Week 12 Start 'Em, Sit 'Em: Advice on Fantasy Football Stars to Play or Bench
At this point in the fantasy football season, the toughest decisions come down to your star players who have unfavorable matchups. Should you start or sit them?
This week, two struggling NFC West quarterbacks will attempt to rebound from underwhelming performances in consecutive outings. While one of the signal-callers deserves the green light to start, the other has a challenging obstacle with recent changes in his wide receiver unit.
In a crucial AFC North showdown, one running back could produce eye-popping numbers against a defense that just gave up 41 points last week.
Typically, a star wide receiver who's in line for a big target share is a must-start player, but that doesn't apply to one Pro Bowler with an injury concern and a stingy defense next on his team's schedule.
For games involving star players, we'll provide answers to start 'em, sit 'em decisions and go in-depth on a few of the key verdicts. All suggestions are based on Yahoo point-per-reception scoring settings.
Week 12: Start 'Em, Sit 'Em
QB Russell Wilson at Washington Football Team
QB Josh Allen at New Orleans Saints
RB Joe Mixon vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
RB Ezekiel Elliott vs. Las Vegas Raiders
WR Michael Pittman Jr. vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
WR Mike Williams at Denver Broncos
TE George Kittle vs. Minnesota Vikings
TE Dallas Goedert at New York Giants
QB Matthew Stafford at Green Bay Packers
QB Dak Prescott vs. Las Vegas Raiders
RB Josh Jacobs at Dallas Cowboys
RB Damien Harris vs. Tennessee Titans
WR A.J. Brown at New England Patriots
WR Kenny Golladay vs. Philadelphia Eagles
TE Mike Gesicki vs. Carolina Panthers
TE Dawson Knox at New Orleans Saints
Start 'Em: Russell Wilson at Washington Football Team
Since his Week 10 return from surgery on his finger, Russell Wilson has struggled to establish a rhythm, throwing for just 368 yards and two interceptions over the last two games. He's not even providing much on the ground with fewer than 33 rushing yards in all seven of his outings and just one rushing touchdown all season.
However, in Week 12, Wilson should revert to Pro Bowl form. He has a get-right matchup with the Washington Football Team Monday night.
With wideouts DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett, Wilson has high-end perimeter playmakers who should feast on Washington's 28th-ranked pass defense, which has allowed the most touchdowns through the air. Start him in this spot and expect a bounce-back performance.
Sit 'Em: Matthew Stafford at Green Bay Packers
Unlike Russell Wilson, Matthew Stafford isn't going to snap out of his slump this week.
Though Stafford had extra time to regroup during a bye week, he faces a tough challenge with the Green Bay Packers' seventh-ranked pass defense next on the schedule. Furthermore, the NFC North club allows the fourth-fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks.
The Los Angeles Rams lost wide receiver Robert Woods for the season with a torn ACL. His absence will adversely impact Stafford's fantasy production and the team's aerial attack for the remainder of the campaign.
While wideout Odell Beckham Jr. finds his way in the offense, Stafford will have to lean on Cooper Kupp, who's put up big numbers, second-year wide receiver Van Jefferson and tight end Tyler Higbee.
The Packers can double-team Kupp and force Stafford to funnel most of his targets to Jefferson and Higbee, which makes the Rams' passing attack easier to defend Sunday.
Stay away from Stafford in tough matchups until he builds a solid rapport with Beckham.
Start 'Em: Joe Mixon vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
In Week 11, Joe Mixon logged a season-high 30 carries for 123 yards and two touchdowns against the Las Vegas Raiders' porous 29th-ranked run defense. He'll face a vulnerable Pittsburgh Steelers unit Sunday.
The Steelers rank 26th against the run and allow a league-worst 4.8 yards per carry. Pittsburgh has ceded an average of 174.7 rushing yards per game over the past three weeks. The defense gives up the ninth-most fantasy points to running backs. Based on those numbers, Mixon should have another big day.
Mixon goes into this week's contest on a scoring hot streak, recording a touchdown in four consecutive games and six in total during that stretch. He's a must-start player against a defense that just allowed four touchdowns to Los Angeles Chargers running back Austin Ekeler. This isn't the same stingy Steelers defense from previous years.
Sit 'Em: Sit 'Em: A.J. Brown at New England Patriots
Managers shouldn't take a chance with A.J. Brown this week for multiple reasons.
For starters, Brown exited the previous game with a rib injury. According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, he had X-rays that came back negative. With that said, even if he suits up, the Pro Bowl wideout would likely take the field well under 100 percent against the New England Patriots' sixth-ranked pass defense.
On the perimeter, Brown would probably match up against Patriots cornerback J.C. Jackson, who's recorded six interceptions and a league-leading 15 pass breakups while allowing an impressive 50 percent completion rate.
If Brown went into this contest healthy, he might have been worth the gamble with fellow wide receiver Julio Jones on injured reserve (hamstring), but his condition and a tough matchup may lead to disappointing fantasy numbers despite the potential for a high number of targets.
Whether Brown practices or not leading up to Sunday's game, keep him on the bench.
Fantasy scoring and points allowed provided by FantasyPros.
Maurice Moton is an NFL and fantasy football columnist for Bleacher Report. You can follow him on Twitter @MoeMoton.