is a very solid start for the foreseeable future.
Matthew Stafford was unable to lead the Detroit Lions to victory on Sunday Night Football over the New Orleans Saints, but the quarterback likely helped his fantasy football owners to a win this week with impressive numbers. That likely isn't much solace for the signal caller, but it is what it is.
Stafford completed 31 of his 44 passing attempts for an astonishing 404 yards and a touchdown. The quarterback was unable to match those statistics down the stretch, however, as he threw what ended up as a game-clinching interception to the Saints late in the fourth quarter. His biggest problems came when his wide receivers would pick up offensive pass interference penalties, however, as they drew flags on three would-be receptions.
Stafford wasn't even ranked in the top 25 quarterbacks of the week by ESPN, even after removing Thursday night's participants, meaning he likely outperformed any expectations this week. If fantasy owners elected to play him, however, is another story.
Robert Meachem certainly isn't the most consistent option on the New Orleans Saints as far as fantasy football purposes are concerned, but he's proven in recent weeks that he's still worth owning just in case he breaks out. One of Drew Brees' favorite targets had one of those types of games on Sunday for the second time in four weeks, too, despite not catching a single pass last week.
Meachem was targeted six times on Sunday Night Football against the Detroit Lions, and while he only caught three of them, the veteran wideout made the most of his receptions. Meachem ended his night with 119 yards and the touchdown shown below.
Meachem has had just four outings with double-digit fantasy points this season, making him one of the more frustrating players in the fantasy football leagues. Considering he's really good when he's good, however, it's difficult to leave him out on the free agency wire for another owner to pick up for the playoffs.
Drew Brees is certainly no slouch when it comes to winning games for the New Orleans Saints, but the veteran quarterback has probably helped quite a few fantasy games to victory over the past several seasons as well. The Saints' signal caller had another great game against the Detroit Lions on Sunday Night Football.
Brees completed 25 of his 35 passing attempts for 333 yards and three touchdowns, all without throwing a single interception, as the veteran passer led his Saints to a 31-7 victory over the Lions. He spread the ball out well, too, as six separate receivers caught passes and three (Robert Mechem, Darren Sproles and Lance Moore) found the end zone via passes from their quarterback.
Brees was ranked as the second-best fantasy option by most outlets heading into the week, behind only Carolina Panthers rookie Cam Newton, and he likely lived up to those lofty expectations for his fantasy owners.
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Jimmy Graham was unable to score a touchdown against the Detroit Lions on Sunday Night Football, but the New Orleans Saints tight end was still called a "stud" by quarterback Drew Brees on the television broadcast following his team's victory. Graham caught eight of his 10 targets for 89 yards in what almost seems like a disappointing outing for the second-year pro.
One of fantasy football's dynamic duo atop the weekly tight end rankings, the New Orleans Saints' Jimmy Graham has proven to be a week-in, week-out stud at his position, and that only figured to continue entering the big Sunday night game against the Detroit Lions.
Graham led all tight ends with 67 receptions and 957 receiving yards entering the Sunday Night Football game and was second only to Rob Gronkowski with eight touchdowns before Week 13. Though the Lions' defense is good against the pass, no one's been able to slow down Graham all season -- a statistic that's likely to continue through the remainder of the fantasy football season.
Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan struggles against the Houston Texans on Sunday afternoon. He completed just 20-of-46 passes for 267 yards and threw one touchdown and two interceptions. Tony Gonzalez grabbed seven of those passes for 100 yards. Ryan also scrambled for a 10-yard run.
Ryan and the Falcons finally seemed to have things on the right following last week's definitive win over the Vikings. In that game, Ryan threw three touchdown passes and passed for 264 yards. It was his first three-touchdown game since Week 9. A matchup against the Houston Texans is not as a favorable for a quarterback.
Through 12 weeks of play, Ryan had 2,887 passing yards, 18 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. Fake Teams, SB Nation's fantasy sports site, had Ryan ranked 18th on their quarterback rankings for the week.
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger threw just 23 passes against the Cincinnati Bengals, but he did complete 15 of them for 176 yards. He found the end zone twice by connecting with wide receiver Mike Wallace. It wasn't a banner day by any means, but Roethlisberger got the job done for the Steelers.
Remember that week when Roethlisberger threw five touchdown passes, in Week 5? Yeah, that was awesome. Unfortunately for his fantasy owners, Big Ben has had just two multiple touchdown games since then. Last week against the Chiefs, he threw for 193 yards with one touchdown and one interception.
Through 12 weeks of the season, Roethlisberger has 3,070 passing yards with 17 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. Fake Teams, SB Nation's fantasy sports site, has Roethlisberger ranked ninth on their quarterback rankings this week.
Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Mike Wallace had just three receptions for 38 yards, but he certainly didn't waste any of them. He grabbed two of them for touchdown receptions. Hines Ward led the team with five receptions, but he picked up just 30 yards doing that.
For a guy nicknamed "60 Minutes," Mike Wallace was looking more like Andy Rooney than anyone else from CBS' television news magazine for an older demographic. Wallace caught just two passes for 17 yards last week against the Chiefs. He hadn't scored a touchdown since Week 9.
Through 12 weeks of play, Wallace had 939 receiving yards on 55 catches with six touchdowns. Fake Teams slotted him in at number eight on their receiver rankings this week.
Pittsburgh Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall didn't pile up the yards on the ground, gaining only 60, but he did find the end zone twice. Isaac Redman did have eight carries for 51 yards as part of the Steelers' rushing attack.
Mendenhall disappeared last week against the Chiefs. He carried the ball 17 times, but was limited to just 57 yards, an average of 3.4 yards per carry. The week before that, against the Baltimore Ravens, he was limited to just 2.8 yards per carry, though two touchdowns padded his stats.
The Bengals defense is another tough draw for the Steelers running back. Through 12 weeks of play, Mendenhall has carried the ball 153 times for 574 rushing yards and six touchdowns. Fake Teams, SB Nation's fantasy spots site, ranked Mendenhall 16th on the positional rankings this week.
Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton just couldn't get much done against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday afternoon. He managed to complete just 11 of 24 passes for 135 yards. He was able to throw a touchdown pass to A.J. Green, but that was the only tocuhdown the team scored.
It once seemed as though Cam Newton of the Carolina Panthers had the rookie of the year honors all sewn up, but Dalton has slipped into consideration for some hardware himself. Dalton's steady presence under center has the Bengals playing fiercely competitive football this season.
Through 12 weeks of play, Dalton had thrown 16 touchdown passes and 12 interceptions and had 2,509 passing yards. As far as fantasy relevance goes, Dalton has given his owners a solid stand-in most weeks, but he isn't typically the kind of player that can steal a win based on his own production. Fake Teams ranked Dalton 23rd in their Week 13 quarterback rankings.
Cincinnati Bengals running back Cedric Benson had a quiet afternoon against the Pittsburgh Steelers. He wound up running the ball just 13 times for 52 yards. The Steelers' strong defense held the Bengals to just seven points, an Andy Dalton touchdown pass to A.J. Green.
His one-game suspension just a distant memory, Benson played a big part in the Cincinnati Bengals surprising resurgence this season. Last week, Benson rolled up 106 rushing yards on 21 carries. He also scored a touchdown in win over the Cleveland Browns.
Running gets a little tougher in Week 13. Benson was ranked 30th out of all NFL running backs this week, according to Fake Teams, SB Nation's fantasy sports site. Through 12 weeks of play, Benson had 740 rushing yards on 188 carries with five touchdowns.
New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning nearly led the team to overtime against the Green Bay Packers when his touchdown pass to Hakeem Nicks came with 58 ticks of the clock left. But Aaron Rodgers outdueled him with a strong final drive of the game. Anyway, Manning completed 23-of-40 passes for 347 yards and three touchdowns. He had just one interception.
Even though the New York Giants were thrashed on Monday by New Orleans, Eli Manning passed for 406 yards and two touchdowns, including a 72-yard touchdown pass. Manning is averaging 307.6 yards passing over his last four games and has thrown seven touchdowns over that same stretch. However, Manning has thrown 10 interceptions and has been picked off at least once in each of his last four games.
Manning continues to be a top-10 QB option and a must-start for any owner with 3,358 yards, 20 touchdowns and 10 interceptions on the season.
If one is starting Cleveland Browns quarterback Colt McCoy in a fantasy league, chances are the team is in dire straits. McCoy struggled against the Baltimore Ravens, as expected. He completed 17 of 35 passes for 192 yards while throwing one touchdown pass and one interception.
McCoy has had his moments but remains outside of the realm of a solid fantasy quarterback this season. He threw for 151 yards, 2 touchdowns and an interception last week against the Cincinnati Bengals.
In eleven games heading into this week, McCoy was completing 58.5 percent of his passes for 2,332 yards with 13 touchdowns and eight interceptions. His completion percentage is slightly down from last year but he's throwing more touchdowns at least. He also has 185 yards on the ground, but no scores.
Houston Texans' running back Arian Foster scored the game-winning touchdown with roughly six minutes left in the game. For his fantasy owners, he provided not only that score but also 111 rushing yards on 31 carries. He also grabbed three catches for 41 yards.
With Matt Schaub out for the season and Matt Leinart not even lasting a full half before injuring himself, the Houston Texans are in dire need of offense. Starting quarterback T.J. Yates will need some help. Luckily for him, Arian Foster is now healthy and can lead the charge Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons.
Foster has been instrumental throughout the Texans' season, earning 805 yards on 193 carries and seven touchdowns in limited work due to injury. At 8-3, Houston is in sole possession of the AFC South and has some wiggle room while it tries to acclimate to a third-string quarterback, but Foster will be integral to their success from now on.
In his past five games, Foster has NFL-best marks with 156.6 yards per game from scrimmage and eight touchdowns, two of which have come through the air. Atlanta's run defense, however, is stingy, allowing just over 117 yards on the ground per game. Something has to give.
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers had another one of his strong performances. Against the New York Giants, Rodgers threw for 369 yards and four touchdown passes. He completed 28 passes on 46 attempts. Not readily apparent in those stats, Rodgers had several key throws in the final drive of the game, setting up the game-winning field goal.
Entering Week 13, therewas nothing more for Aaron Rodgers to prove. Entering the Packers' game against the new York Giants, he'd thrown for at least two touchdowns and at least 247 yards in every game so far and he'd thrown just four interceptions to 33 touchdowns on the season.
Before facing Rodgers, the Giants were the 26th-ranked team against the pass, a good indicator that Rodgers would have his way. Though the months are getting colder, Rodgers has played in Green Bay, which makes New York seem like Palm Springs, so that shouldn't be a factor in him continuing his stunning pace.
Buffalo Bills tight end Scott Chandler caught three passes for 48 yards during Sunday's loss to the Tennessee Titans. Chandler has emerged as a decent fantasy option in many leagues, however the performance didn't live up to the standards of his more recent outings. Chandler entered the game having caught 11 passes over the Bills' previous two games.
Chandler has not scored a touchdown since Week 8 of the season. His stalled play coincides with the overall slide of his team after such a promising start to the season. Last week, Chandler had 50 receiving yards on six catches. The week before that, he topped the 70-yard mark, so maybe you took a chance on him thinking that this was finally the week.
For the season, Chandler has just 32 catches for 312 yards and six touchdowns. Waiver wire gold earlier in the season, Chandler was not even ranked on Fake Teams' list for this week.
Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice ha a big fantasy day for his owners. He rushed for 204 yards and one touchdown on 29 carries. It was a big part of the team's 290 total rushing yards. Rice also added two catches for 10 yards. Ricky Williams did grab 16 carries for 76 yards.
The Ravens have not given Rice very many carries lately in road games, with only 23 in the last two games away from Baltimore against the Piitsburgh Steelers and Seattle Seahawks. For Rice to succeed, he needed to get at least 20 carries, according to CSN Washington's Bo Smolka.
With Joe Flacco under center, the Ravens have never lost in Cleveland and with Rice behind him, they will look to add to that with a win Sunday.
Minnesota Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder set a team rookie record with 381 passing yards against the Denver Broncos on Sunday. He completed 29 of 47 passes and threw three touchdowns passes. But he also threw two interceptions that proved costly for both the Vikings and his fantasy owners.
Ponder has struggled with accuracy in his rookie season, but connected on a season-high 68 percent of his passes at Atlanta last Sunday. He still has yet to top 250 passing yards and thrown the same number of interceptions as touchdowns (six). Ponder also has two touchdown passes in both home starts this year before this week.
Ponder had 1,141 yards and a 72.6 passer rating on the year before Sunday's game. He was also 8-of-9 for 51 yards and three touchdowns in the red zone.
Steve Johnson had himself a nice outing Sunday, catching five passes for 52 yards and a touchdown on eight targets from quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. Unfortunately, a decent day for fantasy owners wasn't enough to end the Buffalo Bills' losing streak. Johnson has now recorded a touchdown reception in three consecutive games.
If your fantasy league rewards excessive, slightly awesome touchdown celebrations, Johnson was your MVP last week. One celebration was not enough for Johnson, who managed to mock opposing receiver Plaxico Burress by feigning a shot to the leg and a crashing plane as an homage to the New York Jets. He packed in two celebrations since that was his lone touchdown and his first since Week 6.
Johnson had 622 receiving yards on 54 catches prior to this game. He had scored five touchdowns. Fake Teams ranked Johnson 21st on their receiver rankings for Week 13.
Despite a decent outing from quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, the Buffalo Bills couldn't take down the Tennessee Titans on Sunday. Fitzpatrick went 29-for-46 passing for 288 yards and a touchdown pass to Steve Johnson with no interceptions in the loss.
The Bills continued losing its losing streak last week, but Fitzpatrick at least looked like the guy who signed a hefty new contract extension in that game. He even threw on Darrelle Revis, no easy task considering he's the best corner in the league right now. Fitz finished the game with three touchdowns, no interceptions and 264 passing yards, not bad for a guy who threw five picks in two games prior to that.
Heading into Week 13, Fitzpatrick had 2,549 passing yards, 19 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. Fake Teams, SB Nation's fantasy sports site, ranked Fitz 14th on their QB list for this week.
Matt Hasselbeck was actually a solid stopgap for many fantasy owners early in the season. Lately he hasn't done much, however, especially Sunday against the Buffalo Bills. Hasselbeck went 16-for-25 passing for 140 yards, throwing zero touchdowns and zero interceptions and basically doing a whole lot of nothing fantasy-wise.
If you're still alive in your fantasy football and you're starting Tennessee Titans quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, give yourself a pat on the back. Clearly, you have mad fantasy general managing skills. Hasselbeck completed less than 56 percent of his passes last week and threw one touchdown and two interceptions against Tampa Bay. Of course, the real story in that game was the resurrection of Chris Johnson's fantasy relevance.
Prior to Week 13, Hasselbeck had 2,517 passing yards to go with 15 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. Fake Teams, SB Nation's fantasy sports site, ranked Hasselbeck 11th on their quarterback rankings this week.
New York Jets wide receiver Plaxico had a quiet day fantasy football stat-wise with just three catches for 33 yards. It didn't help that Mark Sanchez only threw one touchdown pass -- to Santonio Holmes.
Burress was mocked last week by Buffalo Bills receiver Stevie Johnson, who pantomimed Burress' accidental shooting a few years ago during a touchdown celebration. With that behind him, Burress will look to make a joke out of the Washington Redskins' defense Sunday.
Burress has only 34 catches for 479 yards this season, but his seven touchdowns lead the Jets. He has 11 catches for 157 yards and two touchdowns in his last three games and will look to continue his recent hot streak against a Redskins defense that 212 yards through the air per game.
Burress, formerly of the New York Giants, has victimized the Redskins throughout his career, including 10 receptions for 133 yards in his last game against Washington three years ago.
New York Jets Mark Sanchez helped the Jets win on Sunday, but he did not help fantasy football owners with his stats. Sanchez threw for 162 yards and one touchdown pass in an underwhelming fantasy performance.
Santonio Holmes was the lone beneficiary through the air, catching the go-ahead touchdown pass with less than five minutes to go in the Jets 34-19 win against the Redskins.
Sanchez headed into this week's game against the Washington Redskins coming off a season-high four touchdown passes against Buffalo. Sanchez had just two touchdown passes in the three previous games combined, plus, he only threw for 180 yards against the Bills.
Sanchez has 2,513 passing yards, eighteen touchdowns and eleven interceptions on the year. Traditionally, Sanchez throws his most yards during November, however he also throws his most interceptions.
It wasn't necessarily a great performance from Cam Newton on Sunday, but the rookie quarterback did rush for three 1-yard touchdowns and tossed one more touchdown to lead the Carolina Panthers to victory. Newton was limited to just 204 yards passing, but he did augment that with 53 yards rushing.
That passing yardage total was actually the second lowest of the season for Newton, who has now tossed 13 touchdowns and rushed for a NFL record 13 touchdowns this season. Newton's three rushing touchdowns moved him one past Steve Grogan's record that was set back in 1976.
Newton had entered this game having thrown for at least 250 yards in six of 12 games, but has not thrown for 300 yards in any game since Week 4. This was also the sixth time this season that he has rushed for at least 50 yards in a game.
For more on Newton's performance, be sure to check out Panthers blog Cat Scratch Reader.
Caleb Hanie really is not a NFL quality starting quarterback. He showed that once again on Sunday, as he threw three interceptions for the second straight game. This time, however, he did not have any touchdown passes to help offset his performance. Hanie finished 11 of 24 for 133 yards, giving him a quarterback rating of just 23.8 during Sunday's loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.
Hanie had just four completions that went for more 10 yards and generally looked completely in over his head. It certainly didn't help that he was also sacked seven times.
The performance was so bad that the Bears will almost have to consider using rookie Nathan Enderle. The 23-year-old product of Idaho has not thrown a NFL pass, but Hanie's limited experience is not doing him any favors. The already bad situation could get even worse as running back Matt Forte left Sunday's game with an injury and it's unclear if he'll be able to come back.
For more the Bears' quarterback situation, check out Windy City Gridiron.
It remains to be seen who will be throwing Dwayne Bowe passes in future weeks, but he continued his struggles with Tyler Palko under center for most of Sunday's game against the Bears. The Chiefs wide receiver had just four catches for 49 yards as the Chiefs won despite doing almost nothing on offense.
Bowe will was unable to shake off the grimaces he caused fans in last week's game against the Steelers. Regardless of the situation at quarterback and his less than memorable miss, Bowe did manage to catch seven passes last week. It was the third time this season he caught that many. He also had 69 rushing yards. As the Chiefs' top wide receiver, Bowe continues to get targets. Prior to this week's game, he had 819 yards on 55 receptions with four touchdowns.
Tennessee Titans running back Chris Johnson wasted no time picking up where he left off last week. Through the first half of today's game against the Bills, Johnson has 106 yards on nine carries. He has also scored twice.
If you continued starting Tennessee Titans running back Chris Johnson last week, in spite of his struggles, you finally received a little payback, some validation for that earlier first-round pick you expended to take Johnson back in August. Johnson rushed for 190 yards last week, doubtlessly finding a way to balance his speed with that enormous amount of money he was burned with when he signed a contract extension at the beginning of the season. It was just the third time this year that Johnson has topped the 100-yard mark.
Through Week 12 Johnson had 699 rushing yards on 183 carries with three touchdowns. Fake Teams, SB Nation's fantasy sports site, ranked Johnson third on their position rankings this week.
Week 13 of the 2011 NFL season picks back up today with a full slate of quality matchups. While NFL teams continue to battle for playoff positioning, fantasy football leagues are in their last or second to last week before the playoffs get going. If a team is still in the hunt, this week is either make or break for just getting in, or is possibly an opportunity to secure a first round bye.
The tight end position is always a tough one to figure out, particularly if you do not have a big name like Jason Witten or Rob Gronkowski. If you don't have them, or a Fred Davis or Jermichael Finley type of tight end, you might have spent much of this season rotating between players. Beyond the big names, it is time to look over the sleepers.
Kellen Winslow, Bucs: He's still a "name" tight end, but I've noticed him available on waiver wires more and more frequently. His 132 yard performance two weeks ago likely got him snatched up, but if he is around and you need a tight end, grab him for a great matchup against the Panthers.
Visanthe Shiancoe, Vikings: Shiancoe has gone from a strong fantasy option to no more than an occasional fill-in, losing snaps to Kyle Rudolph. While Rudolph has practiced this week, he has been limited, leaving his status for Sunday up in the air. Odds are high that Shiancoe doesn't do much on Sunday, but if Rudolph is inactive, Shiancoe could be worth a start.
Fantasy football picks back up on Sunday as the main slate of Week 13 gets going. Fantasy football playoffs are starting in one week for most leagues, so today is about securing a playoff berth or trying to grab a first round bye in your league. Even if you have one more week of regular season action, it is crunch time for everybody still alive in their playoff race.
The wide receiver position features some tough injuries that will require you to dig a little deeper in your lineup. Miles Austin remains sidelined, deep threat Denarius Moore is still hobbled by an ankle injury, and Julio Jones is coming off struggles as he recovers from hamstring issues.
Given some of the injuries and question marks at wide receiver, there are some interesting sleepers worth considering. Many of them are already on your roster but sitting on the bench raising question marks. Here are some intriguing options in Week 13:
Michael Crabtree, 49ers: The 49ers passing game has an assortment of question marks. They make plays but there has not been much in the way of a consistent threat. Crabtree is quietly developing into that consistent threat. He is not much more than a flex at this point, but there is some upside there against a St. Louis Rams team that is struggling.
Percy Harvin, Vikings: Harvin is on this list more because he has complemented his wide receiver skills with a role as change-of-pace back behind Toby Gerhart as long as Adrian Peterson is sidelined. The more touches for a receiver, the better. The Broncos defense has developed into a very solid unit, but I think Harvin can have a solid effort on Sunday.
Darrius Heyward-Bey, Raiders: DHB started the season well before quieting down when Carson Palmer took over at quarterback. The Raiders suddenly find themselves short numerous weapons with Jacoby Ford and Denarius Moore sidelined. They'll have to find somebody to catch the ball and DHB looks like the guy.
Colts Receivers: I'm a big believer of getting receivers out there that are starting against the Patriots questionable defense. It's not quite so simple this week when the Colts might lose by 100, but I think they'll get some solid performances since they might get themselves in a shootout.
Week 13 of the NFL season picks back up a few days after the Seattle Seahawks took the Philadelphia Eagles behind the woodshed to just about end the Eagles season. Thursday Night Football featured some truly impressive running back performances. LeSean McCoy put together a solid evening, but Marshawn Lynch was the big hero, rushing for 148 yards and two touchdowns in leading the Seahawks to victory.
As fantasy football owners try and solidify playoff spots or even get a first round bye, they will need strong performances from their running backs. Everybody knows to start Ray Rice or Arian Foster, but the big question marks concern the sleepers beyond the big names.
Ben Tate, Texans: A backup running back is always a risky fantasy proposition, particularly when he is behind a stud like Arian Foster. The Texans are handing the reigns over to T.J. Yates following injuries to Matt Schaub and then Matt Leinart. Yates will have to make some plays, but Gary Kubiak will be looking to his ground game to carry the Texans. Tate only managed five carries last week, but there is tremendous upside if the Texans can take an early lead. He is a deeper sleeper, but worth considering if you're short at your flex position.
Javon Ringer, Titans: Another deep sleeper considering Chris Johnson is coming off his best performance of the year. Ringer is a significant roll of the dice, but given CJ2K's inconsistencies, if you're desperate because of injuries, he might be worth a run.
Maurice Morris, Lions: Kevin Smith is the starter, but his ankle sprain leaves him as a bit of a question mark. Keep a close eye on the Lions inactive list for the game. If Smith is out, Morris gets the start. He's not a fantastic start in New Orleans, but the Lions will want to try and control the clock as much as they can against the explosive Saints offense.
The main slate of week 13 of the 2011 NFL season is upon us. For a majority of leagues, this is the last week before fantasy football playoffs get going, which means you are likely playing for either seeding or your playoff lives. In one of my leagues, it is win and I am in, lose and I am out, regardless of other results. That keeps things fairly simple.
As you get ready for Sunday's games, the only significant question marks are Sam Bradford and Josh Freeman. Bradford is unlikely to play, particularly in light of the Rams signing Tom Brandstater to their 53-man roster at the end of the week. Freeman on the other hand is likely to play and has an enticing home matchup against an awful Panthers defense.
As you get ready for this final week or two of your fantasy football regular season, there are still some solid sleepers if you are looking for a jolt to your lineup. If you have an Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees or Tom Brady you really are not looking for sleepers. But otherwise, you might be considering some alternatives, be they on your bench or on the waiver wire.
Josh Freeman, Bucs: He's not exactly under the radar, but he has been very up and down this season. However, this week he has his best matchup of the season. The Carolina Panthers have been hanging with teams, but it has been because of explosive offense and not because of solid defense. Freeman always has downside, but his upside is very solid this week.
Tim Tebow, Broncos: I don't think Tebow is a traditional sleeper at this point. Rather, he is a guy who is quickly developing into a must-start for non-traditional reasons. His rushing totals and occasional rushing touchdowns are key to his value. If you don't have a QB like Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees or Tom Brady, or even a Cam Newton, Tebow could be a great upside start.
Matt Moore, Dolphins: The Raiders are a team that has let opponents hang around and make some big plays recently. The Raiders are getting cornerback Chris Johnson back, but they still have enough question marks on defense that Moore could be in line for a solid day.
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