Compiled by Dave Holcomb, Steve Schwarz and Max Zelenko
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
What do Tom Brady, Zach Mettenberger, Josh McCown, Brian Hoyer and Mark Sanchez have in common?
The answer is almost nothing. One is a future Hall of Fame quarterback and the other four are barely noteworthy.
Except in Week 12 where the five quarterbacks all threw for over 300 yards on Sunday.
Below are a few more things we observed:
Cleveland at Atlanta
Fantasy owners could care less that Cleveland Browns' quarterback Hoyer led the team to a game-winning field goal as time expired. What they do care about, is the fact that he threw three interceptions, without tossing a touchdown pass. Even with his 322 passing yards and 12 rushing yards, Hoyer had a rough afternoon for owners, with arguably the only positive thing coming out of Week 12, was that he will continue to be Cleveland's starting quarterback.
Atlanta Falcons' quarterback Matt Ryan does not have to worry about job security, but needs to cut down on his turnovers. He turned the ball over twice, throwing an interception and losing a fumble, yet Ryan was still able to put together a solid afternoon. He was 27-of-43 for 273 yards and two scores, marking just his second multi-touchdown performance over the past seven games.
At least Ryan was able to find some holes in the passing game, because Atlanta tailback Steven Jackson was unable to find any on the ground. Although he found the end zone for a change, Jackson rushed 13 times for only 34 yards (2.6 yards per carry). With Jackson not getting any younger and the Falcons having continuing issues along the offensive line, owners should not expect Atlanta to get their running game going anytime soon.
The Browns on the other hand performed very well on the ground. Rookie running backs Isaiah Crowell and Terrance West were both utilized, with Crowell having the bigger day (12 carries, 88 yards, 2 TD), and West leading the team in carries (14 carries, 62 yards). It seems like both halfbacks will be involved. Fantasy owners should like the sound of that.
Arguably, the most anticipated performance heading into Week 12, was the output of Cleveland receiver Josh Gordon, and he did not disappoint. Gordon recorded eight receptions for 120 yards, on 16 targets, making him an easy WR1 for the remaining games this season.
Atlanta receivers' Roddy White and Julio Jones came to play on Sunday as well. White led the team with nine receptions for 96 yards, and Jones notched his first touchdown in eight games despite being sick all week. Both wideouts will continue to be solid options for Ryan, and more importantly, for fantasy owners.
Tampa Bay at Chicago
If you had Chicago Bears' running back Matt Forte in your lineup, you should be pretty happy, as he was the one Chicago player who produced a solid day. Forte was our top-ranked tailback heading into Week 12. He made us look good with that decision, rushing for 89 yards and two touchdowns on 23 carries, along with chipping in five receptions for 23 yards. His two touchdowns were iconic, as he passed Bears legend Gale Sayers to become No. 4 on the Bears all-time in rushing touchdowns (40). Forte continues to be a dual-threat in both the running and passing games.
Surprisingly, quarterback Jay Cutler was not able to get going Sunday afternoon against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who were giving up the eighth-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks coming into Week 12 (according to Yahoo), allowing 18.9 points per game. Cutler threw for only 130 yards. He was able to notch one touchdown pass, but with owners expecting much more. It is time to realize that Cutler will consistently inconsistent, just as he has been throughout his career.
The guy who caught the touchdown pass was wide receiver Alshon Jeffery, yet, that was essentially the only highlight from Chicago's pass-catching trio. Unfortunately for fantasy owners, Cutler's inconsistency will continue to result in subpar games from Martellus Bennett, Brandon Marshall and Jeffery.
Cutler's counterpart, Buccaneers' signal-caller Josh McCown had a better afternoon finishing the day with 341 passing yards and one touchdown. However, McCown coughed the ball up three times (two interceptions, one lost fumble), significantly reducing his fantasy total.
On the other hand, since he was re-inserted as Tampa Bay's starting quarterback in Week 10, McCown has not thrown for less than 288 yards, and has five total touchdowns during that span making him a solid QB2.
Wideout Vincent Jackson had his first 100-yard game since Week 5, as he recorded five catches for 117 yards, and rookie receiver Mike Evans found the end zone yet again, scoring for the sixth time over the past four games. While
Evans and Jackson are expected to produce, but receiver Louis Murphy Jr's total came out of nowhere. Heading into the game, he was owned in just one percent of Yahoo leagues, but hauled in six passes for 113 yards. Murphy's totals were impressive, but with so many mouths to feed in Tampa Bay, owners should leave him on the waiver wire.
Hopefully fantasy owners did not start any of the Buccaneers' running backs. Tailback Doug Martin led the "attack" with 11 carries for 27 yards.
Cincinnati at Houston
The biggest question for fantasy owners in regards to the Cincinnati Bengals, heading into Week 12, was how the team would manage the work load of running backs Giovani Bernard and Jeremy Hill.
Well...both halfbacks were heavily involved on Sunday, and each player touched the ball the same amount of times. Hill led the team in rushing with 18 carries for 87 yards, while Bernard totaled 17 rushing attempts for 45 yards and caught two passes for 22 yards.
Hill had the better fantasy afternoon, with a short touchdown run in the third quarter. Seeing both tailbacks get extensive playing time, makes them both solid plays for the duration of the season.
Another Bengal who has battled an injury throughout 2014, is wide receiver A.J. Green. However, he seems to be fully healed from his toe injury, and topped 100 yards for the second consecutive week, recording 121 total yards on 12 receptions. Moving forward, Green will easily be a solid WR1.
Quarterback Andy Dalton was not overly impressive, throwing for 233 yards and an interception, but did hit Mohamed Sanu for a score. Coming off a three- touchdown performance in Week 11, fantasy owners were hoping for a little more production.
After playing well in his first-career start during Week 11, Mallett was unable to build off that performance, going 21-of-45 for only 189 yards, one interception, and zero touchdowns, proving to be nothing more than a QB2.
Mallett's rough afternoon directly affected the Texans' receivers. No player was able to reach 50 receiving yards.
One player that looked destined for a big day, was Texans' running back Alfred Blue, after totaling career-highs in carries (36) and rushing yards (156) last week. Halfback Arian Foster was officially declared inactive to start the day, but Blue was unable to capitalize, rushing for just 46 yards on 16 attempts, Foster is expected back next week so it is likely that we have already seen the best of Blue for 2014.
Jacksonville at Indianapolis
Many owners expected Indianapolis Colts's quarterback Andrew Luck to have a big day against a bad Jacksonville Jaguars' team. Although he played okay, throwing for 253 yards and a score, along with rushing for an additional 49 yards, Luck was not at his best, as he lost two fumbles. This was only the second game all season that Luck threw for less than 300 yards and fewer than two touchdown passes, Don't worry, even the best quarterbacks have bad days once in a while.
Ahmad Bradshaw season-ending injury was expected to elevate tailback Trent Richardson's workload and fantasy value. While he rushed 13 times for 42 yards and a touchdown, tailback Daniel Herron actually was credited for a start. Herron rushed 12 times for 65 yards and caught five passes for 31 yards. It appears to still be a shared backfield.
Colts' receiver T.Y. Hilton had a memorable day on Sunday. His wife gave birth to a baby girl, causing him to state that he would score a touchdown for little Eugenia. Hilton came through, catching four passes for 122 yards and that special touchdown. He has gone over 1,000 yards for the second consecutive season.
Jaguars' receiver Marqise Lee led the team with 52 receiving yards on three receptions. Quarterback Blake Bortles was the main reason why the team struggled, as he threw for only 146 yards and one interception. Owners need to leave Bortles on the bench, with him being a borderline QB2 ... at best.
Coming into Week 12, there was a ton of hype surrounding Jacksonville running back Denard Robinson, but unfortunately he disappointed. Robinson had 25 yards on 14 carries, and was even out gained by fellow halfback Toby Gerhart. Robinson did contribute four receptions for 47 yards, but he also lost a fumble.
Green Bay at Minnesota
Upset of the day - The Packers' first score wasn't via the pass. Instead they let Eddie Lacy score from one yard away.
Getting Lacy going turned out to be invaluable as he posted big numbers (138 yards from scrimmage, 2 TDs). He's run for over 100-yards just twice this season and both games were against the Vikings.
Second biggest upset of the day - Aaron Rodgers' two touchdown passes didn't go to Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb or even Davante Adams. One was caught by Richard Rodgers (no relation) and the other by Lacy.
It was obviously a quiet day for the Packers' big receivers. Hope that didn't keep you from getting into the fantasy playoffs.
Teddy Bridgewater still has a long way to go to be an NFL quarterback and even further to be a fantasy-worthy starter. His second-quarter interception wasn't even worthy of Miami Northwestern High School.
Ben Tate didn't run the ball today. Not surprising considering he doesn't know the plays.
Detroit at New England
I thought the return of Calvin Johnson to healthy status would be the end of Golden Tate, but Tate was solid with four receptions for 97 yards as Darrelle Revis held Megatron to 58 yards.
As suspected, the Patriots healthy respect for the Lions top-ranked run defense, led them to a very unbalanced offense almost exclusively featuring the pass. Nine passes in the first 10 plays and Brady ended up throwing a stunning 53 times for 349 yards.
So much for Jonas Gray. Newly-signed LeGarrette Blount scored twice from inside the 3-yard line. Final tally: Blount 12 rushes (78 yards), Shane Vereen eight rushes, Gray zero touches. The lesson here, boys and girls ... don't miss practice.
Tim Wright is the Patriots No. 2 tight end, but he caught his fifth and sixth touchdown passes of the season and only five others TEs have more, including his teammate Rob Gronkowski.
Wright was the only receiver to score, though the yards were pretty evenly distributed between Brandon LaFell, Julian Edelman and "Gronk."
Tennessee at Philadelphia
Justin Hunter (knee) was a question mark heading into the game, but caught a nice 40-yard touchdown pass and run. In his second season, Hunter only has 45 career catches, but seven are scores.
Rookie quarterback Zach Mettenberger found a friend in tight end Delanie Walker (5-155-0).
If you were hoping that Bishop Sankey's touchdown run last week was the start of him getting red zone carries, think again. It was Shonn Greene getting the red zone work.
Eagles special teams did it again. They started the game with a 107-yard kickoff return. It was their four kick return for a score this season and 10th score for fantasy owners who have started the Philadelphia defense.
Finally, LeSean McCoy looked as elusive as last season. Don't know why, but it's been a while. He rushed for 130 yards and a score on 21 carries.
Mark Sanchez wasn't very good throwing a pair of bad interceptions, but in the "Chip Kelly" up-tempo offense he still threw for 307 yards.
Arizona at Seattle
Andre Ellington continued to struggle running the ball, rushing 10 times for just 24 yards and leaving fantasy owners wondering what to do.
Ok, now we know why Drew Stanton is an NFL backup and not a starter.
The Seattle offense was determined to make Steven Hauschka the fantasy place- kicker of the week. In the first half they couldn't finish any of their drives and Hauschka hit from 27, 32 and 52 yards. They "field-goal fest" continued after the break as he hit a 40-yarder early in the third quarter.
Part of the reason they didn't get in the end zone more than once all day was Russell Wilson getting sacked seven times.
After consecutive 100-plus yard rushing games, Marshawn Lynch was a non-factor in this one. Wilson rushed for almost twice as many yards as Lynch (74-39).
St. Louis at San Diego
After beating Peyton Manning and the Broncos, the Rams defense tried to continue to show off their upgraded defense against Philip Rivers. It worked for a half as Janoris Jenkins intercepted a pass and ran in back 99 yards to put the Rams on top.
Rivers threw for just 106 yards in the first half, but was much more efficient after the break. He finished with 291 yards and a touchdown to Keenan Allen.
Allen had a very nice day and with a late reception as the Chargers tried to run out the clock earned his fantasy owners the 100-yard bonus.
Ryan Mathews was back and healthy. It was particularly evident on his 32-yard touchdown run that also put him over the century mark. Then he hurt his shoulder, didn't play again, and fantasy owners are left wondering about next weekend. Deja vu?
Miami at Denver
Miami built a 14-3 lead on their running game. Lamar Miller rushed five times for 49 yards and both Ryan Tannehill and Daniel Thomas posted short touchdown runs.
Unfortunately, in the second half when the Broncos offense opened up, the Dolphins couldn't match the firepower.
Ten of the Broncos first 14 plays were running plays and fantasy owners were wondering what team was inside the Denver uniforms?
When they finally decided to pass, however, they got three scores from the combination of Peyton Manning-to-Demaryius Thomas.
C.J. Anderson posted another big fantasy total rushing 27 times for 167 yards and the go-ahead score. It doesn't seem to matter what running back is behind Manning, the threat of his passing game makes them all fantasy stars.
Wes Welker scored in Week 12. Normally that isn't significant, but it was his first one since Week 7 and just the second one all season. He's still not fantasy worthy these days.
Washington at San Francisco
Saying Robert Griffin III didn't do much would be an understatement. He was 11-of-19 for 106 yards, got sacked five times, and lost a fumble in the fourth quarter.
Alfred Morris was the only viable offensive weapon, rushing for 125 yards and a touchdown.
In case you have not been paying attention, Colin Kaepernick's favorite receiver isn't Vernon Davis or Michael Crabtree, it's Anquan Boldin. Today he caught nine balls for 137 yards and a touchdown.