Gobble! Gobble! Turkey goers! Its week 12 in the NFL and we are done with 75% of the regular season. Which sucks. Bad. I am dreading the long reclusion from NFL fantasy that awaits us in the coming months. But for now, let’s focus on what we do have and what we are thankful for. That is, after all, what this week is about.
For me, I am thankful for getting the chance to project my beer-fueled late night NFL rants and research out to you, and the fact that nobody has called me out on being a talentless hack after my first week. I am grateful that I got a couple picks in the top 10 last week and I am very thankful that I have been invited back to help some more lost fantasy owners & DFS players. I am hopeful that this week will bring you another win, clinch a playoff spot, or put some cash in your pocket to cover your league dues. Regardless of all of this, or why you are here, now, reading this page, I am wishful that you, above all, have a terrific Thanksgiving with you and your loved ones.
Now. Let’s take a dive into the picks.
Week 12 Start Em Sit Em Cheat Sheet
Russell Wilson – Aaaaaaannd we’re back to Wilson for a second week in a row. I have to admit I was on the edge of my seat for the entire Atlanta vs. Seattle game and I am a bit smitten with his performance.
Like I said last week, Atlanta got to Wilson a lot, but his ability to evade and make plays on the run is second to none (except maybe Rodgers). He almost doubled both of his top RBs combined rushing yards with 86 yards on the ground.
This week he has San Francisco who is a bottom 8 team when defending the run and pass. Seeing as Wilson is the top player in both of those categories for the Hawks, he has another big week written all over him.
Tom Brady – Brady. My ballsy call last week to be cautious did not pay off. He TORCHED the Oakland defense for 339 passing and 3 touchdowns and did it all with an 81.1 comp%. He is commanding the AFC East, as he usually is by this part of the season, and is showing no signs of slowing down.
With another soft pitch of a matchup against Miami at home this week, I am guessing he puts up 250+Passing Yards and 2+TDs on the day, even with the three-headed hydra of a rushing attack snaking 1-2 TDs.
As for DFS, he is a bit expensive but what else is new? Play him if you have money to burn in salary.
Carson Wentz – Another Top QB? Yup. I think Chicago gets exposed again this week. Philadelphia has a top-notch run defense this year, and I expect them to shut down the ground game, forcing the young QB to make it happen in the air. Mistakes are bound to be made, and the turnovers in this game are what eventually keep the Chicago defense on the field for too long. I am not going to say blowout, but there should be a significant separation of points between these two by the end of 4 quarters.
Cam Newton (CBS) – Now we are getting into the value picks for DFS. Not cheap, but not really expensive, Cam is coming in off of a bye, and a hot week before that with 4 TDs (disclosure it was MIA).
He is not my first pick, but with what else is out there you could do worse. The run game is non-existent, but the threat of Cam running, and McCaffery cutting over the top of the D-line is going to keep the defense in close and allow some separation for the pass. The key thing going here is the return of Greg Olsen in any capacity. Even limited, being able to pull defenders will spread everything out. The Jets are giving up quite a few points even to struggling offenses. If the Panthers of week 10 show up, Cam could be a sneaky top 10 play.
Matt Ryan (ESPN) – Did anyone see this coming? Coming off of last season, even with the loss of Kyle Shanahan, the slump that Matty Ice and Julio have taken from a fantasy value perspective is a bit shocking. Regardless, I think this is a week that he bounces back into the top 10 since week 1.
Tampa Bay is right next to New England in last place against the pass with 7.9 passing yards per attempt, and are bottom five in sacks. Tampa’s offense is not exactly picking up the slack either, which means Ryan should have the ball in his hands a lot this game and time in the pocket to make plays happen.
Drew Brees (NFL) – It ain’t easy bein’ Breesy! Seriously that comeback win last week against Washington was an exciting event to watch unfold. 385 passing yards, 2 touchdowns, and a 70 Comp% is no joke, but yet again neither is the Rams defense. An outdoor game, on the road, and vs. a top 10 passing defense are hurdles that I’m not sure Brees is going to be able to overcome. The run is vulnerable, and with the New Orleans backs, I think Sean Payton tries to get this win on the ground.
Alex Smith – What the hell just happened? I wonder how many people saw last weeks matchup and thought to themselves ‘you know what, the Giants win this one’ with a straight face. Alex Smith put up some pretty terrible numbers (230 passing yards, 0 TD, 2 INT) and didn’t look great doing it. This powerhouse offense that started the season 5-0, are 1-4 in their last 5, and if the Broncos had a halfway decent QB, there would be a fifth ‘L’ in there. Something has gone wrong here, and I don’t see them fixing it against the Bills Mafia.
Running Back Starts
Todd Gurley II – TG Two Sticks is having himself a year and is primed yet again for a big week. Goff and CO have been on fire the last 5 weeks putting up 151 points (including last weeks porous 7-point stinker). New Orleans has been better this year compared to years past, but have given up 100+rushing yards to backs six times this year. With the star WR Robert Woods out, there should be a bit of a regression to the run game, and I see Gurley getting worked into the passing game more as well which is where Gurley’s points start to accelerate.
Mark Ingram / Alvin Kamara – My second repeat from last week, I just can’t stay away from these two. They face a good defense on paper, but they are giving up 4.5 RuYD/A to offenses, and have relinquished 10 rushing touchdowns, only to be surpassed by two other teams. If you have to pick one, Ingram is your guy. Kamara has held his own but is a bit more dependent on the big play.
As DFS plays I’m going to make Ingram work if at all possible, but if I need a few bucks, I will swap for Kamara with confidence. Don’t be shocked if they both make the top 10 for a 3rd week in a row.
Le’Veon Bell – What a game this would be if only Rodgers was healthy. However bad luck has him riding the pine, and a struggling Green Bay team is a perfect play for Le’Veon.
He has missed the end zone the last couple of weeks but I think he changes it this week. He is getting more involved in the passing game seeing 11 targets last week, the most he has had in a single game all season, and continues to be a 23 ATT/Game average back. He has the volume and the talent to get the yards, and with Green Bay floundering without their fearless leader, there should be plenty of opportunity for big plays here.
Christian McCaffrey – With Benjamin’s exit from the team, there was a slew of targets up for grabs. Funchess has taken most of those, but as rookie Christian McCaffrey starts to get comfortable fully understanding the offense, he is developing into a big talent and gaining the attention of Cam. Olsen’s possible return this week should help the young back get open as the meat of his value comes from the passing attack. Olsen should be limited and running the field as a decoy, so this should all play into a continuation of his back to back 20+ FPT weeks.
J.D. McKissic – What kind of voodoo curse is on the RB situation in Seattle? I did not bite on hopes that ‘Cheeseburger Eddie’ Lacy was going to pan out, but they have had Carson, Prosise, Rawls, and now Davis all missing extended time.
Enter J.D., who is not the biggest body on the field, but ill be damned if he does not hit like a truck. He is fast, can get downfield, and has great hands. Now, he is all but alone in the backfield and his biggest competition for yards is the guy throwing him the ball. I expect McKissic to split some time, but see a bigger role, and against SF, I think he makes that time count. He is a DFS value play with high upside on a potential breakout game. That or the curse will take him too.
Running Back Cautions
Lamar Miller – Snaked! Twice! Man, he could have really had himself a day. But the rise of D’Onta Foreman last week blocked a large cache of points from landing in his corner. The immediate fall of Foreman opens things back up for this bell cow, but I don’t think Baltimore is going to be the team he gets another big game on. Baltimore is not a great run defensive team, but they are a great pass defensive team, and locking down Savage will allow them to stack the box. I think Miller leaves this matchup below 12 FPTS.
Adrian Peterson (ESPN) – Jacksonville. The team I bet multiple beers on at the beginning of the season is the same team that is going to have me make good on those drinks (damn you Bryen). Adrian Peterson however, is a boom or bust player at best right now, and despite all the fight left in him, he is just not the player he used to be. His last 2 games he averaged 1.65 RuYD/Att on 35 attempts. I think he is facing another game having a hard time passing 2.0 RuYD/Att and will not be worth any price in DFS.
Wide Receiver Starts
A.J. Green – The layup that is the Browns. Even for Andy Dalton, this should be a pretty easy game to put up numbers. You can’t stop this man unless you get him so mad he goes full UFC on your ass and gets himself ejected. I don’t see anyone on this team being able to cover him, and leaves him the opportunity for a couple big plays. He is expensive as far as DFS plays go, so he might not be the best fit for a lineup, but he should find himself at the top of week 12 rankings.
Devin Funchess (CBS) – A wee bit heavy on Carolina this week, as Funchess is now my 3rd Panther recommendation. Similar to the two above, Greg Olsen is going to bring a different dynamic to the game for the Jets to try and account for. He is showing good chemistry with Cam and I expect his role to continue this week against an exploitable Jets Defense. He might not break 100 yards or two TDs like he almost did last week, but he is a solid bet for safe points and has shown he has the potential for big plays.
Adam Thielen (ESPN) – This man is on a run, my friends. He showed that he has this talent in week 1 when he played New Orleans at home and has taken some time to come full circle, but he is back. With Keenum at the helm, he should now be considered the WR1 in Minnesota as the two have created quite a chemistry between themselves.
The last three weeks, he has (only 98 receiving yards vs CLE) three 100+ receiving yard games and a touchdown in each contest. Can this pace be sustained? Of course not. Is Detroit a tough secondary? Sure, they are middle of the pack, but the L.A. Rams are better on paper, and that didn’t seem to phase him last week. His last three weeks is why he has a top price tag this week in DFS so there could be better value out there, but I expect him to get close to another 100 receiving yards just on his current target volume (6.6 Rec/Game over the last five weeks).
Brandin Cooks – I have had some trouble with this one. I am always cautious of New England players as the points seem to show up in someone’s lap and there is no telling who. However, with Hogan still nursing an injury, the deep threat is still Cooks. He has a vertical that is hard for established secondaries to contain, and Miami is not exactly an established secondary. If nothing else, he is getting the target volume to create a solid floor and safe points.
Kenny Stills (ESPN) – I am going to double down on the New England Defense with my last pick here. This pick can be somewhat contingent on Matt Moore or Jay Cutler playing as there is a significant spike in production when Moore is under center for Stills. 265 receiving yards and three TDs in the two games where Moore played extended time. Assuming that Jay has to sit this one out, I think Stills and Moore get connected for similar numbers against a failing New England pass defense. If Jay Cutler plays I think the production here gets tapered and Landry becomes the play for this matchup, but Stills could still have a great game with Cutler. The talent is there.
Wide Receiver Caution
DeAndre Hopkins – Although the team took a massive hit losing Watson, Hopkins kept on keepin’ on, and held his stats level. Averaging a touchdown in almost every game this year he seems to be the play to make, but I am betting on Baltimore being able to cover him and will contain Savage at home.
Tyreek Hill (CBS) – Until Alex Smith gets his stuff figured out, Hill is going to suffer. It seems the plays have retreated back to Kelce and aren’t making it downfield. Buffalo is going to play with a vengeance after the performance last week and I just don’t see Hill having a great week until I see more from Smith.
Matthew Berry (ESPN)
QB Start – Kirk Cousins, Ben Roethlisberger, Matt Ryan, Andy Dalton, Marcus Mariota
QB Sit – Dak Prescott, Jared Goff, Derek Carr
RB Start– Kareem Hunt, Alfred Morris, Orleans Darkwa, Latavius Murray, Jay Ajayi
RB Sit – Adrian Peterson, Alex Collins, Joe Mixon
WR Start – Adam Thielen, T.Y. Hilton, Mohamed Sanu, Kenny Stills, Jeremy Maclin
WR Sit – Dez Bryant, Larry Fitzgerald, Marvin Jones Jr.
Michael Fabiano (NFL Network)
QB Start – Kirk Cousins, Matthew Stafford, Marcus Mariota, Matt Ryan, Ben Roethlisberger
QB Sit – Drew Brees, Derek Carr, Jared Goff, Case Keenum, Josh McCown
RB Start– Carlos Hyde, DeMarco Murray, Tevin Coleman, Latavius Murray, Duke Johnson
RB Sit – Marshawn Lynch, Joe Mixon, Doug Martin, Alex Collins, Frank Gore
WR Start – T.Y. Hilton, Rishard Matthews, Mohamed Sanu, Jamison Crowder, Mike Wallace
WR Sit – Jordy Nelson, Larry Fitzgerald, Amari Cooper, Sammy Watkins, Marvin Jones Jr.
Jamie Eisenberg (CBS Sports)
QB Start – Kirk Cousins, Andy Dalton, Marcus Mariota, Cam Newton, Ben Roethlisberger
QB Sit – Eli Manning, Derek Carr, Jared Goff, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Josh McCown
RB Start– Alfred Morris, Samaje Perine, Tevin Coleman, Latavius Murray, Orleans Darkwa
RB Sit – Ameer Abdullah, Bilal Powell, Isaiah Crowell, Kenyan Drake, Doug Martin
WR Start – Tyreek Hill, Devin Funchess, T.Y. Hilton, Jamison Crowder, Rishard Matthews
WR Sit – DeVante Parker, Jordy Nelson, Amari Cooper, Marqise Lee, Marvin Jones Jr.