The Lamar Jackson for MVP hype train is traveling at a feverish pace after what he pulled off on Monday night. The second-year quarterback out of Louisville became the first person to throw for five touchdown passes in his first-ever Monday Night Football appearance. He likely made many a fantasy owner happy with such a performance. His exploits certainly give the impression that the Baltimore Ravens are legitimate contenders to represent the AFC in Super Bowl LIV. But this column isn’t about him. It’s about those lesser-heralded names that, for the most part, didn’t help your fantasy team. Without further ado, here are the big surprises from Week 12 fantasy football.
Note: all references to ownership percentages are based on data from Yahoo Sports leagues.
Week 12 Fantasy Football Surprise Sensations
It is somewhat of a stretch to include Tannehill in this week’s column. After all, his ownership rate in Yahoo leagues of 26 percent meant there were quite a few owners who benefited from his standout performance in the Tennessee Titans blowout of the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday. That said, if it wasn’t for Jackson solidifying his case for MVP in front of a national audience, Tannehill would’ve scored the most fantasy points among quarterbacks in Week 12. He and Jackson were the only two to eclipse the 30-point plateau with Tannehill’s output buoyed by his two rushing touchdowns. Not bad for the Miami Dolphins castoff who’s proceeded to relegate former second overall pick Marcus Mariota to the bench.
And who was Tannehill’s favorite target on Sunday? A player with an even lower ownership percentage in Yahoo leagues. Brown, the rookie out of Ole Miss, garnered a 16 percent ownership rate. This means that not many benefited from his 23.50 PPR points which were seventh-most among wideouts in Week 12. Those who decided to start Corey Davis (28 percent ownership rate in Yahoo leagues) were undoubtedly frustrated as he managed just 4.90 PPR points in the Titans decisive victory over their AFC South rivals. The result moved the Titans to just one game behind the Houston Texans for the division lead. So the team has some momentum which makes Brown worth considering if you’re in need of a potential sleeper in the fantasy playoffs.
Week 12 saw the Seattle Seahawks make a cross-country road trip for a 10:00 a.m. Pacific time kickoff against the Philadelphia Eagles. And given that Penny managed -1.80 points in Seattle’s previous game, a narrow 27-24 win over the previously unbeaten San Francisco 49ers, his 18 percent ownership rate wasn’t too surprising. Or maybe, it came as a surprise it was that high. Nevertheless, it was high enough to gauge that some benefited from him rushing for 129 yards and a touchdown at the Linc on Sunday. It made him the only running back owned by fewer than half of Yahoo players to total at least 18 non-PPR points. But buyer beware ahead of Seattle’s Monday Night Football clash in Week 13 against the Minnesota Vikings as they’re allowing the seventh-fewest fantasy points to running backs.
Any seasoned fantasy owner knows that tight ends with a zero percent ownership rate who put up big numbers during a given week are the gifts that keep on giving. That’s certainly a fitting term to use with Black Friday coming around. This week, there were three who finished top-10 at their position in non-PPR fantasy points. Thomas was the best of the bunch, finishing fifth with 8.40 points in the Detroit Lions narrow loss to the Washington Redskins. He had managed just 9.60 points over the entire season prior to Sunday’s game. Some players might be tempted to make Detroit’s Thanksgiving clash with the Chicago Bears a little more interesting by streaming him since the Bears are a bit conciliatory to tight ends. But don’t expect there to be a full-on feeding frenzy for his services.
Sunday’s Lions-Redskins game turned into a field goal fest. And so both Hopkins and Lions kicker Matt Prater both finished top-four among kickers in Week 12. But the former gets the nod here with his 14 fantasy points tying him for best among kickers with Chase McLaughlin of the San Francisco 49ers. His ownership rate in Yahoo leagues in eight percent isn’t exactly gigantic. But it’s seven percentage points higher than Hopkins’ mark. And when you kick two field goals with under two minutes left in the fourth quarter to make victory for your team possible, you undoubtedly deserve some praise.
Washington Redskins Defense/Special Teams
Given Hopkins having a one percent ownership rate in Yahoo leagues and the Redskins defense/special teams coming in at six percent, very few benefited from them combining for 35 fantasy points in Week 12. Both Hopkins’ 14 points and the D/ST’s 21 were best in the NFL. In the latter’s case, the unit was buoyed by making Jeff Driskel‘s life a living hell. The Redskins sacked him six times and also registered three interceptions. And there’s a reason why “special teams” are included here as Steven Sims took a kickoff 91 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter of Washington’s 19-16 win. But streaming them might be a bit risky against a Carolina Panthers team that nearly upset the high-flying New Orleans Saints if not for an epic gaffe from their kicker, Joey Slye.