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Failure to Launch

Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - It's the stretch drive, we're just a couple of weeks away from the fantasy playoffs so it's all hands on deck in fantasy leagues. With injuries depleting almost every fantasy owner's roster, Week 12 was time for your stars to step up and carry your team to victory.

Unfortunately, many of those you count as the "core" of your roster, "failed to launch" this weekend.

Let's start with the No. 1 overall selection back in August, Tennessee's superstar running back Chris Johnson (RapidDraft ADP 1.74). If ever there was a time to put the team on his back, it was this week for the Titans, who were forced to start rookie Rusty Smith. Heading into the game, Smith's "career" consisted of nine passes thrown in relief during the Week 11 game against Washington.

Fantasy owners had to figure that head coach Jeff Fisher, a pretty smart guy, would ride "CJ" as much as possible to take the pressure off his young rookie. Instead, what you ended up with was a seven-carry, five-yard rushing effort which "netted" you zero fantasy points.

"CJ" owners were not alone.

DeSean Jackson drew the ire of his head coach and fantasy owners after posting a two-catch, 26-yard, two-point effort on Sunday against the Chicago Bears. Jackson simply has too much talent to play at this level and Andy Reid made it clear in his post-game comments. I'd expect Jackson to go off on Thursday night against the Houston Texans' 32nd-ranked pass defense, but his performance, or lack of it, killed fantasy owners in Week 12.

At least Adrian Peterson suffered an ankle injury which explained his lack of production. "AP" will have an MRI on Monday after rolling an ankle. If it's not the dreaded "high ankle sprain" he could still be available in Week 13.

And while Peyton Manning's numbers were not the worst of his 2010 season, for the four-time NFL MVP, his performance was certainly disconcerting. The Colts showed no running game whatsoever, featured an offensive line that couldn't protect its quarterback and for the first time in a long time, took its cues from a mistake-prone Manning.

His opposite in Sunday night's game, Philip Rivers, skillfully led his team to a 36-14 victory, but earned just five fantasy points as he let the running game and defense rack up the big points.

A more complete list of Week 12 non-performers, at least from a fantasy standpoint, included Darren McFadden, Malcom Floyd, Dez Bryant, Terrell Owens, Sidney Rice, Randy Moss, Anquan Boldin and Reggie Wayne.

Top-10 Week 12 NFL Fantasy Underachievers
Player Team RuAtt YuYrd RuTD Rec RecYrd RecTD Pts
Malcom Floyd SD 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Dez Bryant DAL 1 0 0 0 0 0 0
Chris Johnson TEN 7 5 0 2 2 0 0
Terrell Owens CIN 0 0 0 3 17 0 1
Sidney Rice MIN 0 0 0 1 20 0 2
Randy Moss TEN 0 0 0 3 23 0 2
Anquan Boldin BAL 0 0 0 3 27 0 2
DeSean Jackson PHI 1 3 0 2 26 0 2
Reggie Wayne IND 0 0 0 5 42 0 4
Darren McFadden OAK 8 2 0 7 63 0 6


Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Steve Schwarz at sschwarz@sportsnetwork.com.

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