Fantasy Football Week 12: Underrated Options with Compelling Matchups

Tim KeeneyContributor INovember 20, 2013

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - NOVEMBER 17:  Brad Jones #59 of the Green Bay Packers grabs the facemask of Andre Brown #35 of the New York Giants during the first half at MetLife Stadium on November 17, 2013 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Fantasy playoffs are approaching, and many squads out there desperately need to win this week to keep their seasons alive. 

A good way to make sure that happens is to play the matchups. 

Sure, some lucky owners out there are stacked and don't need to make any lineup decisions, but most of us are scrambling for fill-in players. 

Let's take a look at some under-the-radar options facing weak defenses that you should consider in Week 12. 


Quarterback: Scott Tolzien, Green Bay Packers

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - NOVEMBER 17:  Scott Tolzien #16 of the Green Bay Packers calls out the play in the fourth quarter against the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium on November 17, 2013 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.The New York Giants defeated the Gre
Elsa/Getty Images

Just to get it out of the way early, head coach Mike McCarthy has already announced Tolzien will be starting in Week 12, per the team's Twitter feed:

The former practice squad player has actually been quite productive in his first two career starts, throwing for a healthy 619 yards, but an ugly 1-to-5 touchdown-to-interception ratio has kept his fantasy value in check. 

Against a Minnesota Vikings secondary that has just eight interceptions in 10 contests, however, that shouldn't be nearly as much of a problem on Sunday.

Despite the turnovers, Tolzien has actually played quite well, racking up his yards on mostly downfield throws rather than screens and dump-offs. Moreover, he plays in an offense with lots of weapons and a running game behind Eddie Lacy that will force defenses to stack the box. 

In his best matchup yet—the Vikes give up the third-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks—Tolzien will be a sneaky-good start. 


Running Back: Andre Brown, New York Giants

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - NOVEMBER 10:  Andre Brown #35 of the New York Giants celebrates his fourth quarter touchdown with  Brandon Jacobs against the Oakland Raiders during their game at MetLife Stadium on November 10, 2013 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
Al Bello/Getty Images

Chances are Andre Brown (78.6 percent owned in ESPN leagues) is nowhere to be found on your waiver wire, but if you are trying to decide whether or not to start him, consider the porous run defense that will be trying to stop him on Sunday. 

The Dallas Cowboys are 29th in the NFL in rushing yards allowed per game (126.8), 31st in rushing yards allowed per attempt (4.9) and dead last in fantasy points allowed to running backs. 

Furthermore, if middle linebacker Sean Lee, who is questionable with a hamstring injury, is out of the lineup, the cavernous holes will only be more frequent. Per Pro Football Focus, Lee has been one of the most valuable linebackers in the league against the run:

Even if Lee plays, Brown's workload (48 carries in two games since his return in Week 10) plus Dallas' inconsistent defense is a recipe for fantasy gold. 


Wide Receiver: Kendall Wright, Tennessee Titans

ST. LOUIS, MO - NOVEMBER 3: Kendall Wright #13 of the Tennessee Titans runs against the St. Louis Rams in the second quarter at the Edward Jones Dome on November 3, 2013 in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Michael Thomas/Getty Images)
Michael Thomas/Getty Images

Wright isn't the most spectacular fantasy option around, but he is consistent, especially in PPR leagues. On the season, he's averaging 5.9 catches on 8.4 targets per game and has received fewer than eight targets just three times on the year. 

While consistency isn't always sexy, Wright is in store for a monster Week 12. 

The Oakland Raiders allow 7.7 yards per pass attempt, 253 passing yards per game and give up the seventh-most points to opposing wide receivers. In case you forgot, they were on the opposite end of Nick Foles' record-setting day a few weeks ago. 

Ryan Fitzpatrick is a perfectly competent quarterback, and against this defense, Wright—his No. 1 option—is primed for double-digit catches and his first 100-yard game of the season.