TE Notes: NFL Network’s Albert Breer, who has been all over the Aaron Hernandez news for the past month, confirms the tight end will play Thursday at the Jets. … Colin Kaepernick breathed life into Vernon Davis’ season, but the 49ers tight end’s fantasy relevance has much more to do with game-plan and defensive attention than quarterback. The one difference between Kaepernick and Alex Smith is the willingness to pull the trigger on downfield passes when Davis isn’t wide open.Owen Daniels is practicing fully this week. … Tony Gonzalez’s 24 fantasy points against the Saints’ league-worst defense are an outlier over the past five weeks. He’s had just one game over 42 yards over that span compared to five for Brandon Myers and three apiece for Dustin Keller and Tony Moeaki. … Over that five-game span, Myers is fourth in fantasy points and yards and second in receptions. The Bengals defenses is allowing the fifth-most fantasy points to tight ends.Jermaine Gresham has 60+ yards or a touchdown in five of the past six weeks. … In Chad Henne’s first extensive action with the Jaguars, Marcedes Lewis scored more fantasy points than he ever did in 24 starts for Blaine Gabbert. The Titans have surrendered the fourth-most fantasy points to tight ends this season. … Dwayne Allen’s 240 yards the past five weeks are sixth-most among tight ends. … Heath Miller gets a major downgrade with Charlie Batch under center. Brandon Pettigrew has cleared 40 yards just once in the past six weeks. … If you can muster up any faith in Brady Quinn, Tony Moeaki has posted season-highs in yards in three of the past four weeks and faces the league’s most generous defense against tight ends. … Keep an eye on Dallas Clark. The majority of his production this season has come outside of the base offense in the two-minute drill. He finally caught a few passes last season without benefit of pass-heavy comeback mode. Clark isn’t to be trusted just yet.
Sunday Update: Bumped Dwayne Allen with news that Coby Fleener is inactive.
Week 12 Defense/Special Teams
Week 12 Kickers
Updated 12:20 p.m. ET, Sunday 11/25/2012
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Week 12 Quarterbacks
QB Notes: Matt Ryan became the first QB since Bart Starr in 1967 to win a game with 5+ interceptions and zero touchdowns. The Cardinals defense was amoebic, but Ryan wasn’t quite as bad as the boxscore. Three of the five interceptions were courtesy of a Roddy White drop and two deflections. Ryan will get back on track against a Bucs defense allowing the third-most fantasy points to QBs. Even against the 49ers stout defense, Brees remains a must-start QB1. The Saints have scored a touchdown on an NFC-best 29.4 percent of their drives and 71.4 percent of their red-zone possessions this season. … Rodgers has traditionally torched the Giants defense, but the revamped offensive line is cause for slight pause against Jason Pierre-Paul’s crew. … One of the most impressive stats I’ve seen this season: RGIII’s completion percentage on passes of 11-20 yards in the air is 71.9. Griffin remains on pace to join Michael Vick as the only QBs in history with a 1,000-yard season.RGIII acolytes love to use Andrew Luck’s poor completion percentage as a crutch, but no QB has seen fewer yards after the catch than Luck’s 33.4 percent. Still leading the NFL in average depth of target, the aggressive Luck is on pace to shatter Cam Newton’s rookie passing record by roughly 700 yards. … Dalton has an excellent matchup against a Raiders defense allowing the fourth-most fantasy points to quarterbacks. … ESPN analyst Ron Jaworski believes Josh Freeman is “clearly on his way to becoming a superstar” in the league’s hottest offense. Freeman is second in fantasy points over the past five weeks. Colin Kaepernick’s 243 yards in his starting debut are more than Alex Smith has posted in all but one game this season. Kaepernick’s downfield aggressiveness was evident versus the Bears, but the key to his fantasy value is rushing yards. Nine of his 25 runs have gone for 10+ yards, which puts this backup QB behind only RGIII, Cam Newton, and Michael Vick on the season. Kaepernick’s second start will come against a Saints defense allowing the most fantasy points to quarterbacks.Forget the Eagles’ early-season stout defense. Since Todd Bowles replaced Juan Castillo as defensive boss, the team has allowed four consecutive QBs to reach a passer rating of at least 120. That happened just seven times in 160 games under the late Jim Johnson. Cam Newton’s footwork remains a mess, but at least the matchup is right this week. … No QB has seen his receivers drop more passes than Matthew Stafford this season. He was brutal in Week 11. … Henne has a six-game audition for the 2013 starting job. Five of those six games will come against defenses in the top-10 for most points allowed to fantasy QBs. Don’t be surprised if Henne flirts with QB1 value the rest of the way. Matt Schaub failed to crack the top-20 in fantasy points over the first 10 weeks of the season. After joining Boomer Esiason as the only QBs in history with a pair of games hitting 490+ yards, he’s now 14th fantasy points. … Can Joe Flacco be trusted outside of Baltimore? He’s yet to produce a multiple touchdown game on the road this season. … Jay Cutler is practicing again, but still awaiting clearance for game action. … Nick Foles was just 3-of-15 on passes aimed over 10 yards last week, averaging 4.4 yards per attempt on all throws. Check back this weekend to make sure that he remains on track to start over Michael Vick. Brandon Weeden had all day to throw at Dallas and should have been intercepted several times. He wasn’t nearly as good as his numbers suggest. Weeden is now squaring off with a Steelers defense that hasn’t allowed 170 passing yards in five games. … Charlie Batch hasn’t topped 210 yards in a game in the past half-decade. … Ryan Lindley proved to be not ready for prime time in his first extensive game action. ... Scott Pioli's boondoggle (Matt Cassel) has been outplayed by OC Brian Daboll's millstone (Brady Quinn). So just how bad is scout Jim Nagy's pet project (Ricky Stanzi) if he can't see the field in Kansas City?
Sunday Update: Dropped Dalton behind Kaepernick and Newton based on matchups and upside. Removed Michael Vick, Alex Smith, and John Skelton as they're not starting.
Week 12 Running Backs
RB Notes: Doug Martin has joined Eric Dickerson and Edgerrin James as the only rookies with 1,000 scrimmage yards over a six-game span. Warrick Dunn compares Martin to a cross between Emmitt Smith and Ray Rice while Earnest Graham notes that he’s a “stronger, more physical version of Darren Sproles” with more escapability than Rice or Maurice Jones-Drew. He’s emerged as one of the few three-down backs with a high-scoring offense, homerun-hitting ability, goal-line work, and a passing game to keep defenders from stacking the box. Fantasy’s No. 1 back is facing a Falcons run defense that ranks 26th in Football Outsiders’ DVOA metric.Even with Fred Jackson returning, C.J. Spiller will start and “get the majority of the snaps” against a Colts defense that has been rock solid against the run of late. With rare lateral explosion and elite breakaway speed, Spiller joins Adrian Peterson as matchup-proof backs when they get 15+ touches. … No coaching staff is as creative and imaginative as the 49ers. It’s evident in the running scheme as much as the passing game. Gore takes a gaudy per-carry average of 5.3 into a matchup against a Saints defense allowing the second-most fantasy points to running backs.As solid as Brandon Weeden’s pass protection was at Dallas, Trent Richardson had no holes to run through and still ended up with 144 yards. The polar opposite of C.J. Spiller, Richardson could benefit from bouncing more runs to the outside. He’s averaging a whopping 30 touches per over the past three games. … Steven Jackson is averaging 106.5 yards the past two weeks and has a plus matchup against a Cardinals run defense that had been gashed for a month before lucking into a meeting with a washed-up Michael Turner last week. The rub on Andy Reid is that he doesn’t run the ball enough, but LeSean McCoy is fifth in the NFL in touches through 11 weeks. McCoy appears unlikely to play, in which case Brown has borderline RB1 appeal with a three-down skillset. Not your garden variety seventh-round pick, Brown was the No. 1 high school player in the country back in 2008, ahead of Richardson. … Check back this weekend to make sure Marcel Reece is in line for another start. Darren McFadden could still return for Friday’s practice. Von Miller is rivaling J.J. Watt for defensive player of the year because he’s been terrorizing QBs, but he’s flying under the radar as the most ferocious run defender among outside linebackers. Jamaal Charles has his work cut out for him this week. … Peyton Manning confirms the Broncos will use a three-man committee to replace Willis McGahee. We expect Ronnie Hillman to see the bulk of the touches against a Chiefs defense allowing the sixth-most fantasy points to opposing backs.Jalen Parmele saw a whopping 27 touches last week, dominating snaps in the Jacksonville backfield. The matchup is tasty this week, but Parmele spent much of Week 11 running as fast as he could into the back of his linemen. The career special teamer’s instincts and patience were lacking. … Mikel Leshoure faces a Texans defense that hasn’t allowed a rushing score all season. … With Mark Ingram and Chris Ivory emerging, Darren Sproles is a mere flex option outside of PPR leagues. Someone supplied Ingram with a jetpack on his 27-yard touchdown run last week.Felix Jones is a game-time decision versus the Redskins. … The Cardinals had the NFL’s worst run defense over the past month, and Turner still managed just 3.1 YPC. … Rashard Mendenhall, Jonathan Dwyer, and Isaac Redman figure to split touches at Cleveland. … Cement-footed James Starks has been relegated to a timeshare with Alex Green again this week. … Joique Bell was replaced on third downs last week, ostensibly because the Lions believe Kevin Smith is stronger in pass protection.
Sunday Update: Bumped Knowshon Moreno ahead of Ronnie Hillman following news that the veteran is starting. Hillman still isn't trusted in pass protection and shouldn't be viewed as more than a change-of-pace playmaker for Week 12. Both backs are flex options until one emerges as a reliable source of 15+ touches. Also bumped Vick Ballard slightly with the news that he's starting.
Week 12 Wide Receivers
WR Notes: A.J. Green’s streak of nine consecutive games with a touchdown ties Lance “Bambi” Alworth for the third-longest behind Jerry Rice (12) and Crazy Legs Hirsch (10). … Demaryius Thomas is on pace for a 91/1,506/8 stat line. He just a pair of passes last week that would have given him a 100-yard game. Roddy White has a streak of three consecutive games with 110+ yards and 7+ receptions. With Julio Jones at less than full strength, he should be the focus of the offense against a Bucs defense surrendering the second-most fantasy points to receivers. … Brandon Marshall (shoulder) missed Wednesday’s imaginary practice but is expected to play versus the Vikings. Vincent Jackson put the Bucs on his back last week, which is hardly surprising. Josh Freeman has already set a career-high for completions of 20+ yards. … Reggie Wayne has been a model of consistency, becoming the first receiver since 1960 with 70+ yards in each of the first 10 games of the season. … Dez Bryant is playing the best stretch of football in his short, checkered (and over-scrutinized) career. Outside of the two games he was used as a decoy because he was questionable due to injuries, Bryant is averaging a 8/108/0.8 stat line over his past five.Having emerged as Aaron Rodgers’ go-to receiver, Randall Cobb is on pace for 86 catches, 1,102 yards from scrimmage and 11 touchdowns. … Andre Johnson insists his “stride is opening up” and he’s just now getting his legs back. He could have shattered Flipper Anderson’s single-game record of 336 yards had he reeled in a trio of passes that just barely escaped his grip last week. After the monster breakout game, Johnson is now on pace for a 96/1,392/5 stat line, which would be the third-best season of his career.Julio Jones participated in the walk-through portions of Wednesday’s practice and is expected to start at Tampa Bay. He was missing his trademark explosiveness in last week’s game. … Coming off his best game since mid-September, Hakeem Nicks insists his knee and ankle feel as good as they have all season. … Steve Smith has another plus matchup against an Eagles secondary that has hemorrhaged big plays the past few weeks. … Danario Alexander has 18 targets to Malcom Floyd’s 13 since being installed as the starter over Robert Meachem. Philip Rivers’ latest go-to receiver is behind only Calvin Johnson, Brandon Marshall, and Andre Johnson in fantasy points over the past three weeks. Larry Fitzgerald has been through QB hell before. Two years ago, he closed out the season with a pair of 125-yard games in the final three with Richard Bartel and a greenhorn John Skelton under center. … Kenny Britt faces a secondary that just rolled over for a career game to Andre Johnson. … Danny Amendola is still in a walking boot, so be sure to check on his status this weekend. … Percy Harvin just starting walking again on Wednesday. I would never count him out until the Vikes announce as much, but it’s hard to imagine him succeeding against the Bears secondary. Courtesy of Matchups guru Evan Silva, Chad Henne’s target breakdown this season: Justin Blackmon 18, Cecil Shorts 16, Michael Spurlock 8, Jalen Parmele 6, Marcedes Lewis 5. Shorts is on pace for a 1,000-yard season. Blackmon’s Week 11 stat line would have been closer to 8/250/2 instead of 7/236/1 had the ball not been stripped out of his hands in the end zone. … Mike Wallace can’t be trusted as a plug-and-play fantasy starter with Charlie Batch’s pop-gun arm replacing Big Ben and Byron Leftwich. Brian Hartline squares off against the NFL’s latest shutdown corner in Richard Sherman. … Brandon Lloyd’s 0.86 points per target is the lowest figure from a Patriots receiver since Julian Edelman’s rookie season of 2009. …. Santana Moss has seen only 6 percent of Robert Griffin III’s targets over the past three weeks. With Pierre Garcon hobbled and playing limited snaps, there’s not a Redskins receiver that can be trusted. … Ditto the Jets receivers with Jeremy Kerley in a similar situation to Garcon.
Sunday Update: Bumped Julio Jones for the shootout potential against the NFL's worst pass defense missing its top cornerback. According to NFL Network's Jeff Darlington, Jones looked fine in pregame warmups and the Falcons staff agrees. A source tells Darlington that Jones looked good in practice all week. Bumped Danario Alexander slightly. Dropped Dwayne Bowe a few spots with the Chiefs o-line in tatters.
Week 12 Tight Ends