Fantasy Football Week 12: Big questions feature expert answers on playoffs, waivers

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One of the best Fantasy weeks of the season is here -- Thanksgiving week. We get about nine hours of non-stop football Thursday, and with just two teams on bye this week, we won't be lacking for action on Sunday either. And, with the playoffs just weeks away, the stakes are higher than they've been all season.

It's all very exciting. I know our experts, Jamey Eisenberg, Dave Richard and Heath Cummings, are excited. I picked their brains this afternoon to find their answers to some of the biggest questions around the NFL heading into Week 12.

1. Who is the top waiver wire add for you this week?

  • Jamey Eisenberg: Tre'Quan Smith. I was impressed with his usage in Week 11 against the Eagles — he had season highs in targets (13), catches (10) and yards (157) and scored his fourth touchdown of the season — and he gets another favorable home matchup against Atlanta on Thursday night (8 p.m. ET, available on fuboTV).
  • Dave Richard: It's gotta be Gus Edwards, though I am not thoroughly convinced he's as good as the Bengals made him look last week, nor am I convinced the Ravens coaches will stick with him through thick and thin. But John Harbaugh did say he'd get more carries and he takes on the Raiders this week. That's good enough to prioritize him for right now.
  • Heath Cummings: I keep going back and forth between Gus Edwards and Josh Adams, just like we all predicted at the beginning of the season. Both have league-winning upside, so you shouldn't be disappointed as long as you get one of them. I lean towards Edwards because I expect Lamar Jackson to keep the starting job, and he's opening up big holes for Edwards, who also has a spectacular schedule moving forward.

2. Who is your top replacement for Goff or Mahomes?

  • Jamey: Jameis Winston. Tampa Bay has been great as a passing team since the Buccaneers team quarterbacks (TQB) have scored the most Fantasy points on average of any team quarterback this year. And he faces a 49ers defense this week that has allowed 8-of-10 opposing quarterbacks to score at least 20 Fantasy points this year.
  • Dave: Jameis Winston tops the list. I can't help myself! The Bucs passing game is a lock for big numbers against pretty much anybody, including the coast-to-coast traveling 49ers. I'll pencil him in for a couple of turnovers but also a couple of touchdowns and 300 yards. I don't think he'll get benched mid-game, either. Bucs quarterbacks usually have to have a meltdown game before that option is in play. So Winston is the pick, followed by Eli Manning and then Baker Mayfield.
  • Heath: It's easily Jameis Winston. There are other good streaming options, but Winston is the only one who ranks as a top-10 quarterback for me. He has a good matchup at home and the Tampa Bay quarterback position has been one of the most fruitful in Fantasy.

3. Who is your top bet to finish the season strong among the major disappointments so far?

  • Jamey: Doug Baldwin. He looked good in Week 11 against Green Bay, and he said he's finally healthy after dealing with knee issues since training camp. When he's right, he could be a top 20 Fantasy receiver to close the season.
  • Dave: Now's not the time to lose faith in Dalvin Cook. The Vikings fell behind quickly against the Bears and basically abandoned the run. Cook's fumble didn't help. But he's still considered a very good running back and the Vikings' rest of season schedule doesn't have many potholes.
  • Heath: Dalvin Cook did nothing in Week 11 against the Bears, but his remaining schedule looks much more favorable. He has matchups against the Packers, Patriots, Dolphins and Lions left. I'll bet on him being a top-15 running back from this point forward.

4. Are there any available quarterbacks you are targeting for their playoff matchups?

  • Jamey: Lamar Jackson's schedule is tantalizing — if he remains the starter in Baltimore. He gets Oakland, Atlanta, Kansas City and Tampa Bay from now until Week 15, and he could be a nice surprise for Fantasy owners with those playoff matchups against the Chiefs and Buccaneers.
  • Dave: If I knew for sure Winston wouldn't get benched, I'd pick him in spite of some tough-ranking matchups (NO, @BAL, @DAL). Dak Prescott (PHI, @IND, TB) is the most reliable one otherwise with Mayfield making sense as a secondary choice (CAR, at DEN, CIN). I suppose if all three guys are on your waiver wire, you could get Winston now and then move away from him if he does find himself benched again.
  • Heath: If Jackson can hold on to the job, he's a great one. He faces the Chiefs, Buccaneers and Chargers in the playoffs. Dak Prescott also has an outstanding finishing schedule with the Eagles, Colts and Buccaneers in Week 14-16.

5. What do you make of Oakland's backfield? Any value to be found there?

  • Jamey: Doug Martin and Jalen Richard should continue to share the workload as long as Martin is healthy. I like Richard the best based on his role in the passing game, and it would be nice to see him get more carries as well. Richard has already been a flex option in PPR for the majority of the year.
  • Dave: Jalen Richard has been good for 10-plus PPR Fantasy points in five of his past six games. I don't think his role will change unless he gets hurt, and his role is good considering Oakland's penchant for playing in competitive contests or playing from behind.
  • Heath: If Doug Martin was out I'd be pretty interested in Jalen Richard, but it sure sounds like Martin will play. In that case, Martin is a flex in non-PPR and Richard has a good floor in PPR. But there's nothing to be excited about.

6. Can you use anyone in Tennessee if Marcus Mariota is out?

  • Jamey: Not anyone with confidence. The only real options are Corey Davis, Dion Lewis and Derrick Henry, and none of them are guaranteed starters in Week 12 at Houston if Mariota is out.
  • Dave: A week ago, I was loving the direction of the Titans offense. Now? I'm scared to trust any of them. Dion Lewis should be good, but he barely saw touches last week and that scares me. Corey Davis was going off with Mariota, but that was when Mariota's hand/elbow/arm wasn't an issue. Maybe Jonnu Smith can help you out as a PPR streamer for Travis Kelce this week.
  • Heath: Nope. No one. They'll go run-heavy and their offensive line isn't playing well enough to block eight in the box.

7. Can you use anyone in Washington with Alex Smith out?

  • Jamey: You're still going to start Adrian Peterson, although the offensive line concerns are just as much of a problem for him as Alex Smith being out. But hopefully we see more from Jordan Reed after McCoy connected well with him against Houston after Smith went out. I like Reed as a top-10 tight end moving forward.
  • Dave: I think Jordan Reed has a chance to be at least as good as he's been with Colt McCoy playing cautiously. That's not saying a whole lot. And Adrian Peterson will carry RB2 value just because of his workload and touchdown potential. But don't worry, this offense will POP once Mark Sanchez gets a chance under center ...
  • Heath: I'm sticking with Jordan Reed. He's fourth in targets at the position, and I'm not sure how much of a downgrade Colt McCoy is for him specifically. I also think Adrian Peterson will remain a low-end No. 2 running back based on volume alone.

So who should you sit and start? And what shocking QB could win you Week 12? Visit SportsLine now to get Fantasy football rankings for every single position, and see which shocking QB finishes in the top 10 this week, all from the model that out-performed experts big time last season.

Fantasy Writer

Though he can be found covering three different sports depending on the time of year, there is one unifying theme in how Chris Towers approaches sports; "Where's the evidence?" It doesn't matter how outlandish... Full Bio

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