The following is a list of the Week 12 leaders in looks and touches. It defines those running backs and receivers who received the most attention this past weekend.
Touches is defined as the number of times a running back carried or caught the football.
Looks is defined as the number of times a player was the intended target of a pass.
• You can't help but wonder how many benches Frank Gore and Rudi Johnson were left on for Week 12. Gore averaged 77 yards of offense on 17 touches and had not scored a single TD in his previous seven games, but erupted for a league-high 214 yards of offense (116 rushing, 98 receiving) on a season-high 32 touches (21 carries, 11 receptions) and scored twice. And, despite being out-played by Kenny Watson for the majority of the season, Johnson had 88 yards on his 25 carries (no catches) and scored his first TD of the season against the Titans. Watson had just nine touches in the game (four carries, five receptions), but also scored a TD on a 6-yard run. Gore has a reasonably attractive matchup in Week 13, as he faces a middling Carolina run defense, so he'll likely be active in significantly more leagues this coming week. Johnson faces the stout Steelers run D in Week 13, so he's likely to remain on most benches (and rightfully so).
• Week 12's breakout running backs were Kolby Smith and Andre Hall. Smith took advantage of the atrocious Raiders run defense to the tune of 152 yards (150 rushing, two receiving) on 32 touches (31 carries, one catch) and two scores. Hall joined a lengthy list of RB who have had at least one massive game for the Broncos in recent seasons, as he went off for 167 yards (98 rushing, 69 receiving) on 28 touches (26 carries, two catches) and a TD. Smith has seen (and capitalized on) his easiest matchup, but he figures to be the feature back for the Chiefs for at least another week. Hall is likely to be sharing the workload in Week 13 with Selvin Young and/or Travis Henry, depending on injuries and Henry's possible suspension.
• Justin Fargas is turning out to be a solid featured back. He was third among RBs in Week 12 with 157 yards of offense (139 rushing, 18 receiving) and a TD on 24 touches (22 carries, two catches), and has averaged 117 yards of offense on 26 touches over the past four weeks, with two TD.
• The platoon watch notes when a team's RB2 is given at least half as many touches as the RB1, regardless of the reason. Platoon watch for Week 12 included: Dallas (Marion Barber 22, Julius Jones 18), Indianapolis (Kenton Keith 17, Joseph Addai 12), Jacksonville (Fred Taylor 16, Maurice Jones-Drew 12), Miami (Jessie Chatman 12, Ricky Williams 6), New England (Laurence Maroney 10, Kevin Faulk 5), New Orleans (Aaron Stecker 15, Reggie Bush 12, Pierre Thomas 12), and Tennessee (LenDale White 10, Chris Brown 9).
• Fred Taylor made the most of his workload in Week 12, leading all RBs with at least 10 touches in yards per touch. Taylor had 118 yards of offense (104 rushing, 14 receiving) on his 16 touches (14 carries, two catches), a 7.38-yard average. The elements and the Pittsburgh defense combined to make the going tough for Jesse Chatman – he came in on the low end of the list, with 13 yards of offense (17 rushing, minus-4 receiving) on his 12 touches (11 carries, one catch), a 1.08-yard average.
• The Eagles kept Randy Moss in check in Week 12 (12 looks, five catches, and 43 yards), so naturally, Wes Welker went off. Welker had season highs for looks (17), catches (13), and receiving yards (149) in the 31-28 victory. On the season, Welker is 13th in the league in looks (102), second in receptions (81), seventh in receiving yards (878), and eighth in receiving TD (7).
• Calvin Johnson emerged from a very quiet stretch of games and had his best day as a pro in Week 12, with season-highs in looks (15), catches (seven), and receiving yards (83), while scoring his fourth TD of the season. In seven games between Weeks 3-11, Johnson averaged 2.3 catches for 38.7 yards on 3.6 looks, with one TD.
• Widely-available RB among the leaders at the position in looks per game over the past five weeks: Kenny Watson (6.6 – third), Kevin Faulk (5.8 – fifth), Adrian Peterson CHI (4.5 – ninth), Ryan Grant (4.4 – 10th), Jesse Chatman (4.3 – 11th), Justin Fargas (4 – 13th), and Anthony Thomas (3.5 – 17th).
• Widely-available WR among the leaders at the position in looks per game over the past five weeks: D.J. Hackett (9.3 – 17th), Kevin Walter (9 – 18th), Arnaz Battle (8.8 – 19th), Isaac Bruce (8.5 – 21st), Reggie Brown (8 – 26th), Josh Reed (8 – 26th), Keary Colbert (8 – 26th), and Jerry Porter (7.8 – 31st).
• Widely-available TE among the leaders at the position in looks per game over the past five weeks: Vernon Davis (7.4 – fifth), Jeff King (7.2 – 6th), Owen Daniels (6.3 – 10th), Bo Scaife (6.2 – 11th), and Chris Baker (5.3 – 12th).