Just a quick programming note to kick off today's newsletter: There won't be a Fantasy Football Today Newsletter in your inbox Friday morning from me. Sorry, but I want to be able to watch football, eat too much pie, and fall asleep early, too.
But I will have my Week 12 game previews here for you Thursday morning to help you set your lineup along with Dave Richard and Jamey Eisenberg's top start and sit calls, and that won't be all. You can tune in to a special episode of Fantasy Football Today on CBS Sports HQ at 10 p.m. Thursday morning with Jamey , Dave , Heath Cummings, and the crew getting you prepped for the three Thursday games this week plus everything else you need to know to set your lineups. We want to get the week started off on the right foot, too before we snag a turkey leg, too.
And, if you want to stay up to date with my rankings for Week 12, you can find them right here:
The rest of today's newsletter is focused on getting you up to speed on the latest news, trying to identify the best and worst Fantasy playoffs schedules, and the Week 12 stock watch, identify which players are moving up or down based on recent performances:
- 📰Injuries, news, and notes
- 📅Best and worst playoff schedules
- 📈Week 12 Stock Watch📉
📰Injuries, news and notes
Thanksgiving game updates
With three games on Thanksgiving, we have more practice notes than usual on a Tuesday. Here's what you need to know:
- CeeDee Lamb (concussion) has yet to practice this week -- The Cowboys have expressed optimism about Lamb's chances of playing, and the fact that he has been at the team facility, sitting in on meetings, seems like a pretty good sign. But on balance, I'd say his chances of playing Thursday against the Raiders look pretty slim. With Amari Cooper (COVID-19) already out, that could mean an increased role for Cedrick Wilson in the slot and Michael Gallup on the outside. Both are intriguing low-end flex options.
- Ezekiel Elliott is playing through a knee injury -- And he'll continue to do so, which is the newsworthy part of this one, I suppose. He's been dealing with this injury for a while now, and he was forced out of Week 11's game briefly as a result. He hasn't missed a game with it yet and Elliott isn't planning on doing so anytime soon: "I mean, it's football. You get hurt. You're not going to be 100%. I'm tough. I can play through it," he told the team's official site. The question really is how much his recent struggles are tied to the injury. You have to think it's a factor, but his role in the passing game (23 catches in his past five games) makes him a must-start player as long as he's active.
- Mark Ingram (knee), Alvin Kamara (ankle) missed practice Tuesday -- Ingram's is a new injury, and frankly, we don't know much about it. The Saints held a walkthrough, rather than a full practice, so it may not mean anything that Ingram was on the sidelines. However, it's not a good sign, and if Tony Jones went unclaimed in any of your leagues, he's a worthwhile target in all formats just in case Ingram and Kamara are out. The short week ahead of Thursday evening's game against the Bills surely doesn't help.
- Justin Fields (ribs) is unlikely to play Thursday -- Fields managed to avoid a serious injury, it seems, but the short turnaround probably won't give him enough time to get back to full strength. Andy Dalton figures to start against the Lions, and it's an excellent matchup. You can do worse for a streamer in a two-QB league, so of course I just dropped Dalton last week in my two-QB league.
- Allen Robinson (hamstring) has yet to practice -- Of course, it looks like Dalton will probably be without Robinson for this one. Darnell Mooney saw 47% of the targets in Week 11, catching five of 16 for 121 yards and a touchdown. That's enough to put him in the high-end WR3 range.
- Jared Goff (oblique) is looking like a game-time decision -- As mediocre (bad?) as Goff has been this season, the Lions just had Tim Boyle pass for a whopping 77 yards on 23 pass attempts, so you have to figure if Goff is even close, he'll be out there. It sounds like that's the direction they're leaning if he can get healthy.
The rest of the news ...
- The Giants fired offensive coordinator Jason Garrett -- Finally, the solution to this team's offensive woes. Look, I don't think Garrett was doing this offense any favors, but I also seriously doubt that getting rid of him to have Freddie Kitchens take over play calling duties is going to be what turns Daniel Jones into a high-level quarterback. It's possible, but the issues that plague this offense run a lot deeper than just the offensive coordinator. It'll be interesting to see what might change with a new guy in charge. I don't expect much to change in terms of personnel for the Giants, but it wouldn't be a surprise if Kitchens tried to get more aggressive down the field, which could ignite Kenny Golladay. We'll keep a close eye on that for Week 12, but I think Kadarius Toney is just a fringe starter coming off a 12-target game, and that's the best I can say of any of the wide receivers here.
- The Titans waived Adrian Peterson and added Golden Tate to the practice squad -- Peterson appeared in three games for the Titans, rushing for 82 yards on 27 carries with one touchdown and adding 8 yards on four catches. It's possible he gets re-signed to the practice squad, but for Week 12 against the Patriots, Dontrell Hilliard and D'Onta Foreman figure to lead the backfield. The addition of Tate probably means about as much for the passing game as Peterson's did for the running game, however the Titans are in desperate need of wide receiver help after putting Julio Jones and Marcus Johnson on IR over the past two weeks, so there's an opportunity for Tate here.
- The Texans waived Phillip Lindsay -- The former Pro Bowler rushed for just 130 yards on 50 carries in 10 games and has seen his role shrink with Rex Burkhead and David Johnson taking on a bigger role in recent weeks. If you need to start a Texans running back in Week 12 against the Jets, Johnson is probably the best option. On the other hand, if you need to start a Texans running back in Week 12, you've got bigger issues to worry about.
- Zach Wilson will start in Week 12 -- Wilson was announced as the starter before we found out Joe Flacco and Mike White were placed on the COVID-19 list Tuesday, and it looked like this was the direction things were heading in anyway. Wilson has struggled as a rookie, tossing nine interceptions with just four touchdowns in six games, so hopefully he isn't such a downgrade that Elijah Moore's breakout (24 catches, 336 yards, four touchdowns over the past four games) isn't derailed.
- Adam Trautman (knee) was placed on IR -- This is a frustrating turn of events for Trautman, who had 14 catches on 21 targets in his past two games and looked like he might be starting to figure things out. Juwan Johnson, who has just six catches since scoring two touchdowns in Week 1, figures to see a bigger role, but you'd have to be in a pretty deep league for him to be worth adding until he shows us something.
- Eric Ebron (knee) may require season-ending surgery -- Ebron is likely to miss "extended time," per ESPN, and surgery looks likely. He's getting a second opinion, but it looks like this is going to put Ebron on the sidelines for the foreseeable future, at the very least. That's a good sign for Pat Freiermuth, who had a 20.2% target share in two games without Ebron recently. He's a top-12 TE moving forward.
Trade deadlines are fast approaching, which means your opportunities to remake your roster for a playoff are running out. Make sure you've got your bearings before you go make offers with the help of Dave Richard's Trade Values Chart. Before we get into my trade targets for this week, I thought it might be helpful to take a look at the teams with the best and worst playoff schedules coming up.
I'm using FullTimeFantasy.com's data for Weeks 14 through 17 here, because having good playoff matchups doesn't matter all that much if you don't get there. If you want more actionable advice, read my full thoughts here. If you want to see the best for Weeks 15-17, or 16 and 17, head to their page to check it out. It's a great resource.
- Best: Eagles (BYE, WAS, NYG, @WAS), Steelers (@MIN, TEN, @KC, CLE), Cowboys (@WAS, @NYG, WAS, ARI)
- Worst: Buccaneers (BUF, NO, @CAR, @NYJ), Falcons (@CAR, @SF, DET, @BUF), Chiefs (LV, @LAC, PIT, @CIN)
- Best: Bills (@TB, CAR, @NE, ATL), Broncos (DET, CIN, @LV, @LAC), Saints (@NYJ, @TB, MIA, CAR)
- Worst: Patriots (BYE, @IND, BUF, JAX), Jets (NO, @MIA, JAX, TB), Falcons (@CAR, @SF, DET, @BUF)
- Best: Eagles (BYE, WAS, NYG, @WAS), Dolphins (NYJ, @NO, @TEN), 49ers (@CIN, ATL, @TEN, HOU)
- Worst: Buccaneers (BUF, NO, @CAR, @NYJ), Broncos (DET, CIN, @LV, @LAC), Chiefs (LV, @LAC, PIT, @CIN)
- Best: Washington (DAL, @PHI, @DAL, PHI), Browns (BAL, LV, GB, @PIT), Giants (@LAC, DAL, @PHI, @CHI)
- Worst: Falcons (@CAR, @SF, DET, @BUF), Dolphins (NYJ, @NO, @TEN), Lions (@DEN, ARI, @ATL, @SEA)
Four to buy
Here are four players I'm buying into moving forward. Things are only going to get better from here.
You don't always have to sell high or buy low. Sometimes a hot stretch is just the beginning of something big, and there's value in trying to buy those situations before their perceived value catches up.
- Cam Newton -- Newton isn't going to score three touchdowns every week, and he won't have matchups as good as Washington every time out, but Week 11 was a good example of why he can be such a fascinating Fantasy option. He had a fine game throwing the ball, with 189 yards and a pair of scores on 27 attempts while adding 10 carries for 46 yards. Two touchdowns on 27 attempts is probably an unrealistic pace to sustain, but even if he had just one touchdown through the air, he would've finished as QB12 in Week 11, thanks to 46 yards and a touchdown on the ground, his second in as many games. There's a high floor here and a high ceiling in any given week, and I want him on my team.
But if you do want to buy low, here are a couple of players I think have seen their worst days already.
- Russell Wilson -- Wilson has been an abject disaster since returning from IR following his finger injury, completing just 34 of 66 passes with no touchdowns and two interceptions. The biggest issue has been his connection with DK Metcalf, who has caught just seven of 16 passes for 57 yards, good for 3.56 yards per target. They've primarily been off-target on deeper throws, as Wilson is just two for 10 on passes thrown 10-plus yards down the field, and that's not necessarily a surprise -- those are throws that generally require more timing and are lower-percentage throws to begin with, so it makes sense that they may not be on the same page given Wilson's injury and time missed. Trust Wilson's track record and bet on him getting this thing figured out. Though it is fair to wonder, given the lack of passing volume and his career-low in rush attempts per game, he might not have that top-five upside anymore.
- Saquon Barkley -- Here's another case where I'm mostly just betting on talent, though in Barkley's case, we are quite a ways removed from his time as a truly elite Fantasy option, so there's a touch of blind faith here. However, I will point out that it isn't just a bet on talent -- Barkley returned from a six-week absence Monday and caught six passes while running 19 of 30 RB routes and playing 62% of the snaps. That'll only go up from here, and I'm expecting him to get back to the 80% snap share range like he was before the injury earlier in the season. Maybe the firing of Jason Garrett on Tuesday will spark something in Barkley, but either way, his role in the passing game makes him a starting Fantasy RB every week in PPR leagues almost by default. And the upside is even higher if this offense can create more space for him.
- Tee Higgins -- Higgins has been overshadowed by Ja'Marr Chase's historic rookie season production, but that really isn't why he's been such a disappointment for Fantasy. Despite Chase emerging as the clear best option in Cincinnati, Higgins still has a 24% target share for the season -- plenty enough to be a must-start Fantasy option even in a relatively low-volume passing game. If Higgins was averaging last year's per-target yard and touchdown rates, he'd be WR 30 in PPR right now, with room to grow -- which was what we expected! Maybe Higgins just isn't as good as we thought, but he was showing signs of breaking out before last week's miserable two-catch game, and I'm still willing to bet on the talent winning out here. There's room for a breakout here from Higgins, and I want him on my side when it happens.
Four to sell
I'm not saying these guys won't be useful or good moving forward, but I think you can probably get more in return for them than you're likely to get from them.
- Mike Williams -- Williams had a great game in Week 11, but his circumstances didn't change much from his previous struggles, which means his Fantasy appeal didn't change. He just happened to hit on a big play (on a pretty busted coverage) this time around. But we didn't really learn anything new here. Williams is a big play threat with a primarily downfield role for the Chargers and a healthy red zone target share, just like he has been since his hot stretch to open the season ended. That all makes him a viable Fantasy starting option, one who is fully capable of putting together a big game like Week 11's at any point. However, if someone thinks this was the start of him rediscovering his early-season form, now's your chance to sell. Williams was being used like a legitimate No. 1 early on, adding a high volume of shorter and intermediate targets to his usual diet of deep shots, and that isn't what we saw Sunday. He's back to being a boom-or-bust WR3, and Week 11 didn't change that.
- Rhamondre Stevenson -- It's still possible that Stevenson is going to overtake Damien Harris and be the No. 1 back for the Patriots, but it didn't happen in Harris' first game back from injury. Stevenson did lead the team in carries while getting 48% of the running back touches, but he played just 34% of the snaps, so you can hardly argue he was the "lead" back. And, while Stevenson did look good -- as he has pretty much every time he has had a chance -- it's not like Harris flopped. Harris is a good player in his own right and the Patriots clearly trust Brandon Bolden in the passing game, which leaves Stevenson seemingly stuck in a three-way timeshare here. I think there's still some heat on Stevenson in the Fantasy community, with many thinking it's only a matter of time until he's seeing three-down work. After Week 11, I'm less convinced. If you want to hang on to him as a high-upside bench piece, feel free, but if someone views Stevenson as a potential starter now, I'd be selling.
- Zach Ertz -- Ertz had a huge game in Week 11, but I'm not sure how much it matters that he did it without Kyler Murray. Outside of Sunday, he's basically been a replacement-level tight end since joining the Cardinals -- 45.3 yards on 3.5 catches per game, with his one touchdown coming on a 47-yard play that was his longest since 2017. I don't think Ertz is a bad starter, but I think he's also droppable with the Cardinals on a bye. If you can get anything with potential for him, do it.
Sometimes, getting off a sinking ship is better than hoping they'll be able to fix the breach in the hull. I'm willing to sell here based on name value.
- Kenny Golladay -- I want to believe Golladay can turn things around, and maybe the coaching change in New York will be what sparks him. However, Golladay is a player who does a lot of his damage winning on contested catches down the field, and that isn't necessarily Daniel Jones' strength as a starter. More worryingly from Monday's game is that he had just two targets while playing 76% of the snaps, while Kadarius Toney had 12 targets and Sterling Shepard's return looms as another potential complicating factor, given how many targets he was getting healthy. It wouldn't surprise me if Golladay was dropped in most leagues, and if I can't throw him in a deal, I'll probably drop him, too.