Week 12 was all about the quarterbacks, well them and Josh Jacobs. Since we've all decided Jacobs is awesome, and a top-three Fantasy running back, I'm mostly going to focus on the quarterbacks here. It's been a disastrous year for the position, but we got some hope from this week. Heading into Monday Night Football, 15 different quarterbacks have scored at least 20 Fantasy points with nine of them topping 25. That's a huge help if it sticks.
But it wasn't just about the quarterback scoring, it was the quarterback changes as well. Sam Darnold made his 2022 debut and gave D.J. Moore's Fantasy managers some reason for hope. Mike White took over for Garrett Wilson and did much of the same. Let's start with Wilson and the Jets.
Garrett Wilson is a top-20 WR as long as the Jets don't go back to Zach Wilson
The Case: Garrett Wilson has now played four games this season without Zach Wilson. In those games, he's caught 23 passes for 309 yards and four touchdowns. Three of those were the first three games of his NFL career. In seven games with Zach Wilson, the Jets rookie has produced just 27 catches for 319 yards and no scores. It does not get much more clear than that.
The Verdict: Believe it
In those four games without Zach Wilson, Garrett Wilson has scored 19.5 PPR FPPG, which would rank as WR8 on the season. In the other seven games, he's averaged 8.3, which would rank WR68. The true difference isn't likely quite that big, we are talking about relatively small sample sizes. But the sample goes back two last year for Zach Wilson. The Jets throw more, and more effectively when they start anyone else at quarterback. As they find themselves in the thick of the playoff race, that's what we should expect moving forward.
Garrett Wilson is a top-20 WR as long as the Jets don't go back to Zach Wilson.— Heath Cummings (@heathcummingssr) November 27, 2022
Trevor Lawrence will outscore Lamar Jackson rest of season
The case: This is going to surprise some people because it's not a reaction to one week. Since Week 4, Lawrence has scored 18.4 Fantasy points per game to Jackson's 18.1. While Lawrence's 28.9 in Week 12 is a big reason for that, Lawrence has also topped 20 points more often than Jackson over that stretch, and he's hit the 18-point threshold more often as well.
Jackson's low touchdown totals are maddening, and it doesn't seem predictive, but it's getting harder and harder to keep throwing him out there and hoping.
The verdict: Don't believe it
I will go down with the "touchdown regression is coming" ship. I've proven that. Even on Sunday, Jackson had consecutive plays that could have, should have, been touchdowns. The next play was a Gus Edwards rushing touchdown. Jackson produced 12 touchdowns in the first three weeks of the season and only has one game with multiple touchdowns in the same game since. I cannot believe that will continue.
But, it is close. Close enough, that I would start Lawrence over Jackson in Week 13 when Jackson faces the Broncos and Lawrence faces the Lions. The reality is that Lawrence has taken a step forward this year and is now a low-end starting option. Which is also where Jackson finds himself these days.
Trevor Lawrence will outscore Lamar Jackson rest of season.— Heath Cummings (@heathcummingssr) November 27, 2022
Dameon Pierce has hit the rookie wall, he's no longer a Fantasy starter
The case: Pierce has 16 yards on 15 carries in his last two games combined. He's caught five passes for 17 yards in those two games. On Sunday, the Texans cut his snap count to 56%, his lowest since Week 7 and his second lowest since he became a starter. Pierce is still the lead back for the Texans, but as bad as their offense is, he's no longer a starter in Fantasy.
The verdict: Believe it
We can debate the "wall" portion of this take, and there's really no sure answer. Pierce has 207 touches this season and he never had more than 123 in a season at Florida. That's the case for him hitting the "wall". But whether that's the reason or not, you cannot start him with any confidence at all, even against the lowly Browns.
There are only two teams on a bye this week so it shouldn't be that hard to find someone you'd rather start. Pierce is a Flex at best.
Dameon Pierce has hit the rookie wall, he's no longer a Fantasy starter.— Heath Cummings (@heathcummingssr) November 27, 2022
Kyler Murray is a top-five QB rest of season
The case: Murray played his first game of 2022 with Marquise Brown and DeAndre Hopkins and scored 29.2 Fantasy points. He ran the ball seven times for 56 yards and a touchdown, showing his hamstring is just fine. And he only had to throw 29 passes because James Conner had success on the ground against the Chargers. Murray will throw more moving forward and Brown should be even better another week removed from his injury.
It's been a slightly disappointing season for those who drafted Murray, but he'll reward you if you stuck with him down the stretch.
The verdict: Believe it
The only quarterbacks I would take for sure over Murray are Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen, and Jalen Hurts. You could make a solid argument for Justin Fields and Justin Herbert as well, but I'd prefer Murray. You can't overstate the importance of two very good weapons in the passing game combined with Murray's rushing ability. As long as he, Hopkins, and Brown stay healthy that trio has the potential to win people Fantasy championships, even if they don't win very many NFL games.
Kyler Murray is a top-five QB rest of season— Heath Cummings (@heathcummingssr) November 27, 2022