Week 12 Fantasy Football Rankings: Positional Overview, Guide and Advice

Erik Beaston@@ErikBeastonFeatured ColumnistNovember 21, 2017

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - NOVEMBER 19: Adam Thielen #19 of the Minnesota Vikings carries the ball against the Los Angeles Rams during the game on November 19, 2017 at US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

The Minnesota Vikings are 8-2 and have a defense that is championship-ready. As fantasy owners and analysts found out in Week 11 against the Los Angeles Rams, they have an offense that can hold its own, too.

Quarterback Case Keenum and Adam Thielen exploded, lifting the Vikes to a major victory, while running backs Latavius Murray and Jerick McKinnon controlled the pace of the game, chewing the clock and gaining big chunks of yardage to ice the game.

Minnesota has impressed this season, giving fantasy owners something to be thankful for. Are the Vikings skill players a wise start this Thanksgiving, though, against a Detroit Lions team with a solid defense and a desire to get back into NFC North contention?

Which of the other thriving division leaders have players you should consider riding to victory in week 12?

           

Quarterbacks

1. Tom Brady, New England Patriots (vs. Miami Dolphins)

2. Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks (at San Francisco 49ers)

3. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers (vs. Green Bay Packers)

4. Kirk Cousins, Washington Redskins (vs. New York Giants)

5. Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints (at Los Angeles Rams)

6. Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions (vs. Minnesota Vikings)

7. Carson Wentz, Philadelphia Eagles (vs. Chicago Bears)

8. Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons (vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers)

9. Case Keenum, Minnesota Vikings (at Detroit Lions)

10. Jared Goff, Los Angeles Rams (vs. New Orleans Saints)

    

Butch Dill/Associated Press

Carson Wentz has scored an impressive 94.94 fantasy points over the last four weeks, according to Yahoo, but Sunday will prove a tougher challenge for the second-year quarterback.

The Chicago Bears are the 12th-ranked pass defense, allowing an average of just 213 yards through the air and only 11 touchdowns. In Week 11, the team held Detroit's Matthew Stafford to under 300 yards passing in a loss.

Though the Eagles are rolling, do not be surprised if Wentz does not net the fantasy points he has so far this season, thanks to a tough matchup against an underrated defensive unit.

Kirk Cousins, on the other hand, should be an automatic start this week.

The Washington Redskins quarterback has been the silver lining for the team here in 2017.

The last four weeks have seen Cousins put the team on his back and play superb football against two great teams in the Minnesota Vikings and New Orleans Saints.

Thanksgiving Day, the franchise quarterback gets to pick apart a New York Giants defense that has given up big yards, big plays and tons of points this season.

Expect big yardage totals and multiple touchdowns. And if you are lucky, a fantasy victory.

       

Running Backs

1. Mark Ingram, New Orleans Saints (at Los Angeles Rams)

2. LeSean McCoy, Buffalo Bills (at Kansas City Chiefs)

3. Todd Gurley, Los Angeles Rams (vs. New Orleans Saints)

4. Le'Veon Bell, Pittsburgh Steelers (vs. Green Bay Packers)

5. Latavius Murray, Minnesota Vikings (at Detroit Lions)

6. Alvin Kamara, New Orleans Saints (at Los Angeles Rams)

7. Christian McCaffrey, Carolina Panthers (at New York Jets)

8. Lamar Miller, Houston Texans (at Baltimore Ravens)

9. DeMarco Murray, Tennessee Titans (at Indianapolis Colts)

10. Joe Mixon, Cincinnati Bengals (vs. Cleveland Browns)

11. Jay Ajayi, Philadelphia Eagles (vs. Chicago Bears)

12. LeGarrette Blount, Philadelphia Eagles (vs. Chicago Bears)

13. Melvin Gordon, Los Angeles Chargers (at Dallas Cowboys)

14. Dion Lewis, New England Patriots (vs. Miami Dolphins)

15. Isaiah Crowell, Cleveland Browns (at Cincinnati Bengals)

     

Rusty Costanza/Associated Press

The versatile rushing attack of the New Orleans Saints has fueled the team during its eight-game win streak and Sunday afternoonagainst a Rams rushing defense ranked 28th in the league against the run and giving up 123.3 yards a gameit should prove key to the NFC South-leading team's success.

Mark Ingram has found the end zone five times in the last four games, while Alvin Kamara has proved a significant part of the passing game as well.

The dynamic duo will face a Rams defense that gave up 143 yards to Murray and McKinnon of the Minnesota Vikings in Week 11 and two touchdowns to Murray. Kamara, Ingram or both are smart starts if they are on your team.

LeSean McCoy and the struggling Buffalo Bills could use a bounce-back performance after a humiliating loss to the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 11. Luckily for them, a leaky Kansas City Chiefs run defense is up next on the schedule.

McCoy has amassed a total of 56.40 fantasy points over the last four weeks, good enough for third best among running backs, according to Yahoo. Look for him to have a strong day in Kansas City, especially considering the questions that exist at quarterback.

Either Tyrod Taylor or Nathan Peterman should lean heavily on McCoy as the Bills look to stop the proverbial bleeding.

       

Wide Receivers

1. Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh Steelers (vs. Green Bay Packers)

2. Adam Thielen, Minnesota Vikings (at Detroit Lions)

3. Michael Thomas, New Orleans Saints (at Los Angeles Rams)

4. Doug Baldwin, Seattle Seahawks (at San Francisco 49ers)

5. Marvin Jones Jr., Detroit Lions (vs. Minnesota Vikings)

6. Alshon Jeffrey, Philadelphia Eagles (vs. Chicago Bears)

7. JuJu Smith-Schuster, Pittsburgh Steelers (vs. Green Bay Packers)

8. AJ Green, Cincinnati Bengals (vs. Cleveland Browns)

9. T.Y. Hilton, Indianapolis Colts (vs. Tennessee Titans)

10. Brandin Cooks, New England Patriots (vs. Miami Dolphins)

11. Keenan Allen, Los Angeles Chargers (at Dallas Cowbos)

12. Robby Anderson, New York Jets (vs. Carolina Panthers)

13. Mohamed Sanu, Atlanta Falcons (vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers)

14. Golden Tate, Detroit Lions (vs. Minnesota Vikings)

15. Rishard Matthews, Tennessee Titans (at Indianapolis Colts)

       

Darron Cummings/Associated Press

Thielen continued his breakout season in Week 11, catching six passes for 123 yards and a touchdown against a relatively stingy Rams pass defense. Expect more of the same Thursday afternoon against a middle-of-the-pack Detroit Lions pass defense.

Thielen has built a repertoire with quarterback Keenum, becoming the journeyman passer's safety blanket of sorts. He has repaid that faith to the tune of 56.70 fantasy points in four games.

Considering Detroit's ability to rush the passer, do not be surprised to see Keenum hit Thielen short and the receiver take off down the field for a long touchdown. He has that ability.

Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown shredded the Tennessee Titans last Thursday to the tune of 144 yards and three touchdowns. While Jacoby Brissett is no Big Ben, do not be surprised to see the talented quarterback find T.Y. Hilton for at least one touchdown Sunday against a struggling Titans defense.

      

Tight Ends

1. Jimmy Graham, Seattle Seahawks (at San Francisco 49ers)

2. Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs (vs. Buffalo Bills)

3. Austin Hooper, Atlanta Falcons (vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers)

4. Evan Engram, New York Giants (at Washington Redskins)

5. Delanie Walker, Tennessee Titans (at Indianapolis Colts)

6. Rob Gronkowski, New England Patriots (vs. Miami Dolphins)

7. Julius Thomas, Miami Dolphins (at New England Patriots)

8. Jared Cook, Oakland Raiders (vs. Denver Broncos)

9. Jack Doyle, Indianapolis Colts (vs. Tennessee Titans)

10. Jermaine Gresham, Arizona Cardinals (vs. Jacksonville Jaguars)

    

Ross D. Franklin/Associated Press

Jimmy Graham finally looks like the dynamic pass-catcher he was during his time in New Orleans, thanks to a Seattle Seahawks offense that has leaned on him here in 2017.

The big tight end has caught 22 balls over the last quarter of the season and found the end zone five times, more than double any other tight end over that span.

A touchdown machine, he has made defenses pay for doubting he still had anything left and figures to be key to the Seahawks march toward the postseason.

Against the 24th-ranked San Francisco 49ers defense, expect Graham to have another big day as the Seahawks rebound from a disappointing loss to the NFC champion Atlanta Falcons on Monday night.

Speaking of the Falcons, Austin Hooper has become a key member of the team's passing game, scoring three touchdowns over the last four games. Look for his success to continue for your fantasy team in Week 12 against the second-worst passing defense in the league in Tampa Bay.

       

Defenses

1. Baltimore Ravens (vs. Houston Texans)

2. Jacksonville Jaguars (at Arizona Cardinals)

3. Cincinnati Bengals (vs. Cleveland Browns)

4. Pittsburgh Steelers (vs. Green Bay Packers)

5. Los Angeles Chargers (at Dallas Cowboys)

6. Minnesota Vikings (at Detroit Lions)

7. Atlanta Falcons (vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers)

8. Philadelphia Eagles (vs. Chicago Bears)

9. Houston Texans (at Baltimore Ravens)

10. New England Patriots (vs. Miami Dolphins)

     

Nick Wass/Associated Press

The Baltimore Ravens may not be the most consistent team in the NFL this season but their defense has been its cornerstone throughout. Monday night, they face a Houston Texans squad giving up the fourth-most points to opposing defenses in fantasy football, per Yahoo.

A ball-hawking defense that has amassed six interceptions, two forced fumbles and two defensive scores over the last four weeks, the team should continue its dominance against a struggling Texans offense led by backup quarterback Tom Savage.

The Arizona Cardinals are always a threat to light up the scoreboard, especially behind head coach Bruce Arians' play-calling, but they face a Jacksonville Jaguars defense that is No. 1 in the league, both overall and, more specifically, against the pass.

It will not be easy for former Jags quarterback Blaine Gabbert to find success against a stingy Jags secondary, leaving it to Adrian Peterson to try to fuel the offense on the ground. Look for former Cardinal Calais Campbell to have a big game against his old team.    

       

Kickers

1. Matt Prater, Detroit Lions (vs. Minnesota Vikings)

2. Stephen Gostkowski, New England Patriots (vs. Miami Dolphins)

3. Wil Lutz, New Orleans Saints (at Los Angeles Rams)

4. Greg Zuerlein, Los Angeles Rams (vs. New Orleans Saints)

5. Nick Rose, Washington Redskins (vs. New York Giants)

6. Harrison Butker, Kansas City Chiefs (vs. Buffalo Bills)

7. Justin Tucker, Baltimore Ravens (vs. Houston Texans)

8. Blair Walsh, Seattle Seahawks (at San Francisco 49ers)

9. Brandon McManus, Denver Broncos (at Oakland Raiders)

10. Matt Bryant, Atlanta Falcons (vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers)

    

Butch Dill/Associated Press

If you have a reliable kicker who does not miss and can get those important 40-plus-yard field goals in crunch time, stick with him.

If not, find one who is not a disappointment and let him contribute to your team.

Wil Lutz and Greg Zuerlein are strong picks in what should be a high-scoring affair between the Saints and Rams on Sunday.

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