Happy Thanksgiving to everyone out there! We have lots of exciting games to watch this turkey day and also lots of great games this coming weekend. Let’s keep things brief here and jump into the best starts and sits for week 12.
Week 12 Start Em Sit Em
Carson Wentz vs. New York Giants
Wentz was not on his game against the Saints last week. Although his numbers will make you do a double take, his talent level is too high to make him sit on your bench. Wentz is going to make a serious comeback against a streaking Giants team. In a divisional match-up where the Eagles need to win to stay alive in the division, Wentz and the offense will be on full display. Expect him to involve all of the cast of characters including Zach Ertz, Alshon Jeffery, Golden Tate, and Nelson Agholor in a route of the G-Men. Put Wentz into your starting lineup and put last week’s debacle into the anomaly category.
Lamar Jackson vs. Oakland Raiders
With Joe Flacco on the mend, Jackson will draw the start for one more week and his match-up could not be any better than the Oakland defense. Oakland is currently surrendering the fourth most points in the league and the seventh most yards. Jackson came out running, quite literally, last week against the Bengals. He gashed them for 117 rushing yards and looked as dynamic as we saw back at the University of Louisville. Expect him to mix in more passes this week against the Raiders, but don’t be surprised if he surpasses 100 yards on the ground again. However he decides to get it done, expect Jackson to put on a show in front of the Baltimore crowd and give them a glimpse of the future of the Ravens offense.
Other Must Starts:
Matt Ryan vs. New Orleans Saints
You would think in a pass-first offense against the Saints that Ryan is a must-start. Not so fast, partner. The Saints have quietly become a lot better on defense and have been limiting the effectiveness of opposing offenses. Two weeks ago, they held the Bengals to only 14 points and then just held the Eagles to only seven points. Couple that with the fact that Ryan has a 3-2 touchdown to interception ratio in the past two weeks, and that means that Ryan is trending down right now. With only two teams on a bye this week, there are other options out there for you to go with. Avoid Ryan in this match-up and your roster will be better off.
Matthew Stafford vs. Chicago Bears
Through 10 games last season, Stafford threw for 2,760 yards, 19 touchdowns, and five interceptions. Through 10 games this season, Stafford has thrown for 2,605 yards, 17 touchdowns, and eight interceptions. His numbers are a little down and going into a divisional match-up on Thanksgiving day against the Bears, his projections don’t seem good to improve on the short week. The Bears defense has been one of the best in the league all year so far and with the loss of Mitchell Trubisky for this game, the defense will be asked to play that much harder to rally behind the back-up quarterback, Chase Daniel. As great as a fantasy quarterback Stafford has been in the past, this season is looking somewhat opposite. Sit him and find another signal-caller to lead your fantasy roster this week.
Other Must Sits:
Matt Breida vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The biggest benefit to the 49ers is the bye week. Breida has been nursing an ankle injury the entire season and with the week off, we can expect more Breida going forward. Having one of his best performances of the year against the Giants two weeks ago, Breida is going to be a focal point going forward. Even with all the troubles the 49ers have been facing, they are still ranked third in the league in rushing yards. Tampa Bay has a defense that can be exploited and with Breida being 100% healthy, the 49ers will look to get him involved in all aspects of the offense. Start him in your roster and you will have one more thing to be thankful for.
Frank Gore vs. Indianapolis Colts
Revenge games always bring the best out of players. Gore is facing his former team in the Colts and he has been a strong point of the Miami offense all year. Kenyan Drake is getting more involved in the offense, but Gore has been the old reliable week in and week out. He is averaging 4.51 yards per carry right now and has been trusted with the rushing offense. In this game against his former team, expect Gore to bring a little extra and really showcase his abilities. Even though he has only found the endzone once the entire year, Gore is a solid option to have in your flex spot and it wouldn’t be out of this world if he were to get into the end zone a second time for the year.
Other Must Starts:
Chris Carson vs. Carolina Panthers
While Seattle is leading the league in rushing, they face the Carolina Panthers who boast the eighth-best rushing defense. Carson has been very up and down the entire year. Last week he was up, but the week before he was down. Which Carson is going to show up against the Panthers? With this uncertainty at the rushing position, it’s best to leave him on the bench this week. While the potential is there, the looming Rashaad Penny and Mike Davis eat into his potential to be the lead dog every week. This week, best guess is that he is not the lead dog and the Panthers will limit the running game regardless. Keep Carson on the bench and be better off with other options on your bench or the waiver wire.
Peyton Barber vs. San Francisco 49ers
Barber enjoyed a good week against the Giants last week and this looks like a good match-up against the 49ers. This may not be the case because if there is one thing good about the 49ers defense, it’s that they are able to stop the run. Offenses can exploit their passing defense, but the rushing defense is keeping them in ball-games more often than not. Barber will have a tough day at the office even in a home game against the 49ers. Last week was his first 100-yard game and he only has scored two rushing touchdowns all year. Expect some regression from Barber this week and go with alternative options in your running back spot.
Other Must Sits:
Mike Evans vs. San Francisco 49ers
With only three games with single-digit fantasy points, Evans is enjoying a very good fantasy season. Even with the quarterback carousel that is happening in Tampa Bay, Evans has been able to consistently produce and is a top 10 fantasy wideout. In his previous game, Evans scored 30 fantasy points and his match-up with the 49ers will see him performing just as well as last week. Right now, the 49ers are one of 10 teams that have surrendered at least 20 passing touchdowns and this means the chances of Evans finding the end zone multiple times is very likely. Start him with confidence.
Michael Crabtree vs. Oakland Raiders
This one is a little riskier than other picks, which is why it is labeled as a sleeper play. Crabtree is facing his former team in the Oakland Raiders and this could amp him up to play that much harder. The rookie quarterback, Jackson, will be under center again and he has mentioned that he is a good passer too. He was dynamic in the running game, and if he does indeed pass more this week that would mean Crabtree will be more involved. Although John Brown has become a more dynamic receiver in Baltimore, Crabtree has a good shot of scoring a touchdown and being a good part of the passing offense this week. A sneaky option to put in your starting lineup that could pay serious dividends if this lottery ticket hits.
Other Must Starts:
Allen Robinson vs. Detroit Lions
The injury to Trubisky will mean that Daniel will be starting at quarterback on the short week. Robinson is only two weeks removed from absolutely humiliating the Lions defense through the air. This week is different as he won’t be playing with his starting quarterback and the return of Darius Slay to the Lions defense will limit Robinson’s scoring potential this week. This game could be more reliant on the rushing attack instead of the passing attack and Robinson could now have back-to-back poor fantasy weeks. Leave him on your bench this week and be grateful that he is not burdening your starting roster.
Amari Cooper vs. Washington Redskins
Although Cooper is enjoying a career resurgence playing in Dallas, this short week against the Redskins does not look promising. Cooper has become the main receiving option for the Cowboys, but drawing Josh Norman this week will limit Cooper’s effectiveness. He only caught three balls for 36 yards last week against a porous Falcons defense so playing against the Redskins on Thanksgiving will mean he won’t see such huge numbers. Although his potential for the rest of the season is still good, don’t start him this week and roll with other options at your wide receiver positions.
Other Must Sits:
Jordan Reed vs. Dallas Cowboys
Deepest sympathies go out to Alex Smith as he suffered a horrendous injury against the Texans last week. With all likelihood, that may potentially be his last game in the NFL. Now because of the unfortunate injury to Smith, Colt McCoy has become the new starting quarterback in DC. This means Reed’s projections for this week and the rest of the season are going to rise. He found the end zone for the second time this year and the first time since week one of the season. Reed will be a good safety valve for McCoy as the offense will be reliant on the running game to move the ball down the field. As they get into the red zone though, Reed will be the main target more often than not. Expect Reed, on the short week with McCoy, to build a good rapport and he may become a good steal for the rest of the season.
C.J. Uzomah vs. Cleveland Browns
A.J. Green is slated to return against the Browns this week and if that is the case, this raises the stock for Uzomah. Being a secondary or tertiary option in the passing offense is more suited for Uzomah than being the main option. Tyler Boyd has emerged as a solid receiver but a better number two option to Green who is the true number one. Uzomah can enjoy a good week this week with Green’s return. His target share is growing more in the offense and he will be a solid third down converter and red zone option against Cleveland. He may not win you your game this week, but Uzomah can be a solid streaming option if you are not in possession of the top three elite tight ends.
Other Confident Starts:
Eric Ebron vs. Miami Dolphins
The return of Jack Doyle is really going to hurt Ebron’s start going forward. Ebron was able to feast while Doyle was on the sidelines but now that he is healthy, Ebron is going to see his stock drop substantially. A good surprise for the majority of the season, Ebron is now very touchdown dependent for fantasy purposes. While Andrew Luck does like throwing to his tight ends often, Doyle should be seeing more of those targets. Keep Ebron on your roster for now, but leave him off your starting roster this week.
Austin Hooper vs. New Orleans Saints
Three of Hooper’s last four games have been single-digit fantasy point games. His involvement in the Falcons offense is very sporadic and not something that you can rely on. Some weeks he has a high target share, while other weeks he is non-existent. There are better options this week for the tight end position and relying on Hooper in the short week is not a good one.
Other Must Sits:
Los Angeles Chargers vs. Arizona Cardinals
The return of Joey Bosa to the starting lineup will help the Chargers defense become a lot more formidable. Pair that with the fact that they face the Cardinals this week and you have a great option to start at the defense. The Chargers defense has scored double-digit fantasy points in three of their last five games. The Cardinals are more dynamic on offense since switching offensive coordinators but expect the Chargers to control this game on both sides of the ball. They should be able to generate good pressure on the rookie, Josh Rosen, and that can lead to turnovers and can make this start one of the best at the position this week.
Indianapolis Colts vs. Miami Dolphins
The high-scoring potential of the Colts offense should lead to the defense being on the field less often during the game. The Dolphins are possibly ready to make the switch back to Ryan Tannehill but he will not be at 100%. This can lead to the Colts being able to take advantage of that fact and force Tannehill to be put in enough turnover-inducing situations. The Colts defense has gotten better over the past few weeks and that trend should continue against a sputtering Miami offense. They can be a sneaky play if you have to find a defense to start while the Rams are on a bye week.
Other Potential Starts:
New Orleans Saints vs. Atlanta Falcons, New England Patriots vs. New York Jets, Houston Texans vs. Tennessee Titans
Minnesota Vikings vs. Green Bay Packers
The Vikings are playing the Packers on Sunday night and this is not a good match-up for them. Aaron Rodgers is playing at the highest of levels and will be able to take advantage of the Vikings defense. In a division match-up where the Packers need to win to stay alive in the playoff chase, expect Rodgers to be at his best against the Vikings. Last time these two teams faced off against each other, the Vikings scored a total of two fantasy points. Keep them on the bench and you can find another option on the waiver wire.
Philadelphia Eagles vs. New York Giants
If you saw the game last week against the Saints, then you know why the Eagles are appearing here. If you were one of the few folks that didn’t see that game, then here is a fact for you. Philadelphia’s defense is averaging 2.9 fantasy points per game this year. The team that finally won the Super Bowl last year with the help of their defense, is not enjoying the same level of success. Expect this game to go back and forth offensively and that means that both defenses can be left on the bench.
Other Defensive Sits:
Tennessee Titans vs. Houston Texans, Carolina Panthers vs. Seattle Seahawks, Washington Redskins vs. Dallas Cowboys