Fantasy Football Rankings: Week 12 Matchups to Consider
Just three weeks remain in the fantasy regular season, so every lineup decision matters more than ever! The Ballers have their rankings out for Week 12 and I’m here to filter through some key matchups that may need some attention before setting your roster this week.
Tua Tagovailoa (MIA) vs Houston
Recent results make it really hard to bet against Tua Tagovailoa and keep him out of your lineup. Since returning from injury in Week 7, Tua hasn’t finished outside of the top 12 QBs and has been in the top four in his last three games. In that three-game stretch, Tua is averaging 323 yards and three TDs a game.
Week 12 presents what should be a great matchup for the league’s sixth-highest-scoring offense against the league’s worst record in Houston. However, the Texans’ defense should maybe get an extra look before penciling Tua into your lineup. Through ten games, Houston has only allowed an opposing fantasy QB to score over 20 points twice this season. In fact, Houston has only allowed two QBs to finish inside the top 12 on a given week and has an average QB fantasy finish of QB16.
Miami’s offense is explosive enough that Tua’s fantasy day could be made early by just a few big plays, but Houston’s defense is simply the worst against the run. The Texans allow the most rushing yards per game by nearly 25 yards, and that’s where opposing QBs fall into the trap. It’s tough to encourage fantasy managers to not continue riding the Tua wave, but it may be worth shifting to a better matchup for Week 12.
Kurt prefers to play: Geno Smith (QB9)
Joe Burrow (CIN) at Tennessee
Joe Burrow has pretty quietly been the QB5 on the season through 11 weeks. Burrow has been the overall QB1 in three of his last five games and is throwing multiple TDs in 70% of his games this season. As long as the Bengals continue to allow Burrow to throw the ball at a high volume, he should continue to see big fantasy days for managers putting him in their lineup.
At first glance, the Tennessee Titans seem like another great matchup for Burrow to notch his eighth top-12 finish of the season, but the Titans’ defense has been better in recent weeks. After starting the season by giving up a top-12 QB finish in four of their first five games, Tennessee’s defense has been great against opposing fantasy QBs. In their last five games, the Titans have only allowed one top-12 QB finish and just two in the top 20.
Burrow and the Bengals’ offense seem to be really hitting their stride, but fantasy managers shouldn’t sleep on this Tennessee defense.
Latavius Murray (DEN) at Carolina
The lead RB job in Denver seems to solely belong to Latavius Murray after Melvin Gordon was waived by the Broncos this week. Murray joined the Broncos after Week 4, and in games where he’s seen double-digit carries, his average fantasy finish is RB19, including an RB11 finish in Week 11.
Carolina presents an opportunity for Murray to submit himself into the RB2 range for the rest of the fantasy season. The Panthers’ defense ranks as the 5th best matchup for fantasy RBs, but has only given up 20 or more points to opposing fantasy RBs four weeks this season. Since Carolina gave up a gigantic day to Joe Mixon in Week 9, they’ve allowed RB48 and RB33 finishes to opposing starters.
Fantasy managers considering playing Murray will be able to purely based on the volume he’s sure to receive and should be considered an RB2 for Week 12.
Kurt would play Murray over: Najee Harris (RB20)
Rachaad White (TB) at Cleveland
Prior to the Buccaneers’ bye week, fantasy managers may have seen Rachaad White cement himself as the lead back for this Tampa Bay offense. In Week 10, White saw 64% of snaps and finished with 105 yards while finishing as the RB20. Fellow RB Leonard Fournette still saw 14 carries and got into the end zone, but White was named the starter and should continue that role going forward.
What better opportunity could White have to show he’s the top RB on the Bucs roster than getting the Browns in Week 12? Cleveland has allowed a top-24 RB finish nine times this season, including two overall RB1 finishes. The Browns have actually given up three top-12 RB finishes in the last two weeks due to giving up RB10 and RB6 finishes to Miami in Week 10.
Fantasy managers can play White as an RB2 with high upside this week.
Antonio Gibson (WAS) vs Atlanta
Antonio Gibson has quietly found himself inside the top-24 RBs in five of his last six games, including back-to-back RB15 finishes. With J.D. McKissic out for the rest of the season, Gibson’s increased opportunity in the Commanders’ offense should continue to increase down the stretch. In Week 11, Gibson had more rushing attempts than Brian Robinson in a game since Robinson’s return from injury, so his increased work isn’t just from eating into the void left by McKissic.
The Falcons have given up 20 or more points to opposing team’s fantasy RBs in four straight games. In those four games, Atlanta has allowed a top-10 RB with an average fantasy finish of RB6.
If Gibson continues to see the increased workload he’s enjoyed over the last five games and can stay involved in the passing game, fantasy managers can expect high-end RB2 upside in Week 12.
Kurt would play Gibson over: David Montgomery (RB22)
DK Metcalf (SEA) vs Las Vegas
A slower start to the season has turned around for DK Metcalf as he’s finished inside the top 20 WRs in five of eight games for the Seahawks. Metcalf has been the beneficiary of the resurgent season and high passing volume from Geno Smith. Possibly the biggest negative to having Metcalf in fantasy lineups is what seems to be his dependency on a TD to get inside the top 24. Of the five weeks Metcalf has been a top-24 WR, only once did it come without a TD.
The need for Metcalf in fantasy lineups this week comes solely based on the matchup with the Raiders’ defense. While Las Vegas’ defense is known to give up top-12 QB finishes, they’ve only given up two top-24 finishes to WRs in their last five games. Each of those top-24 finishes came to players that didn’t rely on the big play, but instead saw a high volume of targets and could consistently pick apart the Raiders’ secondary.
Metcalf is averaging eight targets in the Seahawks’ last three games with an average of nine yards per reception. This week fantasy managers can expect a good baseline with Metcalf against the Raiders.
Kurt would play Metcalf over: Chris Olave (WR17)
George Pickens (PIT) at Indianapolis
The WR1 takeover may be nearly complete in Pittsburgh from George Pickens. Ryan DeVaney points out in his “Things We Learned” article for this week, Pickens is out-producing veteran Diontae Johnson despite consistently seeing fewer targets and a lower percentage of snaps, which puts him into the range that fantasy managers should be relying on him as a FLEX option. Pickens has produced back-to-back top-24 finishes and has finished there in three of his last four games.
At first glance, the Colts pose a tough matchup for Pickens to continue his top-24 streak, ranking as the toughest matchup for fantasy WRs on the season. However, the Colts have allowed a top-20 WR in two of their last four games.
Fantasy managers putting Pickens in their lineups may be disappointed if Pickens doesn’t get into the end zone like in the last three times he’s finished inside the top 24. This fantasy manager is going to ride the wave as a solid FLEX option in Week 12.
Kurt would play Pickens over: Josh Palmer (WR28)
Treylon Burks (TEN) vs Cincinnati
Another rookie who may be finally emerging as the lead option for his team’s passing attack, Treylon Burks finally gave fantasy managers a glimpse of the potential that prompted the Titans to trade A.J. Brown on draft night. Burks finished as the WR14 in Week 11 after finishing with seven receptions for 111 yards. Those stats are padded a little bit by a 51-yard catch to ice the game, but even without the big gain, Burks put together a strong enough night to warrant fantasy consideration.
The Bengals enter Week 12 having given up 20 or more points to opposing teams’ WRs in all but three games this season. In fact, Cincinnati’s defense has allowed a top-10 WR finish in two of their last three games.
Given the lack of receiving options in Tennessee, Burks should be a FLEX option this week.
Tyler Higbee (LAR) at Kansas City
Tyler Higbee has returned to the land of TE relevance, finishing inside the top 10 two weeks straight after finishing TE30 or lower in the prior three games. Over the last two weeks, Higbee has seen 16 targets which give him a great baseline for fantasy managers.
The Chiefs aren’t the best matchup for opposing TEs. In their last three games, Kansas City hasn’t allowed 10 points to opposing fantasy TEs and limited the Chargers TEs to a combined 1.1 points in Week 11. That said, the Chiefs are more than capable of giving up a good week to opposing TEs. Kansas City has allowed a top-12 fantasy TE in 50% of their games this season.
Fantasy managers should continue to trust Higbee in a Rams offense that is losing receiving options.
Kurt would play Higbee over: Dalton Schultz (TE5)
George Kittle (SF) vs New Orleans
It’s hard to bet against a player like George Kittle who’s finished as a top-6 TE in four of the last five weeks. Since Week 6, Kittle is averaging 65 yards and nearly a TD per game for the 49ers. That’s as many targets as Deebo Samuel has in that same stretch of time. Even with all of the weapons San Francisco’s offense has at its disposal, it’s clear that Kittle is still very involved in their plans.
Week 12 poses a tough choice for fantasy managers when it comes to Kittle. The Saints’ defense is no joke against opposing TEs. Only once this season have the Saints allowed more than 10 points to an opposing team’s TEs.
Of course, it’s always hard to not play a top-end TE, but fantasy managers may consider an alternative this week.
Kurt prefers to play: Dawson Knox (TE7)