Week 12 Fantasy Football Rankings: Highlighting Most Trustworthy Stars

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVNovember 10, 2016

It's easy in fantasy football to get too cute. Read enough stats, and you can build a strong case for sitting certain players and starting guys you would normally keep on your bench.

But generally speaking, it's always wise to trust in your stars. 

On my top-10 rankings at the offensive positions this week, I've highlighted those stars you should trust this week. Sure, there are a few players that won't make the list due to brutal matchups or other considerations, but my rankings support the theory that you should stick with your studs this week.


Notes: All point totals for standard-scoring leaguesPoints against stats via ESPN. The Buffalo Bills, Philadelphia Eagles, Cincinnati Bengals and Seattle Seahawks are on bye. 



Week 12 Quarterback Rankings
RankPlayerTeamOpponentProj. Points
1Drew BreesNew Orleans SaintsAtlanta Falcons30
2Matt StaffordDetroit LionsTampa Bay Buccaneers26
3Peyton ManningDenver BroncosNew England Patriots24
4Tom BradyNew England PatriotsDenver Broncos20
5Tony RomoDallas CowboysNew York Giants18
6Andrew LuckIndianapolis ColtsArizona Cardinals17
7Colin KaepernickSan Francisco 49ersWashington17
8Cam NewtonCarolina PanthersMiami Dolphins15
9Robert Griffin IIIWashingtonSan Francisco 49ers15
10Alex SmithKansas City ChiefsSan Diego Chargers14

Drew Brees against the Atlanta Falcons on Thursday night almost isn't fair. While only Peyton Manning has more fantasy points than Brees this season, the Atlanta Falcons are allowing 18.4 points to opposing quarterbacks per week, 27th in the NFL. 

Enjoy the spoils of another huge game, Brees owners. 

Matt Stafford will torch a Tampa Bay Buccaneers' defense allowing 18.1 fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks per week, while Peyton Manning would put up 20 fantasy points on the Great Wall of China if it was implanted into the stadium to play defense against the Denver Broncos. 

Andrew Luck has been Captain Consistency this season (he has scored 13 or more fantasy points in nine of 10 games), so he'll overcome a tough matchup against the Arizona Cardinals, while Tony Romo should throw the ball enough to produce despite a revitalized New York Giants defense.

And Cam Newton and Robert Griffin III have been inconsistent this year, yes, but both have been excellent for fantasy owners of late and should continue that trend even if their total production this week is somewhat modest against tough defenses.


Running Backs

Week 12 Running Back Rankings
RankPlayerTeamOpponentProj. Points
1Matt ForteChicago BearsSt. Louis Rams25
2Frank GoreSan Francisco 49ersWashington24
3Adrian PetersonMinnesota VikingsGreen Bay Packers21
4Chris JohnsonTennessee TitansOakland Raiders20
5Zac StacySt. Louis RamsChicago Bears20
6Jamaal CharlesKansas City ChiefsSan Diego Chargers19
7Eddie LacyGreen Bay PackersMinnesota Vikings15
8Knowshon MorenoDenver BroncosNew England Patriots14
9Rashad JenningsOakland RaidersTennessee Titans13
10Ben TateHouston TexansJacksonville Jaguars13

Most weeks, the running back rankings are dominated by the stars at the top, mostly because the position has been so scary and thin this year that you have no choice but to roll with the big names. Not much has changed this week, though the position has seen an influx of depth in the later week—a pretty rare occurrence.

Nonetheless, trust your studs this week.

One of the biggest questions I've gotten this week is why Andre Brown didn't make the cut (even though I obviously think he's a locked and loaded RB2). The thing is, who would you replace him with?

Rashad Jennings has 340 rushing yards and two touchdowns the past three weeks and faces a Tennessee Titans defense giving up 19.8 fantasy points per week, 27th in the NFL. Ben Tate is the clear starter in Houston and faces a Jacksonville Jaguars team allowing 19.1 fantasy points per week, 25th in the NFL.

I know Brown has been solid as the starter and the Dallas Cowboys stink against the run, but the Cowboys are coming off a bye and there is always the fear that Brandon Jacobs could steal goal-line touches. I love Brown this week, but not quite enough for him to crack the top 10. 


Wide Receivers

Week 12 Wide Receiver Rankings
RankPlayerTeamOpponentProj. Points
1Calvin JohnsonDetroit LionsTampa Bay Buccaneers27
2Andre JohnsonHouston TexansJacksonville Jaguars22
3Josh GordonCleveland BrownsPittsburgh Steelers20
4Dez BryantDallas CowboysNew York Giants19
5Demaryius ThomasDenver BroncosNew England Patriots18
6Vincent JacksonTampa Bay BuccaneersDetroit Lions17
7Jordy NelsonGreen Bay PackersMinnesota Vikings16
8Brandon MarshallChicago BearsSt. Louis Rams16
9Victor CruzNew York GiantsDallas Cowboys14
10Marques ColstonNew Orleans SaintsAtlanta Falcons13

Calvin Johnson has 112 fantasy points in the past four weeks, which would place him at 50th in the player rankings for all of 2013. Folks, Megatron is out of this world, and it wouldn't be surprising in the least if his owners were currently experiencing a four-game winning streak.  

Andre Johnson, Vincent Jackson, Jordy Nelson and Victor Cruz all have tasty matchups and should produce in a big way this week. The Pittsburgh Steelers have been tough against the pass—or at least they were before facing the New England Patriots and Detroit Lions—but Josh Gordon has matchup-defying talent.

The Patriots could shadow Demaryius Thomas with Aqib Talib, but Thomas is always one catch-and-run away from a huge afternoon, so you shouldn't hesitate to start him. 

Essentially, the moral of the story here is to trust your studs, much like at running back. 


Tight Ends

Week 12 Tight End Rankings
RankPlayerTeamOpponentProj. Points
1Vernon DavisSan Francisco 49ersWashington18
2Rob GronkowskiNew England PatriotsDenver Broncos17
3Julius ThomasDenver BroncosNew England Patriots15
4Jimmy GrahamNew Orleans SaintsAtlanta Falcons13
5Jason WittenDallas CowboysNew York Giants12
6Tony GonzalezAtlanta FalconsNew Orleans Saints12
7Rob HouslerArizona CardinalsIndianapolis Colts10
8Delanie WalkerTennessee TitansOakland Raiders9
9Jordan CameronCleveland BrownsPittsburgh Steelers9
10Charles ClayMiami DolphinsCarolina Panthers8

Jimmy Graham, Rob Gronkowski, Julius Thomas and Vernon Davis must be started every week, no questions asked. There isn't a bad matchup for the top four at this position. 

After that you can get cuter if you like, but it's still pretty hard to sit players like Tony Gonzalez or Jason Witten. If you decide to shake things up, both Rob Housler and Delanie Walker are nice plays this week, especially the latter who has seemed to forge a strong chemistry with backup quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick.


Hit me up on Twitter—I'll answer your fantasy lineup questions, tweet random fantasy musings and lament Ray Rice producing the week I finally benched him. 

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