Usually, this article comes out before our Fantrax team’s bold predictions for the week ahead. Given the Thanksgiving holiday, and four NFL games that proceed those on Sunday and Monday, it was important to lay out the bold predictions sooner than later. Nonetheless, there are still risers, fallers, and a player to put on my hot seat for Week 12. With just three weeks left in the fantasy football regular season, take note of these players for the road ahead.
Week 12 Risers, Fallers, and Who is on The Hot Seat
Jayden Reed, Wide Receiver, Green Bay Packers
I have to include the rookie, Jayden Reed, as a Week 12 riser even though his game for the week is behind us. On Thanksgiving day, Reed’s 10 offensive opportunities (8 targets + 2 carries) led the team in their win over the Detroit Lions. His eight targets accounted for a 26.6% target share leading the team, as well. The cherry on top is Reed finding the end zone for the third straight week.
Since the Packers’ Week 6 bye, Reed is averaging 14.0 points per game in Points Per Reception formats. He and Romeo Doubs are tied with 32 targets apiece over the last six games, as well. Reed is a typical rookie riser in fantasy football this time of year, though there are other players we all thought would be producing like he is at this juncture. Reed is a worthy start in most 12-team leagues, and even some 10-team leagues, with a handful of advantageous matchups to round out the season.
Devin Singletary, Running Back, Houston Texans
Even with Dameon Pierce set to return from an ankle injury, it’s going to be difficult keeping Devin Singletary off of the field. He has 262 total rushing yards over his last two games. That’s on a whopping 52 carries. Singletary isn’t very involved in the Houston Texans’ pass attack, but he accounts for 97% of the Texans’ running back carries since Pierce’s Week 8 injury.
Looking ahead, the Houston Texans will continue their playoff push with two more home games in Weeks 12 and 13. First up are the Jacksonville Jaguars who have allowed the San Francisco 49ers and Tennessee Titans to rush for 4.8 yards per carry as a whole over the last two weeks. Then, in Week 13, the Texans host the Denver Broncos who have allowed the most rushing yards to running backs this season.
I’m not panicking about the return of Dameon Pierce just yet. Offensive coordinator, Bobby Slowik, insists that both backs will get work moving forward. Given the Texans’ recent success and Singletary’s part in that, he is a riser that I expect to maintain the bulk of the touches.
Isaiah Likely, Tight End, Baltimore Ravens
Mark Andrews is not going to contribute to the remainder of the 2023 fantasy football season. That’s a major blow to lose the TE4, averaging 13.5 points per game, from your weekly lineup. One of the biggest questions ahead of Week 12 is whether or not to invest in Isaiah Likely. He’s an obvious riser in place of Mark Andrews, but I think he has weekly, steady TE1 upside.
In two games last season in place of Andrews, Likely averaged 13.7 points per game. Andrews now leaves behind a 21% target share that I expect Likely to command the most of. Additionally, Andrews ranks inside the top-seven in red zone targets this season.
The Baltimore Ravens remain the league’s run-heaviest team heading into Week 12. That won’t change, especially with the loss of Mark Andrews. For fantasy football managers desperate to fill the void, though, you can invest in Likely. His next three matchups are against teams that rank inside the top eight in fantasy points allowed to the position. Two of which, the Rams and Jaguars, rank inside the top three. Given his increasing role, vacancy of quality targets, and schedule, Likely should serve well in Week 12 matchups and beyond.
Patrick Mahomes, Quarterback, Kansas City Chiefs
We now have a 10-game sample size from Patrick Mahomes this season. He is on pace for just over 32 touchdown passes and 15 interceptions. The touchdowns would be the second-lowest total in his six seasons as a starter while the interceptions would be a career-high.
I won’t spend too much time on this because the bottom line is, you’re starting Patrick Mahomes. Expectations must be lowered moving forward, however. Mahomes’ fantasy value often rests in him throwing for upwards of three or four touchdowns per game. He is averaging 1.9 per game this season.
Though he is pacing for a career-high in rush attempts and yards this season, it’s still not to the level of Lamar Jackson, Jalen Hurts, or Josh Allen. Fantasy managers can usually look to Mahomes to save them in tight matchups each week. This season, though, he’s enough of a faller to make managers much more nervous in such scenarios.
Diontae Johnson, Wide Receiver, Pittsburgh Steelers
Prior to Week 11, George Pickens was one of my fallers for fantasy football. It’s time to discuss his teammate, Diontae Johnson. Over the last two weeks, Johnson has just three catches on 12 targets. He’s averaging just 3.15 fantasy points in that span.
The elephant in the room is the firing of Steelers offensive coordinator, Matt Canada, prior to Week 12. It’s hard to feel confident in what interim coordinator, Eddie Falkner, will do in his new role. If I had to guess, the former Pittsburgh running backs coach probably emphasizes the run game.
Perhaps a change in play calling and schemes will resuscitate the young career of quarterback Kenny Pickett. For now, though, fantasy managers must take a wait-and-see approach to this passing game. Diontae Johnson’s upside is extremely limited just one year after logging nearly 150 targets supporting a strong PPR fantasy football season.
The Cincinnati Bengals Offense
Unfortunately, the Bengals are the latest team to face the remainder of their season with a backup quarterback under center. It seems to be a theme of the 2023 NFL season with players like Joshua Dobbs, Aidan O’Connell, Tommy DeVito and others set to make starts in Week 12.
Jake Browning is the next man up in Cincy after Joe Burrow tore a ligament in his wrist, ending his season. This change at quarterback downgrades the entire Bengals offense. Yes, Ja’Marr Chase caught a junk time touchdown from Browning in Week 11, but the quality of play from Browning prior to was hard to watch.
Chase is the only Bengals receiver I’m interested at this point. However, he downgrades to the level of Garrett Wilson on the New York Jets. That is to see Chase will see a high volume of low-quality targets as a talented player that you pray gets into the end zone. Tee Higgins remains out with a hamstring injury. He’s set to be a free agent after this season and I don’t see a reason to rush back as the Bengals project to miss the playoffs.
Joe Mixon is still worth starting, though he’s more of a high volume RB2 with the expectation of defenses stacking the box against him. Needless to say, it’s disappointing to include an entire offense on the faller list especially one that is typically a go-to for fantasy football production.
The Week 12 Hot Seat
Derrick Henry, Running Back, Tennessee Titans
I’m putting Derrick Henry on my Week 12 hot seat after putting Tony Pollard on the hot seat last week. Pollard, with a Week 11 matchup against the Carolina Panthers, did not disappoint. His 18.0 points against the Panthers, at the time, was his third-best performance of the season. He even ended a touchdown drought dating back to Week 1.
I’m expecting the same from Derrick Henry in Week 12. He takes on the Carolina Panthers at home. They’re allowing the second-most fantasy points to opposing running backs. That includes a league-high 14 rushing touchdowns to the position. If not for anything else, Henry is in a great spot to punch one into the end zone in Week 12, something he hasn’t done in his last three games.
It’s time for Henry to restore confidence to fantasy managers prior to entering the fantasy football playoffs. He has just 8.4 points combined in his last two games. Derrick Henry’s fantasy football playoff schedule includes two matchups with the Houston Texans defense as well as a home bout with the Seattle Seahawks. It’s worth noting Henry has 225 carries for 1,380 yards and 12 touchdowns in 12 career games against the Houston Texans.
So, while Henry is on the Week 12 hot seat after an uncharacteristic season thus far, he’s in a great spot to finish as top running back in Week 12 with league-winning upside if you make the playoffs.