Welcome to Week 12’s Weekend Winners. Let’s take a look at some of the guys that either you love right now if they were on your team or despise because they beat you into a puddle of your former self.
Rookie Bobby Rainey in less than a season has been with three teams, the Baltimore Ravens, Cleveland Browns (uh, why did they let him go?) and now the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. It took season ending injuries to Doug Martin and Mike James to give him his shot in Tampa and he took it on Sunday (cue Eminem).
To start their game against Atlanta there was an equal division of labor between Rainey and veteran Brian Leonard, but Rainey won the day by outplaying him and you have to give it up to the Bucs coaches for seeing it quickly and letting him take over. On 30 carries he totaled 163 yards and two rushing touchdowns, while also getting a third touchdown through the air. Yes, the Falcons look like a defeated team, but Rainey showed the talent that many scouts saw in him. He’s not a lock for anywhere near this kind of production going forward, but coach Greg Schiano will give him his chance the rest of this season.
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Ben Roethlisberger: The last time the Steelers faced a good offensive opponent was two weeks ago against the Patriots and Roethlisberger threw for 400 yards and four touchdowns. Against the Lions, also a top offensive team, Roethlisberger threw for 367 yards and four touchdowns. Of course the week in between he put up 204 yards and one touchdown against Buffalo. Fantasy football is such a pawn in the machinations of game flow.
Antonio Brown: Brown benefited the most from Roethlisberger’s big game with seven receptions for 147 yards and two touchdowns. Brown’s season has been incredible so far and the two touchdowns against the Lions help up the one stat that was keeping him from elite fantasy standing. He is now eighth in standard fantasy points per game for wide receivers, leads the league with 74 receptions, and is fifth in receiving yards with 952. He’s now on pace for 118.4 receptions for 1,523 yards and eight touchdowns. I’d say that’s pretty elite.
Calvin Johnson: Of course the no doubt best receiver in the game was on the other side of the field from Antonio Brown and for some reason coach Mike Tomlin thought Ike Taylor could cover him by himself. He was wrong. Johnson put on a show as he destroyed Taylor for 179 yards and two touchdowns on six receptions all in the first half! The Steelers did do a much better job on him in the second half, but the fantasy damage was done. Megatron is now on pace for 1,732 yards and 17.6 touchdowns on 94.4 receptions. And those numbers are with him missing a game and playing on a balky knee. If he has longevity, Jerry Rice may have to start worrying.
Carson Palmer: The good news for Palmer is that he made it through one of the tougher schedules in the league and is still standing upright. It paid off statistically and in the win column on Sunday when he faced the hapless Jaguars and threw for 419 yards and two touchdowns on 30-of-42 passing. This of course was his best game of the season and his next four games are vs. Indianapolis, at Philadelphia, vs. St. Louis, and at Tennessee. Fire him up for your playoff run.
Michael Floyd: After leaving the Week 10 game against Houston with a shoulder injury it looked like Floyd would be out or at least not 100% for the game in Jacksonville, but instead of all that he caught six passes for 193 yards and a touchdown. That could look pretty sad sitting on your fantasy bench.
Marshawn Lynch: The Seahawks have their offensive line and Percy Harvin back and a running back who leads the league in fantasy points and total touchdowns. Lynch ran in two touchdowns and caught a third against the Vikings on Sunday as the Seahawks came out of the game as the clear leaders in the NFC.
Garrett Graham: The game got off to a horrible start for Graham with a first drive fumble, but he kept his composure and put up great numbers on the day with seven receptions for 136 yards and one touchdown courtesy of Case Keenum’s ability to avoid the sack. Oh, and Coach Kubiak, you have won two games and Keenum at least had been a spark to your team. Let’s keep Matt Schaub on the bench.
Rashad Jennings: So the best player on the Raiders’ offense is Rashad Jennings. I can’t say that would have been my guess at the start of the season, but it’s the truth now. Jennings continues to run hard and on his 80-yard touchdown run he showed some speed I didn’t know he had. Oh, and D.J. Swearinger will remember meeting him in the hole on this play.
Vincent Jackson: I hate to continue giving Greg Schiano so much credit, but giving Bobby Rainey the ball 30 times and making the call for Mike Glennon to get the ball to Vincent Jackson, even in coverage, were two smart moves. Jackson used his height and ability on a few jump balls in this one and proved Schiano right. He finished with ten receptions on 12 targets (having totaled 12 targets the last two weeks) for 165 yards and a touchdown.