Week 12 Fantasy Football Rankings: Positional Overview, Guide and Advice

Zach Buckley@@ZachBuckleyNBANational NBA Featured ColumnistNovember 20, 2018

Los Angeles Chargers running back Melvin Gordon runs against the Denver Broncos during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 18, 2018, in Carson, Calif. (AP Photo/Kelvin Kuo)
Kelvin Kuo/Associated Press

We've progressed deep enough into the 2018 fantasy football season to separate the haves from the have-nots.

But that hardly relieves any pressure to perform in what will be a critical Week 12 for those in and around the fantasy playoff picture.

Whether fighting for one of the final postseason spots or jostling for preferred seeding, victories at this juncture carry major importance and a potentially richer reward.

Let's get you pointed in the best direction by presenting our top 10 rankings at every spot and highlighting a player at each position worth closer inspection.



1. Drew Brees, NO (vs. ATL)

2. Andrew Luck, IND (vs. MIA)

3. Matt Ryan, ATL (at NO)

4. Cam Newton, CAR (vs. SEA)

5. Mitchell Trubisky, CHI (at DET)

6. Aaron Rodgers, GB (at MIN)

7. Tom Brady, NE (at NYJ)

8. Ben Roethlisberger, PIT (at DEN)

9. Russell Wilson, SEA (at CAR)

10. Deshaun Watson, HOU (vs. TEN)

After Andrew Luck torched the Jacksonville Jaguars for 285 yards and three scores on 72.4 percent passing in Week 10, Indianapolis Colts coach Frank Reich was telling anyone who'd listen Luck was shooting up the rankings.

"He's as good as they come," Reich told MMQB's Albert Breer. "I mean, there's a handful of really elite quarterbacks out there, and I think he's one of those guys. He's one of however many are in that top category."

No one is doing what Luck is right now. As Gregg Doyel of the Indianapolis Star observed, only a select few signal-callers ever have:

Gregg Doyel @GreggDoyelStar

Andrew Luck now has thrown at least three TD's in seven consecutive games, the NFL's longest active streak and tied with Dan Marino for third all time. Only Tom Brady (10 in 2010) and Peyton Manning (eight in 2004) had longer streaks.

Dating back to Week 4, Luck has amassed 24 touchdowns against six interceptions. He has completed better than 70 percent of his passes in four straight outings. His yardage might ebb and flow, but he's piling up the production where it counts.


Running Backs

1. Alvin Kamara, NO (vs. ATL)

2. Melvin Gordon, LAC (vs. ARI)

3. Ezekiel Elliott, DAL (vs. WAS)

4. David Johnson, ARI (at LAC)

5. Saquon Barkley, NYG (at PHI)

6. Christian McCaffrey, CAR (vs. SEA)

7. James Conner, PIT (at DEN)

8. Leonard Fournette, JAX (at BUF)

9. Nick Chubb, CLE (at CIN)

10. Joe Mixon, CIN (vs. CLE)

Saquon Barkley is 10 games into his NFL career and already a franchise talent. And, as ESPN.com's Tristan H. Cockcroft noted, Barkley is also one of the most dominant freshman fantasy footballers we've ever seen:

"His historic rookie campaign continued Sunday with a 35.2 PPR fantasy point, three-touchdown performance in the Giants' 38-35 win against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. That gave Barkley 252.8 points through 10 games of his rookie season, which is the fourth-most points by any skill-position player through that many games of an NFL career. It also represented the ninth time that Barkley scored at least 20 points in a game, which is already tied (with Edgerrin James and Cam Newton) for the second most by any rookie in history, trailing only Eric Dickerson's 10 (1983)."

Barkley is basically matchup-proof, something he hinted at when putting 128 scrimmage yards and a score on the vaunted Jaguars defense during the season-opener.

That's important to keep in mind when analyzing the road ahead for Barkley, which features consecutive contests against the Philadelphia Eagles (seventh-fewest points allowed to running backs) and Chicago Bears (third-fewest). Of course, prior to Sunday's eruption, Barkley hadn't had a better fantasy day than his Week 6 meeting with the Eagles, when he tallied 229 scrimmage yards and a touchdown.


Wide Receivers

1. Julio Jones, ATL (at NO)

2. Michael Thomas, NO (vs. ATL)

3. Antonio Brown, PIT (at DEN)

4. Odell Beckham Jr., NYG (at PHI)

5. DeAndre Hopkins, HOU (vs. TEN)

6. Adam Thielen, MIN (vs. GB)

7. Mike Evans, TB (vs. SF)

8. Stefon Diggs, MIN (vs. GB)

9. Davante Adams, GB (at MIN)

10. Keenan Allen, LAC (vs. ARI)

So much for Julio Jones' scoring drought.

Atlanta Falcons @AtlantaFalcons

Just Julio being Julio 😏 https://t.co/i8JnGQ8SX3

After failing to find the end zone in any of his first seven contests, he's now scored a touchdown in three straight weeks. He's also riding a five-game 100-yard streak, making him as productive as any player at the position.

And now, he's drawing as favorable a matchup as wide receivers can find. No defense has allowed more fantasy points to wide receivers than the New Orleans Saints, who have allowed seven different receivers to reach 100-plus yards and 13 to find the end zone.


Tight Ends

1. George Kittle, SF (at TB)

2. Zach Ertz, PHI (vs. NYG)

3. Rob Gronkowski, NE (at NYJ)

4. Trey Burton, CHI (at DET)

5. O.J. Howard, TB (vs. SF)

6. Greg Olsen, CAR (vs. SEA)

7. Jack Doyle, IND (vs. MIA)

8. Jordan Reed, WAS (at DAL)

9. Jared Cook, OAK (at BAL)

10. Austin Hooper, ATL (at NO)

The tight end position has struggled with consistency all season. Same goes for the San Francisco 49ers offense.

But George Kittle is bucking both trends in his sophomore campaign, emerging both as a Bay Area bright spot and an elite fantasy option.

He's basically had two duds all season: two catches for 22 yards in Week 2 and four receptions for 30 yards in Week 6. Otherwise, he's been a double-digit producer in PPR leagues each time out.

He enters Week 12 with 80-plus receiving yards in three of his last four games and touchdowns in two of them. Now, he'll get a Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense allowing the second-most points to his position. If Austin Hooper (nine receptions for 71 yards and a score) and David Njoku (four catches for 52 yards and a touchdown) can exploit this defense, there's no telling how high Kittle's numbers might go.



1. Baltimore Ravens (vs. OAK)

2. Los Angeles Chargers (vs. ARI)

3. Chicago Bears (at DET)

4. Jacksonville Jaguars (at BUF)

5. New England Patriots (at NYJ)

6. Dallas Cowboys (vs. WAS)

7. Indianapolis Colts (vs. MIA)

8. Philadelphia Eagles (vs. NYG)

9. Buffalo Bills (vs. JAX)

10. Houston Texans (vs. TEN)

The Chicago Bears changed their fortunes with the acquisition of Khalil Mack, and they've never looked back.

In the real world or the fantasy realm, this defense is terrifying. They've swiped 18 interceptions (first) and recovered nine fumbles (third), then turned them into an NFL-best five touchdowns. They've allowed the fourth-fewest points per game (19.5) and racked up the fourth-most sacks (32.0, 8.0 from Mack).

This unit has been a gold mine all season, and it might be extra valuable on Thanksgiving. They'll get the Detroit Lions for the second time in three weeks. Considering the first matchup yielded six sacks, two picks and a fumble recovery, Bears owners should expect another bountiful outing.



1. Wil Lutz, NO (vs. ATL)

2. Justin Tucker, BAL (vs. OAK)

3. Stephen Gostkowski, NE (at NYJ)

4. Matt Bryant, ATL (at NO)

5. Robbie Gould, SF (at TB)

6. Jake Elliott, PHI (vs. NYG)

7. Adam Vinatieri, IND (vs. MIA)

8. Chris Boswell, PIT (at DEN)

9. Randy Bullock, CIN (vs. CLE)

10. Mason Crosby, GB (at MIN)

Unless you're in need of a streamer to sub in for Greg Zuerlein or Harrison Butker, the chances are you're probably dancing with the kicker who brought you this far. Hopefully, said kicker is one of these 10.


Statistics used courtesy of NFL.com and ESPN.com. Fantasy scoring information obtained via Yahoo Sports.