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Week 12 has already been interesting, and that was without any games being played. Let's hope the action is just as compelling, starting Thursday night with Kansas City at Oakland.
Josh Gordon was activated from his suspension, and Adrian Peterson was suspended for the rest of the year. Ben Tate and LeGarrette Blount were cut, and Tate appears to have replaced Peterson in Minnesota. Blount signed in New England and now could make things difficult for Jonas Gray, who was a star in Week 11.
We have many injuries to monitor -- Arian Foster, Julius Thomas and Larry Fitzgerald, among others -- and a snow storm in Buffalo has moved the Jets-Bills game to Detroit on Monday night. Pittsburgh and Carolina are on a bye, and the Fantasy playoffs are just around the corner.
There's never really a slow time in a NFL season, but this time of year is when things really get exciting. Hopefully your Fantasy rosters deliver in Week 12, and the play on the field matches the headlines off it.
C.J. Anderson could end up as one of the biggest difference makers for Fantasy owners this year. If he remains the starting running back for the Broncos for the final six games, he should bring plenty of positive results.
Anderson has become the starter by default, but plenty of Fantasy titles were won with running backs in this situation. Montee Ball (groin) and Ronnie Hillman (foot) are out with injuries, and Anderson has proven he can succeed when given the work.
It started in Week 10 at Oakland when Hillman went down, and Anderson had 13 carries for 90 yards and four catches for 73 yards and a touchdown. He followed that up with nine carries for 29 yards and eight catches for 86 yards at St. Louis in Week 11.
He has a tough matchup this week at home against the Dolphins, but there's a track record for Denver running backs that should help Anderson produce a quality stat line. The running back who has led the Broncos in touches during each game this season has either scored a touchdown or gained 85 total yards in eight of 10 games, including Anderson twice.
The Dolphins have allowed eight touchdowns to running backs this season -- including four receiving -- and Anderson could be needed in the passing game with Julius Thomas (ankle) banged up. Miami has also allowed five running backs to reach double digits in Fantasy points.
The Broncos could use a boost from their running game, and we hope Anderson can provide that after a tough loss to the Rams. Denver hasn't lost two games in a row since Week 2 and 3 of the 2012 season, so look for the Broncos to be fired up for this matchup at home.
Miami will provide a tough challenge for Anderson this week, but we're counting on him to come through with a quality stat line. This should be another step toward Anderson proving he can help Fantasy owners when it matters most.
The last time we saw Romo was in Week 10 against the Jaguars in London, and he put any concerns about his injured back to rest with a standout performance of 246 passing yards and three touchdowns. He now has at least 20 Fantasy points in five of his past six games, including a 27-point outing against the Giants in Week 7. Romo has at least 19 Fantasy points in each of his past six meetings with the Giants, and he has seven touchdowns and three interceptions in his last three trips to New York. He should be rested and close to healthy coming off his bye week, and we're expecting another solid performance from Romo in this matchup. He has at least 19 Fantasy points in each of his past two games coming off a bye.
McCown probably isn't approaching this game with any sort of animosity even though the Bears were his former team last year. Chicago gave McCown the chance to earn a nice payday and a starting gig with Tampa Bay this season, so he's probably nothing but grateful. Still, he would like to beat his former employer, and this is a great matchup for him, which comes after two strong performances against Atlanta and Washington with 23 Fantasy points in each outing. The Bears have allowed three of their past four opposing quarterbacks to score at least 27 Fantasy points with 14 touchdowns and one interception over that span. McCown is facing a defense he's familiar with and personnel he should know, so look for him to continue to lean on Mike Evans, Vincent Jackson and Austin Seferian-Jenkins for another solid game.
We're going to this well again with Ryan, who has now gone six games in a row without scoring at least 20 Fantasy points. Granted, five of those games were outdoors, so take that into account, but he needs to perform better if Fantasy owners are going to rely on him during the playoffs. He has at least 29 Fantasy points in two of his three home games, and he's indoors for five of his final six games to close the season. For this week, he's facing a Browns defense that has allowed multiple touchdowns to opposing quarterbacks just four times, but two of them have come in the past three games with McCown and Ryan Mallett. We're going to gamble on Ryan at home this week, and hopefully he can snap his streak of consecutive games without a 20-point performance.
Fantasy owners were relieved to see Cutler once again score 20-plus Fantasy points in Week 11 against Minnesota. Turnovers are still a problem with two more interceptions, giving him six in his past four games, but he also scored at least 20 Fantasy points for the eighth time in 10 games. He's facing off with his former understudy this week in McCown, and we hope he can once again take advantage of a shaky defense. Tampa Bay has allowed six quarterbacks to score at least 20 Fantasy points this year, and every home quarterback except Robert Griffin III has scored multiple touchdowns. This has the makings of a fun game, and we're counting on Cutler to deliver a solid stat line once again.
Sanchez was bad in Week 11 at Green Bay, and he was lucky to escape with 17 Fantasy points. He was 26-of-44 passing for 346 yards, two touchdowns, two interceptions and two lost fumbles. One fumble was a botched exchange with LeSean McCoy and the other was a snap over his head, but the results are what they are. Moving forward, we still like Sanchez's chances this week at home even though the Titans have allowed just three quarterbacks to score at least 20 Fantasy points and two to throw multiple touchdowns. He'll be throwing a lot -- the Eagles have attempted at least 34 passes in every game this year -- and Tennessee is on the road off a short week after playing Monday night. Also, the only standout quarterbacks the Titans have limited this season are Romo (13 Fantasy points in Week 2) and Ben Roethlisberger (12 points in Week 11), which had a lot to do with strong performances from their running backs. We'd love to see McCoy dominate this game, but chances are the Eagles could need Sanchez to make some plays. He's worth starting again this week.
SleepersKyle Orton (vs. NYJ): He had 33 Fantasy points vs. the Jets in Week 8.
Colin Kaepernick (vs. WAS): Has Washington stopped anyone yet this year?
Andy Dalton (at HOU): Seven quarterbacks have multiple touchdowns vs. Houston.
Last week was a disaster for Griffin on and off the field. He had 14 Fantasy points in an easy matchup against the Buccaneers at home coming off a bye week, and then he had some poor comments about his teammates' level of play in that game. We'll see if he can rebound on the road against the 49ers, but we're betting against it. San Francisco just intercepted Eli Manning five times and now has nine interceptions in the past three games. Four quarterbacks have scored at least 20 Fantasy points against the 49ers this year, but they also have held Romo, Nick Foles and Manning to 11 points or less. Griffin has combined for just 38 Fantasy points in three starts this season, and he's again trending in the wrong direction with his status as the franchise quarterback in Washington. He's also looking like an unreliable Fantasy quarterback for the rest of the year.
Tannehill was one of the best surprises in Week 11 with his performance at home against Buffalo on Thursday night. Playing his first game without left tackle Branden Albert (knee) against a Buffalo defense leading the NFL in sacks, Tannehill finished with 20 Fantasy points despite being sacked five times. But now he has to do it on the road against a Broncos team coming off a tough loss at St. Louis. He has 15 Fantasy points or less in his past two road games at Jacksonville and Detroit, and he only has one game this season with more than 20 Fantasy points in another team's building, which was Week 7 at Chicago. We'd like to see Tannehill continue to play at a high level, but this game will likely be a letdown performance on the road. He could see a lot of DeMarcus Ware and Von Miller, which could make things tough for him.
Rivers was beat up in the Chargers victory against the Raiders in Week 11. He hurt his knee and might be dealing with a rib injury. He only had 13 Fantasy points against the Raiders and has now combined for just 10 Fantasy points in his past two games. This comes at a bad time for Rivers heading into a matchup with the Rams, even at home. St. Louis has turned the corner on defense the past three games with a renewed pass rush. The Rams have 13 sacks over that span with three interceptions, and they just held the Broncos and Peyton Manning to seven points. Rivers also has six touchdowns and six interceptions in his past four games, and we're nervous for his outlook this week if he's dealing with all these minor injuries in a tough matchup.
Flacco might be coming off his bye week, but the Ravens could be walking into a tough situation. I'm still starting Justin Forsett and Torrey Smith, but that might be it from players you can trust because the Saints are a dominant team playing at home in prime time. They've won 14 straight night games at home, including the playoffs, dating back to 2009, and they've won them by nearly 20 points per game. The four quarterbacks who have faced New Orleans at home on prime time since last year (Aaron Rodgers, Tannehill, Romo and Cam Newton) averaged 16 Fantasy points, with only Rodgers scoring more than 16. Flacco has been hit or miss on the road this season with two games of at least 22 Fantasy points and three games with 12 points or less.
The last time we saw Vick he had his best showing of the season in helping the Jets beat the Steelers at home in Week 10. He was 10-of-18 passing for 132 yards and two touchdowns, and he added 39 rushing yards. He hasn't turned the ball over in two games, and I'd be OK starting him in two-quarterback leagues. But this should be a tough matchup against the Bills, who lead the NFL in sacks with 39. Only four quarterbacks have scored at least 20 Fantasy points against Buffalo, and Vick had six Fantasy points against the Bills when he took over for Geno Smith in their first meeting in Week 8. Vick is barely a Top 20 quarterback for this scoring period.
Based on his upcoming schedule, this is the last time you'll see Stafford as a potential sit candidate. He closes the season with two games against Chicago, home games against Tampa Bay and Minnesota and then at Green Bay, but that's in Week 17. But this week you might want to avoid Stafford. On the road, Stafford is averaging just 17 Fantasy points a game, including a five-point outing at Arizona in Week 11. The Patriots have allowed three quarterbacks in a row to score at least 23 Fantasy points, but that was Cutler, Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck. We expect Stafford to find some success this week, but it's just a matter of him turning the ball over. He has an interception in four games in a row, with five total picks over that span. We hope he can play well in this tough matchup, but I don't expect him to reach 20 Fantasy points. If you can afford to bench Stafford this week then that's the right move to make.
We could have a great situation here with Robinson coming off his bye week with four games in a row of double digits in Fantasy points in a standard league, including three touchdowns in his past two outings. And he's facing a Colts defense still trying to stop Jonas Gray, who rumbled for 201 yards and four touchdowns on 37 carries. Now, Robinson might not do half of that, but his recent track record suggests he has the chance for a big game this week. Indianapolis has allowed 12 touchdowns to running backs overall this season and nine have reached double digits in Fantasy points. Robinson should be fresh and ready to run, and he has the chance to be a Top 5 running back in this scoring period.
Jackson snapped a two-game streak with double digits in Fantasy points when he finished with just four points in Week 11 at Carolina. He is a touchdown-dependent running back, but he has the chance for his best game of the season this week against the Browns. Cleveland has struggled in run defense without defensive lineman Phil Taylor, and now inside linebacker Karlos Dansby (knee) is out. Alfred Blue ran all over the Browns in Week 11 with 36 carries for 156 yards, and Jackson should reach double digits in Fantasy points again this week. He has at least 18 touches in each of his past three games, and he should deliver a strong performance in this matchup at home.
Forsett has been a consistent Fantasy option as he emerged as the No. 1 running back for the Ravens this year. He has at least nine Fantasy points in eight of 10 games, including seven in a row, and he's coming off his best game of the season with 23 Fantasy points against the Titans in Week 10. The Saints have allowed nine touchdowns to opposing running backs and eight to reach double digits in Fantasy points, including two in a row with Frank Gore and Jeremy Hill. There's always the chance Forsett could lose a short-yardage touchdown to Bernard Pierce or Lorenzo Taliaferro, but we'll stick with Forsett this week coming off a bye.
We have some clarity with the Browns backfield moving forward now that Ben Tate was cut. Crowell and Terrance West will share playing time, and Crowell should be on top of the depth chart heading into this game. He led the Browns in touches in Week 11 against Houston with 14 carries for 61 yards and two catches for 30 yards, and he should continue to get more work as long as he can avoid fumbling the ball. There have been five times this season where Crowell has double digits in carries, and three times he has finished with double digits in Fantasy points in a standard league. The Falcons have allowed 13 touchdowns to opposing running backs, and Crowell has the chance to finish as a Top 15 Fantasy running back this week.
Jennings struggled in his return from a four-game absence with a knee injury in Week 11 against San Francisco with 18 carries for 59 yards and four catches for 8 yards. It was good to see the Giants give him 22 touches, and we hope he can remain a workhorse for the rest of the season. The Cowboys are getting healthy on defense coming off their bye week, but Dallas still allowed a running back to reach double digits in Fantasy points in three consecutive games with Alfred Morris, Andre Ellington and Robinson. Jennings missed the first Cowboys game in Week 7, and Andre Williams struggled with 18 carries for 51 yards. But last year, Jennings had a great game against Dallas as a member of the Raiders with 17 carries for 35 yards and two touchdowns. We hope a similar performance will happen again this year.
SleepersShane Vereen (vs. DET): He should be better than Jonas Gray this week.
Trent Richardson (vs. JAC): He's the man with Ahmad Bradshaw out.
Tre Mason (at SD): If the Rams build a lead then Mason will thrive.
Chris Ivory (at BUF): He scored twice vs. Buffalo in Week 8.
Alfred Blue (vs. CIN): If Foster remains out then Blue should shine.
Things are about to get complicated for the Vikings after they claimed Tate off waivers. It's unknown what his role will be in Week 12 against the Packers, but this is obviously bad news for McKinnon. He has yet to score a touchdown this year, and he's scored eight Fantasy points or less in each of his past three games. The Packers just held Matt Forte and McCoy to a combined 16 Fantasy points with no touchdowns in the past two games, and McKinnon could come off the field if Tate is active. We thought Adrian Peterson was going to send McKinnon to the bench, but instead it's Tate who could limit McKinnon's workload moving forward. For now, keep him reserved until we see how this all shakes out.
Mathews returned from a seven-game absence with a knee injury in Week 11 against Oakland and had moderate success with 16 carries for 70 yards and one catch for 5 yards. He shared playing time with Branden Oliver, and we expect that to continue for the immediate future. This week, Mathews should struggle against an improved Rams run defense. St. Louis has allowed touchdowns to Jamaal Charles and Andre Ellington in the past seven games, but Charles and McCoy are the only running backs to gain more than 53 yards on the ground, including matchups with Gore twice, Marshawn Lynch and Anderson. Mathews can still be considered a flex option because of his workload, and if he finds the end zone he'll finish with a successful outing. But we're betting against him scoring, even at home.
Jackson sat out in Week 11 at Miami to rest his injured groin, but you have to assume he's not 100 percent even if he's back on the field this week. And he'll continue to share playing time with Bryce Brown and Anthony Dixon, which limits his upside. Jackson only has two touchdowns on the season, one rushing and one receiving, and he's scored double digits in Fantasy points just twice, with the last time coming in Week 5 at Detroit. The Jets have only allowed six touchdowns to opposing running backs and four to reach double digits in Fantasy points. The type of running backs to hurt the Jets this season have been similar to Brown -- air backs as my colleague Pete Prisco calls them -- with Oliver, Hillman Vereen and Charles doing most of the damage. Jackson is not in that category, and Fantasy owners should avoid him this week.
Sankey is coming off one of his better games of the season in Week 11 against Pittsburgh, which tells you about the disappointing campaign he's put together as a rookie. He had 11 carries for 38 yards and a touchdown and one catch for 7 yards to finish with nine Fantasy points. That's his second-best total of the year behind the 11 points he scored in Week 4. He only has two touchdowns on the season, and this is a tough matchup against the Eagles. Philadelphia has allowed 11 touchdowns to opposing running backs, but Gore in Week 4 is the only one to gain more than 80 rushing yards. If this game gets lopsided with the Eagles ahead, Sankey could struggle even more since he's limited as a receiver with just 12 catches on the season. We hope Sankey can close the season strong, but this is not a good week to count on him in most formats.
Morris was great as the Start of the Week in Week 11 against Tampa Bay. Despite Griffin's struggles, Morris still had 20 carries for 96 yards and two catches for 36 yards. This is now three games in a row with double digits in Fantasy points, but I'm expecting that streak to end this week. The 49ers have not allowed a running back to score for three games in a row, and they have been tough to run on at home, shutting down Forte, McCoy, Charles and Mason to eight Fantasy points or less. That group did not score a touchdown, and De'Anthony Thomas is the only running back to score in San Francisco in Week 5, and that came on a swing pass behind the line of scrimmage. Morris should still be considered a flex option, but he's not a must-start option this week.
We have an interesting dilemma with Gray this week. He's coming off this monster performance against the Colts with 37 carries for 201 yards and four touchdowns, but what can we expect for an encore? Probably not much given the matchup, the team signing Blount and then he showed up late for the start of practice Friday. He might not even play this week, and if he does he could be No. 3 on the depth chart behind Vereen and Blount. Even if he does get on the field this game feels more like Vereen and less like Gray because Detroit has a standout front line on defense. Ivory in Week 4 is the lone running back to gain more than 60 rushing yards against the Lions, and the Patriots can spread out this defense and attack through the air, much like they did against the Jets in Week 7. Keep an eye on what happens with Gray on Sunday, but things have definitely gone downhill for him in a hurry after his big game against the Colts last week.
The time Sanchez and Matthews spent working with the second-team offense has showed in their rapport since Sanchez took over for the injured Nick Foles (collarbone). Matthews has four touchdowns from Sanchez in the past three games, including consecutive games with 100-plus yards against Carolina and Green Bay. The Titans will likely use Jason McCourty to shadow Jeremy Maclin, so Matthews could continue to play well opposite Blidi Wreh-Wilson. There have been nine receivers to reach double digits in Fantasy points against Tennessee this year with seven touchdowns allowed, and three No. 2 receivers (Pierre Garcon, DeAndre Hopkins and Torrey Smith) have scored at least nine points against the Titans in their past four games. Matthews is a borderline-No. 1 receiver this week.
Beckham has gone three games in a row without scoring a touchdown, but he's still found a way to be productive. He has at least 93 receiving yards in each game over that span, along with at least six catches in each outing. Eli Manning is leaning on Beckham with 33 targets in his past three outings, and it's only a matter of time before he posts a dominant stat line. The last time he faced the Cowboys in Week 7 in Dallas he had four catches for 34 yards and two touchdowns, so hopefully he can have a similar performance. Dallas has allowed four receivers to score or gain at least 100 yards in each of its past four games, and we expect Beckham to stay hot in this matchup.
Gordon is back following a 10-game suspension, and Fantasy owners should have no hesitation to start him this week against the Falcons. He could be on a snap count, but he plans to make the most of his time on the field, as he told former teammate Nate Burleson he's "going to tear this league up," per NFL.com. Atlanta could use No. 1 cornerback Desmond Trufant to shadow Gordon, but Trufant allowed Kelvin Benjamin to post a line of nine catches, 109 yards and a touchdown last week. We're glad Gordon is back, and hopefully he can deliver on the lofty expectations Fantasy owners have for him after his breakout campaign in 2013. I also like Andrew Hawkins as a sleeper this week.
Watkins should have a big game now that this game has been removed from the elements and will be played inside in Detroit. The last time he faced the Jets in Week 8 he only had three catches, but he finished with 157 yards and a touchdown. The Jets have allowed 11 touchdowns to opposing receivers and 10 have reached double digits in Fantasy points. Watkins has struggled the past two games against Kansas City and Miami with a groin problem and some inconsistent performances from Orton with just seven catches for 59 yards, so he's due for a big game. The Jets are the perfect elixir to cure all receiving woes.
The season started with Steve Smith garnering all the headlines for the Ravens and Torrey Smith struggling to catch a cold. But something changed during the Ravens' offensive explosion at Tampa Bay in Week 6. Smith had two touchdowns in that game, and since then he has scored five touchdowns in five games, with four games of double digits in Fantasy points. He still hasn't had more than five catches in any game or gained 100 receiving yards, but Smith is cashing in on big plays from Flacco. The Saints have allowed a receiver to score in each of the past two games with Anquan Boldin in Week 10 and A.J. Green in Week 11, and Smith has the chance to make it three in a row coming off his bye week.
SleepersMohamed Sanu (at HOU): Houston has allowed 14 touchdowns to receivers.
Vincent Jackson (at CHI): Maybe McCown gets him a touchdown vs. Chicago.
Percy Harvin (at BUF): He should be a must-start option in PPR leagues.
Brandon LaFell (vs. DET): He's scored in his past two home games.
Kenny Stills (vs. BAL): He and Marques Colston gain with Brandin Cooks out.
You know the story with Wallace by now. If he scores he has a good Fantasy day, but if he fails to find the end zone he struggles. He has one touchdown in his past four games in Week 10 at Detroit, which was good for 11 Fantasy points in a standard league. But in the three other games he combined for 13 Fantasy points. The Broncos have a quality secondary that should be able to contain Wallace, who doesn't make any big plays down the field any more. I actually like Jarvis Landry better than Wallace this week, but neither one is more than just a No. 3 Fantasy receiver in the majority of leagues.
No. 1 receivers continue to do well against the Rams as eight of 10 have scored or gained at least 100 yards against them this season. But is Allen the No. 1 option or is it Malcom Floyd? I'd rather trust Floyd at this point given his big-play ability, and Allen has just one touchdown on the season. He is a quality option in PPR leagues with at least six catches in three of his past four games, but he has only one game with more than 75 receiving yards along with his lack of touchdowns. So continue to use Allen as a No. 3 receiver in PPR formats, but Floyd is the better receiver in standard leagues. Allen is just not producing enough in standard formats to help at this point in the season.
Fitzgerald is dealing with a sprained MCL, and the lack of production with Drew Stanton, along with the tough matchup at Seattle, make him a risky Fantasy option if he even plays after sitting out practice all week. Fitzgerald had just two catches for 33 yards against Detroit in Week 11. He now has 14 Fantasy points combined in Stanton's four starts. Seattle clearly isn't the same dominant defense that it was in 2013, but the Seahawks still have done well against opposing receivers with just four touchdowns allowed on the season. If Fitzgerald is out then I would also stay away from John Brown and Michael Floyd, with Brown having slightly more upside even though Floyd had two touchdowns last week. Floyd could end up being matched up with Richard Sherman, which will make things tough on him.
Johnson played well in his first start with Ryan Mallett in Week 11 at Cleveland with seven catches for 68 yards on nine targets, but it was the same story with no touchdowns. He now has just one touchdown on the season and one game with double digits in Fantasy points in a standard league. He's still worth using as a No. 3 receiver in PPR leagues with seven catches in three of his past five games, but this a tough matchup as well. The Bengals have only allowed five receivers to score six touchdowns this year and five to reach double digits in Fantasy points. DeAndre Hopkins remains the best receiving option in Houston, and Johnson should be reserved in most standard leagues.
In his past two games with Griffin starting, Garcon has combined for four catches for 21 yards and no touchdowns on just seven targets. We're not sure why Griffin has gone completely away from Garcon, but he's not trustworthy as a Fantasy option right now. He only has three touchdowns on the season and just two games with double digits in Fantasy points. We're not sure you can start Garcon again this season, and certainly not this week against the 49ers. I'm still going with DeSean Jackson as a starting option this week, but I don't consider Garcon even an option in PPR formats. This looks like a lost season for him as the Redskins continue to struggle with their passing game.
Reports out of Boston indicate the Patriots will use Brandon Browner to cover Calvin Johnson and have Darrelle Revis match up with Tate. That will make it a tough day for Tate, who is coming off a down game with just two catches for 41 yards at Arizona. He hasn't scored a touchdown with Johnson at 100 percent, and Revis just helped contain T.Y. Hilton to three catches for 24 yards on seven targets. Tate could suffer a similar fate, so downgrade him from a must-start Fantasy option to a No. 3 receiver this week. Like we said with Stafford, the schedule lightens up after this week, but the matchup with the Patriots and Revis is daunting, so bench Tate if you can.
Ahmad Bradshaw (ankle) is done for the season and Dwayne Allen (ankle) is out for this week, which would allow Fleener even more targets after he's already been playing well of late. He has at least 13 Fantasy points in his past two games, including a dominant performance in Week 11 with seven catches for 144 yards on seven targets against the Patriots. The last time he faced the Jaguars in Week 3 he had four catches for 49 yards and a touchdown on four targets. Jacksonville has allowed six touchdowns to tight ends this season, including one for Jason Witten in Week 10 in London. Fleener is Top 3 tight end coming into this week.
The last time Donnell faced the Cowboys in Week 7 he was having a career game. He had seven catches, which tied a career high, and he had a career-best 90 yards. He also fumbled twice, but thankfully that hasn't ruined his standing with Eli Manning or Tom Coughlin. Donnell has since scored in two of his past three games, and we expect him to play well once again in the rematch with Dallas at home. The Cowboys have allowed eight touchdowns to opposing tight ends, and this game could be high-scoring with the Giants chasing points. Donnell could be a Top 5 tight end this week.
After a slow start where he failed to score or top 61 receiving yards in any game through the first five weeks, he has turned it on of late. Witten has three touchdowns in his past five games, with at least six Fantasy points in four of those outings. He was held to two catches for 27 yards against the Giants in Week 7, but Gavin Escobar starred in that game with three catches for 65 yards and two touchdowns. Maybe the Cowboys go back to Escobar this week again, but we expect Witten to stay hot based on his recent high level of play. Get Witten back in your starting lineup and hope he closes the season strong, starting with a big game this week against the Giants.
SleepersAustin Seferian-Jenkins (at CHI): He's a great streaming option at Chicago.
Jacob Tamme (vs. MIA): He should play well if Julius Thomas is ruled out.
Mychal Rivera (vs. KC): Kansas City has allowed eight touchdowns to tight ends.
Rudolph returned from a six-game absence from groin surgery in Week 11 at Chicago, and he had a great opportunity against the Bears. Instead, he was limited to just 14 snaps, and he had no targets in the game. He should improve this week, but it might not be enough to help your Fantasy team. The Packers have allowed just two touchdowns to tight ends this year and only two have reached double digits in Fantasy points. At this point we'll let Rudolph prove that he's back to 100 percent before starting him in most formats.
Daniels comes into this game following a bye in Week 11, and he hasn't scored a touchdown since Week 7. He's only scored in two games this year, and he's struggled to post consistent stats. He does have six catches and at least 53 receiving yards in two of his past three games, which is good for PPR owners, but he had only two catches for 20 yards in Week 10 against Tennessee. New Orleans has only allowed two tight ends to score this season in Levine Toilolo in Week 1 and Jermaine Gresham last week, and the Saints have held Witten, Greg Olsen and Vernon Davis to a combined nine Fantasy points. I'd look elsewhere for a bye-week replacement this week instead of starting Daniels.
Novice Fantasy owners tend to chase big performances, and sometimes they can lead to unrealistic expectations. At tight end, most owners who don't have Rob Gronkowski, Jimmy Graham or Julius Thomas will gravitate toward a player coming off a big game, which Gresham had in Week 11 at New Orleans with two catches for 13 yards and two touchdowns. He could always score again, and he does have six targets in two of his past three games. But keep in mind this was his first touchdown of the season, and the Texans have yet to allow a tight end to reach double digits in Fantasy points despite giving up three touchdowns. We'd like to see Gresham get hot and give Dalton another weapon to rely on, but that's not likely to happen this week.
I've seen enough of the Rams to know they are good at stopping tight ends from having big games. Going back to 2012, a span of 42 games, St. Louis has allowed just 10 touchdowns to opposing tight ends and only four to reach double digits in Fantasy points in a standard league. Cooper Helfet is the lone tight end to reach that mark this season, and Gates could struggle this week. He does have at least 12 Fantasy points in four games this season, including six touchdowns in four home games. But he's scored just five Fantasy points in his past two games, and Rivers could be playing at less than 100 percent. Most Fantasy owners can't afford to bench Gates based on his upside, but this is a week where he could get shut down.
Bryant has done a nice job on the road the past two games outdoors, which is where he has typically struggled. But he has four made field goals in each of his past two outings at Tampa Bay in Week 10 and at Carolina in Week 11 with 26 Fantasy points over that span. It's his best two-game stretch of the season by far, and we hope he stays hot for three weeks in a row. He has at least eight Fantasy points in each home game in Atlanta, with double digits in points in Week 1 against New Orleans and Week 6 against Chicago. The Browns have allowed four kickers to make multiple field goals against them this season, including Randy Bullock in Week 11. Three kickers have scored at least 11 Fantasy points against Cleveland, and we hope Bryant can transition his recent road dominance into another quality outing at home.
SleepersRobbie Gould (vs. TB): Seven kickers have multiple field goals vs. Tampa Bay.
Caleb Sturgis (at DEN): He's made 12 field goals in his past five games.
Cairo Santos (at OAK): Seven kickers have multiple field goals vs. Oakland.
Zuerlein was one of the heroes for the Rams in their upset victory against the Broncos in Week 11 with five field goals, including two from 50-plus yards, and one extra point. He had 20 Fantasy points in a standard league, which was better than Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Drew Brees. But that was Zuerlein's first game with more than seven Fantasy points since Week 2 and just the second time this season he's scored double digits in points. It was also only his fourth game with multiple field goals on the season. So we'll just congratulate him for his efforts in Week 11 but avoid him as a starting option this week outdoors at the Chargers.
The Packers defense is rolling the past two games coming off their bye. Granted it was at home, but Green Bay has crushed Chicago and Philadelphia, holding those two offenses to a combined 34 points. The Packers DST has four touchdowns, four interceptions, seven sacks and three fumble recoveries over that span. The Packers had 26 Fantasy points against the Vikings in Week 5, and Minnesota just allowed the Bears DST to score 14 points. Green Bay should harass Teddy Bridgewater into a mistake or two, and we like the Packers DST as a Top 3 Fantasy option this week, even on the road.
SleepersEagles (vs. TEN): Philly has scored 75 Fantasy points in past three at home.
Colts (vs. JAC): Indianapolis had 20 Fantasy points vs. Jacksonville in Week 3.
Chargers (vs. STL): St. Louis has scored just 34 points in its past three road games.
The Lions DST has been among the best units this season and rank No. 5 in standard leagues coming into Week 12. But they have struggled a little of late with eight Fantasy points or less in three of the past four games. They have five interceptions over that span but only six sacks. Tom Brady does have three interceptions in his past two games, but he's been sacked just twice in his past four outings. The Patriots have scored at least 43 points in three of their past four games at home, and the Lions defense could be exposed in this matchup. The Lions DST should be great during the Fantasy playoffs with matchups against Tampa Bay in Week 14 and Minnesota in Week 15, but you should plan to find an alternative this week.
Full Disclosure from Week 11
I'm nervous about Alfred Morris this week with his matchup at San Francisco, but he came through last week with his performance against Tampa Bay as the Start of the Week. Morris finished as the No. 8 running back in standard leagues.
Our positive start calls for Week 11, including sleepers, were Jay Cutler, C.J. Anderson, Mike Evans, Jordan Matthews, Malcom Floyd and Coby Fleener. We also correctly said to sit Larry Fitzgerald, Andre Johnson, Marques Colston, Darren Sproles and Mychal Rivera.
I had a rough week at quarterback as Rivers, Roethlisberger, Matt Ryan and Mark Sanchez were all mediocre Fantasy options as starts, but Dalton, Wilson, Ryan Tannehill, Cam Newton and Josh McCown all played well as sits. The good news is we'll do better this week.
|Player||Fantasy Pts. (proj.)||Fantasy Pts. (actual)||Pos. rank|
|Alfred Morris, RB, Redskins||14||12||8|
|Mike Evans, WR, Buccaneers||13||32||1|
|Jay Cutler, QB, Bears||23||29||2|
|Marques Colston, WR, Saints||6||5||46|
|Mychal Rivera, TE, Raiders||7||4||15|
|Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Cardinals||6||3||53|
|Philip Rivers, QB, Chargers||25||13||21|
|Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Steelers||24||12||22|
|Steven Jackson, RB, Falcons||12||4||31|
|Andy Dalton, QB, Bengals||17||27||3|
|Russell Wilson, QB, Seahawks||18||26||4|
|Michael Crabtree, WR, 49ers||7||14||14|