Colin Kaepernick, 49ers
His stat line this week wasn’t great (243 passing yards and two touchdowns with 12 yards rushing) but his overall performance was something to behold as he managed the game well, avoided costly mistakes and displayed solid accuracy, completing 16 of 23 passes. Head coach Jim Harbaugh stated that the 49ers will ride the hot hand at quarterback and with the Saints and their 31st ranked pass defense on tap, Kaepernick looks like a low end QB1 in Week 12 provided he gets the call.
Chad Henne, Jaguars
Subbing in for an injured Blaine Gabbert, Henne became the second quarterback to throw four touchdowns and no picks in a relief role. Head coach Mike Mularkey is going to rol1 with Henne who has a big arm and has put up some big numbers but is maddeningly inconsistent. However, the Jaguars wide receivers are rounding into form and MJD’s return is on the horizon. That bodes well for Henne’s fantasy prospects.
Matt Schaub, Texans
Schaub is here because I don’t want to get roasted for excluding him. He threw for the second most yards in NFL history this week (527) to go along with five touchdowns in an overtime win against the Jaguars. Unfortunately, he threw for 95 yards in Week 10 against the Bears and was averaging 16.8 FPts/G entering Week 11.
Joe Flacco, Ravens
He’s topped 16 fantasy points just twice in the last six weeks and had two sub-10 point games while failing to top 200 passing yards in four of those games. That’s ugly, folks.
Matt Cassel, Chiefs
Unless you’ve been hit on the head with a rock (very large one), you’re not relying on Cassel but that’s not going to stop me from pointing out that he hasn’t thrown a touchdown pass in his last three games, that he’s thrown or just one touchdown in his last five starts and that he is averaging 148 passing yards in those five starts. If he’s back in K.C. next year, there will be a riot in the streets and plenty of empty seats in the stands.
Ronnie Hillman and Lance Ball, Broncos
With Willis McGahee expected to miss six to eight weeks with a torn MCL and a compression fracture in his right knee, Hillman and Ball figure to see their roles expanded over the balance of the season. Hillman clearly has the most upside of the two backs but his struggles in pass protection could keep from taking over the full time role. Look for the two backs to split the work on a 2:1 touch ratio with Ball likely earning more touches if the Broncos jump out to big leads. With a pillowy soft schedule, that just might be the case.
Bryce Brown, Eagles
We don’t yet have definitive word on the extent of LeSean McCoy’s concussion but we do know Brown figures to be in line for a good chunk of the work if McCoy is out this week against the Panthers, which could be a plum matchup. The rookie 7th round pick is a bowling ball of a runner but he lacks pass receiving ability (one reception on the season) so he would likely come out on obvious passing downs in favor of Dion Lewis. He’s worth a gamble in the flex spot and as a desperation play as a RB2. Unfortunately, the Eagles play on Monday night.
Jalen Parmele, Jaguars
With Rashad Jennings not producing, the Jaguars went with Parmele this week against the Texans and he was decent, gaining 80 yards on 24 carries (3.3 yards a pop). Those aren’t eye-popping numbers but Houston has a solid run defense and next in line for the Jaguars are the Titans (27th ranked run defense), Bills (31st) and Jets (30th). Definitely a plug and play guy until MJD returns.
Marcel Reece, Raiders
Reece was solid last week with 104 total yards against the Ravens and even better this week against the Saints with 103 rushing yards to go along with 90 receiving yards on four receptions. The Raiders haven’t confirmed that Run-DMC will be back this week and the odds are he will miss another week. That would make Reece a solid play against a mediocre Bengals run defense in Week 12.
Vick Ballard, Colts
Not sure if Donald Brown’s knee was an issue this week but it appears that Ballard is the lead man with Brown getting worked into the mix and Delone Carter handling the goal line work.
Alex Green, Packers
No carries for Green this week and 25 for James Starks.
Ryan Mathews, Chargers
Somebody please tell Mathews where the end zone is (one touchdown on 157 touches this season).
Rashard Mendenhall and Jonathan Dwyer, Steelers
It’s a time share in Pittsburgh, folks, and with the offense now likely down to the third string quarterback, none of these guys are startable in standard leagues.
Daryl Richardson, Rams
Richardson has averaged 9.25 touches per week over the Rams last four games and head coach Jeff Fisher said this week that they want to get the ball more to Steven Jackson.
Dez Bryant, Cowboys
Looks like the light has finally gone on for Bryant. At least, mostly on since he’s thrown up a couple of duds over the last seven weeks. However, he had a career-day this week against the Browns, catching 12 passes for 145 yards and a score and he now has at least 87 receiving yards in five of his last seven games. Let’s call him a mid-tier WR2 with upside over the balance of the season.
Justin Blackmon, Jaguars
After an abysmal start to the season, Blackmon introduced himself to the league in a big way this week, posting the third highest receiving yardage total for a rookie in league history with seven receptions for 236 yards and a score. And it came against the Texans. And the Jags have benched Blaine Gabbert in favor of Chad Henne. And Laurent Robinson had just two targets this week.
T.Y. Hilton, Colts
Hilton has topped 100 receiving yards in two of his last three games and found the end zone three times over that span of games. Sure, he put up a donut in Week 10 against the Jags but he’s getting a fair number of targets and the schedule has the Bills, Lions and Titans up next.
Danario Alexander, Chargers
Meet San Diego’s new number one wide receiver. And the fourth ranked fantasy wide receiver over the last three weeks with 15 receptions for 291 yards and three touchdowns on just 21 targets.
Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals
Seriously, this is what it has come down to? One catch for 11 yards? Is it a Federal offense to have a putrid quarterback paired up with one of the best receivers in football? Errrr, make that three putrid quarterbacks? See you later, Ken Whisenhunt. At least Arizona is a good retirement community.
Mike Wallace and all of the Steelers receivers
You watched the game right? Is Charlie Batch really worse than Byron Leftwich?
Brandon Marshall and all of the Bears receivers
Vernon Davis, 49ers
New quarterback, new result for Davis as he was targeted a season-high eight times, catching six passes for 83 yards and a score while looking like a studly beast against a tough Bears defense.
Jermichael Finley, Packers
In another case of look who’s back, we present Jermichael Finley, the Packers supremely talented and exceedingly inconsistent starting tight end. He made his three targets count against the Lions this week, catching all of them for 66 yards and a touchdown.
Garrett Graham, Texans
Who’s this dude? Good question. He’s the Texans 2010 4th round pick who just caught eight of his nine targets for 82 yards and a pair of touchdowns against the Jaguars. Sure, it’s the Jags, the Texans threw it plenty and there’s no guarantee that Graham will get nine targets over the balance of the season let alone in a single week but he looked good. He’s worth grabbing in larger leagues.
Rob Gronkowski, Patriots
Gronk broke his left forearm blocking on an extra point and while he says he wants to return in Week 14, that seems very unlikely. Look for him to return in Week 15 at the earliest but if that happens, it will be tough to stick him in your starting line-up as the Patriots face a stout 49ers defense at home that week. If you need to go to the waiver wire, my recommendations include Dallas Clark, Marcedes Lewis and Tony Moeaki.