Stars of Week 12 

QB: Philip Rivers, LAC: 27-33, 434 yards, 3 TDs, 0 INTs                                                    

RB: Alvin Kamara, NO: 5 carries, 87 yards, 1 TD (6 catches, 101 yards, 1 TD) 

WR: Julio Jones, ATL: 12 catches, 253 yards, 2 TDs 

TE: Zach Ertz, PHI: 10 catches, 103 yards, 1 TD                       

The suddenly surging LA Chargers took advantage of a Zeke-less Cowboys team on Thanksgiving, with Philip Rivers playing his best game of the season. Rivers threw for more than 400 yards while tossing 3 TDs. Rivers remains a high end QB2 for fantasy purposes. Saints rookie sensation Alvin Kamara continues to make his case as offensive rookie of the year, as the running back plays a lethal role in both the passing game and running game. Kamara’s a legit RB1, and will be one of the most commonly found players on championship teams this season. Falcons WR Julio Jones has had a disappointing season for those who selected him in the top 5 picks of the draft, as he came into the game with only one TD catch. Well, Jones’ performance against the Bucs is exhibit A as to why you can’t bench him. TDs can be fluky, and you don’t want to miss out when your stud player posts historic numbers in a game. Last but not least, Eagles’ tight end Zach Ertz has had a monster season, and the Bears had a close up view this past Sunday. Ertz has become a top 3 tight end, and with Carson Wentz’s ascension, he’ll remain one of the top TEs for years to come. 

Week 12 Takeaways – A Closer Look 

Each week we take a closer look at a handful of performances and sort out what such performances mean going forward. 

- Dion Lewis, RB, NE: 15 carries, 105 yards, 0 TDs 

Analysis: The Patriots have had quite an RB carousel this season. If you remember back in week one, James White and Mike Gillislee were the Pats’ key guys. Fast forward three months, and White had three carries this past week, with Gillislee a healthy scratch. Instead we have Dion Lewis, an old favorite of Bill Belichick, having re-emerged over the past few weeks to seize the go-to role, with Rex Burkhead as a close 1B. Lewis led the team with fifteen carries against the Dolphins, and very quietly Lewis has led the team in carries the past six weeks. While Belichick is difficult to trust when it comes to running backs, you should feel comfortable starting Lewis every week going forward, as he’s a clear RB2 for the rest of the season. For those of you with Burkhead, he slots in as an RB3/flex player. As for the remaining batch of Patriots’ RBs, they have no fantasy value going forward.

- Derrick Henry, RB, TEN: 13 carries, 79 yards, 0 TDs

- DeMarco Murray, RB, TEN: 12 carries, 9 yards, 1 TD

Analysis: Could we be witnessing a changing of the guard at RB for the Titans? It certainly appears that way, especially when you look at the results of the last few weeks. DeMarco Murray has failed to gain more than 20 yards in three of his last four games, averaging a paltry 1.86 yards per carry during this time. Over the same time period, Derrick Henry has averaged 4.85 yards per carry (over 39 carries), and has clearly been the better back. Unless their heads are lodged where the sun doesn’t shine, the Titans’ coaches have to be noticing the divergence in production between the two backs. Murray has been a terrific RB over the years, but with several years of tread on his NFL tires, he appears to have hit a wall. Going forward, Henry moves to RB2 territory, with RB1 upside if the coaches sit Murray on the bench. As for Murray, he should either be on your bench, or he can be dropped if you need the roster space.

- Dede Westbrook, WR, JAX: 6 catches, 41 yards, 0 TDs 

Analysis: Despite rumors to the contrary, the Jaguars to have a few weapons in the passing game. Whether or not QB Blake Bortles is one of them remains debatable, but nevertheless the Jaguars have had an interesting rookie make his debut for them over the past two weeks. Fourth round pick Dede Westbrook, who played collegiately at Oklahoma, fell to the mid-rounds due to off-field concerns, including being kicked out of an interview at the NFL combine. Thus, Westbrook’s character invites question, although his talent is undeniable. While Westbrook had a rather ho-hum day against the Cardinals, he did receive ten targets from Bortles. With lead WR Allen Robinson out for the year, Westbrook has a chance to seize a key role in the Jaguars’ limited passing game. The key word is ‘limited’, so Westbrook won’t be reversing your team’s fortunes on his own. But, for those of you in leagues with 12 or more teams, Westbrook has the potential to fill a WR3/flex role. And for dynasty leagues, he’s an interesting stash – especially if the Jaguars upgrade their QB for next year.

- Davante Adams, WR, GB:  5 catches, 82 yards, 1 TD

- Jordy Nelson, WR, GB: 3 catches, 11 yards, 0 TDs

Analysis: Jordy Nelson was a popular late first/early second round pick in fantasy drafts this year, and Nelson delivered handsomely for his owners – six TD catches in his first five games. Then Aaron Rodgers got hurt in week 6 against the Vikings, and Nelson’s production fell off a cliff. Nelson still sits at 6 TDs, and his yardage totals since the Vikings game are as follows: 13, 35, 20, 24 and 11. Rodgers’ injury has caused Nelson to morph from a WR1 to unplayable. Meanwhile, Davante Adams has developed a better connection than Nelson with backup QB Brett Hundley as Adams has scored two TDs during the post-Rodgers injury and has yardage totals as follows during the last five games: 12, 53, 90, 126 and 82. So as you can see, Adams has been especially strong over the last three weeks, and with Hundley appearing to figure things out versus the Steelers, you should have confidence that Adams can continue to function as a WR2 during the stretch drive. As for Nelson, he should sit on your bench until further notice.

Rapid Fire Pickups 

Each week we throw out potential free agent pickups from each position for deeper leagues, in each case 1) someone who has NOT been referenced above, and 2) a player available in most leagues.

QB: Tyrod Taylor, BUF

RB: Devontae Booker, DEN

RB: Rod Smith, DAL

WR: Josh Doctson, WAS

WR: Corey Coleman, CLE

TE: Ricky Seals-Jones, ARZ


Week 13 Rankings


  1. Tom Brady, NE (at BUF)
  2. Russell Wilson, SEA (vs. PHI)
  3. Carson Wentz, PHI (at SEA)
  4. Philip Rivers, LAC (vs. CLE)
  5. Cam Newton, CAR (at NO)
  6. Jared Goff, LAR (at ARZ)
  7. Drew Brees, NO (vs. CAR)
  8. Ben Roethlisberger, PIT (at CIN)
  9. Tyrod Taylor, BUF (vs. NE)
  10. Marcus Mariota, TEN (vs. HOU)
  11. Matt Ryan, ATL (vs. MIN)
  12. Case Keenum, MIN (at ATL)
  13. Derek Carr, OAK (vs. NYG)
  14. Matthew Stafford, DET (at BAL)
  15. Josh McCown, NYJ (vs. KC)
  16. Alex Smith, KC (at NYJ)
  17. Jameis Winston, TB (at GB)
  18. Brett Hundley, GB (vs. TB)
  19. Blake Bortles, JAX (vs. IND)
  20. Andy Dalton, CIN (vs. PIT)

Running Backs:

  1. Le'Veon Bell, PIT (at CIN)
  2. Todd Gurley, LAR (at ARZ)
  3. Leonard Fournette, JAX (vs. IND)
  4. Alvin Kamara, NO (vs. CAR)
  5. LeSean McCoy, BUF (vs. NE)
  6. Mark Ingram, NO (vs. CAR)
  7. Jordan Howard, CHI (vs. SF)
  8. Melvin Gordon, LAC (vs. CLE)
  9. Carlos Hyde, SF (at CHI)
  10. Dion Lewis, NE (at BUF)
  11. Lamar Miller, HOU (at TEN)
  12. Kareem Hunt, KC (at NYJ)
  13. Joe Mixon, CIN (vs. PIT)
  14. Christian McCaffrey, CAR (at NO)
  15. Marshawn Lynch, OAK (vs. NYG)
  16. Latavius Murray, MIN (at ATL)
  17. Tevin Coleman, ATL (vs. MIN)
  18. Alex Collins, BAL (vs. DET)
  19. Jamaal Williams, GB (vs. TB)
  20. Kenyan Drake, MIA (vs. DEN)
  21. Rex Burkhead, NE (at BUF)
  22. Jerick McKinnon, MIN (at ATL)
  23. Orleans Darkwa, NYG (at OAK)
  24. Isaiah Crowell, CLE (at LAC)
  25. Devonta Freeman, ATL (vs. MIN)
  26. Derrick Henry, TEN (vs. HOU)
  27. Devontae Booker, DEN (at MIA)
  28. Theo Riddick, DET (at BAL)
  29. Duke Johnson, CLE (at LAC)
  30. Danny Woodhead, BAL (vs. DET)
  31. Frank Gore, IND (at JAX)
  32. LeGarrette Blount, PHI (at SEA)
  33. Jay Ajayi, PHI (at SEA)
  34. Bilal Powell, NYJ (vs. KC)
  35. DeMarco Murray, TEN (vs. HOU)
  36. Jonathan Stewart, CAR (at NO)
  37. Austin Ekeler, LAC (vs. CLE)
  38. CJ Anderson, DEN (at MIA)
  39. Mike Davis, SEA (vs. PHI)
  40. Aaron Jones, GB (vs. TB)

Wide Receivers:

  1. Antonio Brown, PIT (at CIN)???
  2. Keenan Allen, LAC (vs. CLE)
  3. DeAndre Hopkins, HOU (at TEN)
  4. Julio Jones, ATL (vs. MIN)
  5. Mike Evans, TB (at GB)
  6. A.J. Green, CIN (vs. PIT)
  7. Adam Thielen, MIN (at ATL)
  8. Brandin Cooks, NE (at BUF)
  9. Michael Thomas, NO (vs. CAR)
  10. Davante Adams, GB (vs. TB)
  11. Doug Baldwin, SEA (vs. PHI)
  12. Alshon Jeffery, PHI (at SEA)
  13. Devin Funchess, CAR (at NO)
  14. Tyreek Hill, KC (at NYJ)
  15. Stefon Diggs, MIN (at ATL)
  16. Robby Anderson, NYJ (vs. KC)
  17. Demaryius Thomas, DEN (at MIA)
  18. Jarvis Landry, MIA (vs. DEN)
  19. Golden Tate, DET (at BAL)
  20. Larry Fitzgerald, ARZ (vs. LAR)
  21. Marvin Jones, DET (at BAL)
  22. Cooper Kupp, LAR (at ARZ)
  23. DeSean Jackson, TB (at GB)
  24. Emmanuel Sanders, DEN (at MIA)
  25. Rishard Matthews, TEN (vs. HOU)
  26. JuJu Smith-Schuster, PIT (at CIN)
  27. Sterling Shepard, NYG (at OAK)
  28. Mohamed Sanu, ATL (vs. MIN)
  29. Corey Davis, TEN (vs. HOU)
  30. Marqise Lee, JAX (vs. IND)
  31. Ted Ginn, NO (vs. CAR)
  32. Corey Coleman, CLE (at LAC)
  33. Jeremy Maclin, BAL (vs. DET)
  34. Sammy Watkins, LAR (at ARZ)
  35. Paul Richardson, SEA (vs. PHI)
  36. T.Y. Hilton, IND (at JAX)
  37. Jermaine Kearse, NYJ (vs. KC)
  38. Zay Jones, BUF (vs. NE)
  39. Nelson Agholor, PHI (at SEA)
  40. Jordy Nelson, GB (vs. TB)

Tight End:

  1. Rob Gronkowski, NE (at BUF)
  2. Travis Kelce, KC (at NYJ)
  3. Zach Ertz, PHI (at SEA)
  4. Jimmy Graham, SEA (vs. PHI)
  5. Evan Engram, NYG (at OAK)
  6. Jared Cook, OAK (vs. NYG)
  7. Hunter Henry, LAC (vs. CLE)
  8. Delanie Walker, TEN (vs. HOU)
  9. Jack Doyle, IND (at JAX)
  10. Kyle Rudolph, MIN (at ATL)
  11. Charles Clay, BUF (vs. NE)
  12. Austin Seferian-Jenkins, NYJ (vs. KC)
  13. Tyler Kroft, CIN (vs. PIT)
  14. Greg Olsen, CAR (at NO)
  15. Ricky Seals-Jones, ARZ (vs. LAR)
  16. Julius Thomas, MIA (vs. DEN)
  17. O.J. Howard, TB (at GB)
  18. Benjamin Watson, BAL (vs. DET)
  19. Tyler Higbee, LAR (at ARZ)
  20. Eric Ebron, DET (at BAL)

Defense/Special Teams:

  1. Jacksonville Jaguars (vs. IND)
  2. Los Angeles Chargers (vs. CLE)
  3. Los Angeles Rams (at ARZ)
  4. Baltimore Ravens (vs. DET)
  5. Pittsburgh Steelers (at CIN)
  6. Tennessee Titans (vs. HOU)
  7. New England Patriots (at BUF)
  8. Philadelphia Eagles (at SEA)
  9. Denver Broncos (at MIA)
  10. Chicago Bears (vs. SF)
  11. Kansas City Chiefs (at NYJ)
  12. New Orleans Saints (vs. CAR)
  13. Green Bay Packers (vs. TB)
  14. Minnesota Vikings (at ATL)
  15. Seattle Seahawks (vs. PHI)