Steve Mitchell

Week 12: Beyond The Box Scores

The best way to absorb all of Sunday’s games is to recap the performances of the key Fantasy players. That’s what you’ll find Beyond the Box Scores.


Pittsburgh Steelers 24, Cleveland Browns 9

The Browns continued their spiral into the abyss this week, and the players are now starting to turn on the organization. Arguably their two most valuable assets Terrelle Pryor and Joe Thomas expressed disgust with the product the front office has decided to put on the field. The Steelers defense was the story here. Looking at the box score, there wasn't a whole lot of Fantasy value on offense, with the exception of one man of course.

Ben Roethlisberger had a quiet 167-yard day with no touchdowns and no turnovers. Antonio Brown had a quiet day for him and an active day for most other wideouts. AB caught eight of 10 targets for 76 yards. The star of the game was Le'Veon Bell. Who, despite David Johnson's best efforts, is still the best player in Fantasy Football. Bell was the only back with a carry, and he tallied 28 carries for 146 yards and a touchdown, as well as eight receptions for 55 yards. Look for this trend to continue next week against the lowly Indianapolis Colts' front seven.

The Browns once again lost Cody Kessler to a concussion. It's becoming dangerous to play quarterback for this team. Isaiah Crowell and Duke Johnson both rushed for just 10 yards. Pryor continued to be a bright spot in a dark hole of despair. He posted 97 receiving yards and continued to look like the lone star in Cleveland.

Jacksonville Jaguars 19, Detroit Lions 26

The Lions completed yet another fourth quarter comeback this week against the Jags. The Jags offense looked more explosive, but the Lions were bailed out by their defense and special teams. Detroit is playing with fire and has absolutely no balance on offense. This can't last forever. Fortunately for them, everyone else in that division is falling apart at the seams.

Blake Bortles continues to be a decent Fantasy option and awful real life option. There is little reason to fear him being benched, though. After last season he is going to get more than a fair shot to succeed. He threw for 202 yards, two TDs, and two interceptions. There may be some clarity finally at running back in Jacksonville. T.J. Yeldon went down with an injury and Ivory carried the ball 17 times for 39 yards and caught six passes for 75 yards. Depending on Yeldon’s status, Ivory should see a large spike in value moving forward. Marqise Lee continued to look like an NFL receiver as well leading the way for the WR corps with four catches, 52 yards, and a TD. Allen Robinson also hauled in a TD with just 18 yards, which was second-most among all wide receivers and tight ends.

Matthew Stafford played well despite accounting for no TDs and the offense only scoring one TD. He completed 24-of-33 passes for 278 yards and led the Lions to their fourth quarter comeback. The rushing attack was nonexistent. Theo Riddick carried the ball four times for 13 yards and Dwayne Washington 13 times for six yards. This will hold this team back and cost them when they play tough teams. Eric Ebron and Riddick both put up 70 receiving yards while the receivers did very little. Andre Roberts led the group with 44 yards.

Buffalo Bills 16, Cincinnati Bengals 12

The Bills and Bengals game was a tough watch and marred by injury. This game was devastating for a ton of Fantasy owners as major stars went down with what will likely be long-term issues. Prepare yourself for bad news.

Tyrod Taylor had a very mediocre day tossing it for 166 yards and a pick. LeSean McCoy started off hot scoring a touchdown and piling up yardage before exiting with an injury. He will require surgery on his thumb and may miss some time. Mike Gillislee is clearly the backup out touching Johnathan Williams 14 to five. He will be the best option while Shady is sidelined. Robert Woods also went down and was on crutches following the game. This left Brandon Tate as the lead receiver. Marquise Goodwin suddenly has boom or bust value, and Percy Harvin could be a factor. I expect Charles Clay to be the most consistent pass-catcher moving forward. This team is a mess.

Things were even worse in Cincy. A.J. Green was carted off with a significant tear in his hamstring and the Fantasy beast's season is likely over. When it rains, it pours. Giovani Bernard also tore his ACL. Tyler Boyd and Jeremy Hill are now both top options. Brandon LaFell could get more run as well. This is terrible news for Fantasy owners. Boyd led the team with the way with six receptions for 54 yards and a TD; LaFell had a team-high nine targets.  

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Chicago Bears 16, New York Giants 22

After looking great in the first half, the Bears remembered they were the Bears in the second half and blew this game. Their already thin pass-catching group took a huge hit and now it's time to sort through what's left and who has value.

Jay Cutler had a strong day throwing for 252 yards a TD and an INT. His actual play was better than his numbers show. The pick was a last ditch effort bomb. Jordan Howard had another big first half and did next to nothing in the second half. He finished with 77 rushing yards. We also learned he has the worst hands in the business and we can expect Jeremy Langford to take a lot of his PPR value moving forward unless Howard can learn to catch. Zach Miller was the top pass-catcher. Unfortunately, he also broke his foot and his season is over. Cameron Meredith was the top wide receiver. He will be battling with Marquess Wilson and Eddie Royal from week to week. If you are rolling with a Bears wideout, Meredith is the top option at the moment. At least until Alshon Jeffery returns from suspension.

Eli Manning had a big game throwing for 227 yards and a two TDs. He spread the ball around well as no one topped 50 receiving yards or five receptions. However, the big story is Rashad Jennings separating himself as the top back. Jennings had a big day carrying the ball 21 times for 85 yards and a TD and catching five passes for 44 yards. Rookie Paul Perkins saw just four carries and two catches totaling 35 yards from scrimmage. Jennings is suddenly looking like a strong RB2 option.

Miami Dolphins 14, Los Angeles Rams 10

This was an ugly one for Miami right up until the last five minutes. Then Ryan Tannehill continued to show his growth as a quarterback and continued to look like a franchise quarterback. The Rams got their first look at their first-overall pick who they hope will be their future as well. Nonetheless, the most compelling part of this game may have been head coach Jeff Fisher and his backwards hat. Somewhere Ken Griffey Jr. was as disgusted as all of us as the king of mediocrity rocked the backwards cap like a teenage 80’s baby.

Tannehill continued to do what he had been doing during this five games winning streak. He had next to no production heading into the fourth quarter then led two long TD drives hitting Jarvis Landry and DeVante Parker for scores to pull off the miracle win. Parker was the star of the game leading the team in targets, receptions, and yards. He caught eight of 10 targets for 79 yards and a TD. Juice was quiet but was saved by his late touchdown. Jay Ajayi continued to chug along quietly racking up 84 yards from scrimmage on 19 touches. This includes a huge 36-yard run. A ho-hum day for Ajayi who continues to be a high-floor option.

We all wanted to see what the rookie Jared Goff was going to do. The answer, pretty much the same things Case Keenum had been doing. He threw for 134 yards, with no TDs and no picks. The offense was conservative and when they need him to make plays he couldn’t. Todd Gurley ran better than he had of late posting 76 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries. His 24 yard TD was the difference in the game until the late comeback. Kenny Britt was Goff's top option, but Lance Kendricks was the go-to guy when he needed a completion. That could be something watch moving forward. Kendricks may gain some value if this trend continues. He finished with four receptions on seven targets for 38 yards. All in all, it was an underwhelming debut for Goff.

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