The downfall to fantasy football is that you have to make tough decisions. Sometimes you have to wonder if it’s best to start a guy like Matt Schaub against a secondary like Washington when you have Peyton Manning going against the New York Giants. Your initial thought is to go with Peyton, but if you see that you lost by three points, and Schaub got you 21 points to Manning’s 17, then you start to wonder if the “obvious” starts are all that obvious.
With that being said, NFL Soup presents its continued High Risk/High Reward Players for Week 12:
Shaun Hill, QB, Detroit Lions vs. New England Patriots
Shaun Hill has really done a nice job in filling in for Matthew Stafford with the Lions. While we’d like to see the turnovers cut down a bit, he’s throwing for a lot of yards, and getting the ball into the end zone. His turnover ability makes him a risky start against a Patriots defense that has a knack for turnovers, however.
The good news is that he has some of the best offensive weapons in the league with Calvin Johnson, Nate Burleson and Brandon Pettigrew, and even Jahvid Best out of the backfield. More good news is that the Patriots give up a LOT of yardage in the air, defensively. I like this matchup in Week 12, but it’s somewhat risky.
Terrell Owens, WR, Cincinnati Bengals @ New York Jets
First off, with the season Owens is having, I don’t recommend sitting him. But he will most likely be matched up on Darrelle Revis. The Jets pass defense is as overrated as they come, but they still know how to put pressure on the quarterback and force mistakes.
Carson Palmer’s inconsistency and lack of accuracy is what makes this a bit of a risky start. Palmer has been getting happy feet, and making poor throws all season, but he still seems to get the ball to T.O. Keep Owens in the lineup and hope for the best.
Sidney Rice, WR, Minnesota Vikings @ Washington Redskins
The great thing is that Rice was targeted 10 times in Week 11. However, he managed 56 yards in the air on just three receptions. He was Favre’s favorite target in 2009, and should become a nice fantasy starter for the remainder of the season.
The problem, like Terrell Owens, is the quarterback play. Favre just hasn’t been getting it done. He’s throwing interceptions, making bad passes and getting sacked. The upside for this stud receiver is huge, and he could be just what you need to make the playoff push in the next two weeks, but play with caution.
Keiland Williams, RB, Washington Redskins vs. Minnesota Vikings
With Clinton Portis most likely sitting, as well as Ryan Torain, Williams will most likely get the nod in Week 12. While the Vikings have shown that they can be run on, overall, they’re only giving up 3.7 yards per rush, and have been stingy letting rush touchdowns get in the end zone.
Williams can run well, and also makes plays in the air. He’s a bit of a risky start, but will get his fair share of carries in Week 12. If you need a Flex option, go with Williams, but don’t expect a huge game.
Maurice Jones-Drew, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars @ New York Giants
MJD has been a fantasy stud the last four matches he’s played in, but he hasn’t faced a legit run defense all season. The Giants are very stingy against running backs, and will most likely give the Jacksonville offense fits.
But, Jones-Drew has so much potential to make plays between the tackles, on screens in the open field, and in the passing game in general. He’s very hard to sit. If you have better options, you may steer clear from MJD as this matchup isn’t favorable, but I understand if you don’t want to sit a guy who’s averaging around 19 fantasy points in his last four games.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB, Buffalo Bills vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
Like Shaun Hill, Fitzpatrick has filled in for a guy who didn’t start at the beginning of the season. Also like Hill, he’s been known to throw a few interceptions. But we can’t ignore the fact that he has offensive weapons to throw to, or the fact that he has had two games with four touchdowns this season.
Pittsburgh’s defense is the best in the league, arguably. But they have been susceptible to the pass. They’ve only given up 11 touchdowns in the air, however, and have forced turnovers.
Look for Fitzpatrick to throw a couple of interceptions, and also have one of two touchdowns and around 240 yards in the air. But he makes for a solid QB2 this week.
Michael Turner, RB, Atlanta Falcons vs. Green Bay Packers
Turner has been a great running back just about every other week. Last week he rushed for 131 yards and one touchdown. If he follows the trend from the season, he’s due for around 55-60 yards on the ground and will be lucky to get a touchdown.
Green Bay doesn’t shut the run down very well, giving up 4.5 yards per carry, which is one of the worst in the league. They have been reluctant to give up touchdowns on the ground, however, which makes me think that Turner can be productive in terms of yardage, but may fall short in the touchdown category. You be the judge.
Mike Williams, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Baltimore Ravens
You have to love what the fourth-round draft pick from Syracuse has done this season. He’s developed into a nice WR2 in most formats and hasn’t slowed down much. But the matchup isn’t the most favorable for the Buccaneers who face the 10th ranked pass defense in the league.
The Ravens haven’t given up many passing yards or touchdowns, making Williams a very risky start. Not to mention, they get a lot of pressure on the quarterback, and Josh Freeman could have a long day. You can never count out a big play, however, and Williams is a possession wide receiver, which the Ravens have the most trouble against.
Vincent Jackson, WR, San Diego Chargers @ Indianapolis Colts
Jackson will be the most talked about player in fantasy for Week 12. Everybody has been waiting for this star to get back and he finally should get back in the mix in Week 12 against the Colts. The Colts pass defense has been above average, but they can be passed on.
But what makes Jackson risky is the fact that he hasn’t played in a regular season game since last season. While practice reports seem to say that he’s in playing shape, game shape is completely different. The good news is that he has one of the best quarterbacks in the league throwing to him. Rivers has been able to produce with guys like Patrick Crayton, Legedu Naanee and Seyi Ajirotutu.
That’s something you like to see if you’re a Jackson owner.
Troy Smith, QB, San Francisco 49ers @ Arizona Cardinals
Smith had a rough Week 11, throwing an interception and putting up just 148 yards. He did rush for 45 yards, and we know he can make plays with his feet. Smith gets a very favorable matchup in Arizona, however.
Arizona has given up 16 touchdowns in the air in 2010, and have been just mediocre defensively, although that may even be generous. Smith has a big arm and can get the ball down the field to guys like Michael Crabtree and Vernon Davis. The question is whether or not he will be the Troy Smith of Week 10, or Troy Smith of Week 11. If you are desperate for a QB2, take a chance on Smith.