This article is part of our NFL Barometer series.
Week 12 was a particularly eventful one in the NFL, with season-ending injuries to skill players an unfortunate theme. Naturally, backups now step to the forefront in the wake of such developments, and there's also one demotion at the quarterback position to examine that many felt was long overdue. With plenty of candidates heading in either direction this week, let's jump in without further ado.
Jeff Driskel, Bengals: Driskel gets first crack at the top job in Cincinnati in the wake of Andy Dalton's season-ending thumb injury. The 2016 sixth-round pick hadn't thrown a regular-season pass prior to this season, but he did an admirable job in relief of Dalton in Week 12, completing 17 of 29 passes for 155 yards and a touchdown while also rushing for another score on three carries. Driskel brings some rushing upside to the table, and his prospects would naturally get even brighter if A.J. Green were to return soon from his toe injury.
Austin Ekeler / Justin Jackson, Chargers: Melvin Gordon is slated for a multi-game absence, putting both Ekeler and, to a lesser extent, Jackson in the fantasy spotlight. Naturally, Ekeler is the more proven and accomplished of the two, and he was outstanding in Week 12 after Gordon exited, finishing with a 5-35-1 line on the ground and logging 10 receptions for another 68 yards.
However, having posted double-digit carries in just two games this season, Ekeler is likely to share