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Fantasy Football: Trust or Bust Week 12

Rich Hribar trusts Andre Brown and Pierre Thomas this week but doesn’t trust Bobby Rainey for a repeat performance.

New Orleans Saints running back Pierre Thomas
New Orleans Saints running back Pierre Thomas

Nov 17, 2013; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints running back Pierre Thomas (23) runs after a catch during the second quarter of a game against the San Francisco 49ers at Mercedes-Benz Superdome.Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

In Fantasy Football Trust or Bust, we will focus on who we deem as trustworthy starts and pepper in a few sits for your Points Per Reception (PPR) leagues.


Andre Brown vs DAL

Since returning from a broken leg that forced him to miss the Giants first eight games, Brown has been carrying the load on offense. Over the past two weeks, he’s already amassed 52 total touches and 212 total yards to go with a rushing score. While the efficiency per carry hasn’t been too great (3.8 YPC), he already leads the Giants in rushing for the season with his 181 yards on the ground.

Volume is the key going forward, because the Giants want to run the football. Despite averaging only 23.8 rushing attempts per game (25th in the NFL) for the season, Big Blue has been a ground and pound team the past three weeks. Over that time, they are running the ball 31 times per contest, the eighth most attempts per game in the league.

The Cowboys are also no stranger to opposing teams using their running backs to beat them, either. Dallas has allowed the second most rushing yards to running backs (1,072), the most receiving yards (631) and 13 total touchdowns to backs so far this season. They’ve allowed six backs to rush for at least 80 yards in a game over the past six weeks and are coming off of a game in which they allowed 11 percent of Mark Ingram’s career rushing total. Sean Lee hasn’t been officially ruled out yet, but even if he’s limited, Brown can do a lot for you this Sunday.

Pierre Thomas @ ATL

Thomas has been the Rodney Dangerfield of PPR backs this season, getting little respect from a fake football perspective. He enters week 12 as the tenth highest scorer overall and is doing it in an ultra consistent fashion. He has 80 or more yards from scrimmage in each of his past six games, averaging 18 touches per game over that stretch. He’s carried at least ten times in five of his past six and has at least four receptions in eight games this season. Thomas has finished as a top 24 scorer in each of the past four weeks. With Darren Sproles dealing with inconsistency and another injury (ankle) on a short week, Thomas is locked in as the Saints most effective back.

Atlanta is already looking at 2014, dropping four consecutive games by 13 or more points. They are giving up fantasy points everywhere, but those big deficits have benefitted opposing backs the most. The Falcons have allowed 183 rushing yards per game over the past and have surrendered 140 yards rushing to three individual backs. The PT Cruiser won’t be the only car that the Saints take out of the garage this week, so it’s unlikely he will hit those high marks, but get him in your lineups week 12.

Ryan Fitzpatrick @ OAK

In his second tour of mop op duty in 2013, this time for good, Fitzpatrick has been extremely reliable as a fantasy option. He has scored at least 15 fantasy points in three of the four games in which he played the majority of snaps or started, with his only dud on the road at Seattle. He’s also added 25 or more rushing yards in three of those games and two scored on the ground.

Over the past two weeks, he’s also been efficient as a passer, completing 44 of 61 attempts (72 percent) for eight yards per attempt. He also has stayed away from his career long bugaboo, turning the ball over. In the past two weeks, he has three passing touchdowns (with one rushing) with no turnovers. He still enters this Sunday with 85 interceptions in 79 career games.

Oakland has been a mixed bag on defense this season defending the pass, but the Black Hole has sucked away their pass defense. At home, the Raiders are allowing 89 more passing yards per game (296.2) than on the road (209.2). That isn’t even skewed by the infamous “Foles Gold” game either, as they have allowed at least 225 yards passing or more to all opposing quarterbacks at home this season. We all know about that Foles game in which he threw as many passing touchdowns (7) as Oakland has given up on the road as a total this season. Get the beard set in your lineup this Sunday.

Jarrett Boykin vs MIN

Admittedly, I thought Boykin’s fantasy value was going to evaporate with the injury to Aaron Rodgers. It may have with Seneca Wallace at the helm, as he had only one reception off of one lone target against the Bears after Wallace took over the helm. Wallace was then injured the very next week and Boykin has reemerged with third string quarterback Scott Tolzien.

Over the past two weeks, Boykin leads the Packers in receptions (14), targets (21) and yards (203). Those numbers are even better than what he had in his two game stretch with Rodgers (13 catches on 16 targets for 192 yards). All he has yet to do is find the end zone with Tolzien, something that very well could happen this weekend.

The Packers get their second tilt against a Vikings secondary that have allowed nine receivers to post at least 75 receiving yards in a game against them this season, including the 89 that Boykin himself posted four weeks ago. Continue to roll Boykin out this week as PPR WR2.


Robert Griffin and Pierre Garcon vs SF

From a pure statistical standpoint, Griffin has regressed across the board as a passer. His completion percentage (65.6 to 59.7), TD percentage (5.1 to 3.8 percent), INT percentage (1.3 to 2.7 percent) have all shifted dramatically for the worse. His Adjusted Yards Per Attempt (AY/A) have fallen nearly two whole yards per attempt from 8.6 to 6.8 this season, as well. He’s even lost a juicy amount of rushing yardage per game, averaging 34.8 yards on the ground per game, down from the 54.3 he averaged in his rookie year. Whether you care to blame the lack of offseason preparation as a result of rehab, play calling, the Washington defense, or plain regression, the tangible results haven’t been there.

That has had an effect on Garcon as well this year, although he is having an extremely solid fantasy season this year due a steady diet of volume. He ranks in the top ten out of all wide outs in targets (109), receptions (67) and yards (871) despite only reaching the end zone three times. He’s only topped 75 yards only three times, being turned into a possession type player, as his 8.0 yards per targets are in the range of Kendall Wright (7.9).

A big part of that is that Griffin has really lost his big play ability in the passing game. Pro Football Focus tracks deep passing (balls that are thrown over 20 yards in the air), and Griffin has lost his efficiency going deep.  Last year, he had a 50 percent accuracy rating on such throws, fifth best in the league, completing 16 of 36 (two drops) for seven of his 20 passing scores and only one interception. Eight of those catchable targets were to Garcon, with him catching three.

This season, Griffin comes in at 30.8 percent accuracy, completing 11 of 39 of those attempts (one drop) for four scores and four interceptions. That percentage ranks 32nd out of NFL quarterbacks this season. What’s worse is that he’s connected on just two of those in 15 attempts to Garcon, stifling his fantasy ceiling.

This week they host a San Francisco team on Monday night that has allowed only three quarterbacks all season to throw two touchdowns in a game, holding six under 230 yard s passing. They’ve faced some good running quarterbacks too in Cam Newton, Andrew Luck, Russell Wilson and Jake Locker, with only Wilson reaching 30 yards on the ground.

It doesn’t bode much better for Garcon as the 49ers have allowed only three wide outs to reach 80 yards since week one. The Jaguars’ Mike Brown is the only wide receiver that has scored a touchdown in the past month versus them. With playoff time on the line, the Washington duo may bust your postseason dreams.

Bobby Rainey @ DET

Rainey is sure to be the hottest pickup off of waivers this week if he’s still available. In his past eight quarters of football, Rainey has rushed 38 times for 208 yards (5.5 YPC) with three touchdowns while adding three receptions for 15 yards and a score though the air. He was the best fantasy back to own in week 11, as his 36.7 points paced the position.

Owners expecting to rub their 2013 genie out of the waiver wire bottle may be disappointed with the immediate results if this is their first week starting him. Detroit has been a mauling defensive front over the past four weeks, holding opposing offenses to a ridiculously low 49.2 rushing yards per game. No back has rushed for even 40 yards in a game versus Detroit since Eddie Lacy in week five and no back has scored a touchdown on the ground against them since Matt Forte in week four.

The one area that the Lions are semi susceptible to backs, is in the passing game, where they’ve allowed 30 plus receiving yards to five backs this season with four receiving scores. Even though he had a touchdown grab last week, Rainey still split passing snaps with Brian Leonard (14 to Leonard’s 16) and ran only eight routes to Leonard’s 13.

Full Disclosure from Week 11




Mike Glennon



Andre Ellington



Chris Ivory



Riley Cooper




Philip Rivers



Fred Jackson



CJ Spiller



T.Y. Hilton













*Stats used were provided from ProFootballFocus, Pro-Football-Reference,


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