It's easy to discuss the best of the week. Lots of fantasy points? Hey, talk about that guy. It's fairly easy to talk about the worst, too. Star did bad? Bingo.
But sometimes there's a middle-of-the-road guy who has a big game, only a game that's not quite big enough to be among the week's overall best. But don't those guys deserve mention?
They do, and they get it here, in the week's sleepers. These guys had big games no one expected. Were these games signs of things to come? Or were they one-time surprise performances? Here, we examine:
Sleeper quarterbacks in Week 12
Mike Glennon, TB (247 passing yards, 2 touchdowns, 17 fantasy points)
Glennon has scored 15-18 fantasy points in six of his seven starts since the team's Week 5 bye. His average of more than 15 fantasy points per game in that time would rank him in the top 13 among fantasy quarterbacks this season. Even with Doug Martin, Mike James, and Mike Williams on the injured reserve, Glennon has found fantasy viability with Vincent Jackson, Tim Wright, Bobby Rainey, and, in Week 12, Tiquan Underwood. He had a rough go in his first start, in Week 4, but after having a bye week to adjust, he has 12 touchdowns against only two interceptions. He's an easy QB2 right now, with low-end QB1 potential if others have bad matchups or get injured.
Matt Flynn, GB (218 passing yards, 1 touchdown, 14 fantasy points)
Flynn had a 14-point fantasy day after taking over for starter Scott Tolzien, who was ineffective in 17 pass attempts before being benched. The only real success of Flynn's career came with the Packers, and he landed on three different teams in a season and a half before finding his way back to Green Bay. It's hard to imagine the team going back to Tolzien after his performance, so, if normal starter Aaron Rodgers can't get back on the field for Thursday's game against the Detroit Lions, Flynn could be a decent under-the-radar starter for Week 13.
Sleeper running backs in Week 12
Benny Cunningham, STL (109 rushing yards, 1 touchdown, 16 fantasy points)
Cunningham was the St. Louis Rams' primary second-half running back after starter Zac Stacy got injured late in the first half, and he had a big game against the Chicago Bears' awful run defense. If Stacy, who was being examined for a concussion, is back on the field for next week's game against the San Francisco 49ers, Cunningham is obviously out of fantasy consideration. If Stacy turns out to be inactive, Cunningham might have middling value as a starter, but even then, there's a huge difference between the Bears' rush defense and the 49ers'.
Dennis Johnson, HOU (74 rushing yards, 13 receiving yards, 8 fantasy points)
Johnson took over for starting running back Ben Tate after Tate had an abysmal day (seven rushes for one yard) and averaged 5.7 yards per carry. The team hasn't said whether Johnson or Tate is the No. 1 going forward, but Tate is a free agent after the year and has been unspectacular-at-best this season. With the Houston Texans obviously done for 2013, they might be inclined to look at Johnson and see if he is worth consideration for 2014 and beyond. Until the Texans say one way or another, Johnson is only a stash, but if he gets a starting gig, he might be worth a longer look.
Sleeper wide receivers in Week 12
Tavon Austin, STL (39 receiving yards, 65 rushing yards, 1 touchdown, 15 fantasy points)
Everyone who knows things said that Austin's strong performance in Week 10 was an obvious aberration, as he had 27 fantasy points on the season before his 31-point outburst. It seemed clear that he wasn't turning over a new fantasy leaf. But after he followed that up with 15 more fantasy points, it's time to re-examine. Austin clearly has big-play ability, as Sunday's score was his fourth in two games of more than 50 yards. Even then, he only has four catches in his two huge games, so he has to have those big scores to have any real value. That's not the kind of performer you really want to rely on. Best bet is fantasy owners are better off mourning leaving Austin's big games on the bench than mourning using him during his 1-point games.
Nate Burleson, DET (77 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 13 fantasy points)
Burleson, in his first game back from injury after missing more than two months with a broken arm, seemed like a strong candidate for being eased back into use. So of course, he scored his first touchdown of the season, and his 10 targets were a season-high. Much of Burleson's usage came because the Tampa Bay Buccaneers sicced cornerback Darrelle Revis on Calvin Johnson, leaving Burleson as quarterback Matthew Stafford's best option, but team's are always going to be double-teaming Johnson, meaning someone is going to be open. Burleson could have strong fantasy value down the stretch of the season.
Sleeper tight ends in Week 12
Ladarius Green, SD (80 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 14 fantasy points)
Green was only targeted in one of the San Diego Chargers' first five games on the season; he only had more than one catch twice through Week 10. All of a sudden, he now has two games of five targets apiece, with 80-plus yards in each. Sunday, playing against a Kansas City Chiefs team that has been the best in the NFL against opposing tight ends, the second-year tight end scored his first career touchdown. As No. 1 tight end Antonio Gates has been less productive, Green has been moreso, though not for any apparent reason. Still, the team and quarterback Philip Rivers certainly seem to be looking to Green more often, so he might be rising in value.
Brandon Myers, NYG (39 yards, 1 touchdown, 9 fantasy points)
Myers was a strong tight end a year ago, with four touchdowns and 806 receiving yards -- including a 130-yard game -- for the Oakland Raiders. This year, his first with the New York Giants, has been a veritable disaster, as Myers had only 21 fantasy points between Week 1 and Sunday. He still didn't tally much in the way of yardage, but he did manage his second touchdown of the year in Sunday's game. He hasn't gotten many targets as a Giant -- Myers has gone without any targets three times this season -- so it's hard to imagine this is a sign of strong production to come. This seems more like a fluke score than anything he's likely to repeat.