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Fantasy Football 2012: Week 15 Surprise Performers

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2012 Fantasy Football Surprise Performances Week 15

Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports

Week 15 of the 2012 NFL season featured quite a few surprises. From surprising wins to breakout performances from unlikely sources, this week provided plenty of suspense and intrigue for the fantasy football world.

Perhaps the most surprising victory of the week comes in a battle between the San Francisco 49ers and the New England Patriots. A decent favorite over the 49ers, the Patriots fell into a big hole early, as they were down by four touchdowns in the third quarter. After some clutch play by Tom Brady and the Patriots offense, New England was able to tie the game before eventually losing to the playoff-bound 49ers in a crazy game. Other surprising victories this week include wins by the Arizona Cardinals and Washington Redskins.

Star players like New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees (vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 29.38 points), Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson (at St. Louis Rams, 27.20 points), and Green Bay Packers WR James Jones (at Chicago Bears, 24.00 points) had some of the top individual performances of the week. However, these elite fantasy options were obvious starts this week and weren’t necessarily surprises. Here’s a look at some surprising layers at each position who had unexpected fantasy performances in Week 15.

* Fantasy points are determined by Yahoo! fantasy football default scoring settings. Players for this list are owned in less than 50% of Yahoo! fantasy football leagues and ownership numbers are up to date as of Monday, December 17. Statistics listed for players are subject to change after the game.

Austin Chang is a featured columnist and fantasy sports expert at Rant Sports and you can follow him on Twitter @_austinchang.

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QB Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks

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QB Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks (at Buffalo Bills, 35% owned)

Week 15 statistics: 205 passing yards, 1 passing touchdown, 92 rushing yards, 3 rushing touchdowns

Fantasy points scored: 39.40 points

One of the most impressive fantasy performances of the season, Wilson made the most damage this week with his legs by scoring three rushing touchdowns. Doing it all as a fantasy option as of late, he has really blossomed as a player who would serve as a good fantasy starter come next season.

Honorable mentions: Sam Bradford (28.98 points, 22% owned), Kirk Cousins (22.36 points, 4% owned), Ryan Tannehill (22.00 points, 9% owned)

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RB Beanie Wells, Arizona Cardinals

Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

RB Beanie Wells, Cardinals (vs. Detroit Lions, 34% owned)

Week 15 statistics: 67 rushing yards, 3 rushing touchdowns

Fantasy points scored: 24.70 points

A struggling fantasy option since his return from the injured reserve list, Wells didn’t necessarily perform exceptionally well on his 17 carries. However, with many opportunities at short touchdowns, he took advantage of the Cardinals’ good field position and scored three times in Week 15. A risky play this week due to his knee concerns, owners starting Wells certainly benefited from his big surprise performance.

Honorable mentions: Danny Woodhead (20.40 points, 34% owned), Mike Tolbert (18.40 points, 6% owned), Mark Ingram (15.00 points, 28% owned)

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WR Leonard Hankerson, Washington Redskins

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WR Leonard Hankerson, Redskins (at Cleveland Browns, 4% owned)

Week 15 statistics: 56 receiving yards, 2 touchdowns

Fantasy points scored: 17.60 points

Hankerson caught only two passes against the Browns, yet he made the most of his catches by making both of them count for touchdowns. Targeted fewer times than most of the Redskin receivers, this somewhat-fluky fantasy performance will probably not be replicated by him any time soon, especially if Robert Griffin III returns for Week 16.

Honorable mentions: Travis Benjamin (12.90 pionts, 0% owned), Joseph Morgan (12.10 points, 1% owned), Randy Moss (9.60 points, 17% owned)

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TE Dennis Pitta, Baltimore Ravens

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TE Dennis Pitta, Baltimore Ravens (vs. Denver Broncos, 31% owned)

Week 15 statistics: 125 receiving yards, 2 touchdowns

Fantasy points scored: 24.50 points

As the Ravens fell behind the Broncos, Joe Flacco went to his sure-handed tight end for 10 targets in Week 15. Struggling towards the middle of the season, Pitta has started to heat up as a fantasy option and could be an intriguing play against the New York Giants next week.

Honorable mentions: Anthony Fasano (13.60 points, 5% owned), Jeff Cumberland (11.30 points, 0% owned), Dwayne Allen (9.90 points, 11% owned)

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K Blair Walsh, Minnesota Vikings

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K Blair Walsh, Vikings (at Rams, 39% owned)

Week 15 statistics: 5-for-5 field goals made (50, 38, 42, 53, 51), 3 extra points made

Fantasy points scored: 25.00 points

In one of the best fantasy performances by a kicker this season, Walsh booted all five of his field goal attempts, including three of 50 yards or more. A poor fantasy option in the past three weeks against tough division opponents, he certainly broke out against a Rams defense that was dominated by Peterson.

Honorable mentions: Steven Hauschka (14.00 points, 5% owned), Dan Carpenter (12.00 points, 13% owned), Garrett Hartley (11.00 points, 26% owned)

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Arizona Cardinals team defense

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Cardinals team defense (vs. Lions, 45% owned)

Week 15 statistics: 10 points allowed, 2 sacks, 3 interceptions, 1 fumble recovery, 2 defensive touchdowns

Fantasy points scored: 26.00 points

The Cardinals defense played huge against the Lions this week and redeemed themselves following a poor performance last week against the Seahawks. Terrorizing Matthew Stafford for several interceptions and a couple of scores, shut down the second-ranked offense in the NFL.

Honorable mentions: Saints team defense (22.00 points, 6% owned), Tennessee Titans team defense (18.00 points, 10% owned), Oakland Raiders team defense (16.00 points, 4% owned)