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In The Spotlight – Week 12 In Review

Week 12 Fantasy Headlines:

  • Knowshon Moreno: 37 Carries for 224 Yards & 1 TD
  • Julian Edelman: 9 Receptions, 110 Yards Receiving & 2 TDs
  • Josh Gordon: 14 Receptions, 237 Yards Receiving & 1 TD
  • St. Louis Gashes Chicago with 258 Yards Rushing & 3 TDs Rushing 
  • Philip Rivers Passes for 392 Yards & 3 TDs; Chargers Upset Chiefs
  • Adrian Peterson: 32 Carries for 146 Yards & 1 TD
  • Bobby Rainey Struggles: 18 Carries for 35 Yards & Zero TDs
  • Texans Offense Implodes During Mind-Blowing Loss to the Jaguars

Game Summaries & Fantasy Commentary:

Bye week: Buffalo Bills, Cincinnati Bengals, Philadelphia Eagles & Seattle Seahawks

Thursday Night Game:









Fantasy Focus – New Orleans Saints:
Scoring? Where was the scoring? The Saints disappointed fantasy owners with a surprisingly pedestrian effort, amassing their second-lowest offensive point total of the season. Granted, the Falcons defense played with more spunk than usual, but New Orleans looked stuck in first gear all evening.

Drew Brees completed 23 of his season-low 33 passes for 278 yards and two touchdowns. Jimmy Graham notched his sixth game of the season with triple-digit receiving yardage, topping the Saints with five catches for 100 yards and one touchdown grab on seven targets. Brees completed passes to nine different receivers, which, in part, explains the dud outings from Marques Colston (4-40-0 on six targets), Lance Moore (2-22-0 on two targets) and Kenny Stills (2-22-0 on three targets).

Pierre Thomas amassed a season high 130 total yards. He toted the rock 10 times for a team-high 73 yards. Because Darren Sproles (ankle, foot) was inactive, Thomas also led all Saints running backs in receiving with five grabs for 57 yards. The contest was surprisingly competitive in the fourth quarter, so Mark Ingram (9-32-0 rushing and 0-0-0 receiving) didn’t receive the garbage-time touches that some had predicted.

Fantasy Focus – Atlanta Falcons:
The Falcons offense showed a pulse in the first half before fizzling out in the second half when the Saints defense ratcheted up its level of play. Steven Jackson carried a season-high 16 times for 63 yards and scored his first rushing touchdown of 2013 on Atlanta’s opening drive. Jackson also chipped in three catches for 16 yards. Jacquizz Rodgers touched the ball just five times, amassing 38 total yards.

Matt Ryan didn’t throw any interceptions, but he also failed to toss a touchdown pass in a game for the first time this season. Relying heavily on check-down throws and dump offs, Ryan completed 30 of 39 passes for 292 yards.

Although Harry Douglas failed to score in a game for the fourth time in the last five weeks, Atlanta’s most productive receiver hauled in nine balls for 79 yards on 11 targets, which were all team highs. Roddy White (4-45-0 on four targets) struggled against blanket coverage from Keenan Lewis most of the evening.

Tony Gonzalez (4-43-0 on six targets) also couldn’t get on track; the New Orleans defense has been stingy to the tight end position all season. Rookie Darius Johnson (6-67-0 on eight targets) enjoyed a career night, but most of his production came in the first half when the Falcons were picking on Saints fill-in cornerback Corey White.

Key Injuries:

Fantasy Talk:
The Saints have a very tough road matchup in Week 13 against a well-rested Seahawks team, which is set for Monday night. Drew Brees and Jimmy Graham are must-plays as always. Marques Colston looks like a weak play as a low-end fantasy WR3. It’s hard to like the rest of the New Orleans offensive stars in this matchup.

We can write off Antone Smith. Last week, Atlanta head coach Mike Smith had said he wanted to get the fourth-string tailback more involved. However, A. Smith toted the rock just one time for 11 yards and didn’t catch any passes.

Atlanta’s Week 13 opponent, Buffalo, has been playing a lot better on defense lately. Don’t chase Steven Jackson’s decent numbers from last week. Aside from Harry Douglas, the rest of the Falcons’ fantasy stars look like weak plays.

Waiver Wire Prospects:


Early Sunday Afternoon Games:








Fantasy Focus – New York Jets:
Saying the Jets offense was horribly out of sync all afternoon is a kind description of how badly this unit played. Geno Smith struggled mightily for the second week in a row. He completed just nine of 22 passes for 127 yards with no touchdowns against two interceptions and lost a fumble on a strip sack. Smith also tacked on three rushes for six yards and a 13-yard catch on a gadget play.

No New York receiver or tight end caught more than two passes. Greg Salas (2-48-0 on three targets) topped the team in receiving yards. Kellen Winslow (2-34-0 on four targets) and Santonio Holmes (1-12-0 on four targets) were the other stat-sheet notables. Stephen Hill posted a doughnut for the third straight game.

The Ravens bottled up “Ground-and-Pound.” Chris Ivory (9-35-0 rushing and 0-0-0 receiving) played through an ankle injury and saw his streak of games with a touchdown stopped at two. Bilal Powell (11-41-0 rushing and 3-24-0 receiving) led New York in rushing yards and receptions.

Fantasy Focus – Baltimore Ravens:
As expected, Ray Rice didn’t get on track against a rock-solid Jets run defense. He toted the rock 16 times for only 30 yards and hauled in one pass for minus-three yards. Bernard Pierce also rushed for 30 yards, but he did it on just 11 carries. He did not catch any passes.

Joe Flacco went a respectable 17 of 26 for 273 yards and a touchdown against no interceptions. He completed passes to nine different receivers. Flacco hooked up with Jacoby Jones (4-103-1 on six targets) on a 66-yard bomb that resulted in the only touchdown of the game. Torrey Smith (2-74-0 on four targets) had a bad drop that likely would have gone for a long gain. Marlon Brown (1-1-0 on two targets) and Dallas Clark (3-24-0 on four targets) were non-factors.

Key Injury:
Chris Ivory (ankle)

Fantasy Talk:
In case anyone cares, Jets head coach Rex Ryan was noncommittal on starting Geno Smith in Week 13. If Smith sits, either Matt Simms or veteran David Garrard would get the nod. If Chris Ivory (ankle) can’t play, Bilal Powell likely will get the start.

The Jets defense amassed four sacks and one interception against the Ravens. This unit looks like a good plug-and-play option at home in Week 13 against a sagging Miami offense.

Jacoby Jones is used as a situational deep threat, which obviously makes him hit-or-miss in fantasy each week.

Waiver Wire Prospects:
Bilal Powell, Jets team defense









Fantasy Focus – Pittsburgh Steelers:
The Pittsburgh offense scored 20 points. Ben Roethlisberger (22/34 for 217 yards, 2 TDs and 0 INTs) played with a lead most of the afternoon, so he was content to settle for short and intermediate throws.

Antonio Brown (6-92-1 on 10 targets) hit pay dirt for the third time in his last four games. During the last month, Brown has averaged 11 targets per game. Emmanuel Sanders (6-52-1 on seven targets) hauled in his third scoring strike of the season. It also was Sanders’ first trip to the end zone since Week 8. Heath Miller (5-41-0 on six targets) racked up a decent stat line for the second week in a row. Jerricho Cotchery didn’t catch any passes; he was targeted just one time.

As usual, Le’Veon Bell (23-80-0 rushing and 2-18-0 receiving) carried the load in the backfield. He did not receive any goal-line opportunities. Since Week 9, Bell has averaged 23 touches per contest.

William Gay scored on a 21-yard interception return.

Fantasy Focus – Cleveland Browns:
A sloppy Cleveland offense (four turnovers, five sacks allowed) sputtered all afternoon and scored just one offensive touchdown (with a two-point conversion) in the closing minutes of the fourth quarter. Jason Campbell (14/22 for 124 yards, 0 TDs and 0 INTs) struggled before he left in the third quarter with a concussion. Brandon Weeden (13/30 for 209 yards, 1 TD and 0 INTs) played in relief of Campbell, but Weeden was only marginally more effective.

Josh Gordon was the Browns’ lone fantasy standout. He racked up most of his production – 14 receptions for a franchise single-game record 237 yards and one touchdown on 17 targets – with Weeden under center. Jordan Cameron (3-22-0 on 10 targets) has been held under 35 yards receiving in three straight outings, and he hasn’t scored since Week 7.

Chris Ogbonnaya showed some promise with a bigger-than-expected role (14 touches) last week. However, he was just another guy in a committee backfield against the Steelers. Ogbonnaya toted the rock just four times for a team-high 26 yards. Although the Browns were throwing frequently in comeback mode most of the afternoon, he caught a very disappointing two balls for 15 yards. Ogbonnaya also lost a critical fumble late in the second quarter, which likely cost him some touches.

Fozzy Whittaker amassed 16 rushing yards on a team-high six carries and compiled just one catch for five yards. Willis McGahee carried four times for 12 yards and didn’t catch any passes.

Key Injury:
Jason Campbell (head/concussion)

Fantasy Talk:
Jerricho Cotchery posted a goose egg, which snapped his three-game scoring streak. However, the dud outing is not a huge surprise. Slot receivers are usually unpredictable fantasy starters. The Steelers also didn’t need a lot from their passing attack to win this one. In addition, Ben Roethlisberger has rediscovered safety valve Heath Miller.

Jordan Cameron has been attracting extra attention from defenses, and the chemistry between him and Jason Campbell has been shaky at best. However, even if Brandon Weeden starts in Week 13, it’s hard to trust the struggling Cameron right now. No, I don’t recommend the unreliable Weeden as a fantasy starter.

Will Chris Ogbonnaya get another chance to show his stuff? The Browns face the Jaguars at home in Week 13, which is a favorable matchup for him. However, fantasy players on losing teams can be unpredictable, especially at this point in the season.

Waiver Wire Prospect:
Heath Miller (deeper leagues)








Fantasy Focus – Tampa Bay Buccaneers:
The resurgent Buccaneers scored 17 offensive points. As expected, Bobby Rainey (18-35-0 rushing and 0-0-0 receiving) found very little room to operate against an underrated Lions run defense. Brian Leonard touched the ball just twice, amassing six total yards.

Mike Glennon carried the offense capably. Displaying decent overall accuracy and good pocket presence, Glennon went 14 of 21 for 247 yards and two touchdowns against no interceptions. However, his four carries for minus-17 yards was a minor annoyance for fantasy owners. Since taking over as the full-time starter in Week 6, Glennon has tossed just two picks and lost only one fumble.

With the Lions defense focusing on Vincent Jackson (2-61-0 on three targets), Glennon relied heavily on Tiquan Underwood and Tim Wright. Underwood racked up his first career 100-yard receiving game, hauling in three balls for 108 yards and two touchdowns on five targets. Wright amassed eight catches for 75 yards, which were both season highs, on nine targets.

Leonard Johnson returned an interception 48 yards for a touchdown.

Fantasy Focus – Detroit Lions:
A sloppy Detroit offense gave this game away with five turnovers. Matthew Stafford completed 26 of his 46 passes for 297 yards and three touchdowns, which obviously looks good on the stat sheet. However, he tossed four interceptions. In fairness, two of the miscues came on tipped passes.

Stafford also missed Calvin Johnson (7-115-0 on 14 targets) on what likely would have been a sure touchdown connection in the closing minutes of the first half. Despite shadow coverage from Darrelle Revis in the first half, Johnson still amassed four catches for 61 yards. Revis left the game at halftime with a groin injury.

Nate Burleson (7-77-1 on 10 targets) returned after missing seven games because of a broken arm, and he was a big part of the game plan. Brandon Pettigrew (3-32-1 on five targets) hauled in just his second scoring pass of the season. Touchdown-dependent Joseph Fauria (1-10-1 on one target) hit pay dirt for the first time since Week 6.

Reggie Bush (15-83-0 rushing and 4-17-0 receiving) didn’t score, but he amassed at least 100 total yards for the third time in his last four games played.

Key Injuries:

Fantasy Talk:
Tiquan Underwood and Timothy Wright racked up nice fantasy outings only because Mike Glennon couldn’t get the ball to Vincent Jackson regularly. Underwood hasn’t caught more than three passes in a game all season. He is a hit-or-miss fantasy WR4. The unpredictable Wright should be considered a fantasy TE2.

The Buccaneers offense has a tough Week 13 road matchup against the Panthers. Wright scored in his last game against Carolina.

Nate Burleson is obviously good to go. He looks like a solid play as a fantasy WR3 opposite of Calvin Johnson. Joseph Fauria has caught just one pass in each of his three games. Don’t even think about chasing his touchdown grab.

Waiver Wire Prospect:
Nate Burleson

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