Fantasy Awards for Week Twelve
By Guest Writer John Belaska:
Well, if you play in a deeper league, say good bye to the regular season. Week twelve is over and week thirteen starts the wildcard round of the fantasy football playoffs. If you are in a normal size league, then you still have two more weeks to worry about whether or not you going to make the playoffs. It is a nerve wrecking time of year. Mistakes are heavily penalized and will have you banging your head against a wall all the way until next year’s draft. Be sure this is not the case for your fantasy team. Be smart, make good decisions, and win out the season. Your head will thank you this offseason. Here are the top players for week twelve.
Quarterback of the Week- Philip Rivers (San Diego Chargers)
It has been a little while since we have seen Philip Rivers light up the stats sheet the way he did in week twelve. Rivers threw for 392 yards and three touchdowns against the Kansas City Chiefs. The Chiefs picked off one of Rivers’ passes, but his overall performance was terrific. The thing fantasy owners should be most thrilled about is this huge performance came against a top tier defense. Prior to this week, Rivers was only having big games against mediocre teams. When the Chargers did start playing some strong defenses, Rivers started putting up less than exciting stats. He was performing well enough to be a starting fantasy quarterback, but he was not exploding for the huge number of point he was during the first half of the season. This anticlimactic streak came to a crashing halt against Kansas City. Next week, the Chargers are hosting the Cincinnati Bengals. The Bengals, like the Chiefs, have a very strong defense. However, nobody should be surprised if Rivers follows up his week twelve performance with another nice outing.
Running Back of the Week- Knowshon Moreno (Denver Broncos)
Knowshon Moreno showed us what giving the ball to a good running back thirty or more times can do. Moreno had the best day of his career, rushing for 224 yards and one touchdown. A career day is something fantasy owners always smile over, but the likelihood of Moreno repeating this is slim. The Broncos were playing in New England in one of the coldest days in recent memory. Peyton Manning is notorious for struggling in this type of weather condition. With Manning hindered by the cold, the Broncos were forced to move the chains on the ground. Moreno took the bulk of the carries and piled up a huge amount of yards. Moreno is definitely one of the best backs in the league and should be kept in fantasy lineups this week against the Chiefs. The Broncos will need to run the ball in order to wear down the Chiefs defense and make the pass more effective. Moreno should have another big day, especially since the Chiefs more than likely will not have Houston and Hali playing in the middle of the field.
Wide Receiver of the Week- Josh Gordon (Cleveland Browns)
Josh Gordon is one of those sleepers, who really is not a sleeper. He just does not get enough credit. Maybe it is because he plays on the Browns or does not have a star quarterback throwing him the ball. Whatever the reason, Josh Gordon can get the job done. This week, the young Browns’ pass catcher went off, hauling in 14 balls for 237 yards and a score. He should definitely be counted on once again to have a big game against the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Jags have a two game win streak going, but it is not something to get excited about. Trust in Gordon.
Tight End of the Week- Rob Gronkowski (New England Patriots)
Rob Gronkowski was a major factor in the Patriots’ win over the Denver Broncos. Gronk caught seven passes for 90 yards and a touchdown. One thing fantasy owners should notice about the Patriots is Gronk makes everyone better. When he was injured, the Patriots were a struggling offense. Tom Brady looked human. Now he is back and the Patriots have been unstoppable since his return. Tom Brady is back to being a huge factor in fantasy football. Gronkowski should be in your lineup every single week no matter who he is playing. He is the most physical pass catching force in the NFL. Nobody plays football the way he does. Jimmy Graham and Vernon Davis are very finesse receiving tight ends. Gronk is big, bad, and mean. The best description one can give of Gronk is he is today’s Mike Ditka. The Pats are going up against the best passing defense in the league, but the Texans will not be able to matchup against this tight end.
Kicker of the Week- Jay Feely (Arizona Cardinals)
Jay Feely is one of those kickers who can always be counted on. He has a long history as being a very good fantasy football kicker. He has never gotten much credit as being on the best in the league, but he is always a good option for owners who rotate kickers on a weekly basis. This week he hit all four of his field goal attempts, including a 50 yarder, and tacked on an extra four fantasy points by way of successful point-after attempts. The Cardinals’ offense is firing on all cylinders now, making Feely a good option to get numerous point-after attempts and field goals. The Cardinals will be able to move the ball with ease against the struggling Philadelphia Eagles’ defense. Feely should be able to knock one or two through the uprights and hit a couple point-after attempts. He is a decent option this week for teams who do not have a kicker who they start on a weekly basis.
Team Defense of the Week- Pittsburgh Steelers
This is what we expect out of the Steelers’ defense. In week twelve, they reminded us why we know the unit as the Steel Curtain. The Steelers sacked the quarterback five times, intercepted a pass, and recovered three fumbles against the Cleveland Browns. They allowed a mere eleven points and scored a defensive touchdown. The Steelers have been playing good football recently and their strong defense has them back in the playoff hunt. They can be counted on this Thanksgiving to put up a good amount of fantasy points against the Ravens. The Ravens offense just cannot run the ball or protect the quarterback. It should be a low scoring game which means good things for the Steelers defense.
Rookie of the Week- Eddie Lacy (Green Bay Packers)
Eddie Lacy is the next up and coming fantasy stud. In week twelve, he ran for 110 yards and scored a touchdown. He also caught six passes for an additional 48 yards. This is the first time since the Packers lost Aaron Rodgers to injury in which Lacy has had a dominant game. Things will only get better when Rodgers rejoins the lineup. However, despite this great performance, fantasy owners did learn of a major flaw in Lacy. Eddie Lacy did not play in overtime versus the Minnesota Vikings due to aggravating his asthma. When asked about his condition, Lacy explained that cold weather makes it harder to catch his breath. This would not be a problem normally, but Lacy plays in an outdoor stadium in Wisconsin. There will be a number of extremely cold games in store for the rookie running back. If his asthma continues to sideline him, his value in fantasy playoff time will be severely limited. Next week he is indoors, so do not expect to see the condition hurt him, but fantasy owners need to watch the weather reports in Green Bay for the rest of the season. If it is too cold and there is another running back option, it might be wise to bench Lacy for the week. Week twelve was strong for the Packers’ rookie back, but it is a little worrisome as well.
Sleeper of the Week- Jacoby Jones (Baltimore Ravens)
Jacoby Jones made a name for himself last year during the Ravens’ Super Bowl run. This year, he was not really on the fantasy football owners’ radar. He has had a couple decent games, but nothing to be too excited over and definitely nothing to make an owner want to start him. He is now coming off a four catch, 103 receiving yard performance in which he scored a 66 yard touchdown. Jones is a speed demon who has shown flashes of glory as a deep threat for the Ravens in the past. At this point, he is nothing more than a backup wide receiver in fantasy football. However, owners need to keep an eye on Jones. If he finishes out the season strong, he may very well be a good candidate to draft next season. Owners should not expect much from him this week against the Pittsburgh Steelers, but once again, keep an eye on him.
Bust of the Week- Eric Decker (Denver Broncos)
Eric Decker was a huge let down this past weekend against the New England Patriots. Peyton Manning may have had his worst game of the entire season, but Decker should have definitely put up better numbers than he did. His stat sheet reads as follows: one catch for five yards. Not good for a second wide receiver in fantasy football. A good amount of blame should go to Manning, but the most glaring stat for Decker is not one that is rewarded with fantasy points. Decker was targeted five times during the game. The cold is always a factor for receivers, but a player like Decker should be able to do better than a single catch when he was given the opportunities to make plays. Hopefully, this will not be a sign of what is to come in the Mile High City. If the Broncos offense cannot get over the cold, how do they expect to play strong football down the stretch and into the playoffs? Luckily for Decker owners, the Broncos are playing in Kansas City this week. Decker should have a rebound game. The thing they need to be more concerned about is when the Broncos return to Denver and are forced to play in freezing weather once again. That might be a week for owners to throw Decker on the bench.
Comeback Player of the Week- Julian Edleman (New England Patriots)
Julian Edleman had his best performance of this season in week twelve. He posted 110 receiving yards and two touchdowns on nine receptions against the Broncos. The Patriots’ slot receiver and return man started the season strong. He was one of the top receivers to own in leagues that award points for receptions. Then something terrible happened to Edleman’s fantasy value. Danny Amendola returned from injury. Since then, Edleman has been a nonfactor. It was highly unfortunate considering Edleman has better hands than Amendola. He might have the best set of hands on the Patriots’ team, including Gronkowski. He had the potential to fill in the void left by the departure of Wes Welker. Instead he was forced to play second fiddle to a wide receiver that cannot hold onto the ball and cannot stay healthy. Hopefully, this performance will change that and Edleman will be given more opportunities to make plays going forward. Edleman might once again be heavily relied upon against the Houston Texans who rank first against the pass. The Texans will try to take away the outside of the field and limit Gronkowski’s production. If they succeed in doing this, Edleman will be the one Brady will have to look to move the chains.
Fanspeak.com Most Valuable Player- Philip Rivers (San Diego Chargers)
Philip Rivers’ huge game came on a week where many of the top ranked quarterback struggled to get anything done. Most of the top quarterbacks for week twelve were player who fantasy owners would really have to reach on and only start in the most desperate of situations. This was not the case for Philip Rivers’ owners. He is a top ten quarterback and showed why this past weekend. He is a must start player for the rest of the season.