While running backs did not amass many points in Week 12 (with a few exceptions, like Texans running back Arian Foster), quarterbacks racked up the points, with 12 of them throwing either for 300+ yards or 3+ touchdowns. Wide receivers also benefited from their quarterback’s big day. Here are the players who are on or off our fantasy radar for the last five weeks of the NFL’s regular season.
ON: QB Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions, $4m.
After their heartbreaking Thanksgiving loss in overtime, the Lions are basically out of the playoff race. However, Stafford, who threw for 441 yards on Thursday and two touchdowns, will keep producing huge aerial numbers. Detroit’s quarterback leads the NFL in passing yards with 3,429 and has a good chance of recording back-to-back 5,000-plus passing yards seasons.
ON: RB Mikel Leshoure, Detroit Lions, $1m.
Leshoure does not get a big chunk of yards, having rushed for 100 only once this year. However, he has a special ability to reach the opposing end zone when Detroit is inside its opponents’ 10 yard-line. On Thursday, Leshoure became the first player to score a rushing touchdown against the Texans defense this season.
ON: WR Andre Johnson, Houston Texans, $4m.
Johnson has turned in amazing performances in the last two games, accounting for 461 receiving yards. After a slow first half of the season, the Texans wide out is now third in the league in receiving with 1,058 yards.
ON: RB Arian Foster, Houston Texans, $4m.
After failing to record a touchdown in Week 11 for the first game this year, Foster scored twice on Thursday at Detroit. Foster, who leads the NFL with 14 touchdowns (four more than his closest followers), is the most reliable player in fantasy football.
ON: QB Robert Griffin III, Washington Redskins, $2m.
RG3 threw four touchdown passes for the second week in a row. When you combine his passing efficiency with his rushing ability, Griffin should be a starter in a fantasy line-up almost every week.
ON: WR Pierre Garçon, Washington Redskins, $2m.
Garçon is finally healthy and will be RG3’s most dangerous weapon with the end of the season approaching. He showed his amazing speed on Thursday at Dallas while escaping from the Cowboys defenders on a 59-touchdown reception.
ON: WR Dez Bryant, Dallas Cowboys, $3m.
He has finally proven he can be one of the top wide outs in the game. Against the Redskins, Bryant caught eight balls for 145 yards, scored two touchdowns, and racked up 26 fantasy points.
ON: QB Tom Brady, New England Patriots, $4m.
Brady is as hungry for winning as ever. He proved it on Thursday at the Meadowlands, sneaking in for a touchdown in a game New England ended up winning by 30 points. Brady finished the contest with 323 passing yards, three touchdown passes, and 25 fantasy points.
ON: New England Patriots defense, $1m.
The unit might be in the bottom six in total defense in the NFL, but they know how to take advantage of offensive mistakes. In the past two games, the Patriots defense has returned three turnovers for touchdowns. While visiting the New York Jets, New England had one interception, four fourced fumbles and two sacks to account for 27 fantasy points.
ON: RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Cincinnati Bengals, $2m.
For the second consecutive week, Green-Ellis topped 100 yards rushing and scored a touchdown. Seeing the playoffs in the horizon is inspiring the Bengals to play great offensively and Green-Ellis is making the most out of the situation.
ON: RB Trent Richardson, Cleveland Browns, $1m.
The rookie totalled 112 yards (85 on the ground including a score) against Pittsburgh’s number 1 NFL defense. He has surpassed 1,000 total yards this season, and has become an excellent bargain pick in our fantasy game.
ON: QB Chad Henne, Jacksonville Jaguars, $1m.
I was not a big believer, but Henne proved me wrong on Sunday, having his second sensational game leading the Jaguars offense. Coming off the bench to replace the injured Blaine Gabbert—who is out for the season—Henne has thrown for more than 600 yards and six touchdowns in the last two contests. Along with Henne, it is also wise to include his two starting wide outs (both are only worth $1m): Cecil Shorts and Justin Blackmon on our fantasy radar. Yesterday, Shorts accounted for 105 receiving yards and a touchdown, while Blackmon had 62 and his second score in the NFL.
ON: WR Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons, $3m.
At Tampa, Jones definitely looked fine on the ankle that had been bothering lately. He proved again to be one of the most dangerous weapons in the league in the vertical passing game, catching six balls for 147 yards in the Falcons big win, including an 80-yard reception for a touchdown.
ON: K Justin Tucker, Baltimore Ravens, $1m.
The rookie was three for three at San Diego in field goal attempts, including the one that sent the game to overtime and the one that won the contest for Baltimore. Tucker has made 22 field goals in 24 tries for an effectiveness percentage of 91.7, which ranks fifth in the league among kickers with at least 20 attempts.
ON: St. Louis Rams defense, $1m.
The Rams defense took advantage of the troubled Cardinals offense to lead its team to a victory and recorded a huge fantasy figure—30 points. St. Louis intercepted rookie quarterback Ryan Lindley four times, returning two for touchdowns, and sacked him twice.
ON: San Francisco 49ers defense, $2m.
They attacked Drew Brees like crazy and ended up being the big reason behind a huge win at New Orleans. San Francisco’s D returned two interceptions for touchdowns and sacked Brees five times to claim 33 fantasy points.
ON: QB Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco 49ers, $1m.
If he continues to play the way he played Sunday at New Orleans, Kaepernick will be the 49ers starter until the end of the season, and will generate plenty of fantasy points due to his rushing ability. Against the Saints, Kaepernick passed for 231 yards and a touchdown and rushed for 27 yards and another score.
ON: QB Eli Manning, New York Giants, $4m.
After failing to throw a touchdown pass in three consecutive outings, Eli came back from the bye week and delivered three scoring strikes in the Giants rout of the Packers. He is back on our fantasy radar along with his elite wide outs Hakeem Nicks ($3m) and Victor Cruz ($4m), who wrapped up the night with a touchdown reception apiece.
OFF: QB Mark Sanchez, New York Jets, $3m.
With the Jets trying to catch up to the Patriots, Sanchez finished the game with 301 passing yards, but the Jets still lost by 30 points and the entire Jets offense should be off our radar until the end of this season.
OFF: WR Mohamed Sanu, Cincinnati Bengals, $1m.
Sanu had two scoring grabs yesterday, but A.J Green will likely be Cincinnati’s featured receiver in the remaining games this season.
OFF: RB Marshawn Lynch, Seattle Seahawks, $4m.
The Seahawks are a different team away from Seattle. At home they are undefeated this season, but they have only won one game on the road. Lynch, who was limited yesterday by the Miami defense to only 46 rushing yards, travels with his team to Chicago next Sunday for a game against a very tough Bears defense.
OFF: TE Antonio Gates, San Diego Chargers, $3m.
Philip Rivers is sinking and his teammates are not helping him stay afloat. Yesterday, against the Ravens, Gates managed to catch only two passes for 13 yards.
OFF: K Mason Crosby, Green Bay Packers, $2m.
Crosby continued his slump at the Meadowlands, missing one field goal in two attempts and netting only four points. The Packers kicker has missed a field goal try in six of his last seven games.