Week 12 Fantasy Football Rankings: Top 20 Players at Every Position

Gary Davenport@@IDPSharksNFL AnalystNovember 21, 2012

Week 12 Fantasy Football Rankings: Top 20 Players at Every Position

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    It's Thanksgiving week, and that means a couple of things for fantasy football enthusiasts.

    First, with three games on tap on for Thursday, fantasy owners are faced with a short week in which to set their lineups, so decisions on some players need to be made much more quickly than usual.

    Second, the fantasy playoffs are just around the corner, and that means that there's no margin for error when it comes to setting those lineups this week, as one more loss will all but end the postseason dreams of many fantasy squads.

    So in order to help you get a much-needed Week 12 win, here's a look at the top 20 players at every position in point-per-reception (PPR) fantasy football leagues.

Aaron Rodgers and the Top 20 Quarterbacks

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    If there's one thing that many fantasy owners have to be thankful for this year—at least those who spent an early pick on a quarterback—it's the recent play of Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

    Over the past five games, the eighth-year pro has tossed 17 touchdown passes against only two interceptions, and there's no reason to think that won't continue Sunday night against the New York Giants' 25th-ranked pass defense.

    1. Aaron Rodgers - GB at NYG

    2. Matt Ryan - ATL at TB

    3. Peyton Manning - DEN at KC

    4. Drew Brees - NO vs. SF

    5. Tom Brady - NE at NYJ

    6. Tony Romo - DAL vs. WAS

    7. Carson Palmer - OAK at CIN

    8. Cam Newton - CAR at PHI

    9. Robert Griffin III - WAS at DAL

    10. Matthew Stafford - DET vs. HOU

    11. Andrew Luck - IND vs. BUF

    12. Eli Manning - NYG vs. GB

    13. Andy Dalton - CIN vs. OAK

    14. Colin Kaepernick - SF at NO

    15. Josh Freeman - TB vs. ATL

    16. Matt Schaub - HOU at DET

    17. Philip Rivers - SD vs. BAL

    18. Ryan Fitzpatrick - BUF at IND

    19. Chad Henne - JAX vs. TEN

    20. Russell Wilson - SEA at MIA

Adrian Peterson and the Top 20 Running Backs

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    Granted, Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson has a tough matchup this week with a Chicago Bears defense that ranks eighth in the NFL against the run and has allowed the fourth-fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs in 2012.

    However, the sixth-year pro leads the NFL in rushing, is averaging a career-high 5.8 yards per carry and has averaged over 150 rushing yards and 1.5 touchdowns over the past four games, so frankly I don't care how bad his matchup is.

    All day, baby.

    1. Adrian Peterson - MIN at CHI

    2. Arian Foster - HOU at DET

    3. Doug Martin - TB vs. ATL

    4. Frank Gore - SF at NO

    5. Ray Rice - BAL at SD

    6. Chris Johnson - TEN at JAX

    7. Matt Forte - CHI vs. MIN

    8. C.J. Spiller - BUF at IND

    9. Marshawn Lynch - SEA at MIA

    10. Trent Richardson - CLE vs. PIT

    11. Marcel Reece - OAK at CIN

    12. Jamaal Charles - KC vs. DEN

    13. Alfred Morris - WAS at DAL

    14. Steven Jackson - STL at ARI

    15. Jalen Parmele - JAX vs. TEN

    16. Stevan Ridley - NE at NYJ

    17. Ryan Mathews - SD vs. BAL

    18. Ronnie Hillman - DEN at KC

    19. Ahmad Bradshaw - NYG vs. GB

    20. BenJarvus Green-Ellis - CIN vs. OAK

Calvin Johnson and the Top 20 Wide Receivers

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    One of the traditions on Thanksgiving is plopping down in front of the television to watch the Detroit Lions play, and for many fantasy owners, that means they'll have the chance to see their top wide receiver in action.

    Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson has feasted on Thanksgiving in the past, scoring in four of five career games. And given that "Megatron" has averaged over 150 yards a game the past three weeks, the 27-year-old should it make it five out of six this year.

    1. Calvin Johnson - DET vs. HOU

    2. A.J. Green - CIN vs. OAK

    3. Roddy White - ATL at TB

    4. Reggie Wayne - IND vs. BUF

    5. Wes Welker - NE at NYJ

    6. Brandon Marshall - CHI vs. MIN

    7. Victor Cruz - NYG vs. GB

    8. Dez Bryant - DAL vs. WAS

    9. Andre Johnson - HOU at DET

    10. Demaryius Thomas - DEN at KC

    11. Randall Cobb - GB at NYG

    12. Marques Colston - NO vs. SF

    13. Vincent Jackson - TB vs. ATL

    14. Julio Jones - ATL at TB

    15. Steve Johnson - BUF at IND

    16. Miles Austin - DAL vs. WAS

    17. Jordy Nelson - GB at NYG

    18. Eric Decker - DEN at KC

    19. Torrey Smith - BAL at SD

    20. Michael Crabtree - SF at NO

Jason Witten and the Top 20 Tight Ends

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    With Rob Gronkowski of the New England Patriots out with a broken arm, the tight-end position has been cast into chaos! Up is down! Right is Left! The Kansas City Chiefs are good!

    Okay, maybe I got a little carried away.

    Gronkowski's injury does add quite a bit more fluidity to the top of the tight-end rankings, and this week, the top spot belongs to Jason Witten of the Cowboys, who should thrive in a very favorable fantasy matchup with the Washington Redskins.

    1. Jason Witten - DAL vs. WAS

    2. Jimmy Graham - NO vs. SF

    3. Tony Gonzalez - ATL at TB

    4. Vernon Davis - SF at NO

    5. Owen Daniels - HOU at DET

    6. Aaron Hernandez - NE at NYJ

    7. Jermaine Gresham - CIN vs. OAK

    8. Brandon Myers - OAK at CIN

    9. Greg Olsen - CAR at PHI

    10. Brandon Pettigrew - DET vs. HOU

    11. Antonio Gates - SD vs. BAL

    12. Jermichael Finley - GB at NYG

    13. Scott Chandler - BUF at IND

    14. Martellus Bennett - NYG vs. GB

    15. Dustin Keller - NYJ vs. NE

    16. Brent Celek - PHI vs. CAR

    17. Tony Moeaki - KC vs. DEN

    18. Kyle Rudolph - MIN at CHI

    19. Jared Cook - TEN at JAX

    20. Heath Miller - PIT at CLE

Stephen Gostkowski and the Top 20 Kickers

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    It's no big surprise given that he plays on one of the NFL's most prolific offenses, but Stephen Gostkoski is the second-highest scoring kicker in fantasy football to this point in the season and is one of only two players at his position averaging double digits in fantasy points per game.

    That's as good a reason as any to give Gostkowski the top spot, plus the fact that fantasy owners can watch him play on Thanksgiving night right after that fifth slice of pie.

    1. Stephen Gostkowski - NE at NYJ

    2. Lawrence Tynes - NYG vs. GB

    3. Shayne Graham - HOU at DET

    4. Mike Nugent - CIN vs. OAK

    5. Matt Prater - DEN at KC

    6. Adam Vinatieri - IND vs. BUF

    7. David Akers - SF at NO

    8. Dan Bailey - DAL vs. WAS

    9. Garrett Hartley - NO vs. SF

    10. Jason Hanson - DET vs. HOU

    11. Matt Bryant - ATL at TB

    12. Sebastian Janikowski - OAK at CIN

    13. Mason Crosby - GB at NYG

    14. Rian Lindell - BUF at IND

    15. Shaun Suisham - PIT at CLE

    16. Justin Tucker - BAL at SD

    17. Greg Zuerlein - STL at ARI

    18. Connor Barth - TB vs. ATL

    19. Rob Bironas - TEN at JAX

    20. Nick Novak - SD vs. BAL

Denver Broncos and the Top 20 Defenses

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    I've said it before, but I'll say it again. In fantasy football, picking a team defense is all about the matchups.

    With that said, the Denver Broncos have been a top-five fantasy defense this season and face a Kansas City Chiefs team that leads the NFL in both giveaways and fantasy points allowed to team defenses.

    1. Denver Broncos - DEN at KC

    2. Chicago Bears - CHI vs. MIN

    3. Minnesota Vikings - MIN at CHI

    4. Seattle Seahawks - SEA at MIA

    5. New England Patriots - NE at NYJ

    6. Cleveland Browns - CLE vs. PIT

    7. Cincinnati Bengals - CIN vs. OAK

    8. Pittsburgh Steelers - PIT at CLE

    9. St. Louis Rams - STL at ARI

    10. Arizona Cardinals - ARI vs. STL

    11. Houston Texans - HOU at DET

    12. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - TB vs. ATL

    13. Baltimore Ravens - BAL at SD

    14. Tennessee Titans - TEN at JAX

    15. San Francisco 49ers - SF at NO

    16. New York Giants - NYG vs. GB

    17. Carolina Panthers - CAR at PHI

    18. Dallas Cowboys - DAL vs. WAS

    19. Philadelphia Eagles - PHI vs. CAR

    20. New Orleans Saints - NO vs. SF