James Morris hails from Rio Rancho, NM and has been playing fantasy sports for just over 15 years. Not only does he write the Bengals fantasy section, but he also does the Miami Dolphins fantasy section. Crossing over, Morris writes the fantasy sections for the Minnesota Timberwolves in the NBA. Just send him an email and he will reply back the same day with your answer. Or, find him on Twitter (Fantasyguy23) and get all your NFL news before it hits the national media.
Carson Palmer’s return to Cincinnati went exactly how I thought it would as Palmer was almost outdone in yardage by Bengals RB
With the Steelers sliding down the standings thanks to their QB woes, the Bengals are right back in the mix and opening eyes around the country once again. Ben Roethlisberger said he is “going to try” when asked about a return in Week 13, but I honestly don’t see it happening. The Steelers face the division-leading Ravens next week, while the Bengals go on the road to face a Chargers team that has lost three games in a row.
Cam Newton – QB, Panthers: Cam I Am came up huge on Monday Night Football as he threw for 306 yards and 2 TDs, and ran for 52 yards and 2 more TDs. As we all know, touchdowns are king in fantasy football and Newton scored four of them here. That is good enough to put him in the No. 1 overall spot for Week 12 with 40 points in standard NFL.com scoring.
Andy Dalton – QB, Bengals: Dalton is by far one of the more underrated QBs in all of fantasy football. He finished this week ranked No. 5 at QB thanks to his 210 passing yards and 3 TDs. Every single week I have people asking if they should start Dalton and I have to ask why they would ask given that he is doing better than the guy they are considering starting over him. Dalton is a legit QB1 in all fantasy formats.
Chad Henne – QB, Jaguars: Henne finished with QB1 stats just as I said he would (261 yards, 2 TDs and 1 INT), but did you listen? I’m not a fan of the Jaguars offense as a whole, but the Titans defense is extremely generous. Next week he faces a Bills defense that gives up the seventh-most fantasy points to QBs at 22.2 PPG, so don’t cut him loose just yet.
Shane Vereen – RB, Patriots: Vereen is proof that flashy stats don’t mean as much as NFL fans would like them to. The little-owned RB (23.4 percent owned in NFL.com leagues) finished with 91 yards receiving on 2 catches, 42 yards rushing and a TD, which happens to be good enough for the No. 2 ranking for fantasy RBs in NFL.com PPR scoring.
Bryce Brown – RB, Eagles: I told you to start this kid, but did you listen? Brown finished Week 12 as the No. 1-ranked RB in NFL.com PPR scoring formats with 31 points thanks to his 178 rushing yards and 2 TDs. He did lose 2 fumbles and that is a real concern since not all teams are as generous with the run defense as the Panthers are. Whatever the future holds is yet to be seen for Brown, but I will take his stats this weekend all the way to the fantasy bank!
Cecil Shorts – WR, Jaguars: Shorts has been nothing short of stunning following the Jaguars Week 6 bye, racking up 28 catches, 542 yards receiving and 4 TDs (including this week). This week he finished with 4 catches for 105 yards and a TD. Shorts isn’t going to get a ton of catches, but the yards and frequent TDs make him a must-own player (23.8 percent owned in NFL.com leagues) while he is hot.
Davone Bess – WR, Dolphins: Bess quietly put up WR1 numbers this week in NFL.com PPR leagues with his 7 receptions for 129 yards. Bess has much more value in PPR leagues, but he has put together a string of solid games and should be looked at as a flex play going forward if the stats hold out.
Charles Clay – TE, Dolphins: The Dolphins TE is virtually unowned in all fantasy formats, but he overcame that and hauled in 6 passes for 84 yards and a TD this week. Those numbers were good enough for a No. 1 ranking for TEs in NFL.com PPR scoring formats, if you take into account that they have him listed as a RB and not a TE.
New England Patriots Defense: The Patriots put a good old-fashioned thrashing on the helpless New York Jets on Thanksgiving Day. They held them to just 17 points while racking up 4 recovered fumbles, 2 sacks, an INT and 2 defensive touchdowns. All totaled they finished with 27 points in NFL.com scoring, and the No. 1 ranking for fantasy defenses in Week 12.
Cleveland Browns Defense: The Browns were the beneficiaries to the Steelers turnover clinic that was put on for all to see. In the end the Browns amassed 5 recovered fumbles, 3 INTs and a sack while allowing just 8 points on the day. If Batch is back under center next week, I would have no problems whatsoever putting the Ravens defense as a top-tier fantasy defense.
St. Louis Rams Defense: This was a weekend where we saw more than one largely unowned fantasy defense step up and put up huge numbers for the few owners willing to take a chance on them. The Rams did a number on the Cardinals and their rookie QB (Ryan Lindley) as they finished with 4 INTs, 2 sacks, 2 defensive TDs and 17 points allowed. All those defensive stats were enough to give their few owners (6.1 percent owned in NFL.com leagues) 25 points for Week 12.
Aaron Rodgers – QB, Packers: As far as superstars go in the NFL, Rodgers tops the list. That makes it all the more shocking that he was only able to put up 219 yards passing, 1 TD and 1 INT. Rodgers finished the week ranked No. 21 for fantasy QBs in NFL.com leagues, scoring a modest 12 points. Chalk this one up to a bad game and try to forget about this as quickly as humanly possible.
Carson Palmer – QB, Raiders: Palmer was a Sit ‘em player in my Bengals article this week, and he didn’t disappoint in his return to Cincinnati. He finished the day with just 146 yards passing, 1 TD, 1 INT and a lost fumble. Those stats (or lack thereof) landed him roughly 7 points in NFL.com scoring, and a bottom three ranking for fantasy QBs.
Jay Cutler – QB, Bears: I warned you not to play Cutler, but did you listen? Cutler managed just 188 yards passing with a TD and a INT on that day. His return from a concussion was uneventful for fantasy owners and you will want to play him when the matchup is right, not as an every week starter.
Rashard Mendenhall – RB, Steelers: I warned people via Twitter and Facebook all week long to not play a single Steelers player, and they made me look like the smartest man on Earth this week. Can you believe that all four of the Steelers RBs fumbled, and lost them, in this one? Mendenhall did the unthinkable and finished with 6 yards rushing and 1 lost fumble, resulting in an astounding -1.40 points in NFL.com leagues. I have a feeling the Steelers would rather run Ben Roethlisberger out there in a full body cast in Week 13 rather than starting Charlie Batch again!
Ronnie Hillman – RB, Broncos: When it came out that he would not be the starter I told everyone to get him out and put Knowshon Moreno in. Hillman didn’t log his first touch until the second half of the game, and he finished with 9 yards rushing on the day. I personally would cut bait here and grab Moreno if you can, but if not just hold onto him and see if the Broncos get him involved more going forward.
Minnesota Vikings WR corps: Yes, ALL of them! Once Percy Harvin was declared out, I said on Twitter and Facebook that the only Viking I felt comfortable playing was Adrian Peterson (108 yards rushing, 6 catches for 30 yards). I did recommend Kyle Rudolph (5 catches for 55 yards and a TD) on Sunday to the Facebook and Twitter followers who asked. Jerome Simpson accounted for a single catch for a single yard, Michael Jenkins reeled in 2 passes for 17 yards, and the most impressive Vikings receiver was Jarius Wright, who finished with 7 catches for 49 yards.
DeSean Jackson – WR, Eagles: I’ve said this time and time again; Jackson is probably THE most overrated WR in all of fantasy football. WRs and TEs are boom or bust plays most weeks, but Jackson epitomizes the very essence of the phrase with his inconsistent play. This week he left the game at the end of the first quarter and totaled just 1 catch for 9 yards. He isn’t someone I would cut because he has big-play ability, but I would take this as a lesson learned when it comes time to draft in 2013.
Mike Wallace – WR, Steelers: The Steelers were doomed the second it was announced that Batch would be under center for this one. Wallace was only able to haul in one pass for 9 yards, and that is not what the 98.9 percent of NFL.com fantasy players who own Wallace want to see. Even though this wasn’t Wallace’s fault, stats are stats and Wallace didn’t put up many this weekend. I wouldn’t recommend playing any Steelers until Big Ben is back and healthy enough to play without limitations.
Randall Cobb – WR, Packers: Cobb was a victim of Rodgers's off night, and was only able to finish with 4 catches for 39 yards and no TDs. Those numbers were bad enough to rank him No. 51 among fantasy WRs in Week 12, not even good enough to be a flex player. Like Rodgers, there are better days ahead for the Packers offense.
Antonio Gates – TE, Chargers: Despite the Chargers and Ravens going deep into overtime, Gates was only able to get 13 yards receiving on 2 catches. Philip Rivers finished with low-end QB2 stats (228 yards passing and 1 TD) and wasn’t worth playing as I predicted, and because of that Gates also was not worth playing. TE is an all-or-nothing fantasy position and even fantasy stud TE Jimmy Graham had a nothing kind of day (4 catches for 33 yards).
Houston Texans Defense: The Texans have had one of the top fantasy defenses all season long, but the Lions figured them out on Thursday and made them finish as one of the worst fantasy defenses in the NFL this week. The Texans were able to get 3 sacks and a recovered fumble, but their 31 points allowed killed any hope of fantasy value and they put up just 4 fantasy points total this week.