Barkowitz: Fantasy stars and stiffs from Week 12

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Bills' LeSean McCoy encourages the crowd to make some noise after scoring on a 75 yard touchdown run during the third quarter against the Jaguars.

FANTASY STARS, stiffs and surprises for Week 12 through Sunday's games. And whaddaya know, Rob Gronkowski got hurt again.

Came up big  

* Drew Brees: It had been nearly two months since the Rams gave up a 300-yard passing day, but Brees carved 'em up for 310 and five total touchdowns.

* Derek Carr: Two TD passes, 315 yards, one fourth-quarter comeback, one mangled pinkie on his throwing hand. That's a full day's work.

* Kirk Cousins: Threw for 449 yards and three scores. The 449 wasn't even a season high. Cousins had 458 in Week 8. Yes, Kirk, we like you now.

* Mark Ingram: Looked as if he was back at Alabama with 146 rushing yards and a pair of huge plays for touchdowns.

* LeSean McCoy: Ran for 103 yards with two TDs, including a 75-yard romp, a week after having thumb surgery. And Chippah gave him away for Kiko Alonso. Sigh.

* Antonio Brown: Had a very modest five receptions on Thanksgiving night, but three were for touchdowns.

* Emmanuel Sanders: Exploded for 7-162-1, his first 100-yard game since Week 3. Here's an odd stat. Sanders has posted 140 yards in a game four times in his career. His team is 0-4 in those games.

* Odell Beckham: Two more touchdowns gives him five over the last four games.

* Michael Thomas: The rookie had his best day of the season (9-108-2) two weeks after a couple of fumbles cost his team the game. Hear that, Nelson Agholor? It can be done.

* Tyreek Hill: Scored three TDs and caught nine of 10 targets (for just 52 yards). He's a fine WR3/flex as long as Jeremy Maclin remains out.

* Jordan Reed: His strong outing on Thursday (10-95-2) was diminished by a Grade 3 shoulder separation. Vernon Davis would be viable insurance.

Let us down  

* Russell Wilson: Played Tampa Bay, which came in 27th in fantasy points allowed to opposing QBs. Threw for a season-low 151 yards and no scores. Also threw two interceptions, which is as many as he had thrown total all season.

* DeMarco Murray: Punctuating his worst day of the season were the three carries he got near the goal line in the third quarter only to be turned away each time.

* LeGarrette Blount: Had scored a touchdown or run for 100 yards (or both) in six consecutive games, but managed only 67 yards.

* Lamar Miller: As if 57 yards wasn't bad enough, he had a touchdown vultured after getting stopped a hair outside of the goal line and then left late in the game with an ankle injury.

* Frank Gore: Had 15 carries for 28 yards on Thursday and was stuffed at the goal line several times. It's taken him 33 carries to gain 78 yards these last two weeks.

* Julio Jones: The Falcons roll up 38 points and Julio gets only 4-35-0, and bobbled a pass that led to an interception. And who does this Taylor Gabriel kid think he is, anyhow?

* Amari Cooper: His quarterback (Derek Carr) throws for 315 yards and Cooper gets only 22. Third consecutive subpar game - and fourth in five games.

* Rob Gronkowski: Had a chest/lung injury during the week that made his availability uncertain. Was able to play, but left in the first quarter with a back problem and didn't record a catch. Grrrrr.

Introducing . . . Taylor Gabriel  

* Looked a lot like Darren Sproles on his two electrifying touchdowns off screen passes.

* Is listed at 5-8, 165.

* Has scored four TDs over the last four games, including a 76-yarder against the Eagles two weeks ago.

* Cut by Cleveland at the end of training camp, and signed by Atlanta, which led to this biting tweet from the Falcons: "Thanks @Browns." Ouch.

* Atlanta offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan held the same position in Cleveland when Gabriel made the Browns as an undrafted free agent in 2014.

* Was not invited to the NFL Combine following his senior season at Abilene Christian.

* Lost his mother, Kimberly, to a brain aneurysm in 2006. Taylor was 15 at the time.

Did you notice?  

* Mike Evans had four catches for 62 yards and two touchdowns in the first quarter. Seattle adjusted and held him to 4-42-0 over the final three quarters.

* Sammy Watkins, in his first game since Week 2, caught all three of his targets for 80 yards. He didn't score, but did haul in a 62-yard pass. The Bills are at Oakland in Week 13.

* Chicago's Matt Barkley, a 2013 fourth-round pick of the Eagles, made his first career start and had three touchdown passes. In Charles Barkley's first career game with the Sixers in 1984, he made three field goals.

* Last thing Devonta Freeman owners needed to see was Tevin Coleman again. But Coleman played for the first time since Week 7 and vultured a TD from Freeman, who still scored twice.

Waive hello

Some free agents who could get a look this week when the fantasy waiver wire window opens:

* Our man Taylor Gabriel, WR, Falcons

* Marquess Wilson, WR, Bears: His 8-125-1 could have been better had he not dropped a couple of sure TDs.

* Matt Barkley, QB, Bears: With Marcus Mariota on bye, it's notable that Barkley plays the 49ers in Week 13. That'd be the only reason to give him a look.

* Trevor Siemian, QB, Broncos: Coming off his best game (368 yards, three TDs), Siemian also has a plus matchup in Week 13 with a visit to Jacksonville.

Bad beat of the week

The Patriots were laying 9.5 points against the Jets. They won 22-17, taking a knee on the Jets' 6-yard line to end the game.

LeGarrette Blount had broken off a 23-yard run to put the ball on the 3-yard line with 1:32 remaining. If the Jets were smart, they would have let him score on the run rather than push him out of bounds. A longshot is better than no shot.

Tom Brady took a knee on the next three plays, game over.

VegasInsider.com had the line opening at New England minus 7.5. It climbed to 9.5 because the majority of action went on the Patriots. They didn't cover and Vegas bookmakers celebrated. Again.


Join Ed Barkowitz for a webchat previewing Week 10 on Thursday at noon on Philly.com.

barkowe@phillynews.com

@EdBarkowitz

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