Start 'Em Sit 'Em Week 12: Making the Call on Riskiest Playmakers

Tyler Brooke@TylerDBrookeSenior Analyst IINovember 20, 2013

CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 17: Ray Rice #27 of the Baltimore Ravens runs for a touchdown against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field on November 17, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

With fantasy football playoffs starting in the next couple of weeks, every remaining game is now incredibly important for most owners.

That means that every player you start or sit means even more now.  There are the studs who you always start, guys like Calvin Johnson and Peyton Manning, but then there are those RB2 or flex guys who could make or break your entire team.

Let's take a look at some of the riskiest players for Week 12, breaking them down and then deciding whether or not to start each one.

Note: All information regarding points scored is based off of ESPN's standard-scoring leagues.


Alex Smith, QB, Kansas City Chiefs

While the Kansas City Chiefs have one of the best defenses in the NFL, they don't exactly have one of the flashiest offenses.

Still, Alex Smith had a very good game against the Denver Broncos, recording 22 fantasy points thanks to over 280 total yards and two touchdowns.  While he's had four games with at least 21 total points, he's also had three games with less than 10.

The Chiefs will be playing the San Diego Chargers this week, which presents a rather ideal situation for Smith and the offense.  San Diego is allowing 275.5 passing yards per game along with 18.9 fantasy points, which is the fourth most in the league.

While Smith is an average fantasy QB through the air, his ability to rack up points is what makes him much more valuable.  He's accumulated 317 rushing yards and a touchdown on the ground this season, and I think that's what makes him a must-start player in Week 12 against the Chargers.

Verdict: Start 'Em


Ray Rice, RB, Baltimore Ravens

BALTIMORE, MD - NOVEMBER 10: Running back Ray Rice #27 of the Baltimore Ravens looks on before playing the Cincinnati Bengals at M&T Bank Stadium on November 10, 2013 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Patrick Smith/Getty Images

For the first time since Week 5, Ray Rice had more than six points, putting up 131 yards and a touchdown on the ground.  Fantasy owners were either thrilled he did so well or frustrated that they gave up on him and left him on the bench.

For those who benched him, you had the right idea, just a week early.

This was the first game all season that Rice ran for over 75 yards.  The Baltimore Ravens have seriously struggled to run the ball this year, and they were able to put up big numbers last week against the Chicago Bears, a team that has a very banged-up front seven.

The Ravens won't be so lucky this week.  The New York Jets are allowing just 73.2 rushing yards per game, the fewest in the NFL.  With players like Sheldon Richardson and Muhammad Wilkerson in the middle of that defense, no running backs want to be play the Jets right now.

Rice isn't going to put up numbers like that again this week, and I really don't think he's worth starting in any league going against the Jets defense.

Verdict: Sit 'Em


Kenny Stills, WR, New Orleans Saints

Oct 27, 2013; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints wide receiver Kenny Stills (84) carries the ball into the end zone for a touchdown in the second quarter agains the Buffalo Bills at Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Crystal LoGiudice-USA TO
Crystal LoGiudice-USA TODAY Sports

With Drew Brees as his quarterback, rookie wide receiver Kenny Stills has had some pretty big games, including a performance in Week 8 where he came up with 129 receiving yards and two touchdowns.

However, Stills has been very on and off over the past four weeks.  He had just one catch last week against the San Francisco 49ers and had just three catches for 35 yards against the Jets in Week 9.

This week, Stills has the chance to put up big numbers once again.  The New Orleans Saints will be playing the Atlanta Falcons, who give up 249.2 passing yards and 29.2 points per game.  Their young and inexperienced secondary combined with a hobbled front seven has really hurt the Falcons in 2013.

While Stills has been inconsistent, this defense gives him the perfect opportunity to have another explosive game.  Brees will throw to whoever is open, and with the speed of Stills, he will put up some big numbers.

Verdict: Start 'Em