Fantasy Football

Luck, Dalton earn starts in Week 12

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Michael Harmon

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Harmon Rankings: QB, RB, WR, TE/DEF

Which image will you remember from Thanksgiving 2012?

- Will it be Calvin Johnson running wild and free in the Houston secondary that was missing Johnathan Joseph?

- How about Gunther Cunningham’s drop-kick of a clipboard after the infamous Justin Forsett touchdown?

- Do you celebrate the ridiculous fantasy days turned in by the Thursday’s quarterback class?

Even Mark Sanchez, whose lost fumble will be immortalized and spoken of indefinitely, finished the Thursday night blowout loss to the Patriots with 300 yards. Despite Tom Brady’s huge day (and more debate of whether he should have been in the game after New England blew that game wide open), the post-game chatter was all about Tim Tebow. I saw many references from beat writers on Twitter questioning/mocking why there were two pages of quotes from Tim Tebow.

One of those quotes will lead tomorrow’s papers, as Tebow spoke of sustaining two broken ribs against the Seahawks in Week 10.

I’ll leave that story for others. Right now, it’s time to set the proverbial table for the rest of Week 12 with another edition of “Lineup Calls.”

I knew I could get the images of passed-out relatives out of your minds.

Let’s roll.


(Exclude Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, Peyton Manning and Matt Ryan)

Andrew Luck vs. BUF
As expected, Luck was forced to play at a frenetic pace against the Patriots while trying to keep pace with Tom Brady. New England induced four turnovers, though Luck finished with 334 passing yards and two touchdowns. He’s passed for at least 297 yards in three of his past four starts.

He seeks to bounce back in a huge spot against the Bills. I know that Buffalo tormented another rookie, Ryan Tannehill, to start Week 11. They won’t be able to repeat that performance here. Buffalo has allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to quarterbacks (21 total touchdowns), and the emergence of rookies TY Hilton and Dwayne Allen puts Luck in line for a top-10 performance.

Andy Dalton vs. OAK
I do enjoy the fact that we’ve been able to work “She’s Like The Wind” by Patrick Swayze into our FOX Sports Radio show, and every Dalton highlight affords us the opportunity to bring it back again. I suspect that he’ll be the subject of myriad calls, Tweets and texts heading into the weekend with a spectacular home matchup on tap.

Dalton has thrown multiple touchdowns in six games this season and looks to produce his third straight effort without a turnover (he’d been intercepted in eight straight games to start the season). This Oakland defense has performed at a ridiculously poor level, having allowed the third-most fantasy points to quarterbacks (22 total touchdowns against six interceptions).

Eli Manning vs. GB
Manning was shut out in three consecutive games prior to the Giants’ Week 11 Bye and finished each of those games with 215 passing yards or fewer (four interceptions and a fumble).

Dare I suggest that the Giants bounce back a bit coming out of the Bye? Hakeem Nicks is finally healthy, and the week off should have helped Ahmad Bradshaw with his myriad ailments. Additionally, the Packers are still without key members of the back-seven on defense. We’ve seen high-scoring games between these teams in the past, and there’s no reason to expect anything different in this prime time tilt.

Josh Freeman vs. ATL
Freeman’s Week 11 performance was another shining example of why you need to play out the full 60 minutes. Owners and fans that missed last week’s game probably didn’t realize that the Panthers did a fine job containing Freeman and the Tampa Bay passing attack for nearly the entire game. Freeman rallied late to throw a touchdown pass (and ensuing two-point try) to Vincent Jackson in the waning moments of regulation and a game-winner to Dallas Clark in overtime. It was Freeman’s sixth consecutive multi-touchdown game.

I know that the Falcons have allowed the ninth-fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks (11 passing touchdowns and 11 interceptions). I expect this game to open up, and that means numbers from Freeman in the passing game.

Cam Newton at PHI
Newton didn’t blow up the box score as anticipated against the Buccaneers in Week 11, though he nearly guided the Panthers to a divisional win. He passed for 252 yards with one touchdown and 40 rushing yards to end a two-game mini-streak of multi-touchdown performances.

Newton takes to the grand stage on Monday night against the reeling, disintegrating Philadelphia squad on the road. The Eagles opened the season well in the secondary and worked off reputation for a while. After 11 weeks of play, Philadelphia has allowed the 13th-most fantasy points to quarterbacks (18 touchdowns against seven interceptions). Additionally, the Eagles surmount little pressure on quarterbacks and enter the week tied for 29th in sacks with 16.

Colin Kaepernick at NO
Jim Harbaugh’s response to Kaepernick’s dominant performance against Chicago on Monday night electrified the sports talk radio airwaves. Kaepernick settles in to start against the generous, albeit improving, New Orleans pass defense.

The Saints have allowed 21 passing touchdowns while securing seven interceptions. San Francisco’s offensive line will give Kaepernick room to operate, and I suspect that we see a few plays designed to showcase his legs (five runs of at least 10 yards in Week 10). The Bears didn’t get after his feet in Week 11. There’s a lot of playbook left to roll out in this game.

Ryan Fitzpatrick at IND
Fitzpatrick was shut out for the fourth time in six games in Week 11 by the Dolphins. Buffalo earned a 19-14 win, but Fitzpatrick produced just 168 passing yards. I’m cautiously optimistic that he rebounds with a strong effort this week against the Colts. Indianapolis has generated just four interceptions while ceding 18 passing touchdowns this season (12th-most fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks). Look for C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson to get involved in the passing game early.


Jay Cutler vs. MIN
The 49ers attacked and tortured Jason Campbell during the horrific end to the Week 11 slate. No decision has been made as of this writing, but there were positive signs in Lovie Smith’s comments that Cutler would return to action this week.

This is a perfect spot for a big game at home, though dismissing the current state of the Chicago offense (Carimi demotion and Rachal situation) would be foolhardy. If the Chicago offensive line is successful in slowing the front four at any level, this back-seven can be dominated. The Vikings have allowed the second-most fantasy points to quarterbacks, including 20 total touchdowns (17 passing). Obviously, we’ll keep tabs on his status as kickoff approaches, but it’s a glorious spot if he’s cleared.

Russell Wilson at MIA
Wilson entered the Seahawks’ Week 11 Bye with an active three-game streak of multi-touchdown performances. This week, he takes aim at a middling Miami pass defense that has allowed 282.4 passing yards and 1.2 passing touchdowns per game. The Seattle passing game has changed markedly with the presence of a healthy Sidney Rice alongside big-play threat Golden Tate.

Chad Henne vs. TEN
I don’t need to belabor the brilliance of Henne against the Texans in Week 11. He came on in relief of the injured Blaine Gabbert and posted a monster day against the suddenly vulnerable Houston pass defense.

Henne’s in a good spot for a big encore this week at home against the Titans. Tennessee has allowed the sixth-most fantasy points to quarterbacks, surrendering an average of 276.1 yards and two touchdowns per game. More than a few fantasy owners facing difficult Week 12 decisions will roll the dice in Florida.


Philip Rivers vs. BAL
Rivers has thrown multiple touchdown passes in six of his past seven games. The lone blip on the radar was that mutant Week 8 game in Cleveland. Rivers was shut out, producing just 154 yards (18-for-34) in a 7-6 loss.

The Ravens received a boost when the one-game suspension issued to safety Ed Reed was overturned on appeal. Baltimore has allowed the sixth-fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks, yielding eight touchdowns against 11 interceptions. Danario Alexander has broken through as a viable receiving option in recent weeks, but Malcom Floyd and Antonio Gates have been terribly inconsistent. He’s a mid-QB2 option this week with upside.

Joe Flacco at SD
On paper, it’s a solid matchup for Flacco and the Baltimore offense. The Chargers have allowed 19 passing touchdowns against nine interceptions. However, it’s hard to get too enthralled about a quarterback that has produced a single multi-touchdown game since Week 4. Flacco has also passed for fewer than 200 yards in four of the past six games. He’s a risky low-end QB2 option this week.

Carson Palmer at CIN
Palmer’s been a fantasy stud for the past month, having passed for at least 298 yards in five of his past six games with four straight multi-touchdown games. As a result, Palmer’s worked his way into starter consideration for many fantasy owners. It’s not always pretty, but the inconsistency of the Oakland running back (and a brutal defense) keeps him throwing.

He travels back to Cincinnati for a date with his former team. This is a matchup that knocks Palmer down a couple spots. First, his leading target Denarius Moore has been affected because of a hamstring injury (he’ll play). Second, the Bengals have allowed the 11th-fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks (12 touchdowns against seven interceptions). He’s a high-end QB2 this week, but it doesn’t pass the gut feeling.

Tagged: Falcons, Bills, Bears, Bengals, Broncos, Colts, Raiders, Dolphins, Patriots, Saints, Giants, Jets, 49ers, Seahawks, Buccaneers, Panthers, Jaguars, Ravens, Chargers, Texans, Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Ed Reed, Carson Palmer, Philip Rivers, Eli Manning, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Joe Flacco, Chad Henne, Matt Ryan, Josh Freeman, Tim Tebow, Cam Newton, Andy Dalton, Colin Kaepernick, Ryan Tannehill, Andrew Luck

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