This is it, fantasy football fans. The final slate of bye weeks is upon us, and for many season-long leagues, the postseasons are soon to follow. If you can successfully navigate Week 12, you should be able to head into the postseason with all the fantasy studs you drafted—the healthy ones anyway—at your disposal.
Making it through the week is the challenge. The Arizona Cardinals, Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Chargers and Minnesota Vikings are out of action, meaning plenty of top fantasy stars are unavailable.
For many fantasy managers, this will require playing the matchups with middle-tier players to compensate.
Here you'll find some of the best fantasy matchups of Week 12, along with statistical projections. Specifically, you'll find matchups for players outside the top 25, since those are virtual must-starts in all formats.
Who are the top 25 players for Week 12? Let's take a look.
Fantasy Football Top 25 Rankings and Projections
1. Christian McCaffrey, RB, Carolina Panthers: 178 total yards, two TDs
2. Michael Thomas, WR, New Orleans Saints: 169 total yards, one TD
3. Alvin Kamara, RB, New Orleans Saints: 157 total yards, one TD
4. Julio Jones, WR, Atlanta Falcons: 150 total yards, one TD
5. Nick Chubb, RB, Cleveland Browns: 148 total yards, one TD
6. Josh Jacobs, RB, Oakland Raiders: 145 total yards, one TD
7. Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Dallas Cowboys: 143 total yards, one TD
8. Chris Godwin, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 137 total yards, one TD
9. Saquon Barkley, RB, New York Giants: 135 total yards, one TD
10. Mike Evans, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 135 total yards, one TD
11. Derrick Henry, RB, Tennessee Titans: 130 total yards, one TD
12. Leonard Fournette, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars: 127 total yards, one TD
13. Aaron Jones, RB, Green Bay Packers: 125 total yards, one TD
14. Odell Beckham Jr., WR, Cleveland Browns: 120 total yards, one TD
15. DJ Chark Jr., WR, Jacksonville Jaguars: 118 total yards, one TD
16. Davante Adams, WR, Green Bay Packers: 115 total yards, one TD
17. Tyler Lockett, WR, Seattle Seahawks: 110 total yards, one TD
18. Le'Veon Bell, RB, New York Jets: 165 total yards
19. Amari Cooper, WR, Dallas Cowboys: 160 total yards
20. Julian Edelman, WR, New England Patriots: 155 total yards
21. Cooper Kupp, WR, Los Angeles Rams: 148 total yards
22. DJ Moore, WR, Carolina Panthers: 145 total yards
23. Zach Ertz, TE, Philadelphia Eagles: 136 total yards
24. Chris Carson, RB, Seattle Seahawks: 130 total yards
25. Tevin Coleman, RB, San Francisco 49ers: 130 total yards
Matchup to Love: Jaylen Samuels at Cincinnati Bengals
If you're playing in a PPR league, Pittsburgh Steelers running back Jaylen Samuels is worth starting regardless of James Conner's status. Over the last three weeks, Samuels has caught 21 passes for 103 yards and a touchdown.
If you're playing in a standard league, Samuels' value hinges a little more on Conner's health. Conner is dealing with a shoulder injury, and it's looking "increasingly likely" that he and wideout JuJu Smith-Schuster (concussion) won't play on Sunday, according to Joe Rutter of TribLive.com.
If Conner cannot go, then Samuels becomes a high-end play against the Cincinnati Bengals. No team has been worse against the run this season, and the Bengals have surrendered an average of 167 rushing yards per game.
Pittsburgh should implement a run-oriented game plan against Cincinnati, especially if Smith-Schuster is unavailable. Because of this, fellow Steelers back Benny Snell is also worth a look as a mid-tier sleeper.
Projection: 68 rushing yards, three receptions, 20 receiving yards.
Matchup to Love: Mark Andrews at Los Angeles Rams
While the Los Angeles Rams aren't nearly as bad against the pass as the Bengals are against the run, they have been susceptible to aerial assaults at times this season. The Rams rank a pedestrian 15th against the pass, allowing 235.5 yards per game.
Los Angeles has been much more efficient against the run, allowing just 89.1 yards per game and 3.3 yards per carry on the ground. Because of this, we could see Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson take a pass-first approach against the Rams.
This would bode well for tight end Mark Andrews, who is one of Jackson's favorite targets. He's averaged just under five receptions per game this season and has 698 yards and six scores on the year.
Also benefiting those who start Andrews is the matchup with Jalen Ramsey that wideout Marquise Brown is likely to draw. If Ramsey is able to shut down the speedy rookie receiver, Andrews should become an even bigger focal point of the offense.
Projection: Five receptions, 70 receiving yards.
Matchup to Love: Kareem Hunt vs. Miami Dolphins
The Cleveland Browns have not had much consistency on offense this season, but running back Nick Chubb has been superb. He's averaged more than 101.1 rushing yards per game and should be in store for another strong outing against the Miami Dolphins.
Backup Kareem Hunt, who returned from suspension two weeks ago, hasn't cut into Chubb's running workload much, but he's been a PPR machine. In his two games with the Browns, Hunt has caught 13 passes and produced 132 combined rushing and receiving yards.
That's an average of 6.5 catches and 66 yards, which isn't bad at all for a backup in PPR leagues.
"I think Kareem is doing a good job of staying in the moment and doing his job and letting his skill take care of everything else," Browns coach Freddie Kitchens said, via the team's official website.
Against the Dolphins, who rank 20th in total defense (394.3 yards per game allowed) Hunt is a smart play in PPR formats. He's far less valuable in standard-scoring leagues, though his big-play potential could still reward managers with a long play or two.
Projection: 20 rushing yards, six receptions, 50 receiving yards.