With Week 12 of the NFL season in the books, your fantasy leagues are heading into the final regular season game for 6 team playoff leagues or the second to last game for 4 team playoff leagues. A lot of teams out there are sitting at 6-6 or 7-5 and absolutely need a W, so this edition of Hook’s NFL Weekly Wrap-Up will focus extensively on the fantasy impacts of Week 12 rather than the outcomes of the games. If you’re 5-7 or worse, your fantasy season is 99.9% over but you can still save some enjoyment out of Week 13 playing the spoiler role. Trash talk and side bets are encouraged.
Before we jump into the fantasy analysis, there were a couple of noteworthy moments on Sunday. Buffalo lost yet another overtime game, this time to the Steelers in dramatic fashion. Steve Johnson (who has been awesome all year) got separation on a 50 yard bomb from Ryan Fitzpatrick in overtime only to let the ball slip right through his hands in the end zone. The Bills never recovered, and to be honest I don’t know if Steve Johnson will recover from this gaffe. He was visibly upset during postgame interviews noting that he’ll never forget the dropped pass. How it will affect his psyche and fantasy performance going forward is yet to be seen.
With Rusty Smith under center for the Tennessee Titans, only true football junkies tuned in for the Titans vs Texans matchup. MMA fans might as well have tuned in also as Andre Johnson went all Quinton “Rampage” Jackson on Cortland Finnegan. Finnegan had been jawing at Johnson all day even though he was getting burned by the All-Pro receiver time and time again. Play started to get chippy and eventually Andre 3k snapped. The players ripped each other’s helmets off as Johnson threw several haymakers. The result was a double ejection and a $25k fine for both players. Luckily for Johnson owners, the NFL decided not to suspend him (or Finnegan for that matter) and the stud WR will suit up Thursday night in Philly.
As for the lighter side of Week 12, viewers lucky enough to catch Derek Anderson’s post game interview Monday night had a good laugh. A reporter called him out as Anderson was caught laughing on camera after throwing an interception in a miserable loss at home to the 49ers. Anderson went on a YouTube worthy http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3KlJD5RiSus tirade about how losing isn’t funny, failing to nail home his point as anyone with a sense of humor proceeded to laugh their ass off.
On to Week 12’s fantasy impact. I’ll write about this guy every week until my keyboard breaks: RB Peyton Hillis is the waiver wire pickup of the year. I haven’t been this excited about a white running back since the Sam McGuffie mixtape hit YouTube a couple of years ago. While McGuffie was all hype, Hillis is a 250lb bulldozer who is good for 100+ yards and a TD every single week. In Week 12, Hillis had 194 total yards and 3 TDs (all 3 in the first half), and would have had a passing TD on a trick play if he didn’t throw like a 4 year old girl. He’s been carrying fantasy teams all year and there’s no end in sight. The runner-up for waiver wire pickup of the year goes to wide-out Brandon Lloyd of the Denver Broncos. If he’s not going for 125 receiving yards, he manages to score 2 TDs seemingly every week. His Week 12 stat-line of 4 receptions 76 yards and 2 scores made owners more than happy, not to undermine the guy throwing to him has been the best QB pickup this year as Kyle Orton seems to throw for 300+ yards every single week.
It’s worth mentioning a few players who had a slow start this year but have seriously turned it on at the most important time of the fantasy season. Dwayne Bowe’s average for the first 8 games of the season was 52.5 yards and 0.875 TDs per game. While these numbers are serviceable (mainly because of the high TD rate), they aren’t spectacular. Take a look at Bowe’s last 3 games and spectacular doesn’t do him justice. Since week 10 Bowe has been averaging an asinine 155 yards and 2.33 TDs per contest. That’s 24.31 fantasy points per game in the most conservative of leagues and good enough to earn the #1 overall fantasy WR rating for the season. Will this type of outstanding production continue? Fantasy owners hope so. Expect a more reasonable 90 yards 1 TD per game for the remaining weeks.
Bills RB Fred Jackson has also been impressive down the stretch. In his last 3 games in a full-time role due to CJ Spiller’s injuries, Jackson has scored at least 1 TD and gained 129 all purpose yards. With 5 TDs and 462 yards in that span, Jackson has certainly pleased patient fantasy owners. Week 12’s stat-line of 163 yards and a TD sure did the trick. Expect Jackson’s production to dip as Spiller is expected back in Week 13, although the RB is definitely worth a flex spot start.
As for Quarterbacks turning it on late in the season, Matt Cassel of Kansas City is worth noting having thrown 10 TDs in the last 3 games. He’s not an elite guy, but his production as of late has been. Michael Vick has been absolutely awesome as a starter even though he may have lost his bid for NFL MVP in Week 12’s loss to Da Bears. Vick is a must start in all leagues while Cassel is probably the 10th or 11th best option at the position right now.
Going back to the Week 12 action, there were plenty of studs and duds. As for studs, we already talked top performers Peyton Hillis and Dwayne Bowe (3 TDs each). I told you to keep an eye on Oakland WR Jacoby Ford a few weeks ago and he produced yet again with 108 yards 1 TD 1 Ret TD (a risky WR3 start in all formats). Hook’s Week 11 Wrap-Up player to keep an eye on, Ben Obomanu went off for 159 yards 1 TD with Mike Williams sidelined due to injury. Arian Foster makes his weekly appearance on this list with another awesome game. Jamaal Charles ran all over Seattle for 176 total yards 1 TD. If you started anyone on the New England Patriots you killed it, as Tom Brady threw 4 TDs (2 to Deion Branch, 2 to Wes Welker) and The Law firm BenJarvus Green-Ellis ran for 2 also. Rashard Mendenhall ran for 151 yards 1 TD 1 FL, and Jay Cutler threw 4 TDs 0 INTs in his huge win on Sunday.
Put on your Kevlar and break out the metal detector as Week 12 had a bunch of grenades and landmines. Chris Johnson (yes, consensus #1 overall pick Chris Johnson) put up a stat line that would imply an injury 2 minutes into the game. Johnson started and played the entire Sunday debacle against Houston and managed 5 rushing yards 2 receptions 2 receiving yards. Needless to say CJ is TSB’s WMD of Week 12. Washington RB Keiland Williams came down to earth with a miserable 26 yard game. Even TSB’s favorite QB P Riv was in for a bad week as the landmine threw for 185 yards 0 TD 0 INT (thanks to Mike Tolbert’s big game on the ground). 2nd round draft pick Reggie Wayne had 42 yards on 5 receptions and the Sanchize threw for 166 yards 1 TD 1 INT. Rounding out the Week 12 duds were Dez Bryant (0 receptions, 0 yards) and TO, who got stranded on Revis Island to the tune of 3 receptions 17 yards.
Week 12 is all wrapped up. With a plethora of injured players coming down the stretch, there are some legitimate players to add, drop and keep an eye on going into Week 13.
Must Add: Brian Westbrook (RB SF), Toby Gerhart (RB MIN), Jacoby Ford (WR OAK), Ben Obomanu (WR SEA, monitor Mike Williams’ health)
Must Drop: Vincent Jackson (WR SD, phantom calf injury), Frank Gore (RB SF, broken hip), Randy Moss (WR TEN, absolutely useless with Rusty Smith under center),
Keep an Eye on: James Davis (RB WAS), Anthony Dixon (RB SF)