We're excited to announce the start of our own private FanDuel fantasy football league.
How does it work?
It's quite simple, actually. Just click on this link and choose your team for Week 13.
The first-place winner will receive $200.00. Second place gets $50.00, and third receives $25.00. The entry fee is $5.
You'll be competing against us and other readers, and we'll list our picks in this space every week. In addition, we will also be posting a recap each Tuesday that will include an announcement of the weekly winner and a scoreboard with reader rankings.
It's a $60K salary cap league, in which all players are available to every team. And you make picks on a weekly basis. Thursday night players are not included.
Again, just click here to get started.
After a weekend full of food, family, and, of course, football, it is time to take a look back at some of the weekend's best performances, along with the biggest busts and best bargains.
Week 12 Top Performers
QB - Tom Brady (NE) - 29.74 points - 341 pass yards, 4 TDs; 1 rush yard
This seemed almost too easy. Brady and the Patriots got off to a shaky start against the Lions, trailing 17-10 at halftime and giving hope to all Americans that we just might see a Lions’ win (or even a cover) on Thanksgiving. Alas, it was not meant to be. Brady threw for four touchdowns in the second half and 341 yards on the day to become the week’s highest-scoring quarterback in Week 12’s first game.
WR - Dwayne Bowe (KC) - 35 points - 170 receiving yards, 3 TDs
We all knew Bowe had this kind of talent; it’s just hard to believe he’s realizing his potential with Matt Cassel at quarterback. Bowe continued his dominance of NFL secondaries, this time shredding the NFC West-leading Seattle Seahawks for a ho-hum 11 catches, 170 yards and three touchdowns. He was the top-priced receiver last week, but still outperformed expectations.
WR - Deion Branch (NE) - 23.3 points - 113 receiving yards, 2 TDs
When Tom Brady throws four touchdowns, Branch is bound to score some points. And he wasn't the only receiver to benefit from Brady's big day. Wes Welker also had two touchdowns, and notched 21 points, making him the third-most productive wideout.
WR - Ben Obomanu (SEA) - 21.9 points - 159 receiving yards, TD
Obomanu had his second good week in a row. Getting the start in place of Mike Williams, Obomanu tallied five catches for 159 yards, including an 87-yard touchdown from Matt Hasselback. After averaging 18.3 points the last two weeks, it is safe to say that Obomanu is a safe play as long as Williams is out (especially with the Panthers coming to town).
RB - Peyton Hillis (CLE) - 37.4 points - 131 rush yards, 3 TDs; 63 receiving yards
What else is there to say about Hillis? The Browns running back continued to run over and through people Sunday, accounting for 194 total yards and three rushing touchdowns. Hillis is second among running backs in points per game, trailing only Arian Foster, and there appears to be no slowing him down. He’s worth every penny of his price.
RB - Fred Jackson (BUF) - 22.3 points - 59 rush yards; 104 receiving yards, TD
Jackson has found himself back among the league's top running backs for the second straight week. Jackson was held in check on the ground, but it was his 104 receiving yards, including a 65-yard touchdown, that set him apart. After we slighted him last week, saying that he would have a tough game against the Steelers, we won't trash him heading into one of the best rush defenses in the NFL, the Minnesota Vikings.
TE - Billy Bajema (STL) - 15.2 points - 32 receiving yards, 2 TDs
Who? Good question. Bajema apparently is the Rams’ backup tight end, who entered the game after Michael Hoomanawanui left the game with an ankle injury. Sam Bradford loves throwing to the tight end, with all three of his touchdown passes in Sunday’s game going to TEs. Bajema was WAY down the tight end list, but with Hoomanawanui expected to miss a few weeks, he’s jumped up to $4,700 for Week 13.
K - Nate Kaeding (SD) - 20 points - 5 FGs (2 K 20-29 yds; 2 K 30-39 yds; 1K 50+yds); 3 PATs
Kaeding made all five of his attempted field goals, including one from 50 yards. That’s all we have to say because that’s all there is to say. He’s a kicker.
D - San Diego Chargers - 24 points - 14 PA; Sack; 4 INT; 2 TD
We expected a shootout in this one, but that's not what happened. The Chargers’ defense pressured and harassed Peyton Manning into four interceptions, two that were returned for touchdowns. They also sacked Manning once and forced a Javarris James fumble, good for 24 points on the day.
Week 12 Bargains:
QB - Sam Bradford (STL)
The Rams’ rookie quarterback continued to impress, albeit against a bad Denver team, which unfortunately did not tape the St. Louis walk-through. Bradford continued to rely on tight ends no one has ever heard of, throwing one touchdown pass to Hoomanawanui and two to Bajema. Overall, Bradford threw for 308 yards without an interception, good enough for sixth among quarterbacks.
RB - Fred Jackson (BUF)
It’s tempting just to say Hillis for every week he isn’t among the top three most expensive running backs. But there’s no arguing with Jackson’s production, especially considering the smaller price tag. Jackson had a combined 163 yards on the ground and through the air, including one touchdown, against a stingy Pittsburgh defense.
WR - Jacoby Ford (OAK)
The Raiders’ deep threat not only contributes in the passing game but also on special teams. Ford returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown, and then caught a long pass from Bruce Gradkowski for a receiving touchdown. Ford finished with 108 receiving yards on only four catches. Along with the return touchdown, he finished third among receivers.
TE - Billy Bajema (STL)
The highest-scoring tight end for the week was also the biggest bargain at the position. Bajema finished with only three catches, but two of them went for touchdowns. Too bad no one knew about him.
K - Shaun Suisham (PIT)
The Steelers’ new kicker was surely a welcome relief to the team’s fans, as he could actually make a field goal. Suisham kicked four field goals, including the game-winner in overtime, and an extra point.
DEF - San Diego Chargers
The Chargers’ defense might not have been the least expensive option out there, but no one would’ve guessed they would pick off Manning four times and return two of them for touchdowns.
Week 12 Busts:
QB - Philip Rivers (SD)
It wasn’t Rivers’ fault that Manning kept throwing to Chargers players, but it certainly did affect his output. Rivers finished with only 185 passing yards and zero touchdowns. The Chargers did not need Rivers to throw this week to win, though that’s no consolation to his owners.
RB - Chris Johnson (TEN)
The only thing that could stop Johnson was Rusty Smith. The rookie Titans’ quarterback made his first career start against a mediocre Texans defense, and made them look like like All-Pros. Johnson finished with an astonishing seven yards on five carries. If this is a sign of things to come, make sure you say your prayers Kerry Collins will be the starting quarterback in Week 13.
WR - Terrell Owens (CIN)
It wasn’t just Revis Island that did T.O. in, but a combination of factors that included quarterback Carson Palmer, the rest of the Jets’ defense and the simple fact that the evening game on Thanksgiving is destined to be extremely boring. Owens had a mere 17 yards on three catches - not good enough for the cost.
TE - Marcedes Lewis (JAC)
Lewis was the highest priced tight end (who was certain to play when lineups were selected), but he delivered only 36 yards against the Giants. Lewis has been productive for the season - it’s just too much to expect for him to deliver every week, especially considering the price.
K - Rob Bironas (TEN)
Johnson wasn’t the only Titans player affected by Smith. Bironas did not even get to attempt a field goal against the Texans on Sunday, relegating his output to a fat zero for one of fantasy’s most expensive - and reliable - kickers.
DEF - Dallas Cowboys
So much for that revival led by the defense, eh? The Saints came out and stomped on the Cowboys early on Thanksgiving, and although Dallas came back to make a game of it, the Saints continued to move the ball almost at will. The Cowboys managed to force two turnovers and sacked Drew Brees twice, but 30 points earned them a whopping two in fantasy.
Finally, we get to our team. This week was a mixed bag for us. We got a lot of value from our value players, but our safe plays, except for Brady, proved to be anything but.
DeSean Jackson wasn't the only person upset that he wasn't targeted more in the Eagles loss to the Bears. His fantasy owners couldn't have been pleased. With a hefty price tag, we were hoping to get more than 2.9 points from Jackson, but Brandon Lloyd helped us make up that ground.
Another disappointment was Frank Gore. Playing against the suspect Cardinals defense, he was poised for a big game. However, he had to leave the game early with an injury. Reports are that Gore has a broken hip and could be out for the rest of the season.
Even more excrutiating was watching an over-the-hill Brian Westbrook torch the Cardinals for over 100 yards and a touchdown. It was hard not to think what could have been if Gore had not been injured.
Mike Tolbert, one of our bargain picks from last week, saved us in the running back department, collecting 17.8 points although he cost $1,800 less than Gore.
We also listed Colts TE Jacob Tamme and the Browns' defense as bargain picks, deciding to play them both.
Tamme finished fourth among tight ends with 12.4 points, so it looks like his days as a bargain pick are numbered.
As for the Browns' defense, it didn't hurt our team, but it didn't do much for us either, collecting just 6 points. However, Cleveland was the least expensive defense, so how much could we expect to get out of them?
How can we end this post without talking about Andre Johnson?Luckily for his owners, Johnson's bout with Titans' Cortland Finnegan didn't take place earlier in the game. He put up a respectable 11.6 points before his ejection, including a touchdown. Johnson will be in uniform on Thursday when the Texans face the Eagles at the Linc after somehow avoiding a suspension.
Here is a look at our entire roster for Week 12, including total points and how much each player cost:
TOTAL POINTS: 114.24
QB - Tom Brady (NE@DET) - 29.74 points - $8,300
RB - Frank Gore (SF@ARI) - 5.2 points - $8,000
RB - Mike Tolbert (SD@IND) - 17.8 points - $6,200
WR - DeSean Jackson (PHI@CHI) - 2.9 points - $6,800
WR - Brandon Lloyd (STL@DEN) - 19.6 points - $7,400
WR - Andre Johnson (TEN@HOU) - 11.6 points - $7,000
TE - Jacob Tamme (SD@IND) - 12.4 points - $5,300
K - Shayne Graham (NE@DET) - 9 points - $4,900
D - Cleveland Browns (CAR@CLE) - 6 points - $5,800
We'll be back on Thursday with a preview of Week 13, including our picks for the week.
Matt Mullin is a sports producer at philly.com and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter: @matt_mullin.
Andrew O'Brien works on the sports desk at philly.com and can be reached at email@example.com.