Week 12 Fantasy Overreactions: Is Mac Jones a QB1?

Welcome to Week 12 Fantasy Overreactions! The day or two after the dust settles during the NFL season, meaning that we can take any occurrence from Sunday or Monday and make a completely wild narrative with it. We also want to make bold claims to remain ahead of the curve!

Every week, we’re going to identify five of these potential overreactions from the week’s NFL action. While these are just our opinions, feel free to use your own thoughts on each narrative. The storylines have been played out, now it’s our job to decide if we feel the story is fact or fiction.

The stories were aplenty this week: The Ravens are now the #1 seed in the AFC after an ugly win against the Browns. The Patriots have surged to the #1 spot in the AFC East. The Cowboys and Rams both suffered crucial losses for playoff seeding. We also had another four-touchdown game with Leonard Fournette joining the party. All that and more in an exciting Week 12!

All of this has led to some great overreactions. So as we will do each week, it’s now time to react to the potential overreactions! 

1) Mac Jones is a QB1 going forward for fantasy football


Let’s start this out by prefacing that there’s a big difference in good quarterbacks for fantasy football as opposed to real-life football. Mac Jones has been more of the latter this season as he is the QB17 on the season. However, people may be thinking otherwise, as Jones is the QB8 after the last three weeks averaging over 17 fantasy points per game. Over that time, Jones has thrown for six touchdowns and one interception, while throwing for nearly nine yards per pass.

The problem is that Jones won’t have this type of schedule going forward. Jones played against the 2nd, 3rd, and 15th worst teams against opposing quarterbacks this season in the Titans, Falcons, and Browns over the last three games. Over the next three games, the Patriots play the Bills twice, who ranks 1st in the least amount of points given up to opposing quarterbacks. That last game is most likely the first game in your fantasy playoffs. I have Jones as a high-end QB2 the rest of the way.

2) Javonte Williams’ time is coming


This was it. This was supposed to finally be the week we as Javonte Williams fans had been waiting for. Fresh off the bye, Williams had a pretty good game. He recorded 111 total yards on 17 touches and scored a touchdown on Sunday. The problem still is Melvin Gordon isn’t going away. Melvin actually out-touched Williams 18-17 and that was WITH him missing some time early in the game with a potential injury.

Williams did finish as the RB6, compared to Gordon’s RB24 finish in Week 12, with his involvement in the passing game being a big factor. The Broncos RB’s have a less than 10 snap differential between them this season and if coming out of the bye AND Gordon going down temporarily don’t tilt snaps into Williams’s favor, I don’t think it’s going to happen until 2022.

3) The days of Ben Roethlisberger being fantasy-relevant are over


The QB24 on the week, Ben Roethlisberger looks to be completely washed as the starting quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Big Ben finished 24/41 for 263 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions. All in all, he finished with 10.52 fantasy points and a 65.4 passer rating.

Roethlisberger’s QBR this season (43.1) ranks 24th among quarterbacks and has only one game this season above 60. This is Big Ben’s second straight year with his yards per attempt under seven, which eliminate the number of big plays in this offense, and he’s taken nearly DOUBLE the number of sacks in 10 games this year as he did in 15 games last year (24-13).

The Steelers’ offensive line has plenty of the blame as they’ve given up 10 sacks over the last three weeks, the unit itself is regarded as a top 10 offensive line in pass blocking according to PFF. Without Ben’s mobility, more sacks and turnovers have limited his ceiling. He’s a low-end QB2 going forward.

4) AJ Dillon will score more fantasy points than Aaron Jones rest of the season


I get the appeal here. AJ Dillon looked like an absolute battering ram in this game against the L.A. Rams. The pounding running style of Dillon allowed him to repeatedly shed tackles and allow the Packers to nearly double the amount of time of possession the Rams had in the game. Dillon finished the day with 25 touches for 80 yards and a touchdown. That was in comparison to Jones’ 10 touches for 23 yards.

Let’s not get this confused though. Jones wasn’t expected by many to play in this game, let alone receive double-digit carries. The splits may not be as drastic as people think, as Dillon remains close to Jones in several categories. Granted Jones has played in one less game, but only edges Dillon by 15 snaps and carries this season. Both are averaging 4.4 yards per carry and have nearly identical yards created after contact (353-349).

However, what makes Jones more appealing down the stretch and what makes this statement an overreaction, is his work in the passing game. Jones has 15 more receptions and is regarded as one of the best pass-catching backs in the game. PFF also ranks Jones a far superior pass-blocker to Dillon, which means he’s on the field for a lot more 3rd downs. Jones, barring injury, will be the running back to play in this backfield going forward, but Dillon could at times not be a bad low-end flex play.

5) Rob Gronkowski is a firm TE1 rest of season


We saw vintage Gronk on Sunday and there’s no other way to put it. Gronkowski caught seven of 10 targets for 123 yards and was the only Bucs player with more than 31 yards receiving. According to NFL Next Gen stats, Gronk averaged 5.3 yards of separation on 10 targets (his most in a game this season). His 10 targets equaled what Godwin and Evans saw COMBINED.

The rapport with Brady is well-known and we continue to see what these two can do when they’re in sync. The 13 receptions on 18 targets for 194 yards over the last two weeks should have us extremely excited for what’s to come the rest of the season from this pair.

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