Fantasy Football Week 12 BS Meter

Matt Camp@TheMattCampFantasy Football Lead WriterNovember 20, 2018

Fantasy Football Week 12 BS Meter

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    Gus Edwards could be a huge boost off the waiver wire.
    Gus Edwards could be a huge boost off the waiver wire.Mark Brown/Getty Images

    The waiver-wire priorities will look different depending on where you are in the standings. 

    For teams scratching and clawing to make the playoffs with only two or three weeks left in the regular season, the potential of Gus Edwards leading the Baltimore Ravens backfield in a run-first offense with Lamar Jackson at the helm against a bad Oakland Raiders defense looks enticing. Edwards might have value for the rest of the season, but even if he doesn't, one more strong week could be the difference between making the fantasy playoffs and not. 

    Speaking of the fantasy playoffs, those at top of the standings might be looking to Weeks 14-16 as it relates to the waiver wire. If you've been streaming defenses all season, studying the matchups in those playoff weeks will reveal some of the best units to grab and stash.

    At this point in the season, you should be thinking about running back handcuffs. If you've made it this far without any major injuries to your top running backs, don't assume that luck will continue down the stretch. Plus, you have to consider the possibility of teams resting players during the fantasy championship. Don't get lazy when it comes to insuring your top assets. 

    The B.S. Meter breaks down 10 situations covering the most pressing issues in fantasy football heading into Week 12. The statements will be rated from 1 to 10 with 1 being completely true and 10 being total B.S. 


    Note: All fantasy stats used to calculate finishes are from FantasyPros. All advanced stats are calculated using data from Pro Football Reference. All stats are based on a points-per-reception (PPR) format.

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Aaron Jones Has Entered the RB1 Conversation

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    Aaron Jones is finally seeing the volume he deserves.
    Aaron Jones is finally seeing the volume he deserves.Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    The Green Bay Packers have lost three of the last four games to fall to 4-5-1, which puts them on the outside looking in on the NFC playoff picture. As a whole, the offense has been pretty stale with Mike McCarthy's job security in question and Aaron Rodgers struggling to play at his top level. There's been one bright spot that took way too long to find, but the Packers finally figured out how to maximize the usage of Aaron Jones.

    Coming into Week 11, Jones had three straight games setting new season highs in carries. In Week 8, Jones carried 12 times for 86 yards and a touchdown. In Week 9, he ran for 75 yards on 14 carries. Last week, he turned 15 carries into 140 yards and two touchdowns. During those three games, Jamaal Williams had a total for 14 carries for 46 yards and a touchdown.

    Jones didn't keep the streak alive in the Week 11 loss to the Seattle Seahawks. He dropped back down to 11 carries for 40 yards but did have a rushing TD. With just 3.6 yards per carry, he had his worst rushing performance of the season. However, he still managed to have one of the best fantasy outings of Week 11.

    Even though he didn't set another season high in carries, Jones had his best game as a receiver, with five receptions for 63 yards and a touchdown on six targets. In the three previous games, Jones turned 11 targets into seven receptions for 37 yards, so his numbers against the Seahawks showed a significant uptick. For the season, Jones has 16 receptions for 141 yards and a score on 23 targets.

    By the Packers' showing faith in Jones as both a runner and a receiver, he's been able to transform from a decent flex option to solid RB2 to potential RB1 with 59.5 fantasy points in the last two games. The Packers remain in contention and have every reason to stick with Jones in such a busy role since he's been one of the only reliable parts of the offense over the last month. He'll have top-10 potential the rest of the year. 

    B.S. Meter on Jones entering the RB1 conversation: 1/10

Gus Edwards Is the Top Priority on the Waiver Wire

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    The Ravens featured Gus Edwards instead of Alex Collins.
    The Ravens featured Gus Edwards instead of Alex Collins.Gail Burton/Associated Press

    The Baltimore Ravens came into Week 11 knowing they wouldn't have starting quarterback Joe Flacco available because of a hip injury, so despite missing Thursday's practice with a stomach ailment, Lamar Jackson was tabbed to start over Robert Griffin III. Knowing Jackson's best attribute is his running ability and with a great matchup against a poor Cincinnati Bengals defense, it looked like a prime opportunity to have a run-heavy game plan. 

    That should have resulted in a big game for Alex Collins, especially when Collins scored on a seven-yard run to end Baltimore's opening drive. Collins had three carries for nine yards on that drive. He'd carry the ball two more times in the first quarter and then not again till 3:18 to go in the first half. The last and final carry for Collins came with 11:29 to go in the fourth quarter. He finished with just seven carries for 18 yards and a score without a target. 

    Meanwhile, Gus Edwards seemingly came out of nowhere to lead the Ravens with 17 carries for 115 yards and a touchdown. Edwards made his 2018 debut with 10 carries for 42 yards in Week 6 but had just five carries for 22 yards in the last three games. 

    According to Clifton Brown of, when asked about Edwards, head coach John Harbaugh said: "Gus was north and south, he's a physical guy. He's been practicing really well. When those young guys start practicing well for weeks after weeks, we want to get them out there. Then he was playing well on special teams, so it kind of gave an indication that he was ready. He sure took the bull by the horns." 

    Harbaugh added: "To give us that type of a back is very important. He gives us that back that we probably didn't have earlier in the year. We've got four different guys who have different styles. I think that's a plus for us."

    With Flacco's status still up in the air, it could be another week of Jackson, especially since the matchup favors another run-heavy mindset. Baltimore will meet the Oakland Raiders in Week 12, and only the Bengals (153.6) have allowed more rushing yards per game than the Raiders (142.3). At 5-5, the Ravens might stick with what's working in Edwards, so he's an important add off the waiver wire.

    B.S. Meter on Edwards being the top priority on the waiver wire: 2/10

Chris Carson Is Clearly the Top Fantasy Back in Seattle

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    The return of Chris Carson put him back on top of the Seahawks backfield.
    The return of Chris Carson put him back on top of the Seahawks backfield.Abbie Parr/Getty Images

    After spending a week on the sidelines due to a hip injury, Chris Carson was tough to fully endorse for his Thursday night matchup with the Green Bay Packers. Just four days earlier, Mike Davis and Rashaad Penny combined for 166 yards and a touchdown on 23 carries against the Los Angeles Rams. The Seattle Seahawks came into Week 11 as the top rushing attack in the league and with the most carries per game.

    Carson did get practice in full during the short week, so the Seahawks had enough reason to trust him, and he paid off that trust with 83 yards and a score on 17 carries and 14.3 fantasy points. Meanwhile, Davis and Penny had a combined 12 carries for 72 yards and two receptions for 24 yards on two targets. Seattle ran the ball well with all three players, but Carson had the clear lead. 

    We saw a similar result back in Week 5. Carson missed Week 4 with a hip issue, which opened the door for Davis to run 21 times for 101 yards and a score and Penny to chip in nine carries for 49 yards. Carson's Week 5 return resulted in 19 carries for 116 yards while Davis had 12 rushes for 68 yards and Penny didn't register a carry. 

    Those two examples show the faith Seattle has in Carson to go right back to him as the lead back despite strong production from Davis and Penny. Carson has three games with at least 100 rushing yards and four games with at least 80 yards. Despite missing two games, he has a big lead in carries (128) over Davis (82) and Penny (62).

    The Seahawks continue to battle for a playoff spot in the NFC at 5-5, and as the team with the busiest and most productive rushing attack in the league, they'll continue to roll with Carson as their top option. As long as he's healthy, you can continue to play him as a reliable RB2 knowing he's leading the way. 

    B.S. Meter on Carson clearly being the top fantasy back in Seattle: 3/10

Lamar Jackson Is a Reliable Fantasy Starter

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    Lamar Jackson's legs are the source of his fantasy value.
    Lamar Jackson's legs are the source of his fantasy value.Patrick Smith/Getty Images

    It's been pretty easy to boost any fantasy option taking on the Cincinnati Bengals this season. They possess the worst run defense in the league, the second-worst pass defense in the league and, as a result, give up more yards than any team in the league. If you were thinking about using Lamar Jackson in Week 11, the matchup made it much easier to make that decision. 

    Of course, we didn't even know if Jackson would start. He missed the Thursday practice with a stomach issue, so Robert Griffin III seemed like the potential replacement for Joe Flacco (hip). However, Jackson returned at the Friday practice and was tabbed as the starter on Sunday. Coming into the game, Jackson had appeared in every game this season with a total of 86 snaps, 12 pass attempts and 28 carries for 117 yards with a rushing touchdown. 

    On the opening drive, the Ravens went 75 yards on 11 plays with Alex Collins scoring on a seven-yard run. Jackson didn't attempt a single pass on that drive, but he did run five times for 46 yards. The Ravens took a 13-7 lead into the second half but gave up 14 unanswered points before scoring the final 11 points for a 24-21 victory.

    It was painfully obvious the Ravens were making a point to limit Jackson's pass attempts, which made sense because he looked less than comfortable in the pocket. Jackson completed 13 of 19 passes for 150 yards with no touchdowns and a bad interception. Of course, he did enough to make up for that with 117 rushing yards on 27 attempts. That gave him 15.7 fantasy points, which was good enough for a top-12 finish. 

    If the Ravens turn back to Jackson for Week 12, they'd be doing so knowing he'd have another beatable matchup against the Oakland Raiders. Baltimore is lucky to be facing the two worst rushing defenses in back-to-back weeks with Flacco battling a hip injury. While the Raiders might be slightly more prepared for Jackson after seeing what he did against the Bengals, it doesn't mean they'll be able to slow him down. For at least one more week, Jackson should be worth a lineup spot. You can reassess his status after Week 12.

    B.S. Meter on Jackson being a reliable fantasy starter: 4/10

Now Is the Time to Stash Defenses for the Fantasy Playoffs

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    The Broncos defense will be coveted for the fantasy playoffs.
    The Broncos defense will be coveted for the fantasy playoffs.Rick Scuteri/Associated Press

    If you're fighting for your playoff life in Week 12, you probably aren't thinking about stashing defenses. If you're coming out of Week 11 with a record that puts you in the playoffs, it would be wise to think about how you can maximize your roster from top to bottom. One way to do that is to stash multiple defenses. 

    No defense has been dominant this year, and, as always, it never makes sense to use a valuable draft pick on a defense. Streaming is the way to go, and if you've been successful streaming defenses all season, that philosophy should continue into the fantasy playoffs. But you can take some of the risk out of securing the best defenses by grabbing them now before Weeks 14-16. 

    The Jacksonville Jaguars defense could be one of the best to grab for that span with the Tennessee Titans, Washington Redskins and Miami Dolphins on the schedule. You could also consider the Denver Broncos, as they'll face the San Francisco 49ers, Cleveland Browns and Oakland Raiders. The Titans are another potential option with the Jaguars, New York Giants and Redskins coming up in Weeks 14-16.

    If you're looking to mix and match, the New England Patriots have favorable games in Week 14 (Dolphins) and Week 16 (Buffalo Bills) with the Pittsburgh Steelers in between. The Bills would also be in the mix-and-match category thanks to games with the New York Jets in Week 14 and Lions in Week 15 before seeing the Patriots in Week 16. The Vikings would also factor in with the Dolphins in Week 15 and Lions in Week 16.

    Consider the matchups to exploit in the fantasy playoffs to get ahead of the game before your opponents are left scrambling for the scraps on the waiver wire. Remember, stashing defenses is only recommended if you're already on your way to the playoffs.

    B.S. Meter on now being the time to stash defenses for the fantasy playoffs: 5/10

Tre'Quan Smith's Week 11 Performance Will Lead to a Strong Finsh

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    Tre'Quan Smith torched the Eagles secondary in Week 11.
    Tre'Quan Smith torched the Eagles secondary in Week 11.Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

    Tre'Quan Smith found himself on the discard pile for many fantasy teams when the New Orleans Saints signed Dez Bryant. When Bryant tore his Achilles, Smith seemed to have a second chance, but he wound up with no targets against the beatable Bengals secondary in Week 10. If anyone stuck with Smith even after Bryant signed, he didn't give anyone a reason to stick with him thanks to that goose egg.

    If you were desperate in Week 11, Smith was worth a look solely for the matchup with the Philadelphia Eagles secondary that has been decimated by injuries. He paid off that faith with 10 receptions for 157 yards and a touchdown on 10 targets. His 31.7 fantasy points provided the best performance of any Saint, including Drew Brees, in Week 11. 

    Does this mean Smith is ready to break out? Let's not overlook the fact that the Eagles suffered more injuries during the game and have now allowed the seventh-most passing yards (276.5) per game this season. Plus, Smith landed on Monday's injury report with a foot ailment ahead of Thursday's matchup with the Atlanta Falcons. Before Week 11, Smith had just 12 receptions for 214 yards and three touchdowns on the season, most of which came in Week 5 (three receptions, 111 yards, two touchdowns).

    If Smith is healthy enough to play, the matchup with the Falcons is a good one. Atlanta has allowed the fourth-most passing yards. Smith would also get the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (fifth-most passing yards) in Week 14 and Carolina Panthers (12th-most passing yards) in Week 15, so for the most part, the schedule is favorable.

    Getting a piece of arguably the best team in football is never a bad idea, so Smith is back on the fantasy radar, although he's more of a WR3 since we've yet to see him consistently produce this season. The schedule is good, but Smith has to prove he's healthy and can be more than just a boom-or-bust option.

    B.S. Meter on Smith's Week 11 performance leading to a strong finish: 6/10

Tyler Boyd Will Be Fine Without A.J. Green

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    Tyler Boyd and the Bengals continue to struggle without A.J. Green.
    Tyler Boyd and the Bengals continue to struggle without A.J. Green.Gary Landers/Associated Press

    A.J. Green has missed the last two games due to a toe injury he initially suffered in Week 8. Green was unable to return after the Week 9 bye and has been out ever since, leaving Tyler Boyd on top of the Bengals' wide receiver depth chart. Making up for the team's top passing option isn't easy, but the belief was that Green's absence would funnel more targets to Boyd.

    Boyd's first game without Green was a disappointment. He managed just three receptions for 65 yards on only four targets in a blowout loss to the New Orleans Saints. Week 11 brought a tougher matchup with the Ravens. While Boyd's targets shot up to 11, he posted just four receptions for 71 yards. 

    Over the first eight weeks of the season with Green, Boyd was the No. 12 fantasy wide receiver with 141.3 fantasy points (17.7 fantasy points per game). In the last two games without Green, Boyd has just 20.6 fantasy points. That's a small sample size, but it does demonstrate how Boyd and the entire Bengals offense suffers without Green.

    The Bengals don't have any true playmakers in the receiving corps to take some attention off Boyd. With Green on the field, Boyd was able to prosper from defenses paying him less attention. The sooner Green gets back, the better for Boyd and the entire offense. Concern for Boyd will continue as long as Green is sidelined by his toe injury.

    B.S. Meter on Boyd being fine without Green: 7/10

The Titans Will Survive Without Marcus Mariota

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    The Titans could be in big trouble without Marcus Mariota.
    The Titans could be in big trouble without Marcus Mariota.Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    An elbow injury hurt Marcus Mariota in the beginning of the season, as he was unable to properly grip a football. He didn't technically miss a game, but he was the backup to Blaine Gabbert in Week 2 and had to play in relief of an injured Gabbert in Week 3. The Titans won both of those, but Gabbert and Mariota combined for 225 passing yards and one touchdown. Mariota regaining the starting job in Week 4 and seemed to be turning the corner in recent weeks.

    Unfortunately, Mariota re-injured the same elbow in the first half of Week 11 and didn't return. According to Jim Wyatt of, head coach Mike Vrabel called the injury a "stinger."

    Vrabel clarified the injury by saying, "He is getting treatment, and it's really not even the elbow. He got a stinger. When the guy hit him in the head, he got a stinger. So then he was evaluated by the independent neurologist, and he was cleared. He is not in the concussion protocol or anything like that. So we'll have to see where he's at."

    Mariota will get an extra day to get ready with the Titans' Week 12 matchup coming on Monday night against the Texans in Houston, but going from Mariota to Gabbert has to be considered a downgrade for Corey Davis and the offense as a whole. The Titans would also lose Mariota as a running threat. He has 255 yards and two touchdowns on 47 rushes this season.

    Without Mariota, the Titans offense has to be downgraded as a whole. Monitor Mariota's status before making a call on any of the potential fantasy options in Tennessee.

    B.S. Meter on the Titans surviving without Mariota: 8/10

It's Too Early to Grab the Top Handcuffs

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    Giovani Bernard is a proven handcuff for Joe Mixon.
    Giovani Bernard is a proven handcuff for Joe Mixon.John Bazemore/Associated Press

    Making it this far into the season without losing your top running back for any significant period of time is some of the luck you need to win a fantasy championship. However, you shouldn't take that luck for granted. While not necessary for the entire season, securing the top, obvious handcuffs before the fantasy playoffs is vital. 

    Luckily, we've already seen some of the proven handcuffs in action this season. Giovani Bernard handled two games as the lead back while Joe Mixon nursed a knee injury. He was the No. 6 in those two weeks with 22.6 fantasy points per game. Latavius Murray led the Minnesota Vikings backfield for almost six games and averaged 14.5 points per game in Dalvin Cook's absence.

    The Los Angeles Chargers have been leaning on Melvin Gordon all season, so they were fortunate when he missed just one game with a hamstring injury. Austin Ekeler stepped in for Gordon in Week 7 to score 11.8 fantasy points and play 95.5 percent of the snaps. It helps that players like Bernard, Murray and Ekeler can have some value independent of being handcuffs, but they'd all get a huge boost if the starters got hurt.

    Even though they don't have significant roles outside of being backups, Spencer Ware behind Kareem Hunt in Kansas City and Malcolm Brown behind Todd Gurley for the Los Angeles Rams are also among the handcuffs to snatch up for the stretch run. Instead of filling your bench with players you'll never trust enough to use, like any Jets wide receiver, handcuff your best back (or backs) to provide useful depth. 

    B.S. Meter on it being too early to grab the top handcuffs: 9/10

The Lions Can Replace Kerryon Johnson's Production

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    Kerryon Johnson suffered a knee injury in Week 11.
    Kerryon Johnson suffered a knee injury in Week 11.Leon Halip/Getty Images

    In last week's Workload Watch, we looked at how Kerryon Johnson was becoming arguably the most important part of the Detroit Lions offense thanks to an active role both on the ground and through the air. In a frustrating season for the Lions, he's finally given the offense a true lead running back to trust in all facets of the game. Week 11 may have resulted in a win for the Lions, but it put Johnson on the sidelines.

    Johnson had posted 15 carries for 87 yards and a touchdown and added another two receptions for 10 yards on two targets to score 17.7 fantasy points in three quarters of action before suffering a knee injury. According to Adam Schefter of ESPN, Johnson is week-to-week with a sprained knee but won't need surgery. That should keep Johnson out for Thursday's game against the Chicago Bears, but his timetable is up in the air going forward. 

    Unfortunately for the Lions, it's another absence they'll have trouble dealing with following the trade of Golden Tate and now knee injuries to both Johnson and Marvin Jones. LeGarrette Blount has been a non-factor with 21 carries for 16 yards in the last four games and just 183 yards and three touchdowns on 78 carries (2.3 yards per carry) on the season. 

    If you're looking for any fantasy production in this backfield, Theo Riddick is the only option. He won't do much on the ground (nine carries, 30 yards in eight games), but he does have 41 receptions for 264 yards on 52 targets. That includes 18 receptions for 126 yards on 22 targets in the last three games. Riddick had seen an uptick in targets following the trade of Tate and Jones' injury, but that number could get into double digits with how thin this team is at both at RB and the receiving corps. 

    Even with Riddick pushed into a bigger role, you can't expect him to replicate Riddick's fantasy value, which was moving into the strong RB2 level. Considering how long it took the Lions to find a true lead back in Johnson, there's no easy way to replace him.

    B.S. Meter on the Lions replacing Johnson's production: 10/10