Fantasy Football Week 12 Rankings: Top Players, Sleepers and Positional Guide

Richard Janvrin@@RichardJanvrinFeatured ColumnistNovember 22, 2017

Tom Brady of New England Patriots controls the ball during the 2016 NFL week 11 regular season football game against Oakland Raiders on November 19, 2017 at the Azteca Stadium in Mexico City. / AFP PHOTO / ALFREDO ESTRELLA        (Photo credit should read ALFREDO ESTRELLA/AFP/Getty Images)

As we march toward Turkey Day and Week 12 of the fantasy football season, there is always NFL news to talk about that may impact our teams.

Let's cover one item of good news, one of bad news and one of more neutral news.

The bad news is that Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Robert Woods will miss some time due to a shoulder injury, according to Myles Simmons, team insider for the Rams.

The good news is that Dallas Cowboys left tackle Tyron Smith returned to practice Tuesday and could suit up Thursday, according to Jon Machota of the Dallas Morning News.

And lastly—the neutral news—the Denver Broncos have decided to roll with Paxton Lynch at quarterback for Week 12, according to Dan Graziano of ESPN.

Keep these news items in mind as we head into Week 12.

Now, let's look at some position rankings ahead of Week 12, as well as the top players and sleepers.



1. Tom Brady

2. Carson Wentz

3. Philip Rivers

4. Russell Wilson 

5. Drew Brees 

6. Matt Ryan 

7. Cam Newton

8. Kirk Cousins

9. Dak Prescott 

10. Andy Dalton


Top Player: Tom Brady

Any time your team is a 17-point favorite over another team, that means two things: one, you're going to absolutely annihilate the opposition, and two, your quarterback is in for a heck of a game.

That applies here to Brady.

Brady is already magnificent—we know that. Since the team's bye, Brady has averaged over 300 yards passing and three touchdowns per game—not bad for a 40-year-old guy, right?

Against the Dolphins, Brady will have yet another opportunity to carve up a defense.

Should the Patriots get up big, this could definitely turn into a game in which the Patriots run the heck out of the ball—but to get to that point, expect Brady to pass quite a bit.

If you own Brady, enjoy yet another easy week in fantasy.


Running Backs

1. Le'Veon Bell 

2. Leonard Fournette

3. Mark Ingram

4. LeSean McCoy 

5. Todd Gurley

6. Alvin Kamara

7. Melvin Gordon 

8. Devonta Freeman 

9. Kareem Hunt 

10. Samaje Perine


Sleeper: Rod Smith

Ron Schwane/Associated Press

Since fellow Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott was put on the shelf with his six-game suspension, Smith has been the talk of the Cowboys' backfield.

However, it hasn't translated into much actual production.

Here's a silver-lining, though: Smith had just 11 rushing yards in Week 11, but he did outsnap Alfred Morris.

Of course, Morris got most of the action, reaching almost 100 yards, but Smith is a guy the Cowboys like a fair amount.

Getting totally dismantled doesn't help any running back's cause—the team will need to throw to try to get back into the game.

It's been a tough trek so far for Smith, but going up against the Chargers (assuming the Cowboys stay competitive), he should get some run. The Cowboys will have a short week playing on Thanksgiving, and given the amount of action Morris got, Smith should start once again and this time actually produce results.

This is a huge risk/reward proposition, but if you're in dire straights, give him a shot.


Wide Receivers

1. Julio Jones 

2. A.J. Green

3. Michael Thomas 

4. Doug Baldwin

5. Mike Evans 

6. Dez Bryant 

7. Brandin Cooks 

8. Keenan Allen 

9. Adam Thielen 

10. DeAndre Hopkins


Sleeper: Taylor Gabriel


Known as a deep threat for the Atlanta Falcons' offense, Gabriel is an excellent sleeper in Week 12.

On Monday Night Football, Gabriel put up a dud against the Seattle Seahawks: two receptions for seven yards on two targets.

Expect a bit more than that this coming week against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

By now, you probably know this: the Bucs secondary is atrocious. However, it's even worse when you look at who Gabriel will be matched up against: Bucs cornerback Robert McClain. He's been far from good this season.

In fact, the Bucs ranked dead last in the league in DVOA against No. 2 wide receivers through Week 10.

With Julio Jones lined up on one side and the threat of the running game along with Mohamed Sanu, Gabriel should get a fair amount of one-on-one matchups with McClain.

Gabriel will turn on the jets when that happens.

This has the making of a three-or-four catch game for high yardage and a deep touchdown.

Start Gabriel this week.


Tight Ends

1. Rob Gronkowski

2. Zach Ertz

3. Travis Kelce

4. Evan Engram 

5. Greg Olsen 

6. Jimmy Graham 

7. Jack Doyle 

8. Jared Cook 

9. Cameron Brate

10. Austin Seferian-Jenkins 


Top Player: Rob Gronkowski


Well, we covered Gronkowski's quarterback already, so you probably get the hint here as to why Gronk is my go-to guy this week for the Patriots.

The Dolphins rank 23rd in DVOA through Week 10 against tight ends, but Gronk, as you know, isn't a typical tight end.

There's a bit of a risk here, though, in that the Patriots could go with a Brandin Cooks aerial assault and then turn to the run game, but Gronk will score this week.

The Dolphins have allowed the second-most receptions to opposing tight ends in the league and are tied for the fourth-most touchdowns.

Bottom line: the Dolphins just aren't any good.

I'll take my chances on Gronk any week, but especially Week 12.


Defense/Special Teams

1. Jacksonville Jaguars

2. Pittsburgh Steelers 

3. Cincinnati Bengals 

4. Seattle Seahawks 

5. Baltimore Ravens 

6. Minnesota Vikings 

7. Philadelphia Eagles 

8. New England Patriots 

9. Atlanta Falcons 

10. Houston Texans 


Top Player: Jacksonville Jaguars

Oh, brother.

Week 12 will mark the first time in which Arizona Cardinals quarterback Blaine Gabbert has gone up against his former team, the Jaguars.

However, these Jaguars are far from the team he used to play with.

This is one of, if not the best overall defense in the league.

From the defensive line to the secondary, mostly everyone is a star.

In Week 11, Gabbert managed to throw for three touchdowns.

Well, he better enjoy that while he can, because those three touchdowns have a better chance to turn into three interceptions against this Jags team.

Nothing about this matchup makes me confident in Gabbert or the Cardinals.

Expect multiple turnovers, sacks and possibly even a defensive touchdown.

The Jags are the defense to own in Week 12.


Statistics courtesy of Pro Football Reference and Football Outsiders. Odds courtesy of Odds Shark.


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