Believe It or Not - Week 12
by Heath Cummings
November 20th, 2012

The final week of byes brought us several new fantasy stars and the reemergence of a few past stars. Marcel Reece looked unstoppable against New Orleans and Julian Edelman looks to have a new opportunity. BenJarvus Green-Ellis turned back the clock against the Chiefs while Dez Bryant looks like he's finally turning into a WR1. Which of these represent the start of a trend? We'll find out in this week's Believe it or Not.

Dez Bryant has finally turned the corner as a receiver (232 yards and 2 TDs in his last two games)

Bryant has now reached double-digit fantasy points in three of his last four games and five of his last eight. The Cowboys are having little to no success running the ball and that means Bryant is getting more targets than he ever has. You can count on Bryant to produce WR1 numbers for the remainder of the season

Verdict: Believe it. Bryant may not ever reach the levels that it was once thought he could, but he has definitely become a more consistent performer and has an outstanding playoff schedule. Half of Bryant's remaining games come against teams in the bottom third of the league in pass defense and he has only one difficult match up remaining. Ride Bryant down the stretch.

BenJarvus Green-Ellis still has RB1 production left in the tank (101 rushing yards and 1 TD vs. Kansas City)

Green-Ellis has quietly been a very solid RB2 in 2012 and broke out with a very workmanlike effort in week 11 against the Chiefs. It was his second performance in his last three with a touchdown and he seems to be getting stronger as the season goes on. The threat of A.J. Green deep is keeping defenses from stacking the box and Green-Ellis is taking advantage.

Verdict: Don't believe it. The Chiefs looked anything but interested on Sunday and Green-Ellis didn't look any different than he has the majority of the season. He's losing 2-3 series a game to Cedric Peerman and it took him 25 carries to top 100 yards. I don't believe the Bengals are going to be in many more games that flow like this one did, and that will leave you hoping for a touchdown to save Green-Ellis each week.

Robert Griffin III is pushing through the rookie "wall" (4 passing touchdowns vs. Philadelphia)

Griffin returned from the bye week with a bang, rushing for 84 yards to go with his four touchdown passes and putting up his largest fantasy point total of the season. Many rookies hit a wall around this point of the season, and Griffin looked like he was with lackluster performances in weeks eight and nine. This bounce back performance indicates the rookie "wall" may just be one more rule that doesn't apply to this superstar.

Verdict: Believe it. There are some players that defy conventional wisdom and Griffin is one of them. He's a running quarterback with precise accuracy. He's a rookie quarterback that already has a great understanding of the game. It's not that hard to believe he's also a rookie that doesn't wear down after 10 or 11 games. Griffin's schedule is dicey down the stretch, but he's taken you this far against a relatively difficult schedule.

Marcel Reece could be a fantasy playoff MVP if Darren McFadden doesn't come back in time (193 total yards vs. New Orleans)

Reece was featured in last week's FanDuel Bargain article because we expected him to do exactly what he did against the terrible Saints defense. Even in a game in which the Raiders fell behind early Reece still topped 100 yards rushing and nearly topped 100 receiving. He's always been a unique talent and as long as McFadden is on the shelf he'll be a top-flight fantasy option.

Verdict: Don't believe it. As murky as the information coming out of Oakland is, it is really hard to speculate how long Reece will be in a feature role, but regardless his prospects in the fantasy playoffs do not look good. New Orleans (obviously) isn't on the schedule again and the defenses that are have been much stingier against the run. Reece is a fine option for the next two weeks, but if you're looking towards the playoffs it's time to make a trade.

Julian Edelman becomes a WR3 at worst with Rob Gronkowski injured (58 receiving yards, 1 receiving TD, 1 punt return TD vs. Indianapolis)

The Patriots have been trying to work Edelman into Wes Welker's role from time to time this season and with Gronkowski out for the next several weeks there's a chance we'll see both on the field at the same time. There is no doubt the defense's attention will be on Welker and Aaron Hernandez when he returns and that should mean lots of opportunity for Edelman.

Verdict: Believe it. Bill Belichick is known for finding unique solutions for his team's injury troubles and I think Edelman may just be part of the solution to Gronkowski's injury. He's not going to put up Gronkowski numbers by any means, but there's a very good chance he's a WR3 or better for the remainder of the season, especially in PPR leagues.

Danario Alexander's talent is finally going to win out over his knees (230 receiving yards and 3 touchdowns in his last three games)

It's a condemnation of Robert Meachem how successful Alexander has been with just a couple of weeks in the Chargers system. Alexander is doing all the things the Chargers had hoped they'd get from Meachem and more. Alexander became a part of the offense in week nine and since then he leads the entire team in targets, receptions, yards and touchdowns.

Verdict: Don't believe it. Alexander has never recorded a catch in five straight games, mostly because he's only played five straight games once in his career. There's quite an argument over injury-proneness but in Alexander's case it seems pretty undeniable that it's just a matter of time before those knees give out again. Ride him as long as he's playing, but have a good back up plan ready.

Questions, suggestions and comments are always welcome to cummings@footballguys.com.

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