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Fantasy football stats: The best of Week 12

A bunch of very good, but not historic, games in Week 12 were capped off with one world-beating touchdown catch.

After several weeks in a row of quarterbacks throwing for six touchdowns, or running backs running for four touchdowns, things settled down a little in Week 12, with some two- and three-touchdown games but nothing that made us go back to the history books to see what new records were set.

Still, there was one moment Sunday night that had the entire Internet talking. This is the best of the week, and read on, we'll get to it:

Best quarterbacks in Week 12

Peyton Manning, DEN (257 passing yards, 4 passing touchdowns, -2 rushing yards, successful 2-point conversion, 28 fantasy points)

After weeks of Aaron Rodgers and Andrew Luck just running all over the field and vying for the top spot in the quarterback rankings, Manning reminded everyone that, if you come at the king, you best not miss. The veteran threw for four touchdowns Sunday against a great defense, leading the team back from a 28-17 deficit in the fourth quarter. It's hard to call it a season-saving win -- the Denver Broncos were still going to be in first place regardless -- but after the Broncos had struggled for seven quarters, that fourth quarter certainly had to calm some nerves.

Next game: The Broncos look to basically lock up first place in the AFC West at the Kansas City Chiefs Sunday night. Manning will be No. 1 or 2 in all rankings.

Ryan Tannehill, MIA (228 passing yards, 3 passing touchdowns, 1 interception, 15 rushing yards, 1 rushing touchdown, 26 fantasy points)

I noted last week that Tannehill's last two games had come against Detroit and Buffalo, two elite run defenses. The Broncos are a good run defense as well, but regardless, the quarterback is going to put up at least a few rushing points more often than not, and those always help. To wit: Without his rushing Sunday, Tannehill would have had 19 fantasy points -- good, not great. And no, his yardage total wasn't crazy Sunday, but a lot of quarterbacks in Tannehill's exact situation would not now have a rushing touchdown, and he does.

Next game: The Miami Dolphins get an extra day before traveling to New York to take on the Jets. Against that defense, Tannehill very well might be a starting quarterback next week.

Tony Romo, DAL (275 passing yards, 4 passing touchdowns, -2 rushing yards, 1 fumble lost, 25 fantasy points)

Through the first half Sunday night, Romo hadn't thrown for much yardage, and his only touchdown came on a little flip of a throw that wasn't particularly impressive. I was wondering if I needed to clear room for him on the Worst of the Week. And then in the second half, he threw for three touchdown passes, a whole host of yards, and he ended up here. Nice turnaround. And with 46 fantasy points in two games since breaking his freaking back, Romo is moving way up the quarterback rankings.

Next game: I said a few weeks ago that the teams playing Sunday night and then Thursday night have the shortest turnaround ever, and now the Dallas Cowboys top it by having to play Thursday afternoon in Week 13. That's a ridiculously short break. Still, hosting Philadelphia, Romo's done enough to be a starting quarterback.

Best running backs in Week 12

Eddie Lacy, GB (125 rushing yards, 1 rushing touchdown, 13 receiving yards, 1 receiving touchdown, 25 fantasy points)

Since Week 3, when he had 10 total fantasy points on the season, Lacy has averaged 16.6 points per game. He's seventh at the position in fantasy scoring on the season and hasn't had fewer than 13 points in a game since Week 6. In fact, since Week 6, Lacy has equaled or better his previous week's production every single game. Remember when we all said to buy low? Yeah, this.

Next game: The Green Bay Packers host the New England Patriots next Sunday afternoon. Lacy isn't going to keep scoring twice a game, but he still needs to be in all lineups.

C.J. Anderson, DEN (167 rushing yards, 1 rushing touchdown, 28 receiving yards, 24 fantasy points)

Well, guess the injuries to Montee Ball and Ronnie Hillman weren't so bad after all. In his three games at the helm, Anderson has put up almost 19 fantasy points a game. And he's done that with only two touchdowns, as the second-year player has averaged almost 6 yards a carry in that time and gone for more than 60 receiving yards a game. I'm far from infallible on this, but as someone who has been advocating for Anderson to be the guy in Denver for more than a season, I'm certainly enjoying things.

Next game: At Kansas City next week. The Chiefs hadn't allowed a rushing touchdown all year until Thursday night, but Anderson has done so much that he needs to be started everywhere.

Latavius Murray, OAK (112 rushing yards, 2 rushing touchdowns, 23 fantasy points)

That stat line looks like one belonging to a guy who played a full game. Unfortunately, Murray didn't even play a half Thursday, suffering a concussion on his fourth carry. Whenever he's healthy again, Murray had already earned the top running back job in Oakland, and that was before his huge game. He'll be the Oakland Raiders' top runner.

Next game: Here's the rub though: We don't really know if Murray is going to be healthy and active for Week 13 as he goes through the concussion protocol. The good news is that, having played Thursday, he gets a few extra days before playing St. Louis next week. Just stay tuned.

Best wide receivers in Week 12

Odell Beckham Jr., NYG (146 receiving yards, 2 receiving touchdowns, 26 fantasy points)

You don't need words. You need this:


Next game: We'll see if his late-game back injury worsens after some rest, but assuming Beckham is fine, he's facing Jacksonville next week, and that's an obvious must-start.

Demaryius Thomas, DEN (87 receiving yards, 3 receiving touchdowns, 26 fantasy points)

Through 11 games, Thomas now has nine touchdowns. Except that he has scored in only five games, with three Sunday and two touchdowns each in Weeks 5 and 7. More fun, though, is that Sunday, with 87 yards, was Thomas' first game of fewer than 100 yards since Week 3. Remember that? He had 141 yards and a touchdown through three weeks, and people were wondering if it was time to sell. Since then, Thomas' average game has been 131 yards and a touchdown.

Next game: Said it before, say it again: Broncos. Chiefs. Sunday night. Start Thomas.

Dez Bryant, DAL (86 receiving yards, 2 receiving touchdowns, 20 fantasy points)

Bryant and Julio Jones are the only wide receivers who have at least five fantasy points every game they've played this season (and Josh Gordon, but that's a different story). And while Jones has only put up more than 14 once all year, Bryant has a 15-pointer, a 16, a 20, a 27. You could argue him right up at the top of the position rankings.

Next game: The Cowboys turn right around with a Thursday afternoon game against Philadelphia. Bryant will be in your lineup.

Best tight ends in Week 12

Tim Wright, NE (36 receiving yards, 2 receiving touchdowns, 15 fantasy points)

I've been saying this for two months now, but Sunday illustrates it nicely: There is a top group of tight ends that are fantasy plays. It starts (obviously) with Rob Gronkowski and Jimmy Graham, but it goes eight or nine deep, with guys who might not be great but will catch at least a few passes each week. Once you get past those guys, every single tight end you might use could very realistically put up zero points in any given game. And of those guys, the one most likely to get a touchdown -- and it isn't close -- is Tim Wright. If you're stuck, use Wright. Guys like Jared Cook will get you more one- and three-point games. But Wright will get you more scores, and that's far more worth it.

Next game: Against Green Bay Sunday afternoon. Wright will be in the high-end TE2 rankings, and he'll be a solid fantasy play if you haven't stumbled into one of the top guys.

Delanie Walker, TEN (155 receiving yards, 15 fantasy points)

A couple weeks ago, I said in a piece that Walker's fantasy stock was plummeting and he was no longer a sure-fire fantasy start. After missing Week 11 with a concussion, though, Walker came back with 155 yards, and he did it on only five catches. His shortest catch was for 16 yards, with three catches in the 20s and a 68-yarder. It was Walker's first time over 50 yards since Week 6, and his first over 100 since Week 2. I guess he's still a starting tight end.

Next game: The Tennessee Titans play at Houston next Sunday. The Texans like to give up passing yards, and Walker is easily Tennessee's best receiving option. He still isn't one of the top-top tight ends, but Walker will be ranked in the seven range at worst.

Anthony Fasano, KC (30 receiving yards, 1 receiving touchdown, 9 fantasy points)

Well that's silly. Fasano's best fantasy day of the season was still nothing special, but barely any tight ends did anything in Week 12, so Fasano qualifies. His main fantasy role this season has been to frustrate fantasy owners of Travis Kelce, as Fasano has been stealing touches from Kelce,  and he's the one who stays on the field in single-TE sets, meaning Kelce doesn't play as many snaps. Speaking as a Kelce owner, you're a jerk, Fasano. But congrats on a good game.

Next game: Hosting Denver next week. Fasano isn't a fantasy option.

Jason Witten, DAL (30 receiving yards, 1 receiving touchdown, 9 fantasy points)

Witten's season has been like the Drew Carey Show of fantasy seasons. It has existed for a long time, without ever being so good or so bad that you have to take notice of it. Do you realize The Drew Carey Show ran for nine seasons and had 216 episodes? No one ever watched it, not even once, but it was just good enough to be in the network's lineup. Witten has gone over nine fantasy points in a game once all season, but he's averaged 7.3 a game since Week 3, and almost 10 a game over his last four.

Next game: The Cowboys host the Philadelphia Eagles on Thanksgiving. Witten will be a solid, must-start, utterly unspectacular fantasy play.

Best kicker in Week 12

Cody Parkey, PHI (5/6 FG, 4/4 XP, 20 fantasy points)

The top four kickers this year have 19 (Adam Vinatieri), nine (Stephen Gostkowski) and four (Dan Bailey) years of experience ... and then there's Parkey, who is behind only Gostkowski and Vinatieri in fantasy points as a rookie. He only has one game of fewer than eight fantasy points all year, and that was way back in Week 4. Good times for a young guy.

Best defense/special teams in Week 12

Philadelphia Eagles (24 points allowed, 1 interception, 2 fumbles recovered, 1 touchdown, 5 sacks, 16 fantasy points)

In its last three games, the Philadelphia defense has 42 combined fantasy points, which would be really good, except for the fact that that includes a negative performance in Week 11, when the Green Bay Packers tore them apart. Still, this is one of the league's top fantasy defenses (in fact, the top one after Sunday), and will be started almost every week.