Fantasy Football Recap and Takeaways: Week 12
Week 12 started with fantasy football players expressing gratitude for the bounty of points offered on Thanksgiving. The weekend presented plenty of juicy leftovers, as five winning teams cleared 30 in a Sunday slate dominated by Julio Jones and Alvin Kamara.
Many studs shined during November’s final weekend, but it’s not an NFL weekend until someone like Peyton Barber or Cody Latimer confuses everyone. A few surprising breakout stars also stayed hot, proving they belong in starting lineups as the fantasy playoffs approach.
Let’s stroll around the league to examine a bye-free Week 12 for notable results and takeaways.
Minnesota Vikings 30, Detroit Lions 23
- Case Keenum isn’t losing his starting job. After going 21-for-30 on Thanksgiving, the unlikely star has completed over 70 percent of his passes in three straight games. He has accrued 866 passing yards, seven passing touchdowns, two picks, and one rushing score during that window for the Vikings, who have not lost since Week 4. While they have not committed to him fending off Teddy Bridgewater for the entire season, the Vikings have named Keenum their Week 13 starter against the Falcons. Still available in over half of Yahoo and ESPN leagues, he’s a solid streamer for another indoors game. Along with Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs, Kyle Rudolph also warrants a start after recording two touchdowns in spite of compiling his fewest targets (four) since Week 4’s loss to the Lions.
- Latavius Murray played more snaps (40) than Jerick McKinnon (33) for the first time this season. He fielded a season-high 20 carries, including seven inside the red zone, for 84 yards and his fifth touchdown in as many games. McKinnon reeled off a 31-yard catch, but ran for just 23 yards on 13 handoffs. Averaging 4.5 yards per run over the last five games, Murray has earned his increased role and top-20 RB consideration.
- While Golden Tate turned eight targets into a woefully inefficient seven receiving yards, Marvin Jones Jr. converted nine looks into six catches, 109 yards, and two touchdowns. Even with Week 10’s letdown against the Browns, Jones has 501 yards and six touchdowns in Detroit’s last seven games. His eight receiving touchdowns this season ties Jimmy Graham and Antonio Brown for second behind DeAndre Hopkins, who’s on a short list of wideouts with more 20-yard catches than Jones’ 14. Tate remains a steady No. 2 fantasy WR, but he may also be Detroit’s second-best option in non-PPR leagues. Compiling 52 total yards in the last two games severely dropped his high floor.
Los Angeles Chargers 28, Dallas Cowboys 6
- In quest of his first 300-yard passing game since Week 4, Philip Rivers easily exceeded that threshold with 434 passing yards and three touchdowns. Following another huge outing, Keenan Allen has 23 catches, 331 receiving yards, and three touchdowns in the Chargers’ last two games. That’s more than Dallas’s entire passing offense. Dak Prescott now has 324 passing yards and five picks in the past two losses, and he has not accounted for a passing touchdown during its three-game losing streak without Ezekiel Elliott. Dez Bryant, who hasn’t found the end zone since Week 7, has paid the price with 139 combined yards. Both passing offenses are trending in wildly different directions, so play Rivers and Allen with confidence against Cleveland and fade Prescott until he snaps out of a disastrous funk. While Bryant should dip down the ranks, he’s too talented to bench for anyone not boasting a super team.
- Before Thanksgiving, Hunter Henry had five catches and 43 yards in the last three games. So naturally, he caught all five targets for 76 yards and his first touchdown since Week 5. That aptly sums up the 2017 Hunter Henry experience. He’s a strong option half the time and a colossal bust the other half. Add it up, as he has fallen short of lofty expectations despite the occasional big day. Yet he belongs in starting lineups since the Chargers’ next two opponents, Cleveland and Washington, are highly susceptible to tight ends.
- Rod Smith has registered more snaps than Alfred Morris in all three games – all losses of 20 points or more – without Elliott. On Thursday, he also matched Morris’ nine carries and punched in the lone Cowboys touchdown. While his touches have gradually increased, climbing from seven to eight to 11 with 88 total yards isn’t enough to inspire much interest. Morris would still be the better back if they can simply not get blown out by Washington and the Giants in upcoming NFC East showdowns.
Washington Redskins 20, New York Giants 10
- By hitting the century mark on the dot, Samaje Perine reached triple-digit rushing yards for the second straight week. He now has 217 rushing yards in the past two bouts, eclipsing his 210 attained through Week 10. The rookie also registered 50 touches (nine inside the red zone) during those pair of impressive performances, and his role faces no threats with Chris Thompson and Rob Kelley out for the season. A perfect blend of better play and enhanced opportunities will make Perine a major impact player in December.
- Jamison Crowder and Vernon Davis also both had a golden opportunity to stockpile fantasy points against the Giants. Only one delivered. Crowder created more separation from a brutal start to his Washington career by collecting seven of 10 targets for 141 yards and a touchdown. The same receiver with a minus-seven yard tally this season has 27 catches for 412 yards over Washington’s last four games. Davis, on the other hand, was held without a catch for the first time since Week 1. With 26 targets in three previous bouts without Jordan Reed, it was a stunning result against a defense that has relinquished 10 touchdowns to tight ends. Crowder is producing like many summer supporters expected when taking him as a No. 2 or 3 wideout, so lock him into the starting lineup. As long as Reed is out, Davis investors without a top-flight alternative need to write off Week 12’s goose egg as a fluke.
- New York’s offense somehow sunk to a new low, amassing 170 total yards on 55 plays. Without Sterling Shepard, Eli Manning threw for 113 yards and a pick. Evan Engram accounted for 18 yards, giving him 58 over the last three games. Playing three fewer snaps (19) than Wayne Gallman and four more than Shane Vereen, Orleans Darkwa tumbled with 39 yards on a dozen touches, both his lowest tallies since Week 7. Engram can use a healthy Shepard to take away some defensive attention, but the rookie tight end remains targeted too much (7.7 per game) to sit in most spots. While Darkwa’s value took a hit, he still holds flex appeal due to a favorable Week 13 matchup against Oakland.
Buffalo Bills 16, Kansas City Chiefs 10
- Buffalo and Kansas City entered Sunday No. 24 and 29, respectively, in rushing defense. Yet the Bills stuffed Kareem Hunt for 17 yards on 11 carries while LeSean McCoy mustered just 49 yards on double the handoffs. At least Shady added four catches and 30 yards, leading him to double-digit PPR points during a down day. Hunt, meanwhile, has not registered 100 total yards in each of the last four games after doing so in all seven prior contests. This also marked the first game in which he did not rattle off a run or catch of at least 12 yards. McCoy has a reputable track record and heavy workload, so don’t worry about him with an advantageous schedule ahead. While Hunt’s investors shouldn’t bench him, they need to revise their expectations with Kansas City’s offense mired in a rut.
- After catching just three of 10 targets, Zay Jones holds a dreadful 37.7 percent catch rate (23-of-61) this season. Yet the rookie turned one of those looks into an 11-yard score, giving him 174 yards and two touchdowns in his last three games. With 24 targets over that frame, he can stumble into big plays even if he never matures into a PPR padder. He’s worth a waiver claim with New England, Miami, and Indianapolis on the horizon.
- Alex Smith: interception machine? After going eight games without a pick, the sure-handed quarterback has tossed four over Kansas City’s last three games. He’s averaging a tame 230.7 passing yards with three touchdowns despite completing 68.2 percent of his passes (75-of-110) during the losing streak. That’s the Smith fantasy fiends know more than the guy who surpassed 300 yards with three or more touchdowns three times through Week 7. The 33-year-old has regressed to his boring mean, so downgrade him back to streamer territory.
New England Patriots 35, Miami Dolphins 17
- By rushing for a career-high 112 yards, Dion Lewis became the first Patriots running back to reach triple digits this season. Rex Burkhead, however, scored two touchdowns from the one and two on a season-high 15 touches. Lewis and Burkhead have inhabited the roles previously possessed by Mike Gillislee (inactive for the third straight game) and James White, who has vanished from all fantasy consideration after compiling 15 yards on four touches. With 507 yards from scrimmage and three touchdowns over the last seven games, Lewis is easily the best of the bunch. Yet Burkhead is also looking like a flex-worthy option. Just don’t assume this new division of labor will last throughout December.
- Rob Gronkowski bounced back from Week 11’s 37-yard disappointment by performing two touchdown spikes, extending his season tally to seven. He has scored 10 or more touchdowns whenever playing 10 or more games in a season, so it’s no surprise that he’s one his way to another double-digit tally. Only an exceptional matchup for Travis Kelce or Ertz – the Eagles facing the Giants in Week 15 qualifies – should keep Gronk from entering any given week as the No. 1 tight end.
- In two games relieving an injured Jay Cutler, Matt Moore posted 470 yards, three touchdowns, and an interception in roughly four quarters. In two starts, he has delivered 394 passing yards, one touchdown, and four interceptions. While Jarvis Landry landed a typical eight catches for 70 yards, DeVante Parker mounted just one grab for five yards. He had 26 yards the previous week. Moore has more rapport with Kenny Stills as a deep threat, leaving Parker lost in the shuffle. A breakout campaign derailed by an ankle injury hit another pothole with Cutler’s concussion. Outside of Landry, steer clear of all Dolphins regardless of which quarterback starts against the Broncos in Week 13.
- Damien Williams appeared to be capturing Miami’s leading backfield role before exiting with a shoulder injury. His day ended early with 52 yards on 11 touches, leaving Kenyan Drake to finish with 47 yards and a touchdown on 12 touches. Drake has yet to receive 10 or more carries in a game, but that could change if Williams – now the superior option if healthy – misses time.
Philadelphia Eagles 31, Chicago Bears 3
- A huge run couldn’t save Jay Ajayi this weekend. Although he took one of five carries 30 yards, he fumbled in the end zone. Nelson Agholor recovered for a cheap touchdown. The new Eagles running back had minus-four yards in his other four runs and played 22 snaps to LeGarrette Blount‘s 37, per Nathan Jahnke of Pro Football Focus. Blount, who also led the backfield in snaps in Week 11, went 97 yards on 15 handoffs. A blowout win presented the perfect opportunity to give Ajayi low-leverage reps, so starting him at Seattle is a dangerous endeavor. Blount, meanwhile, has 37 carries in three games since the Eagles acquired Ajayi, and his workload has increased in each contest.
- Philadelphia’s passing offense is a bit easier to dissect. After returning from an injury to record eight yards, Zach Ertz rebounded with 10 catches for 103 yards (both season highs) and his seventh touchdown. Alshon Jeffery completed the Revenge Game prophecy by passing the pylons in his fourth straight game. In addition to his fumble-recovery touchdown, Agholor also scored traditionally on a 15-yard pass from Carson Wentz, who bolstered his NFL-leading touchdown total to 28. Coming off a minus-two yard outing, Agholor is the only one of the four who requires any thought when setting a lineup. While he’s a touchdown-dependent No.3 WR or flex play, the others are must-start studs.
- There’s not much to say about the Bears, who had 23 fewer rushing yards than Wentz. Sabotaged by a rout, Jordan Howard produced 19 total yards on nine touches. Dontrelle Inman led the team with nine targets, accounting for 64 of Mitchell Trubisky‘s 147 passing yards. He now has 195 yards on 22 targets in three games since getting traded from the Chargers. Howard should fare far better against the 49ers, and Inman is an intriguing Week 13 gamble.
Cincinnati Bengals 30, Cleveland Browns 16
- Joe Mixon responded to last week’s harsh assessment by torching the Browns for 165 yards (114 rushing, 51 receiving) and a touchdown on 26 touches. He had previously not run for more than 62 yards in a game. Although the breakout comes before a tough stretch against Pittsburgh, Chicago, and Minnesota, Cleveland entered Sunday with the NFL’s sixth-best rushing defense. Yet the Bengals afforded the rookie 10 touches in Week 7’s 29-14 loss to the Steelers, so don’t be shocked if his frustrating season continues in Week 13’s rematch.
- Andy Dalton delivered a solid return with 214 yards and touchdown passes to Tyler Boyd and Tyler Kroft. The tight end has scored three of his six touchdowns against the Browns but has amassed just six catches for 30 yards in his last three games. He cashed in on an opportune matchup, but a tough December slate downgrades his rest-of-season value outside the position’s top 10. Dalton shouldn’t be used again in any one-quarterback leagues.
- Per NFL.com’s Jeremy Bergman, Browns running backs coach Kirby Wilson said they “would like [Duke Johnson Jr.] on the field as much as possible in all situations because we believe in him as a player and a playmaker.” He received 10 touches on Sunday and is now averaging 9.3 touches per game this season. Don’t always take coaches for their word. Isaiah Crowell, meanwhile, turned 17 touches into 105 yards. He’s a somewhat viable play in upcoming weeks against the Chargers and Packers, but countless managers have fallen for this trap before.
Atlanta Falcons 34, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 20
- The huge Julio Jones game finally arrived. Entering Week 12 with one touchdown, he caught two on Sunday. A 51-yard scoring strike from fellow wideout Mohamed Sanu led him to a massive 253 receiving yards, making him the third receiver (Brown and Thielen) to clear the 1,000 plateau. This is remarkably his third time exceeding 250 yards in a game in the last four seasons, and he has topped 175 at least once in each of the last five campaigns. That Superman ceiling cements his superstardom despite lower touchdown rates than other phenoms. He faces Tampa Bay again in Week 15.
- Tevin Coleman also feasted for 97 yards and two touchdowns on 19 rushes, giving him 243 yards and four touchdowns in the past three bouts. With 19 or 20 carries in each game, there are few backs with a safer workload than Coleman when playing without Devonta Freeman. Given the revitalized offense’s success, there’s no reason to rush the injured starter back from his second concussion suffered this year. The only thing keeping Coleman from top-tier status is his five catches over Atlanta’s last seven games.
- Doug Martin left the game with a concussion. In his absence, Peyton Barber punched in two goal-line touchdowns, matching the injured starter’s 2017 total. Jacquizz Rodgers cradled a team-high eight carries for 31 yards, and Charles Sims snagged three catches for 26 yards. No Buccaneers back should cause a waiver-wire frenzy, but Rodgers is likely to receive the biggest workload boost. After all, he registered 42 touches during Martin’s three-game suspension.
Tennessee Titans 20, Indianapolis Colts 16
- With Rishard Matthews inactive, no wide receiver recorded 40 or more yards in this AFC South showdown. Jack Doyle and Delanie Walker instead led the way for their squads with 94 and 63 yards, respectively. Emerging as a strong volume play despite Week 10’s nine-yard letdown, Doyle has caught 42 of 54 targets for 381 yards and two touchdowns over the last six games. Walker, who scored his first touchdown of 2017, has cleared 60 yards in each of the last five games. Both reside comfortably near the top of tight end’s second tier as steady weekly starters.
- Despite scoring a late one-yard touchdown, DeMarco Murray ran for nine yards on 12 carries, 70 fewer than Derrick Henry in 13 handoffs. Since breaking off a 75-yard run in Week 3, Murray has stockpiled a highly inefficient 268 rushing yards on 94 carries. Yet he also has five touchdowns and 201 receiving yards, so fantasy gamers cannot change their allegiances to Henry until the Titans do so. Neither did anything of substance when dominated by the Texans earlier this season, so Murray is at best a Week 13 flex play.
- The scheduling gods paved a clear rode for Marcus Mariota to redeem Week 11’s four interceptions. He responded by throwing two more picks – his receiver fell down on one – and just 184 passing yards against a Colts defense that had allowed 274.5 passing yards per game. He has any many passing touchdowns (nine) as Jacoby Brissett, but with seven more interceptions and 95 fewer passing yards. Although Houston presents Mariota another major opportunity, he might need to take a seat anyway.
Carolina Panthers 35, New York Jets 27
- Devin Funchess caught seven of Cam Newton‘s 11 completion for 108 yards, and no other Panthers wide receiver recorded a single reception. He has 286 yards and three touchdowns in three games since Carolina traded Kelvin Benjamin, accounting for over half of its passing offense. Greg Olsen aggravated the foot injury that sidelined him since Week 2, so Funchess may continue to monopolize Newton’s attention during the final month. He’s a certified No. 2 WR if Olsen goes right back on the shelf.
- Robby Anderson continues to roll for Gang Green. He scored two touchdowns on a career-high 146 receiving yards, giving him 494 yards and six scores over the last six games. Jermaine Kearse also passed the century mark (105) and led the Jets with 11 targets. Although Kearse has 25 targets in the last three games, he’s still averaging a meager 3.8 catches and 47.3 yards per game. The former Seahawks is more of a depth option, but Anderson is a top-20 wideout when the Jets host Kansas City in Week 13.
- Christian McCaffrey took a 26-yard catch inches shy of the end zone. Jonathan Stewart compiled 26 yards on 15 rushes but vultured a short touchdown. The rookie also ran up the gut for 40 yards to submit 62 rushing yards on seven carries. Stewart is averaging 3.2 yards per carry. McCaffrey is a No. 2 fantasy RB who could be a No. 1 with a better role.
- Perhaps the unluckiest player in football, Austin Seferian-Jenkins had his third touchdown of the season taken away by a questionable officiating ruling. He also mishandled what could have been another score earlier in the game. He has yet to formally complete a touchdown catch since Week 7, and he’s not all that valuable otherwise with 315 yards.
Seattle Seahawks 24, San Francisco 49ers 13
- Bad news for the J.D. McKissic breakout brigade: He pieced together 46 yards (22 rushing, 24 receiving) on four carries and catches apiece. Eddie Lacy assumed the bulk of the workload against a woeful 49ers defense, only to post 60 yards on 20 touches. Russell Wilson instead threw for two touchdowns and ran in another. If a Seahawks running back can’t break out against the 49ers, it’s not happening in Week 13 against the Eagles.
- Russell Wilson has thrown for at least two touchdowns in each of the last six games. Only Newton has more rushing yards than his 401 at quarterback. And yet his 228 passing yards, 25 rushing yards, and three scores (two passing, one rushing) will leave some investors wanting more against the 49ers. Perhaps that’s simply the sign of a stud who has solidified a top-10 QB finish in every game since Seattle’s Week 6 bye. A tough stretch against the Eagles, Jaguars, and Rams will test his merit, but don’t worry much about him or Doug Baldwin, who has two catches in each of the last two games.
- C.J. Beathard got hurt with seconds remaining, setting the table for Jimmy Garoppolo‘s brief team debut. He completed both passes and threw San Francisco’s only touchdown of the day to Louis Murphy. Under normal circumstances, two throws would not be nearly enough to call for a quarterback change. Yet the 49ers didn’t acquire Garoppolo to sit him before drafting someone else next year. They play the Texans and Titans during Weeks 14 and 15, so everyone should pay attention to the situation. Perhaps Marquise Goodwin, who has 247 yards in the last three games, could receive a bigger boost into flex appeal with a more accurate passer.
Oakland Raiders 21, Denver Broncos 14
- Is Denver’s defense losing its status as an elite unit? In a game where Michael Crabtree got ejected for again fighting Aqib Talib and Amari Cooper left early (after scoring a touchdown) with a concussion, Derek Carr went 18-of-24 for 253 yards and two touchdowns. Albeit inflated by the Patriots and Eagles, they have forfeited 206 points during a seven-game losing streak and a dozen passing touchdowns in the last four bouts. With the Dolphins, Jets, and Colts coming up, this slide is more useful in terms of sticking with each opponent’s top receiver (Landry, Anderson, and T.Y. Hilton/Doyle) rather than streaming a passer. Yet if they don’t improve, nobody will have any reason to fear Kirk Cousins and Co. when Washington hosts the Broncos during Week 16’s championship week.
- They held Marshawn Lynch to 2.6 yards per run, but he still gathered 111 total yards (67 rushing, 44 receiving) and a touchdown on 29 touches. He hadn’t received more than 14 carries in a game since Week 1’s 18 before handling 26. If the Raiders are committing to Beast Mode as a bell cow, it’s perfect timing with the Giants, Chiefs, and Cowboys waiting. He could pay major December dividends if given 15-20 touches on average. If Cooper is healthy and Crabtree does not get slapped with a suspension, they and Carr are also viable starters throughout this cushy stint.
- In his first action of 2017, Paxton Lynch went 9-of-14 for 41 yards, four sacks, a fumble, and an interception. He left in the third quarter with an ankle injury, and Trevor Siemian tossed two touchdowns during the final period. In a bizarre game for Denver’s offense, Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders combined for 30 yards, fewer than Cody Latimer (48), Austin Traylor (34) and Bennie Fowler III (33) each collected. Devontae Booker received one more carry than C.J. Anderson, but that still left him at six. Leave everyone but Thomas on the bench when Denver goes to Miami.
Los Angeles Rams 26, New Orleans Saints 20
- With Robert Woods sidelined, Jared Goff led the Rams to a pivotal victory with 354 passing yards and two touchdowns. Sammy Watkins had his most receptions (four) and yards (82) since Week 3 with a season-high nine targets, but Cooper Kupp set 2017 bests in catches (eight), targets (11), and yards (116). The story could have easily flipped, as Goff missed Watkins on a deep strike while Kenny Vaccaro lost sight of the ball on a 53-yard connection to Kupp. Woods will likely miss Week 13’s game against Arizona, creating another opportunity for whoever isn’t covered by Patrick Peterson. That should be Kupp. Goff masterfully handled a difficult matchup without his top pass-catcher, so he’s a decent play with or without Woods.
- Mark Ingram, who had what would have been his ninth touchdown taken away by a penalty, finished with a season-low 36 yards. Alvin Kamara, meanwhile, led the Saints in rushing (87) and receiving (101) while scoring a touchdown on each front. He even out-shined Todd Gurley, who had another stellar day with 128 total yards. Per ESPN’s Tristan H. Cockcroft, Kamara is the first running back since Jamal Lewis in 2000 to procure at least 20 PPR points in four straight games. The rookie somehow gets better every week and is especially dangerous as someone who can flourish despite getting five carries. There’s no need to dive into an “Ingram or Kamara” debate, as both are top-10 stars.
- Drew Brees transformed a dud into a tolerable 246 passing yards and touchdown with two long fourth-quarter drives. There lies the consistent comfort in playing the 38-year-old, who has at least one score in all but one game. He’s on pace to accrue 4,405 passing yards, which would be his lowest mark since 2009 but an admirable clip for most mortals. While he finished with fewer Week 12 points than DeShone Kizer, Blake Bortles, and Blaine Gabbert, Brees will rarely be the main reason an investor loses a matchup. He’s no longer in the same area code as Brady, but there’s value in safety.
Arizona Cardinals 27, Jacksonville Jaguars 24
- The Gabbert vs. Bortles Bowl could have been far worse. Gabbert threw for two touchdowns, and Bortles ran for a pair of scores. Each team’s superstar had a much tougher day. Larry Fitzgerald, who was averaging 76.8 yards per game, stopped at a dozen against Jacksonville’s tenacious secondary. While Bortles boasted 62 rushing yards, Leonard Fournette offered just 25 on 12 carries. Credit the Jacksonville’s NFL-best passing defense for shutting down a high-volume stud and stick with the veteran against the Rams. Fournette has a huge bounce-back opportunity against the Colts, whom the Jags previously burned for 188 rushing yards with the star rookie sidelined.
- Ricky Seals-Jones followed Week 11’s out-of-nowhere breakout with four catches for 72 yards and a touchdown. Jacksonville had allowed just three touchdowns to tight ends. He played one snap before Week 11. Following two impressive outings, the undrafted rookie at least warrants a look for those in need of a tight end. It’s too early to trust him against the Rams, but matchups against Washington and the Giants in Weeks 15 and 16 could make him an extremely unlikely fantasy postseason hero.
- He was shadowed by Patrick Peterson, so don’t panic over Marqise Lee‘s 13-yard day. That also means onlookers should not expect another 10 targets for Dede Westbrook, but Bortles has thrown to the rookie 16 times in two games. A soft schedule makes him a worthy high-upside stash as Jacksonville’s second receiver. Lee, however, remains the guy to start in a savory Week 13 tilt against Indianapolis.
Pittsburgh Steelers 31, Green Bay Packers 28
- Brett Hundley threw for 245 yards, 148 of which came on his three touchdown passes. Randall Cobb (39), Jamaal Williams (54), and Davante Adams (55) each broke off huge scoring plays against a stout Steelers defense. Hundley previously had two passing touchdowns in five games as Aaron Rodgers‘s replacement, so don’t expect him to sustain that big-play magic. Yet Williams also wielded 135 yards and a rushing score on 25 touches, and Adams has 417 yards in the backup’s six starts. He’s not Julio Jones, but Adams is a strong Week 13 option against Tampa Bay. Monitor the status of Ty Montgomery and Aaron Jones before rolling with Williams, a volume-dependent option who could easily fade back to an insignificant role if even one of the injured backs returns.
- Jordy Nelson had 11 yards. That gives him 163 with Hundley. Hoping for a Rodgers return – his arm looked strong in pregame warm-ups – is the only reason not to drop him at this point.
- A sidelined JuJu Smith-Schuster led to Martavis Bryant posting four catches for 40 yards and his first touchdown since Week 2. Yet the two stars blocked a bigger breakout. LeVeon Bell absorbed most of the redistributed workload by catching 12 of 14 targets for 88 yards in addition to his 95 rushing yards on 20 carries. Brown also eclipsed 100 yards for the fifth time this season with 169 yards and his second consecutive multi-score game. Bryant, who had five games with over 100 yards and a touchdown in 2014 and 2015, needed an injury just to become a touchdown-dependent option. Don’t mistake the end-zone visit as him climbing back into Pittsburgh’s good graces.
- Ben Roethlisberger, on the other hand, won back fantasy gamers with 351 passing yards, 25 rushing yards, and his second straight four-touchdown outing. He’s averaging 279.8 passing yards per game during Pittsburgh’s six-game winning streak, but these past two gems occurred at home against middling defenses. Although a road game against the Bengals and home showdown with the Ravens will test his hot streak, he at least belongs in most Week 13 lineups.