You know, there are certain times when you have to fight the urge to just stand up in a crowded and room and scream out "It's hard work being this good!" Not one person around the NFL even mentioned the name Latavius Murray before Thursday when the Raiders came out and said his role would expand for their Thursday night game. Well, except me that is because I write my projections on Wednesday and they are posted early Thursday before teams have spoken to the media.
Then we have Jonas Gray; just last week Gray scored four touchdowns and was touted as the must-own player from every fantasy outlet on the planet. Well, except here on Bengals.com because I told you to not buy into the hype!
I have to admit that this week was horrible for fantasy football because the #1 overall player this week was Justin Forsett with 182 rushing yards and 2 touchdowns. Stats were down across the board and league totals reflected as much. And while I understand that nobody is 100 percent accurate in sports, there is a CLEAR difference between those who know what they are doing and those who are just throwing darts at a dartboard. Those people are just hoping to hit the bullseye every now and then. But then you already know that which is why you come here instead of going there!
Ryan Tannehill – Dolphins: Tannehill and the Dolphins are one of those offenses that you love to hate because you couldn't predict what they would do from game-to-game if your life depended on it. This week Tannehill didn't light it up with yards (228), but his 4 TDs (3 passing, 1 rushing) and one INT were good enough to rank him #2 on NFL.com for QBs.
Eli Manning – Giants: The enigma that is Eli Manning has resurfaced! Last week was one of the worst weeks possible for a [Eli] Manning as he played pitch-and-catch with the defense for 5 interceptions. But as true puzzles go, he turned it around the very next week by throwing for 338 yards, 3 TDs, and just 1 INT. Here is a sneak preview for Thursday: the Giants play the Jaguars in Week 13, making Eli Manning a strong QB streamer.
C.J. Anderson – Broncos: The Broncos are down to Anderson on the RB depth chart thanks to injuries to Ronnie Hillman and Montee Ball, but it is proving to be no big deal this year. Anderson finished Week 12 with 27 carries for 167 yards and a touchdown, then added 28 more yards on 4 receptions. He's shown himself to be a good all-around back the last three weeks, and he might just keep the starting job even when Hillman and Ball are back and healthy if he keeps playing like this.
Latavius Murray – Raiders: Who told you to pick up Murray before anyone else even knew his name? That's right, me! Murray set an NFL record by rushing for over 110 yards on fewer than 5 carries (4 carries for 112 yards). As if that isn't impressive enough, his 90-yard TD run (he finished with 2 TDs) was the longest play by any player this season! Murray isn't the second coming of Bo Jackson or anything, but I see no reason for the Raiders to give snaps to Darren McFadden or Maurice Jones-Drew again this season as long as Murray is healthy enough to play. He needs to be owned in all leagues outside of the small 8 and10-team leagues unless you are desperate at RB.
Jeremy Hill – Bengals: Hill continues to pay dividends for fantasy owners as he racked up 87 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries, plus added 9 yards from his lone reception in Week 12. Hill and Giovani Bernard both finished with 19 touches, so the workload is being split down the middle right now. With that said, Hill holds great fantasy value going forward and should be considered a RB2 with RB1 upside in Week 13 against an inept Bucs run defense.
Odell Beckham – Giants: If you haven't seen the catch that ODB made in the 2nd quarter on Sunday, you either don't watch SportsCenter or don't have a single friend who likes football. Sure, Beckham racked up 10 catches for 146 yards and 2 TDs against the Cowboys this week. But all that pales in comparison to the undoubted play of the year! Beckham is only owned in 59.9 percent of NFL.com leagues, begging the question of why so little?
Anquan Boldin – 49ers: Boldin has started to really heat up in fantast football the past six weeks with averages of 6.7 receptions and 87 yards. And to make things a little nicer for fantasy owners trusting enough to start him, he has spread out 4 touchdowns over those games. This week he hauled in 9-of-12 targets for 137 yards and a touchdown. The 49ers face the Seahawks in Week 13, so you need to be aware and beware.
Mohamed Sanu – Bengals: Everyone in fantasy land knows to start A.J. Green every week when he is on the field, but Sanu has become more of a question mark as he slides back into the WR2 role for the Bengals. This week he saw 7 targets, hauling in 5 of them for 48 yards and a touchdown. I will admit that his big-play potential is probably gone with Green on the outside, but when teams shift a safety over the top to help with Green, that is where Sanu can go to work and score touchdowns. He is certainly worth owning, but should be considered a WR3 for fantasy purposes moving forward.
Timothy Wright – Patriots: I'm convinced that if Bill Belichick played fantasy football he wouldn't draft a single Patriots player because he has no clue who will do what from week-to-week. Wright was on the field for a season-high 61 snaps this week thanks to the "12" package the Patriots employed, which produced 5 catches for 36 yards and 2 touchdowns. Wright is a high risk/high reward type of player that is 100 percent TD dependant for fantasy value. Own and play him at your own risk.
Cincinnati Bengals defense: It's not every day that you see a safety in the NFL, but that is just what the Bengals defense showed fans this week when they stuffed Alfred Blue in the endzone. With one of their best defensive performances of the season, the Bengals limited the Texans offense to just 7 points (2 FGs, plus extra point) while getting a sack, an interception, and that safety we talked about earlier. When all was said and done for Week 12, the Bengals finished with a top-10 fantasy defense. And with the Bucs on tap next week, you can keep them plugged in as your fantasy defense once again.
Robert Griffin III – Redskins: The trainwreck that is RGIII has struck again as he managed to finish with just 106 yards passing (11-of-19 passing) with no touchdowns and no interceptions this week. What is more amazing is that Coach Jay Gruden is sticking with the disappointing QB despite him averaging 173.8 YPG passing in five games this season. I personally wouldn't own RGIII at this point as you can be sure he will be yanked from a game at the first sign of trouble going forward if Gruden wants to keep his job.
Jay Cutler – Bears: Speaking of people keeping their jobs, one has to wonder how much longer Bears fans will support the team with their offense struggling to move the ball despite having Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffery, Matt Forte, and Martellus Bennett on it. This week Cutler disappointed fantasy owners yet again as he finished with just 130 passing yards and a touchdown. Cutler finished in the low 20's for fantasy QBs this week, and will be a hard guy to play against the Lions on Thanksgiving Day.
Jonas Gray – Patriots: I hate to say I told you so, but I TOLD YOU SO! Gray shocked the world when he carried the ball 37 times for 201 yards and 4 TDs in Week 11. But if you remember, I told you not to play him this week as you were seeing more fantasy than reality with Gray's workload. One fan (Scott MacDonald) even went as far as to tell me how I thought I was "so smart" because I was saying Gray would be a bust this week. Well, after missing practice and a team meeting on Friday, in addition to the Patriots signing LeGarrette Blount (12 rushes for 78 yards and 2 TDs in Week 12), Gray didn't log a single snap in Week 12. You can safely cut Gray if you picked him up.
Frank Gore – 49ers: Gore lived up to his name as his Week 12 performance was gory thanks to a stout Redskins run defense. He managed just 36 yards on 13 carries, and lost a fumble in the 4th quarter. At 31-years-old Gore's best days are behind him, and the 49ers seem to know it too. If you own Gore you are truly living "the struggle".
Michael Floyd – Cardinals: Floyd's fantasy value has hit rock bottom with Carson Palmer officially done for the year. This week Floyd saw just two targets, with one going for a 10-yard catch that was called back due to penalty. Floyd faces an anemic Falcons secondary in Week 13, but with Stanton under center I wouldn't count him as anything more than a dicey WR3 even with Larry Fitzgerald almost a lock to miss the game.
Reggie Wayne – Colts: The Jaguars limited Wayne to season-low 10 yards on 3 receptions on Sunday, and now those around Indianapolis are admitting that the 36-year-old WR has clearly lost a step. With ownership at 88.0 percent on NFL.com, Wayne is one of the more overrated fantasy players out there. At this point there probably isn't anything on your waiver wire worth owning. But, if there is, I'd give some serious thought to cutting Wayne for whatever there is.
Antonio Gates – Chargers: The future Hall of Fame TE isn't the yardage monster he once was, meaning he is pretty much a TD-or0bust kind of player these days. This week he managed to reel in both of his targets to finish with 2 receptions for 14 yards and no endzone visits. Gates has now gone 3-straight games without a touchdown, but he has a shot to redeem himself next week as the Chargers head out on the road to take on the Ravens.
Miami Dolphins defense: Playing against the Broncos and Peyton Manning pretty much ensures that your defense is a must-sit option in any fantasy format. That is what happened to a Dolphins defense that ranks out as the #4 fantasy defense this season. This week they allowed the Broncos offense to hang 39 points on the scoreboard, while only putting up a single sack and a recovered fumble for defensive stats. All totaled they lost their owners 1.00 points on NFL.com, meaning you could have played a bye week defense (or no defense at all) and been better off than playing the Dolphins defense in Week 12.
For those keeping track at home, I missed on starting Denard Robinson and Larry Donnell, as well as sitting Steve Smith this week. But, I was right on my other 13 start and sit picks. That gives me an accuracy rating of 81.3 percent for Week 12, breaking my three week stronghold on the 75 percent right mark.