Fantasy Football Start'em, Sit'em for Week 12
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With the exception of the Sunday Night Football matchup, no game has a higher over/under than tonight's Falcons-versus-Saints game based on Vegas odds.
Based on my fantasy rankings, the majority of start-worthy players call NOLA home as the Falcons have scored 13 points or less in three of their past four games.
Below you will find some players that fall into a "start'em" or "sit'em" category, but ultimately your league's depth and roster composition will determine who should be started.
To get a better sense of whether you should start one player over another, check out my Week 12 fantasy rankings, which include standard-scoring and PPR rankings as well as flex rankings.
That said, here are some players to consider starting in Week 12:
QB - Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers (at CLE)
As a bye-week replacement for Tony Romo in one of my leagues, I was fortunate to pick up and start Big Ben in a week that he led all signal-callers in fantasy points. Actually, it was the second time in three weeks that he threw for at least 367 yards and four touchdowns.
While I don't expect those type of gaudy numbers again in Week 12, Roethlisberger should be able to have starter-level production against the Browns. Even though the Browns have one of the league's best shutdown corners and it could be a long(ish) day for Antonio Brown, they have been much more friendly to fantasy quarterbacks recently.
In the first five games of the season, they allowed only two passing touchdowns. In their most recent five games, however, they have surrendered multiple touchdowns every week for a total of 14 touchdowns during that span.
QB - Eli Manning, New York Giants (vs. DAL)
I struggle to say that you should consider starting Eli similarly to how Arthur Fonzarelli (Fonzi) struggles to say he was wrong. As great as his brother has been this season, Manning has been nearly as bad. No quarterback has thrown more interceptions (17) than Manning this season. In fact, he already has more picks than he had in 2012 (15) or 2011 (16) and is on pace for a career-worst 27 interceptions.
Before I convince you to not start him, let me explain why he deserves consideration this week. With only two games of multiple touchdown passes this season, Manning had his best game, by far, in Week 1 against the Cowboys. In that game, Manning threw for 450 yards and four touchdowns.
No team has allowed more 400-yard passers (an NFL-record four of them) or more fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this season than the Cowboys. While Eli may not score 28 fantasy points again (like in Week 1), he is a top-10 fantasy quarterback for me this week.
RB - Zac Stacy, St. Louis Rams (vs. CHI)
Since becoming the team's starting running back, Stacy has yet to have a bad game, but he has been extremely productive over the past three or four games. Stacy has 26-plus carries in three consecutive games and double-digit fantasy points in four straight games. In his six starts, Stacy has a total of 630 yards from scrimmage and four touchdowns.
The Bears have allowed the seventh-most fantasy points to opposing running backs this season, but they have been even more generous after the loss of defensive tackle Henry Melton. From Weeks 1 to 3, they allowed 7.7 fantasy points to opposing RBs. From Weeks 4 to 11, they have allowed 24.3 fantasy points to opposing RBs. The Bears have allowed six 100-yard rushers this season including one in three consecutive games and in four of their past five games.
RB - Ben Tate, Houston Texans (vs. JAX)
As Tate's ribs continue to heal, he will continue to get a heavy workload. In the past three weeks, Tate has yet to score a touchdown, but he has 56 carries for 225 yards.
The Jaguars have allowed only two 100-yard rushers this season, but no team has allowed more rushing yards per game (139.1) than the Jags. The Jags have surrendered eight touchdowns to running backs over their past five games.
RB - Rashad Jennings, Oakland Raiders (vs. TEN)
Since teammate Darren McFadden aggravated his hamstring injury three weeks ago, no player has more yards from scrimmage than Jennings (431). Jennings has two 100-yard rushing games and two touchdowns in that span.
While the Titans are great against the pass, which has led to Denarius Moore landing on the other side of this list, they have not been so great against the run. They have allowed running backs to score exactly two touchdowns per game in five consecutive games.
RB - Pierre Thomas, New Orleans Saints (at ATL)
A Saints running back ranks second among all running backs in receptions this season behind Danny Woodhead and it might not be who you think it is. While Darren Sproles has 48 receptions, he ranks fifth among RBs in the category and is a game-time decision for tonight's game after missing practice on Tuesday and Wednesday.
With 51 receptions this season, Thomas ranks 14th among running backs in yards from scrimmage (762) on the year. He's been even better since Week 5 as he ranks 11th among RBs in YFS during that span.
Over their past four games, the Falcons have allowed a total of six touchdowns (five rushing and one receiving) to running backs.
[Update: Darren Sproles is inactive for tonight's game.]
WR - Jordy Nelson, Green Bay Packers (vs. MIN)
Nelson had eight receptions for 117 yards last week against the Giants. Fortunately for Nelson (and his fantasy owners), he gets a matchup against the Vikings in Week 12. In the first matchup against them this season, Nelson has a season-best performance (24 fantasy points) with 123 yards and two touchdowns.
WR - Alshon Jeffery, Chicago Bears (at STL)
Jeffery is a weekly must-start now and I have him ranked inside my top-10 fantasy wide receivers this week. Since his breakout performance in Week 4 this season, Jeffery has had nine fantasy points or more in all but one game.
In fact, here's the list of receivers with more yards from scrimmage than Jeffery (795) from Week 4 to 11: Calvin Johnson (815). Three running backs also have more YFS than Jeffery, but nobody else.
WR - Marques Colston, New Orleans Saints (at ATL)
After several disappointing performances, Colston has had solid performances in back-to-back weeks. In those two games, Colston has 12 receptions for 187 yards and a touchdown.
Although he has tough matchups in Weeks 13 and 14 (SEA and CAR), tonight Colston faces the Falcons, who have allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers.
WR - Kendall Wright, Tennessee Titans (at OAK)
Through 10 games, Wright has 59 receptions (good) for 660 yards (good) and one touchdown (bad). If he maintains his current pace, Wright will finish the season with a stat line of 94/1,056/2.
Even though he has yet to reach 100 yards in a game this season, Wright has 54-plus yards in every game except the season opener and at least 69 yards in his past five games. With a little luck (i.e., a touchdown), he could be in store for a really nice game.
TE - Delanie Walker, Tennessee Titans (at OAK)
After allowing Houston's Garrett Graham to finish with a position-high 136 yards and a touchdown last week, the Raiders will try to slow down Walker. Walker had 10 receptions for 91 yards, both of which were season highs, and scored a touchdown last week. He has now scored a touchdown and finished with double-digit fantasy points in three of his past four games.
TE - Coby Fleener, Indianapolis Colts (at ARI)
Along with Graham, Fleener was one of two tight ends to exceed 100 receiving yards last week. Although he has been relatively inconsistent, Fleener has 20 receptions for 242 yards and a touchdown over his past four games.
No team has allowed more fantasy points to opposing tight ends this season than the Cardinals this year.
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Here are some players to possibly sit for Week 12:
QB - Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers (at KC)
Rivers got his season off to a strong start with 11 touchdown passes and only two interceptions in the first four games of the season. Since then, however, Rivers has a much more pedestrian eight-to-six TD-to-INT ratio over the past six games. In his past five games, Rivers has only one game with more than 15 fantasy points.
The Chiefs have allowed the sixth-fewest fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this season and have allowed more than one passing touchdown in just one game this season.
QB - Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons (vs. NO)
The good news is that Ryan had a four-game high with 14 fantasy points last week and threw more than one touchdown for the first time during that span. Over the past four games, Ryan has averaged 10 fantasy points per game.
Only the Panthers and Seahawks have allowed fewer fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this season than the Saints. In addition, the Saints have held opposing passers to 128 yards or less in three consecutive games.
RB - Lamar Miller, Miami Dolphins (vs. CAR)
After gaining just two yards on seven carries in Week 10, Miller rushed for more yards (17) but had even fewer rush attempts (four) last week. Miller has less than 20 rushing yards in four of 10 games this season.
Only four teams have allowed fewer fantasy points to opposing running backs and the Panthers rank third in the NFL this season in rushing defense (84.5 yards per game). With a low workload and difficult matchup, Miller is better off on your bench.
RB - Trent Richardson, Indianapolis Colts (at ARI)
Coincidentally, Richardson rushed for two yards in Week 10 like Miller although it took him only five carries to get to that total. In all seriousness, TRich has been absolutely horrendous. Dating back to last season, Richardson has 60 rushing yards or less in 13 consecutive games. In his past three games combined, he has a total of only 44 rushing yards.
During the past six games, Richardson has a total of 24 fantasy points, which is roughly the total that teammate Donald Brown (21) had last week alone.
Considering no team has allowed fewer fantasy points to opposing running backs this season, there is little reason to believe that Richardson finally gets things going this week.
RB - DeAngelo Williams, Carolina Panthers (at MIA)
Unlike Miller or Richardson, Williams has a favorable matchup. But so does Jonathan Stewart. And Mike Tolbert. That's the problem. Williams has eight or less carries in back-to-back games and in the three of his past four games. Despite the favorable matchup, all three backs reduce each other's upside.
RB - Andre Ellington, Arizona Cardinals (vs. IND)
Despite the favorable matchup last week, Ellington and teammate Rashard Mendenhall were awful. Mendy was fortunate enough to rush for a score, but the duo gained just 17 yards on 21 carries. Ellington actually has three rushing yards (and one fantasy point) in two of his past four games. While I expect more than that in Week 12, coach Bruce Arians seems to make sure that Mendenhall gets a larger workload to frustrate Ellington owners.
WR - Roddy White, Atlanta Falcons (vs. NO)
White scored his first touchdown of the season last week, but he still has zero games with at least five receptions and zero games with at least 50 receiving yards. He may exceed my ranking (just inside my top 30 WRs), but I prefer to see one really solid performance before I move him higher.
Considering the Saints have limited opposing quarterbacks to less than 130 yards in three consecutive games, it should come as no surprise that they have also limited opposing wide receiver corps to less than 85 combined receiving yards in three consecutive games as well.
WR - Mike Wallace, Miami Dolphins (vs. CAR)
60 Minutes hasn't scored a touchdown since Week 2 and has 41 receiving yards or less in three of his past four games. The losses on the offensive line, which was already a weakness of the team, in addition to the emergence of Rishard Matthews as a trusted option for Ryan Tannehill means the struggles for Wallace could continue against one of the league's best defenses.
WR - Denarius Moore, Oakland Raiders (vs. TEN)
Even though he scored a touchdown last week, Moore had just two receptions for 11 yards last week. We haven't seen much of Matt McGloin, who will make his second career start, but it seemed like he had better chemistry with Rod Streater than he had with Moore.
Either way, no team has allowed fewer fantasy points to opposing wide receivers this season than the Titans.
WR - Terrance Williams, Dallas Cowboys (at NYG)
Despite leading college football in receiving last year, Williams has already exceeded expectations so far. In the way that Laurent Robinson emerged a couple of seasons ago, Williams has consistently found his way into the endzone. He has scored in five of his past six games.
That said, Williams has a total of only five receptions for 118 yards in his past three games and Miles Austin is expected to return this week.
TE - Martellus Bennett, Chicago Bears (at STL)
After scoring three touchdowns and finishing with double-digit fantasy points in the first two games of the season, Bennett has scored only one touchdown and finished with single-digit fantasy points in his other eight games. In his past four games, he has a total of only 10 receptions.
Only the Chiefs have allowed fewer fantasy points than the Rams to opposing tight ends this season. The Rams have not allowed a touchdown to a tight end in six consecutive games.
More Week 12 Fantasy Football Rankings:
- Week 12 Fantasy Football QB Rankings
- Week 12 Fantasy Football RB Rankings
- Week 12 Fantasy Football WR Rankings
- Week 12 Fantasy Football TE Rankings
Week 12 Daily Fantasy Football Salary-Cap Analysis: