Fantasy Football Week 12 Lineup Cheat Sheet: Make the right call with expert picks for every game
Our best analysis to help you set your Week 12 lineup is straight ahead. Start and sit issues will be resolved here -- precisely when you need help with your team the most.
More Week 12:— — — — — — —
The Lineup Cheat Sheet combines Fantasy analysis and game-flow predictions with a confidence scale to give you a definitive answer on who to start in your leagues.
The higher the number next to a player's name, the more confident you should be to start him. If a player isn't listed, don't start him.
To find a specific player, use your search function -- CTRL-F on PCs and Command-F on Macs. If neither of those are options, or if you're on a mobile device, you can scroll by game.
If you're still unsure, just send a note on Twitter (@daverichard) and I'll give it a look, time permitting.
Bills at Chiefs
|Bills|| ||Chiefs|| |
|Tyrod Taylor||(7.3)||Alex Smith||(6.7)|
|LeSean McCoy||(9.0)||Kareem Hunt||(8.7)|
|Zay Jones||(4.85)||Charcandrick West||(2.9)|
|Deonte Thompson||(4.6)||Tyreek Hill||(8.2)|
|Jordan Matthews||(3.3)||Travis Kelce||(8.8)|
|Charles Clay||(6.4)||Chiefs DST||(6.8)|
|Bills DST||(4.0)|| || |
What do four of the five quarterbacks who have posted 20-plus Fantasy points against the Chiefs have in common? They run -- and so does Taylor! Expect Taylor's rushing prowess to give Kansas City's slowish front seven some fits. Match that up with his motivation to play big as part of his own personal "redemption" tour and Taylor should deliver a good Fantasy stat line. Taylor had 18-plus Fantasy points in three of his past four before getting benched, and came up with 19 Fantasy points in one half of play last week!
Titans at Colts
|Titans|| ||Colts|| |
|Marcus Mariota||(7.0)||Jacoby Brissett||(5.7)|
|Derrick Henry||(6.4)||Frank Gore||(5.0)|
|DeMarco Murray||(6.1)||Marlon Mack||(4.3)|
|Corey Davis||(6.0)||T.Y. Hilton||(7.8)|
|Eric Decker||(4.75)||Donte Moncrief||(3.0)|
|Delanie Walker||(7.0)||Jack Doyle||(7.8)|
|Titans DST||(3.8)||Colts DST||(4.2)|
Mariota is one of several quarterbacks I'm expecting a big week from. He'll take on a Colts defense ranked 30th against the pass, allowing 274.5 yards per game through the air. They've also been burned by big plays, giving up a league-worst 47 on the year, and have allowed 20-plus Fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks in two of their last three. Mariota didn't have a big game against them earlier this year but was close (306-1-1). In each of his other three matchups against the Colts he's delivered multiple touchdowns and over 23 Fantasy points. Doing this without Rishard Matthews will be a challenge but these teams have combined for an average of 56.8 points per game in all of Mariota's starts, so there's a pretty strong hint that a shootout could develop on the Colts' fast track. Best of all, Mariota has run for over 50 yards or a touchdown in each of his past two games, proving his mobility is back to normal.
This is the week
The hunch here is that the Colts will stick top cornerback Rashaan Melvin on Rishard Matthews, leaving Pierre Desir on the rookie. At 6-foot-2 and with decent speed, Desir matches up with Davis physically. But he's allowed a touchdown in three straight games and over 80 yards receiving in two straight, so he's not exactly a great defender. Bank on Mariota picking on Desir. It only helps that Davis has landed 22 targets in his last three games -- now it's time for him to turn them into something. Start him if you don't have anyone better or want to take a chance on a breakout player.
Browns at Bengals
|Browns|| ||Bengals|| |
|DeShone Kizer||(2.9)||Andy Dalton||(7.5)|
|Duke Johnson||(6.2)||Joe Mixon||(6.6)|
|Isaiah Crowell||(4.9)||Giovani Bernard||(2.8)|
|Corey Coleman||(5.0)||A.J. Green||(9.8)|
|Kenny Britt||(3.5)||Brandon LaFell||(4.5)|
|Browns DST||(4.6)||Tyler Kroft||(7.2)|
| || ||Bengals DST||(8.5)|
Finally, the Bengals gave Mixon 20 carries last week ... and he averaged 2.5 yards per AGAIN. Since the bye, Mixon has averaged 7.4 Fantasy points per game, achieving a high mark of 10 points once. The concern isn't just a tough Browns run defense -- it's whether or not the Bengals coaching staff will continue to feed Mixon when he's been so bad with his previous opportunities. Truth is, he's a good running back working behind a bad, slow offensive line that costs him chances to make plays. Expect it to continue, particularly against a Browns defense that held him to a pathetic 1.7 yards per carry back in Week 4.
Yeah, you picked up Coleman to give your Fantasy team a boost, but Week 12 isn't the time to expect huge numbers. In three games since ex-Bengals playcaller Hue Jackson has taken over, Cleveland's quarterbacks have thrown ... this isn't a joke ... zero touchdowns against Cincinnati. And Cleveland's receivers haven't had more than 64 yards in any of those games. Coleman himself was held to 26 yards in one game against the Bengals -- and that was on 11 targets. Only one receiver has more than 75 yards on the Bengals this season, so it'll come down to a touchdown or nothing for Coleman to be solid, and the track record there is pretty bleak.
Buccaneers at Falcons
|Buccaneers|| ||Falcons|| |
|Ryan Fitzpatrick||(6.0)||Matt Ryan||(8.2)|
|Doug Martin||(5.3)||Tevin Coleman||(8.6)|
|Charles Sims||(3.4)||Julio Jones||(9.0)|
|Mike Evans||(8.5)||Mohamed Sanu||(6.9)|
|DeSean Jackson||(6.7)||Taylor Gabriel||(2.6)|
|Cameron Brate||(3.0)||Austin Hooper||(6.8)|
|Buccaneers DST||(3.1)||Falcons DST||(6.0)|
For the fourth time in five weeks, Martin has amassed at least 18 carries and delivered under eight Fantasy points. That's impossible to do, yet Martin has done it. It's almost impressive. Almost. Now he and the Bucs will play on the road for a second-straight week against an improving Falcons run defense. Over the past three weeks, Atlanta has held opposing rushers to 3.1 yards per carry, and only one -- Christian McCaffrey has scored and had more than five Fantasy points in non-PPR. That's really impressive. Martin's in trouble.
Dolphins at Patriots
|Dolphins|| ||Patriots|| |
|Matt Moore||(5.3)||Tom Brady||(9.5)|
|Damien Williams||(5.5)||Dion Lewis||(7.7)|
|Kenyan Drake||(4.7)||Rex Burkhead||(5.8)|
|Jarvis Landry||(8.3)||Brandin Cooks||(9.4)|
|Kenny Stills||(7.0)||Danny Amendola||(3.6)|
|DeVante Parker||(5.2)||Rob Gronkowski||(9.1)|
|Dolphins DST||(1.8)||Patriots DST||(6.4)|
Here's an interesting fact: The Dolphins have thrown multiple touchdowns against the Patriots in each of their last three meetings, including both games under current coach Adam Gase and one matchup with Matt Moore starting. Stills specifically has caught touchdowns in his past two against the Pats and continues to have the most rapport with Moore. Outside wideouts like Stills have scored on New England in each of its last four games.
Bears at Eagles
|Bears|| ||Eagles|| |
|Mitchell Trubisky||(1.7)||Carson Wentz||(9.0)|
|Jordan Howard||(7.9)||Jay Ajayi||(7.1)|
|Tarik Cohen||(5.7)||LeGarrette Blount||(5.2)|
|Dontrelle Inman||(3.2)||Corey Clement||(4.8)|
|Kendall Wright||(3.1)||Alshon Jeffery||(8.6)|
|Adam Shaheen||(5.1)||Nelson Agholor||(5.5)|
|Bears DST||(2.4)||Torrey Smith||(2.9)|
| || ||Zach Ertz||(8.5)|
| || ||Eagles DST||(9.2)|
In two games with the Eagles, Ajayi ranks third in snaps played overall and in the red zone. That's not so good. Offensive coordinator Frank Reich admitted this week that they'd like to give Ajayi more snaps in the long run but also intimated that he and LeGarrette Blount are interchangeable and one would stay on the field longer if they don't want their opponent to make defensive personnel changes. Another takeaway is that in consecutive weeks the Eagles have used a running back not named Ajayi to salt their blowout wins away in the second half -- Ajayi has three fourth-quarter snaps in two games combined. So unless he busts a long run, Ajayi will need more work than the 16 touches he's had in two games to be a reliable starter for your squad.
Panthers at Jets
|Panthers|| ||Jets|| |
|Cam Newton||(7.9)||Josh McCown||(4.5)|
|Christian McCaffrey||(8.5)||Bilal Powell||(5.9)|
|Jonathan Stewart||(4.0)||Elijah McGuire||(4.2)|
|Devin Funchess||(7.6)||Robby Anderson||(7.2)|
|Greg Olsen||(8.0)||Jermaine Kearse||(3.8)|
|Panthers DST||(6.2)||Austin Seferian-Jenkins||(6.2)|
| || ||Jets DST||(3.6)|
Powell not only has a difficult matchup this week, but he also has no clear path to a full rushing workload. Against the Bucs in Week 10, Elijah McGuire inexplicably had more snaps and touches than Powell. McGuire owns a 2.2 yard rushing average in his past six games. Maybe the Jets will take notice and give Powell more work, since he's averaging 4.5 yards per rush on the season (and 5.4 yards per rush in his last six), but since we can't count on the Jets to count on Powell, we can't start him with any confidence. Gang Green's been dedicated to using two backs all season, and the Panthers have been awesome against the run.
Seahawks at 49ers
|Seahawks|| ||49ers|| |
|Russell Wilson||(9.4)||C.J. Beathard||(1.9)|
|Thomas Rawls||(3.5)||Carlos Hyde||(8.4)|
|Eddie Lacy||(3.3)||Marquise Goodwin||(4.9)|
|Doug Baldwin||(9.2)||49ers DST||(2.6)|
|Tyler Lockett||(4.2)|| || |
|Paul Richardson||(3.9)|| || |
|Jimmy Graham||(8.9)|| || |
|Seahawks DST||(7.2)|| || |
I don't care if they're playing the 49ers, these guys stink. The end.
Saints at Rams
|Saints|| ||Rams|| |
|Drew Brees||(7.8)||Jared Goff||(6.4)|
|Mark Ingram||(9.3)||Todd Gurley||(9.6)|
|Alvin Kamara||(8.8)||Sammy Watkins||(7.1)|
|Michael Thomas||(8.4)||Cooper Kupp||(5.4)|
|Ted Ginn||(5.6)||Gerald Everett||(2.8)|
|Saints DST||(7.4)||Rams DST||(5.8)|
The Rams catch the Saints defense without pass rusher Alex Okafor (4.5 sacks) and shut-down cornerback Marshon Lattimore (two interceptions, nine passes defensed). Unfortunately, they also catch them without Robert Woods, who had been Jared Goff's top target this season. Mike Thomas was the first guy up to replace him, but coach Sean McVay said he'll use a bunch of receivers to fill in. Shouldn't matter. Watkins should get the green light on more targets and take advantage of a Saints' banged-up defense that saw Washington's receivers total 212 yards against them last week.
Jaguars at Cardinals
|Jaguars|| ||Cardinals|| |
|Blake Bortles||(3.9)||Blaine Gabbert||(2.3)|
|Leonard Fournette||(8.9)||Adrian Peterson||(4.4)|
|T.J. Yeldon||(2.3)||Larry Fitzgerald||(5.9)|
|Marqise Lee||(5.1)||Cardinals DST||(6.6)|
|Dede Westbrook||(4.3)|| || |
|Jaguars DST||(9.3)|| || |
As if it wasn't hard enough to trust a receiver catching passes from Blake Bortles, Lee figures to line up frequently from Cardinals shutdown cornerback Patrick Peterson. On the year, Peterson has allowed a 40 percent catch rate, 250 yards and two touchdowns. That's pretty good, particularly given this specific matchup against Lee, who has two touchdowns, one game with more than 80 yards and seven red-zone targets.
Broncos at Raiders
|Broncos|| ||Raiders|| |
|Paxton Lynch||(2.5)||Derek Carr||(4.9)|
|Devontae Booker||(6.9)||Marshawn Lynch||(6.5)|
|C.J. Anderson||(5.4)||Michael Crabtree||(7.5)|
|Jamaal Charles||(2.5)||Amari Cooper||(5.3)|
|Demaryius Thomas||(7.9)||Cordarrelle Patterson||(2.7)|
|Emmanuel Sanders||(6.1)||Jared Cook||(7.4)|
|Broncos DST||(7.0)||Raiders DST||(5.2)|
Last week, Booker dominated snaps with a season-high 48 and had more touches and total yards than C.J. Anderson and Jamaal Charles combined. Hopefully it's enough to impress new playcaller Bill Musgrave on the same week Paxton Lynch takes over at quarterback. Running backs made up 22 percent of Lynch's touchdowns at Memphis and 18 percent of his completions with the Broncos last year, so it's not like he ignores the position. Lynch's impact on the run game shouldn't be lost, but neither should Denver's amazing matchup against the Raiders. It would make a lot of sense if Booker led the Broncos' run game as part of a conservative game plan to keep Lynch from making mistakes. He should come close to racking up 100 total yards for the second week in a row.
Packers at Steelers
|Packers|| ||Steelers|| |
|Brett Hundley||(2.7)||Ben Roethlisberger||(8.5)|
|Jamaal Williams||(6.3)||Le'Veon Bell||(9.2)|
|Davante Adams||(7.7)||Antonio Brown||(9.6)|
|Jordy Nelson||(4.4)||Martavis Bryant||(4.8)|
|Randall Cobb||(2.8)||Jesse James||(3.5)|
|Packers DST||(2.2)||Steelers DST||(8.6)|
The matchup isn't any more favorable despite the Steelers missing a pair of starters in the secondary, but the game script figures to again put the Packers playing from behind. That's excellent news for Adams, who leads all Packers pass catchers in targets, catches, yards and touchdowns with Hundley under center. Another good omen: the Steelers have allowed four touchdowns to wideouts over their past five games, all going to outside receivers like Adams.
Texans at Ravens
|Texans|| ||Ravens|| |
|Tom Savage||(2.1)||Joe Flacco||(4.7)|
|Lamar Miller||(7.3)||Alex Collins||(7.4)|
|DeAndre Hopkins||(8.7)||Danny Woodhead||(4.1)|
|Bruce Ellington||(4.7)||Mike Wallace||(6.8)|
|Texans DST||(5.6)||Jeremy Maclin||(6.3)|
| || ||Benjamin Watson||(5.0)|
| || ||Ravens DST||(8.8)|
The Texans run defense is among the stingiest in football, allowing just one score and one 100-yard rush game to a running back all season long. But the hunch here is that Collins breaks through with a nice outing as part of a moderate-scoring game the Ravens control. It's no coincidence that Collins logged a season-high in carries and snaps after the Ravens' bye week, proof that the team believes he's their best running back, at least in non-passing situations.
In the past four weeks the Texans have allowed seven pass plays of 40-plus yards, eight passing touchdowns from 17 yards or longer while allowing 238.5 yards to receivers. The Ravens don't exactly attack downfield very often -- Joe Flacco has completed 13 passes for 20-plus yards all year -- but expect them to take some shots in a prime-time home game against the Texans' leaky defense. Wallace leads all receivers with four catches of 20-plus yards and is best suited to catch one of those big plays. He's also scored in two straight.
Vikings at Lions
|Vikings|| ||Lions|| |
|Case Keenum||(6.6)||Matthew Stafford||(6.5)|
|Latavius Murray||(7.8)||Ameer Abdullah||(7.0)|
|Jerick McKinnon||(7.2)||Theo Riddick||(4.6)|
|Adam Thielen||(9.1)||Golden Tate||(8.0)|
|Stefon Diggs||(7.4)||Marvin Jones||(6.2)|
|Kyle Rudolph||(6.6)||Kenny Golladay||(4.0)|
|Vikings DST||(7.8)||Eric Ebron||(3.8)|
| || ||Lions DST||(4.8)|
This won't be popular, but there are some undeniable truths about Murray that we have to accept: Over the past three weeks he's led Vikings running backs in carries and runs in the red zone. He's also been significantly better than Jerick McKinnon over the past two weeks while posting 15-plus carries in each of his past five. A breakdown of snaps shows McKinnon owning third downs but Murray handling a lot of first- and second-downs with nearly all of the short-yardage action. That last part is key given the matchup at Detroit. The Lions have allowed seven touchdowns to running backs in their past five, all in the red zone and five from 6 yards or closer. That doesn't include two 1-yard touchdown dives by opposing quarterbacks. You'd start Murray if you knew there was a great chance for him to score, right? Here's the week to do it.
Because Jones has lined up along the outside on 91.3 percent of his snaps this season, odds are he'll see a lot of Xavier Rhodes in coverage on Thursday. That didn't work out for Jones in his past three tests against Minnesota, totaling 101 yards on seven catches. Jones has been smooth in three of his past four, but this one should be rocky.
Chargers at Cowboys
|Chargers|| ||Cowboys|| |
|Philip Rivers||(7.1)||Dak Prescott||(6.9)|
|Melvin Gordon||(9.1)||Alfred Morris||(8.3)|
|Austin Ekeler||(4.5)||Rod Smith||(2.4)|
|Keenan Allen||(8.1)||Dez Bryant||(6.5)|
|Tyrell Williams||(5.7)||Cole Beasley||(3.4)|
|Hunter Henry||(4.8)||Jason Witten||(3.6)|
|Chargers DST||(7.6)||Cowboys DST||(4.4)|
Rivers takes on a Cowboys defense that's allowed multiple passing scores in its past two games. It's also held only two quarterbacks -- C.J. Beathard and Kirk Cousins without his starting O-line -- to under 18 Fantasy points in each of its last nine overall. Rivers continues to play better of late, tossing multiple scores in three of his last four even in spite of a downturn in passing yards and completion percentage. He shapes up as a safe Fantasy starter with some modest upside in what could end up being a high-scoring game.
The Chargers run defense has reverted to its early-season form, giving up 6.1 yards per carry against the Jaguars and Bills, while yielding a touchdown and seven missed tackles in each game. The Cowboys are sure to attack with a big dose of the run -- why wouldn't they since Morris has delivered 5.1 yards per carry since Ezekiel Elliott's suspension? He's worth rolling with as at least a No. 2 Fantasy running back.
Giants at Redskins
|Giants|| ||Redskins|| |
|Eli Manning||(5.5)||Kirk Cousins||(8.3)|
|Orleans Darkwa||(7.5)||Samaje Perine||(7.6)|
|Evan Engram||(9.0)||Jamison Crowder||(6.6)|
|Giants DST||(5.0)||Josh Doctson||(5.8)|
| || ||Ryan Grant||(4.1)|
| || ||Vernon Davis||(8.4)|
| || ||Redskins DST||(5.4)|
The Giants' run defense has been smashed for three touchdowns and 4.4 yards per rush over its last three game. The short week can't possibly help them, particularly while playing on the road. Perine is entrenched as Washington's lead back -- and quite possibly their only back given the season-ending injury to Chris Thompson.
If you're going with Crowder, you're doing it for the volume he's expected to deliver via a big dose of targets. He's expected to draw the best matchup of any Redskins receiver against Giants slot corner Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. It's one where receivers have caught 79.3 percent of their passes. That should bode well for Crowder, who was Kirk Cousins' most trusted receiver in the fourth quarter last week with 50 yards on four caught targets.
The Giants have allowed a touchdown to a tight end in 9 of 10 games -- and in the one they didn't they gave up over 100 yards (it was last week to Travis Kelce). Jordan Reed isn't expected to play and Cousins' targets should open up a little more with Thompson no longer playing. It all adds up to Davis having a big role in a great matchup.
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