We're getting to the point of the year where teams are playing out the string. Attack those matchups when you see them. The Jets, Jaguars and Bengals, for example, have little to play for and continue to lose good talent on both sides of the ball. Other teams, like the Chargers and Broncos, are a loss away from being right there with them as non-playoff participants. Both of those teams play competitive squads with Super Bowl aspirations this week. They, too, should be targeted by savvy Fantasy managers with Bills and Saints players.
More Week 12: Start 'Em & Sit 'Em | Starts and Sits, Sleepers and Bust | PPR Cheat Sheet | Non-PPR Cheat Sheet | QB Preview | RB Preview | WR Preview | TE Preview | Matchup Notes | Start 'Em & Sit 'Em: QB | Start 'Em & Sit 'Em: RB | Star 'Em & Sit 'Em: WR | Rankings | Waiver Wire | Trade Values Chart | Cut List | Week 11 Winners and Losers | Believe It Or Not
All lines from William Hill Sportsbook.
Gus Edwards RB
BAL Baltimore • #35
Age: 25 • Experience: 3 yrs.
The Ravens' commitment to the run game is proven by their running backs combining for at least 22 touches in each of their past seven games. But what happens if they can't command a good passing offense with their backup quarterback to create balance? Or if their depleted offensive line struggles? Or if their defense isn't prepared to hold up its end of the bargain? True: Edwards was part of the Ravens run game that blasted the Steelers in Week 8 to the tune of 200 yards on 31 carries -- he himself had 87 of those yards on 16 carries with a touchdown. Trusting him to do that again in this unique spot has become a risk. Furthermore, it's beginning to appear that Justice Hill, the speedy backup rusher, could end up playing a significant role that would keep Edwards' ceiling to 15 touches. More and more it looks like Edwards will be a touchdown-dependent Fantasy running back. As shaky as the Steelers run defense has been lately (5.1 yards per rush to running backs in their past four), they're probably going to be more focused on stopping Edwards and daring Robert Griffin III to throw downfield.
PIT Pittsburgh • #19
Age: 24 • Experience: 4 yrs.
I can't explain why Smith-Schuster was held to 19 yards last week against Jacksonville, but I can suggest that his 2020 numbers have usually popped against bad defenses. The Ravens, even without two big defensive tackles, are a solid defense with great defensive backs. They've had a recipe to corral Smith-Schuster for virtually his entire career (one career game in six with over 10 non-PPR/15 PPR points). At this point, both Diontae Johnson and Chase Claypool are the more explosive receivers for Pittsburgh (both have at least 12 deep targets; Smith-Schuster has 8) and should get the nod ahead of Smith-Schuster.
The line wants us to believe: Everything about the Cardinals is fine. Taking a road favorite with a quarterback nursing a shoulder injury and a defense that's struggled for much of the year doesn't exactly seem enticing. It feels like the oddsmakers are playing off of the Patriots' loss at Houston last week. I can see them being competitive enough to win the game, much less cover a couple of points.
ARI Arizona • #29
Age: 24 • Experience: 3 yrs.
The past three weeks have seen the Patriots' run defense improve from 22nd to 19th to 14th in Fantasy points allowed to running backs, but they're still giving up a league-worst 85.7% catch rate to them with 7.6 yards per catch despite seeing under 5.0 targets per game. Kyler Murray's shoulder may keep him from rushing a bunch (five carries last week tied his lowest for the year), and it seems like the matchup isn't very good to hammer the rock between the tackles anyway (3.0 rushing average for backs versus the Patriots in the past three games). Drake and Edmonds have been playing an even amount of snaps in the two games since Drake came back from injury. If the Cardinals are smart, they'll protect Murray, take advantage of the Patriots' front and use Edmonds, and potentially Drake as well, in the passing game to take pressure off of Murray. Drake did have season-highs in targets (five), receptions (four) and receiving yards (31) last week.
Cam Newton QB
NE New England • #1
Age: 31 • Experience: 10 yrs.
Four straight quarterbacks have had at least 23 Fantasy points against the Cardinals, and each of them had at least 35 rush yards. Pair that with the Patriots losing Rex Burkhead for the season and the possibility is there for Newton to find the end zone on the ground again with some solid rushing numbers to go with it. That's obviously on top of his passing, which has started to click a little bit over the past two weeks (a throwing score in each game). Look for Newton to reconnect with Jakobi Meyers as his matchup when lined up in the slot should work out for him against nickel corner Byron Murphy, who ranks seventh among slot cornerbacks in yards after catch allowed and in overall yards allowed.
The line wants us to believe: The Vikings loss last week was a fluke. Getting exposed by the Cowboys isn't a good look, but I still feel like Minnesota's defense is strong up the middle. While I would expect some breakdowns, the Panthers defense shouldn't definitely be taken seriously after manhandling a depleted Lions squad last week. That's the real fluke. I'll take the Vikings.
CAR Carolina • #11
Age: 27 • Experience: 5 yrs.
Different quarterback, same results for Anderson. While D.J. Moore (two) and Curtis Samuel (three) had red-zone targets last week from P.J. Walker, Anderson had none. He also didn't have any deep targets, but he did have two catches go for negative yards. No doubt, Anderson is overdue to come through for a big game, but he's now gone scoreless in 10 straight while his role continues to be marginalized. The Vikings rank fourth in Fantasy points allowed to receivers on the season with 17 scores given up to the position, but only six of them have come outside of the red zone with none over their past four games.
The line wants us to believe: Last week was a mirage for both teams. The Jets managed to wind up staying close with the Chargers while the Dolphins lost in convincing fashion to the Broncos. But the Jets are turning back to Sam Darnold at quarterback, and he's lost every start he's made this season by eight-plus points. All but one of Miami's wins has been by at least eight points. If they wanted to sucker me into taking the Dolphins, they've done a good job.
NYJ N.Y. Jets • #82
Age: 27 • Experience: 6 yrs.
Crowder's targets have been way higher in two games with Sam Darnold (11.5 per game) than with Joe Flacco (7.0 per game). The real stunner, though, is that Crowder's averages in yards per catch (15.6 to 11.4) and yards per target (9.5 to 7.4) are also higher with Darnold. It seems like Darnold is likely to play this week, so the hope is that Darnold's tendency to lean on Crowder will reveal itself yet again. Dolphins nickel cornerback Nik Needham is allowing a reception every 8.3 coverage snaps he plays in the slot, 21st lowest in the NFL. Crowder has seven-plus receptions and 11-plus PPR points in two of his past three against Miami.
The line wants us to believe: The Colts will keep finding ways to win. I'm curious to see how the Colts operate without DeForest Buckner in the middle of the defensive line. He might be a lynchpin for the whole Indy defense. Plus the Titans are one of those cagey teams that also find ways to win. After Indy ran away with a win two weeks ago in Nashville, my thought is the Titans return the favor thanks to the Colts' depleted defense.
IND Indianapolis • #28
Age: 22 • Experience: Rookie
It's easy to say a breakout game is coming for Taylor, but really last week should have been it. Taylor ran without hesitation on most of his 22 carries and fought through tackles with 36 yards after contact, his second-most of the season. He also had a glorious 20-yard touchdown run called back by a penalty as part of a second-half awakening. If the touchdown stood, everyone would be declaring Taylor as a must-start. The good news is that he gets another wonderful matchup this week -- the Titans have slid to giving up the sixth-most Fantasy points to running backs on the year. Touchdowns have been a factor as they've allowed a score to a running back in all but one game this year. Taylor was a massive disappointment two games ago versus the Titans, but if he looks like he did last week then he'll get the opportunities to have a strong game this week.
IND Indianapolis • #11
Age: 23 • Experience: Rookie
Pittman ranks fifth among receivers in yards after the catch over the past three weeks, and his size when making contested catches has made a real difference. If there's something to be nervous about it's that he had just three targets last week after notching 15 in his previous two, including eight against the Titans two games ago. It could be that the Titans' insistence of playing man coverage compelled Philip Rivers to throw to his giant receiver a little more often than against the Packers' zone coverage. But that's not enough to confidently trust Pittman, who would need heavy target volume to come away with a good game. Tennessee has managed to keep wideouts out of the end zone in three straight games. Given how the Colts love to diversify their offense, and given how their run game will have every chance to get going, it's tough to love Pittman as anything more than a flex.
The line wants us to believe: The Jaguars can stay within one score. Cleveland should be able to take control of this matchup, even without its two best defensive players. If they control the clock and rack up enough points, making the Jaguars offense one-dimensional should ultimately result in some turnovers. I'm not sure either team can hit its implied team total (27.75 for Cleveland, 21.25 for Jacksonville), but I'm pretty sure the Browns can win by a touchdown.
CLE Cleveland • #80
Age: 28 • Experience: 7 yrs.
If Landry can't get it done this week, then when can he? Jacksonville's pass defense has seen receivers get an <i>average</i> of 213.3 yards per game since Week 7. That's just over 850 total yards in those four games. They've given up six scores in their past four, too, and they're down to scraps in the secondary and no Josh Allen rushing Baker Mayfield. It comes down to Landry getting some quality targets, which isn't promised, but if the Jaguars play disciplined against the run then there will be opportunities for Landry. He's a decent DFS starter and a not-bad flex.
Keelan Cole WR
JAC Jacksonville • #84
Age: 27 • Experience: 4 yrs.
I'm not sure which circle of hell you'd have to be in to be desperate enough to roll with a Jaguars receiver this week, but I'm going to make the case for Cole anyway. Both he and D.J. Chark have five games this year with 10-plus in PPR, but Cole has four with 15-plus to Chark's two. (In case you were wondering, Laviska Shenault has 10-plus in four games and 15-plus in none). Cole usually lines up in the slot, and given the Browns' injuries in the secondary, he might see a lot of unproven nickel Tavierre Thomas. Thomas has allowed an 86% catch rate in limited playing time in 2020. Mike Glennon will need all the help he can get, and Cole is his most established veteran target. He also has five-plus targets in 8 of 10 games. At the very least he's a creative choice in DFS tournaments.
The line wants us to believe: Cincinnati won't morph into a football wasteland. I know it's dangerous to give a team like the Giants six points against anyone, but the offense the Bengals will put on the field figures to be really rough. And it's not like their defense will be better. Behind a good effort from Wayne Gallman, the Giants win their second in a row by double digits.
NYG N.Y. Giants • #22
Age: 26 • Experience: 4 yrs.
At times, Gallman looks flashy, even if his stats aren't. He's averaging just 3.8 yards per carry in his past three starts, but he's scored four times. His primary running back role isn't in question whatsoever, and the improved play of his offensive line has helped make a big difference. Cincinnati's run defense fell apart last week at the hands of Antonio Gibson -- it's allowed 5.6 yards per rush in its past three. It wouldn't be a surprise if the Giants wound up cruising against the Bengals and their backup quarterback. That would theoretically lead to a lot of carries for Gallman.
Tee Higgins WR
CIN Cincinnati • #85
Age: 22 • Experience: Rookie
If there's one thing Brandon Allen did right in three starts last year with the Broncos, it was pelt Courtland Sutton with targets. The rangy outside receiver saw a team-high 25 of Allen's 84 pass attempts ... and turned them into 11 catches, 196 yards and a score. Yup, a 44% catch rate (with no drops). That's on Allen, who threw off-target on 24% of his throws. Higgins figures to still see plenty of throws week in and week out, but you have to expect his already-dicey 61% catch rate to slide. Tyler Boyd has a much better chance of maintaining his efficiency on shorter throws from Allen.
The line wants us to believe: The Bills will bounce-back just fine off the bye. If you don't recall, the Bills lost their last game on a Hail Mary. They won three games before that, but it's not like Buffalo's defense has shown any signs of coming around. I suspect the public will be on the Bills, which makes the Chargers and those points all the more alluring.
LAC L.A. Chargers • #81
Age: 26 • Experience: 4 yrs.
In four games this year with at least seven-plus targets from Justin Herbert, Williams has floored at 8 non-PPR/13 PPR points. He's third in the NFL in average depth of route and he is still in the top-20 among Air Yards leaders. The game has the third-highest total of the week, so expect a lot of touchdowns. The hope is that Herbert doesn't forget about him in a game he's probably going to end up throwing a lot in. Besides, it should help you that the Bills have given up three touchdowns and 400 yards to wide receivers in their past two games (including the Cardinals' game-winning Hail Mary).
The line wants us to believe: Even if it's without Julio Jones, the Falcons can keep it close at home. All of Las Vegas' wins have been by four-plus points, and they are 4-1 on the road. I think the oddsmakers could have had them lay even more than three points, so naturally, it feels like a sucker bet to take them. The Falcons should do a better job protecting Matt Ryan this week, and that could make all the difference. I'm going with the home dog.
Derek Carr QB
LV Las Vegas • #4
Age: 29 • Experience: 7 yrs.
Matchups don't get much sweeter than this -- the Falcons have allowed 24-plus Fantasy points to each of their past two quarterback rivals, and at least 24 Fantasy points to all but two quarterbacks this season! Carr went through a recent three-game stretch where he struggled, but one of those games was in inclement weather and he didn't do much throwing in the other two. Considering the high-scoring expectation of this game, and considering that the Falcons run defense has started to play better and the Raiders offensive line is down one of their best run blockers, Carr should be in a position to attempt over 30 passes. That should bring some serious stats.
Brian Hill RB
ATL Atlanta • #23
Age: 25 • Experience: 4 yrs.
There's no guarantee that Hill will get the majority of the workload left behind by Todd Gurley's absence, but if he gets half of it along with the reps he's already gotten, he should be fine. As recently as last week, Hill played nine snaps on third and fourth downs -- six more than Gurley and seven more than fellow backup Ito Smith. He's got solid speed and acceleration, at times looking better than Gurley, but he's not quite as physical as a runner and about as good of a pass protector. We're hoping for 15 total touches against a Raiders run defense that's seen runners gain 4.6 yards per carry and 14 total touchdowns on the season -- including three to the Chiefs last week.
The line wants us to believe: The 49ers won't lose by as much as they have been. This one's weird -- San Francisco has lost by at least 10 points in three straight. They're without several key components offensively and defensively. So why only 6.5 points? It could be because Kyle Shanahan not only plays the Rams tough, but he's beaten them in three straight.
Jordan Reed TE
SF San Francisco • #81
Age: 30 • Experience: 8 yrs.
Reed's 6.0 average target depth and 3.4 yards after catch per reception average are proof positive he's not explosive. But he is a big target for Nick Mullens, and if the targets are going to keep flowing his way then he warrants Fantasy use. In his last game Reed came through with five grabs on six targets for 62 yards, making him a mediocre option in non-PPR but a not-bad tight end in PPR. The Rams have let a tight end score on them just once in their past seven, but Micah Kiser was the Rams' best cover linebacker and he's done for the year. Reed's got a shot as a volume-driven Fantasy tight end.
Jared Goff QB
LAR L.A. Rams • #16
Age: 26 • Experience: 5 yrs.
The 49ers have played a ton of zone coverage against the Rams in each of their past five meetings, and it's likely to keep happening this week. Goff has been accustomed to that, which is why he's thrown multiple touchdowns in four of those past five games, but he's been below 225 yards in four of them as well. The 49ers, unlike the Buccaneers, are geared up to tackle what's in front of them and not allow the Rams receivers to break away for big gains. That could lead to some slightly underwhelming numbers for Goff. We might also see the 49ers struggle offensively, further limiting just how much Goff will have to do. You should be able to find a quarterback better than Goff.
The line wants us to believe: Denver's win last week means nothing. I think the oddsmakers had to give Denver six points just to draw some interest on their side. Denver's offense was pretty good last week all things considered, but it seems unsustainable, especially against the Saints' vaunted unit. That being said, you can't underestimate Vic Fangio's defensive genius, either. This feels like a low-scoring win for New Orleans, but not by a touchdown.
Taysom Hill QB
NO New Orleans • #7
Age: 30 • Experience: 4 yrs.
Hill acquitted himself nicely last week -- his receivers had two drops while he had one off-target throw. He clearly had some chemistry with Michael Thomas and would have had over 30 Fantasy points if not for a penalty called on a 57-yard bomb to Emmanuel Sanders. But that was against the Falcons, and Denver's defense is a tougher matchup. Not only does Vic Fangio's crew allow 9.0 fewer Fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks than the Falcons, but i t has earned the third-highest pressure rate among the league's defenses. None of this might matter if the Saints defense delivers multiple turnovers to help put Hill in position to score, which combined with his overall profile as a rusher and a passer should lead to good (but maybe not amazing) Fantasy totals.
DEN Denver • #25
Age: 27 • Experience: 6 yrs.
All of Gordon's big runs last week looked nearly the same: a pulling guard (or two) would help create space on the right side of the O-line and Gordon would take off. It was his second-straight game playing with some efficiency, but the two touchdowns (one from 20 yards out) really stand out. Thing is, he's still splitting reps with Phillip Lindsay and still not making much of an impact in the passing game. His matchup is much harder -- the Saints allow the fewest Fantasy points per game to enemy rushers and haven't surrendered a touchdown to a running back in six straight games. It's too risky to expect Gordon to be productive again, especially considering his lack of production in the three games prior to Week 11.
The line wants us to believe: The Chiefs are the best team in football. Kansas City is probably the only team that can be a 3.5-point favorite at Tampa Bay. As great as the narrative about Tom Brady bouncing back from big losses is, don't forget about who's coaching the Chiefs defense: Steve Spagnuolo. He's taken down Brady before in some pretty big games. Between that and the Buccaneers defense being forced to dial back on the aggressiveness so they don't get burned deep, the Chiefs should find a way to win handily.
Ronald Jones RB
TB Tampa Bay • #27
• Experience: 3 yrs.
Jones is pretty Fantasy friendly in that he's an easy guy to avoid in tough matchups but usable in good matchups. The Chiefs have allowed at least 11 non-PPR Fantasy points to a running back in four of their past six games, succeeding only against the Bills and Jets, neither of which are good at running the ball. The 104.8 rush yards per game the Chiefs allow to running backs is actually sixth-worst in football. Tampa Bay doesn't have a better rusher than Jones, and the Bucs have to at least try to develop a semblance of a run game because things get rough for Tom Brady when they're one-dimensional. Jones is a low-end starter in non-PPR and probably no better than a low-end flex in PPR.
The line wants us to believe: Chicago's defense is no match for the Packers. It definitely feels like public perception inflated this line. Why wouldn't it? Green Bay is one of the league's best teams and the Bears are having trouble finding a healthy quarterback. I think this line could have been minus-10, that's how ugly the Bears offense is on paper. But it's their defense that could make things tough on the Packers. Enough to keep them ahead by a score or less? Given the state of the Packers defense, I can't rule it out.
CHI Chicago • #32
Age: 23 • Experience: 2 yrs.
The Packers have allowed the third-most Fantasy points to running backs this season, but they're going to look like one of the best run defenses in the universe this week. Between his depleted offensive line and some questionable play-calling, not to mention some really uneven quarterback play, Montgomery is a victim of bad circumstances. Despite it, he still ranks 11th in Pro Football Focus' elusiveness rating. Too bad we don't get points for that. The Packers will probably take some liberties with their pass coverage in an effort to finally slow down the run. Montgomery would need to score his third touchdown of the season in order to help Fantasy managers. You can't feel good about his chances to do that when Chicago is assumed to be trailing.
The line wants us to believe: Seattle isn't capable of a big blowout win. The line seems engineered for people to take Seattle -- laying just five points seems irresistible given the state of the Eagles offense over the past two weeks. Thing is, Seattle's defense is getting a little bit better, and the run game is becoming more to Pete Carroll's liking. Seattle's implied point total of 27.5 seems a lot more likely than Philly's 22.5 total.
PHI Philadelphia • #88
Age: 26 • Experience: 3 yrs.
Assuming Zach Ertz still isn't back, Goedert should continue to assume his role as a primary target for Carson Wentz. Goedert has six targets in consecutive games and finally made a couple of big plays last week at Cleveland. With the Eagles offensive line down to shreds and the Seahawks pass rush actually getting better, it will be crucial for Wentz to lean on his short-area targets all the way downfield into goal-to-go situations. Goedert has been the most productive (by a smidge over fellow tight end Richard Rodgers) since Week 10. It only helps that the Seahawks have given up a touchdown to a tight end in three of their past four games -- even with Jamal Adams manning the safety position.
The line wants us to believe: The Lions will keep it close at home. I'm not sure the Texans are good enough to be favored by this much, but the Lions have yet to lose a game by three or fewer points this season. Makes me think the oddsmakers could have stretched this line to minus-4 or 4.5. But ultimately I have zero faith in the Lions hanging with the Texans on the scoreboard, so give me the Texans.
Duke Johnson RB
HOU Houston • #25
Age: 27 • Experience: 6 yrs.
No one gives up more Fantasy points per game to running backs than the Lions -- among the rushers they've faced with at least 15 touches, 9 of 11 posted 15-plus PPR points and 10 of 11 hit 10-plus in non-PPR. Johnson has had exactly 15 touches in two games in place of David Johnson but has done very little with them, averaging 2.9 yards per carry with no touchdowns with just six targets in total. Deshaun Watson has never regularly leaned on his running back in the passing game, and for all of Johnson's playing time in Weeks 10 and 11, he's still had one measly red-zone touch. After disappointing in consecutive weeks with perfect game-scripts, Johnson's too dicey to confidently trust as anything more than a low-end No. 2 running back.
Marvin Jones WR
DET Detroit • #11
Age: 30 • Experience: 9 yrs.
Jones had his touchdown streak snapped last week ... technically. Jones and Stafford connected on a 51-yard end-zone bomb that was called back by a penalty on Jones for an illegal formation. If that play connects, Jones would have notched 13-plus PPR points in five straight and 10-plus non-PPR in four straight. The good news? Houston has allowed a touchdown to a wideout in all but two games this season, and last week the Texans gave up a season-high 226 yards just to the Patriots receivers. The <i>Patriots'</i> receivers. Whether Bradley Roby covers him or not, Jones is in prime position to do well on what may wind up being six-plus targets, a mark he's hit in four of his past five.
The line wants us to believe: The Cowboys are back! No doubt, Dallas' offensive line played better than expected in Week 11 as did Andy Dalton. But Dallas' defense is still sloppy while Washington's defense plays beyond expectations. That could keep the game close. Call me crazy but I think the Football Team will be competitive. I like getting points with them.
WAS Washington • #41
Age: 27 • Experience: 4 yrs.
How's this game going to go down? If Washington plays with a lead like they did when they shellacked Dallas back in Week 8, then McKissic probably will disappoint. But if the Cowboys stick around like they did last week, then it's Washington playing from behind and Alex Smith forced to throw. McKissic has played at least 50% of the snaps in each of Washington's six losses with over 70% of the snaps in the past two losses with Smith. Similarly, McKissic has six-plus targets in Washington's past five losses with 14-plus targets in their past two losses with Smith. See the trend? The oddsmakers installed the Cowboys as a three-point favorite, suggesting a game-script that will help McKissic get looks.
Alex Smith QB
WAS Washington • #11
Age: 36 • Experience: 16 yrs.
The Cowboys offense might be on the rise, but their defense is still pretty terrible. Each of the past two quarterbacks to play Dallas posted at least 28 Fantasy points, and 8 of the past 9 passers had multiple touchdowns. Maybe it's a leap of faith to count on Smith to find two scores, but the dude has hit 325-plus yards in two of his past three, both matchups when he needed to throw to keep the Football Team competitive on the scoreboard. At the very least, Smith qualifies as a thrifty DFS play.
CeeDee Lamb WR
DAL Dallas • #88
Age: 21 • Experience: Rookie
It's time to give Washington's defense the credit it deserves. It's obviously predicated on its incredible pass rush forcing opposing quarterbacks into quick and/or errant throws, but it doesn't hurt that outside cornerback Ronald Darby (one touchdown and under 100 yards after catch allowed over a team-high 56 targets) is having a bounce-back season. It's Washington's other outside corner, Kendall Fuller, who's been picked on the past two weeks. Marvin Jones took him to school a couple of times while eating up Washington's zone coverage, and A.J. Green scored on him from close range last week. Cooper is most likely to take advantage of that matchup while slot receiver CeeDee Lamb shouldn't have a rough go of it against the middle of Washington's defense. Both Cooper and Lamb have 25 targets each from Andy Dalton this season; the next closest is a tie between Dalton Schultz and Michael Gallup (15 each).
So who should you start and sit this week? And which surprising quarterback could lead you to victory? Visit SportsLine now to get Week 12 rankings for every position, plus see which QB is going to come out of nowhere to crack the top 10, all from the model that out-performed experts big-time last season.