Start 'Em, Sit 'Em Week 12: Advice for Fringe Flex Fantasy Football Starters

David McCracken@crackemcFeatured ColumnistNovember 23, 2016

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - NOVEMBER 20:  Rishard Matthews #18 of the Tennessee Titans makes a catch while being guarded by Rashaan Melvin #30 of the Indianapolis Colts during the second half of the game at Lucas Oil Stadium on November 20, 2016 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Only six weeks remain in the 2016 NFL season, which can be either good or bad news in terms of your chances of making the playoffs in your fantasy league.

The waiver-wire pool of talent is quite shallow at this point of the season, so what your roster looks like now will likely be the reason you win your league or get last place. Maybe drafting well doesn't always lead to a strong season after all.

But there is still hope for a late-season comeback, and it all starts at the flex positionthe most difficult, frustrating and time-consuming position in your lineup. Logic points to the running back being the desired flex, but what if Rishard Matthews from the Tennessee Titans has another huge game on your bench while you started Dion Lewis in hopes of a breakout game?

Here, we'll take a look at four positions players for Week 12: two who should be starting in the flex and two who should be sitting on the bench.

    

Start 'em: Rishard Matthews, WR, Tennessee Titans

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - NOVEMBER 20:  Rishard Matthews #18 of the Tennessee Titans catches a pass in front of Darius Butler #20 of the Indianapolis Colts during the first half of a game at Lucas Oil Stadium on November 20, 2016 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Phot
Stacy Revere/Getty Images

I didn't mention Matthews for no reason. He's become Marcus Mariota's favorite option on offense in Tennessee besides handing the ball off to DeMarco Murray in the backfield.

And with back-to-back-to-back games scoring at least 12.20 fantasy points in Yahoo fantasy leagues, he's a must-start from here on out.

On the season, Matthews has hauled in 605 receiving yards and six scores while catching 18 passes in his past three games. That's solid production from a wideout who's still available in over 30 percent of Yahoo leagues and is set to start in only 50 percent of them in Week 12 as of Tuesday night, according to Yahoo Sports.

While the Titans may fall out of the playoff race after a tough 21-14 loss to the Indianapolis Colts this past week, that doesn't mean you have to be out of the running in your league too. Play Matthews with confidence as he takes on the Chicago Bears secondary, which has surrendered the third-most points to wideouts in Yahoo leagues this season. 

    

Sit 'em: Michael Thomas, WR, New Orleans Saints

Is this just another case of Sean Payton's spread offense coming back to haunt fantasy football players? Or has Michael Thomas hit the proverbial rookie wall?

This might sound a bit harsh, but in recent weeks, Thomas has not put up numbers that warrant a starting position on your fantasy team. After a monster two-touchdown game in Week 9, Thomas laid a goose egg, scoring zero points in Yahoo leagues the following week with 40 receiving yards that were canceled out by his two fumbles. 

If that wasn't bad enough, Thomas scored only 6.8 fantasy points this past weekend despite catching everything that was thrown his way. 

It's difficult to gauge how the New Orleans Saints offense will perform from week to week, but entering the most crucial leg of the fantasy season, do you really want to leave your fate in the hands of a rookie wideout who's set to play the Los Angeles Rams next weekend?

I wouldn't either. Let Thomas ride the bench this week.

    

Start 'em: Theo Riddick, RB, Detroit Lions

DETROIT, MI - NOVEMBER 20: Theo Riddick #25 of the Detroit Lions runs the ball to the one yard line as Patrick Omameh #77 of the Jacksonville Jaguars makes the stop during the fourth quarter of the game at Ford Field on November 20, 2016 in Detroit, Michi
Leon Halip/Getty Images

When healthy, Theo Riddick has the potential to put up some serious fantasy numbers for the running back position because of his versatility as a runner and pass-catcher. That's what makes him the perfect play at the flex position.

Whether you're in a PPR, standard or dynasty league, Riddick gets touches. And touches can lead to yards and scores. In his last three outings, Riddick has scored 19.30, 7.60 and 8.30 fantasy points in Yahoo leagues and hasn't scored lower than 4.80 points all season long.

He is consistently involved in the Detroit Lions offense, and there is little to no doubt who the lead back is since Ameer Abdullah went out earlier this season.

Ride Riddick into the playoffs as he puts up another double-digit game in the flex against the Minnesota Vikings in Week 12. 

     

Sit 'em: Terrance West, RB, Baltimore Ravens

Let's get one thing straight: Terrance West had a solid outing this past weekend with 11.30 points for the Baltimore Ravens. In fact, West looked really good when he was given the space to run the ball. It's just too bad Baltimore had to start throwing more and essentially abandoned the run game as the game progressed.

There's no denying it: That was a nice touchdown run. But the big problem surrounding West's fantasy outlook for the final few weeks of the season is his timeshare with Kenneth Dixon in Baltimore's backfield.

It's nothing to overreact about, but West played only three more snaps (24-21) than Dixon did, basically a 50-50 split, according to Yahoo Sports. There is nothing more frustrating than having a running back in your lineup who isn't getting the touches he needs because he's in a committee. 

Dixon hasn't done much to make West a casualty on the waiver wire, but it is worrisome to see a tailback lose out on that many snaps in one game.

Keep West for one more week on the bench and see how the Ravens offense looks in Week 12. But don't risk starting West and hoping he can vulture a touchdown.

    

All stats and projections are courtesy of Yahoo Sports.

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