The Fantasy Footballers’ Rankings Audit & Podcast Highlights for Week 12
Happy Thanksgiving, #Footclan! It’s turkey time!
Let’s be real, 2020 has been a rough year to say the least. With an ongoing pandemic, historically divisive election, and massive layoffs worldwide, it’s been difficult for some of us to appreciate anything. And while we’re all glad to have football around as a distraction during these stressful times, it can also produce its own unique form of anxiety — especially with fantasy playoffs right around the corner.
If this rings true for you, then please remember to enjoy this beloved sport for what it is and to cherish the things the truly matter in life. As the legendary “Tasmanian Devil” once said:
“The Super Bowl is a game.
Life is for real.
What I went through helped me get to where I am today.
I won’t forget.
I can’t forget.
Because a man who forgets his past sometimes loses his soul,
and forgets where to go in the future.”
— Junior Seau
It’s a sobering quote from the late 12x Pro Bowler and 8x First-Team All-Pro linebacker, but his message holds true to this day. Football — particularly fantasy football — is just a game. And games are supposed to be fun. So let’s try our best to keep things in perspective, and to have fun playing this silly game that we love and hold dear to our hearts.
With that said, we’re eager to move on to an exciting new slate of games in Week 12 of the National Football League!
As a reminder, this article is a weekly installment where I’ll review the Fantasy Footballers’ player rankings and highlight a few specific players per position that deserve extra attention. I’ll also recap important moments from the past week’s Fantasy Footballers’ podcast episodes with links to each episode provided. So be on the lookout each week for this series!
Also, please keep in mind that the Footballers’ rankings are constantly being updated whenever any breaking news is released. So always refer to their rankings page or click on a specific player below to see their latest rankings!
Now without further adieu… let’s go!
Taysom Hill, New Orleans Saints (@ DEN)
It didn’t look great, but Saints TE/RB/WR/ST/QB Taysom Hill surpassed expectations with 284 all-purpose yards and two TDs last week against the Falcons. Sure, he had the EASIEST matchup for opposing QBs, but he still outproduced household names like Aaron Rodgers, Patrick Mahomes, and Russell Wilson. It helped that he heavily targeted last year’s WR1, Michael Thomas. Hill couldn’t get it done with the passing game, but his legs literally carried him to a QB4 finish.
His next matchup against the Broncos’ rising defense presents a tougher challenge as they just bottled up promising rookie Tua Tagovailoa to 83 yards and a TD, resulting in an embarrassing benching to the bearded one, Ryan Fitzpatrick. Can his rushing upside lead him to another top-12 performance? Hill has the most disparity between the ‘Ballers, with Jason ranking him as his QB8, while Andy has him at QB11 and Mike at QB14. It’s evident that Hill’s rushing upside provides a safe floor with TD upside, akin to a poor man’s Josh Allen. Time will tell if he’s New Orlean’s future or just another flash in the pan.
Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens (@ PIT)
What a fall from grace it’s been for Ravens QB Lamar Jackson. Last year’s real-life and fantasy MVP, who’s had 14 QB1 games in 2019, finds himself with just four such games after 11 weeks. This could be primarily attributed to his lackluster passing game, as he’s only 17th in pass attempts, 22nd in passing yards, and 22nd in passer rating. Things certainly won’t improve with the Steelers’ indomitable defense up next on
Thursday Sunday. When they last met in Week 8, Jackson completed a measly 13 passes for a 208 yards and two TDs, adding 65 rushing yards to boost his score.
Ravens lead 24-21 with less than 12 minutes left in the game.
— NFL (@NFL) November 1, 2020
Unfortunately, the Madden ’21 cover model also threw two INTs, absorbed four sacks, and fumbled the ball THREE times. Pittsburgh’s constant pressure battered Jackson to a meager QB17 finish. Can he right the ship with a top-12 finish in their rematch? The gang is split as Andy and Mike have him as their QB12, while Jason is less enthused with a QB16 ranking. In fact, Jason plans to outright bench him for the first time. However, with RBs Mark Ingram and J.K. Dobbins both inactive this week (COVID-19), the offense may need to rely on Jackson’s arm rather than his legs. If Jackson can find his rhythm and finally connect with the criminally underused Marquise Brown, he could reemerge as the MVP-caliber phenom he once was.
Running Back Rankings
Jonathan Taylor, Indianapolis Colts (vs TEN)
Just when you thought Jonathan Taylor couldn’t possibly lead the backfield, he goes and does something like this…and totally redeems himself! Well, maybe not totally, but I digress. The hyped Wisconsin product subverted expectations by finally seeing 20+ carries, something he hasn’t done since Week 2. He took advantage of the opportunity, totaling 114 all-purpose yards from 26 opportunities. More importantly, he didn’t fumble the ball.
— Indianapolis Colts (@Colts) November 22, 2020
Taylor gets the chance to build on his momentum with an advantageous matchup against the Titans’ porous D-line. The gang is jaded, ranking him as their consensus RB22. While Taylor should command the lead role, head coach Frank Reich has made it clear that he’ll take the “hot-hand” approach, favoring Nyheim Hines or Jordan Wilkins more often than not. It’s definitely a risk starting Taylor, but his boundless potential combined with a tofu-soft matchup is too tempting to ignore. Taylor is Mike’s Start of the Week.
Frank Gore, New York Jets (vs MIA)
A 37-year-old in a brutal skill position under the guidance of fantasy despoiler Adam Gase is a recipe for irrelevance in Fantasy Football.
*Wait* Let’s put that statement in the “spin-zone,” shall we?
An experienced veteran in a heavily utilized position is a recipe for fantasy relevance, regardless of coaching staff.
That’s better. And certainly more deserving for the ageless wonder, Frank Gore, as he looks to lead his winless Jets against the Dolphins (#RevengeGame). He’ll get his chance again as rookie La’Mical Perine suffered a high ankle sprain and is expected out for at least three weeks. When Gore was given the reins last week against the Chargers, he showed his moxie, notching 71 total yards and a score. It was also his last RB1 performance since Week 3 last year. The readily available Pro Bowler is set to turn the clocks back and prove that he’s still got it. The ‘Ballers are more conservative with their projections, believing that he’ll rank closer to his age with a consensus RB35 ranking. But don’t be surprised if you see Gore’s name pop up in the “stud” columns after this week.
Wide Receiver Rankings
DeAndre Hopkins, Arizona Cardinals (@ NE)
I shouldn’t have to say this, but in case you haven’t seen any games this year or are a practicing member of the B.O.B cult, you should know that superstar wideout DeAndre Hopkins is simply marvelous. He’s been absolutely stunning despite joining a new team on a truncated offseason with no preseason games. Yet the remarkable receiver sits as the ‘Ballers’ consensus WR6, likely due to his volatile production in his last eight games: WR45, WR3, WR75, WR9, WR39, WR7, WR46, WR10. That’s quite a bounce in performance, and his prospects this week looks grim as he’ll have to contend against shadow coverage from shutdown corner Stephon Gilmore. Though he can always break free for a score, he’ll have to do so with a running QB that is nursing an AC joint sprain on his throwing shoulder. Not ideal at all. But if there’s anyone that can overcome adversity, it’s the man they call Nuk.
D.J. Moore, Carolina Panthers (@ MIN)
Are we finally seeing smoke? Because Panthers WR D.J. Moore is officially heating up and ready to catch fire against a porous Vikings secondary. The quiet wideout has now notched back-to-back impressive performances, averaging 18 targets and 111.5 yards in his last two games. He most notably thrived last week despite being targeted by XFL star P.J. Walker, who had a “shower narrative” with fellow receiver Robby Anderson. He’ll have a chance to catch fire against an extremely vulnerable Vikings defense. Both Moore and Anderson are Starts of the Week,
Throw the ball to D.J. Moore and good things happen pic.twitter.com/r8ysaeQuEr
— Ian Hartitz (@Ihartitz) November 18, 2020
Tight End Rankings
Jordan Reed, San Francisco 49ers (@ LAR)
86 81 is in full effect. Now that TE Jordan Reed is healthy and active, he must be started until he eventually breaks down. At least, that’s the mantra that Jason reluctantly follows, as Reed is his Start of the Week. The oft-injured TE has had a rocky year thus far, playing in only five games this year with results as the TE35, TE5, TE39, TE45, and TE6. His next matchup is a middling one, but with most of the other pass-catchers expected out, Reed could see another lucrative game as the primary target for whoever is slinging the ball for SF. He’s currently the crew’s consensus TE13, but I’m betting that he’ll exceed these expectations as the primary weapon against a divisional opponent.
Biggest Takeaways from the Week 12 Podcasts
Monday (Week 11 Studs & Stinkers + Jason Gets Dunked On!)
The gang jumpstarts this episode by sharing their favorite Monday Punday submissions at 02:40. Next is a recap of last Sunday’s games on the Weekly Rewind at 06:50. The ‘Ballers then discuss all their Fantasy Studmuffins at 13:25, including an apprehensive commendation on #MyGuy, Melvin Gordon. They then commiserate on the Stinkers of the Week at 39:40, including a “dunked on” Jason regarding his guy, Jordan Reed:
Why "Jason Gets Dunked On!" is part of today's show title…
— Fantasy Footballers (@TheFFBallers) November 23, 2020
Tuesday (Week 12 Waivers + Full Stream Ahead, Die Hard Decisions)
In this episode, the gang starts off with a recap of the fantasy-friendly Monday Night Football game between the Rams and Buccaneers at 02:45, before moving on to the News & Notes at 09:00. We then come to the juiciest part of the episode: the Week 12 Waivers at 16:35. We wrap up the episode with their choices for DST Streamers (Giants, Browns, Seahawks, Football Team, and Packers) at 43:30 and QB Streamers (Daniel Jones, Derek Carr, and Taysom Hill) at 46:15.
Wednesday (MEGALODON Episode – Week 12 Matchups, Turkey Day Awards & More!)
Meg. MEG. MEGALODON. We’re finally here, on the BIGGEST show of the year! Our excited crew starts this episode with the Taking It Up To 100 segment at 04:30, discussing hotly contested players like Jalen Reagor, Darius Slayton, and Cole Beasley. They move onto the News & Notes at 08:25, discussing various injuries for key players. Next is the Buy or Sell segment at 14:50, where the squad plants their flags on intriguing players like DJ Chark Jr., Aaron Rodgers, and Clyde Edwards-Helaire.
As a special holiday treat, the ‘Ballers present their nominees for the annual Turkey Day Awards at 20:55. This is followed with the Fantasy Forecast at 30:35, before hitting the heavily anticipated Starts of the Week at 49:50. Make sure you don’t miss Jason’s Boom Boom Kicker of the Week at 01:02:20. The remaining matchups are discussed in the second half of the Fantasy Forecast at 01:03:45, before concluding with the Prop It Like It’s Hot segment at 02:07:30.
Have a great weekend #Footclan and let’s crush all our matchups! If you haven’t done so yet, make sure you check out the awesome Week 12 Thanksgiving slate DFS Podcast by Kyle Borgognoni (@kyle_borg) and Matthew Betz (@TheFantasyPT). And as always, remember to tune in Sunday for Mike’s live stream where he provides last-minute updates to help you make those crucial roster decisions!