Week 12 of the 2017 NFL season is nearly in the books and there are a number of major takeaways. Here’s what you need to know from every game on the Sunday slate.
Julio Jones goes nuts.
It’s been a lackluster fantasy season for Jones, but that all changed on Sunday. The standout receiver went off for 253 yards and two scores on 12 catches. Jones saw six targets that traveled more than 20 yards in the air, and his 15 targets represented a massive 46 percent share of the Falcons’ total. This is great example of why players like Jones can never be benched. Very few players possess this high of a fantasy ceiling, but Jones has shown several times that he can post massive numbers on any give Sunday.
Joe Mixon breaks out.
The Browns were one of the league’s toughest matchups for running backs, but it didn’t matter for Mixon. The rookie finally broke out, amassing 165 scrimmage yards and a score on 26 touches. For many fantasy owners, this may have been a case of too little, too late, but Mixon’s arrow is pointing up for the playoff stretch run.
Marcus Mariota sputters.
This appeared to be a good spot for Mariota, but the Titans signal caller managed just 184 yards and a score through the air while doing essentially nothing with his legs. Mariota has been far from consistent this season, which makes him tough to trust for fantasy purposes. However, Mariota owners may want to give him one more change next week against the suspect Texans secondary.
Big trouble in KC.
In a dream matchup against a historically bad Bills run game, Kareem Hunt managed 17 yards on 11 carries. After leading all running backs in fantasy scoring over the first five weeks of the season, Hunt has experienced a dramatic backslide, especially in November. Over his last three games, Hunt has tallied just 127 rushing yards on 38 carries. While he’s certainly not performing as well as he was at the beginning of the season, Hunt’s fantasy tailspin is the symptom of larger problems that ail the entire Chiefs offense. Hunt remains in play as a fantasy option going forward, but his obvious low floor will potentially take him out of RB1 consideration.
To be fair, the entire Patriots offense was excellent, but it’s certainly worth shining a light on the backfield following Sunday’s win over the Dolphins. Both Lewis and Burkhead played 28 snaps in the contest. Lewis held the slight edge in touches at 16-15, but Burkhead found the end zone twice. That certainly isn’t a knock on Lewis though, as he was fantastic as a runner with 112 rushing yards on 15 carries. Both backs should be considered RB2 options for the rest of the season.
Robby Anderson gets big … again.
Five games. That’s what Anderson’s touchdown streak stands at after the wideout caught two more scores on Sunday. Over that span, Anderson has 23 catches for 418 yards and six scores. He’s also the No. 3 fantasy wide receiver during that stretch. At this point, we have to take Anderson serious as a WR2 with top-5 weekly upside. That means he’s an every-week starter going forward.
Jordan Howard shut down.
We called this one. Howard had a brutal day with just six yards on seven attempts. He also added 13 yards on two catches. Fantasy owners shouldn’t freak out about this performance. Philly has one of the league’s best run defenses, and the game script was downright terrible for Howard. He’ll continue to be a high-volume back-end RB1.
Carlos Hyde struggles, but …
While the productivity was far from ideal for Hyde this weekend, his 23 touches are at least cause for optimism. Hyde led the 49ers with 11 targets, which is the second time he has hit that number in his last three games. Despite his somewhat low floor, Hyde’s healthy volume keeps him on the fringes of the RB1 conversation.
Raiders lean on Marshawn Lynch.
With Michael Crabtree ejected and Amari Cooper concussed, the Raiders fed Lynch his biggest workload of the season. In total, Beast Mode touched the ball 29 times for 111 scrimmage yards and a score. While he’s unlikely to see this many touches again this season, Lynch’s fantasy value is trending up.
Dud from Mark Ingram.
Alvin Kamara totaled 188 scrimmage yards and two scores, but Ingram was able to produce just 36 scrimmage yards on 13 touches. While that’s certainly a concerning stat line, those who own Ingram shouldn’t freak out. We saw Ingram post disappointing numbers in Week 9 only for him to rebound in a big and post three scores and 131 rushing yards in Week 10. Ingram remains a strong RB1 play.
Ricky Seals-Jones continues to produce despite minimal snaps.
Lightning struck twice for the rookie undrafted free agent, as Seals-Jones caught four balls for 72 yards and a score on just 17 snaps. Over the last two weeks, Seals-Jones has played 25 snaps and ran 19 pass routes. With 12 targets during that span, he’s being targeted on a whopping 63 percent of his routes. While Seals-Jones’ snap count is far from optimal for fantasy purposes, his production over the last two weeks appears to be more of a trend than a fluke. Those in deeper leagues may want to scoop him up for the stretch run.
Jamaal Williams breaks out.
This was one of the biggest surprises of the week. After managing very little production this season, Williams racked up 135 total yards and two scores on 27 touches. This performance is especially impressive considering how well the Steelers have fared against running backs over the last two months. Williams owners should certainly be happy about this result, but it’s important to remember that Ty Montgomery will have a role in the offense when he returns from injury. That could be as soon as this week.