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Fantasy Football Week 12: Start and Sit

Adam Thielen
Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen (19) had two touchdowns against the Dallas Cowboys last weekend, giving him a career-high 11 scores on the season with six games to go.
(Getty Images)

An in-depth look at Week 12’s NFL matchups and how they’ll affect your fantasy football lineup

Texans wide receiver Brandin Cooks has played much better since Bill O’Brien was fired, impressive Washington rookie running back Antonio Gibson continued to find the end zone, and Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz probably deserves to be benched. Here’s a look back at Week 11’s games:

WEEK 11 RECAP

Seahawks 28, Cardinals 21: Kyler Murray is the only player in the NFL to score multiple touchdowns in every game he’s played this season.

Browns 22, Eagles 17: How long before Carson Wentz is benched? Wentz has thrown multiple interceptions in six of 10 games this season. He’s also fumbled 10 times (losing four).

Saints 24, Falcons 9: It’s early, but Taysom Hill could be very bad for Alvin Kamara. I believe we all expected Hill to vulture at least one touchdown from Kamara, but I’m positive none of us saw the All-Pro failing to produce a reception for the first time in his career or only receiving a single target. Mobile quarterbacks tend to rely on their running ability more and dumping the ball off less.

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Football Team 20, Bengals 9: Rookie Antonio Gibson has at least one touchdown in seven of 10 games this season.

Panthers 20, Lions 0: I never saw Robby Anderson being utilized primarily as a short or intermediate target and D.J. Moore being the deep threat, but that’s where we are. Really high expectations have some disappointed in Moore’s season so far, but he’s averaging 18.8 yards per catch and is on pace for 67 receptions, 1,255 yards and six touchdowns. He also has at least 93 yards in six of 11 games.

Steelers 27, Jaguars 3: Rookie James Robinson has maintained his effectiveness in the run game with Gardner Minshew sidelined, but his opportunities in the passing game have suffered. He only has four receptions in three games without Minshew, after recording at least four receptions in each of the previous five games.

Titans 30, Ravens 24 (OT): Rookie J.K. Dobbins finally dominated touches in Baltimore’s backfield — he had 15 of 20 carries for 70 yards and a touchdown. Then he tested positive for COVID-19 and will miss at least this week against Pittsburgh (a game already moved from Thanksgiving night to Sunday morning). It’s obvious 2020 doesn’t want us to have nice things.

Texans 27, Patriots 20: Something clicked for Brandin Cooks after Bill O’Brien was fired. Cooks had 10 receptions (21 targets), 138 yards and no touchdowns in four games with O’Brien running the show. He has 37 receptions (52 targets), 496 yards and three touchdowns in six games since.

Broncos 20, Dolphins 13: Tua Tagovailoa has been good (although he was benched in this one), but he’s not a fantasy asset yet and likely won’t be for the rest of the season.

Chargers 34, Jets 28: Hunter Henry hasn’t set the world on fire, but he’s been solid this entire season and appears to be hitting his stride at the right time for his fantasy managers. Henry has at least four receptions in eight of 10 games this season and at least seven targets in seven of those games. He’s also scored in two straight now.

Colts 34, Packers 31 (OT): Nice bounce-back game by rookie Jonathan Taylor with 114 total yards on 22 carries and four receptions. Taylor also had a 20-yard touchdown run called back.

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Cowboys 31, Vikings 28: Adam Thielen’s two touchdowns gives him a career-high 11 this season with six games to go.

Chiefs 35, Raiders 31: Rookie Clyde Edwards-Helaire’s usage has been inconsistent since Le’Veon Bell joined Kansas City’s backfield, but he also has four touchdowns in those four games.

Rams 27, Buccaneers 24: Antonio Brown has 18 receptions (26 targets) in the three games he’s played this season. Mike Evans has 15 receptions (26 targets) and Chris Godwin has 16 receptions (22 targets) in those three games.

Follow me on Twitter @UTEddieBrown if you have questions throughout the week.

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Here’s my best bets for Week 12:

HOUSTON AT DETROIT

Obvious starters: Deshaun Watson (HOU), Will Fuller (HOU), Brandin Cooks (HOU), T.J. Hockenson (DET).

Who to start: Duke Johnson (HOU) deserves flex consideration against a defense that has allowed running backs to score nine touchdowns in the last five games. You’re starting rookie D’Andre Swift (DET) if he clears the NFL’s concussion protocol, against a defense that has allowed at least one touchdown to running backs in nine of 10 games this season. Marvin Jones (DET) has at least four receptions, 51 yards or a touchdown in five straight games.

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Who to sit: Neither the Texans D/ST or Lions D/ST should be rostered, let alone played this week. Darren Fells (HOU) remains touchdown-dependent. This is a premium matchup for Matthew Stafford (DET), but his thumb injury clearly affected him against Carolina. Adrian Peterson (DET) and Kerryon Johnson (DET) remain touchdown-dependent, but would have flex appeal in most standard formats if Swift misses his second straight game.

Sleeper: Jordan Akins (HOU) faces a defense that has allowed at least four receptions, 66 yards or a touchdown to tight ends in four straight games.

WASHINGTON AT DALLAS

Obvious starters: Terry McLaurin (WAS), Antonio Gibson (WAS), Ezekiel Elliott (DAL), Amari Cooper (DAL).

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Who to start: The Football Team D/ST faces an offense that has produced multiple turnovers in seven of the last nine games. J.D. McKissic (WAS) maintains flex value in deeper PPR formats with at least three receptions in seven of the last eight games. Dalton Schultz (DAL) has at least four receptions in seven of 10 games this season.

Who to sit: Logan Thomas (WAS) is touchdown-dependent and nothing more than a streaming candidate against a defense that usually keeps tight ends in check. The one clunker rookie CeeDee Lamb (DAL) has on his professional resume is against Washington — he had zero receptions on five targets. Michael Gallup (DAL) only has 14 receptions (32 targets), 149 yards and no touchdowns the past five games. This is a difficult matchup to trust Andy Dalton (DAL) when no one is on a bye.

Sleeper: Alex Smith (WAS) faces a pass defense that has allowed 23 touchdowns in the last nine games.

LAS VEGAS AT ATLANTA

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Obvious starters: Josh Jacobs (LV), Darren Waller (LV), Hayden Hurst (ATL).

Who to start: Derek Carr (LV) faces a pass defense that has allowed at least 313 yards in eight of 10 games this season and 22 touchdowns. Nelson Agholor (LV) is somewhat touchdown-dependent, but he’s scored in five of the last seven games. It’s hard to sit Julio Jones (ATL) or Calvin Ridley (ATL) if either is active. Same goes for Todd Gurley (ATL), but you must monitor his knee issues.

Who to sit: Target share is too low to trust Hunter Renfrow (LV) despite the premium matchup. Matt Ryan (ATL) has one-or-fewer touchdown passes in six of the last eight games. Russell Gage (ATL) would deserve flex consideration in deeper PPR formats if Jones and/or Ridley is sidelined.

Sleeper: The matchup is right to use rookie Henry Ruggs (LV) as a lottery ticket if you need a bold play this week.

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L.A. CHARGERS AT BUFFALO

Obvious starters: Justin Herbert (LAC), Keenan Allen (LAC), Hunter Henry (LAC), Josh Allen (BUF), Stefon Diggs (BUF).

Who to start: Kalen Ballage (LAC) has flex appeal with at least 15 carries in three straight games and 14 receptions over that same span. Cole Beasley (BUF) has at least four receptions, 53 yards or a touchdown in eight of 10 games this season.

Who to sit: Mike Williams (LAC) maintains his boom-or-bust potential. Rookie Joshua Kelley (LAC) has clearly been eclipsed by Ballage. I’m fading Devin Singletary (BUF) despite the good matchup because he only has five touches in each of the past two games. John Brown (BUF) is a boom-or-bust option because of his health. I’m fading a Bills D/ST that has allowed at least 28 points in half its games this season.

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Sleeper: Rookie Zack Moss (BUF) has flex appeal against a defense that has allowed seven touchdowns to running backs the past five games.

N.Y. GIANTS AT CINCINNATI

Obvious starters: Evan Engram (NYG), Tyler Boyd (CIN).

Who to start: Sterling Shepard (NYG) has at least six receptions in five of six games played this season. Wayne Gallman (NYG) has at least 13 touches and a touchdown in four straight games. The Giants D/ST is a premium streaming option against a Joe Burrow-less Bengals offense. Daniel Jones (NYG) is a solid streaming option with at least 64 rushing yards in three of the last five games. Giovani Bernard (CIN) deserves flex consideration if he makes it through the NFL’s concussion protocol.

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Who to sit: Golden Tate (NYG) has two-or-fewer receptions in four straight games. I understand if you flex rookie Tee Higgins (CIN), but it’s hard to trust anyone outside of Boyd without Burrow. If I’m skeptical of Higgins, I’m certainly not starting A.J. Green (CIN) with Brandon Allen under center.

Sleeper: Big-play threat Darius Slayton (NYG) has flex appeal with upside against a beatable secondary who has allowed 14 touchdowns to wide receivers in the last nine games.

TENNESSEE AT INDIANAPOLIS

Obvious starters: Derrick Henry (TEN), A.J. Brown (TEN), Colts D/ST.

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Who to start: Rookie Jonathan Taylor (IND) has RB2/flex upside against a defense that has allowed at least one touchdown to running backs in eight of 10 games this season. Nyheim Hines (IND) maintains flex value in deeper PPR formats after he produced 115 total yards and two touchdowns against the Titans two weeks ago. Rookie Michael Pittman Jr. (IND) has flex potential with at least four receptions, 56 yards or a touchdown in three straight games. Philip Rivers (IND) is a streaming candidate against a pass defense that has allowed 21 touchdowns in 10 games this season. Trey Burton (IND) faces a defense that has allowed at least five receptions or a touchdown to tight ends in eight of 10 games this season.

Who to sit: Jonnu Smith (TEN) is touchdown-dependent with such a difficult matchup. I’m fading Ryan Tannehill (TEN) against a pass defense that has allowed one-or-fewer touchdowns in six of 10 games this season.

Sleeper: Corey Davis (TEN) has at least five receptions or a touchdown in seven of eight games this season.

CAROLINA AT MINNESOTA

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Obvious starters: Mike Davis (CAR), D.J. Moore (CAR), Robby Anderson (CAR), Dalvin Cook (MIN), Justin Jefferson (MIN).

Who to start: Curtis Samuel (CAR) deserves flex consideration with 30 receptions (35 targets), 311 total yards and five total touchdowns in his last five games. Adam Thielen (MIN) is currently on the reserved/COVID-19 list after testing positive on Monday, but he followed that with a negative test on Tuesday, so we’ll see where this goes.

Who to sit: Christian McCaffrey (CAR) is currently doubtful, but he’s an obvious start if he’s active this weekend. I’m fading both the Vikings D/ST and Panthers D/ST. I’m fading Kirk Cousins (MIN) against a pass defense that has allowed one-or-fewer touchdowns in seven of 11 games this season. Kyle Rudolph (MIN) and Irv Smith Jr. (MIN) both remain touchdown-dependent despite the solid matchup.

Sleeper: Teddy Bridgewater (CAR) is a streaming candidate against a pass defense that has allowed at least three touchdowns in four of the last six games.

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ARIZONA AT NEW ENGLAND

Obvious starters: Kyler Murray (ARI), DeAndre Hopkins (ARI), Kenyan Drake (ARI).

Who to start: Chase Edmonds (ARI) maintains flex value in deeper PPR formats with at least three receptions in eight of 10 games this season. Christian Kirk (ARI) has at least four receptions or a touchdown in seven straight games. Larry Fitzgerald (ARI) still has flex value in deeper PPR formats with at least four receptions in six of 10 games this season. Cam Newton (NE) is a streaming candidate against a pass defense that has allowed multiple touchdowns in seven of 10 games this season. Damien Harris (NE) has at least 58 yards or a touchdown in five straight games. Jakobi Meyers (NE) deserves flex consideration against a pass defense that has allowed multiple touchdowns to wide receivers in four straight games.

Who to sit: I’m fading the Patriots D/ST against Murray. It’s hard to trust N’Keal Harry (NE) or Damiere Byrd (NE) despite the great matchup.

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Sleeper: James White (NE) is once again the primary receiving back in the Patriots offense with Rex Burkhead sidelined for the rest of the season.

MIAMI AT N.Y. JETS

Obvious starters: Dolphins D/ST, DeVante Parker (MIA).

Who to start: Salvon Ahmed (MIA) deserves flex consideration if his shoulder doesn’t sideline or limit him. Jamison Crowder (NYJ) has at least seven receptions or a touchdown in five of six games played this season.

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Who to sit: Mike Gesicki (MIA) had zero receptions on two targets against the Jets earlier this season. There are better options available this week than Tua Tagovailoa (MIA). Matt Breida (MIA) only has value if Ahmed is sidelined. I’m fading both Breshad Perriman (NYJ) and rookie Denzel Mims (NYJ) against a pretty solid secondary. Chris Herndon (NYJ) remains touchdown-dependent.

Sleeper: No real competition for carries makes Frank Gore (NYJ) a solid flex option this week.

CLEVELAND AT JACKSONVILLE

Obvious starters: Nick Chubb (CLE), Kareem Hunt (CLE), Browns D/ST, Austin Hooper (CLE), James Robinson (JAC), D.J. Chark Jr. (JAC).

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Who to start: Jarvis Landry (CLE) maintains flex value in PPR against such a weak pass defense.

Who to sit: I’m fading Baker Mayfield (CLE) despite the premium matchup because he hasn’t produced a touchdown since Week 7. It’s hard to trust Keelan Cole (JAC) or rookie Laviska Shenault Jr. (JAC) with Mike Glennon under center.

Sleeper: Rashard Higgins (CLE) is a lottery ticket against a pass defense that has allowed five touchdowns to wide receivers over the last three games.

BALTIMORE AT PITTSBURGH

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Obvious starters: Lamar Jackson (BAL), Mark Andrews (BAL), Ravens D/ST, Steelers D/ST, James Conner (PIT), Diontae Johnson (PIT), JuJu Smith-Schuster (PIT), Eric Ebron (PIT).

Who to start: Rookie Chase Claypool (PIT) has at least eight receptions, 69 yards or a touchdown in four straight games. Ben Roethlisberger (PIT) has multiple touchdown passes in nine of 10 games this season.

Who to sit: Marquise Brown (BAL) is a boom-or-bust option with a bad matchup.

Sleeper: Gus Edwards (BAL) had 87 yards and a touchdown against the Steelers earlier this season.

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NEW ORLEANS AT DENVER

Obvious starters: Alvin Kamara (NO), Michael Thomas (NO), Saints D/ST.

Who to start: Taysom Hill (NO) remains a streaming candidate with upside thanks to his production running the football. Noah Fant (DEN) had seen at least five targets in eight of nine games this season. At least eight targets in four straight games makes rookie Jerry Jeudy (DEN) a viable flex option in deeper leagues.

Who to sit: Jared Cook (NO) has only seen six targets the last three games. Latavius Murray (NO) remains touchdown-dependent. I’m fading Emmanuel Sanders (NO) with Hill under center. I’m fading Melvin Gordon (DEN) and Phillip Lindsay (DEN) against a very stout run defense. Rookie K.J. Hamler (DEN) only has value in the deepest PPR formats.

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Sleeper: Tim Patrick (DEN) has at least four receptions, 61 yards or a touchdown in six of the last seven games.

SAN FRANCISCO AT L.A. RAMS

Obvious starters: Cooper Kupp (LAR), Robert Woods (LAR), Rams D/ST.

Who to start: You’re starting Raheem Mostert (SF) if he’s active. Darrell Henderson Jr. (LAR) has flex upside despite the difficult matchup — the 49ers have yet to allow a 100-yard rusher this season.

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Who to sit: Jerick McKinnon (SF) loses his flex appeal if Mostert returns. Rookie Brandon Aiyuk (SF) is currently on the reserved/COVID-19 list. I’m fading Deebo Samuel (SF) until we see he’s healthy. Tyler Higbee (LAR) and Gerald Everett (LAR) remain touchdown-dependent. Josh Reynolds (LAR) only has value in the deepest PPR formats. Jared Goff (LAR) has one-or-fewer touchdown passes in three of four 比特币交易网home games this season. Malcolm Brown (LAR) and rookie Cam Akers (LAR) remain touchdown-dependent with a difficult matchup.

Sleeper: Jordan Reed (SF) has seen at least six targets in three of four games he’s played without George Kittle in the lineup.

KANSAS CITY AT TAMPA BAY

Obvious starters: Patrick Ma比特币交易网homes (KC), Travis Kelce (KC), Tyreek Hill (KC), Clyde Edwards-Helaire (KC), Mike Evans (TB), Chris Godwin (TB), Tom Brady (TB), Rob Gronkowski (TB).

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Who to start: Ronald Jones (TB) has at least 73 total yards or a touchdown in seven of 11 games this season. Antonio Brown (TB) maintains value in PPR with 18 receptions in three games played this season.

Who to sit: The Chiefs D/ST pass rush has been non-existent of late. The usage is simply too low to trust Le’Veon Bell (KC) at this point. I wouldn’t trust Sammy Watkins (KC) until he shows us he’s finally healthy. Mecole Hardman (KC) and Demarcus Robinson (KC) both remain boom-or-bust. Leonard Fournette (TB) remains touchdown-dependent against a dominant run defense.

Sleeper: Instincts are to sit whichever defense faces off with Ma比特币交易网homes, but the Buccaneers D/ST can be really good and has something to prove after the Rams passed all over them.

CHICAGO AT GREEN BAY

Obvious starters: Allen Robinson (CHI), David Montgomery (CHI), Davante Adams (GB), Aaron Jones (GB), Aaron Rodgers (GB), Packers D/ST.

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Who to start: My gut tells me Rodgers targets Marquez Valdes-Scantling (GB) early and often to get rid of the sour taste of his pivotal fumble against Indianapolis.

Who to sit: The Bears D/ST has a single sack in three of its last four games. Jimmy Graham (CHI) faces a defense that has allowed two-or-fewer receptions to tight ends in three of the last five games. Jamaal Williams (GB) remains touchdown-dependent. This is a difficult matchup to trust a rusty Allen Lazard (GB).

Sleeper: Robert Tonyan (GB) faces a defense that has allowed at least six receptions, 74 yards or a touchdown to tight ends in four straight games.

SEATTLE AT PHILADELPHIA

Obvious starters: Russell Wilson (SEA), DK Metcalf (SEA), Tyler Lockett (SEA), Chris Carson (SEA), Miles Sanders (PHI).

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Who to start: The Seahawks D/ST faces a quarterback who has been sacked the most in the NFL and thrown the most interceptions this season. Both Dallas Goedert (PHI) and Zach Ertz (PHI) both have value against a defense that has allowed a touchdown to tight ends in three of the last four games.

Who to sit: Carlos Hyde (SEA) only has value if Carson remains sidelined. Will Dissly (SEA) and Jacob Hollister (SEA) remain touchdown-dependent. Travis Fulgham (PHI) has only a single reception for eight yards in each of his last two games.

Sleeper: Rookie Jalen Reagor (PHI) faces a pass defense that has allowed 13 touchdowns to wide receivers in 10 games this season.


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