Week 12 NFL Matchup Preview Part Two
Be sure to check out Part One of our Week 12 NFL Matchup Previews.
SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 27, 2016
1:00 PM EST
San Diego Chargers at Houston Texans
QB Philip Rivers: The Texans are a top five defense against the pass and allowing the 5th least points per game to opposing QBs. Philip Rivers has proven to be almost matchup proof this season, having very good fantasy games against other top defenses. Rivers should be a locked-in QB1, even with the tough matchup.
RB Melvin Gordon: The Texans are beatable on the ground and Melvin Gordon has been an RB1 all year. He should again be an RB1.
WR Tyrell Williams, Dontrelle Inman: Tyrell Williams has established himself as the primary WR in San Diego, clocking in as WR20 thus far and WR14 since Week 5. Even in a tough matchup, he’s a must-start WR2. Dontrelle Inman is no more than a low-ceiling flex play, with just one game over 12 PPR points, back in Week 4.
TE Antonio Gates, Hunter Henry: The Texans are stingy to opposing TEs, limiting Gates to a low-end starter with the rookie Hunter Henry a TD-dependent option.
QB Brock Osweiler: With a full complement of QB options available, there is very little reason to even consider Brock Osweiler outside deep two-QB leagues.
RB Lamar Miller: Lamar Miller cracked the 100-yard mark for just the third time this year and the first time since Week 6. He also scored his third TD of the year. His games over 100-yard or with a TD have all come against soft defenses, which the Chargers are not. He should again see the volume early, but if the Chargers get an early lead, it could lead to a quiet game for Miller.
WR DeAndre Hopkins, Will Fuller: Sadly, DeAndre Hopkins has become nothing more than a 5/55 type WR. He’s a low-end WR2 but has the talent to erupt at any time forcing him into your lineups. Will Fuller should not be considered anything more than a flex play.
TE C.J. Fiedorowicz: The Chargers are allowing the 8th least points to opposing TEs, limiting C.J. Fiedorowicz to a TD-dependent option.
San Francisco 49ers at Miami Dolphins
QB Colin Kaepernick: Colin Kaepernick has been a QB1 since taking over the starting job and should be considered a QB1, even in this tough matchup.
RB Carlos Hyde, DuJuan Harris, Shaun Draughn: The Dolphins are allowing the 3rd most yards per game this year, but not quite a TD per game. Carlos Hyde is a mid-level RB2 due to the friendly matchup, but the ceiling is capped with DuJuan Harris and Shaun Draughn siphoning a few touches and receptions, but not enough to be trusted as starters themselves.
WR Jeremy Kerley: While his QB has been a quality starter for fantasy football owners, Jeremy Kerley has been the only possible WR starter. Unfortunately, he followed a 7/71/1 stat line in Week 10 with a zero in Week 11. He should not be trusted.
TE Vance McDonald: He’s been a decent TE streamer with Colin Kaepernick at the helm.
QB Ryan Tannehill: The 49ers have been generous to opposing QBs, but the Dolphins has trended to the run-heavy side capping Tannehill’s upside. He’s best left on the bench or waiver wire.
RB Jay Ajayi: The volume is still there and a matchup with the league’s worst run defense makes Jay Ajayi a must-start RB1 with the potential to be the #1 RB for the week.
WR Jarvis Landry, DeVante Parker: The lowered passing volume has reduced Jarvis Landry to a WR2 start in PPR leagues, having scored just his second TD of the year. DeVante Parker has back-to-back solid games and is a low-end WR2 start in a decent matchup.
Los Angeles Rams at New Orleans Saints
QB Jared Goff: While most signs suggest that Jared Goff is best left on the waiver wire, he may actually be a VERY sneaky streamer. The Saints defense is beatable and Goff may find himself playing catch up with Drew Brees. There is some potential for garbage-time points, and a long TD to Kenny Britt is not out of the realm of possibilities.
RB Todd Gurley: The disappointing season continues. Todd Gurley couldn’t crack 4 yards per carry against one of the worst run defenses in the league last week but salvaged his day with a TD to finish as a low-end RB2. The Saints matchup is more friendly to the pass, where Gurley has suddenly lost passing down work to Benny Cunningham. You’re still, reluctantly, starting Gurley in hope that he finally breaks a big TD.
WR Kenny Britt, Tavon Austin: Kenny Britt still finds himself as a fairly reliable WR2. Tavon Austin has 4 total receptions in his past 3 games and is not start-able, even in a juicy matchup.
TE Lance Kendricks: The lack of TDs makes Lance Kendricks a low-floor, low-ceiling TE. With no teams on a bye this week, there should be better options.
QB Drew Brees: Brees in the dome is money in the bank.
RB Mark Ingram, Tim Hightower: As of this writing, Mark Ingram is still in the NFL’s concussion protocol. Check his status after Friday practice and before kickoff Sunday. While he’s vowed to play, he’s also going to split time with Tim Hightower. Hightower should be considered a low-end RB2/flex option if Ingram plays and a high-end RB2 if Ingram is out.
WR Brandin Cooks, Michael Thomas, Willie Snead: All three Saints WRs are must-start options, with the assumption of a high-volume passing game from Drew Brees. Unfortunately, all three cannibalize each other’s projected upside. Someone will go off, but your guess is as good as mine as to which one it will be. Start them all as WR2 options.
TE Coby Fleener: Coby Fleener has found himself as a TD-dependent TE and a tough matchup with a Rams defense allowing the 4th least points to opposing TEs.
SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 27, 2016
4:05 PM EST
Seattle Seahawks at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
QB Russell Wilson: Russell Wilson seems to have broken out of his funk the past three weeks, checking in as the #2 QB over the past 3 weeks while finishing in the top 5 each week. The trip to Tampa Bay gives Wilson another friendly matchup against a secondary ranking in the top 10 in both yards allowed and TDs per game. Wilson is an elite level QB1.
RB Thomas Rawls: The Seattle running back position has been a great spot for fantasy points this year and Thomas Rawls now finds himself as the primary option for touches against a Buccaneer defense allowing over 100 yards per game and just under a TD per game. He’s a solid RB1 for the week.
WR Doug Baldwin: Doug Baldwin has quietly had a solid, yet unspectacular season. With Russell Wilson finally hitting his groove, Baldwin is trending to the top of the WR2 ranks. He’s a borderline WR1 in this matchup.
TE Jimmy Graham: The Buccaneers are right in the middle of points allowed to opposing TEs. Jimmy Graham is on pace for a 1,000-yard season and finding himself as a locked-in TE1 every week.
QB Jameis Winston: The matchup is not good, but Seattle on a cross-country trip can be a little less scary. Jameis Winston has a 13:5 TD/INT ratio at home and 7TDs in his past three home games. The expectation for some garbage time points is also there, considering Tampa Bay is a 6 point home dog. It’s the last tough matchup for Winston before a dreamy stretch of games, so you shouldn’t be dropping him for a streamer due to this matchup, but if you have a better option, feel free to start them over him this week.
RB Doug Martin: The Seattle Seahawks have allowed 9 rushing TDs this season and almost 100 yards per game. Doug Martin is not an elite play this week, but he should be a solid to high-end RB2.
WR Mike Evans, Adam Humphries, Russell Sheppard, Cecil Shorts: Even in a terrible matchup, Mike Evans is an elite WR that must be started at all times. The sneaky play here could be one of the secondary WRs, but unfortunately, I don’t know which one. I expect Winston to spread the ball around a lot. Seattle’s weakest matchup might be slot WRs, giving Adam Humphries some upside as a PPR flex. Sheppard has had a few nice games and Cecil Shorts showed nice chemistry with Winston last week with 5/62 line. None of them are more than desperation flex options.
TE Cameron Brate: Cameron Brate has established himself as a favorite target in the red zone for Jameis Winston hauling in 3 TDs in his past 4 games. He’s a borderline TE1 for his TD potential even in a very tough matchup.
SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 27, 2016
4:25 PM EST
Carolina Panthers at Oakland Raiders
QB Cam Newton: Often the #1 QB drafted in August, Newton finds himself stuck in a rut with zero or 1 passing TD in 7-of-9 games played. He has just 3 passing TDs in his last 4 games. Luckily the Oakland Raiders field one of the most generous secondaries in the league. Unfortunately, he has not taken advantage of recent great matchups, leaving him as more of a borderline QB1 than an elite one.
RB Jonathan Stewart: Since the bye week, Jonathan Stewart is averaging less than 3 yards per carry. He has exceeded 42 yards rushing just once in those four games and has just two receptions. The matchup is decent and he is getting the volume, but he is a low-floor RB2.
WR Kelvin Benjamin, Ted Ginn: After a hot start, Kelvin Benjamin has cooled off and hasn’t scored a TD since Week 4. The good news is that he’s still getting enough volume to be a WR2 in PPR leagues. The friendly matchup this week should help him post solid WR2 or borderline WR1 numbers. Since Week 6, Ted Ginn has posted a very consistent 5/55 type stat line. He makes for a safe floor flex play, but the upside isn’t there right now.
TE Greg Olsen: Greg Olsen is the perfect example of why season-long points is not always a good measuring point. Still the TE1 in fantasy leagues, he’s just TE16 since the Week 7 bye. The great news is that the Oakland Raiders are horrendous at covering opposing TEs. TEs facing Oakland have been great streaming options all year. Putting an elite TE against them is a recipe for Olsen to break out of his recent funk.
QB Derek Carr: The Panthers are allowing the 6th most points per game to opposing QBs and Derek Carr should be considered a high-end QB1 in this matchup.
RB Latavius Murray: Last week, Latavius Murray saved his fantasy day by snagging 5 receptions for 59 yards while posting just 2.8 yards per carry. He’s been limited this week due to an ankle injury, but he continues to lead the team in carries. In a game that both teams must win, look for the Raiders to lean on Murray to keep Cam Newton on the sidelines. He should be a solid RB2.
WR Amari Cooper, Michael Crabtree: Amari Cooper continues his sophomore breakout season; on pace for 100 receptions and 1,440 yards. With just 3 TDs on the season, he’s not been an every-week WR1, however, 2 of those 3 TDs have come in the last three games. He’s an elite WR1 play this week. Meanwhile, his running mate Michael Crabtree is coming off two terrible games where he has 5 receptions for 32 yards, combined. Those games were against elite secondaries in Denver and Houston. Even nursing an ankle injury, he should do better against a Panthers secondary allowing the 8th most points to opposing WRs.
New England Patriots at New York Jets
QB Tom Brady: Tom Brady. Divisional Game. Terrible Jets secondary. Sign. Me. Up.
RB LeGarrette Blount, Dion Lewis: The Jets defense has been tough for opposing RBs, ranking 4th with just 85 rushing yards per game allowed. They have also allowed just 6 rushing TDs all season, 3rd least in the league. LeGarrette Blount is more of a mid-level RB2. Dion Lewis is still working back into game shape and is nothing more than a flex option in PPR leagues.
WR Julian Edelman, Malcolm Mitchell: Julian Edelman has returned to form and is a high-end WR2 in PPR leagues with WR1 upside. Rookie Malcolm Mitchell broke out last week with a 4/98/1 stat line. With Chris Hogan questionable, Mitchell is a sneaky flex play if Hogan is out.
TE Rob Gronkowski, Martellus Bennett: Typical Patriots – we have to keep an eye on the injury reports right up to kickoff time. Rob Gronkowski has been limited in practice, while Martellus Bennett hasn’t practiced. Keep an eye on the reports after Friday practice to get a (slightly) better idea of who’s playing Sunday.
QB Ryan Fitzpatrick: This season has not been good for Fitzpatrick. The matchup is just ok, but he’s not playing at a start-able level for fantasy purposes. Look elsewhere.
RB Matt Forte, Bilal Powell: The Patriots are allowing just over 100 yards per game, but have given up just 6 rushing TDs this year. Matt Forte should see enough volume to be a low-end RB2. Bilal Powell has had a few start-able weeks in PPR leagues. With the expectation that the Jets will be playing from behind, Powell should have value as a flex play in PPR leagues.
WR Brandon Marshall, Quincy Enunwa: The struggles in the passing game have derailed Brandon Marshall, who has just 3 games with more than 11 PPR points this season. The Patriots are allowing the 5th least amount of points to opposing WRs. Marshall should be considered a low-end WR2, while Enunwa is barely on the flex-play radar.
SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 27, 2016
8:30 PM EST
Kansas City Chiefs at Denver Broncos
QB Alex Smith: It’s a divisional game where the winner will take over sole position of 2nd place and the possibility to tie the Raiders for the division lead (if the Raiders lose). That said, the Denver pass defense is one you avoid for Fantasy purposes. Smith shouldn’t be started this week.
RB Spencer Ware: The Denver run defense has been soft, giving Spencer Ware RB1 upside in a game the Chiefs should look to control with their run game.
WR Jeremy Maclin, Tyreek Hill: Jeremy Maclin continues to deal with a groin injury that’s held him out of the past two games and may not play again this week. Tyreek Hill has been the only Chiefs WR to even remotely consider playing, and he’s no more than a boom/bust flex play.
TE Travis Kelce: The Broncos are tough on opposing TEs, but Kelce is typically a focal point of the passing game for the Chiefs. He has two 7 reception, 100-yard games in his past 4 games. He’s a low-end TE1.
QB Trevor Siemian: Coming off the bye week, Siemian should be well prepared for a matchup with the mid-pack Chiefs secondary. Siemian himself has exceeded 250 yards passing in each of his past three games. There are probably better options to start at QB, but Siemian is a mid-level QB2 with a floor of 225/1.
RB Devontae Booker: The yards per carry is uninspiring, but the volume is solid. Devontae Booker should be considered a low-end RB2 in a matchup with the Chiefs defense allowing the 6th most yards to opposing RBs while allowing a league-low 4 rushing TDs.
WR Demaryius Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders: Last year, Demaryius Thomas was lauded for his lack of TDs. This year, he’s on pace for 10TDs, but also on pace for his lowest reception (88) and yardage (1,072) totals since 2011. He has just one 100-yard game this year. He’s a safe floor WR2, but doesn’t have the WR1 upside we’re used to. Emmanuel Sanders is on a very similar pace for receptions (86) and yardage (1,069), but has just 3 TDs and hasn’t scored since Week 4. He’s in the same, safe-floor, low-ceiling WR2 ranking as Thomas.
MONDAY, NOVEMBER 28, 2016
8:30 PM EST
Green Bay Packers at Philadelphia Eagles
QB Aaron Rodgers: Aaron Rodgers is on an absolute tear right now and is a must-start, even in this tough road game against one of the league’s better defenses.
RB James Starks, Ty Montgomery, Christine Michael: The Packers have basically given up trying to run the ball the past few weeks, averaging under 14 RB rushing attempts over their past 3 games. Starks may see enough touches to be a flex play. Ty Montgomery hasn’t played enough to be trusted and the recently signed Christine Michael should steal enough carries to limit Starks upside, but not enough to be playable. This whole backfield should be avoided if at all possible.
WR Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, Davante Adams: With Aaron Rodgers playing at a high level (for fantasy purposes), all three Packer WRs should be started. Jordy Nelson is a borderline WR1, Davante Adams and Randall Cobb are low-end WR2/flex plays.
TE Richard Rodgers, Jared Cook: Richard Rodgers has been a decent floor play at TE in PPR leagues the past few weeks but has minimal upside. Jared Cook returned from an injury to explode for a 6/105/1 stat line. The Eagles are allowing the 2nd least points to opposing TEs. The two TEs limit each other’s potential, making Cook a boom/bust TE option with Rodgers best left out of starting lineups.
QB Carson Wentz: The rookie has been good-not-great this year, especially his recent games where he just 2 TDs over his past 3 games and 4 TDs in his last 6 games. He also hasn’t thrown a TD in 3 of his last 6 games. If you’re fighting for a playoff spot in your fantasy playoffs, Carson Wentz should not be in your starting lineup.
RB Ryan Mathews, Darren Sproles, Wendell Smallwood: Ryan Mathews is trending towards missing this game with his knee injury. Darren Sproles suffered a rib fracture last week, but was surprisingly a full participant in practice. While he may play, one wrong hit could send him to the sideline for the rest of the game and should not be trusted in fantasy lineups. That leaves us with rookie Wendell Smallwood who has performed decently in limited time. The uncertainty of this backfield makes Smallwood nothing more than a desperation flex play.
WR Jordan Matthews: The Eagles WRs have been all over the map. Jordan Matthews has been the only consistent performer for fantasy purposes. He’s on pace for 85 receptions and just over 1,000 yards, but just 5TDs. He has just 1 TD since Week 3. He should be considered a low-end WR2 in PPR leagues.
TE Zach Ertz: The Packers have allowed the 8th most points per game to opposing TEs while Zach Ertz has at least 6 reception in each of his last 3 games. He should be considered a solid TE start.