Fantasy Football: Five Things We Learned From Week 12
1. The Dallas Cowboys offense–besides Dez Bryant–is no longer fantasy friendly
Let’s take a look at the average fantasy outputs of some key players on the Cowboys offense over their last five games.
Tony Romo- 15.2 PPG
DeMarco Murray- 10 PPG (3 games)
Jason Witten- 7.6 PPG
Terrance Williams- 7.4 PPG
For what’s supposed to be one of the leagues most potent offenses and a reliable source of fantasy points over the last few years, those are some pretty mediocre numbers. No Cowboys is ranked higher than 8th at their position (Witten at TE), something we also aren’t accustomed to.
Watching the games, it’s easy to see why. Teams are double-teaming Bryant in bracket coverage, which should open up space for Witten and Williams over the middle, but they just aren’t getting any separation from defenders, forcing Romo to constantly check down.
In addition, the running game with Murray has been non-existent because teams are scoring early and often against an injury-depleted defense, forcing the Cowboys into throw mode early. A running back as talented as Murray shouldn’t be averaging 11.3 carries over his last three games playing a full compliment of snaps. It’s inexcusable.
I’m not ready to completely throw in the towel on the Cowboys offense besides Bryant with juicy match-ups against OAK, CHI, GB, and WSH on tap, but I’m lowering expectations until I see otherwise.
2. Andre Brown is a top 10 running back going forward
Brown has bounced from team to team over the last few years, never settling in to a significant role.
Over the last couple years with the New York Giants, every time he was primed for more carries, an injury derailed him.
Now, in New York, he’s the GUY.
Since returning from injury in Week 10, Brown leads all RB with 25.6 touches per game that he’s been able to turn into 116.6 total yards per game and a touchdown.
Keep riding the guy right through the fantasy playoffs, and enjoy.
3. Peyton Manning is human
Peyton has eclipsed the 300 yard mark nine times this season, has thrown for three touchdowns or more seven times, and produced 20+ fantasy points eight times. You get it, he’s awesome. We’re aware.
But–like a lot of other times in Peyton’s illustrious career–as the weather cools, so does Peyton. Not much has changed in 2013.
Over the past two games he’s thrown just three touchdowns and produced only 26 fantasy points combined.
Look, you aren’t sitting the guy. He’s still a stud, just the days of Peyton throwing up 30+ every week and carrying you to a victory by himself are over.
4. Avoid every Patriots RB except Shane Vereen in a PPR
Stevan Ridley is so deep in Bill Belichick‘s doghouse with his NFL leading four fumbles he’s moved in, Lagarette Blount lost his only chance at fantasy relevance by putting the ball on the turf, you never know when Brandon Bolden is going to be a healthy scratch, and the Patriots refuse to use Shane Vereen as anything more than a receiver out of the backfield.
Basically, it’s a big, fat mess that fantasy owners should run away from like the plague until we get any sense of what’s going on in Bill’s mind (take the wind probably).
You’ve been warned.
5. Pick up Tennessee Titans WR Justin Hunter before it’s too late
It’s hard to endorse the number three receiver on a Ryan Fitzpatrick-led offense, but here goes.
Hunter–a big physical wide receiver straight out of the A.J. Green mold–has played almost 75% of the teams snaps over the past three weeks before breaking out in a big way against the Raiders Sunday, posting a 6/109/1 line.
That snap count should rise even more as he pushes Nate Washington for the number two receiver spot on the depth chart and with the Colts and Broncos over the next games, the Titans should have a chance to showcase Hunter’s talents more and more in the vertical passing game in the near future.
All I know is I’m buying.