Week 12 in the NFL was ruled by the wide receiver, with many receivers having great games. However, when it came to running backs, not many had performances to write home about. Let’s take a look at who stood out from their competitors, including two Steelers who shined brightest this week.
Quarterback: Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers: 30 points standard, 30.5 points PPR
The city of Pittsburgh just had a great week of football. First, the University of Pittsburgh defeated an undefeated No. 2-ranked University of Miami team, and then the Steelers defeated the Green Bay Packers 31-28 on Sunday Night Football. Roethlisberger led them to victory, throwing for 351 yards and four touchdowns. He did, however, throw two interceptions. The veteran quarterback also rushed three times for 25 yards and managed to pick up two first down with his legs.
The Steelers travel to Cincinnati to face the Bengals next week and quite frankly, Roethlisberger’s performance could go either way. On one hand, he could do well against a Bengals defense that has been nothing more than average at this point in the season. On the other hand, it is an away game for the Steelers, and Roethlisberger has a history of struggling on the road. He is worth starting in deeper leagues, but in any league with 12 or fewer teams, there are other, better options than Roethlisberger.
Quarterback: Philip Rivers, Los Angeles Chargers: 29 points standard, 28.9 points PPR
Rivers and the Chargers ruined the Dallas Cowboys’ Thanksgiving, beating them 28-6. The Chargers were going into the game 4-6, and afterword cemented themselves into serious playoff contention despite their record. Rivers had a great game, going 27/33 for 434 yards and three touchdowns. The only blemish on his record was a total of negative-five rushing yards, but that does not take away from his otherwise stellar performance.
The Chargers have a great matchup against the Cleveland Browns next week, so Rivers should flourish. He did do poorly against the Browns last season, giving them their only win, but the odds of that happening again are very low. This year, he has a better supporting cast, most notably with Keenan Allen not being injured. He also goes up against a Browns team that is just as bad, if not worse, than the one he faced last year. Rivers has been a top-15 quarterback this season and has no reason to slow down now—start him.
Honorable Mentions: Case Keenum, Josh McCown
Running back: Alvin Kamara, New Orleans Saints: 31 points standard, 36.8 points PPR
Week 12 was Kamara’s fourth week in a row where he had a top-five fantasy performance, and this one was his best one yet. Kamara was an all-around player, rushing five times for 87 yards and a touchdown, as well as catching six passes for 101 yards and another touchdown. What is amazing about his performance is that he racked up 188 yards from scrimmage on only 11 touches. However, his strong performance was not enough, as the Saints fell to the Los Angeles Rams 26-20, snapping their eight-game win streak.
Kamara has proven once again that he can be a fantasy starter even though he shares time with Mark Ingram. I am getting major deja vu writing this, as Kamara has appeared among my fantasy stars three weeks straight. There should be no question in anyone’s mind that Kamara is a legitimate starter in fantasy football, especially after he tore up a very good Rams defense. Start him without question every week, barring an injury.
Honorable Mentions: Jamal Williams, Joe Mixon
Wide Receiver: Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons: 38 points standard, 50.8 points PPR
Jones just had the best fantasy performance of any player this season in leagues that use PPR scoring. In standard leagues, he fell just one point short of the performances put forth by Kareem Hunt in Week 1 and Ezekiel Elliott in Week 7. Jones caught 12 passes for 253 yards and two touchdowns, one of which came from fellow wide receiver Mohamed Sanu. After a shaky start to the season, Jones and the Falcons are back on track, winning four of their last five games.
Jones was the second wide receiver off the board in most drafts, but he has not lived up to his potential yet. That is not to say he has been bad, but he has not provided the production of an automatic first round pick. His stock is a bit higher in PPR leagues because he usually has at least five receptions a game, but that does him no good in standard leagues. In the end, he is still Julio Jones, so start him against any opponent but expect only WR2 output going forward.
Wide Receiver: Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh Steelers: 30 points standard, 40.9 points PPR
Even though Julio Jones outscored Brown by almost ten points, Brown still had a fantastic game, catching 10 passes for 169 yards and two touchdowns. Brown made a beautiful catch along the sideline to set up the game-winning 53-yard field goal, defeating the Packers 31-28. This was Brown’s second consecutive standout performance, as he caught 10 passes for 144 yards and three touchdowns just last week.
Antonio Brown in the No. 1 wide receiver in fantasy football this year, but that cannot be a surprise to anyone. He has had over 100 receiving yards in six games this season, and has a total of eight touchdowns on the season. The Steelers play the Bengals next week, which is not the best matchup for Brown, but the truth is, he is still Antonio Brown, and there is not a single wide receiver I would rather have on my team.
Honorable Mentions: Keenan Allen, Robby Anderson
Jorge Eckardt is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.