It took Mike White four quarters to come 75 percent of the way to Zach Wilson's season touchdown total through the air. His 315 yards were 63 more than Wilson managed in any start this year if you throw out Wilson's garbage time-inflated Week 8 against the Patriots. White's 149.3 QB rating was 48.2 better than Wilson's 2022 high-water mark.
In fact, misleading though QB rating can be, White has now bettered 100.0 in two of his past three starts. That is more 100-plus efforts than Wilson has managed in 20 career outings. If QB rating is too boomer of a stat for you, White's Week 12 EPA per dropback was also better than any of Wilson's career appearances. The young man is the “first quarterback in NFL history to have multiple games with at least a 75 percent completion percentage, 300 pass yards and three passing touchdowns within his first four career starts.”
It was clear Sunday would be a different kind of day for the Jets' offense when White led them to their first-opening drive touchdown all season. Yes, he took advantage of a bad Bears defense, but Wilson has never taken advantage of any level of defense. At the very least, White has earned several weeks worth of rope as the Jets try to sneak into the playoffs. That's especially true since Michael Carter has an ankle injury and James Robinson has lost the coaching staff's trust. This is going to have to be a pass-first offense for the time being. White isn't going to be able to do it every week. Wilson couldn't do it any week.
NFL history is full of Mike White-s who have a few good games then peter out. There have also been a handful of exceptions who enter the league throwing and never stop. White has at least earned that chance. Quarterback streamers can see where it takes them in a Week 13 matchup with a Vikings defense coughing up the sixth most QB fantasy points.
Five Week 12 Storylines
Jets bench James Robinson, Michael Carter suffers ankle injury. Mike White wasn't the only Week 12 happening in the Jets' offense. That's a good thing since nothing much of anything was happening in the Jets' backfield before Carter's ankle injury. Given a golden opportunity to run away with No. 1 duties after Robinson was healthy scratched, Carter instead managed 21 yards on six carries before giving way to “Zonovan Knight” and pass-catcher Ty Johnson. Undrafted rookie Knight generated 103 yards on 17 touches, while Johnson posted 78 on six. Carter has bettered Knight's Week 12 total on the ground only one time all season. It is safe to say coach Robert Saleh is going to see what he has in his backups going forward. He probably won't even have a choice for Week 13, as Carter seems likely to sit against the Vikings. Both Knight and Johnson are worth speculative adds. Despite White's strong play, Gang Green isn't going to put all of its eggs in the passing basket.
Josh Jacobs dismantles Seahawks for over 300 yards from scrimmage. Jacobs entered the game “questionable” with a leg injury. He exited it with the eighth most yards in NFL history, turning 39 touches into 303 yards from scrimmage. 86 of them came via a walk-off touchdown in overtime. It was the exclamation point on an historic day and a long-awaited leveling-up for the fourth-year running back. Of his 10 career 120-yard rushing efforts, four have come this season. Of his 10 career five-reception outings, five have come this season. Josh McDaniels spent the offseason telegraphing he wanted to reduce Jacobs' role and install a Patriots-style committee. Now he finds Jacobs as his last, best chance of stealing a playoff berth. Durable by running back standards with a three-down skill-set, Jacobs is going to be a spring contract conundrum.
Darnell Mooney suffers season-ending ankle injury. The one thing missing from Justin Fields' breakout had been a Mooney spiked week. The duo seemed to be building toward one before Fields missed Week 12 with a shoulder injury. Now they won't get the chance after Mooney went down before even drawing a target on Sunday. It's the most unfortunate of endings for a third-year pro who has proven he deserves to be a key part of a good offense. The No. 1 weapon is another story, something the Bears already acknowledged with their high-risk, high-reward trade bet on playmaker Chase Claypool. Mooney was already unlikely to take the next step. Now he probably won't be even given the chance as the Bears get to work on stockpiling talent for their newly-ascendant offense this spring. Mooney is still just fine as what he is, a No. 2/3 capable of flipping weeks with big plays. He could be an intriguing buy-low in Dynasty leagues.
Aaron Rodgers adds rib injury to growing list of ailments, Jordan Love makes some splash plays in garbage time. Rodgers was examining his thumb after every throw against the Eagles … until he got his ribs destroyed. Then the metaphorical old man of the NFC North was taking a knee to catch his breath after every pass. The untenable situation gave way to Love, who got the mandate to let Christian Watson score a long touchdown. Cue the inevitable “is Rodgers done in Green Bay?” talk, except such chatter is a total waste of time. Cutting Rodgers next spring would trigger a $68.1 million cap surcharge and leave behind $99.7 million in dead money. Translation, Rodgers is only gone if he retires. And Rodgers isn't going to retire because he wants to remain very rich and might still be very good. It is not exactly surprising he is struggling during this year of botched transition in the Packers' offense. All that being said, Love will be streamable if forced to start against the Bears' awful, awful defense in Week 13.
Bucs, Tom Brady fall further down the spiral. Well, I'm done waiting. By the letter of the law, Brady has regressed to the touchdown mean. He now throws two touchdowns instead of only one. The last time he managed three? Week 4. Chris Godwin finally showed signs of life against the Browns, but Mike Evans was looking dead-legged in the Bucs' latest dismal loss. Brady didn't make things any easier with a handful of overthrows. Maybe another gear remains, but Brady is unlikely to find it in Week 13 against a Saints defense that has been his nemesis during his three years in Tampa Bay. Brady is a strict floor option, and an uninspiring one at that.
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Five More Week 12 Storylines
Trevor Lawrence has latest “arrival” effort. It took two months, but Lawrence finally had another three-score day through the air. His first back on Sept. 25 had fantasy managers feeling like the future was now for last year's No. 1 overall pick. Then he managed seven total passing touchdowns over his next seven starts, only saving face with a mixture of rushing yards and the occasional ground score. Lawrence needed a big day in the worst way. It arrived not only in the fantasy, but on the real life gridiron. Lawrence chewed up the Ravens' soft coverage for 321 yards and three touchdowns, leading a comeback victory in the process. He found four different pass catchers for at least four receptions, putting the offense on his back after Travis Etienne suffered a foot injury. The film looked as good as the box score, with Lawrence making one highlight reel play after another, especially in the fourth quarter. Lawrence was 15-of-19 for 173 yards and two touchdowns in the final frame. Perhaps Lawrence still hasn't arrived yet. It's becoming clear he's not going away.
Travis Etienne re-injures foot. Lawrence's big day was all the more necessary since breakout back Etienne made it only two carries before departing. (Foot), of course, is the worst possible injury designation we could see for a second-year player who missed his entire rookie year with a Lisfranc issue, though Etienne insisted afterward he would be “straight” for Week 13 against the Lions' soft defense. Coach Doug Pederson confirmed as much. That should at least mean Etienne has avoided a worst-case scenario, but post-game player injury optimism doesn't usually make for reliable narration. JaMycal Hasty is the next man up if Etienne has to miss time, though Week 12 waiver claim Darrell Henderson would undoubtedly make himself comfortable against Detroit, as well. Fantasy managers need to monitor Etienne's status throughout the week.
Weirdness, injuries abound in 49ers' backfield. Christian McCaffrey was losing two-minute and passing-down work to Elijah Mitchell. Cue fantasy manager freakout … until it was revealed CMC was dealing with knee “irritation” and sporting a “contraption” to make it better. Cue a different fantasy manager freakout. Mitchell was the beneficiary until he of the neverending knee issues departed with yet another MCL sprain. Coach Kyle Shanahan claims it is not as serious as the one that cost Mitchell half the season, but we know better than to take Shanny's word there. Although McCaffrey seems unlikely to miss any time, Jordan Mason has become a must add ahead of Tuesday's waivers run. At the very least, he is going to be supplying “breather” snaps as the Niners manage McCaffrey and wait on Mitchell to get healthy.
Allen Robinson tumbles closer to out of the league. Inactive for the Rams' undead zombie road trip to Kansas City, A-Rob was revealed after the fact to have a season-ending foot injury. Going on 30 with two years' worth of film of him not separating, Robinson is assuredly going to return with a(nother) lost step or three. That's bad news since he was never an elite separator to begin with. Robinson won by hand fighting and going up over the top of people. If he's lost what little speed he had — he entered the league with a 4.6 40 — Robinson may not even be able to carve out an A.J. Green-style NFL afterlife. As for the Rams going forward in 2022, neither Van Jefferson 50-50 balls nor Ben Skowronek PPR prayers are worth betting on for serious players trying to make deep fantasy playoff runs.
Embarrassing Saints bottom out in shutout loss. Held under 200 net yards passing, Andy Dalton at least didn't turn the ball over. He left that to Alvin Kamara, who fumbled it away twice. With neither Dalton nor Kamara generating offense, the task fell to gadget man Taysom Hill. He responded with 20 total yards and an admittedly controversial incompletion. The Saints didn't reach the red zone until the fourth quarter, but when they finally arrived, they were totally inept. No one is saving this Saints season, but it is clear Dalton has taken it as far as it is going to go. They might as well try to unlock some achievement badges on offense with Jameis Winston, and get the deep game going for impressive rookie Chris Olave. After nearly doing so this week, expect the change for Week 13 in Winston's old stomping grounds of Tampa.
1. So, seriously: Was Russell Wilson holding Pete Carroll back for years?
2. Are the Texans trying to save free speech with their Kyle Allen starts?
3. Is there some reason the Cardinals don't have “Hail Mary” in their playbook?
Early Waivers Look (Players rostered in less than 50 percent of Yahoo leagues)
QB: Mike White (@MIN), Jared Goff (vs. JAX), Marcus Mariota (vs. PIT), Ryan Tannehill (@PHI), Mac Jones (vs. BUF), Kenny Pickett (@ATL), Jameis Winston (@TB), Jordan Love (@CHI)
RB: Zonovan Knight, JaMycal Hasty, Ty Johnson, Jordan Mason, Kyren Williams, Darrell Henderson, Chuba Hubbard
WR: Michael Gallup, Zay Jones, Nico Collins, Jameson Williams, Julio Jones, Skyy Moore, Corey Davis, Van Jefferson, Richie James
TE: Foster Moreau, Tyler Conklin, Evan Engram, Juwan Johnson, Robert Tonyan
DEF: Browns (@HOU), Seahawks (@LAR), Packers (@CHI), Falcons (vs. PIT), Giants (vs. WAS), Steelers (@ATL)
Stats of the Week
Justin Herbert's three-touchdown effort was his first since Week 2. Finally over his rib injury, Herbert should also be getting Mike Williams (ankle) back for Week 13 against the Chiefs.
James Conner's 120 yards rushing against the Chargers were his most since Week 8 2019 with the Steelers. Amazingly, it was his first 100-yard effort as a Cardinal. The Bolts' run D is just that bad.
As Hayden Winks points out, Rachaad White played 62-of-69 snaps in Leonard Fournette's absence, drawing a whopping nine targets.
Austin Ekeler has drawn 12-plus targets in four of his past six appearances.
$107 million. That is the amount of dead money cutting Russell Wilson would leave behind. Broncos country will be riding straight into the ditch again in 2023.
Mike White is 42.8 percent of the way to Russell Wilson's 2022 passing touchdown total.
Via Gregg Rosenthal: The Jets haven't played on Sunday Night Football since 2011.
Week 12 Fantasy All-Pro Team: QB Josh Allen, RB Josh Jacobs, RB Miles Sanders, WR Justin Jefferson, WR Chris Godwin, WR Amon-Ra St. Brown, TE Dalton Schultz
Tweet of the Week, from @Lindellions: In a horrendous turn of events, Trevor Siemian is still the best QB the Broncos have had since Peyton Manning.
The I Hope You Enjoy Getting Sued By Daniel Snyder Award: Brian Robinson's very, very large hat.
The Logged All The Way On Award: The Jags' mascot.
Broncos Country, Let's Ride Award of the Week: The Broncos.