Fantasy Football Weekly Recap: Week 12
What a week. The NFL continues to deal with a surge in COVID-19 cases, but for as long as we have a season, I’ll be here to give you some instant stat-based insight into NFL offenses. I try to focus on the numbers, but I’ll also break down some of the significant injuries of the day as well. Without any further ado, I present the key storylines from Week 12.
And as always, check back on Monday mornings for storylines from the week’s late afternoon slate and Sunday Night Football.
Story #1: Derrick Henry scored three touchdowns.
Wow. This is the second-straight recap in which I’ve featured Henry’s performance as one of the top two storylines, but he definitely did more damage against the Colts than against the Ravens. The man scored three first-half touchdowns.
The boys are BLOCKING! ??
— Tennessee Titans (@Titans) November 29, 2020
I said this last week, but it bears repeating — Henry’s remaining schedule makes him a league-winner, so if your trade deadline hasn’t passed, he’s someone to target. Of his next four opponents (the Browns, Jaguars, Lions, and Packers), three are bottom-six performers against running backs.
If Henry can score three times against a top-five rushing defense, imagine what he’ll do in those matchups!
Story #2: Jeremy Chinn scored two defensive touchdowns. On consecutive snaps.
I don’t usually feature defensive players in this column, but Chinn’s remarkable performance deserves recognition. First, he ran back a Kirk Cousins fumble.
— Carolina Panthers (@Panthers) November 29, 2020
On Minnesota’s next offensive play, Chinn ran back a Dalvin Cook fumble.
— Sunday Night Football (@SNFonNBC) November 29, 2020
If you started the Panthers D/ST or Chinn in an IDP league, congratulations! I doubt that we’ll ever see a defensive player score on consecutive plays like that again. While Chinn isn’t a bad pickup in IDP leagues, he hadn’t intercepted a pass or recovered a fumble before today’s game, so don’t expect him to score like this on the regular.
Stories #3-5: Injuries.
#3: Moore went down with a non-contact ankle injury. While we don’t yet know the extent of the injury, it certainly didn’t look good, and Moore managers should have a backup plan in case he misses time after Carolina’s Week 13 bye.
If Moore can’t play next week, both Robby Anderson and Curtis Samuel would see substantial upticks in their fantasy value. Yes, they’ll still have to compete with Christian McCaffrey for targets, but they both have the speed to play Moore’s long-distance role. A few more deep targets for Anderson or Moore would some much-needed upside.
Jones tried to return to the game, but he left after attempting one pass, and sources have called the injury “pretty bad.” He’ll undergo some tests on Monday, but Jones managers in 2QB leagues should plan to start someone else. The Giants have the Seahawks up next, and their secondary should allow a lot of points, making McCoy a viable streamer if Jones can’t play.
#5: Zaccheaus is questionably fantasy-relevant, but he connected with Matt Ryan for a deep touchdown the last time Julio Jones missed time, so his injury may have affected some bold DFS players. The wideout hauled in one of his three targets for 11 yards before departing with a toe injury.
The Falcons are quite thin at receiver, and Zaccheaus’ injury left them with Calvin Ridley, Hayden Hurst, and Russell Gage as their best pass-catchers. If Jones and Zaccheaus have to miss time, those three players would see additional volume, and I don’t expect any of Atlanta’s other depth players (Christian Blake and Brandon Powell) to see fantasy-relevant volume.
Story #6: With Adam Thielen sidelined, Justin Jefferson caught two touchdowns.
The Vikings didn’t have either Irv Smith or Adam Thielen, which meant extra targets for Jefferson. He hauled in seven of his team-high 13 targets for 70 yards and two scores.
Justin Jefferson is making DBs look silly
— PFF College (@PFF_College) November 29, 2020
Jefferson is having a fantastic rookie season. Heading into this game, he was averaging a league-best 3.16 yards per route run, and that’s despite the fact he often plays second-fiddle to Thielen.
If you were lucky enough to snag the Viking on waivers earlier this year, he has rewarded you handsomely. While his rest-of-season schedule isn’t the greatest (he’ll play the Jaguars, Buccaneers, Bears, and Saints), he should be a reliable WR3/FLEX option through that span.
Story #7: Jacoby Brissett scored two rushing touchdowns.
No, Brissett did not start for the Colts this week. Frank Reich just decided to feature him in the red zone with Jonathan Taylor out, kind of like how the coach used to give Trey Burton rushing attempts near the goal line.
— QB List (@TheQBlist) November 29, 2020
Brissett has the size to make it near the goal line — at six-foot-four and 230-pounds, he’s a decent goal-line weapon. Of course, he’s no Derrick Henry or Taysom Hill, as he ran just a 31st-percentile 40-yard dash.
Reich’s goal-line playcalling reduces Jonathan Taylor’s value a decent amount, as you can never trust the head coach to commit to his lead rusher. He’s a low-end RB2/FLEX option.
Story #8: We saw Adam Gase’s offense at full health. It did not look good.
Until this week, Adam Gase could say that he hadn’t been given a fair shake, as his Jets hadn’t yet had Sam Darnold, Denzel Mims, Breshad Perriman, and Jamison Crowder active in the same game. But they did in Week 12, and the Jets still looked terrible.
Darnold completed less than 60% of his passes for 197 yards and no scores. He threw two picks and took three sacks in the 20-3 loss. After the game, Gase tried to pretend he wasn’t responsible for New York’s play calling.
Adam Gase insists he did NOT take over the play calling.
— Ralph Vacchiano (@RVacchianoSNY) November 29, 2020
Yikes. Gase has somehow survived longer than Bill O’Brien, Dan Quinn, and Matt Patricia, but his days are numbered. He’s made the Jets’ offensive weapons nearly unstartable in fantasy, and only Frank Gore is safe enough to use each week.
Story #9: Brandon Allen took over for Joe Burrow, but the backup didn’t do much.
With Burrow done for the year, it’ll be Allen’s team until Zac Taylor decides to put in Ryan Finley. In Allen’s first start, he completed 58.6% of his passes for 136 yards, one touchdown, and one pick. Allen took two sacks as well.
The quarterback change is especially notable because Cincinnati had three fantasy-relevant receivers heading into this week: Tyler Boyd, Tee Higgins, and A.J. Green. However, the three receivers combined for just 14 targets this week, and only Higgins posted fantasy-relevant numbers.
The Clemson rookie led the way by catching all five of his targets for 44 yards and a score. Boyd only hauled in three of his six targets for 15 yards, while Green failed to catch any of his three looks.
Moving forward, Green is droppable, while both Boyd and Higgins are little more than shaky WR3/FLEX plays in PPR formats.
Story #10: Collin Johnson had a minor breakout performance.
The Jaguars didn’t have D.J. Chark or Chris Conley this week, and they rolled with Mike Glennon at quarterback. I expected Keelan Cole and Laviska Shenault to benefit the most, but rookie Collin Johnson ended up leading the team in receiving. He ended up with the most targets (8), receiving yards (96), and receiving touchdowns (1). Only James Robinson caught more passes.
Johnson’s touchdown came on an impressive 46-yard catch-and-run.
Rookie Collin Johnson takes it 46-yards to the CRIB
— B/R Gridiron (@brgridiron) November 29, 2020
Since I doubt that the Jaguars won’t have both Conley and Chark next week, Johnson isn’t someone to target on waivers outside of very deep or dynasty leagues.
Story #11: Derek Carr finished with four turnovers.
Carr was in a smash spot this week, but he completely failed to deliver. The quarterback completed 64% of his passes for no touchdowns and a pick, and he fumbled the football three times. I hope that you weren’t counting on him as a streamer.
?: CBS pic.twitter.com/WJgNe9nMOy
— Atlanta Falcons (@AtlantaFalcons) November 29, 2020
Carr managed to underperform against the defense that gives up the most fantasy points to quarterbacks. That said, he’ll get a chance to redeem himself against the Jets’ fourth-worst defense next week, and I wouldn’t give up on him as a QB2. You can probably find a better QB1, but, depending on your league’s size, he should remain on your radar as a streamer.
Story #12: Jarvis Landry went for 100-plus yards and a score.
Landry ended up with eight catches for 143 yards and a touchdown. Baker Mayfield threw his way a team-high 11 times, and he led the team in targets by eight, as none of Cleveland’s other wide receivers finished with more than three.
— The Checkdown (@thecheckdown) November 29, 2020
After three-straight games in wet and rainy weather, Mayfield and Landry looked a lot better. Cleveland only has one more home game left before Week 16, so bad weather shouldn’t threaten their passing game as much moving forward.
Story #13: Tyreek Hill scored three touchdowns.
Hill had an absolute monster game against the Buccaneers. He caught 13 of his 15 targets for 269 yards and three receiving touchdowns. Hill is now tied with Del Shofner for the 15th-most receiving yards in a single game. Only Julio Jones (7th, 300 yards) and Antonio Brown (11th, 284) rank higher among active players.
Hill now leads the league in receiving yards with 1,021. His teammate, Travis Kelce, ranks second with 978.
Oh, and Hill also did this:
Tyreek Hill hit a backflip into the end-zone ?
— ESPN (@espn) November 29, 2020
Hill rewarded his managers spectacularly this week. He’ll have three defenses that have played decently against receivers over his next three games (Broncos, Dolphins, Saints), but he’ll end his fantasy season with a juicy Week 16 matchup against the second-worst Atlanta Falcons.
Story #14: The Denver Broncos started practice-squad wide receiver Kendall Hinton at quarterback.
The league made the Broncos play without any of their quarterbacks this week. To be fair, the signal-callers may not have been deemed high-risk close contacts if they had worn their masks, so let’s not pretend that Denver did nothing wrong here. That said, the league’s decision did not make for a good on-field product.
Hinton with another INT
They went the entire first half without a pass completion.
— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) November 29, 2020
Hinton ended the day with one completion for nine yards — and two picks. But he did as well as he could’ve with such little time to prepare, and his performance says more about the absurdity that is mid-pandemic football than about him as a player.
Needless to say, those who started Hinton at wide receiver in hopes of finding the next Taysom Hill were sorely disappointed. Managers of Jerry Jeudy, Tim Patrick, and others can safely expect the Denver offense to rebound once they get one of their quarterbacks back from the COVID-19/reserve list.
Story #15: Phillip Lindsay got hurt.
Lindsay went down with a knee injury and did not return to Denver’s Week 13 game against the Saints. After the game, head coach Vic Fangio was sparse on the details.
“Phil tweaked his knee a little bit. That’s all I know at this point,” he said. Thanks, Vic. A Broncos source later confirmed that Lindsay would have an MRI on Monday to confirm the extent of the injury.
If Lindsay can’t play in Week 13, Denver will call on Melvin Gordon to do some extra damage against the Chiefs. He ran for 68 yards and a score against them back in Week 7 with Lindsay active, so I’m penciling him in as a low-end RB1 if Lindsay can’t play.
Story #16: Where in the World is
Carmen Sandiego Alvin Kamara?
Taysom Hill started his second game for the Saints, and Kamara has now caught one pass in those two games. Worse, Kamara has gone from getting 19 touches per game to just 12.5 of them. The once-surefire RB1 hasn’t finished as an RB1 — or an RB2 — since Brees got hurt.
I covered Kamara in my Week 12 Panic Meter, and it’s clear that Hill’s playstyle (longer passes, more runs, fewer dump-offs) doesn’t translate well for Kamara’s fantasy value. It’s also concerning that Hill has 57.1% of New Orleans’ rushing touchdowns since Brees’ injury. For context, Latavius Murray has 28.5%, while Kamara has just 14.3%.
Story #17: Mitch Trubisky returned to Chicago’s starting lineup.
After getting benched for Nick Foles, Trubisky earned his first start since Week 3. It didn’t go very well for him.
Mitch Trubisky fumbles. Preston Smith scores.
Defensive TD for Green Bay has broken this game WIDE open.
— NFLonCBS (@NFLonCBS) November 30, 2020
Trubisky’s final stat line is a bit misleading. He ended the game with 242 passing yards and three scores, which sounds good, but all of his touchdowns came after the game was completely out of reach. He also threw two picks, took three sacks, and fumbled three times.
His return to the lineup helped Allen Robinson the most, as the veteran wideout drew a team-best 13 targets, and he caught eight of them for 74 yards and two scores. Neither Anthony Miller nor Darnell Mooney caught more than three passes.
That said, Trubisky could make a decent streamer over the next few weeks. He has a series of easy matchups: the Lions (Week 13), the Texans (Week 14), the Vikings (Week 15), and the Jaguars (Week 16), all of whom rank as bottom-half defenses against quarterbacks, and two of which rank as bottom-eight units. It helps that Chicago attempts the second-most passing plays per game (40.7).
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