Week 12 Fantasy Football Rankings: Updated Look at Top Players at Every Position

Jesse ReedCorrespondent INovember 19, 2013

Nov 10, 2013; Indianapolis, IN, USA; St. Louis Rams running back Zac Stacy (30) runs with the ball during the second quarter against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports
Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports

For most fantasy football owners, Week 12 marks the "do-or-die" portion of the season, which makes choosing the right players to start on a weekly basis a critical exercise. For those who struggle in this regard, positional power rankings are a useful tool that can help you get over the top. 

There are some players like Peyton Manning, Calvin Johnson and Jamaal Charles who are weekly must-start players, and you'll usually find these men atop the rankings.

But other players who aren't as consistent—such as Eddie Royal, Zac Stacy and Geno Smith—have emerged as top-10 players often enough to warrant consideration for a starting spot.

Taking into account individual matchups and recent trends, this is one man's interpretation of how the top players will stack up at every position at the conclusion of Week 12. 

Note: All point totals for standard-scoring leagues (ESPN). Points against stats (ESPN). The Buffalo Bills, Philadelphia Eagles, Cincinnati Bengals and Seattle Seahawks are on bye. 

 

Quarterbacks

Week 12 Fantasy Rankings: Quarterbacks
RankPlayerTeamOpponentProj. Points
1Drew BreesNew Orleans SaintsAtlanta Falcons30
2Peyton ManningDenver BroncosNew England Patriots28
3Matt StaffordDetroit LionsTampa Bay Buccaneers26
4Tom BradyNew England PatriotsDenver Broncos23
5Tony RomoDallas CowboysNew York Giants21
6Andrew LuckIndianapolis ColtsArizona Cardinals19
7Cam NewtonCarolina PanthersMiami Dolphins18
8Colin KaepernickSan Francisco 49ersWashington17
9Robert Griffin IIIWashingtonSan Francisco 49ers15
10Alex SmithKansas City ChiefsSan Diego Chargers14
Author

Drew Brees tops the list this week, as his New Orleans Saints head into Atlanta to take on the hapless Falcons. He's scored 30-plus points in two of his last four games, and the Falcons have allowed over 17 fantasy points to quarterbacks in every game but two this season. 

Both Tom Brady and Peyton Manning should be due for big nights when they play against one another on Sunday Night Football. Both the New England Patriots and Denver Broncos have given up significant point totals to opposing quarterbacks this year, and these two always bring out the best in one another.

KANSAS CITY, MO - OCTOBER 20:  Quarterback Alex Smith #11 of the Kansas City Chiefs throws a pass against the Houston Texans during the first half on October 20, 2013 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri.  (Photo by Peter Aiken/Getty Images)
Peter Aiken/Getty Images

With Russell Wilson, Nick Foles and Andy Dalton out this weekend on byes, fantasy owners will be scrambling to find their temporary replacements. Thankfully, there are a few worthy sleepers for this job such as Alex Smith, Ryan Fitzpatrick and Ben Roethlisberger.

 

Running Backs

Week 12 Fantasy Rankings: Running Backs
RankPlayerTeamOpponentProjected Points
1Zac StacySt. Louis RamsChicago Bears25
2Adrian PetersonMinnesota VikingsGreen Bay Packers23
3Frank GoreSan Francisco 49ersWashington21
4Jamaal CharlesKansas City ChiefsSan Diego Chargers20
5Matt ForteChicago BearsSt. Louis Rams20
6Ben TateHouston TexansJacksonville Jaguars19
7Eddie LacyGreen Bay PackersMinnesota Vikings15
8Knowshon MorenoDenver BroncosNew England Patriots14
9Rashad JenningsOakland RaidersTennessee Titans13
10Chris JohnsonTennessee TitansOakland Raiders13
Author

A couple of NFC West studs have a prime opportunity for monster games this weekend. 

Zac Stacy and the St. Louis Rams take on the Chicago Bears, which have allowed more fantasy points to opposing running backs than every team in the league but two. Frank Gore and the San Francisco 49ers are headed to Washington this Sunday, and the Redskins are one of those teams. 

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 27:  #21 Frank Gore of the San Francisco 49ers celebrates after scoring a touchdown during the NFL International Series game between San Francisco 49ers and Jacksonville Jaguars at Wembley Stadium on October 27, 2013 in London, E
Michael Regan/Getty Images

Also, look for Ben Tate to have a big game at home against the hapless Jacksonville Jaguars. 

Those who've been relying on Marshawn Lynch and LeSean McCoy to carry the load will need to find a replacement this week, and that's no easy task, considering their lofty production this season. Donald Brown and Pierre Thomas are a couple of worthy backs for your consideration.

 

Wide Receivers

Week 12 Fantasy Rankings: Wide Receivers
RankPlayerTeamOpponentProj. Points
1Victor CruzNew York GiantsDallas Cowboys28
2Calvin JohnsonDetroit LionsTampa Bay Buccaneers27
3Vincent JacksonTampa Bay BuccaneersDetroit Lions25
4Dez BryantDallas CowboysNew York Giants22
5Brandon MarshallChicago BearsSt. Louis Rams20
6Demaryius ThomasDenver BroncosNew England Patriots18
7Jordy NelsonGreen Bay PackersMinnesota Vikings17
8Josh GordonCleveland BrownsPittsburgh Steelers15
9Larry FitzgeraldArizona CardinalsIndianapolis Colts14
10Marques ColstonNew Orleans SaintsAtlanta Falcons13
Author

Victor Cruz is going to get a couple of opportunities to get his salsa dance going against the pitiful secondary of the Dallas Cowboys. He scored 29 points in Week 1 against this team, catching five passes for 118 yards and three touchdowns, and the Cowboys have actually gotten progressively worse since that time. 

To nobody's surprise, Calvin Johnson is among the top receivers this weekend. He's caught seven touchdowns in the past four games while being double and triple teamed on most plays. 

Vincent Jackson will continue his fine play against the Detroit Lions—the second-worst fantasy defense in the NFL against receivers. 

TAMPA, FL - NOVEMBER 11:   Vincent Jackson #83 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers carries the ball in the first quarter against the Miami Dolphins at Raymond James Stadium on November 11, 2013 in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

For those owners in need of help while A.J. Green, DeSean Jackson, Riley Cooper and Percy Harvin sit the week out on byes, there are a few worthy players to consider: Jerricho Cotchery, Cecil Shorts and Nate Burleson could be the answer you've been looking for. 

 

Tight Ends

Week 12 Fantasy Rankings: Tight Ends
RankPlayerTeamOpponentProj. Points
1Jimmy GrahamNew Orleans SaintsAtlanta Falcons20
2Rob GronkowskiNew England PatriotsDenver Broncos17
3Julius ThomasDenver BroncosNew England Patriots16
4Vernon DavisSan Francisco 49ersWashington15
5Coby FleenerIndianapolis ColtsArizona Cardinals14
6Jason WittenDallas CowboysNew York Giants12
7Tony GonzalezAtlanta FalconsNew Orleans Saints12
8Rob HouslerArizona CardinalsIndianapolis Colts10
9Delanie WalkerTennessee TitansOakland Raiders9
10Jordan CameronCleveland BrownsPittsburgh Steelers9
Author

Jimmy Graham and Rob Gronkowski are going to top this list most weeks, and Week 12 is no different. The Falcons have no chance of stopping Graham, given the injuries sustained to the team's linebacking corps, and Denver features the league's sixth-worst fantasy defense against tight ends. 

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - OCTOBER 20: Coby Fleener #80 of the Indianapolis Colts scores a touchdown against Rahim Moore #26 of the Denver Broncos at Lucas Oil Stadium on October 20, 2013 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

Coby Fleener could have a monster game for the Indianapolis Colts against the Arizona Cardinals. He's coming off a big game against the Tennessee Titans (eight catches for 107 yards), and the Cardinals feature the league's worst fantasy defense against tight ends. 

Of the teams on a bye this weekend, there aren't any real superstar tight ends, but if you need a substitute, here are a few players to think about: Rob Housler, Heath Miller and Greg Olsen.

 

Defense

Week 12 Fantasy Rankings: Defense
RankTeamOpponentProj. Points
1Carolina PanthersMiami Dolphins16
2Houston TexansJacksonville Jaguars15
3San Francisco 49ersWashington17
4Tennessee TitansOakland Raiders17
5Kansas City ChiefsSan Diego Chargers15
6Baltimore RavensNew York Jets14
7New Orleans SaintsAtlanta Falcons12
8St. Louis RamsChicago Bears10
9New York JetsBaltimore Ravens9
10Miami DolphinsCarolina Panthers8
Author

It's hard to bet against Carolina's defense right now. The Panthers have allowed just 12.8 points per game in their last five contests, and the team's defensive line has really ramped up pass-rushing efforts of late. 

Oct 13, 2013; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Carolina Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly (59) against the Minnesota Vikings at Mall of America Field at H.H.H. Metrodome. The Panthers defeated the Vikings 35-10. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports
Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sport

Houston's defense should have a field day against the Jaguars, and you can expect the Baltimore Ravens and New York Jets to beat up one another in an ugly defensive struggle. 

 

Kickers

Week 12 Fantasy Rankings: Kickers
RankPlayerTeamOpponentProj. Points
1Matt PraterDenver BroncosNew England Patriots15
2Stephen GostkowskiNew England PatriotsDenver Broncos14
3Ryan SuccopKansas City ChiefsSan Diego Chargers13
4Mason CrosbyGreen Bay PackersMinnesota Vikings12
5Garrett HartleyNew Orleans SaintsAtlanta Falcons12
6Dan BaileyDallas CowboysNew York Giants11
7Robbie GouldChicago BearsSt. Louis Rams10
8Adam VinatieriIndianapolis ColtsArizona Cardinals9
9Shaun SuishamPittsburgh SteelersCleveland Browns8
10Justin TuckerBaltimore RavensNew York Jets8
Author

You can't go wrong with either Matt Prater or Stephen Gostkowski this Sunday night when the Broncos and Patriots kick off. 

Kansas City's Ryan Succop should also have a big game at home against the San Diego Chargers. The Chiefs do a nice job moving the ball on offense between the 20s, and the Chargers haven't been able to stop anybody this year. 

 

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