The Thursday games were an interesting trio that highlighted a few things we already know about some of the Thanksgiving participants and have other things we as a fantasy community have yet to fully grasp. Before we get to the Week 12 Starts and Sits let’s count some things we can be thankful for.
#1 – We are thankful for a truly dominant defense. It’s a rare sight in the modern high scoring era to see a team that can win game in game out with a defensive focus the rest of the league cannot match. The Bears are on another level opposite the ball and there will be problems for the rest of the league if/when Mitchell Trubisky can become a more polished pocket passer. Oh and also Detroit is not very good… But we already knew that.
#2 – Amari Cooper dressed in any color but black. All of those who believed that Amari Cooper wasn’t good at football haven’t spent enough time watching football. Cooper can struggle against dominant CB1s, but he is a top 15 receiver in this league and proved it with his Turkey Day performance. His fit with Dak Prescott couldn’t be more effectual for the functionality of that offense and for Dak’s skillset. The immediate separation he creates allows Dak to quickly find his first read and aim for a target that is already flashing open. As Dak still has some way to go with his anticipation passes, Amari has shown he can ease the load by simplifying the game for him.
While last year’s efficiency was a problem for Coop (drops more specifically) this season we’ve seen what a heavily targeted Amari Cooper can be in this league. I still believe a first to be an overpay, considering all the WR talent in a loaded 2019 class that would have been on cheap rookie contracts, but it’s getting easier and easier to see where Dallas was coming from. Oh and the Washington racial slurs aren’t very good… But we already knew that.
#3 – Sean Payton, Drew Brees, and the New Orleans Saints. If you roster Alvin Kamara, Mark Ingram, or Michael Thomas you may not feel vey thankful right about now but hear me out. This Saints team is a treat to watch game in game out as they have finally found a way to couple their unstoppable offense with a top level defense. Drew Brees deserved as much and, in my opinion, is well positioned to be in the running for the second Superbowl of his extremely accomplished career. Whatever side you root for, whoever you roster in fantasy, be thankful for the chance to witness excellence every time Sean Payton and Drew Brees go out to steal another soul gameday. Oh and the Atlanta Falcons also aren’t very good… But we already knew that.
On to Week 12. One Start or sit for each position this week as the non-obvious pickings are slim with three Thursday night games and two teams on bye.
Week 12 Starts and Sits
Start This Quarterback:
Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens v Oakland Raiders
As a famous Rotoworld writer once said (Rich Hribar), rushing value at the QB position is a “Konami Code.” Lamar Jackson epitomizes this sentiment. With over 100 yards on the ground in his debut, Jackson produced a QB13 finish in most leagues. And he did so without a touchdown either on the ground or through the air. This week he’ll face one of the worst overall teams in the NFL as the Ravens welcome the Oakland Raiders.
By the numbers, the Raiders defense ranks second to last in the NFL in terms of rushing yards allowed and and checks out in the top 10 of total TDs surrendered on the ground. With no pass rush to speak of, and problems evident on the outside in Oakland, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to pencil Lamar in for a score or two. If that happens, his value will likely skyrocket as he’ll be assured a top ten finish.
Sit This Quarterback
Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers @ Minnesota Vikings
My heart was heavy as I made this suggestion, but sentiment aside, this looks like it is shaping up to be a daunting task for the Green Bay Packer offense. In the last few weeks the Viking defense has begun to remake themselves into the terrifying group that ran the league last season.
In their last five games, the Vikings have averaged 11 fantasy points per contest (6th NFL). They also allow the sixth fewest passing yards to opposing quarterbacks and are tied for the fewest passing TDs allowed in the NFL this season. In their first meeting this year, Rodgers threw for under 300 yards and one touchdown. I wouldn’t expect much more from the Green Bay signal caller this week as the emergence of Aaron Jones and the lack of healthy and experienced targets are affecting Rodgers’ statistical production this year.
Start This Running Back
Matt Breida, San Francisco 49ers @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
In a game likely not lacking for points, there is a high probability that the 49ers lead running back makes out with a score in this one. The lack of quality targets outside of George Kittle is more evidence we should expect a big game from number 22. Playing against a team suffering through two QBs that turnover multiple possessions to the opposition on a game by game basis is further evidence of what we should expect to see in Week 12.
Stats-wise, the 49ers are the fifth best rushing team in the NFL (by yardage) and will face a bottom third unit against the run in Tampa Bay. The Buccaneers also allow the sixth most fantasy points to running backs in the NFL and face a SF O-line that creates the 11th most adjusted line yards for their RBs (4.55). Barring injury, which if we’re honest don’t seem to affect this particular player, Breida is a sure start come Sunday.
Sit This Running Back
Lamar Miller, Houston Texans v Tennessee Titans
You want zero part of the Tennessee Titans defense if you can avoid it as this is a week where Lamar’s healthy volume may matter for very little. This game will likely feature minimal scoring and both of these defenses are more susceptible to getting beaten by wide receivers than they are running backs. Expect Miller to be introduced to a healthy amount of brick walls in this matchup.
The Titans are actually a top third unit against the run in the NFL, ranking ninth overall. They also allow the third-fewest points to the running back position through Week 11 and look poised to do the same in Week 12.
Start This Wide Receiver
Jarvis Landry, Cleveland Browns @ Cincinnati Bengals
Landry has largely been a disappointment as the one constant of his game, targets, have recently been put into question. Over the last couple games, Landry has seen far fewer than his normal double-digit looks and his effectiveness has suffered as a result. Don’t be deterred. This is the week he puts it all back together and shows you why I believe he still holds early round startup value. The reasons are below.
Landry’s Week 2 opponent, the Cincinnati Bengals, are the sixth worst defense against the pass in the NFL. They also have allowed the fourth most yards through the air. While they do bring pressure at a decent rate, their 23 sacks ranks eighth fewest league-wide. Baker should have plenty of time to find his number one target in this one. Play Landry in Week 12 and be confident in your decision. You won’t be disappointed.
Sit This Wide Receiver
Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona Cardinals @ Los Angeles Chargers
We’ve talked about Casey Hayward before if you’ve followed this column and all the normal issues surrounding him remain in this one. He’s one of the very best “slot” corners in the league (though he can also kick outside) and the receivers he faces don’t usually have breakout games. In Fitzgerald’s case it’s also an issue of being on the road for this one, as Larry Legend has largely disappointed outside of Arizona this season. Though the Chargers should have no problem putting up points on the Cardinals, I don’t expect a massive score line which could limit all skill position players, but if you had to choose a Cardinals receiver, I’d be far more interested in Christian Kirk.
The Chargers defense is a top third unit against receivers and against the pass as a whole. Couple that with a pass rush that has accounted for 26 sacks without their best player (Joey Bosa) and you have a recipe for shutting down opposition passing games, especially their slot receivers.
Start This TE
Vance McDonald, Pittsburgh Steelers @ Denver Broncos
Tight end is a mess for fantasy purposes as I’m sure you’re already familiar with. Still, it wouldn’t be a terrible idea to give Vance the start this week against my beloved Denver Broncos. All season, we’ve seen the Steelers offense absolutely roll over teams and unfortunately I don’t see a compelling reason this game should go any differently. The reason for the Vance recommendation is because I believe Chris Harris will follow Juju in the slot in this Week 12 matchup. As Ben searches for an easier target I believe we can expect another big game from AB84 and a solid one from James Conner and Rob Gronkowski Jr, Vance McDonald.
The Broncos defensive unit is bottom-third against the TE this year and while their pass rush is a force to be reckoned with (6th NFL), they come up against what might be the best offensive line in football. As much as it pains me to say it, I see the Steelers running away with this one. My fingers are crossed this is not the case.
Don’t Sit any TEs on another short slate week. If they breathe, consider starting them, though I would be wary of Kyle Rudolph in Week 12. Honestly though, go with what you’ve got. The TE pickings are unbelievably slim. I hope you grabbed Cameron Brate on this week’s waiver wire.
Start These Defenses
Sit These Defenses
New York Jets
Want a head start on all the fantasy relevant contracts and player situations in one spot? Be sure to check out my Dynasty Composite WR Scores by clicking HERE. My Dynasty Composite RB Scores be found by clicking HERE
Agree? Think I’m nuts?? Let me know on twitter @ FF_Wonderkid or ask with #WonderQs. Thanks for reading.
Ready to amp up your Fantasy Football game even more? Check out The Fantasy Black Book Show, where Joe Pisapia, Scott Bogman, and The Welsh bring the goods every week.
Fantrax is one of the fastest growing fantasy sites of 2018. With multi-team trades, designated commissioner/league managers, and drag/drop easy click methods, Fantrax is sure to excite the serious fantasy sports fan – sign up now for a free year at Fantrax.com.