Week 12 Matchup Rankings
Finally, the byes are over. We are all competing on an even playing field now. Sunday will be full of football during both the early and the late slate; I can’t wait (no, I didn’t intend for that to rhyme). I love Thanksgiving, my favorite holiday. A great time to spend with family and friends, and watch a ton of football. Week 12 is also the time to gear up for the Fantasy playoffs. The season is coming to an end shortly. NFL teams feel this also. It’s only human nature for a team or players on that team, maybe to not give it their all once they are eliminated from playoff contention. Each week from here on out we are likely to see a team or two that looks like they have mailed it in. The key is finding the right team.
- San Francisco 49ers: The 49ers have really been a mess since the offseason and now they get Carson Palmer who has thrown 11 TD passes in his last three games. Good luck with that. The only question here for me is about the Cardinals WRs. If we hear good news about Michael Floyd and John Brown, I want to start them, but if you have James Jones or Jordan Matthews starting on Thanksgiving, you may be better off to play it safe.
[caption id="attachment_95474" align="alignright" width="445"] Carson Palmer has a terrific defensive matchup for Week 12. Photo Credit: Kevin Piatt[/caption]
- New Orleans Saints: Well, the Saints may have fired their defensive coordinator but that is unlikely to change the results much this season. I don’t want to get to cute with Brian Hoyer here. I can’t start him over Eli Manning or Tony Romo, but would have to give him serious consideration over Derek Carr or whomever starts for Philadelphia, and would definitely start him over Ryan Tannehill.
- Chicago Bears: The Bears have actually played better defense the last two weeks but that came against St. Louis and a Peyton-less Denver team. Let’s see how they do versus the Packers. Eddie Lacy looks like he has taken over the starting RB role again. The Packers gave us a hint last week when they said Lacy looked good in practice. He is the one you want once again.
- Indianapolis Colts: Jameis Winston threw five touchdown passes last week, but don’t look for a repeat performance this week. Still, it’s good to see that he has all of his weapons back. Vincent Jackson was a surprise return and scored a TD. Even if Austin Seferian-Jenkins returns for this game, though, I would have a hard time starting him, but everyone else goes.
- Detroit Lions: The Lions’ defense did an outstanding job shutting down the Raiders last week. One would think this would be an easier game for them against an Eagles team that is having offensive issues, to put it nicely. I’m not starting Mark Sanchez, Sam Bradford or Ron Jaworski if he comes out of retirement. DeMarco Murray is my only start here for the Eagles.
- San Diego Chargers: The Chargers looked like they gave up last week, and perhaps that continues this Sunday. Jacksonville has had 11 days off coming into this game and should be raring to go. Blake Bortles is no longer a must-start with all of the byes gone but he’s still a solid play here. Allen Robinson, however, is a must-start and is bordering on being a Top 10 WR. Allen Hurns would also be tough to sit, even though his TD streak has come to an end.
- Cleveland Browns: The Browns haven’t been able to stop the running game at all this year, I’ll start Javorious Allen this week, but that’s it.
- Washington Redskins: The Giants are coming off a bye and will now face a defense that was lit up by the Panthers last week. Still though, who would you start outside of Eli Manning and Odell Beckham? I’ll pass on a running game that has too many Indians and not enough chiefs. I can see Rueben Randle as a play and would certainly start him over Hakeem Nicks if you’re deciding between the two.
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers: We all make fun of 40-year-old Matt Hasselbeck but all he does is win. Still, I hope you don’t need to start him. T.Y. Hilton is still a go for me and so is Frank Gore, with Ahmad Bradshaw being a sneaky Flex play if you’re short on players.
- New York Giants: The Giants may be the healthiest on defense they have been all season for this game with the return of CB Prince Amukamara and Jason Pierre-Paul rounding into form. I’ll pass on the Redskins’ RBs if I can, and Kirk Cousins is no longer a Top 10 option; even Jordan Reed is a questionable start here, as he is dealing with a sprained knee, which could slow him down some.
- Baltimore Ravens: Josh McCown starting at QB is better for Travis Benjamin and Gary Barnidge than Johnny Manziel, and Baltimore can be had through the air.
- Jacksonville Jaguars
- Tennessee Titans: How does Amari Cooper only have one Fantasy point in a game? That can’t happen again, can it? I’m not shying away; Cooper and Michael Crabtree both start for me, and although I don’t love the matchup, Latavius Murray starts for me as well, unless I’m incredibly deep at RB. Derek Carr is no longer in my Top 10, though.
- Buffalo Bills: Spencer Ware was one of the hot pickups this week with Charcandrick West likely out with a hamstring injury. Whether or not you start him, however, like with any other Chiefs’ player, will depend upon what you have on your roster, as none are must starts.
- Oakland Raiders
- Miami Dolphins: Head coach Todd Bowles hesitated after the game last week about naming Ryan Fitzpatrick his starting QB. This could mean a slow start to this game will see Geno Smith get some time behind center.
- Atlanta Falcons: If you’re still holding onto Mike Wallace, please move on.
- Philadelphia Eagles: The Lions have played much better on offense of late. Calvin Johnson is starting to look like the old Calvin Johnson, and points could be put on the board in this game. I’ll stay away from the running game, but I’m not afraid to start Golden Tate here.
- New York Jets: The Dolphins were a mess versus the Cowboys last week. Even though they had early success running the game, they went away from it once they were trailing. Will they do so again? I still have Lamar Miller in my Top 20 but that doesn’t mean he is a must-start. Jarvis Landry could have a better game than expected, as Darrelle Revis is on the concussion protocol and may not play, but the Jets’ secondary has been getting toasted with or without Revis.
- Houston Texans: From this point forward, the Texans may be that Top 10 defense we expected them to be at draft time. You’re still starting Drew Brees and Mark Ingram. Brandin Cooks also has to start, as he was on fire before the bye. Willie Snead, though, should sit.
- Minnesota Vikings: While things can certainly change by the end of the week, it’s looking more and more like Devonta Freeman will miss this week’s game with a concussion. This would make Tevin Coleman a solid RB2 and pretty close to a must-start. Matt Ryan, however, is not a must-start, because if Julio Jones isn’t open when he drops back to pass, it seems as though he can’t find anyone else.
- Kansas City Chiefs: If you studied the game tape from Monday’s game you would clearly be able to see that the Patriots thought the way to beat Buffalo’s offense was to do a controlled rush versus Tyrod Taylor. If you don’t let him get outside the pocket, he can’t beat you with his legs.
- Dallas Cowboys
- Pittsburgh Steelers: The 49ers’ defense is so bad it actually brought Russell Wilson back to Fantasy relevance. Okay, that’s not fair, but it does go to show how much of a disappointment Wilson has been this season. It’s not all his fault, though, as Seattle still doesn’t have a WR to start and Jimmy Graham has been a bust in his first season with the Seahawks. Marshawn Lynch is out until late December at the earliest, but if you were able to pick up Thomas Rawls, you may not miss Lynch all that much. Rawls is a high end RB2 for me.
- Louis Rams: The Rams’ defense hasn’t played up to par the last couple of weeks and Sunday they don’t match up well against the Bengals, a team that can’t be too happy after losing back to back games. Andy Dalton is in my Top 10, but barely. Jeremy Hill is always a risky start, as he is the definition of TD dependent. I have to start AJ Green, but I also understand Fantasy owners being unhappy with no big performances of late.
- Green Bay Packers: The Bears get one piece of good news, the return of Matt Forte, but more bad news, as Martellus Bennett is out for the game and Alshon Jeffery is questionable at best. I don’t want to start Jay Cutler or anyone in the Chicago passing game, and even the run game is a mess now. How much will Forte play? What do we do with Jeremy Langford? This could hurt both their values. If I had to decide between the two, it would be Forte but I don’t love it.
- Carolina Panthers: Tony Romo returns, the Cowboys win. Simple as that, right? Not really. Romo was predictably rusty. Sure, he can do things that the other Cowboys’ QBs could not, but he’s not in mid-season form yet and playing a game just four days later could be a problem. Dez Bryant will be covered by Josh Norman in this game and that won’t be fun either. Also, Bryant still isn’t out there for every snap (50 versus Miami) as he is either not in the best of shape (missed most of camp with the contract situation and the groin injury, then the foot injury during the season) or is still not completely recovered from his injuries. Still, he’s a must-start.
- Cincinnati Bengals
- Denver Broncos: How many more injuries can the Patriots handle and still remain undefeated? Danny Amendola is the latest to go down, but it looks like he has escaped a serious knee injury and could even play this week. I do wonder, though, if he could be on a pitch count. I have to start Tom Brady in this game, sitting him for Brian Hoyer (been asked this question several times) would be the definition of being cute and not something I could do, although, it wouldn’t shock me in the least if it works out for you. He may, however, be the only Patriot that I feel I have to start.
- Arizona Cardinals
- New England Patriots: We have been told now that Peyton Manning will miss at least the next two weeks with his foot injury. Wouldn’t it be interesting to see what head coach Gary Kubiak will do if Brock Osweiler wins the next two games? Won’t happen, though, as I have a hard time seeing Osweiler get by New England this week, although, I’m not seeing too many points put up on the board for either team.
- Seattle Seahawks
As always feel free to follow me on Twitter and ask any questions you, @georgekurtz.
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