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NFL Draft

Fantasy Football: 20 Thoughts Recapping Week 12

  • The Draft Network
  • November 30, 2020
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Week 12 was wild, wacky, and downright weird at times. We saw crazy finishes, major fantasy returns, upsets, and more.

Before we turn the page to Monday Night Football (and Tuesday Night Football, maybe) and then the start of Week 13, here are my 20 fantasy football takeaways from Sunday, ranked in no particular order. Please note, this article will be updated with the final note after Sunday Night Football.

  1. AUSTIN EKELER: Ekeler made his triumphant return on Sunday. While he was stuffed on the ground for the most part, he received a team-high 16 targets, catching 11 of them for 85 yards—so much for Anthony Lynn saying he was going to use the running back sparingly. If this is the workload Ekeler gets when he’s not 100%, he absolutely can keep up this production moving forward. He’ll assume his old place as an RB1 from here on out. 
  2. JARVIS LANDRY: Landry was a gut call in this past week’s Sneaky Starts column because we had not seen what the Browns’ passing offense would look like without Odell Beckham Jr. in reasonable weather. While Baker Mayfield’s struggles weren’t fully encapsulated in his box score, Landry took full advantage of his looks with an 8/143/1 performance on a team-high 11 targets. Landry needs to be back on your fantasy radar as a possible flex option as Cleveland’s No. 1 pass-catching option, even on a run-first team. 
  3. JAMES ROBINSON: There’s not a ton of actionable advice here because you’re starting Robinson every week anyway. However, he solidified himself as an RB1 period, end of story, regardless of the matchup player over the last two weeks. He had nearly 100 total yards in a terrible matchup against Pittsburgh last week, then had 159 total yards and a score with Mike Glennon starting at quarterback. That’s absolutely tremendous. He deserves even more love than he’s already gotten and a shoutout in this space. 
  4. DERRICK HENRY: Speaking of players who deserve more love, Henry absolutely demolished the Colts to the tune of 178 yards and three touchdowns—he had all three scores and more than 100 yards on the ground in the first half alone. This is the time of year where Henry really starts to heat up. And given his matchups down the stretch (vs. CLE, @ JAX, vs. DET, @ GB, @ HOU), it’s hard to argue that he isn’t and won’t be the RB1 the rest of the way. Watch out if you face off against him in the fantasy playoffs. 
  5. NYHEIM HINES: Should Jonathan Taylor miss next week’s game against the Texans, Hines is the Colts back you want in fantasy in a great matchup. Although he wasn’t terribly effective on the ground, he got a team-high 10 targets on Sunday, catching eight of them for 66 yards. That pass-catching role is secure, and he should have more success on the ground against a putrid Houston run defense. 
  6. EVAN ENGRAM: Engram had his best game of the season on Sunday, despite the Giants juggling quarterbacks due to Daniel Jones’ in-game injury. Engram caught a 53-yard pass on the opening drive and finished with six receptions for 129 yards in total. Provided that Jones’ hamstring injury isn’t a long-term ailment, Engram will continue to be in the top-10 tight end conversation—although that’s not exactly a huge compliment. 
  7. TYLER BOYD/TEE HIGGINS: The expectations for the Bengals’ offense were low, but they somehow undercut them. While they put together a nice drive late in the fourth quarter (aided by a questionable DPI in the end zone), Cincinnati failed to move the ball effectively and it sapped the fantasy value of all involved. Boyd finished with three catches for 15 yards, while Higgins had a late touchdown to save his fantasy day. Unfortunately, as far as the future is concerned, I’m bearish on both of their fantasy upsides. Consider them both WR4s moving forward.
  8. DEVANTE PARKER: The return of Ryan Fitzpatrick led to a huge day for Parker, who had his second-best game of the season with eight receptions for 119 yards. While Miami’s offense—real-life and fantasy—has looked shaky at best (outside of the Arizona game) with Tua Tagovailoa at the helm, Fitzpatrick revived the fantasy relevance of Parker and tight end Mike Gesicki. There has been talk that Tagovailoa’s thumb injury may keep him out more than just this week. If so, Parker is a WR3 next week against the Bengals. 
  9. KENYAN DRAKE: Since returning from his multi-week injury, Drake has been a very solid fantasy performer. He now has a mini touchdown streak going with scores in each of his last two games, including two on Sunday against New England. Drake’s lack of touchdowns in the first month of the season left many fantasy managers with buyer’s remorse, but he’s repaying those who were patient with him. Drake will be near the bottom of the RB1 discussion from here on out.
  10. JAMES WHITE: Despite scoring two touchdowns, I’m still in wait-and-see mode on White. The Patriots’ offense as a whole was quite underwhelming and White had all of one target (a negative-1 yard catch). Damien Harris was still the lead back (as expected) and Sony Michel should slowly start to take on a bigger role now that he’s active. It’s going to be hard to trust when you can start White.
  11. JOSH JACOBS: This week’s game against the Falcons was a true “throw the tape away” game for the Raiders. The effort and execution from Las Vegas all around was beyond poor, and Jacobs suffered as a result. As this game started to get out of hand early, Jacobs was limited to just seven carries for 27 yards. He did catch all three of his targets for 17 yards, but he also fumbled. Jacobs hasn’t been as dynamic as he was last season, but he does have three multi-score games. Still, he’s more of a high-end RB2 at the moment with the ability to jump up a tier in the right matchup.
  12. BRIAN HILL: Calvin Ridley got you 17 fantasy points so you’re happy with that. All other Falcons? Major disappointments. That includes Hill, who was incredibly ineffective all game and needed some late work with the game already decided to even get over the 50-yard mark. At the moment, no one is expecting Todd Gurley to miss multiple games so this may be a moot point, but feel free to sit Hill and Ito Smith next week against the Saints regardless. 
  13. OLABISI JOHNSON: Johnson led all Vikings with 74 receiving yards and tied for a team-high seven receptions with Adam Thielen out this week. If Thielen misses another game on the COVID list, Johnson should be on your fantasy radar next week against the Jaguars. Johnson has had success when he got to be Minnesota’s WR2 over the last couple seasons and he would be a WR4 in my rankings if he gets that opportunity against a very beatable Jacksonville secondary next week. 
  14. PATRICK MAHOMES/TYREEK HILL: The greatness of Mahomes doesn't go unnoticed, but should be talked about even more. He was absolutely sensational in this game against a previously stout Buccaneers defense. He finished with 462 passing yards and three touchdowns, which also led to a good day for Hill—and by "good day" I mean an out-of-this-word performance. Hill had a stat line of 13/269/3, clearly the best fantasy performance of the season. It's not like you're not playing these two every single week, but true greatness can't be ignored just because we have high expectations.
  15. CLYDE EDWARDS-HELAIRE: CEH's workload has been frustrating to say the least. He shows so much promise one week and feels like an afterthought in the offense the next. He finished with 11 carries for 37 yards, but had four carries for one yard at one point deep into the game. He's not much of a factor in the receiving game, so until the Chiefs commit to running the ball more frequently, he'll be a high-variance RB2. That's sad because he looks so dynamic when the Chiefs lean on him.
  16. DEEBO SAMUEL/RAHEEM MOSTERT: The return of Samuel and Mostert played a significant role in San Francisco's upset win over the Rams on Sunday. Samel was a fantasy monster with 11 catches for 134 yards on a whopping 13 targets. He looks healthy and ready to push for WR2 territory regardless of the quarterback situation. As for Mostert, he got into the end zone and had a nice fantasy day even if he wasn't fantastic. He'll be a weekly RB2 going forward as he gets more up to speed.
  17. ALVIN KAMARA: The Saints had four rushing touchdowns against the Broncos but none of them went to Kamara, which was obviously frustrating for fantasy managers. However, it's important to remember Kamara is still nursing a foot injury and the Saints are limiting his workload a bit. It's not something that should be worried about too much during the fantasy playoffs, but is something to keep an eye on next week even though he didn't carry an injury designation heading into Sunday's game.
  18. ANTONIO GIBSON: Let’s turn quickly to a couple of Thanksgiving takeaways. Gibson was sensational against the Cowboys yet again. He’s had his two best games against them and did not disappoint his fantasy managers who were chowing down on Thursday. The rookie finished with 115 rushing yards and three touchdowns en route to his best fantasy performance of the season. I ranked Gibson as an RB1 heading into the week and he needs to stay there for the remainder of the season, particularly in the matchups following the Pittsburgh game next week. Gibson has been a gem for fantasy managers who took a chance on him. He’s running hard and effectively on a weekly basis.
  19. T.J. HOCKENSON: There wasn’t nearly as much hype surrounding Hockenson this season as there was last year as a rookie, but he’s having quite the campaign. He came into Week 12 as the TE4 in total points an TE5 in average points per game. He had 5/89/0 (13.9 fantasy points) on Thursday against the Texans and now has at least 9.3 fantasy points in all but one game this season—and double-digit points in eight of his 11 games. That consistency at this position is incredibly valuable. He deserves to be a top-five tight end on a weekly basis with a strong argument for being ranked in the top three.
  20. AARON JONES: Jones' workload has been the subject of a lot of criticism in the fantasy community, but it's not as bad as many are making it out to be. He's not going to be a "traditional" fantasy scorer like Derrick Henry or Dalvin Cook, it's about the opportunities he gets in Green Bay's offense. Sure, I selfishly wish we saw more Jones and less Jamaal Williams, but it's also time we take a deep breath on the 'Packers don't use Jones" narrative.

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