Week 12 stars: Hillis scores 3 TDs
Kansas City must have had one phenomenal bye week of bonding, scheming and self-realization back in Week 4.
The offense has been tearing up opposing defenses ever since. Matt Cassel continued his ridiculous surge with another dominant performance against the weak Seattle pass defense. He passed for 233 yards (22-for-32) with four touchdowns, adding 28 rushing yards to boot. In his past seven games, Cassel has thrown 18 touchdowns against a single interception with one lost fumble. He next faces a crumbling Denver squad. Remember, Cassel threw for 469 yards with four touchdowns in that wild Week 10 game in Denver.
I’m not quite sure why teams haven’t figured out a way to put a box on Dwayne Bowe. He’s the lone receiver of consequence on this squad, yet no combination of defensive looks has been able to contain him. Bowe tied his second-high mark of 13 receptions for 170 yards and three touchdowns. The fourth-year receiver has scored 13 times in the past seven games (five multi-touchdown efforts) while averaging 104.7 receiving yards per contest.
Jamaal Charles earned his second 100-yard game of the season in Sunday’s resounding win over Seattle. In both of those games, Charles topped 170 rushing yards. He’s amassed at least 100 total yards in five consecutive games. Fantasy owners would like to see a rise in his touchdown output (four thus far in 2010), but his 125.5 total yards per game cannot be dismissed altogether.
Fantasy owners reluctantly put Jay Cutler into their lineups and were rewarded with an efficient, inspired performance in the marquee matchup against the Eagles. Cutler completed only 14 passes, but averaged 17.6 yards per completion (247 total) with four touchdowns. He was sacked four times and did not commit a turnover.
Earl Bennett emerged as a strong red zone option for Cutler on Sunday. He caught four passes for 56 yards with two touchdown grabs. Bennett is on the waiver wire radar for Week 13 given his recent workload increase in the Chicago offense. He’s caught three or more passes in five of the past six games.
Johnny Knox scored for the first time in four games for the victorious Bears. He finished the game with three receptions and 68 receiving yards, his sixth consecutive game with at least three receptions. Knox has averaged 68 receiving yards during this period.
Greg Olsen made only one catch against the Eagles, and he did so in spectacular fashion. Olsen used his size to go and over the defense in the back of the end zone to haul down a nine-yard touchdown grab.
Don’t look now, but the Bears are running the football. Matt Forte rumbled for a 61-yard gain against the Eagles early and finished the game with 117 yards on 14 carries. Forte added two receptions for 22 yards. Since the Bears’ Week 8 bye, Forte has averaged 18.5 carries and 83 rushing yards per game. He averaged only 12.9 carries per game through the Bears’ first seven games.
I’ve already exhausted my stockpile of adjectives in describing Peyton Hillis this season. As with the Chiefs and Dwayne Bowe, I’m left shaking my head as to why this man cannot be slowed. Cyborgs?
Seriously, Hillis posted another monster game in Sunday’s win over the Panthers. He rushed for 131 yards and three touchdowns, adding six receptions for 63 yards for good measure. Hillis has tallied 13 touchdowns overall and has been shut out once all season. The former Denver tailback needs 95 yards in the Browns’ final five games to reach 1,000 for the season.
Michael Vick couldn’t rally the Eagles past the Bears on Sunday. He did rally to post a strong statistical day on behalf of fantasy owners. Vick completed 29-of-44 attempts for 333 yards with two touchdowns and his first interception of the year. He did scramble for 44 yards on nine attempts and fumbled four times, though none of those were lost. The electrifying comeback player absorbed four sacks.
Brent Celek popped out of witness protection for a late touchdown reception. Celek caught three passes for a season-high 50 yards in Week 12, including his first touchdown grab since Week 5. Is he worthy of a look-see on Thursday against Houston?
Jeremy Maclin didn’t post a huge game. However, he rates a heroe, as he became the seventh receiver to score a receiving touchdown against the Bears (his eighth of the season). Maclin caught five passes for a meager total of 47 yards. He’s caught four or more passes in seven consecutive games.
Touchdowns have been sparse for Philadelphia running back LeSean McCoy. Fantasy owners will have to settle for a mountain of total yards. He logged 120 total yards on 18 touches against Chicago (53 rushing and 67 receiving on eight receptions).
Aaron Rodgers passed for 344 yards and a touchdown while serving as the Packers’ primary running option in Sunday’s loss to Atlanta. He tucked the ball and ran 12 times for 51 yards, including a touchdown. Alas, Rodgers also fumbled at the goal line. Packer fans were crushed, and the legend of Matt Ryan grew.
Greg Jennings caught five passes for 119 yards, his second straight 100-yard performance. He’s caught at least five passes in six consecutive games, a period in which he has averaged 106.5 receiving yards. Jennings had averaged just 36.6 receiving yards in the Packers’ first five games.
Jordy Nelson emerged as a downfield target for Aaron Rodgers, registering the Packers’ lone receiving touchdown. Nelson caught five passes for 61 yards.
Following a slow start to the season, Michael Turner is heating up down the stretch. Turner rushed for 110 yards on 23 carries and scored his seventh rushing touchdown of the year in Sunday’s win over Green Bay. He’s posted four 100-yard games in his past five starts, a period in which he’s scored six of his seven touchdowns. Turner needs 26 yards against Tampa Bay to reach 1,000 for the season. He rushed for 107 yards and two touchdowns in the first meeting this season.
Tony Gonzalez scored for the first time since Week 6, logging six receptions for 51 yards in the hard-fought home win. He’s caught four or more passes in seven games this season.
Matt Schaub completed 25-of-35 attempts for 178 yards with two touchdowns, his second multi-touchdown effort in the past three weeks. He didn’t commit a turnover and was sacked twice. It wasn’t an exciting game, the fight notwithstanding, but Schaub was efficient.
Arian Foster continued his charmed season with another fantastic multi-faceted performance. Foster carried the ball 30 times (his highest workload since Week 1) for 143 yards, adding nine receptions for 75 yards. In an amazing breakthrough season, Foster has amassed 13 total touchdowns while averaging 145.5 total yards per game.
Toby Gerhart took over for the injured Adrian Peterson and bowled over the Redskins on Sunday. The rookie tailback rushed for 76 yards on 22 carries (he’d carried the ball 24 times in the first 10 games) and scored his first NFL touchdowns. Peterson’s ankle should be fine for Week 13, but Gerhart might be worth stashing on the end of your bench if you have an available slot, just in case.
Eli Manning wasn’t overwhelming in Sunday’s win over Jacksonville, but who could have expected him to be given the current state of the New York receiving corps? Manning completed 14-of-24 attempts for 226 yards with two touchdowns. He’s thrown multiple touchdown passes in seven consecutive games.
Kevin Boss scored for the third time in four games during the Giants’ narrow win over the Jaguars. He caught three passes for 74 yards, including a 32-yard touchdown grab. The fourth-year tight end has caught multiple passes in four consecutive games.
Mario Manningham caught only three passes for 61 yards. One of those was his fifth touchdown of the season and second in the past three weeks. Manningham also had a touchdown catch nullified because of a penalty.
As expected, the Steelers leaned on Rashard Mendenhall heavily in Sunday’s nail-biter against the Bills. Mendenhall carried the ball a season-high 36 times for 151 yards and scored for the ninth time this season. He did lose a fumble and put the Steelers in a precarious position, but the defense had his back.
Fred Jackson has turned up his game in recent weeks. He produced a phenomenal game against the Steelers, amassing 163 total yards on 17 touches, including a 65-yard touchdown reception. Jackson has scored a total of six touchdowns in his past four games while averaging 124.5 total yards.
Hines Ward caught 10 passes for 107 yards, surpassing his total production in his past three games.
Mike Goodson shared the workload with Jonathan Stewart, yet still delivered for his trusting fantasy owners. Goodson carried the ball 14 times for 55 yards, including a 26-yard touchdown run and led the Panthers with eight receptions for 81 yards.
Matt Hasselbeck was on his way to a mediocre performance, but a late 87-yard touchdown to sleeper special Ben Obomanu put him into “hero” country. Hasselbeck passed for 282 yards with two touchdowns, two interceptions and a lost fumble (two sacks).
Obomanu stepped in nicely for Mike Williams, who was sidelined because of a foot injury. He scored for the second straight week and finished this contest with five receptions for 159 yards. Obomanu has scored in three of the past four weeks and has caught four or more passes in three consecutive games. I would take a long look at him on the wire this week.
Chad Henne returned to action and injected life in the Miami offense. Henne passed for 307 yards and two touchdowns (Marlon Moore and Patrick Cobbs) with one interception in Sunday’s win over Oakland.
Davone Bess caught six passes for a season-high 111 yards against the Raiders. He hasn’t scored in five games, but he was at least involved in the offense against following the shutdown effort by Chicago in Week 11.
Ricky Williams and Ronnie Brown were actually able to run the ball effectively against Oakland. Williams gets the nod here because of his touchdown sprint, his second rushing touchdown of the season (third overall. He rushed for 95 yards on 20 carries, while Brown added 85 yards to the winning effort. Jacoby Ford is awfully fun to watch. He started things off with a kickoff return for a touchdown against Miami and later caught a touchdown pass, the first of his NFL career. He finished the game with four receptions for 108 yards, his second 100-yard effort in the past three weeks.
Joe Flacco passed for 289 yards and two touchdowns with one interception in Sunday’s win over Tampa Bay. Flacco has thrown multiple touchdown passes in five of the past six games following a slow start (statistically speaking, of course).
Derrick Mason has scored in three of the past four weeks while remaining a frequent target for Flacco. He caught eight passes against the Buccaneers to match his season-high mark set in Week 6 and logged 87 receiving yards.
Todd Heap only caught two passes on Sunday. Happily for me and my communication in the Twitter-verse and on the radio, one of those was a 65-yard sprint to the end zone. Heap finished with two receptions for 79 yards.
Ray Rice had a 76-yard touchdown run nullified by a penalty, so some fantasy owners may curse his efforts on Sunday. I just can’t dismiss a 132-yard effort (85 rushing and 47 receiving).
Sam Bradford took advantage of a trip to Denver to throw a career-high three touchdown passes against the Broncos (tight ends Michael Hoomanawanui and Billy Bajema were the receivers). He also established a new personal best with 308 passing yards. He’s thrown multiple touchdown passes in four of the past five games.
Kyle Orton gave those Denver fans who stuck around a thrill with an attempted comeback against the Rams. The Broncos still lost, but given all the negativity surrounding the team right now, Orton at least provided some entertainment. He passed for 347 yards with three touchdowns. Orton has yet to be shut out this season.
Brandon Lloyd didn’t break through for a monster performance, but his slow march to fantasy MVP consideration continued. Lloyd caught four passes for 76 yards with two touchdown receptions. Lloyd has scored in four consecutive games and nine times overall.
Mike Tolbert racked up his second straight 100-yard performance with a 103-yard, 26-carry effort against the Colts in Sunday’s blowout win. He also scored for the ninth time this season (including seven of his past eight games).
Jacob Tamme was one of few bright spots for the Colts against San Diego. He caught seven passes for 64 yards, including his third touchdown of the season. Since ascending to the starting lineup, Tamme has caught six or more passes in every game.
Finally, I have to give a nod to the San Diego defense. They absolutely terrorized Peyton Manning following the first drive of the game. It was almost as if they knew what play was coming before it was run. The Chargers returned two interceptions for touchdowns and generated five turnovers overall. The annual second-half revival is underway.