Week 12 Stocks and Stories: Lions get the W, Herbert impresses (again), Murray returns with a bang

Another week is in the books, and after watching the Buffalo Bills and New England Patriots set offensive football back 60 years I'm ready for the next slate of games this week. In the meantime, the rest of the slate had plenty of intrigue for us to revisit.

Minnesota Vikings @ Detroit Lions

Earlier this week I had mentioned that this one would feature great options for daily fantasy, and it didn't disappoint. Who would've guessed that in Dan Campbell's first win his defense would give up almost 30 points? While the Lions ultimately won, it wasn't because of their defense. 

My favorite player in dynasty is Alexander Mattison (-3%, $1.42). Entering a contract year next year I often wonder if he's going to have a late-career resurgence as a starter post-2022. Multiple times the Vikings have called on Mattison to be the bell cow in Dalvin Cooks' absence and he has delivered. Entering this contest Mattison was projected for roughly 19 points and came through for owners hitting 21 points.

Another popular option in this one was Justin Jefferson (22%, $12.20) who is only getting better. While he had a slow start to the season, with Adam Thielen (-15%, $4.45) out of action he is likely going to start heating up at just the right time for fantasy. Going up against the pitiful Lions defense Jefferson was able to torch the secondary for over 180 yards, destroying his projections en route to 35 fantasy points. While Kirk Cousins (1%, $10.30) didn't have a career day he was also able to meet his projections slightly this week keeping his value in check.

As for the Lions, the story of the day was Jared Goff (11%, $1.58) having his way with the Minnesota questiondary, lighting them up for almost 300 yards and three touchdowns. The Vikings' defense has been a sore spot this season, and it reared its ugly head at the end of the ballgame. I'm still not sure Goff is worthy of investing in as this was his first and only win without Sean Mcvay as his coach.

Los Angeles Chargers @ Cincinnati Bengals

Another big-time performance by Justin Herbert (6%, $11.41), and at this point it's becoming expected every week. The only problem with Herbert this season is he continuously puts up gaudy numbers one week and follows the performances up with a clunker the following week. As much as I believe Justin Herbert is a top-shelf quarterback his inconsistency makes him a dicey short-term investment.

Earlier in the season, Mike Williams (6%, $4.55) had broken out to become Herberts' top option in the passing game. After an injury earlier in the season it seemed as though his production was beginning to take a hit. However, in this game Williams came alive, hauling in 5 passes for 110 yards. If Williams can get healthy down the stretch he is going to be cashing in this off-season with a new contract. With Mike Williams gobbling up all the yardage, Keenan Allen (7%, $3.60) was able to hit pay dirt twice against the Bengal defense.

As for the Bengals, Joe Mixon (-13%, $15.09) had been on an absolute tear in recent weeks and was slated to have a career day against the Chargers' defense. However, the Charger defense had other plans bottling up Mixon early. Mixon rushed the ball 19 times for a measly 54 yards salvaging his day with a touchdown. To make matters worse, Mixon was invisible in the passing game.

In a game the Bengals were playing behind they were forced to throw the ball more than they had in recent weeks. Joe Burrow (-4%, $5.83) struggled mightily in this contest tossing two interceptions and narrowly eclipsing 300 yards through the air. If the Bengals are going to make noise in the post-season this year they're going to have to find a way to get Joe Mixon, Ja'Marr Chase (-9%, $6.90), and Joe Burrow back on the same page because without an elite offense this defense is too much of a liability.

Arizona Cardinals @ Chicago Bears

Kyler Murray (14%, $7.04) and Deandre Hopkins (-5%, $4.75) made their triumphant return this week much to the dismay of maligned Matt Nagy. This game was essentially over from the kick-off as Andy Dalton got the start in place of the injured Justin Fields ($4.06).

With an early interception, the Cardinals let the Bears know their two best players were back. On a fourth-down play after the interception, Kyler hit Hopkins on a ridiculous play scoring the first points of the contest. Kyler Murray finished the day with 4 total touchdowns while only passing for 123 yards through the air, adding another 59 on the ground.

Earlier this off-season James Conner (4%, $2.18) was perhaps my favorite buy-low at the running back position. Injuries had hampered him throughout the last couple of years in Pittsburgh, and he needed a change of pace. Signing in Arizona was perhaps the best decision he could've made as he wasn't expected to be a workhorse week in and week out all season. Early in the season, Conner was splitting time with Chase Edmonds ($1.28), taking advantage of his opportunity as the goal line back. Little did we know an injury to Chase Edmonds would ignite 2018 James Conner. So long as Conner can stay healthy I'm not so sure Chase Edmonds is the better player of the two after another performance piling up over 100 all-purpose yards.

As for the Bears, they're struggling to find an identity on offense. Andy Dalton (-5%, $2.97) certainly has seen better days as a passer. While Dalton shoulders most of the blame for this one, it's still curious what happened to Darnell Mooney (-12%, $1.19)? After going over 100 yards the week before, this week he was held to only 27 yards. With Allen Robinson ($2.56) out this week, I was expecting more from him as a pass-catcher. As for Robinson, one has to wonder if he has played his last snap in Chicago.

Other Notes from this weeks action:

  • Josh Allen (-11%, $14.65) and the Bills lost it at the end yesterday. While the Bills are now back to staring up at the Patriots it's not over for them. While I'm still believing in Josh Allen, I'm not so sure they've fixed the run defense that has haunted them for the past couple of seasons. Mind you Mac Jones (-11%, $2.42) passed the ball 3 times the entire night, and the defense still gave up over 200 yards on the ground.
  • Building off of my pre-game analysis, Jonathan Taylor (3%, $14.87) didn't disappoint against the lackluster Texans' defense. Taylor was able to gash the defense for over 140 yards on the ground, and he didn't have to do any damage through the air in this one. If the Colts are going to run the ball 32 times is there any upside for Carson Wentz (-10%, $4.24), and Michael Pittman (5%, $2.21) like there was earlier this season?
  • Trevor Lawrence (-13%, $3.89) has been a massive disappointment this season in Jacksonville. However, if you follow my work you'd know this isn't surprising. Considering that Lawrence is the 4th quarterback to be paired with a rookie head coach in the NFL. In every instance of this, the quarterback has disappointed. Steve Spurrier took Patrick Ramsey in 2002, Doug Marrone took EJ Manuel in 2013, and Kliff Kingsbury took Kyler Murray. Not all scenarios are the same but I'd imagine it's difficult for a rookie to learn when his head coach is also trying to adjust. Based on Lawrences' price one has to wonder if this is an excellent buy low? Or is destined to flame out?

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