As we prepare to load ourselves full of turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, and gravy (make sure you get your greens), let’s not forget the true meaning of this glorious holiday: a day of football, which also means more fantasy decisions to be made early in the week.
Joking aside, make sure you take the time to give thanks to family, friends, and everyone else who has loved, cared, and helped you along the way, especially the guy who advised you to start Julian Edelman (WR8) and Russell Wilson (QB5) last week, while leaving Jason Witten’s 3.7 points on your bench and staying away from Tampa receivers not named Mike Evans.
I wouldn’t blame you for being bitter with the person who thought that starting Blake Bortles (QB20) and benching Derek Carr (QB7) was a good idea, though. (Sorry…)
While you’re at it, don’t forget my good friend Nicholas Ferris. Even after his own fantasy team takes a beating, he still takes the time to provide you with quality flex rankings.
If I could have a second, I’d love to give thanks to the rest of the squad here at FY, and of course, our loyal fan-base. Without you folks, I wouldn’t be able to afford all the calories I’m going to slam into this belly tomorrow; so, thank you for that!
Alright, enough of the sappy, emotional stuff. Let’s get back to why you’re here: fantasy football. (And possibly synonyms for the word “firm.”) Telling you to start guys like David Johnson and Antonio Brown would be about as obvious as whether you’re going to have seconds at dinner tomorrow, so I won’t do it. I’m here to help you with the tougher decisions of the week, like whether you should put cranberries on your plate.
Here are the tips I’m serving up this Thanksgiving weekend. I’ll apologize in advance for the Thanksgiving jokes that are coming up; hopefully they don’t ruffle your feathers too much.
As always, don’t hesitate to ask your specific fantasy questions in the comments section below.
A Solid Seven Fantasy Tips for Week 12
1. Start Thomas Rawls
In his first game back since Week 2, the stat-line Rawls fed to his owners tasted like boxed mashed potatoes (8.8 points); it was alright, but not mouthwatering. However, that was against a tough Eagles defense, and he entered the game playing behind C.J. Prosise.
This week, Rawls gets a Bucs defense that’s dishing out 19.99 PPG to RBs this season (ninth-most) and Prosise is sidelined. Don’t pay attention to the fact that Tampa has only given up a combined 24.8 fantasy points to RBs over the last two weeks, that was a result of horrible performances by their opponents. The Seahawks are roasting hot right now, and the backfield is relying upon Rawls to eat-up the carries.
View Rawls as a safe RB2 option with a lot of upside in this matchup.
2. Thanks to matchups, start…
Eli Manning – A handful of quarterbacks at the top of the board have tough matchups this week, so you may be looking for a streamer. Well, look no further. The Browns are allowing 19.82 PPG to QBs this season (fourth-most), and Eli is heating up; he’s thrown nine touchdowns in his last three games. View him as a top-ten play at QB. Carson Wentz is a nice sleeper against a Packer secondary that is ready to be basted. And if you’re ready to trust him again, Carson Palmer gets the Falcon defense, which is surrendering a league-high 21.67 PPG to QBs. I’d be comfortable starting any one of these three in Week 12.
Todd Gurley – Even though he’s still not putting up the 15-plus point performances that we expected, Gurley has averaged 11.26 points in his last eight contests. This week, he’ll get a New Orleans defense that’s allowing 22.36 PPG to RBs (fourth-most). Finding a running lane will be as easy as pie.
Jordan Matthews – At this point, the aforementioned Packer secondary should be ready to be pulled out of the oven. Matthews only has three touchdown receptions on the season and has only hit nine or more fantasy points twice, but he has a gravy matchup against a defense that’s surrendering a league-high 28.43 PPG to WRs this season. View Matthews as a very safe WR2 option.
3. Thanks to matchups, bench…
Jameis Winston – Sure, “Famous Jameis” has been hot lately, but he hasn’t played a great defense since the Broncos in Week 4, when he put up 11.06 points. He’s going to be in tough this week against the Seahawks, who are only allowing 14.80 PPG to QBs (sixth-fewest). Put him on your bench; he’s going to get squashed.
Jeremy Hill – This is mostly because he’ll have to deal with the Ravens defense, which is giving up a measly 12.70 PPG to RBs (tied for fewest), but also because he’s the only player Baltimore has to worry about. Though he’ll likely receive more carries without Gio Bernard around, he’ll be getting stuffed all game facing a loaded box; expect him to be around the RB30 rank for this week.
Marvin Jones – If you’re still holding out hope that Jones will return to his early season form, I’m here to lobby for you to drop that dream for at least one week, as he’s about to lay a (turkey) egg this week. The Vikings are only allowing 15.30 PPG to WRs (second-fewest); and when they played in Week 9, Jones was held to a pitiful five yards – his lowest total of the year.
4. Beware the backup quarterback effect
Let me be clear, I’m not talking backup quarterbacks like Josh McCown or Brian Hoyer who have proven they can be effective in the right situation; I’m talking about the ones who have shown absolutely nothing in their (albeit limited) time under center. That’s right, I’m looking at you, Scott Tolzien and Matt Barkley.
Not only are these two going to harm their respective teams on the field in Week 12, but they are likely to impair a couple of your fantasy studs, too. (I hope I don’t have to tell you not to start either one.)
No longer can you rely on Donte Moncrief to catch a touchdown, or T.Y. Hilton to hit 100 receiving yards. Why? Because Scott Tolzien is the vegetarian option to the savory turkey thigh that is Andrew Luck. Add in the fact that Pittsburgh gives up 19.15 PPG to WRs (fourth-fewest), and the situation gets even worse. Moncrief isn’t worth a start, while Hilton should only be considered a risky WR2.
Don’t forget about what this may do to Frank Gore, as well. Despite the Steelers giving up 22.71 PPG to RBs (third-most), they’ll have the box fuller than my plate tomorrow. Gore is sure to see high-volume, which makes it hard to remove him from your lineup, but don’t rely on him being an RB1 this week.
Onto the next flightless bird this week, Matt Barkley. (I know, turkeys actually can fly.) Fortunately, he shouldn’t be ruining many of your fantasy stars due to the fact that the Bears don’t have (m)any right now. However, if you were considering giving Cameron Meredith a start with Alshon Jeffery and Zach Miller both out, I urge you to think again, so you don’t join John Fox in (pil)grimacing all day. Like with Gore, Jordan Howard’s value is going to take a hit as well. With no threat on the outside to worry about, the Titans will be able to focus on stopping Howard and the ground game. To pile on, Tennessee only allows 15.90 PPG to RBs (tenth-fewest). Howard should only be started if you’re needy at RB.
5. You need to put in a waiver claim for Tyler Boyd
With A.J. Green likely sidelined for the rest of the season, both Brandon LaFell and Tyler Boyd will need to step-up in a big way for the Bengals offense. The two have combined to catch as many balls as Green this year, but one will have to become Andy Dalton’s new favorite receiver.
LaFell may be a reliable possession receiver, but he’s not going to be able to stretch a defense the way a number one receiver should; I expect him to remain in his current role. While the same was said about Boyd entering the league as well, the rookie has displayed great route-running ability and extremely strong hands.
I’m not suggesting that he’ll take over Green’s production, but the Pitt product will become a viable streaming option in the weeks to come. Pick him up!
6. Despite tough matchups, stick with…
Drew Brees – The Rams are only giving up 14.91 PPG to QBs this season (seventh-fewest), but Brees and the New Orleans offense are too good to be completely stymied. Brees has hit 20 points in every home game this season, and that includes games against the stingy Broncos and Seahawks. He’ll be harvesting more touchdowns this week.
Rob Kelley – Although the Cowboys are only surrendering 15.03 PPG to RBs (sixth-fewest), “Fat-Rob” will still get to feast on Thursday. Kelley has received no fewer than 21 carries in Washington’s last three games, averaging 4.8 yards per carry. The Cowboys have been able to get teams away from the run because of their ability to eat up the clock, but they’re actually giving up 4.2 yards per carry. Jay Gruden will (drum)stick with what’s working, and Kelley should at least provide you with one touchdown. View him as a top-20 play at RB.
Tyrell Williams – I know, the Texans are only allowing 17.21 PPG to WRs (third-fewest); but Williams is Philip Rivers’ favorite target right now, and has put up at least 12.5 fantasy points all but twice since Week 5. The only defense that’s contained him in that time is Denver, the exception to so many rules in fantasy football. Keep Williams in your lineup as a low-end WR2.
7. Do not be fooled into starting…
Sam Bradford – The Lions are giving up 20.29 PPG to QBs this season (third-most), but when Bradford saw them in Week 9, he could only muster 15.42 points. The Vikings offense just doesn’t have the offensive line, nor the weapons, to make Bradford worth a start. Avoid what’s sure to be a fowl stat-line; there are much better streaming options out there.
A Titans WR not named Rishard Matthews – Since Delanie Walker is not a wide receiver, he’s not included in this. (Start him.) I’m referring to Tajae Sharpe and Kendall Wright. In spite of their plus-matchup with the Bears (25.47 PPG to WR; sixth-most), these two will only be left with the giblets this weekend.