Chris Wesseling

Goal Line Stand

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Week 13 Rankings

Sunday, December 02, 2012


Updated at 12:20 p.m. ET on Sunday 12/2/12

NFL Films analyst Greg Cosell has been impressed with Chad Henne’s ability to throw from a muddy pocket, which -- along with scattershot accuracy -- had been a problem throughout his career. Henne earned the fourth-best QB rating from Pro Football Focus last week despite facing pressure on 45.5 percent of his drop-backs.

On passes traveling 10+ yards Henne has 522 yards in three games compared to Blaine Gabbert’s 752 in 10 starts. The man whose lack of development reportedly led to Bill Parcell’s departure from Miami is sporting a 6:1 TD-to-INT ratio, eye-popping 10.4 YPA and passer ratings of 126.8 and 108.0 in two starts.

What does Jacksonville’s nascent passing attack mean for fantasy owners? Don’t be surprised if a Jaguars player takes home this year’s Billy Volek award. Henne should flirt with QB1 value against a dream schedule (TEN, @BUF, NYJ, @MIA, NE, @TEN) after unearthing Cecil Shorts, Justin Blackmon, and Marcedes Lewis as viable weapons.

Emerging as a true No. 1 receiver, Shorts is averaging the second most yards per catch in the NFL. Perhaps more impressively, he now has more fantasy points than either Jordy Nelson or Percy Harvin. Shorts is fantasy’s No. 7 receiver over the past five weeks and No. 5 over the past three. Shorts and Blackmon have combined for 448 yards the past two games, good for 57.5 percent of Jacksonville's offense.

Although Blackmon drew pre-draft comparisons to Hakeem Nicks and Anquan Boldin for his explosive and physical run-after-catch ability, it’s been Shorts who has been running away from defenders. With a tailback-like lateral agility and short-area burst, Shorts has turned intermediate throws into quick-striking scoring plays.  He’s here to stay as a weekly fantasy asset.

 

Thursday Update: If I lead this article with a surprise player, there's a good chance he will come down with an even more surprising Thursday injury. Shorts (hamstring) and Blackmon (groin) were both held out of practice, apparently having sustained injuries on Wednesday. There has been nothing but the sound of crickets from the Jaguars coaches, beat writers, and national insiders since the injury report came out at 3:30 ET Thursday afternoon. If your decision comes down to a Thursday participant such as Lance Moore versus Shorts, I'd lean toward the former as a safer play. 

 

Saturday Morning Update: Shorts and Blackmon are both listed as "probable" after returning to practice on Friday. Both receivers as well as Henne are safe to play at their respective rankings below. 



Week 12 Quarterbacks

Rank Player Name Opponent Notes
1 Peyton Manning vs. TB -
2 Matt Ryan vs. NO -
3 Drew Brees at ATL -
4 Tom Brady at MIA -
5 Aaron Rodgers vs. MIN -
6 Robert Griffin III vs. NYG -
7 Tony Romo vs. PHI -
8 Matthew Stafford vs. IND -
9 Cam Newton at KC Probable (wrist)
10 Andrew Luck at DET -
11 Eli Manning at WAS -
12 Andy Dalton at SD -
13 Colin Kaepernick at STL -
14 Josh Freeman at DEN -
15 Chad Henne at BUF -
16 Matt Schaub at TEN -
17 Philip Rivers vs. CIN -
18 Carson Palmer vs. CLE Probable (thumb)
19 Jake Locker vs. HOU -
20 Joe Flacco vs. PIT -
21 Jay Cutler vs. SEA -
22 Ryan Fitzpatrick vs. JAC -
23 Ryan Tannehill vs. NE -
24 Christian Ponder at GB -
25 Sam Bradford vs. SF -
26 Russell Wilson at CHI -
27 Brandon Weeden at OAK Probable (concussion)
28 Nick Foles at DAL -
29 Mark Sanchez vs. ARZ -
30 Brady Quinn vs. CAR -
31 Ryan Lindley at NYJ -
32 Charlie Batch at BAL -


QB Notes: Peyton Manning’s fantasy numbers may not have been impressive, but his pocket movement and accuracy were sublime at Kansas City last week. He welcomes the Bucs’ bottom of the barrel pass defense to Denver on Sunday. … Drew Brees hasn’t topped the 300-yard marker in five consecutive games, due in large part to interim coach Joe Vitt’s newfound emphasis on the running game. Brees is going to have to pass in Atlanta Thursday night to keep up with Matt Ryan in an offense that has become one-dimensional. No quarterback is better at home than Ryan.

Tom Brady is the only AFC QB averaging 300+ yards per game. The Patriots have scored 45+ points four times this year, which matches the total of the other 31 teams combined. … No QB has been sacked more times than Aaron Rodgers (37) this season. While Rodgers can expect a boost from Greg Jennings’ return, it’s fair to wonder if it will take a week or two to get everyone back on the same page.

RGIII leads all QBs in highest adjusted accuracy under pressure. While I still believe he’s the obvious rookie of the year frontrunner, the coaches’ play-calling and scheming shouldn’t go overlooked. Griffin is first in the league in yards per attempt on play action (12.5) and last in the league in yards per attempt without play action (5.7). … Tony Romo is one of five QBs averaging 300+ yards per game. He has a home game against an Eagles defense that has burned to the tune of a passer rating over 140.0 since Todd Bowles took over for Juan Castillo.

Is it any surprise that Matthew Stafford’s numbers sky-rocketed once a petulant Titus Young was prevented from lining up in the wrong spot intentionally? … Eli Manning should get a stretch-run boost from Hakeem Nicks’ gradual return to 2011 form. … Andy Dalton has been much improved over the past three games. … Colin Kaepernick has posted the second-highest QBR rating through a player’s first two starts over the last five seasons, excelling on third downs and on throws of 20+ yards.

Matchups guru Evan Silva believes we have already seen the best of Josh Freeman this season, as the Falcons provided a blueprint on slowing the Bucs offense. The Broncos will stack the box against Doug Martin and shadow Vincent Jackson with Champ Bailey. … Philip Rivers is the bizarro Stafford, habitually starting quickly before fading in the final three quarters. He’s facing a harassing Bengals defense allowing just 9.7 points per over the past three weeks. … Carson Palmer never had a chance in his return to Cincinnati, as his o-line got man-handled.

Jake Locker should theoretically get a boost from newly promoted play-caller Dowell Loggains. Kerry Collins produced the best three games of his 2010 season after Loggains took on added responsibility in December of 2010. … Joe Flacco can’t be trusted against a Steelers defense that hasn’t allowed a 200-yard passing day since early October. … Jay Cutler’s average depth of target has plummeted from 9.1 in the first half of the season to 6.7 in the second half. … Nick Foles refuses to attack down the field.

Nothing puts a bounce in a fantasy writer’s step like anecdotal evidence matching up with the metrics. The film suggested the Steelers would have had a good chance to win at Cleveland if even Brady Quinn would have been under center rather than Charlie Batch’s knuckleball floater routine. According to Pro Football Focus, Batch’s QB rating was the worst in the league last week despite facing less pressure than any other quarterback. Although national writers are still giving Ben Roethlisberger a decent chance to play, beat writers remain skeptical. If Ben sits one more week, the entire Steelers offense is hands-off against a Ravens defense allowing just 14.5 points per during their four-game winning streak. Pittsburgh’s eight Week 12 turnovers were as many as the Pats have had all season.



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Chris Wesseling is a senior football editor and Dynasty league analyst for Rotoworld.com. The 2011 NFL season marks his fifth year with Rotoworld and his third year contributing to NBCSports.com. He can be found on Twitter @ChrisWesseling.
Email :Chris Wesseling



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