Fantasy Football Winners and Losers of Week 12 - Roto Street Journal
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Fantasy Football Winners and Losers of Week 12

WINNERS

QB     Drew Brees     28 of 36 for 310 yards and 4 TDs, 1 rushing TD     41 fantasy pts.

I’ll be the first to admit this is a boring, uninspired pick.  The Wolf and I both picked Brees as our Stud of the Week at QB on Friday’s podcast, so this was something we certainly anticipated.  Yes, calling Brees this week’s Winner is uninspired, boring, and it also happens to be 100% accurate.

Brees accounted for 5 total touchdowns against a Rams defense which actually isn’t even that bad.  The Saints’ O-Line came to play—Mark Ingram rushed for 146 yards and a score, himself.  Brees had all the time he needed to throw the ball, completing close to 80% of his passes on the friendly New Orleans turf.  He targeted 9 different guys, and completed throws to 8 of them (sorry, Tommylee Lewis—and yes, that is an actual player on the Saints).

This journalist (if anyone would dare call me that) in me said after Brees shredded the Kansas City defense on the road in week 7 (a game I thought he would be exposed in) that I would rather have Brees moving forward than anyone else at QB for fantasy purposes.  My co-host the Wolf respected the pick, but said he’d still take Cam Newton for the stretch run if he could have anyone—a position I also respected.  Since then, Newton has scored right around 70 fantasy points.  The great Tom Brady in his last 5 games has “only” scored 120 fantasy points.  Matt Ryan?  115.  Drew Brees has scored 140 in his last 5 games, equaled only by… wait for it… Marcus Mariota.

It is completely fair to say (regardless of Mariota’s recent string of successful outings) that as far as fantasy QBs go, Drew Brees is in a class by himself.

RB     Mark Ingram     14 rushes for 146 yards, 1 rushing TD, 1 receiving TD     30 fantasy pts.

It’s unclear to me whether the Rams’ defense is more deserving of the credit I am heaping upon Drew Brees and Mark Ingram today, or if the Saints’ offensive line should be getting the accolades.  Let’s just say it was the perfect storm of great offense squaring up against terrible defense everything, and the results were much as you would expect them to be.

Mark Ingram wasn’t even a sure thing to play this week up to a couple hours before the game due to a concussion he suffered last week, so you had to wonder if he’d still be shaking the cobwebs out during this game against Los Angeles.  The answer: an emphatic N-O.

Ingram only had 15 touches on the entire afternoon, which is not a huge amount.  As it turned out, it was all he needed to shred the Rams.  Ingram averaged over 10 yards a carry on the day including a touchdown run, and he made his one catch count—taking it for 21 yards to the house.

Ingram has turned into a fairly serious boom or bust type RB, having forgettable games 6 times this season but having 5 really good fantasy games as well.  I haven’t been able to find a real solid indicator yet as to when he is going to blow up, but if I can figure it out I’ll pass it along.  I have ruled out suffering from the after-effects of a concussion as a detriment to his game, however.

WR      Antonio Brown      5 receptions for 91 yards, 3 TDs      32 fantasy points

It is written in stone that if a football player who is a favorite of the RSJ scores 3 touchdowns in a nationally televised game, he will be named our Winner of the Week for his respective position.

This is literally in our contracts.  We have no choice but to shower this man with the heaps of praise he deserves.

PS: He remains the top scoring WR in fantasy, and ranks only behind David Johnson, DeMarco Murray, and Zeke as far as non QBs. He is a total, unapologetic bad ass. And I love that he’s willing to eat the penalties to dance a little after he scores.  He’ll probably sell Brandon Marshall’s car to pay all the fines at the end of the year.

TE      Jordan Reed     10 receptions for 95 yards, 2 TDs      31 fantasy points

Jordan Reed helped the Washington professional football team keep this game artificially close on Thursday afternoon, and he helped make a case for himself as the best TE in fantasy whose name isn’t Rob Gronkowski.  This 31 point behemoth of a performance moved him within spitting distance of Greg Olsen (who I have long considered the heir apparent to Gronk) for the top scoring spot this season.

The fact is, Kirk Cousins likes to throw the football.  Going into this season, Cousins ranked 2nd ALL-TIME in passing yards per game, like a yard a game behind Drew Brees.  This is in NFL history, mind you.  If you knew the answer to that trivia question, you are either related to Kirk Cousins or you listened to our QB ranking podcast back in August.  Whichever one of those categories you fall into—good for you.  If Cousins is going to throw the ball like that (and there are no signs he is going to stop doing it) expect Jordan Reed to continue to put up monster numbers barring injury.

LOSERS

QB       Russell Wilson            17/33 for 151 yards, 0 TDs, 2 INTs                 10 fantasy points

Wow.  Just when you thought Russell Wilson was back (coming off 3 really good fantasy games in a row) he reminds you just how bad he can look when he’s properly motivated to do so.  Tampa Bay and their stingy defense that gave up 37 points to the Rams earlier this season absolutely dominated the Seahawks, and Russell Wilson looked like the guy we had decided he was a month ago.

Wilson just couldn’t throw anything down the field.  Case in point: Doug Baldwin had 7 catches… for 34 yards!  You’d be hard pressed to find a WR who is not being thrown to by Brock Osweiler who could manage a lower yards per catch than that.  Jimmy Graham also pulled in 6 catches, but only went for 67 yards.  Those 2 guys made up about two thirds of Wilson’s total passing yards.

For his part, Wilson got picked off twice and looked pretty awful in the pocket as well as out.  He did rush for 80 yards, which literally doubled his total for the year.  And even with that great running effort, Wilson was so bad this was an absolute slam dunk of a pick.

Sam Bradford was the ONLY QB who scored less fantasy points than Wilson this week. Before I move on to the RBs, allow me to leave you with a couple guys who outscored Russell Wilson in fantasy this week:

Josh McCown

Brock Osweiler

Scott Tolzien

Can I tell you unequivocally never to start Wilson again?  No, of course not.  He just beat the Patriots a couple weeks ago.  Should you ever feel comfortable with him as your QB again?  That’s another story.

RB       Frank Gore      15 rushes for 28 yards, 1 reception for 3 yards         3 fantasy points

All you have to do is check out Frank’s stat line and it’s totally clear why he is the recipient of this week’s Loser of the Week Award (sponsored by the good people at Fibber McGee’s).  Less than 2 yards a carry, 1 catch for a whopping 3 yards, and 3 total fantasy points against a pretty lousy road team in the Steelers will get you that distinction 9 times out of 10.  It was a truly terrible game.

Here’s all I’ll say about Frank Gore:

My instinct when I saw this game out of Gore was “yup, he’s old!  Too old to be a starting RB in the NFL!  Too many miles on that guy!  I knew it!  Everybody knew it!”  But then I looked at Gore’s stats for the year.  The truth is that Gore was ranked 9th amongst RBs in fantasy scoring heading into this game.  9th.  And he has had exactly 2 games (this stinker being one of them) that he scored less than 10 fantasy points in.  He has scored 7 TDs on the year which puts him 13th amongst all RBs, WRs, and TEs—above (just to name a few) Odell Beckham, Larry Fitzgerald, Dez Bryant, Julio Jones, Amari Cooper, Jeremy Hill, Mark Ingram, Demaryius Thomas, TY Hilton, Devontae Freeman, AJ Green, and LeVeon Bell.

I guess my point is that Frank Gore is a bad motherfucker, even if he put up a candy-ass game this week.  If he plays 4-5 more years I don’t think I’ll be that shocked.

WR      Jarvis Landry   4 receptions for 47 yards                    8 fantasy points

Man, I really like Landry.  But as I have said about DeAndre Hopkins—and even Landry himself earlier this year—you just cannot depend on a guy who is being thrown to by a garbage QB.  You just can’t.  And Ryan Tannehill is a garbage QB.  When you have thrown 12 touchdowns through 12 weeks, there’s only going to be so much to go around.

Landry had 7 receptions or more in 5 of the Dolphins’ first 6 games this season.  He has not reached that number in any game since then.  Landry has caught exactly 2 touchdown passes.  A player who we at the RSJ liked to be maybe a top 10 guy this season, Landry is outside the top 25 after this horrendous performance.  It’s more sad than anything else.

Same advice to Landry owners next year that I’d give to DeAndre Hopkins owners: He could be a solid WR2 on your fantasy team, but you absolutely cannot spend WR1 auction money, draft position, or anything else for these guys while they remain paired with such losers  at QB.  I’ve heard Tony Romo is going to be searching for a place to land for the last 2-3 years of his career.  If I were Landry (or Hopkins) I’d have him on speed dial.

TE        Eric Ebron        0 receptions for 0 yards                      0 fantasy points

Well, this is about as close to a no brainer as you can get in this business.  Prior to Thanksgiving’s embarrassment, an average game since Ebron came back from injury in Week 8 looked something like this: 6 receptions on 8 targets for around 80 yards.  That’s the definition of solid TE fantasy performance, and the definition of a guy with a high floor.  You’d have to call Ebron a must-start, right?

Enter reality.  Not only did Ebron fail to catch a ball on Thursday, he was only targeted ONCE.  Randomly, I happen to remember that play—Stafford overthrew him pretty badly.  Why?   Why did this happen???  I’m sure there is a long list of metrics and other stats that would be over my head that someone could give you that would explain why this went down the way it did.  But why waste your time reading page after page of gibberish when I know exactly why it happened already.

I had Ebron on my team.  I needed him to do well.  So he didn’t.  Because just like all of you, I firmly believe my wants and needs are somehow taken into account by NFL players every week.  Because, also like all of you, I am completely out of my mind when it comes to fantasy football.

Author

  • The Truth is the oldest (and wisest) member of the RSJ team. He loves reality TV, is skeptical of pass catching running backs, and thinks John Elway is the greatest quarterback of all time.

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