As one of the biggest Kareem Hunt truthers around, it hurts to admit that it just might be over for him this season. The Chiefs went to a new play-caller on Sunday and it jumpstarted everyone in the Kansas City offense. Everyone except Kareem Hunt, that is. The Chiefs were in either positive or neutral game script for much of the contest yet somehow Hunt had just nine carries and 12 total touches, tying a season-low (set in last week's loss to Buffalo). Maybe Matt Nagy is still trying to figure out how to incorporate his running back into the offensive game plan. But with the fantasy playoffs starting next week, can you really afford to wait for them to figure it out if you have other RB options?
It looks like the Buccaneers might be exploring some new options in the backfield. With Doug Martin missing Sunday's game with a concussion, the initial thought was that Jacquizz Rodgers would get the start for Tampa. Instead, the Bucs turned to second-year running back Peyton Barber who put on a show against the Packers with 27 touches for 143 total yards. That it happened against one of the better run defenses in the league (the Packers entered Week 13 with the NFL's 11th-best run-stopping unit) means something moving forward. With Martin struggling and the Bucs all but out of contention for a playoff spot in the ultra-competitive NFC, we could see plenty of Barber over the final weeks of the season.
The long-awaited return of Josh Gordon finally happened Sunday ... and it was pretty good. The formerly exiled receiver caught four of his 11 targets for 85 yards. I wasn't among the analysts who suggested starting him this week. After spending more than three years off a football field, I didn't have the guts to play him in his first game back -- even though I knew a game like this was in the realm of possibility. If you started him this week, congrats. You're a braver person than I am and you were rewarded for it. The rest of Gordon's schedule is a mixed bag (v. GB, v. BAL, @CHI) but after having a good day against a tough Chargers secondary, it's hard to deny him a spot in your lineup.
This was supposed to be a big offensive week for Brett Hundley. After putting together a nice stat line against the Steelers last week, all signs pointed toward the Packers quarterback balling out. He was at home against a bad Bucs defense that was missing a number of players in the secondary. The result? Just 84 passing yards and an interception. There were the 66 rushing yards but that wasn't nearly enough to salvage the day if you decided to stream him this week. To recap: Hundley has a solid outing in a bad matchup and a bad outing a great matchup. shrug emoji
There will come an offseason when we all remember the weekly emotional ups-and-downs that come from riding the Julio Jones fantasy roller coaster. We'll remember the weeks his production was sky-high while ignoring the weeks it was downright subterranean. One day we'll understand that for all of his overall greatness, he's a week-to-week frustration. One day we'll remember this. It probably won't be next offseason. But one day.
You know how we're always looking for late-round fantasy quarterbacks that you can rotate into your starting lineup to help you take advantage of good matchups? Don't look now but Blake Bortles has turned into that guy. Over his past six games, he's scored 16-plus fantasy points five times -- including back-to-back 20-point outings. Part of it has been that he's protecting the football better. In that same stretch, Bortles has just three interceptions, compared to five picks in his first six games. Over the past month, the Jaguars signal-caller is the QB12 and still has some quality matchups against the Texans and 49ers in the final two weeks of the playoffs. Blake Bortles could be the fantasy playoff hero you didn't know you needed.
Not sure anyone expected Kenyan Drake to have 26 touches but he took full advantage of it with 141 yards and a touchdown. This should certainly be taken with half a shaker of salt since the Dolphins were facing a Broncos team in freefall. Then again, the rest of the schedule includes a few more pliable run defenses. If the Dolphins aren't interested in putting the game in Jay Cutler's hands (understandable), then the running backs could become a bigger feature in the attack. When Damien Williams comes back, things could get cloudy.
Mike Mularkey, I thought we had a talk about this last week? I thought we were in agreement that Derrick Henry needed more opportunity. I thought even though you said during the week that you were sticking with your rotation that it was just one of those things coaches say in press conferences because it sounds good ... like "no one in this building has given up." Y'know, coachspeak stuff. Don't tell me you're actually keeping DeMarco Murray in the RB1 spot. It's almost like you don't read my column. Or even know who I am. I'm disappointed.
- TE Watch: The only really out of place name in the top 10 (entering SNF) this week is Stephen Anderson. Are we starting to stabilize at the position?
And one for the road...
Marcas Grant is a fantasy editor for NFL.com and a man who needs to take a day off of life so he can catch up on a few old episodes of One Piece on Crunchyroll. Tweet him your dreams of lethargy or ask fantasy questions on Twitter @MarcasG. If you read all of that, congrats. He also dishes out (get it?) fantasy advice -- and life shenanigans -- on Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat (marcasg9)