There some topsy turvy movement at the quarterback position. Who is starting for the Eagles and Steelers in Week 13? In the backfield injuries in Carolina, San Francisco and Jacksonville have some players value surging. There are a few high level receivers who are dealing with or trying to overcome injuries. Finally, at the tight end position, there is a lot of uncertainty from week to week once we get past the elites.
Nick Foles seems all but certain to make another start in Week 13 as Michael Vick continues to work his way back to full health. It's also starting to look more an more like the Eagles could play the season out with Foles under center as they have nothing to play for this season and might as well start thinking about next year (this situation is further exacerbated by the concussion to LeSean McCoy that appears likely to sideline the star runner for at least another week giving Bryce Brown a whole lot of value). Foles performed well in Week 10. However, he fell on his face in Week 11 against the Redskins, the second worst pass defense in the NFL, and he was even worse in Week 12. Over those two starts Foles has averaged 162 yards and zero TD passes. Good luck starting that guy, especially since DeSean Jackson is done for the year with broken ribs.
Cam Newton had a huge game Monday thrown for 306 yards and two scores. He also ran for 52 yards and two scores in his breakout game of the 2012 season. For all those people who continue to bemoan his struggles it should be noted that Newton is up to 7th at the quarterback position, just off his ADP that placed him 5th at the QB position before the season. As much as you think he is a failure, couldn't you make a better argument that Aaron Rodgers has been the bigger fantasy failure? Rodgers had an ADP of 4th overall this preseason, not at the QB position but among all players, and right now he's just the 4th QB in fantasy circles behind Drew Brees, RGIII and Tom Brady. Just some food for thought.
Reports from those unofficial “sources” we always hear about suggest that Ben Roethlisberger is, at best, a 50/50 option to play in Week 13. My reading of the tea leaves suggests that Big Ben isn't going to play against the Ravens. If that is the case, you need to downgrade all the Steelers wideouts, even the returning Antonio Brown.
Reggie Bush is awful, just ask around. While it certainly hasn't been an even effort, he was great at the start and has slowed appreciably since, Bush is still the 16th ranked runner in a PPR setup. Given his draft day cost, and according to MockDraftCentral.com that cost was 22nd at the position, he's been slightly better than was expected. Don't tell Bush owners that though.
The Falcons have finally decided to do what many thought they would a long time ago – they're going to use a committee approach in the backfield with Michael Turner and Jacquizz Rodgers. Turner will pound away in the middle of the field, and work at the goaline, with Rodgers being the outlet out of the backfield when the Falcons are looking to spread the field and attack a defense with speed versus power.
Remember when you were panicked about Chris Johnson's slow start? He's the #11 RB in PPR setups this season. Not great, but not awful either.
Did you know that Willis McGahee is the #13 runner in a PPR setup with three points more than Alfred Morris?
The Niners rushing game is the most impressive part of their offense this season, and their 5.4 YPC mark leads the NFL. Part of the reason for that success has been Kendall Hunter who is averaging 5.2 yards a pop in support of Frank Gore (5.2 YPC). The Niners won't have that luxury any more after it was announced that Hunter is done for the year with an Achilles injury that will knock him out of action for 6-8 months. The Niners figure to activate LaMichael James on game day, and Anthony Dixon will likely get a few carries, but it appears likely that the back who will take over as the #2 option behind Gore is none other than Brandon Jacobs. The burly back has gotten into the end zone 56 times in his career and owns a 4.5 YPC mark for his eight years in the NFL, but he has only one carry this year. It should also be noted that in two of the past three years Jacobs didn't even average four yards a carry. To me, and I could be wrong, this situation slightly improves the value of Gore, and though Jacobs will likely have a role now, there is no reason to run to the waiver-wire to add him because his role will likely be limited.
Jalen Parmele injured his groin in Week 12 and was extremely limited in the contest. He's been placed on season ending injured reserve due to the injury. With Maurice Jones-Drew still sidelined with his foot issue, it looks like Rashad Jennings will be re-installed as the lead runner just a couple of weeks after he was demoted for lack of success (there is talk of Montell Owens and Jordan Todman getting work as well, so it's not a lock that Jennings will get 20 touches). After averaging more than five yards a carry in 2009-10, Jennings missed the 2011 season with injury. He returned, fully healthy this season, but when MJD went down he failed to step up. Jennings has carried the ball 93 times for an average of 2.8 YPC, a pathetic number. One thing that might have Jennings squarely back on the flex front is this – the Jaguars offense is actually moving the football with Chad Henne under center. If they continue to have success passing the ball, perhaps there will be a bit more space for Rashad to find his way to some yards in Week 13.
The Steelers' running back situation is a disaster. Each of the top-3 backs committed a fumble in Week 12 drawing the ire of the coaching staff. Rashad Mendenhall has been dropped to third on the depth chart with Jonathan Dwyer taking over (Isaac Redman is the #2). I don't want to play any of these three right now, even as a flex play, since there is zero consistency/certainty for that position right now, but if you have to choose one it has to be Dwyer at the moment.
Jonathan Stewart has a high-ankle sprain according to HC Ron Rivera. After the announcement Rivera said that Stewart was day-to-day. I call bull----. Stewart is either day-to-day OR he has a high ankle sprain. It cannot be both (high ankle sprains usually sideline a player for 3-6 weeks). I further call BS on Rivera who had this to say about DeAngelo Williams who ran for 21 yards on 11 carries in Week 12. I thought DeAngelo did a nice job coming in and assuming the role. He did a solid job." On what planet is 1.91 YPC a “solid job?” No on earth that's for sure. For his career Williams owns an impressive 4.9 YPC mark, and it was 5.4 last season, but the number has caved to 3.2 this season. Still, if he truly were to get 15 touches a week, he does become a flex option. Will he get to 15 touches or will Mike Tolbert take on a greater role? Will Tolbert and/or Cam Newton handle the goaline work? Dicey all-around I would say.
Marques Colston and Lance Moore have been cleared after taking huge shots against the Niners in Week 12 (both were tested for concussions). This week they face a Falcons club that has been tough on wide receivers this season (the Falcons allow the fifth fewest points to wideouts in PPR setups).
Victor Cruz has failed to reach 13 points in in each of his last four games as the entire Giants passing attack hit the skids with a struggling Eli Manning under center. Manning threw for 249 yards an three scores in Week 12, one that went to Cruz, but he still only caught three balls for 36 yards. That also means that Cruz has failed to reach 40 receiving yards in three of his last four contests. On the year he is still the #10 WR in PPR setups.
Pierre Garcon may not be 100 percent, but he's healthy enough to be a fantasy force. He caught five balls for 93 yards an a score in Week 12 showing a nice rapport with superstar rookie Robert Griffin III. Garcon is a WR3 with WR2 upside.
Percy Harvin hasn't played in three weeks. He's still the #16 WR in PPR setups. His point-per-game average is 5th at the position.
Vincent Jackson will be shadowed by Champ Bailey when the Bucs face off with the Broncos. In 12 games against the Broncos and Bailey VJax doesn't have a 100 yard game and was held to less than 60 yards seven times.
Andre Roberts and Cecil Shorts are currently ranked 19th and 20th in a PPR setup. How amazing is it to think that they are ahead of the likes of Larry Fitzgerald (23rd), Mike Wallace (26th) and Steve Smith (32nd)?
Dallas Clark has risen from the dead. Clark caught a score in Week 10. He hauled in seven balls for 58 yards an a score in Week 11. He hauled in four balls for 65 yards in Week 12. Those three efforts place him #9 at the position the past three weeks. Still hard for me to trust him, but there are certainly worse fill in options out there if you were a Gronk owner of if you feel like you have to do something if you're an Antonio Gates owner. Speaking of Gates, how disappointing can that guy get? I'm shocked actually. Through 10 games he has three, three, games with 10 fantasy points this season. That's just awful. Further, he has one game with more than four catches and he has only one game of 60 yards. For a HOF bound player, that's just an amazing fall from grace.
Tony Gonzalez is the #2 tight end in fantasy football behind only Rob Gronkowski. However, his 16 point a week season long average dips to 12.4 since Week 6 of the season sinking him to 7th at the position in points per game in that time. Gonzo has played in six games during that stretch, and if you remove his massive Week 10 effort against he awful Saints (11 receptions, 122 yards, two scores), you'll notice that in the other five games Tony G. has caught more than four balls just one time and that he's not recorded 65 yards in any of the outings. Moreover, three of his last five games Gonzalez has failed to record even 40 receiving yards.
Marcedes Lewis caught two touchdowns in Week 11 with Chad Henne under center, and last week he caught four balls for 56 yards. That means he's had two of his three best games this season with Mr. Henne at the helm (Lewis caught five balls for 52 yards an a score in Week 1). While trending, it's still hard to fully trust a guy who has averaged 3.1 receptions and 31 yards the last nine games.
Greg Olsen is the #4 tight end in a PPR setup the past four weeks with 56.2 points. Unfortunately 31.2 of those points were accrued in just one game (Week 10). Not exactly Mr. Consistency. Same thing can be said with Garrett Graham who had 28.2 of his 46.5 points in just one of his last four games. The other three contests Graham has failed to reach 10 points.
Ray Flowers can be heard daily on Sirius/XM Radio on The Fantasy Drive on Sirius 210 and XM 87, Monday through Thursday at 7 PM EDT and Friday's at 9p-12a EDT. Ray's baseball analysis can be foound at BaseballGuys.com and his minute to minute musings can be located at the BaseballGuys' Twitter account.