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Cullen: 50 Points on NFL Week 13

Scott Cullen
12/4/2013 2:32:13 PM
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Josh Gordon emerging as a superstar receiver, Carson Palmer and the Cardinals' passing attack, Nick Foles' rare ratio, more Manning greatness; also Newton, Brady, Gronkowski, Jeffery, Decker and more in Scott Cullen's 50 Points on NFL Week 13.

1. Lions WR Calvin Johnson (6 REC, 101 YDS, 1 TD, 10 targets) leads receivers with 1,299 yards and 12 touchdowns, though his 118.1 receiving yards per game ranks second behind Cleveland's Josh Gordon. Gordon (10 REC, 261 YDS, 2 TD, 15 targets) is emerging as a superstar, putting up huge numbers even with Jason Campbell and Brandon Weeden at quarterback.

2. Cardinals QB Carson Palmer (24-for-41, 302 YDS, 3 TD, 2 INT, 1 fumble) had his third consecutive 300-yard passing game, a feat he only accomplished once before -- last November with Oakland. This year, it's happening for a team that is in playoff contention and Palmer is doing his part to contribute to that success. The emergence of second-year Cardinals WR Michael Floyd (5 REC, 99 YDS, 1 TD, 10 targets) is playing a big part in Palmer's hot streak. Floyd has 18 catches (28 targets) for 396 yards in the last three weeks. During the same period, Larry Fitzgerald has 16 catches (28 targets) for 185 yards, though Fitzgerald has four touchdowns compared to Floyd's two.

3. Eagles QB Nick Foles (21-for-34, 237 YDS, 3 TD, 0 INT) is up to 19 touchdown passes without an interception, prompting head coach Chip Kelly to annoint him the starter for the next 1,000 years. No one in the modern era has come close to finishing a season with zero interceptions and this many TD passes. The best modern era single-season TD-INT ratio with two or fewer interceptions, in at least 10 games, belongs to Damon Huard, who had 11 touchdowns and one interception for the Kansas City Chiefs in 2006.

4. Broncos QB Peyton Manning (22-for-35, 403 YDS, 5 TD, 2 INT) is making a mockery of the MVP race. With 41 touchdown passes, Manning has a chance to challenge Tom Brady's record 50 touchdown passes, set in 2007 (which is one more than Manning had for Indianapolis in 2004).

5. Panthers QB Cam Newton (18-for-29, 263 YDS, 2 TD, 2 INT; 68 YDS, 1 TD, 5 carries) is tied for ninth among quarterbacks with 19 touchdown passes, but he's been involved in 25 total touchdowns (rushing for six), which ranks fourth, behind Peyton Manning, Drew Brees and Matthew Stafford.

6. Since throwing for 116 yards in Week Eight against Miami, Patriots QB Tom Brady (29-for-41, 371 YDS, 2 TD, 1 INT) has resumed his place as one of the most productive quarterbacks in the game, passing for 1,443 yards and 10 touchdowns, with two interceptions, in the last four games.

7. Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski (6 REC, 127 YDS, 1 TD, 12 targets) has 560 receiving yards in six games since returning to the lineup, good enough for 10th among tight ends this season. Gronk's 93.3 yards per game leads them all, ahead of Jimmy Graham's 82.3 yards per game. For all the talk about how New England needed rookies or newcomer Danny Amendola to step up in the passing game, Patriots WR Julian Edelman (9 REC, 101 YDS, 12 targets) has been the leader of the group, catching 70 passes for 711 yards and four touchdowns, all of which lead (or, in the case of TDs, tie for the lead) the team.

8. Seattle's defence locked down Saints QB Drew Brees (23-for-38, 147 YDS, 1 TD), who threw for his fewest yards in a game since December, 2006.

9. Bears WR Alshon Jeffery (12 REC, 249 YDS, 2 TD, 15 targets) is emerging as a star in his second season, and has more receiving yards than Brandon Marshall (1,109 to 990) and has added 115 rushing yards on 14 attempts.

10. Broncos WR Eric Decker (8 REC, 174 YDS, 4 TD, 12 targets), who would have been the third Denver receiver picked in most drafts, now ranks 11th in receiving yards among wide receivers.

11. Raiders WR Andre Holmes (7 REC, 136 YDS, 11 targets) had three catches for 65 yards all season before he was turned loose against the Cowboys on Thanksgiving, taking advantage of Denarius Moore's injury to establish that he could be a bona fide threat. Holmes is 6-foot-5, out of Hillsdale College, and spent the last couple seasons on the fringes of the Dallas Cowboys' roster, dressing for seven games in 2012.

12. Falcons WR Roddy White (10 REC, 143 YDS, 14 targets) may finally -- finally -- be over the high-ankle sprain that has plagued him all year. Sunday's breakout was the first time all year that White had more than five catches or 50 yards receiving.

13. Vikings RB Adrian Peterson (211 YDS, 35 carries) is making a second-half charge up the rushing list, with 357 rushing yards in the last two weeks. His 67 carries the last two weeks is his most in back-to-back games, beating the 59 carries he had in the last two weeks of last season, when he was making a push to catch Eric Dickerson's single-season rushing record.

14. Lions QB Matthew Stafford (22-for-35, 330 YDS, 3 TD, 2 INT, 1 fumble) accumulates a lot of yards, sometimes because he's making up for deficits created by turnovers, but Peyton Manning is the only one with more passing yards than Stafford's 3,825 and Manning (41) and Drew Brees (29) are the only ones with more touchdown passes than Stafford's 27.

15. Lions RB Reggie Bush (182 YDS, 1 TD, 1 fumble, 25 touches) is up to 1,302 yards from scrimmage this season, which ranks fifth. On a per-game basis, Bush's 118.4 yards per game ranks third among runners. Joique Bell (128 YDS, 1 TD, 22 touches), Bush's backup, ranks 20th in yards from scrimmage, with 813.

16. Seahawks QB Russell Wilson (22-for-30, 310 YDS, 3 TD) has thrown multiple touchdown passes in six straight games, a span during which he has 14 touchdowns and two interceptions.

17.Bears RB Matt Forte (151 YDS, 25 touches) ranks third in yards from scrimmage with 1,416 and is on pace to beat his career-high of 1,715 yards from scrimmage, set in his rookie season, 2008. Eagles RB LeSean McCoy (115 YDS, 24 touches) continues to lead in yards from scrimmage this season, with 1,523, 60 yards ahead of Kansas City RB Jamaal Charles (120 YDS, 1 TD, 21 touches).

18. Steelers RB Le'Veon Bell (136 YDS, 1 TD, 23 touches) had a strong game against Baltimore on Thanksgiving before suffering a concussion as he nearly scored his second touchdown of the game. Bell hopes to get back in the lineup, but if he can't, Jonathan Dwyer and Felix Jones are next on the depth chart. Dwyer and Jones haven't played much, though, combining for a total of 14 touches in the last three games.

19. Panthers TE Greg Olsen (5 REC, 85 YDS) has done it quietly, but ranks seventh among tight ends with 611 receiving yards this season. Since the start of last season, Jimmy Graham, Jason Witten and Tony Gonzalez are the only tight ends with more receiving yards than Olsen.

20. Since 2007, Texans WR Andre Johnson (8 REC, 121 YDS, 9 targets) leads the NFL with 94.7 receiving yards per game, six yards per game ahead of Detroit's Calvin Johnson.

21. Chiefs QB Alex Smith (26-for-42, 293 YDS, 2 TD, 1 INT; 46 YDS, 4 carries) can't compare to Peyton Manning, but he's been productive enough, throwing for 817 yards and seven touchdowns with two interceptions in the last three weeks -- all Chiefs losses. Smith also completed passes to 11 different receivers against Denver Sunday.

22. Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill (28-for-43, 331 YDS, 2 TD, 1 INT) passed for a season-high 331 yards against the Jets and it was the first time in his career that he threw for 300 yards and multiple touchdowns in the same game.

23. 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick (19-for-28, 275 YDS, 1 TD) has thrown for 510 yards and four touchdowns, with zero interceptions, in the last two weeks. Slight progress from a generally miserable passing season.

24. Bears QB Josh McCown (23-for-36, 355 YDS, 2 TD) passed for his most yards in a game since October, 2005, when he had back-to-back games with more than 380 yards passing for the Arizona Cardinals. McCown has passed for 707 yards and four touchdowns in the last two games.

25. There was some discussion among TSN.ca staffers about who should be the offensive rookie of the year and I made sure to mention Chargers WR Keenan Allen (8 REC, 106 YDS, 1 fumble, 10 targets), the third-round pick who now has 843 receiving yards on the season, going over 100 yards in five of his last eight games played.

26. Jaguars WR Ace Sanders (8 REC, 67 YDS, 11 targets) is becoming an active part of the Jacksonville passing game. Over the last three weeks, he has 20 catches (26 targets) for 189 yards and, naturally since he plays for the Jaguars, no touchdowns.

27. Dolphins WR Brian Hartline (9 REC, 127 YDS, 1 TD, 15 targets) had a season-high 127 receiving yards against the Jets and scored his first touchdown since Week Three, but he's been quietly productive this season. He's averaging 67.0 receiving yards per game, which is right on track with last year's 67.7 yards per game that led to a career-high 1,083 receiving yards.

28. Chargers RB Ryan Mathews (92 YDS, 19 touches) gets a lot of grief for his inconsistency, but 907 yards from scrimmage this season ranks 15th among running backs.

29. Titans RB Chris Johnson (101 YDS, 1 TD, 24 touches) went over 100 yards from scrimmage for the third time this season. He's over 1,000 yards from scrimmage (1,042), but is on pace for a career-low in that category.

30. Texans RB Ben Tate (102 YDS, 3 TD, 22 carries) rushed for more than 100 yards for the first time since November, 2011 against Cleveland. With Arian Foster out, there is still a real opportunity for Tate to finish the year strong as the Texans' lead back.

31. Falcons RB Steven Jackson (84 YDS, 2 TD, 23 carries) had his most productive game of the season Sunday, against the Bills in Toronto, which says something about how this year has gone for him, but Jackson does have 163 yards from scrimmage, with three touchdowns, in the last two weeks.

32. Ravens RB Ray Rice (70 YDS, 18 touches) had a season-high 38 receiving yards against Pittsburgh, yet it was still only the fifth time all season that he gained at least 70 yards from scrimmage.

33. Browns RB Willis McGahee (71 YDS, 1 TD, 16 touches) had his most productive game since rushing for 72 yards and a touchdown (on 26 carries) against Buffalo in Week Five. Cleveland thought that McGahee would be a suitable replacement for Trent Richardson and, turns out, they were right, but both have struggled this season.

34. Bills RB C.J. Spiller (157 YDS, 1 TD, 17 touches) delivered his most productive game of the season, yet Fred Jackson (78 YDS, 2 TD, 15 touches) was still eminently valuable for fantasy purposes. With more touches and more touchdowns, Jackson has been the more valuable of Buffalo's running back duo, something that wasn't forecasted when Spiller was being talked about as a first-round fantasy pick.

35. With Stevan Ridley on the sidelines, Patriots RB Shane Vereen (75 YDS, 15 touches) made the most of the opportunity, while LeGarrette Blount (44 YDS, 1 TD, 12 carries) had a chance to get some regular work. Of course, fantasy owners note that James Develin (16 YDS, 1 TD, 3 touches) had the first two carries of his career, including New England's lone touchdown run.

36. Bengals RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis (92 YDs, 1 TD, 1 fumble, 20 carries) and Giovani Bernard (66 YDS, 15 touches) continue to be a productive tandem, though BJGE gets a lot of touches for the less efficient runner.

37. Dolphins RB Lamar Miller (85 YDS, 23 touches) got a new chance with Daniel Thomas injured and made the most of it, with a productive game following a three-game stretch during which he accumulated 95 yards from scrimmage.

38. Cardinals RB Rashard Mendenhall (76 YDS, 18 carries) had season-highs in rushing yards and carries at Philadelphia, taking advantage of the opportunity presented when rookie Andre Ellington was sidelined with a knee injury.

39. Colts RB Donald Brown (64 YDS, 16 touches) has worked his way ahead of Trent Richardson in the Indianapolis backfield. Not a huge accomplishment, given Richardson's struggles, but Brown is becoming a viable option at FLEX.

40. Broncos RB Montee Ball (117 YDS, 13 carries) made the most of additional carries, while Knowshon Moreno (90 YDS, 1 TD, 19 touches) was still productive against the Chiefs.

41. Jets RB Chris Ivory (73 YDS, 13 touches) continues to hold the edge on Bilal Powell (59 YDS, 10 touches) in the New York backfield. The closeness of the competition, however, makes it difficult to count on much from either one from week to week.

42. Panthers RB Jonathan Stewart (42 YDS, 16 touches) got a good opportunity with DeAngelo Williams hurt, but it was Mike Tolbert (89 YDS, 12 touches) who took advantage of the additional touches.

43. Eagles rookie TE Zach Ertz (5 REC, 68 YDS, 2 TD, 6 targets), a second-round pick, had the best game of his career to this point and while 342 yards and three touchdowns doesn't account for much this season, he's starting to takeo n a bigger role in the Eagles' offence and those numbers should continue to rise with strong quarterback play.

44. Vikings QB Christian Ponder (3-for-8, 40 YDS) left Sunday's win over Chicago with a concussion; Matt Cassel (20-for-33, 243 YDS, 1 TD, 1 INT) was decent in relief, which helped WR Greg Jennings (7 REC, 78 YDS, 1 TD, 9 targets), who went over 70 yards receiving for only the third time this season.

45. Browns QB Brandon Weeden (24-for-40, 370 YDS, 3 TD, 2 INT, 1 fumble) passed for a career-high 370 yards and three touchdowns against Jacksonville, reaping the rewards of Josh Gordon's breakout.

46. Cowboys RB Lance Dunbar (94 YDS, 13 touches) had 46 yards from scrimmage in Week 12, a career-high, then busted out against the Raiders for the best day of his career, only to end up tearing his posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) in his knee, ending his season. DeMarco Murray (102 YDS, 3 TD, 22 touches) may have to handle more touches with Dunbar out, but Philip Tanner and Joseph Randle will compete for playing time in a reserve role.

47. Packers RB Eddie Lacy (39 YDS, 15 touches) is finding it more difficult to run when defences don't have to respect the Green Bay passing game. The 39 yards from scrimmage against Detroit was Lacy's fewest in a game this season, aside from Week Two, when he suffered a concussion on his first carry.

48. Packers QB Matt Flynn (10-for-20, 139 YDS, 0 TD, 1 INT, 2 fumbles) has done quite the job of ensuring that his Game 16 performance in 2011 (31-for-44, 480 YDS, 6 TD, 1 INT in 45-41 win vs. Detroit) will be viewed as nothing more than a fluke. He's completed 58.9% of his passes this season for 603 yards, with two touchdowns and two interceptions, good enough to be one of 32 backups in the league, but nothing to suggest that he's remotely ready for a starting job.

49. Jets QB Geno Smith (4-for-10, 29 YDS, 1 INT) continued to struggle and was replaced by Matt Simms (9-for-18, 79 YDS, 1 TD, 1 fumble). The decline in Smith's play over the last four weeks has dramatically altered the Jets' playoff hopes, and not for the better.

50. Defensive players with productive games: Dolphins DE Olivier Vernon (10 tackles, 2.5 sacks); Raiders OLB Nick Roach (11 tackles, 2 sacks); Packers CB Sam Shields (8 tackles, 1 INT, 1 PD); Steelers OLB Jason Worilds (10 tackles, 2 sacks); Jaguars S Johnathan Cyprien (10 tackles, 1 sack); Colts ILB Jerrell Freeman (9 tackles, 1 INT); Bears DE Julius Peppers (8 tackles, 2.5 sacks); Vikings OLB Chad Greenway (10 tackles, 1 sack, 2 TFL); Jets FS Dawan Landry (14 tackles); ILB David Harris (13 tackles, 1 TFL); Cardinals OLB Karlos Dansby (9 tackles, 2 sacks); Cardinals DE Matt Shaughnessy (7 tackles, 1 sack, 3 TFL); Eagles MLB DeMeco Ryans (9 tackles, 1 sack, 1 TFL, 1 PD); Eagles FS Nate Allen (8 tackles, 1 INT); Buccaneers OLB Lavonte David (9 tackles, 1 INT, 1 TFL); Bills ILB Kiko Alonso (13 tackles, 1 PD); CB Leodis McKelvin (10 tackles, 3 PD); Rams DT Michael Brockers (7 tackles, 2 sacks); Bengals OLB Vontaze Burfict (13 tackles), Bengals MLB Rey Maualuga (10 tackles, 1 sack); Chargers FS Eric Weddle (7 tackles, 1 INT, 1 FR, 1 TFL); Saints MLB Curtis Lofton (12 tackles, 2 TFL)

Scott Cullen can be reached at Scott.Cullen@bellmedia.ca and followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tsnscottcullen. For more, check out TSN Fantasy on Facebook.




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