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Unexpected Boom Performances: Week 12 Fantasy Football Reactions for Mike White, Brian Robinson, Zonovan Knight, and more

Mike White - Fantasy Football Rankings, Waiver Wire Pickups, Draft Sleepers

Week 12 was an interesting one, with plenty of drama and unexpected outcomes that turned the fortunes of fantasy managers in differing directions. Whether it was the two separate game-winning two-point conversions, the two separate overtime victories, or the resurgence of Sam Darnold, the zany nature of this week definitely impacted your fantasy matchup in some form.With so many weird games on the Week 12 slate, many unexpected fantasy performances were bound to happen. Lucky for us, these were actually unexpected performances that very few saw coming prior to the start of Sunday’s games. 

Before the start of these surprising performances, it’d be best to address that Josh Jacobs will not be present in this group. His massive output was outstanding and should be recognized, but unless you’ve been living under a rock, Jacobs is a known stud for fantasy football. His performance was just a gigantic cherry on top of the sundae, if you will. With that out of the way, let’s get into who put up the most unexpected performances in an entertaining Week 12.

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Fantasy Football Risers - Surprise Performances

Mike White, New York Jets

The legend of Mike White has another chapter. After having a productive stretch with the Jets in 2021, White returned to the field after the ineptitude of Zach Wilson forced him back into the starting role. To the surprise and satisfaction of many Jets fans, he appeared to have picked up right where he left off. 

In his first start of the season, Mike White completed 22-of-28 passes for 315 yards and three touchdowns against the Chicago Bears. That scoring output resulted in 24.8 fantasy points, the sixth-highest quarterback output in a high-scoring week for passers.

White looked great, and he should be the starter for the remainder of the season unless the Jets enjoyed having a terrible offense with Zach Wilson. However, these kinds of performances probably won’t be the norm. The Bears have a terrible defense and White is in the starting position to provide competent play that doesn’t outright lose games for the Jets. To gain any real confidence in him for fantasy, we’ll have to see another solid performance in Week 13 against the Minnesota Vikings.

Zay Jones, Jacksonville Jaguars

A member of this list from earlier in the season makes another appearance in Week 12. In a game with an unexpected outcome and some gutsy play calls, we witnessed another surprising performance from this 27-year-old receiver. Zay Jones came to play once again and had the highest receiving yardage total for a receiver on the week. 

Against the Baltimore Ravens, Jones caught 11-of-14 targets for 145 yards and a two-point conversion that won the game for the Jacksonville Jaguars. That stat line resulted in a WR5 finish on the week with 22 Half-PPR fantasy points.

After these kinds of performances, there always has to be the question of if this production is going to be the start of something special. While there is plenty of target competition in this Jacksonville offense, it easily could be. The Jaguars get favorable matchups for wide receivers in their next couple of games with the Detroit Lions in Week 13 and the Tennessee Titans in Week 14. After this game, he should be a solid starting option for at least the next two weeks.

Brian Robinson, Washington Commanders

After weeks of receiving heavy usage with little efficiency on the ground, Brian Robinson finally put it together in Week 12. The rookie runner looked like the 1-B in this Washington backfield last week, but his performance on Sunday shut the door on that narrative. 

Against the Atlanta Falcons, Robinson had 18 carries for 105 yards along with two receptions for 20 yards and a touchdown. This performance resulted in 19.5 Half-PPR fantasy points, making him the RB6 on the week prior to Monday Night Football.

This usage and output could be the spark that Robinson needs to take off to greater heights. He’s been seeing the carries in most of his games, but now that he’s seeing some receiving work, a higher point ceiling could be attained going forward. Of course, everything is in the hands of the Washington coaching staff. But, if his strong usage and efficiency continue after this game, he could be one of the better running backs in fantasy down the stretch.

Zonovan Knight, New York Jets

The second New York Jet on this list didn’t have a massive blow-up performance, but to say it wasn’t unexpected would be completely wrong. Zonavan Knight entered Week 12 as a complete afterthought for fantasy football. While there were those who did a deep dive on running backs from the 2022 draft class, the general population had no idea who the undrafted player was entering the Jets' matchup against the Chicago Bears. 

However, the Jets made their recently acquired running back, James Robinson, a healthy inactive for whatever reason which elevated Zonovan to the starting lineup for Week 12. That led to a randomly productive performance from the rookie.

He finished his day with 14 carries for 69 yards along with three receptions for 34 yards. Not having a touchdown held him back from greater heights, but Knight’s stats translated to a solid fantasy outing of 11.8 Half-PPR points on the day. With starting running back Michael Carter banged up and James Robinson apparently not in good graces with the team, Zonovan Knight is certainly worth a pickup heading into Week 13.

Josh Oliver, Baltimore Ravens

Another week, another unexpected performance from a Baltimore pass catcher. Last week, Demarcus Robinson was on here as an unexpected performer. To the surprise of almost nobody, he did very little this week as another Ravens receiver took over as a reliable weapon for Lamar Jackson. This week it was a tight end, surprisingly not named Mark Andrews, but named Josh Oliver. 

Oliver had himself a strong performance in Week 12 as he caught four-of-six targets for 76 yards and a touchdown in Baltimore’s close loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars. Oliver’s efforts scored him 15.6 Half-PPR fantasy points. This performance is, as sad as it sounds, the second-best performance on the week for a tight end position that was devoid of much fantasy production.

No, Josh Oliver should not be considered as a roster addition this week. It is extremely likely that he goes the way of Demarcus Robinson and we just forget about this game one week later. However, he does offer some speculative value as a backup to Mark Andrews. Just keep an eye on him from a distance if Andrews’ durability concerns show up once again.

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