By Eric Mack
November 19, 2012

It was a strange week in fantasy terms and a devastating one for Rob Gronkowski owners.

Chad Henne throws for four TDs. Matt Schaub throws for five. And guys like Matt Ryan throws for five, too -- but his tallies fall in the interception column.

Left is right. Up is down. Black is white. And fantasy football continues to frustrate us to no end in Week 11.

If the out-of-nowhere performances weren't enough, the Pats' Gronkowski might be out for the rest of the fantasy season after an X-Ray reportedly revealed a broken forearm.

As for Henne's breakthrough off the bench against an elite Texans defense, it shows us it is sometimes better to be lucky than good. We break it all down and -- if you were neither lucky nor good -- we help you prepare for a rebound in Thanksgiving week with our Fantasy Football Fast Forward:

Blaine Gabbert's (elbow) loss was the Jaguars' gain. Who would have thought Henne could put this kind of performance together, in Houston no less: 354 yards passing and four TDs?

You will say this is a fluke -- it just might be -- but there is some talent to take note of here and the mediocre Titans are next up on the schedule.

Rookie Justin Blackmon enjoyed a breakthrough with seven catches for 236 yards and a TD, while Cecil Shorts (3-81-1) and TE Marcedes Lewis (3-40-2) also look like they're worth owning again. Then, assuming Maurice Jones-Drew (foot) remains out, Jalen Parmele surprisingly took over as the starter for the struggling Rashad Jennings, rushing for 80 yards.

The Titans defense has been very forgiving, so rank the newfound Jags waiver pick-ups as follows: Parmele, Blackmon, Shorts, Henne and Lewis.

Don't worry, Ryan fantasy owners, he will be fine and perform like an elite fantasy QB in Week 12 at Tampa Bay -- regardless of Julio Jones' bad ankle.

The Cardinals have a good secondary, but the Bucs do not. Ryan should be good for 300 yards, three TDs and no interceptions even if Jones is limited or out.

That was a discouraging performance for Jones, too, before his ankle forced him out of the game for good Sunday. He is a big question mark for Week 12, so you might want to consider picking up Harry Douglas (5-48) in deeper three-WR formats.

You should love Roddy White (8-123) and Tony Gonzalez in the game plan next week.

It was the ugliest part of the preseason and the Cardinals QB situation reached a regular-season low with that performance in Atlanta. John Skelton was benched after woefully missing Larry Fitzgerald for a TD and rookie Ryan Lindley couldn't get anything done either.

It makes Fitzgerald difficult to trust -- even against the Rams in Week 11. Andre Roberts, Michael Floyd, Early Doucet and Todd Heap definitely shouldn't be owned.

The Cards' prayer now is having Kevin Kolb come back in a couple of weeks. Ew.


Robert Griffin III, Redskins -- Who needs opportunities or fantasy-worthy weapons? RGIII makes it work for the Redskins and fantasy owners, throwing just 15 times but racking up four TDs to four one-catch receivers. The return of Pierre Garcon meant little, but RGIII proved he's a must-start fantasy option even if you don't want to use anyone around him on a regular basis.

Matt Schaub, Texans -- This was supposed to be a blowout left in the hands of Arian Foster and the running game; instead, Schaub orchestrated a huge rally with 527 yards passing and five TDs. It is going to make Schaub popular in fantasy, but he faces a Lions defense next week that just limited Aaron Rodgers in Detroit. You probably don't want to start Schaub outside of two-quarterback leagues.

Andy Dalton, Bengals -- He has had some big performances this season and the woeful Raiders are up next. He is definitely someone to consider if you have a starting QB in a less favorable matchup.

Matthew Stafford, Lions -- It wasn't a bad performance against the Packers, but it wasn't quite the shootout we expected. It is enough to consider benching him against a Texans defense that will play a lot better against the pass Thanksgiving Day.

Josh Freeman, Buccaneers -- He has performed like a fantasy starter for most of the season, but we're going to learn quite a bit about him against the Falcons next week. The most significant development for Freeman this week was the emergence of Dallas Clark as a threat. He adds yet another weapon for the surprising Bucs.

Carson Palmer, Raiders -- His 312 yards and two TDs shouldn't be considered a complete choke-job, but he couldn't get the ball to his primary WRs on the outside and should struggle to do so against a hot Bengals defense next week, too. Palmer's run as a fantasy starter should be considered over now that bye weeks are complete.

Ryan Tannehill, Dolphins -- The end of the bye weeks and that performance against a once suspect Bills defense make this guy someone to cut for the stretch. His ceiling is low and his supporting cast is worse.

Matt Cassel, Chiefs -- The Chiefs benched Cassel for Brady Quinn and didn't get any better results. Neither passer broke 100 yards, partially because Dwayne Bowe (neck) left the game without a catch and did not return. The Chiefs are a mess best avoided.

Nick Foles, Eagles -- He proved to be a failure in his 46 attempts because he couldn't get the ball to DeSean Jackson (2-5) and Jeremy Maclin (0-0) like he did a week ago. All of your Eagles are significant risks right now -- unless Michael Vick (concussion) can return to the starting lineup next week against Carolina.

Running backs:

LeSean McCoy, Eagles -- A bad season just got worse and McCoy left with a concussion from a helmet-to-helmet hit. McCoy almost certainly won't be available, so consider Bryce Brown one of the most important players off waivers this week. The Panthers run defense, particularly with a suspect QB, is a good matchup for Brown next Monday night.

Stevan Ridley, Patriots -- Shane Vereen (11-40-1) mopped up in a blowout, but that is good news for Ridley (13-28-1) owners that want to start their guy Thanksgiving night against the Jets. Ridley is still the play. Vereen will still be a risk. It should also be noted Danny Woodhead was not used at all. That might mean Woodhead takes some touches from Vereen against the Jets.

BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Bengals -- Despite Cedric Peerman making some in-roads on attempts, BGE had an important 101-yard, one-TD effort. It makes him a solid starter against the Raiders' suspect run defense next week.

Mikel LeShoure, Lions -- His 84 yards and a TD came against a decent Packers run defense. It is probably enough for you to start him even against the Texans' stiff run defense on Thanksgiving.

Ryan Mathews, Chargers -- The good news is he healthy. The bad news is he is as mediocre as ever. You might not want to use him against a rejuvenated Ravens run defense.

Willis McGahee, Broncos -- His age might have caught up to him. McGahee (7-55) left with a knee injury and gave way to rookie Ronnie Hillman (12-43). Hillman will be a must-start RB at Kansas City if McGahee cannot go. McGahee will be getting an MRI on Monday, which rarely reveals good news.

Mark Ingram, Saints -- We say this with severe trepidation, but the Saints might have finally decided to make Ingram (12-67-1) a feature back. The problem with that statement is two-fold: 1. Darren Sproles (hand) can return next week; and 2. The 49ers rugged run defense is next up. What's clear is neither Chris Ivory (8-37) nor Pierre Thomas (5-30) are worth considering now.

Marcel Reece, Raiders -- He came through with 103 yards rushing and 90 yards receiving on four catches, proving he is a must-start RB in PPR formats. We should fully expect Darren McFadden (ankle) to be held out another week, too, so keep leaning on Reece.

La'Rod Stephens-Howling, Cardinals -- If that was his last start, he certainly went out with a bang, rushing for 127 yards on 22 carries. With Beanie Wells (knee) expected to return for Week 12, LSH is expected to move back to his third-down role, one that will leave him out of most fantasy lineups. Pick up Wells if he is available off waivers.

Jonathan Stewart, Panthers -- He was held to just 15 carries for 43 yards, but he found the end zone and is clearly their back of choice going forward. The Eagles are not a favorable matchup necessarily next week, but you can consider Stewart a fantasy starting option now.

James Starks, Packers -- He rushed 25 times for 74 yards, proving he's the Packers' feature back now -- not to mention the Packers are actually working on establishing a running game. Starks is a viable starter against the Giants defense next week. Alex Green (knee) didn't even get a touch.

Vick Ballard, Colts -- His 16 carries for 72 yards was impressive against a good Pats run defense, and particularly noteworthy because he kept Donald Brown (knee) in a limited role. Brown (4-17) might have lost his starting job and he won't even be the goal-line back, because that looks to be Delone Carter's (2-21-1) job.

Bilal Powell, Jets -- He isn't necessarily going to take Shonn Greene's starting job, but he did vulture a pair of late TDs in the red zone. That makes him a solid add off waivers, even if you won't start him against the Pats' solid run defense Thanksgiving night.

Reggie Bush, Dolphins -- With him headed for free agency, we might see the Dolphins get a closer look at Daniel Thomas and rookie Lamar Miller down the stretch. You will not want to start any of your Dolphins against the Seahawks defense next week, even if it is at home.

Isaac Redman, Steelers -- He left Sunday's night game with a concussion and you won't want to use him against the Browns, particularly with Rashard Mendenhall back and Jonathan Dwyer available.

Wide receivers:

Calvin Johnson, Lions -- Another week on the injury report, another 5-143-1. His knee is just fine.

Andre Johnson, Texans -- After 14 catches for 273 yards and a TD, you should no longer have any questions about this WR monster for as long as he stays off the injury report. Keep him active in all leagues.

Dez Bryant, Cowboys -- He is showing you why you have to keep the faith. The Cowboys have a favorable schedule down the stretch, so consider Tony Romo, Bryant, Jason Witten and Miles Austin must-starts, regardless of when DeMarco Murray returns.

Danario Alexander, Chargers -- It is official now: Alexander (7-96-2) is the Chargers' best receiver and a must-own in all leagues. Antonio Gates (2-17) is a shell of his former self and Malcom Floyd (4-67) looks better as a complementary piece. Alexander has size and speed that allows Philip Rivers to just throw it up to him.

Jordy Nelson, Packers -- You shouldn't worry about his disappointing 3-45 performance as much as you should James Jones' (2-33). Nelson will be a must-start against the Giants' secondary next week, even if Randall Cobb (9-74-1) is the leading Packers receiver now.

Denarius Moore, Raiders -- He was a big bust with one catch for nine yards, showing he just isn't ready to be considered among the elite. The Bengals have some solid corners, so don't consider Moore a must-start. You shouldn't consider Darrius Heyward-Bey (4-69), Jaron Criner (3-23-1) or Rod Streater (1-23) all that intriguing next week either.

Julian Edelman, Patriots -- You should view Edelman's performance against the Colts a function of the Pats wanting to give the Jets something else to prepare for. Wes Welker (7-80) and Brandon Lloyd (4-45) are still the go-to receivers.

Chaz Schilens, Jets -- His four catches for 48 yards and a TD don't look like enough to consider him off waivers, but the Pats secondary is on deck. Schilens could perform like a fantasy starter Thanksgiving night.

T.Y. Hilton, Colts -- One week it is Donnie Avery, this one it's Hilton (6-100-2). The Bills are a favorable matchup next week, so you can roll the dice on Hilton or Avery in deeper leagues. Hilton is clearly the better talent, but Avery is still a starter.

Santana Moss, Redskins -- He somehow won a jump ball for a 61-yard TD and led a spread-out Redskins receiving corps. Aldrick Robinson hit on a 49-yard score, too. Don't start any Redskins receiver against the elite Cowboys cornerbacks Thanksgiving Day.

Brandon Stokley, Broncos -- He led the Broncos receivers in catches and yardage, in addition to getting in the end zone (4-55-1), but he still shouldn't be considered outside of the deepest of leagues. Those targets are going to go to Demaryius Thomas (3-42-1) and Eric Decker (2-23-1) more often than not.

Mohamed Sanu, Bengals -- With Andrew Hawkins (knee) out, Sanu was able to reel in a late TD. You might consider him someone to stash on your bench for the stretch.

Riley Cooper, Eagles -- He was the favorite receiver for Nick Foles, so you might consider him in deeper three-WR formats for next week's game against the Panthers.

Tight ends:

Rob Gronkowski, Patriots -- That broken forearm will keep him out 4-6 weeks, which is roughly until the end of the fantasy season. He will likely be limited to merely chipping in at the end of the fantasy postseason in Weeks 15-17. If you own Aaron Hernandez, this might be a blessing if he ever progresses from 'questionable' to 'active. With Gronkowski out, expect big numbers from Hernandez when he returns.

Brandon Myers, Raiders -- Yet another solid performance (6-55-1). Trust him as a weekly starter in all leagues now. What's certain is he will get a lot of garbage time every game.

Jermichael Finley, Packers -- He's back! Three catches for 66 yards and a TD make Finley a TE to not only own again, but also start.

Dwayne Allen, Colts -- The absence of fellow rookie TE Coby Fleener has allowed Allen (6-69) to blossom as a top-12 fantasy TE. Consider him against the Bills if you have an inconsistent veteran.

Dallas Clark, Buccaneers -- He has been mostly silent this season, but he has emerged in recent weeks and peaked in Week 11 with seven catches for 58 yards and a TD. He is now a potential starter if you stream your TE.

Dennis Pitta, Ravens -- He left Sunday's night's game with a concussion and should now be considered off the radar among viable starters.

Garrett Graham, Texans -- He was a significant part of the game plan with Owen Daniels (hip) at something less than 100 percent, catching eight passes for 82 yards and two TDs. You should only consider Graham for Week 12 if the news about Daniels on the injury report lists him as questionable.

Tony Moeaki, Chiefs -- He has quietly improved and might even be the team's leading target if Bowe (neck) is out for Week 12. It makes him a potential injury replacement if you have a need at the TE position, even with the QB woes. A bad QB can use the TE often in check downs.

Ben Watson, Browns -- He reeled in two TDs, but this is one performance in a season full of him being a non-factor. Leave him on waivers with the Steelers defense next on the schedule.


Dan Bailey, Cowboys -- Tony Romo is struggling to get the ball in the end zone this season and Murray is close to a return. Both of these factors combine to make Bailey one of the top 10 kickers to have from here on out. He is probably available in your league.

Mason Crosby, Packers -- He missed a pair of field goals and hasn't looked anywhere near his once elite status among kickers in fantasy. Consider going a different direction down the stretch.

Defense/Special teams:

Texans -- That was a pitiful performance in a matchup that was supposed to make it one of the best units of the week. Now, they travel to Detroit, which boasts one of the more potent offenses in football. You might not want to have them active.

Broncos -- This unit has been playing real well and the Chiefs are about the biggest wasteland there is in football right now. Consider the Broncos a must-start in Week 12.

Dolphins -- They have steadily declined and we should no longer consider this a fantasy-worthy unit.

Eric Mack writes fantasy for Track his weekly starts and sits every Thursday, his last-minute Cheat Sheet on Sunday mornings and his Fantasy Fast Forward on Sunday nights. You find also him on Twitter, where you can mock him, rip him and (doubtful) praise him before asking him for fantasy advice or challenging him to a head-to-head fantasy game @EricMackFantasy.He reads all the messages there (guaranteed) and takes them very, very personally (not really).

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