Brandon Myers, open late (USP)
It's too late for Brandon Myers, or anyone, to save the 2012 Oakland Raiders. This shipwrecked team sank to the bottom of the ocean several weeks ago.
But if you needed a late playoff push for your fantasy team on Sunday, Myers was more than ready to oblige.
The Raiders were trailing by 10 points, and out of timeouts, when they took the ball with 3:12 left to play against Cleveland. Two quick scores were needed. The Browns defense downshifted into the predictable umbrella, trading yards for time, and the Raiders were happy to accept that barter. If you settled in for the 15-play scoring drive, you figured out the theme quickly:
Yep, there's a lot of Brandon Myers in that grid. He finished the drive with six catches, 73 yards, and one glorious touchdown with just a second left on the clock.
The late fantasy heroics turned a solid afternoon into a monstrous one. Myers ended the game with 14 catches for 130 yards and a score, topping the Yahoo! tight-end tote board for the afternoon. He secured 14 of the 15 targets in his area, and obviously went ballistic in any PPR-slanted scoring.
All due respect to Myers, the final drive also tells you something about Carson Palmer. If the Raiders were serious about trying to win the game, they needed to take downfield shots sooner or later, even if they're into coverage. Settling for tight-end dump-offs in the middle of the field isn't going to do it, not when you need the full three minutes to get your touchdown.
That said, Myers has earned our fantasy respect. He's snagged 69 of the 88 passes in his direction this year, good for 721 yards and four scores. All of those touchdowns have come from Week 9-onward, as he builds trust with Palmer. And good matchups are on the way: Oakland plays the Broncos (awful against tight ends) in Week 14 and the Chiefs (mediocre against tight ends) in Week 15. You can still get your hands on Myers in roughly 48 percent of Yahoo! leagues.
One more takeaway before Sanford & Son closes the book on this game: you'll note that the Browns and Raiders didn't have much trouble with the field or the weather, contrary to some of the pregame reports and assumptions. Brandon Weeden threw for 364 yards (ringing up a tasty 10.1 YPA) and Palmer got to a big number through volume (351 yards, 54 attempts). If you played fantasy football for a decade and routinely ignored the weather reports, I don't think you'd have many regrets. Try to keep it in a reasonable perspective going forward.