Fantasy Football's Biggest Winners and Losers from NFL Week 12
With the way that the Thanksgiving Day games went, it looked like we could be in for a barn-burner of a week from a fantasy perspective, as any number of players posted huge numbers as we watched through a delicious haze of gravy.
That gravy hangover appears to have carried over into some very unevenly played games on Sunday, but that doesn't mean there weren't some gems scattered amongst the stinkers.
Here's a look back at the best (and worst) in fantasy football in Week 12.
Robert Griffin and the Winners at Quarterback
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OK, so I'll freely admit that I may have suggested that Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III was a risky start on Thanksgiving on the road against the Dallas Cowboys.
Boy, I could not have been more wrong.
Granted, Griffin's 311 passing yards is far from the week's highest output, but the youngster also threw four touchdown passes and rushed for 29 yards in a performance that erased any doubts as to whether Griffin's a no-brainer every-week start.
Other winners at quarterback: Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions (441 passing yards, two touchdowns); Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys (441 passing yards, three touchdowns, two interceptions); Tom Brady, New England Patriots (323 passing yards, three touchdowns), Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers (306 passing yards, 2 touchdowns, 52 rushing yards, two touchdowns)
Carson Palmer and the Losers at Quarterback
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Much was made this week of Carson Palmer making his return to Cincinnati on Sunday and how the veteran QB could have his vengeance on the team that turned its back on him (or vice versa, depending on your perspective).
With that said, from any perspective, it was easy to see that the team laughing last was the Bengals, who throttled the Raiders 34-10 and held Palmer to only 146 passing yards with a touchdown and an interception.
Other losers at quarterback: Josh Freeman, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (256 passing yards, zero touchdowns); Charlie Batch, Pittsburgh Steelers (199 passing yards, three interceptions)
Arian Foster and the Winners at Running Back
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Among the winners at running back was Arian Foster of the Houston Texans, who posted the best numbers of Turkey Day, as the fourth-year pro tallied over 110 total yards and scored twice to help propel the Texans to a wild win over the Detroit Lions.
Other winners at running back: BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Cincinnati Bengals (129 rushing yards, six receiving yards, touchdown); Alfred Morris, Washington Redskins (113 rushing yards, touchdown), Trent Richardson, Cleveland Browns (85 rushing yards, 27 receiving yards, touchdown); Michael Bush, Chicago Bears (60 rushing yards, two touchdowns), Bryce Brown, Philadelphia Eagles (178 rushing yards, 11 receiving yards, two touchdowns)
Ronnie Hillman and the Losers at Running Back
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Rookie running back Ronnie Hillman was a very popular pickup on fantasy waiver wires this week, as all indications were that it would be Hillman who would take over as lead back for the Denver Broncos with Willis McGahee injured.
Those tricky Broncos.
It was Knowshon Moreno and not Hillman who drew the start against the Kansas City Chiefs, and after gaining all of nine yards on three carries the Hillman gambit may have cost more than a few fantasy squads a playoff spot.
Other losers at running back: Jonathan Dwyer, Pittsburgh Steelers (nine carries, 17 yards, fumble lost); Rashard Mendenhall, Pittsburgh Steelers (four carries, six yards, fumble lost); Marshawn Lynch, Seattle Seahawks (19 carries, 46 yards)
Dez Bryant and the Winners at Wide Receiver
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You may be noticing something of a trend with the "winners" on this list, but not only does wide receiver Dez Bryant of the Dallas Cowboys carry on our tradition of big Thanksgiving performances, but he also continued a little tradition all his own.
The 24-year-old has been on an absolute tear of late, and Bryant kept that momentum rolling and then some by torching the Washington Redskins for eight catches for 145 yards and two touchdowns in a Dallas loss.
Other winners at wide receiver: Calvin Johnson, Detroit Lions (eight catches, 140 yards, touchdown); Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons (6 catches, 147 yards, touchdown); Cecil Shorts, Jacksonville Jaguars (four catches, 105 yards, touchdown); Andre Johnson, Houston Texans (nine catches, 188 yards)
Mike Wallace and the Losers at Wide Receiver
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Granted, with Charlie Batch at quarterback, expectations needed to be tempered for wide receiver Mike Wallace headed into the Pittsburgh Steelers' matchup with the Cleveland Browns. But with fellow starter Antonio Brown out, one had to think that Wallace would at least see some action.
One would think.
However, no one thought the Steelers offense would be as catastrophically bad as it was in Week 12, and by the end of the game, Wallace had hauled in a whopping one catch for nine yards.
Other losers at wide receiver: Brian Hartline, Miami Dolphins (two catches, 17 yards); Miles Austin (zero catches); Donald Jones, Buffalo Bills (four catches, 19 yards)
Dustin Keller and the Winners at Tight End
Week 12 was quite possibly the quietest all season from the tight end position in fantasy football, as the shadow of Rob Gronkowski's absence cast a pall over the position that apparently sucked all the fantasy mojo from them.
With that said, there were a smattering of solid games from some less-than-household names, and the five catches for 64 yards and a touchdown turned in by Dustin Keller of the New York Jets highlights a clean sweep by the guys who played on Thursday among the "winners" this week.
Other winners at tight end: Brandon Pettigrew, Detroit Lions (eight catches, 74 yards); Kyle Rudolph, Minnesota Vikings (five catches, 55 yards, touchdown)
Vernon Davis and the Losers at Tight End
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Last week's debut from Colin Kaepernick under center for the San Francisco 49ers seemed to spur a resurgence from tight end Vernon Davis, as Davis had one of his best games of the season against the Bears after a prolonged dry spell.
It appears that resurgence was a mirage, though, as outside of an ugly first-half drop, Davis was absolutely invisible during Sunday's contest with the New Orleans Saints (zero catches on one target).
Other losers at tight end: Scott Chandler, Buffalo Bills (two catches, 26 yards); Aaron Hernandez, New England Patriots (two catches, 36 yards)