Just hours before the start of Week 12 (for most teams, anyways), many people have questions running through their heads. Who should I start? Who should I sit? Let’s take a look at how some of the recent news changes things:
Julio Jones, Wide Receiver, Atlanta Falcons
Jones is officially listed as questionable, and while it appears he is going to play, exactly how much he’s on the field is going to depend on the flow of the game. According to nfl.com’s Marc Sessler (click here for the article):
The potential for a shootout is real. Bucs quarterback Josh Freeman and friends are posting 28.7 points per game, fifth-best in the NFL. Their run defense ranks No. 1 in the league, which should put pressure on the Falcons to move the ball through the air. In an ideal world, Jones would be given more time to nurse the ankle back to full health, but if this one spins out of hand, we expect him to play a major role.
A lot of factors appear to favor Jones playing a significant role, assuming his ankle holds up, including the Buccaneers ability to put points on the board and inability to stop opposing passing attacks. While it is a major gamble, it is hard to imagine Jones not being among your top two or three receiving options as long as he is on the field. Unless you are loaded, he’s going to be worth using in all formats.
Marcel Reece, Running Back, Oakland Raiders
When exactly will Darren McFadden return to the lineup? That’s anyone’s guess at this point. He’s officially listed as out for this week’s game, as is Mike Goodson. That leaves Reece, who is coming off a monster day (103 rushing yards, 90 receiving yards) to take on a Bengals defense that has allowed 117.8 rushing yards per game and 10 rushing TDs. Throw in his constant role in the passing game, and Reece is an absolute must start option this week.
Brandon Marshall, Wide Receiver, Chicago Bears
According to Jason La Canfora (via Twitter):
Jay Cutler passing all concussion protocols, will start Sunday for the Bears against the Vikings.
It’s the best news that Brandon Marshall owners have heard, isn’t it? Cutler himself hasn’t done enough this season to be considered more than a QB2 (averaging 201.6 yards per game with 12 TDs and 10 INTs).
Marshall, however, has been the biggest and best target the team has. Prior to Week 11 (which Cutler missed), Marshall had posted at least 81 yards in six consecutive games and had at least 10 targets in five straight games. Last week, while he did find the end zone, he was targeted four times and managed two receptions for 21 yards. Taking on a Minnesota defense that has allowed 17 TDs this season, he should be considered a very good play in all formats.
Bryce Brown, Running Back, Philadelphia Eagles
LeSean McCoy has already been ruled out for their Monday night game, leaving Brown to carry the load for the Eagles. Hopefully Nick Foles (who will be starting in place of Michael Vick) can keep the Panthers from simply keying in on the young running back.
The Panthers defense is in the bottom half of the league in stopping the run, allowing 118.4 rushing yards per game (as well as 7 TDs). Given his ability and upside, he’s worth using as a RB2 in all formats.
Antonio Brown, Wide Receiver, Pittsburgh Steelers
Listed as questionable, it appears Brown is going to be a game time decision for the Steelers matchup with the Cleveland Browns. Luckily the game is set for 1:00 PM EST, so fantasy owners will know his status prior to setting their lineup. That said, Charlie Batch is going to be quarterbacking this week, making him a risky option, at best. Monitor the news, but I would look to utilize other options.
Darren Sproles, Running Back, New Orleans Saints
Sproles is listed as probable for the team’s matchup against the San Francisco 49ers and is expected to return after not playing since Week 8 (missing three games). The question is, "How big of a role will he actually play?" In only one game this season, has he rushed for more than 27 yards, and, while he has scored a few touchdowns through the air, he hasn’t had more than 56 receiving yards since Week 2.
With numerous other options in the backfield in Chris Ivory, Mark Ingram and Pierre Thomas, it is tough to trust Sproles in a difficult matchup. Until he proves that he can rediscover the magic of 2011, he’s probably better off left on your bench.
Kenny Britt, Wide Receiver, Tennessee Titans
Fantasy owners have tried to be patient with Britt, but maybe the time has come to give up hope. In an article by Terry McCormick of TitanInsider (click here for the article),Titans’ offensive coordinator Chris Palmer says:
I don’t think you’ll see Kenny Britt 100 percent until next year. The history of that injury is one that it takes time,” Palmer said. “In my 22 years in the league, very, very seldom does a guy come back and is 100 percent. That’s doesn’t mean that they’re not good players and they don’t play well, but the Kenny Britt that I saw last year, he’s not back yet. He’s playing well and he’s doing what he can do under the circumstances.
The numbers back up the quote, that’s for sure. While Britt is worth stashing in case he catches his stride late in the season, there’s no way to trust him outside of a desperation play at this point.
Percy Harvin, Wide Receiver, Minnesota Vikings
Adam Schefter (via Twitter) is reporting that:
Vikings wide receiver Percy Harvin will not play Sunday vs. Chicago due to his ankle injury.
It’s a big loss for fantasy owners, and I would not be looking elsewhere for an alternative for this week. Hopefully Harvin will be ready to return for Week 13.
Dennis Pitta, Tight End, Baltimore Ravens
Aaron Wilson (via Twitter) is reporting that:
Dennis Pitta has passed his baseline neurological test following concussion symptoms, per coach John Harbaugh, and cleared to play.
While Pitta impressed early, he has just one game of more than 33 yards since Week 3 (which also was the only game he scored a touchdown since then). There likely will be a more trustworthy option available to you.
Danny Amendola, Wide Receiver, St. Louis Rams
He’s listed as doubtful with a foot injury and appears highly unlikely to play against the Cardinals. With a 4:25 PM EST start time, it is impossible for fantasy owners to have any trust in him. Slide him to your bench and move on to the next option.
Make sure to check out all of our Week 12 rankings: