The Best Fantasy Football Starts at Every Position for NFL Week 12
With a handful of elite players having already played on Thanksgiving (Arian Foster, Calvin Johnson, Tom Brady, Robert Griffin III), the picks for top fantasy players in Week 12 are a little slimmer.
However, there are still plenty of players capable of putting up huge points this week. For example, you can be almost guaranteed that the game between the New York Giants and Green Bay Packers is going to be loaded with points at numerous positions.
Here are the best starts at each position for Week 12 of fantasy football.
Quarterback: Peyton Manning, Denver Broncos
Peyton Manning has been in rare form for the past month, and he is looking better than ever. In his past four games, Manning has thrown for 1,167 yards, 10 touchdowns and three interceptions.
Statistically, the Kansas City Chiefs have the sixth-best pass defense in the league, but I don't see Manning slowing down at all.
Bonus Sleeper Pick: Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco 49ers
Once Jim Harbaugh gave Kaepernick the green light as the starter in Week 12, his fantasy value shot through the roof. His performance against the Chicago Bears Monday night was extremely impressive, and a game against the New Orleans Saints this week could be even better.
Because of his duel-threat ability, look for Kaepernick to put up huge points in Week 12.
Running Back: Doug Martin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Not only has Doug Martin looked like one of the top offensive rookies in the league, he's looked like one of the best players in the league regardless of position.
Martin has already recorded 1,000 rushing yards, 319 receiving yards and eight touchdowns through the first 10 games of the season. He is on pace to finish the season with over 2,100 total yards and 13 touchdowns.
This week, Martin has the Atlanta Falcons on his schedule and their 26th-ranked run defense. Atlanta is giving up over 130 rushing yards and an average of one touchdown per game.
Bonus Sleeper Pick: BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Cincinnati Bengals
The Oakland Raiders are giving up 122.2 rushing yards per game, and they have allowed the second-most rushing touchdowns this season with 14.
Green-Ellis has been nowhere near an "elite" running back for Cincinnati this season, but has been consistent week-in and week-out. Look for him to have his best game of the season against the Raiders and be a sleeper to put up some huge numbers.
Wide Receiver: A.J. Green, Cincinnati Bengals
A.J. Green was our choice for the best start at wide receiver last week (as well as in Week 9). Basically, until a team shows they are capable of slowing him down, he'll continue to be the best start at wide receiver, regardless of matchup.
Of course, the fact that he is playing the Oakland Raiders this week makes him an absolute lock for a monster week. The Raiders simply don't have a player in the secondary capable of slowing down Green.
Since failing to find the end zone in Week 1, Green has scored at least one touchdown in nine straight games. Look for that streak to increase to 10 this week, and don't be surprised if his 10th-straight game with a touchdown turns into a multi-touchdown effort.
Bonus Sleeper Pick: Justin Blackmon, Jacksonville Jaguars
Blackmon was completely silent this season until he exploded for 236 yards and a touchdown last week. Blackmon's breakout performance came once Blaine Gabbert was replaced with Chad Henne.
With Henne starting again in Week 12, Blackmon could again put up an ultra-productive week in fantasy football.
Tight End: Vernon Davis, San Francisco 49ers
In his first game with Colin Kaepernick starting at quarterback, Vernon Davis had one of his best games of the season. His six receptions were the most in a single game this season, and his 83 yards and a touchdown weren't too shabby either.
With Kaepernick set to start again in Week 12, we can expect similar results from Davis. He plays the New Orleans Saints this week, who are giving up 305 passing yards per game.
Look for Davis to continue to enjoy success with his new quarterback as he has his best game of the season this week.
Bonus Sleeper Pick: Kyle Rudolph, Minnesota Vikings
We saw what Davis and the San Francisco 49ers were able to do against the Chicago Bears last week. While Rudolph isn't nearly as athletic as Davis, he should be able to present similar problems to the Bears defense this week.
If the Vikings want to go into Chicago and walk away with a win, they'll need to get Rudolph involved early and often.
Kicker: Matt Prater, Denver Broncos
The Denver Broncos currently boast one of the most productive offenses in the league, posting 30.1 points per game this season. The Kansas City Chiefs, on the other hand, are giving up 28.4 points per game.
Basically, this is going to be a massacre in Denver's favor from the opening kickoff. Matt Prater will get plenty of opportunities to put points on the board on Sunday and should easily be the top scoring kicker in Week 12.
Bonus Sleeper Pick: Rob Bironas, Tennessee Titans
Don't look now, but the Titans are quietly putting some wins on the board. They're doing it with an offense that has scored an average of 26 points over the past five games.
With the Jacksonville Jaguars on the schedule this week, Tennessee and Bironas could be in for another big week.
Defense: St. Louis Rams
The St. Louis Rams play the Arizona Cardinals this week. While that matchup may not seem like anything special, the fact that Arizona is starting Ryan Lindley at quarterback this week makes it ideal for the Rams defense.
With Cortland Finnegan and Janoris Jenkins keeping Larry Fitzgerald and Co. in check, the Cardinals simply won't be able to move the ball down the field. Throw in the pressure that Robert Quinn and Chris Long will be bringing all game, and you have the recipe for an absolute shutdown in St. Louis' favor.
Bonus Sleeper Pick: Carolina Panthers
Both Michael Vick and LeSean McCoy are likely out for Sunday's game, meaning the Philadelphia Eagles could be rather light on the offensive side of the ball.
While Carolina has been anything but spectacular on defense, this is about as good of a matchup as Carolina can get on defense.