Fantasy Football Week 12 Rankings: Projections and Matchups to Love

Kristopher Knox@@kris_knoxFeatured ColumnistNovember 22, 2019

Carolina Panthers' Christian McCaffrey warms up before an NFL football game against the Green Bay Packers Sunday, Nov. 10, 2019, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps)
Jeffrey Phelps/Associated Press

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.

                    

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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

Don Wright/Associated Press

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

BALTIMORE, MD - OCTOBER 13: Mark Andrews #89 of the Baltimore Ravens carries the ball against the Cincinnati Bengals during the first half at M&T Bank Stadium on October 13, 2019 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)
Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

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

CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 14:  Kareem Hunt #27 of the Cleveland Browns runs with the ball against the Pittsburgh Steelers at FirstEnergy Stadium on November 14, 2019 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

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.

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