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Fantasy Football Week 12: What We Learned

C.D. Carter tells us to have a healthy skepticism of offensive units that looked as lifeless as Houstons.

Houston Texans quarterback Case Keenum
Houston Texans quarterback Case Keenum

Nov 24, 2013; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Texans quarterback Case Keenum (7) looks for an open receiver during the fourth quarter against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Reliant Stadium. The Jaguars defeated the Texans 13-6. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

A flaming dumpster fire of an offense trumps matchups every time.

So we discovered yesterday when the Jacksonville Jaguars looked like the 1985 Chicago Bears when they faced off against the team formerly known as the Houston Texans. The Texans, for the second straight week, showed no pulse on the offensive side of the ball, totaling 218 yards and 11 first downs against one of the league’s most generous offenses.

The numbers, as we know, said Case Keenum, Ben Tate, and Andre Johnson had prime Week 12 matchups. Each guy had a high fantasy floor headed into Sunday’s game, and that’s all we can do in fantasy football: identify favorable situations and trust that the numbers aren’t lying.

Johnson reeled in two catches for 16 yards, Keenum threw for 169 touchdown-less yards, and Tate carried the ball seven times for a grand total of one yard. It was a fantasy debacle, through and through.

The lesson here, I think, is to hold a healthy skepticism of offensive units that looked as lifeless as Houston did in their Week 11 game against the Raiders. We don’t have phone tap in the Texans’ locker room — and if you do, please call me — so beyond trusting what the numbers say about offenses facing Jacksonville, there’s not much we can do other than go with what makes statistical sense.

Perhaps game tape gurus had seen something that would’ve led them to bench Johnson against a Jacksonville secondary allowing 25 fantasy points per game to wide receivers. But you shouldn’t be dogged by regret when your best laid plans — including the exploitation of clearly favorable matchups — is all for naught.

  • Montee Ball owners might see their guy be freed, at least temporarily, as Knowshon Moreno was spotted after last night’s game wearing a walking boot and gimping around on crutches. Moreno’s superhuman 37-carry effort against New England showed once again the advantages of lining up behind Peyton Manning. Moreno faced six and seven man fronts the entire game, sometimes trotting four yards before first contact. Ball’s inheritance of the starting gig may have been hampered by yet another fumble last night against the Patriots — a mistake that netted undrafted rookie C.J. Anderson a few touches. I still think it’s safe to project Ball for around 15 touches if Moreno misses time.
  • Ryan Fitzpatrick is everything JJ Zachairiason said he’d be, and more. The bearded backup roasted Oakland’s secondary for 320 yards and two scores, and now gets a Colts’ defense giving up chunks of yardage through the air. Indianapolis, after allowing 282.8 passing yards per game over the past month, could be without top cornerback Vontae Davis, whose groin injury could be of the serious variety, according to reports. This is something of a mouth-watering matchup for FitzMagic, who could save a lot of fantasy seasons over the next couple weeks.
  • Ryan Mathews, that oft-injured fantasy pariah, aggravated an existing hamstring injury yesterday against the Chiefs, opening a possibly big role for little man Danny Woodhead. The Chargers’ running back usage has often been dictated by game flow, which, sadly, we cannot predict. Woodhead could very well be in line for 15 touches against the Bengals in Week 12 if Mathews is indeed sidelined. He should be seen as a locked-in top-12 running back in PPR formats if Mathews misses time with the hamstring aggravation.
  • What does Josh Gordon have to do to make you love him? The receiver who has drawn favorable comparisons to Calvin Johnson posted 207 yards and a score yesterday against the Steelers, posting more than 100 receiving yards for the fourth time in six weeks. Far too many fantasy owners see Gordon as a boom-bust option. Here’s the thing: Boom-bust pass catchers don’t see 9.8 targets per game (Gordon does) and run high percentage pass routes along with go patterns. Many Gordon owners, crazily enough, aren’t even aware that he is their best, most reliable wide receiver. Stop benching him.
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