NFL Fantasy Football: Kevin Smith and 5 Sleepers for Week 12

Sam McGawContributor IINovember 23, 2011

NFL Fantasy Football: Kevin Smith and 5 Sleepers for Week 12

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    Week 12 of the NFL is finally here, and so are your last ditch efforts to making your fantasy football league playoffs.

    While some people have crushing leads in their divisions, many are clawing their way through the waiver wire to find that hidden gem that can lead them to victory.

    With three games on Thursday, there is little time to waste when it comes to finding that sleeper.

    So to keep you off the edge of your seat, here are the Week 12 fantasy football sleepers that we could all possibly be thankful for by the end of the weekend.

Quarterback: Sam Bradford vs. Cardinals

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    After a stellar rookie season, St. Louis Rams quarterback Sam Bradford is going through a sophomore slump.

    In his eight games played this season, Bradford has thrown for 1,768 yards, five touchdowns and five interceptions. Although his season has been far from impressive, Bradford has a chance to be a decent fantasy start this week against the Arizona Cardinals.

    In Week 9, Bradford posted decent numbers in the loss against the Cardinals, throwing for 255 yards and one interception.  While he didn't throw any touchdown passes, Bradford still played well enough to give his team a chance to win. However, that isn't good enough when it comes to fantasy football.

    So why take a chance on Bradford this week?

    For one, Bradford is benefiting in a big way with the play of receiver Brandon Lloyd. In just five games with the Rams, Lloyd has caught 26 passes for 322 yards and three touchdowns. He has single-handedly made this offense a vertical threat, thus helping Bradford become even more of a dangerous quarterback.

    With Lloyd playing great in his short time with the Rams, Bradford's matchup against the Cardinals looks even more appealing. In addition, Arizona has let up the 13th most fantasy points to quarterbacks this season.

    Give Bradford a shot on Sunday as he is sure to play well against the league's 27th-ranked pass defense.

Running Back: Kevin Smith vs. Packers

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    Against the Carolina Panthers last week, Detroit Lions running back Kevin Smith caught everyone by surprise. With 140 yards rushing, 61 yards receiving and three total touchdowns, Smith destroyed the Panthers defense en route to a 49-35 victory in Week 11.

    First, it should be noted that the Panthers possess the 30th-ranked run defense in the NFL. With that being said, Smith still had one of the best games any running back has had this season.

    This week, Smith and the Lions play the Packers on Thanksgiving day, a game that could be a shootout.

    Even though the Packers are ranked 12th against the run, running backs have still had some success against them. This includes Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back LaGarrette Blount, who rushed for 107 yards and a touchdown against Green Bay in Week 11.

    While Smith is a risky start, he is definitely worth a look for Thursday's game against Green Bay. Use him as a flex option this week and a potential starter in the weeks to come.

Wide Receiver: Damian Williams vs. Buccaneers

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    Filling in for the injured Kenny Britt, Titans wide receiver Damian Williams has been a decent fantasy option throughout the season. Yes, Williams is a hit or miss kind of player, but if given the right matchup he can put up decent numbers to help your fantasy team win.

    After having three straight solid games, Williams was a letdown against the Falcons in Week 11. Although last week was a disappointment, Williams has a great matchup this week against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.  

    Ranking 29th against the pass, Tampa Bay has allowed the ninth most fantasy points to receivers this season.

    With Titans quarterback Matt Hasselbeck likely playing on Sunday, Williams should have success against a struggling Buccaneers pass defense.

Tight End: Jake Ballard at Saints

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    Giants tight end Jake Ballard had a game he would love to forget last week.

    Facing a struggling Eagles defense, Ballard accumulated only 13 yards receiving and had multiple drops. Many could say Ballard looked completely out of it last Sunday.

    Luckily for Ballard, he goes against the New Orleans Saints this week, who have allowed the ninth most fantasy points to tight ends this season.

    Even though Ballard has struggled recently, look for him to redeem himself after last week's mistakes. Expect quarterback Eli Manning to target Ballard a lot, especially in the red zone against the NFL's 19th-ranked pass defense.

Defense: Seahawks D vs. Redskins

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    A little known gem in the fantasy football world is the Seattle Seahawks defense. When going against opponents who have top-tier offenses, the Seahawks defense struggles. However, when they go against offenses that are considered bad, they blow up.

    For instance they played the Rams last week.

    The result?

    The Seahawks recorded five sacks, one interception and two fumble recovers while holding the Rams to only seven points and 185 yards of total offense.

    This week will be no different when they play the Washington Redskins. Defenses playing the Redskins have averaged almost 10 fantasy points per game. That's the fifth most in the NFL.

    With a nonexistent run game and Rex Grossman at quarterback, there really is no answer for the Redskins on the offensive side of the ball.

    Start the Seahawks defense as they should play beyond expectations on Sunday.