It’s time to start wrapping up Week 12 in the NFL.
Fantasy football owners are getting nervous and excited all at the same time. Many are competing for that final playoff spot and are relying on a few other teams to lose, perhaps winning the overall points battle or head-to-head matchups.
But as usual, there are surprises, and they need to be acknowledged.
One of the biggest surprises in Week 12 has to be Chris Johnson. The Houston Texans have one of the worst defenses in the NFL in 2010, and they held Johnson to just five rushing yards on seven carries.
That’s not something you want to see out of your No. 1 overall pick when you’re in the playoff hunt.
Perhaps another big surprise was Ben Roethlisberger. Many started him in Week 12 expecting no less than 250 yards and two touchdowns. He failed to record a passing touchdown and hit 246 yards. I know I was disappointed with his performance against a weak secondary in Buffalo, especially after his recent two weeks.
But what about the top individual performers? How about the guys that you most likely didn’t start?
NFL Soup brings you the Top 10 Surprises and Fantasy Performances for Week 12.
10. Jay Cutler, QB, Chicago Bear
Cutler needs to stop playing with our fantasy minds. One week, he will throw one touchdown and two interceptions. The next week he will throw for three or four touchdowns and carry a fantasy team.
The latter was the case in Week 12 against a strong Philadelphia defense. Cutler finished with just 247 passing yards but threw four touchdown passes and didn’t throw an interception. He totaled at least 26 fantasy points for owners willing to start him.
9. Sam Bradford, QB, St. Louis Rams
The No. 1 rookie of the year candidate in many people’s minds continued his stroll. I started Bradford in many leagues because the matchup was golden, and he didn’t disappoint. He threw for 308 yards and three touchdowns. He did not throw an interception and has a TD-INT ratio of 11:1 in his last six matchups.
Bradford would be recognized more if his defense didn’t help lose him games, but he did amass around 24 fantasy points for owners.
8. Deion Branch, WR, New England Patriot
Branch makes this list because he has finally registered a score. As soon as he was traded to the Patriots, many of us believed he’d make a very nice impact, and he’s only been mediocre. In the last few weeks he has been targeted more, but on Thanksgiving, he managed his first and second touchdowns back in a Patriots uniform after catching three passes for 113 yards. Branch compiled 23 points for fantasy owners.
7. Jacoby Ford, WR, Oakland Raiders
Uh-oh, we have a rising Flex wide receiver. Jacoby Ford is showing fantasy owners that Week 9 was not a fluke. Ford exploded for another four catches and 108 yards, including a touchdown catch in the Raiders loss' to the Miami Dolphins. Ford is a sleeper and should be picked up in most leagues, but I’d still be skeptical to start him over more consistent Flex options. Ford scored around 23 points in Week 12.
6. Eddie Royal, WR, Denver Broncos
There’s good news in Denver, somewhat. There has been an Eddie Royal sighting! Royal broke a six-game streak without a receiving touchdown in Week 12 after catching a touchdown pass on six catches and 74 yards.
His downfield ability isn’t a question, and we know what he can do in the return game. But Royal has failed to put it all together for the entire season and has battled nagging injuries. Royal managed a solid 15 points in Week 12.
5. Fred Jackson, RB, Buffalo Bills
You really have to feel terrible for the Buffalo Bills. They keep losing close games against quality opponents because they can’t get it together on defense.
Most fantasy advice websites were telling you to sit Jackson in Week 12 because he was facing the Pittsburgh Steelers. But while he didn’t make a huge dent in the running game, carrying the ball 12 times for 59 yards, he sure made an impact in the passing game. Jackson caught five passes for 104 yards and a touchdown. If you had the balls to start him, you were rewarded with over 20 points. Lucky you.
4. Maurice Morris, RB, Detroit Lions
When a door closes, a window somewhere else is opened. That door was Jahvid Best’s toe injury, and Maurice Morris snuck through the window. Morris didn’t carry the ball all that much, but he made the most of all nine carries. He rushed for 55 yards and two touchdowns and even caught five passes for 20 yards. Morris isn’t a terrible Flex option going forward, but be cautious. He rewarded fantasy owners with 19 points.
3. Chad Henne, QB, Miami Dolphins
Henne was not even supposed to start in Week 12, but a late scratch of Tyler Thigpen made this fantasy performance possible. Henne threw for 307 yards and two touchdowns in Miami’s victory over the Raiders. His one interception cost him a 20-point fantasy performance, but for a guy playing with a badly injured knee and without his No. 1 wide receiver, you could say that’s pretty damn good.
2. Earl Bennett, WR, Chicago Bears
Bennett has been a deep league Flex option for most of the season. But if you started him today, you were happier than usual. He only caught four passes for 56 yards, but two of those passes were in the end zone. He’s not a great option in fantasy with the inconsistent play of Jay Cutler, but the 17 points today were pretty nice.
1. Ben Obomanu, WR, Seattle Seahawks
Say what? Who? Yeah, Ben Obomanu is becoming a fantasy option. I know he plays for the Seahawks, but he’s making plays. Obomanu has three touchdowns in his last four performances, and in Week 12 he lit up the fantasy world. He caught just five passes in the game, but his 159 yards were much needed for those owners who took a chance on him.
Obomanu rewarded fantasy owners with a nice 21 points, which was better than nearly every other wide receiver in the NFL.