Week 13 marked the end of the regular season in a lot of fantasy football leagues. Now things get serious. This is really when you need your stars to step it up and make plays. The good news is that this week's top targets and touches list has a lot of that. Sadly, there are also some big names that are missing. We'll take a look at both in this week's Fantasy Breakdown.
All hail the fantasy return of Calvin Johnson! Megatron looked like his former self on Thanksgiving Day, posting his second-highest total of the season and his best game since the season opener. It's been a frustrating slog through this year for a player that you likely acquired with a first-round pick. But games like this are why it's so hard to part with Johnson. The ball is definitely still going his direction -- he's averaged 13 targets over the past four weeks -- hopefully this begins to translate into production. Just in time for the postseason.
Just when you thought Keenan Allen had been relegated to the level of a possession receiver, he posts a breakout performance. The Chargers receiver saw a season-high 15 targets and turned it into a season-high 24.10 fantasy points. These were the type of weeks many fantasy managers were expecting when they drafted Allen as a WR1. The bad news is that we might have seen the last of Allen as a serious fantasy contributor this season. The final four teams on San Diego's schedule are in the top 10 in fewest fantasy points allowed to wide receivers. Hopefully the targets continue to come Allen's way. That would make us feel a little better.
For another case study in how targets don't always translate to production, take a look at Kelvin Benjamin. The Panthers rookie had 12 passes thrown his way, but caught just five of them for 56 yards and 5.60 fantasy points. Few things have made me as sad as watching the Carolina offense this season, especially watching a seemingly hobbled Cam Newton operate behind a poor offensive line. It's had a definite impact on Benjamin. We keep holding out the hope for garbage time points, but it's certainly not a guarantee.
Hey Drew Brees ... it's great that you spread the ball around and threw five touchdown passes in your big win on Sunday. But zero targets for Jimmy Graham? That's no bueno. A lot of credit should go to the Steelers defense for finding ways to take Graham out of the game, but one would imagine that the creative New Orleans offense would find ways to get their main playmaker involved. Let's just hope that other teams don't start copying Pittsburgh's blueprint.
For the second consecutive week, C.J. Anderson is sitting atop this list. At this point, it's anyone's guess what happens with the Broncos running back situation in 2015. But for now it seems like a certainty that Denver is going to roll with Anderson for the remainder of the season. He's proving that he can be a workhorse ... and a productive one at that. Apart from a matchup with the Buffalo Bills in Week 14, Anderson has a pretty favorable remaining schedule. And considering how efficient Denver's running game has been lately, the game against the Bills might not be anything to fear.
Remember early in the season when we feared that DeMarco Murray wouldn't be able to maintain his high level of carries throughout the campaign? It seems like that concern is becoming a reality. In his first seven games, Murray averaged 27 rushing attempts per game. In has last five, that number has dropped to 20. He's posted more than 20 carries just once in that time, lugging the ball 24 times in the Week 12 win over the New York Giants. Even with fewer chances, Murray is still wildly productive which should mute too many concerns -- especially with a favorable slate of games to end the season.
The Lions have had a slew of problems running the football this season, but maybe it's because they haven't had one running back get into a rhythm. Lately, with Reggie Bush out of the lineup the bulk of the work has gone to Joique Bell and he has given Detroit decent production. Bell has topped 85 rushing yards in two of his past three contests, also scoring double-digit fantasy points in those outings. Bell isn't going to be confused with DeMarco Murray anytime soon, but if the Lions decide to commit to him in the running game, he could have flex appeal in the postseason.
Dear Indianapolis Colts, please explain why Dan Herron had just eight carries -- exactly the same number as Trent Richardson. Herron is the latest in a growing line of running backs that have outperformed the former No. 3 overall pick. There's really no good justification for why Richardson sees a significant number of snaps anymore. It's just not working. Time for someone else to get the opporunity to lead the running game.