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Fantasy Game Recaps: Week 12

Unfortunately for my favorite college team, the BCS fails to take into account, how its graduates are doing on Sundays. Although Michael Turner turned in one of this yearís top performances, his inconsistency over the year renders his performance less noteworthy then Matt Cassel, who in just 11 weeks had elevated himself from the ranks of the unknown to the status of an elite quarterback, turning in better performances each weeks then the likes of Peyton Manning, Tony Romo, Ben Roethlisberger, Drew Brees and Brett Favre. Is Matt Cassel truly becoming an elite fantasy quarterback, or can we expect to see inconsistencies from Tom Bradyís replacement?

Patriots 48 - Dolphins 28

Fantasy Superman: Matt Cassel, Randy Moss, Kevin Faulk, Chad Pennington
Fantasy Performers: Wes Welker, Jabar Gaffney, Greg Camarillo, Ted Ginn, Jr., Davone Bess, Ricky Williams
Fantasy Hens: Ronnie Brown

It was not long ago when Drew Bledsoe went down with an injury and was replaced by a sixth round draft choice from Michigan named Tom Brady, whose NFL legacy will never be challenged. When the Patriots lost Tom Brady to open the season, no one could have entertained the thought that Matt Cassel would replicate history. With 415 yards passing, 14 yards rushing and three touchdowns in the air and one on the ground, fantasy managers are seeing Matt Cassel in a whole new light as he put up nearly identical number to last week. With Casselís success, every Patriot enjoyed some good fantasy production. Randy Moss and Wes Welker each had eight catches for 120 or more yards. However, Moss vultured all of the touchdowns, grabbing three. Jabbar Gaffney had five catches for 88 yards. Kevin Faulk posted numbers in the 50ís on both the ground and in the air and scored a touchdown.

Chad Pennington may have had the second best numbers for a quarterback on the day with 341 yards passing, three touchdowns, an interception and a rushing touchdown. Neither Ronnie Brown nor Ricky Williams could run the ball, with Brown leading the charge with only 37 yards. But Ricky punched in a touchdown on a 13-yard reception. Ted Ginn, Jr. is turning into a respectable pro wide-out, catching five for 88 yards. Behind him by only one yard was Davone Bess and Greg Camarillo only had 67 yards, but one more catch and a touchdown.

Steelers 27 - Bengals 10

Fantasy Superman: Ben Roethlisberger
Fantasy Performers: Heath Miller, Santonio Holmes, Mewelde Moore
Fantasy Hens: Hines Ward, Willie Parker, T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Chad Johnson, Cedric Benson

It was not too unexpected that a match-up between Pittsburgh and Cincinnati would break the Thursday night mold which has seen large fantasy numbers produced. Ben Roethlisberger put up the only notable fantasy stats. Big Ben passed for 243 yards and a touchdown and ran for a touchdown and did not turn over the ball. With all the hype of Hines Ward re-facing the Bengals after de-facing Keith Rivers, the match-up was anti-climatic. Ward caught one ball for 37 yards. Santonio Holmes began showing signs of life with five catches for 84 yards before taking a Mike Tyson style hit in the third quarter and being knocked out of the game. Willie Parkerís poor performance was cut short by a re-aggravated knee injury and he ended the game with 37 yards rushing. Mewelde Moore replaced him with a combined total of 97 yards. Heath Miller hit pay dirt with four catches for 44 yards and a touchdown.

The Steelers are tough enough when they are not aided by the other team, but Chad Johnson did no one any favors when he fell asleep in a team meeting and was deactivated on game day, leaving some unsuspecting fantasy managers with an empty space in their roster. Trying to replace Chad Johnson would have racked anyoneís brain as Ryan Fitzpatrick evenly distributed the ball to six different receivers for 168 yards, one touchdown and one interception. No receiver had more than four catches or more than 41 yards. The only player worth starting on this offense, T.J. Houshmandzadeh, was held to only four catches for 20 yards. Cedric Benson was limited to only 35 yards rushing and a four-yard catch.

Jets 34 - Titans 13

Fantasy Superman: Leon Washington, Laveranues Coles
Fantasy Performers: Brett Favre, Thomas Jones, Jerricho Cotchery/Dustin Keller (ppr only) Kerry Collins
Fantasy Hens: Chris Johnson, LenDale White, Justin Gage

The best performance in this game was turned in by Leon Washington, who likely sat on most benches (except in return yardage leagues). On a limited eight carries, Washington ran for 82 yards, two touchdowns and a turnover. Thomas Jones out-rushed Washington with 96 yards, but failed to score. Brett Favre distributed his passes evenly between his big three receivers, with Laveranues Coles scoring once on seven catches for 88 yards. Each Jerricho Cotchery and Dustin Keller caught six passes, Cotchery for 55 yards and Keller for 42 yards. Favre threw for 224 yards, two touchdowns and one pick.

The Titans offense could not get off the ground against the Jets defense. LenDale White went backwards with only one carry for a loss of one yard. Chris Johnson did not see many touches either, as he carried the ball only 10 times for 46 yards and had three catches for 15 yards. Kerry Collins hooked up on 21 of 39 passes and threw for 243 yards and one touchdown, but last weekís hero Justin Gage caught only one of those passes for 37 yards. Of the 20 remaining receptions, 14 were spread out between four receivers, three who had 40 yards and a fourth who had 43 yards.

Bears 27 - Rams 3

Fantasy Superman: Matt Forte
Fantasy Performers: Torry Holt
Fantasy Hens: Marc Bulger, Antonio Pittman, Donnie Avery

Albeit Matt Forte was running against the Rams, this rookie continues to run right through the rookie wall. In just his 11th professional game, Forte ran past the 900 yard mark, on 132 yards and two more touchdowns to add his eight and ninth touchdowns on the year. His only setback was one fumble on the day. The Bears passing game was unnecessary, but Kyle Orton still threw the ball up 29 times (to the Bears 32 rushes), connecting on only 18 for 139 yards and a touchdown. Accordingly, only Devin Hester had any notable numbers with five catches for 57 yards. Desmond Clark also had five catches for 40 yards.

The Rams are a complete and utter mess. Their two running backs, Antonio Pittman and Kenneth Darby combined for 18 yards on 16 carries. Marc Bulger completed his first two passes for only 11 yards before getting knocked out of the game. Torry Holt saw better numbers with Trent Green at the helm and ended the day with four catches for 84 yards. Donnie Avery could neither run with the ball nor catch the ball. Avery ran backwards and only had one catch for 14 yards.

Bills 54 - Chiefs 31

Fantasy Superman: Trent Edwards, Bills-D, Tony Gonzalez
Fantasy Performers: Marshawn Lynch, Lee Evans, Josh Reed, Tyler Thigpen, Dwayne Bowe, Mark Bradley, Jamaal Charles
Fantasy Hens: None

In an 85-point game, 54 of which came from the Bills, one would expect that players like Marshawn Lynch and Lee Evans would have had huge fantasy days. While Lynch and Evans put up decent numbers, most of the points were hogged by Trent Edwards and the Billsí Defense. Unfortunately for many, Edwards was benched after last weekís performance against the Browns. Edwards rushed for two touchdowns, while passing for two more on 273 yards. Lynch scored once, but only managed 104 combined yards. Evans hauled in five catches for 110 yards, but failed to enter the end zone. Josh Reed caught five for 50 yards and a touchdown. In real life, giving up 35 points never looks good, but in fantasy football, The Billsí Defense forced seven turnovers on three sacks and scored a defensive touchdown, which is not half bad.

Tyler Thigpen may have turned over the ball three times, but he also threw for 240 yards and three touchdowns and rushed for another 29 yards. Tony Gonzalez reeled in nearly half the catches, with 10 for 113 yards and a touchdown. That did not leave much for Dwayne Bowe or Mark Bradley, but both hit it for over 50 yards and a touchdown. Even the K.C. running backs got into the action with Larry Johnson running and catching for 105 yards and Jamaal Charles gaining a combined 67 yards and a touchdown.

Vikings 30 - Jaguars 12

Fantasy Superman: None
Fantasy Performers: Adrian Peterson, Chester Taylor, Visanthe Shiancoe, Maurice Jones-Drew, Reggie Williams
Fantasy Hens: Bernard Berrian, Gus Frerotte

The main running backs in this match-up straddled the line between great and good performances, but just failed to get over the top. Adrian Peterson rushed for 80 yards and a touchdown, which is nice but not special for his talent. Chester Taylor only amassed a combined 37 yards, but his touchdown netted him a day not to dissimilar to Petersonís. Bernard Berrian is like the handles on my kitchen sink. For a month, he was a must play receiver. For the last month, he has been a must sit receiver. On Sunday, Berrianís 22 yards rushing nearly quadrupled his six yards in the air. This may be more a product of the limited passing game, wherein Gus Frerotte tossed the ball 20 times, hooking up on only 12 passes for a total of 120 yards and one interception. Visanthe Shiancoe nabbed the lionís share with three catches for 60 yards.

The Jaguar running game was mired in quicksand with Fred Taylor, Maurice Jones-Drew and David Garrard combining for 35 rushing yards on only 14 carries. However, Maurice Jones-Drew was a top receiver on the day, catching nine for 113 yards. Reggie Williams crossed the goal line on a total of 44 yards and David Garrard threw for 317 yards, a touchdown and two picks. Fred Taylorís week three performance against Indianapolis (120 yards) is a long distant memory and Taylor merits little to no fantasy discussion at this point.

Buccaneers 38 - Lions 20

Fantasy Superman: Warrick Dunn, Bucís Defense
Fantasy Performers: Jeff Garcia, Ike Hilliard, Jerramy Stevens, Calvin Johnson, Kevin Smith
Fantasy Hens: None

Fantasy Irony is defined by Warrick Dunn rushing for 90 yards and a touchdown, catching five passes for 37 yards and being labeled a stud, when Adrian Peterson is only yards off of this same performance. However, a playerís performance is gauged with little difference then a teamís against a spread. Dunnís performance came from a flex player buried deep on most teamís rosters. The Bucís Defense/Special Teams also carried the day with four sacks, four turnovers and two touchdowns. Otherwise, the offensive stats were limited. Ike Hilliard and Jerramy Stevens each scored a touchdown on two catches, Hilliard for 51 yards and Stevens for 29 yards.

Calvin Johnson continues to be the eye in the Lionsí hurricane. With three catches for 66 yards and a touchdown, Megatron keeps putting up respectable performances. Kevin Smith likewise had a decent outing with 16 carries for 86 yards. Passes from Daunte Culpepper and Drew Stanton hit the ground more than the receivers and neither put up any notable numbers.

Cowboys 35 - 49ers 22

Fantasy Superman: Terrell Owens, Tony Romo, Isaac Bruce
Fantasy Performers: Marion Barber, Shaun Hill
Fantasy Hens: Jason Witten, Roy Williams, Frank Gore

Never sit your studs! Terrell Owens has not had a 40-yard performance in five weeks or a 100-yard performance all year. On Sunday, the 49er defense brought T.O. back to prominence, allowing him to post seven catches for 213 yards and a touchdown. Tony Romo enjoyed his second game back, throwing the ball for 341 yards and three touchdowns, hooking up with Patrick Crayton and Martellus Bennett. But, Jason Witten suffered with only one catch for 11 yards. Marion Barber was uninvolved in scoring but rushed and received for a combined 109 yards.

The 49er offense is supposed to run through Frank Gore. On Sunday it failed to do so. Gore only rushed for 26 yards and had one reception for 6 yards. The big performance came from Isaac Bruce who did his best to catch up to T.O., but fell short with eight catches for 125 yards and a touchdown. Shaun Hill threw for just over 300 yards, two touchdowns and an interception.

Texans 16 - Browns 6

Fantasy Superman: Andre Johnson, Kevin Walter
Fantasy Performers: Sage Rosenfels, Braylon Edwards
Fantasy Hens: Owen Daniels, Brady Quinn, Kellen Winslow

Andre Johnson continues to lead the league in receptions after nailing down 10 catches for 116 yards. Although he had less catches and less yards, Kevin Walter put up nearly identical fantasy numbers with seven catches for 93 yards and a touchdown. Steve Slaton did not have a bad football day, but his 74 yards rushing neither helped nor hurt fantasy owners. Sage Rosenfels passed for 275 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions.

Before breaking his finger, Brady Quinn was not having a good Sunday. Only 94 yards, two interceptions and leaving the Browns with Derek Anderson to steer the helm was as fearful a day as the Browns could dread. Jamal Lewis rushed for 58 yards and had two catches for 10 yards. Kellen Winslow caught only one pass of 11 yards. Only Braylon Edwards put up decent fantasy numbers with five catches for 85 yards. No other Brown receiver had more than one catch nor reached 20 yards.

Ravens 36 - Eagles 7

Fantasy Superman: LeíRon McClain
Fantasy Performers: Joe Flacco, Mark Clayton
Fantasy Hens: Willis McGahee, Ray Rice, Donovan McNabb, Brian Westbrook, Kevin Curtis

Managing a Raven running back is a lot like that flashlight in your garage. It works only when you do not need it. The second there is a power outage, good luck. Last week, no Raven was worth owning. Two weeks ago, Willis McGahee had the big day. Three weeks ago Ray Rice had the big day. On Sunday, LeíRon McClain was the active head on the Ravens version of Ghidorah, the three headed monster. McClain rushed for 88 yards and a touchdown, while Ray Rice and Willis McGahee combined for 15 yards on 15 carries. Mark Claytonís 53-yard touchdown capped off two catches for 76 yards. Joe Flacco passed for only 188 yards and two touchdowns, without a turnover. Derrick Mason caught three passes for 40 yards.

After limping out of the Bengals games with a tie, the Eagles appear to be in destruction mode. Last week, Donovan McNabb learned that overtime games automatically ends after five quarters. On Sunday he learned that regulation ends after only one half when you go 8 for 18, 59 yards and two interceptions. At the point of departure, the Eagles were less than a touchdown behind the Ravens and this game was far from out of hand. After Kevin Kolb threw two more interceptions, one for a 108-yard touchdown to Ed Reed, this game was a laugher and every Eagle was a victim. Brian Westbrook rushed for only 39 yards and was a complete non-factor in the passing game with two catches, the longest one being 0 yards. Other than DeSean Jacksonís 47 yards on five catches and 10 yards rushing, no receiver gained more than 26 yards.

Raiders 31 - Broncos 10

Fantasy Superman: Darren McFadden, Ashley Lelie
Fantasy Performers: Justin Fargas, Peyton Hillis, Brandon Marshall
Fantasy Hens: Eddie Royal, Jay Cutler

Okay. Make me look bad. Just when I say that Raiders cannot put up fantasy stats, the Broncos help prove me wrong. Darren McFaddenís combined 52 yards resulted in two touchdowns. Ashley Lelieís four catches resulted in 92 yards and a touchdown. Justin Fargasí 24 carries resulted in 107 yards.

Jay Cutler could have had a much better day. Instead he could not even get a combined 100 yards from his top two receivers. Cutler passed for 204 yards and turned the ball over twice. Brandon Marshall had four catches for 84 yards, but Eddie Royal only had two for 14. Peyton Hillis continues to be the seasonís best late waiver wire pick-up after he rushed for 74 yards and a touchdown and caught two for 22 more yards.

Giants 37 - Cardinals 29

Fantasy Superman: Eli Manning, Derrick Ward, Anquan Boldin
Fantasy Performers: Kevin Boss, Amani Toomer, Kurt Warner, Tim Hightower, Larry Fitzgerald, Steve Breaston, Jerheme Urban
Fantasy Hens: Brandon Jacobs

Eli Manning was efficient and effective. He spread the ball around for only 240 yards, but scoring on three connections. No wide receiver had less than 20 yards or more than 57 yards. Domenik Hixon led with six catches for 57 yards, while Kevin Boos and Amani Toomer each had four catches and a touchdown, Boss on 48 yards and Toomer on 30. The running game may have caused some major nightmares for fantasy managers. Early in the day, Brandon Jacobs was declared active, however, at halftime of the early games, after many rosters had already been cemented, Jacobs was declared inactive. Derrick Ward filled in nicely with 126 combined yards and a touchdown. Ahmad Bradshaw did not with only four carries for 9 yards.

The Giants did not clip the Cardinalís wings and Anquan Boldin again proved to be one of the leagueís most reliable receivers. Boldin snagged 11 receptions for 87 yards and another touchdown. Tim Hightower resumed the bulk of the carries, limited as they were. On eleven carries Hightower only netted 21 yards, but twice crossed the goal line. The remaining portion of Kurt Warnerís 351 yards were nearly equally distributed between Steve Breaston, Larry Fitzgerald and Jerheme Urban. Breaston caught six for 86, Fitzgerald caught five for 71 and Urban caught five for 69. Warner also turned over the ball twice to only the one touchdown.

Redskins 20 - Seahawks 17

Fantasy Superman: Clinton Portis
Fantasy Performers: Santana Moss, Maurice Morris
Fantasy Hens: Julius Jones, Matt Hasselbeck, Deion Branch, Bobby Engram

All banged up with somewhere to go, Clinton Portis continued on his torrid pace, and while he is no longer on target for 2000 yards, a 143-yard performance, along with two catches for 16 yards doesnít hurt. Jason Campbell threw for 206 yards and a touchdown and also ran for another 32 yards. Santana Moss caught four for 72 yards and in most fantasy formats was equaled by Antwaan Randle Elís eight-yard touchdown catch.

Matt Hasselbeck may have thrown for twice as many touchdowns as Campbell, but he threw for half as many yards with just 103 yards and two interceptions. Not surprisingly, no wide receiver had more than two catches, with Bobby Engram leading the way with 34 yards. Maurice Morris came up big with 103 rushing yards and three catches for 10 yards and a touchdown. Julius Jones fell flat with only two carries for 21 yards.

Falcons 45 - Panthers 28

Fantasy Superman: Michael Turner, Steve Smith
Fantasy Performers: Harry Douglas, Roddy White, DeAngelo Williams, Jake Delhomme, Muhsin Muhammad
Fantasy Hens: Jonathan Stewart

Michael Turner loves to score in bunches. 117 yards was nice, but four trips into the end zone against the Carolina defense were impressive and probably won the day for many fantasy teams. The other fantasy star for the Falcons wasÖ.Harry Douglas? Douglas had four catches for 92 yards and one of the Falconsí five rushing touchdowns. This left the passing game without a score. Roddy White only hauled in four catches for 70 yards and fumbled the ball once. Michael Jenkins also had four catches for 48 yards. Matt Ryan connected on 17 of 27 passes for 259 yards and no turnovers.

Steve Smith torched the field with eight catches for 168 yards, but failed to score. DeAngelo Williams rushed for 101 yard, scored and caught two for 19 yards. Jonathan Stewart carried the ball only five times for 15 yards. Jake Delhomme passed for 295 yards and a touchdown and also ran one in from 12 yards out. The touchdown pass went to Muhsin Muhammad who went four for 40 yards on the day.

Colts 23 - Chargers 20

Fantasy Superman: Anthony Gonzalez
Fantasy Performers: Peyton Manning, Joseph Addai, Philip Rivers, LaDainian Tomlinson, Vincent Jackson
Fantasy Hens: Reggie Wayne, Antonio Gates

Leading into Sunday night, many fantasy match-ups hinged upon the hopes of LaDainian Tomlinson, Peyton Manning, Antonio Gates, Reggie Wayne, and Joseph Addai. With the Colts porous run defense and the Chargers sieve of a pass defense, this game provided the opportunity for a good old-fashioned shoot out. Instead, teams that needed typical performances from these players got nothing better than mediocre ones.

Peyton Manning threw for 255 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. While these were not horrible numbers, in several leagues Manningís numbers didnít bridge the narrow margin between a loss and a win. In 2006 and 2007, Reggie Wayne was consistent, having only one truly poor game each year. After two 20 yard performances in weeks eight and nine, most of us could count on Reggie Wayne to deliver the rest of the year. Instead, Wayne left managers banging their heads against the wall with just two catches for 34 yards and his third terrible performance of the year. Joseph Addai combined for a total of 101 yards, but could not find the end zone. The Colts top performer was Anthony Gonzalez, who nabbed six receptions for 95 yards and a touchdown. Marvin Harrison and Dallas Clark each grabbed six catches, Harrison for 44 yards and Clark for 30 yards.

Philip Rivers threw for 288 yards and two touchdowns. He also fumbled the ball once. LaDainian Tomlinson turned his chance to shine into a mediocre performance for a number one draft pick, when he rushed for 84 yards and caught three for 30 yards. Antonio Gates has definitely gone cold with a bad week in Pittsburgh followed-up by just three catches for 28 yards. Vincent Jacksonís 39-yard touchdown turned his two catch, 57-yard outing into a good fantasy performance. Chris Chambers hauled in six for 61 yards.