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

Kristopher Knox@@kris_knoxFeatured ColumnistNovember 21, 2018

NEW ORLEANS, LA - NOVEMBER 18: Carson Wentz #11 of the Philadelphia Eagles hands the ball to Josh Adams #33 during a game against the New Orleans Saints at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on November 18, 2018 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

On Monday night, the Los Angeles Rams and Kansas City Chiefs put on one of the greatest offensive displays perhaps in league history. Players like Kareem Hunt, Todd Gurley, Travis Kelce, Tyreek Hill and Brandin Cooks were all on full display—and plenty of fantasy owners were happy.

Both the Rams and the Chiefs are on bye in Week 12, though, which means those previously happy fantasy owners will be turning to fringe starters to replace them.

The question, of course, is which fringe starters are worthy of the start, and which need to stay on the bench or waiver wire? That's what we're going to help sort out today. We'll examine two fringe starters at each of the FLEX positions—running back, wide receiver and tight end—and determine where to lean with each.

All fantasy stats and rankings via FantasyPros.


Running Backs

Start 'Em: Josh Adams, Philadelphia Eagles vs. New York Giants

The Philadelphia Eagles tend to use a committee backfield, but undrafted rookie Josh Adams has emerged as the top option in recent weeks. Even though the Eagles were playing in a blowout loss, Adams managed to produce 72 scrimmage yards and a touchdown.

The Eagles shouldn't be involved in a blowout loss to the New York Giants in Week 12, which likely means a larger rushing workload for Adams. He got 53 rushing yards on just seven carries last week, which is impressive.

"I'm doing it to put my team in the best position to win and we didn't get that done, so I've just got to do more," Adams said, via the team's official website.

We can expect more from Adams against the Giants. He should log at least twice as many carries as last week, which means topping the 100-yard mark is a real possibility.


Sit 'Em: Jalen Richard, Oakland Raiders at Baltimore Ravens

Ever since Marshawn Lynch went on injured reserve, the Oakland Raiders have rolled with a committee backfield. DeAndre Washington, Jalen Richard and Doug Martin have all played their parts—with Richard emerging as a quality PPR fantasy starter.

Last week, Richard racked up 93 combined rushing and receiving yards and three receptions. He also earned the praise of head coach Jon Gruden.

Vic Tafur @VicTafur

Gruden said @RocketRich30 reminds him of Charlie Garner. "He might be the MVP of this team. ... He could run for 1,000 yards and catch for 1,000 yards someday. He is tough, hard to tackle. And he can line up in the slot or outside." #Raiders

Richard should see plenty of work against the Baltimore Ravens, but he isn't likely to do much with it. Baltimore has a stout defense that allows the second-fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs.

If Richard was a featured back, he might still be worth a start, but he's in a committee and bench-worthy.


Wide Receivers

Start 'Em: Sterling Shepard, New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles

Bill Kostroun/Associated Press

We do believe that the Eagles will be in a close game with the Giants in Week 12. If, however, the Giants pull away early, it's going to be because of the banged-up state of Philadelphia's secondary.

The Eagles watched Sidney Jones, Rasul Douglas and Avonte Maddox all get injured last week against the New Orleans Saints. They were already without Jalen Mills, Ronald Darby and Rodney McLeod.

For the year, the Eagles have allowed the second-most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers. This makes it the perfect week to fire up Giants wideout Sterling Shepard, an often inconsistent fantasy option with a high upside and low floor.

In games where the passing game doesn't thrive, Odell Beckham Jr., Evan Engram and Saquon Barkley can overshadow Shepard. Where there are enough passes to go around, though, Shepard can shine—like he did in Week 7 against the Atlanta Falcons.

Expect Shepard to grab 4-5 receptions at minimum and to have a strong fantasy outing.


Sit 'Em: Kenny Stills, Miami Dolphins at Indianapolis Colts

Miami Dolphins wideout Kenny Stills is another fantasy option who can star in one week and frustrate in another. He has four touchdowns on the season and two games with at least 60 receiving yards, but he has also produced just one catch three separate times and missed a game due to injury.

The good news for Stills owners is that it looks like starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill will return to the lineup this week.

Joe Schad @schadjoe

Ryan Tannehill will start for Miami Dolphins at Indianapolis

The bad news is that it may not matter against an Indianapolis Colts defense that is surprisingly good against opposing receivers this season. Only six teams have allowed fewer fantasy points to the position.


Tight Ends

Start 'Em: C.J. Uzomah, Cincinnati Bengals vs. Cleveland Browns

The Cincinnati Bengals have lost tight ends Tyler Eifert and Tyler Kroft to injuries this season, which has thrust C.J. Uzomah into the starting lineup. While Uzomah isn't a fantasy stud, he has had quality weeks as a fantasy starter.

Last week against the Ravens, for example, he produced 41 yards on three receptions.

Uzomah should be in store for an even better outing against the Cleveland Browns. While the Ravens allow the eighth-fewest fantasy points to opposing tight ends, the Browns allow the eighth-most. It wouldn't be surprising to see Uzomah grab a half-dozen passes in Week 12.


Sit 'Em: Evan Engram, New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles

While things should be fairly open for Giants receivers like Beckham and Shepard against the Eagles, the same cannot be said for tight end Engram. While Philadelphia has struggled to cover receivers this season, it's been good against opposing tight ends.

Only the Tennessee Titans have allowed fewer fantasy points to tight ends.

Even against a poor pass defense, there's no guarantee that Engram would be a big part of the offense. He caught just two passes against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last week, though he did manage 66 yards on those receptions. Against the Eagles, expect him to have a marginal day at best.