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Sunday Morning Huddle: Week Twelve

As always, there’s a ton of information out there this morning. We’re not going to waste your time by repeating the news and notes about who’s in or out this week, since that’s really not what you visit us for. We’re also not going to do another article on starts or sits this week – we already have our weekly personalized lineup advice for you as part of the premium content package. Again, there are 100 places you can go for game day reports, so we’re doing something different on Sundays for our premium content subscribers.

The Sunday Morning Huddle goes through each game and states what we’re looking to see from a dynasty perspective. We pick one player from each team who have our eye on and describe why their weekend performance is a key one for them in relation to their dynasty value.

Early games

Buffalo at Indianapolis

Let’s focus on Donald Jones. He has a prime opportunity to carve out a significant role as the WR2 in Buffalo, but he’s been inconsistent at best. In fact, he had just two catches for 11 yards last week. He’ll need to be much more productive to start deserving any more targets in the passing game.

For the Colts, it’s just too easy to say Andrew Luck. Let’s go with Vick Ballard, who posted 72 yards on 16 carries last week, giving the Colts a decent running attack. Ballard isn’t dynamic in many ways and seems to lack any game breaking talent, but he has a nice little audition here, especially against a Bills team who doesn’t play the run too well.

Seattle at Miami

Don’t look now, but Russell Wilson is evolving pretty quickly. He now has a 10:2 touchdown-to-interception ratio over his last five games and has looked quite good in the process. If the Seahawks offense continues to evolve with Wilson at the helm, they could be quite a force to pair with their dominant defense. Let’s see how Wilson does on the road this week where he hasn’t quite had the same level of success.

Reggie Bush was a total bust last week after he was benched for losing a fumble. If he continues to be part of a true time share with Daniel Thomas, it may be next year before he can be trusted as even a flex option again. The distribution of carries this week will be telling. Perhaps Miami is already looking to the future as Bush is an impending free agent.

Atlanta at Tampa Bay

Let’s look for a huge bounce back game from Matt Ryan, who threw for 301 yards last week against Arizona. Sure, the yardage total was great, but he had no touchdown passes and a career high FIVE interceptions. This is a big game in the division and it’s time for Ryan to get back on track.

For the Bucs, let’s stay with the quarterback position. Josh Freeman was squarely under the microscope this year after an awful 2011 campaign and he’s really bounced back in huge fashion. Sure, Doug Martin is keeping defenses honest, but Freeman has been making much better decisions and executing the offense very well over the past month or so, becoming a low-end QB1 in the process. Let’s see if he can hit a new season high by knocking off the dirty birds.

Oakland and Cincinnati

With Darren McFadden out of the lineup, Marcel Reece has taken over and shown quite well. In fact, he’s one of the best waiver wire pickups of the year so far. Last week, he rushed for 103 yards on 19 carries and caught four passes for another 90 yards in a 38-17 loss to the Saints. If Reece continues to play this well, he’ll have a role even when McFadden returns from injury.

AJ Green is just sick. If and when he scores a touchdown against the Raiders this week, that will be his tenth game in a row with a touchdown reception. Now, you could complain about him only having multiple touchdowns in one week this year, but keep that to yourself because your league mates will hate you if you complain about it. Green and Calvin Johnson are quickly becoming 1 and 1A at the position.

Pittsburgh at Cleveland

Yahoo, it’s Charlie Batch time in Pittsburgh! Ben Roethlisberger is trying his best to get back, but the team is in Batch’s hands this week. Now, he’s not totally inept, but the Steelers offensive line has had some troubles and it’s going to be very interesting to see not if, but how much, the production of Mike Wallace and Antonio Brown will be hurt with Batch in the lineup.

For the Browns, we have all the usual suspects like Greg Little, Josh Gordon and Trent Richardson. Instead, let’s focus on Brandon Weeden, who already has six games to prove he should be the quarterback of the future in Cleveland. It’s unfair to put that kind of pressure on him in his first year, but the Browns are likely going to be in position to take a signal caller in the draft if they will do just that if they have doubts about Weeden.

Tennessee at Jacksonville

It’s been a tale of two seasons for Chris Johnson. In his first five games, he carried the ball 73 times for 210 yards, good for a yards per carry average of just 2.9. Over his last five games, Johnson has 652 rushing yards on just 97 carries, good for a yards per carry average of over 6.7. If he can keep up this kind of pace through the last six games, the Titans are going to have a tough call to make in the off-season.

It’s audition time in Jacksonville for Chad Henne. The 1-9 Jaguars are poised to take a quarterback in April unless Henne can give them some hope over the last part of the season. With MJD coming back soon and Cecil Shorts playing well, he’ll have a chance. Even Justin Blackmon looked great last week after Henne took over. What does he have in store for an encore?

Denver at Kansas City

Dynasty owners have been openly wondering if Ronnie Hillman could ever be a featured back in this offense. Well, with Willis McGahee out for the regular season, we’re going to get a legitimate chance to see what he can do. Lance Ball and even Knowshon Moreno could get some carries, but this is Hillman’s chance to shine.

Brady Quinn gets a chance to enact revenge on the team that gave up on him in the Denver Broncos. Alright, even I can’t make that sound legitimate. Unfortunately, there isn’t another Chiefs player even worth watching. This is an absolute mess.

Minnesota at Chicago

Percy Harvin is out again this week for the Vikings, so we’ll get another extended look at Jarius Wright who has looked good with Harvin out of the lineup. Wright is no more than a deep dynasty league roster stash at the moment, but another good outing should go a long way in solidifying a more prominent role for him next season.

For the Bears, all eyes will be on Jay Cutler, who may be the NFL’s real MVP for making the Bears offense actually look good with that terrible offensive line. Jason Campbell tried his hand at it last week and was absolutely mauled by Aldon Smith and the 49ers.

Late Games

Baltimore at San Diego

In many leagues, Joe Flacco has around 37 fantasy points the past two weeks, good for a healthy average of around 18.5. Unfortunately, nearly 30 of those fantasy points came two weeks ago when Flacco blew up against Oakland. He has been notoriously inconsistent as a fantasy quarterback and the past two games have shown us just that. Which Flacco shows up today?

For the Chargers, all eyes have to be on Danario Alexander who has seemingly finally become healthy again and has posted an amazing 12 catches for 230 yards and three touchdowns in his past two games after replacing Robert Meachem in the starting lineup for San Diego. He could break down at any time, but if he can continue this type of production, you could be looking at a Billy Volek-like waiver wire addition – one who could actually bring you a title in the late part of the season.

San Francisco at New Orleans

It certainly seems like Colin Kaepernick will be under center for the 49ers today, though they’ve yet to make that official, citing the fact it would give them a competitive advantage. If Kaepernick does indeed start, he’ll be the most watched (and scrutinized player) of the day in any game.

It looks like Darren Sproles should be good to go just in time to face the vaunted 49ers defense. The big question revolves around just how much Chris Ivory, Pierre Thomas and Mark Ingram will eat into his workload. While Sproles should still be the third down and passing game back, will the other trio of Saints running backs eat into his touches?

St. Louis at Arizona

For the Rams, Brandon Gibson will likely have to step up this week if Danny Amendola can’t suit up. If you’re desperate for a flex play in a PPR league, he could be worth a flyer as his targets should increase.

It looks like Chris Wells will make his return to the lineup this week, but it’s impossible to choose anybody other than Ryan Lindley in this matchup. He’ll make his first career start and attempt to make an impression on a team who is really in dire straights at the position. Lindley is very raw and for every great throw he makes, he tends to miss an easy one. Let’s see if he can put together a decent performance. For the Cardinals, that would actually be enough to make that impression.

Sunday Night Football

Green Bay at NY Giants

The Packers have been looking good during their current five game winning streak, but the running game still isn’t clicking. It looks as if James Starks and Alex Green will be sharing the load this week. If neither can get anything going, the Packers may just decide to chuck it 60 times a game.

To say Eli Manning has been struggling as of late would be an epic understatement. After all, Mark Sanchez had more fantasy points last week than Manning has in his past three combined. There’s no doubt the Giants need him to shake out of his funk – owners of Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz would appreciate it as well.

Monday Night Football

Carolina at Philadelphia

Well, where do you go here?  The running back situation is a mess. Cam Newton hasn’t played well at all. Steve Smith has all of one touchdown on the season. Take your pick, but this isn’t pretty.

For the Eagles, we’re most excited to take an extended look at Bryce Brown. If you want to know more about him, just check out our article we had way back in July. Since that time he’s climbed the depth chart and should get an extended look on Monday night with LeSean McCoy likely out with a concussion.

Have a great week!

Ken Kelly
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