Week 12′s Sunday was jam packed full of great performances and equally as stuffed full of fantasy hope crushing duds. Bad matchups were overcome (Antonio Brown, Philip Rivers) and matchups that looked pillow soft proved to be tougher than anticipated (Ben Tate, Victor Cruz). No matter which end of the fake football spectrum you fell on, Week 12 is nearly complete which means the fantasy playoffs are just around the corner. With a full Turkey Day slate of games just a few days away there is no time to delay, so let’s dive right into the highlights and lowlights from Sunday’s action:
Josh Gordon: Just as Calvin Johnson did last week, Josh Gordon roasted the Pittsburgh Steelers. Gordon was targeted 17 times and hauled in 14 passes for an astounding 237 yards and a touchdown. Gordon now has topped 125 yards receiving in five of nine games in 2013 and is averaging 109.8 yards per game. Not even a quarterback change from Jason Campbell to Brandon Weeden held Gordon back this week, as he is a stone cold WR1 for now and the foreseeable future.
Tiquan Underwood: The man with the baddest flat top in the NFL turned in a nice performance on Sunday, as he snagged three catches for 108 yards and two touchdowns. Underwood’s day was boosted by an 85 yard touchdown catch and he has yet to catch more than three passes in a game this season. In other words, leave Carrie’s brother on the waiver wire.
Eddie Lacy: The Green Bay rookie has been a stud in the running back department all year, but this week he showed off his receiving skills as he tallied career highs in catches (6) and receiving yards (48) to go along with 110 rushing yards and a score. Whether it is Scott Tolzien, Matt Flynn, Aaron Rodgers or Brett Favre who starts at quarterback for Green Bay on Thanksgiving, Lacy will continue his solid rookie season.
Philip Rivers: Following two consecutive one-touchdown games and facing the stout Kansas City defense, Philip Rivers looked entirely benchable heading into Week 12. How did Rivers respond? By throwing for 392 yards and three touchdowns, of course. Philip has had a very nice 2013 season and will look to keep this momentum rolling at home against Cincinnati next week. Rivers’ fantasy playoff schedule of NYG, @DEN, OAK is looking mighty tasty.
Zac Stacy: Stacy took advantage of a nice matchup against Chicago’s soft run defense early, as he ran for 87 yards and a touchdown before leaving Sunday’s game with a concussion. Stacy did not return and will be evaluated further during the week. This was terrible news for Stacy owners, as backup running back Benny Cunningham came in to clean up the rest of Stacy’s leftover production and ran for 109 yards and a score himself. If you’re a Stacy owner, be sure to keep Cunningham in your waiver wire crosshairs and stay up on news out of St. Louis this week.
Mike Wallace: Ryan Tannehill hit Wallace with a 53 yard touchdown pass early in Miami’s Week 12 game, and the Dolphins duo ended up with 127 yards on the day. This was Wallace’s highest yardage output since Week 5 and he should remain a resident of WR3 town as his boom or bust nature leaves him as a risky fake football playoff start.
Ben Tate: Fantasy football owners of Texans running back Ben Tate were licking their chops heading into a Week 12 contest with the buttery soft Jacksonville run defense, and Tate rewarded them with a healthy seven carries for one yard. Yes, one yard. Go outside in your front yard and jump off your porch. Congrats, you just traveled more distance than professional running back Ben Tate did on seven tries. After watching fellow running back Dennis Johnson enter the game and run for 74 yards on 13 carries, Tate has now officially squandered a huge opportunity with Arian Foster injured. Snag Johnson off waivers if you need RB help, as Tate may be an irrelevant option come fantasy playoff time.
Kendall Wright: The NFL’s least talked about stud wide receiver finally found the end zone on Sunday, as Wright caught six passes for 103 yards and a score. Whether Jake Locker or Ryan Fitzpatrick is under center, Wright has been terrific all season and is now averaging just under six catches per game in 2013. Wright’s low touchdown total will likely keep his 2014 fantasy draft stock low, which is just how we like it. This guy has a neon bright future ahead.
Andre Brown: Brown had a huge game on Sunday when the Giants faced the Cowboys, as he rumbled his way to 127 yards on the ground. Brown didn’t find the end zone in this one, but his three game average of 102.7 rushing yards per game since returning from injury will likely get him a pass from fantasy owners. Washington is up next for Brown and the Giants, which means Brown owners have a RB1 on their hands once again for Week 13.
Victor Cruz: When Hakeem Nicks was declared inactive for New York’s Week 13 game against the terrible Dallas secondary, Victor Cruz appeared to be in line for a big ballgame. Much to the dismay of Cruz owners, our salsa dancing pal played the role of “Ben Tate of Wide Receivers” instead, by turning in a stat line of two catches and 27 yards. Cruz ‘ hot start to the season seems like a distant memory, as the Giants passing attack remains shaky at best. After blowing numerous soft matchups with weak pass defenses, a Week 13 matchup with Washington is hard to get excited about for Cruz and his quarterback.
Michael Floyd: Larry Fitzgerald led the Cardinals in targets (11) and touchdowns (2) on Sunday, but Floyd’s performance was noteworthy as well. The young wide receiver out of Notre Dame is really hitting his stride of late, as he caught seven passes for 104 yards on Sunday for his second consecutive big week. It’s beginning to look like Floyd could be a fantasy playoff force and has buckets of upside to spare. I would like to sign up for a 2014 fantasy wide receiver crew of Michael Floyd, Kendall Wright, and Keenan Allen, please. That sounds good. Floyd and the Cardinals get Philadelphia next week, which means another big week is coming.