Fantasy Football Breakdown: NFL Week 12

The intro this week is that Covid has apparently picked week 12 to really stick it to the NFL. From games being rescheduled to the Broncos not having a QB active for the game, it is the worst it is has been all season. Here is a fantasy football overview for all the Week 12 Sunday games:


Los Angeles Chargers @ Buffalo Bills

Injury concerns: Kalen Ballage QUES, Austin Eckler OFF IR, John Brown IR

The big story in this one is Austin Eckler being active and seeing how he is going to be involved in his first game back off of IR. It’s a good matchup on paper facing the 18th ranked defense against RBs in fantasy. Keenan Allen draws the 11th ranked defense against WRs, while Hunter Henry faces the 30th ranked against TEs. Herbert is facing the fifth worst defense against QBs so look for him to air the football out.

You’re starting Josh Allen as he continues to try to stay in the MVP conversation. The issue with the Bills is that both Devin Singletary and Zach Moss appear relevant in lineups, but they are cutting into each other’s workloads so you are rolling the dice weekly. Other than their game against Arizona before their bye week, Moss has consistently who the battle for which Bills RB you would want in your lineup. Going against the 23rd ranked rush defense, I like Moss over Singletary here, and until Singletary outshines Moss, I wouldn’t feel great throwing him out there. Also, the biggest beneficiary of Brown going to IR is going to be Cole Beasley.

Quick Hits

  • Start Herbert, Allen
  • If Eckler is active, start him
  • Start Moss, Flex Singletary
  • Start Allen, Flex Williams
  • Start Diggs, Flex Beasley
  • Start Henry

Tennessee Titans @ Indianapolis Colts

Injury concerns: Adam Humphries OUT, Jonathan Taylor OUT, Philip Rivers QUES

This game happened two weeks ago, but here we are again. The last time these two teams played the only fantasy relevance was Derrick Henry and Corey Davis. This time around, it’s basically the same plus you throw in AJ Brown. I like Jonnu Smith even though he struggles more weeks than he doesn’t so I think you can start him in leagues deeper than 10 teams.

With no Taylor, look for Nyheim Hines to return to fantasy relvance as he and the Colts face the 22nd ranked Colts defense against RBs in fantasy. Michael Pittman Jr. is the receiver to have in Indy as he draws the 28th ranked defense against WRs. The rotating TE relevance here is impossible to predict, but Trey Burton most recently had the hot hand if you are absolutely desperate.

Quick Hits

  • Sit QBs here
  • Start Henry
  • Start Hines, Flex Wilkins
  • Start Brown, Flex Davis
  • Start Pittman
  • Start Smith in 12-team leagues or larger.

Carolina Panthers @ Minnesota Vikings

Injury summary: Christian McCaffrey OUT, Adam Thielen OUT, Irv Smith Jr. OUT

The Panthers get Teddy Bridgewater back, but will have to wait until after their Week 13 bye to see CMC take the field again. Mike Davis will resume starter duties in which he has done nicely as a fill-in. The receivers for the Panthers have the edge in this one facing the 29th ranked fantasy defense of the Vikings so look for Moore, Anderson, and Samuel to all carry value.

Start Dalvin Cook. But really, the fantasy relevant things for the Vikings has been pretty set for weeks. With Thielen out, you are still starting Jefferson, but I don’t think that Thielen sitting means that Bisi Johnson gets elevated instantly to relevance. Even with Smith and Thielen out, I also don’t think that you need to rush and grab Rudolph. This is going to be a rough one for the Vikings, but they are going to HEAVILY rely on Cook and Jefferson.

Quick Hits

  • Sit QBs here
  • Start Davis
  • Start Cook, Flex Mattison
  • Start Anderson, Flex Moore, Flex Samuel
  • Start Jefferson

Cleveland Browns @ Jacksonville Jaguars

Injury summary: DJ Chark OUT, Gardner Minshew QUES

You should see a ton of value from Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt in this one as they are facing the Jags 28th ranked defense against their position. I don’t know that Mayfield or any Browns receivers not named Landry will be productive enough in this one, but with how banged up the Jags are, the Browns can really run the ball and set the pace for the game.

Mike Glennon is taking over the reigns in Jacksonville so that puts a damper on anyone not named James Robinson. Robinson is going to face a tough Cleveland D that is giving up the sixth fewest points to RBs, but he has shown that in tough matchups he is still serviceable, coming off of an 11 point performance against the Steelers defense who is giving up about the same amount of points to RBs as the Browns. I think you can flex Keelan Cole and Laviska Shenault Jr. in this one because I don’t think Robinson is able to put the team on his back the whole game, but look for Robinson to still reign as the team’s most productive player.

Quick Hits

  • Sit QBs here
  • Start Chubb, Hunt, and Robinson
  • Flex Landry
  • Flex Shenault, Flex Cole
  • Start Hooper

New York Giants @ Cincinnati Bengals

Injury summary: Joe Burrow IR, Giovanni Bernard QUES

This should be the game that Giants owners have been waiting for. Daniel Jones face the 19th defense, Gallman the 15th, Shepard and Slayton the 24th, and Engram the 29th in fantasy at their respective positions. Especially when the Bengals don’t have their young rookie at the helm, the Giants should find themselves on offense a lot.

Brandon Allen will be under center and so that really limits the value here. If Bernard isn’t active, I wouldn’t play another Cincy RB. The only people I have faith in are Tyler Boyd as a starter and Tee Higgins as a flex play because they should both get a lot of volume even if their QB play plummets.

Quick Hits

  • Start Jones
  • Start Gallman. Start Bernard if he is active
  • Start Shepard, Flex Slayton
  • Start Boyd, Flex Higgins
  • Start Engram
  • It would be SUPER risky, but I have a feeling Drew Sample for the Bengals may have a good game this week.

Arizona Cardinals @ New England Patriots

Injury report: Larry Fitzgerald OUT, N’Keal Harry QUES

Even though Kyler Murray is facing the eighth best defense in fantasy against QBs, he is still going to ball out. The tandem of Drake and Edmonds will keep the defense honest enough that Hopkins and Kirk should be provided with the opportunity to put forth a start-able effort for your lineups as well.

Is Cam going to look like Cam? Paving the way for the dual threat QB, he is going to be playing against a QB that he is essentially passing the torch to. But focusing on Cam, he is facing the 25th ranked defense against opposing fantasy QBs and with the potential for yards on the ground he is definitely still start-able. The confusing thing is that it is expected that this backfield has changed again as Sony Michel is back, but Rex Burkhead is out. The RBs are facing a middle of the road rush defense for whomever gets the carries. The best matchup the Pats will have will be for the receivers, facing the 26th ranked Cardinals defense and even though Byrd went off last week, I still think Myers is the WR to have in NE.

Quick Hits

  • Start Murray, Newton
  • Start Drake, Flex Edmonds
  • Flex Harris, wait and see on Michel
  • Start Hopkins, Flex Kirk
  • Start Myers

Miami Dolphins @ New York Jets

Injury summary: Tua DOUBT, Gaskin OUT, Ahmed OUT, Jakeem Grant QUES, La’Michal Perine IR, Darnold ACTIVE

With Fitzpatrick going back under center for the Dolphins, you can expect DeVante Parker, Matt Brieda, and Mike Gesicki to all get boosts. Brieda faces the 26th ranked defense against RBs, Parker the 27th against WRs, and Gesicki the 22nd against TEs. With how good the Dolphins defense has been playing, I bet the Dolphins are really able to control the tempo in this one.

It’s still tough to try and find weekly value on the Jets, but for this week it would be Frank Gore I guess. The only person that I trust on the Jets is Jamison Crowder, but facing the 21st ranked Dolphins defense, Gore is going to be the workhorse and even after being eliminated from potential playoff contention, the Jets aren’t playing for anything and so I’m not worried about them forgoing the run late game. Plus, the last time they played Gore had 11 points with Perine splitting carries. I think that Crowder has a solid game because of volume too, but I don’t trust players past that on the NY side of the ball.

Quick Hits

  • Avoid QBs
  • Start Brieda
  • Flex Gore
  • Start Parker, Flex Grant if active
  • Start Crowder, Flex Perriman
  • Start Gesicki

Las Vegas Raiders @ Atlanta Falcons

Injury summary: Julio Jones QUES, Todd Gurley OUT, Hayden Hurst QUES

Darren Waller is coming off of a great game and this week is going to face the worst ranked defense against TEs in fantasy. Otherwise on the Raiders, you are obviously going to start RB Josh Jacobs, and you are going to have to take a dart throw at that receiving corps to determine which one will be relevant. Last week, Nelson Agholor came away with 20.8 points in PPR scoring so if you are looking to play the “hot hand” receiver, you could look his way.

New starter Brian Hill is going to be facing the fourth worst defense against RBs in fantasy and the Falcons will need to rely on him to keep drives extended especially with Jones banged up. Matt Ryan struggled last week, but the Raiders have been beatable in the air if he can shake off that poor last game. If Ryan is on his game, Jones and Ridley should both be relevant facing the 20th ranked Raiders defense, but it seems that Ridley may carry slightly more value than Jones, but you’re starting both. You can’t be too picky with tight ends and Hurst is no Travis Kelce, but I think he still is able to get a good performance down if he is active and if Ryan is able to spread out the offense.

Quick Hits

  • Start Jacobs, Flex Brian Hill
  • Flex Agholor
  • Start Julio and Ridley
  • Start Waller and Hurst

New Orleans Saints @ Denver Broncos

Injury summary: Literally every Denver QB OUT, Drew Brees IR, Jerry Jeudy QUES

What a bad game for QBs. Taysom Hill filled in nicely last week as a QB, but this week faces the 17th ranked defense against his position. The good news is that he is a talented runner so he and Alvin Kamara can keep it on the ground. Michael Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders are still relevant with Hill at QB as last week proved, but Jared Cook has struggled as of late. This week especially if you have a healthy TE on your roster you can’t hate it, but I would see if you could do better here.

I don’t even know what to tell you here. All of the actual QBs for the Broncos aren’t going to be active because of Covid so it is going to be some mixture of RB Royce Freeman and a WR that played QB in college going under center. As much as I am down on Melvin Gordon and Phillip Lindsey, they should see a record number of touches in this one. As a Fant owner, I hope that he is used as a safety valve, but I can’t really suggest starting anyone without a QB.

Quick Hits

  • Start Taysom Hill
  • Start Kamara, Flex Murray
  • Start Gordon, Flex Lindsey
  • Start Michael Thomas, Flex Sanders
  • Avoid WRs for the Broncos
  • Sit Cook if you can
  • Start Fant and hope for the best

San Francisco 49ers @ Los Angeles Rams

Injury summary: Raheem Mostert QUES, Brandon Aiyuk OUT, Tevin Coleman OUT, Jordan Reed QUES, Tyler Higbee QUES

From the Broncos offense to this one, it’s going to be a long night for the Niners as they take on the stout Rams defense. McKinnon and whoever suits up for SF to play RB will have the third best defense against their position. Same goes for Deebo and any WRs. Jordan Reed if active is a play I like this week facing the 17th ranked defense against TEs in fantasy.

Woooof Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods balled out on Monday. They now face the 10th ranked 49ers defense against receivers, but with the rest of the SF team struggling with injuries, I think that the Rams spend a lot of time on offense here. I think you still have to go with Henderson at RB in lineups because he is the one getting them down the field, but Brown vulturing a TD will certainly leave a sour taste in your mouth. Goff is startable in deeper leagues, and you should start Henderson, Woods, and Kupp with confidence. Even though Higbee was a TE commodity in drafts, he needs to be left on the bench because even though TEs don’t have to do much to be relevant, he is still under performing for fantasy owners.

Quick Hits

  • Start Goff in deeper leagues
  • Start McKinnon if Moster sits, Flex McKinnon and Start Moster if he is active
  • Start Henderson and hope for the best
  • Flex Deebo
  • Start Kupp and Woods, Flex Reynolds
  • Start Jordan Reed

Kansas City Chiefs @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Injury summary: None

What looked to be a potential Super Bowl matchup at times, we should have a good one here. CEH is going to be facing the 10th best defense against RBs, so I think that Mahomes is going to have to air the ball out here. The Chiefs get Sammy Watkins back and I think he, Hill, and Travis Kelce all have great games this week.

At least this one isn’t going to be in primetime so Brady should actually show up. Josh Jacobs did well last week against the Chiefs, so look for Ronald Jones to get back on track if Arians will clear the way for him finally. For some reason Arians has an obsession with the critical pass dropping skills of Fournette, but hopefully they give Jones the carries to get going and if he has a sustained role, this defense can be beat. On the outside, you are going to be starting Godwin, but against the 4th ranked defense against WRs, I think Evans still retains his flex appeal as does Antonio Brown. Gronk is still doing enough to make your lineup, depending on who else you have, but you aren’t really doing so with confidence, but more of wishful thinking.

Quick Hits

  • Start Mahomes, Brady
  • Flex CEH
  • Start Jones, Sit Fournette
  • Start Hill, Flex Watkins, Sit Hardman
  • Start Godwin, Flex Evans, Flex Brown
  • Start Kelce, Gronk

Chicago Bears @ Green Bay Packers (SNF)

Injury summary: Nick Foles DOUBT, Zach Ertz NOT EXPECTED TO PLAY

David Montgomery will be back in this one, but it will be the Mitchell Trubisky show under center for the Bears. We don’t exactly know what to expect from this change, but hopefully Allen Robinson remains matchup and QB proof, but I think it shrinks the depth for the Bears at least this week. The Bears will hope to rely on Montgomery as he is facing the 31st rush defense of the Packers, but playmakers like Robinson (9th) and Graham (3rd) have more difficult matchups at their positions.

You’re starting Devante Adams even though he is facing the 2nd best defense against receivers because he is matchup proof. The best thing for Allen Lazard is Adams because he is going to draw the attention. Aaron Jones is going to have a tough matchup, but his involvement in the passing game will keep him in your lineups with a lot of potential even with the Bears giving up the 7th fewest points to RBs. I like Robert Tonyan in this one, and I don’t think the recent MVS hype will be sustained on a predictable weekly basis so it’s best for him to stay on your bench or for him to be someone else’s problem.

Quick Hits

  • Start Rodgers
  • Flex Montgomery
  • Start Aaron Jones
  • Start Allen Robinson
  • Start Devante Adams, Flex Lazard
  • Start Graham and Tonyan in deeper leagues

If you have any questions or want to send me your fantasy football opinions, find me at @TeddyRicketson on Twitter. 

As always, good luck with your matchups this week (unless you’re playing me). 

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