Ten Things We Learned in Week 12 (Fantasy Football)

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Three games on Thursday, one game on Friday, a loaded Sunday schedule, and yes, there was a field goal competition Monday night. But this weekend of football brought the heat. Big games from big names, we saw players who had been quiet all year explode onto the scene, and of course, the unfortunate injuries that are unavoidable week in and week out. We are deep in the fantasy season, but there’s still a lot to learn as we inch closer to the postseason.

1. Bijan Keepin’ On

To Jason Moore‘s delight, and fantasy managers across the globe, Bijan Robinson is finally starting to get the bulk of the work, like he deserves. He rushed for 91 yards and a touchdown on Sunday, adding a receiving touchdown and 32 yards through the air.  Oh, and the Falcons won by their second-largest margin of the season. See what happens when you give your best player the ball Arthur Smith?

2. The Terry McLaurin Conundrum

It’s been tough sledding for the WR1 in Washington, who has been the WR51 over the last three weeks combined. McLaurin is the WR31 on the season and hasn’t surpassed 15 fantasy points in half-point PPR leagues all year. What’s even more frustrating is that quarterback Sam Howell has been in the top five at the position all season, but McLaurin can’t seem to benefit. It’s tough to bench him as the talent is there and the offense is humming, but he can’t seem to get rolling. The Commanders have a Week 14 bye and face the Jets and 49ers in the semifinals and finals of the fantasy postseason. You can’t trust Scary Terry as anything more than a middling WR3 and I would explore better options down the stretch.

3. The Resurgence of Christian Watson

Be it injury or just lack of production, Watson has been a huge disappointment this season, both on the field for the Packers and for fantasy teams. But over the last two weeks, he’s put up a modest 27.1 points combined, making him the WR15 in that span. It’s a small sample size, but he was drafted as the WR23 for a reason. If you stayed the course, he could help you win in the fantasy playoffs, with matchups against the Buccaneers, Panthers, and Vikings. If he’s on waivers, he’s worth a pick-up.

4. Who Is Going to Catch the Ball in New Orleans?

Chris Olave and Rashid Shaheed both left Sunday’s game with injuries and both could very well miss next week’s game. Michael Thomas is on IR. So who is going to be the main pass catcher for the Saints in the short run? It will probably be a combination of rookie wideout A.T. Perry, recent signee Marquez Callaway, and tight end Juwan Johnson. The potential split isn’t ideal, but the matchups coming up are juicy. The Saints face the Lions, Panthers, Giants, and Rams in the next four weeks. I’d roll the dice on Johnson, but I’m picking up Perry as well, especially in dynasty leagues.

5. Say Hello to Jeff

It was only the fourth game he’s played in this season, but Jeff Wilson Jr., a.k.a. “My Name is Jeff,” had a solid outing on Friday. He carried the ball 11 times for 56 yards and caught all three of his targets for 17 yards. Raheem Mostert has been the guy all season in Miami’s backfield, even with De’Von Achane exploding for a three-week span, but Wilson is worth a pick-up. Achane’s injury concerns are real and Salvon Ahmed just hit IR, so Wilson is the backup RB for now. He’s going to see work as long as Achane is out and Mostert has a history of injury as well. I want every piece of this Miami Dolphins offense, Wilson included.

6. It’s Time to Sign Up for RB Insurance

If you’ve already secured a playoff spot in your league, now is the time to scoop up the understudy running backs who have the potential to be league winners if the primary back were to get hurt. Wilson, who was mentioned above, is one of the main targets. Others include Rico Dowdle of the Cowboys, Zack Moss of the Colts (if he was dropped), and Elijah Mitchell of the 49ers. There’s one name in particular I will detail below, who is starting to get more run in a good offense.

7. D’Ernest Johnson, Not Tank Bigsby, Is the Backup RB in Jacksonville

As a Tank Bigsby manager who has been hanging on to him this entire year, I am finally cutting bait this week. D’Ernest Johnson is the RB you want to roster, especially if you are a Travis Etienne manager. Johnson has seen seven carries in back-to-back games and has earned 24% and 39% of the snaps in those games. Bigsby saw just 3% of snaps on Sunday. Johnson also showcased his receiving prowess with a 34-yard catch in Week 11 and a 42-yard catch in Week 12. Johnson is worth a spot on benches as a premiere RB insurance policy.

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8. The Muth Is Luth

Welcome back, Pat Freiermuth. The Muth has always been one of the more skilled tight ends in the league, but injuries and a lackluster offense have hindered him this year. Is it a coincidence that the Steelers had their best offensive output after firing OC Matt Canada? Probably not, but in Freiermuth’s case, the talent has always been there. If he’s on waivers, he’s going to go for a large amount of remaining FAAB. If you happened to grab him before this week’s 120-yard performance on nine catches, you beat the rush just in time. The Muth should go right back into starting lineups the rest of the year with games against the Cardinals, Patriots, Colts, Bengals, and Seahawks rounding out the fantasy season. He could very well finish as a top-five, or even a top-three TE in that time span.

9. Adam Thielen‘s Run Could be Over

As Mike Wright mentioned on Monday’s show, Adam Thielen shouldn’t be dropped, but you need to come to the realization that his time as a weekly WR1 start is likely over. Through Week 8, Thielen was the WR9 with a total of 84.7 fantasy points in half-point PPR leagues. Over the last four weeks, he is the WR62 with 14.7 total points. He had just one catch for two yards on Sunday. The Panthers fired Head Coach Frank Reich, Bryce Young has looked shaky, and the offense just can’t seem to get it going. Proceed with caution moving forward with the veteran WR, and consider other options if you can.

10. Kyren for the Win

Oh, how we’ve missed you, Kyren Williams. The second-year RB has been so good this year, he’s still the RB8 despite missing four games! That’s simply incredible. He returned on Sunday against the Cardinals, rushing for 143 yards on 16 carries (a whopping 8.9 yards-per-carry clip), and caught six passes for 61 yards for two touchdowns. Start him next week against the Browns and the week after against the Ravens. Start him against the Saints in the fantasy semifinals, it doesn’t matter the defense he’s going up against. Who had Kyren Williams being matchup-proof on their bingo card this year?

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