Fantasy Football Rankings: Start 'Em, Sit 'Em for Week 12

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Fantasy Football Rankings: Start 'Em, Sit 'Em for Week 12
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If you started any offensive players from the Thanksgiving Day games, you were likely thankful for the results.

After all, five of the six teams that played on Thursday scored more than 30 points. Although the Jets failed to reach the 30-point threshold, few fantasy footballers would start Jets players in any given week anyway.

That said, all six of the starting quarterbacks on Thursday threw for 300-plus yards. The group averaged 355.3 passing yards per game and threw a total of 14 touchdowns and only five interceptions.

Both Tony Romo and Matthew Stafford threw it more than 60 times each and finished with exactly 441 passing yards. Before Thursday, there were only nine 400-yard games in 11 weeks and only three quarterbacks threw for more than 441 yards in a game this season.

For those who were worried about Lions receiver Calvin Johnson earlier in the season, he now has four consecutive games with more than 125 receiving yards. During that span, he has 32 receptions for 619 yards and three touchdowns.

One of the most talented yet frustrating players to own in fantasy football is Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant. Although he had only one 100-yard game in his first two seasons in the league, Bryant now has back-to-back games with 145 yards and a total of four 100-yard games this season. He has scored in three consecutive games with a total of four touchdowns during that stretch.

Texans receiver Andre Johnson finished with nine receptions for a Thursday high of 188 yards. Although he has only one touchdown from Weeks 4 to 12, Johnson has eight or more receptions in five of his past six games. He also has three 100-yard games in the past four weeks.

 

Looking ahead to the rest of this week's games, here are some players to consider starting in Week 12:

QB - Eli Manning, Giants (vs GB)

Before the team's bye, Manning had let down fantasy owners with three consecutive disappointing performances. During that span, he had zero touchdowns and four interceptions. Averaging a mere 177.3 passing yards per game, he threw for 215 yards or less in each game during that stretch.

So, why start him, you ask?

If there were any issues with arm fatigue, as some had speculated, that may be behind him.

"I didn't think there was anything to it," Manning said earlier in the week (via Jorge Castillo of the Newark Star-Ledger). "I still, in practices, thought I was throwing the ball well. I felt no fatigue. Obviously, sometimes during the course of the season you may not realize it, but today (my) arm felt good. (I) threw some deep ones and didn’t have to struggle to get it out there. It was just coming out well."

In addition to throwing the ball well, the bye should have allowed Hakeem Nicks, one of the league's most dangerous receivers, to get back closer to 100 percent after offseason foot surgery and some knee swelling.

 

RB - Marcel Reece, Raiders (at CIN)

In both games without Darren McFadden and Mike Goodson available, Raiders fullback Marcel Reece has finished with at least 100 yards from scrimmage. Last week, he finished with nearly 200 yards from scrimmage (103 rushing and 90 receiving). With McFadden and Goodson out again this week, Reece will have an opportunity to extend the streak to three games against his quarterback's former team.

 

RB - Bryce Brown, Eagles (vs CAR)

Philadelphia's LeSean McCoy has not participated in practice and is still in "Phase 1 of his recovery" from the concussion he suffered last week, according to Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer. In other words, McCoy is unlikely to play, and backup Bryce Brown should get the start on Monday Night Football.

Although he has only 13 carries in the past four games, Brown is averaging 6.9 yards per carry during that stretch. His college career was a huge disappointment, but Brown left high school as the top prospect in the country.

Brown certainly has a chance to be a solid RB2 this week.

 

RB - Jalen Parmele, Jaguars (vs TEN)

From Weeks 1 to 10, Parmele had a total of eight carries. Against the Texans in Week 11, he had three times that amount. Parmele rushed for 80 yards on his 24 carries, and coach Mike Mularkey has already said that Parmele will get the start in Week 12.

Parmele gets a more favorable matchup this week against the Titans, who have the league's 28th-ranked rush defense (132.8 yards allowed per game). Only three teams have allowed more fantasy points to opposing running backs than the Titans.

 

WR - Randall Cobb, Packers (at NYG)

Scoring double-digit fantasy points in six consecutive games, Cobb is one of the league's most versatile and dangerous weapons. In his past four games, he has scored each week and has a total of six touchdowns during that span. Cobb has become a must-start every week.

 

WR - Hakeem Nicks, Giants (vs GB)

When healthy, Nicks is one of the league's best receivers. Entering this season, he came off back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons with a total of 18 touchdowns in the regular season. In the team's Super Bowl run, Nicks had 28 receptions for 444 yards and four touchdowns in four playoff games.

Even though he may never feel 100 percent this season due to knee and foot injuries, the bye week has helped him get as close to that point as he may ever get this season. "This is as close as I'm gonna be. If this is it, this is 100 percent," Nicks said (via ESPN).

 

WR - Michael Crabtree, 49ers (at NO)

Crabtree has finished with 40 receiving yards or less in half of his games this season including last week's win over the Bears. That said, he has double-digit fantasy points and scores in three consecutive games.

No team has allowed more fantasy points to opposing wide receivers than the Saints, who have also allowed a league-worst 15 touchdowns to wideouts this year.

 

WR - Danario Alexander, Chargers (vs BAL)

After Vincent Jackson left via free agency, the Chargers signed Robert Meachem this offseason in hopes that he could fill (some of) the void. While Meachem has arguably been this year's biggest free-agent bust, Alexander has stepped up in the past three weeks and filled the void created by Jackson (and the under-performing Meachem).

In his past two games, Alexander has 12 receptions for 230 yards and three touchdowns. Over the past four weeks, his targets have increased each week: one (Week 8), three (Week 9), seven (Week 10) and 11 (Week 11).

 

TE - Brandon Myers, Raiders (at CIN)

Myers is on pace to finish with 80 receptions for 886 yards this season. Although he didn't score his first touchdown until Week 9, Myers has three touchdowns in the past three weeks.

Only four teams have allowed more fantasy points to opposing tight ends this season than the Bengals.

 

Here are some players to consider sitting in Week 12:

QB - Philip Rivers, Chargers (vs BAL)

The good news is Rivers has three consecutive games with multiple touchdowns, and he has completed 73.2 percent of his passes during that span. The bad news is he has thrown five interceptions in those three games.

Rivers is averaging only 246.1 passing yards per game, a five-year low, and he's on pace to throw 22.4 interceptions, which would exceed last year's career high (or low, depending on your perspective) of 20.

 

RB - James Starks, Packers (at NYG)

Starks has 42 carries in his past two games combined, so I wouldn't be surprised if he gets plenty of work (20-plus carries). In those two games, however, he has only 135 yards, which is 3.21 yards per carry.

Although they rank only 15th in the league against the run, the Giants have allowed the sixth-fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs this season. They have allowed only four rushing touchdowns to backs this year.

 

RB - Michael Turner, Falcons (at TB)

In his past four games, Turner is averaging 55.3 rushing yards per game and 3.1 yards per carry. While Jacquizz Rodgers has much fewer carries (19 to Turner's 72) over that span, he has been more effective (5.5 yards per carry).

The Bucs lead the NFL in rushing defense (81.8 yards per game and 3.4 yards per carry).

 

RB - Rashard Mendenhall, Steelers (at CLE)

In his return last week, Mendenhall had 11 carries for 33 yards as he finished second in both categories to Jonathan Dwyer (12 carries for 55 yards). Mendenhall and Dwyer will most likely split carries again this week, which limits Mendenhall's value.

 

WR - Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals (vs STL)

Fitzgerald had five or fewer fantasy points in three of his past four games including only one fantasy point last week. Considering the team's quarterback situation, it's hard to feel confident in Fitzgerald even though he is one of the league's most talented receivers.

 

WR - Dwayne Bowe, Chiefs (vs DEN)

If Fitzgerald had a bad game (one reception for 11 yards) last week, Bowe had an even worse week. For the first time this season, Bowe failed to catch a pass, and he left the game in the second quarter with a neck injury. He is listed as probable on the injury report so he is expected to play, but the team's offense limits his upside.

 

WR - Jeremy Maclin, Eagles (vs CAR)

Like Bowe, Maclin had a goose egg in Week 11. Unlike Bowe, Maclin was able to finish the game and was still held catchless.

Although two of the four times the Panthers have allowed 20-plus fantasy points to receiving corps have occurred in their previous two games, the Panthers rank eighth in fewest fantasy points allowed to receivers this season.

 

WR - Brian Hartline, Dolphins (vs SEA)

Hartline is on pace to finish with 85 receptions for 1,263 yards, but he has only one touchdown this season. In 10 games, Hartline has exceeded seven fantasy points only three times.

No team has allowed fewer fantasy points to opposing receivers than the Seahawks this year.

 

TE - Brent Celek, Eagles (vs CAR)

Beginning with Week 3, Celek has underwhelmed fantasy owners every week with six or fewer fantasy points in eight consecutive games. In his past six games, Celek has 47 or fewer receiving yards every week.

 

Note: All player designations and practice participation notes above are from the NFL.com's injury page.

For a player to appear in the Start 'em list, they need to be ranked inside my top 12 quarterbacks, top 24 running backs, top 24 wide receivers or top 12 tight ends. Players outside those rankings fall on the Sit 'em side.

If you play in a league that starts three receivers, is deeper than 12 teams or uses flex positions, please note that some of the players on the "sit 'em" side may be worth a start.

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