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Fantasy Football Rundown: Starts, Sits, & Everything In-Between for Week 12

At least one sentence on every single fantasy football relevant player for Week 12. Starts, sits, sleepers, busts, DFS plays, you name it, I talk about it here.

Welcome to the Fantasy Football Rundown: a weekly article written by yours truly in which I give at least one sentence on every single fantasy relevant player for Week 12. Starts, sits, sleepers, busts, DFS plays, you name it, I talk about it here. Be warned, this is a beast of a piece. If you’re looking for a specific player, I recommend using your web browser’s search function to head straight to said player. Enjoy reading!

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Indianapolis Colts

Over/Under Points Scored: 51.5

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

QB Tom Brady — Tom Terrific should continued to move mountains here but the Colts’ defensive health is improving. Starting CB T.J. Carrie returned to the lineup last week and he should continue to make his presence felt–at least more than that the Colts’ backups did. Brady’s still a locked-in QB1 though.

WR Mike Evans — Has failed to practice on both Wednesday and Thursday (back). If active, he’s a locked-in WR1 against a lacking Indy CB group.

WR Chris Godwin — Godwin’s trending towards high-flying WR1 status with Evans ailing.

WRs Tyler Johnson, Breshad Perriman, and Scotty Miller — Perriman out-targeted Johnson is his 2021 Bucs debut last week and should be the favorite for field stretching duties this week–although Miller and his blazing speed may be back in the lineup as well. Both are high-end WR6s. Johnson is a WR7.

TEs Rob Gronkowski — Gronk’s back. Mid-to-high TE1.

RB Leonard Fournette — Steady Eddie RB2. The Colts’ defensive-front is great but capable bellcows in high-scoring offenses just get the job done.

RB Gio Bernard — RB6.

Indianapolis Colts

QB Carson Wentz — Expect Wentz to get back on track here as a top-15 QB option. Injuries in Tampa Bay’s secondary, as well as mammoth DL Vita Vea provide key openings to the Colts’ offense to work through.

WR Michael Pittman Jr. — Bounce-back spot. Count on Pittman to take the top off at least once here. He’s a back-end WR1.

WR Zach Pascal — Volatile WR6.

WR T.Y. Hilton — The Colts’ aged “field stretcher” is a DFS-only play. This is the right match-up for him to succeed in but his floor is bottomless.

TEs Jack Doyle, Mo Alie-Cox, and Kylen Granson — Too many cooks but Doyle is separating temporarily.

RB Jonathan Taylor — Taylor should easily clear 100 yards from scrimmage, shooting through the Vita Vea-sized hole in Tampa Bay’s front. It will be nigh impossible for the Bucs to slow him in the scoring position. Taylor’s now dead even with Carolina’s Christian McCaffrey for the overall RB1 spot in the rest-of-season rankings.

RB Nyheim Hines — Hines should see more passing game work than he has in recent weeks here. TB’s pass rush is going to cause problems. Still with the touches being piled high on Taylor’s plate, Hines’ work may not allow him access to more than fantasy RB5 status.

New York Jets at Houston Texans 

Over/Under Points Scored: 44.5

New York Jets

QB Joe Flacco — I liked Flacco as a high-floor/high-ceiling QB2 streamer last week due to the plethora of weapons he has at his disposal and he delivered. Working as a statue-esque distributor, Flacco completed 24-of-39 passes for 291 yards and 2 touchdowns against the Miami Dolphins last week. The Texans’ defense boasts far less talent then the ‘Fins do, elevating Flacco to the high-end QB2 range this week.

Update: Zach Wilson is starting for the Jets this week. He’s a mid-to-low QB2.

WR Elijah Moore — Moore’s a WR2 this week. X-receiver Corey Davis strained his groin in practice this week and will not play on Sunday. Moore could see eight or more targets here.

WR Keelan Cole — Fantasy WR4.

WR Jamison Crowder — Crowder will take on safety blanket treatment. High-floor WR5.

WR Keelan Cole — Cole is a non-factor with Davis back in the lineup. Fantasy WR4.

TE Ryan Griffin — Griffin’s operating as the full-time TE with Tyler Kroft on IR but hasn’t been able to do much with it. Depending on the status of RB Michael Carter’s ankle injury, Griffin could snag two or so short area targets this week. His match-up is nearly as good as it gets as the Texans are top-5 in .5PPR TE PPG allowed.

RBs Ty Johnson and Tevin Coleman — Likely to be a frustrating one-two punch situation. Johnson is so much more capable than Coleman though and the Texans’ front-seven is a fantastic match-up. Johnson’s an RB2, Coleman and RB3.

Houston Texans 

QB Tyrod Taylor — Taylor produced a modest passing sum, 107 scoreless yards, but carried the ball 6 times for 28 yards and 2 rushing touchdowns, salvaging his day. It’s a grim prospect, but Taylor’s got a shot at repeating the feat in Week 12 against the Jets. New York’s been ravaged by injuries this year, losing defensive standouts, DL Carl Lawson and both starting safeties, Marcus Maye and Lamarcus Joyner, to Injured Reserve. Taylor should rip up NYJ’s depleted front-seven while connecting with downfield receiver Brandin Cooks over the top.

WR Brandin Cooks — As mentioned above, Cooks should cook. He’s a WR3.

WR Chris Conley — WR8.

WR Nico Collins — Bench stash.

TE Pharaoh Brown — Brown was Taylor’s preferred TE target early on. Now that he’s healthy, he’s returned to that role. He’s not very good though and this is a low-volume attack. He’s on the borderline TE2/3 radar.

RBs David Johnson and Rex Burkhead — Burkhead is a usage-based RB4. Don’t both with DJ.

Philadelphia Eagles at New York Giants

Over/Under Points Scored: 46.5

Philadelphia Eagles

QB Jalen Hurts — Hurts’ 57 rushing attempts and 547 rushing yards rank No. 2 in the league behind Lamar Jackson and his 5 rushing TDs are tied (hysterically with Sam Darnold and Ryan Tannehill) for 1st at the position. Even with flaccid passing outings like the one he had in Week 11 (13-of-24 for 147 yards), that type of rushing work keeps Hurts locked into the elite tier of the fantasy QB1s.

WR DeVonta Smith — Smith’s developing nicely as a true X-receiver–he’s just not getting the volume of targets that other X-receivers often get. He’ll have to duke it out with NYG stud perimeter CB James Bradberry some of the time but if he gets a step on Bradberry, he’ll likely be running free. New York’s stud free safety Logan Ryan was a late-week Week 11 add to the COVID-19/Reserve List and it’s not a given that Ryan will be asymptomatic and able to produce 2 negative PCR tests ahead of Week 12’s kickoff. Stay tuned. Smith’s a high-floor WR3 with matchup based WR2 upside.

WR Jalen Reagor — WR8.

WR Quez Watkins — Watkins flopped in a great spot last week. NYG slot CB Darnay Holmes is a league-average talent. Watkins is a WR6.

WR J.J. Arcega-Whiteside — JJAW is now playing as a starter. He is not good though.

TE Dallas Goedert — Goedert’s struggled against the Giants in the past but he’s vying for No. 1 pass catcher duties with Smith now so this one is a little different. He remains a usage-based TE1.

RB Miles Sanders — Sanders was very rusty in his return from Injured Reserve, fumbling once and was saved by the whistle on another. Jordan Howard was also splitting time with him and actually slightly out-carried Sanders in the first-half. Howard suffered a knee injury after the break though so Sanders was able to work his way to a 94-yard day. In Week 12, sans Howard, Sanders should be able to return high-floor RB3 value against the Giants’ 19th ranked run defense per NEFF rating.

RBs Boston Scott and Kenneth Gainwell — Gainwell was inactive last week but that won’t be the case now with Howard nursing a knee issue. Expect Scott to keep the No. 2/pass catching RB role with Gainwell factoring in as a special teamer/No. 3 RB. Scott’s an RB5 against a Giants’ front allowing 7.5 RB receptions per game, 10th most in the NFL. Gainwell’s an RB6.

New York Giants

QB Daniel Jones — The Jonescoaster speeds on. Philly’s pass defense is a bottom-third NFL unit in pass defense NEFF rating and No. 1 CB Darius Slay was placed in the league’s concussion protocol during the Eagles’ Week 11 contest. The Eagles frequently get flammed by running backs, tight ends, and slot receivers as they smartly don’t invest in the linebacker and safety positions but with Slay out, they’ve got a big problem. He’s a high-end QB2.

WR Kenny Golladay — Both Kadarius Toney and Sterling Shepard are expected to miss Week 12. Golladay is quietly a borderline WR2/3.

WR Darius Slayton — High-end WR4.

TE Evan Engram — As mentioned above, this is a great match-up for Engram. His 4.6 average air yards per target are agonizingly low but Philadelphia’s allowing 15.5 .6PPR TE PPG, the most in the NFL.

RB Saquon Barkley — Barkley’s a top-5 back this week. Philly’s linebackers simply cannot hang with him and the front-seven as a whole ranks 23rd in run defense NEFF rating. On the whole, the Eagles are allowing 23 .5PPR RB PPG and 102.1 RB rushing yards per game, both 10th most in the NFL. It gets worse in the air as Philly’s 8.2 RB targets per game and 6.8 RB receptions per game are both 7th most. It’s also worth noting that Barkley’s cleared 100 yards from scrimmage and scored 1 or more touchdowns in 3-of-4 career games against Philadelphia–in one such contest he actually went over 200 yards from scrimmage.

Carolina Panthers at Miami Dolphins

Over/Under Points Scored: 42.5

Carolina Panthers

QB Cam Newton — Cam’s 2021 starting debut got off to a hot start. In a thunderous Week 11 showing, Newton amassed 189 passing yards, 2 passing touchdowns, 46 rushing yards, and 1 rushing touchdown. He’s a locked-in QB1.

WR D.J. Moore — Moore caught 5-of-7 Newton-targets for 50 yards and 1 touchdown. That kind of stability is just what fantasy managers were hoping for. Miami’s corners are tough but Moore’s just too good and now has a legitimate NFL quarterback throwing to him. He’s a top-24 WR play.

WR Robby Anderson — Anderson was suddenly used all over the field. Borderline WR4/5.

WR Brandon Zylstra and Terrace Marshall Jr. — The former has pulled ahead but really isn’t usable.

TEs Tommy Tremble and Ian Thomas — Tremble (2-of-2 for 35 yards) did far more with his minimal looks than Thomas did (1-of-1 for 7 yards). Neither can be started in redraft but Tremble should be on DFS radars–Miami’s 12.4 .5PPR TE PPG allowed is 9th most in the league.

RB Christian McCaffrey — McCaffrey has averaged a dominant 128.66 yards per game, 7 receptions per game, and 0.66 touchdowns since his return from Injured Reserve 3 weeks ago. The Dolphins’ middling run defense NEFF rated front-seven doesn’t stand a chance. CMC retains his overall RB1 spot this week despite an unholy Week 11 outing by Indy’s Jonathan Taylor.

RB Ameer Abdullah — Has separated from Chuba Hubbard but wasn’t used much. Just a bench stash.

Miami Dolphins

QB Tua Tagovailoa — Carolina’s secondary, be it safety Justin Burris or stud CB Stephon Gilmore, looks entirely different (and significantly better) than it did even a month and a half ago when injuries and suspensions had neutered the group. Pass rushers Hassan Reddick and Brian Burns are terrorizing opposing QBs while LB Shaq Thompson lights up ball carriers right and left. Tua’s just a mid-range QB2.

WR Jaylen Waddle — The diminutive receiver is the identity of this offense and, as evidenced by the goal-line carry he was given (and converted), the coaching staff is eager to keep him involved no matter the scenario. The team is also asking him to lineup in a much more diverse manner, pre-snap, than they were at the beginning of the year. During the first 7 weeks of the season, Waddle slot rate was 67.5% but that number has dropped to just 48.0% over the last 3 weeks (PFF.com). 48.0% certainly isn’t low, and it enables him to exploit good match-ups commonly found on the interior, it’s just nice to see Brian Flores trust Waddle more and more. He’s a fantasy WR3.

WR Albert Wilson — Wilson’s just a fantasy WR7 for this one.

WR Mack Hollins — Snaps continue to fluctuate but Hollins has effectively replaced Preston Williams as the primary perimeter receiver. You can’t touch him in this match-up but keep him in mind down the road.

TE Mike Gesicki — Last week we highlighted the above average match-up that the Jets offered Gesicki. We got the match-up right–MIA TEs finished 10-of-13 for 106 yards–but failed to consider the usage of Durham Smythe and Adam Shaheen who also got in on the fun. Gesicki’s 5-of-6 for 50 yards didn’t ruin you but they did fall short of expectation. Regardless, Carolina’s TE coverage is great so Gesicki really isn’t a strong TE1 option–especially with Smythe and Shaheen playing over 50% of the snaps in consecutive games. Gesicki’s a borderline TE1/2.

RB Myles Gaskin — Gaskin bested his Week 9 yards per attempt (YPA) mark of 1.70, as well as his Week 10 average of 2.21 with a still-flaccid 3.87 in Week 11. The team is committed to feeding him though (23 carries, 4 targets) which may save his day against a top-10 run defense (per NEFF) and top-5 unit in .5PPR RB PPG allowed, 16.9. He’s a volume-based RB3 with a capped ceiling.

RB Duke Johnson Jr. — Johnson may be taking over as the No. 2 back but we’ve been down this road before. He’s a very risky add.

Tennessee Titans at New England Patriots

Over/Under Points Scored: 44.5

Tennessee Titans

QB Ryan Tannehill — For whatever reason, the Titans have chosen to abandon play-action since RB Derrick Henry suffered a likely season-ending injury four weeks ago. In Weeks 1-8, Tannehill’s PA drop back rate of 29% ranked 13th in the NFL. From Weeks 9-11, the team’s PA drop back rate plummeted to 21.2%, 20th in the NFL. Voluminous play-action shots are what made this team special, without them it’s tough to trust Tennessee’s passing game components especially against a defense as good as New England’s. Tannehill is a mid-to-low QB2 in this one, although there’s some wildcard nature to Mike Vrabel squaring off with his long-time mentor, Bill Belichick. Vrabel is 2-0 against Belichick as head coach of the Titans, beating him once in the 2018 regular season, 34-10, and again in the 2019 playoffs, 20-13. In those games the Titans (quarterbacked by Marcus Mariota in one and Tannehill in the other) dropped back via play-action at rates of 25.9% (PFF.com) and a monstrous 38.8% (PFF.com). This week we find out how smart Vrabel actually is.

WR A.J. Brown — AJB’s day was derailed by rib and hand injuries but tests so far indicate he escaped without serious injury. Given Tennessee’s recent passing stretch and the Patriots dominant secondary, Brown must be downgraded to back-end, volatile WR2 status.

Update 11/27/21: A.J. Brown has been placed on Injured Reserve due to a chest injury. Chester Rogers will operate as the primary slot receiver, lining up roughly 80% of the time in the slot and 20%-ish on the perimeter. Nick Westbrook-Ikhine will play on the perimeter roughly 60% of the time and in the slot 40% of the time. Dez Fitzpatrick will lineup on the perimeter 90% of the time or more. Rogers is a borderline WR5/6, NWI is a WR7, and Fitzpatrick is a WR8.

WR Nick Westbrook-Ikhine — Marcus Johnson suffered a hamstring strain early in last week’s game which cleared the way for NWI to take over as the No. 2 WR, with an emphasis on perimeter route running. He can’t be trusted for more than WR5 value against NE though.

WR Chester Rogers — Mr. Rogers will run against the Patriots’ Jonathan Jones-less slot coverage. He’s not very good though so his grasp on a top-50 ranking is tenuous.

WR Dez Fitzpatrick — 2021 4th round pick/Weeks 1-9 practice squad-er Patrick saw his snap rate jump from 22% in Week 10 to 79% in Week 11. The team is desperate for pass catchers and the acceptably athletic rookie has done well with his looks, totaling 4 catches on 7 targets for 35 yards and 1 touchdown. The young man actually led the team in both red zone targets (three) and end zone targets (two) last week (PFF.com). He should be added in deep league of all formats. Expect him to compete with NWI for playing time as a perimeter pass catcher. He’s just a nebulous WR5 like the other two though.

TE Anthony Firkser — Three-week TEN TE target leader Geoff Swaim exited last week’s game with a concussion and Firk-daddy quickly asserted himself as the team’s alpha tight end, although assertively enough for our purposes (5 catches, 7 targets, and 26 yards). Against NE’s league-best tight end coverage.

RB Dontrell Hilliard — Hilliard came off the practice squad and miraculously led the backfield in touches and yards (7 carries, 35 rushing yards, 10 targets(!), 8 catches, and 47 receiving yards). The aged Adrian Peterson and the post-Achilles rupture D’Onta Foreman stand no chance of seriously competing with him. For Week 12 though, Hilliard is just a back-end RB3. New England is No. 13 in run defense NEFF rating and No. 12 in .5PPR RB PPG allowed (20).

New England Patriots

QB Mac Jones — 6th in the NFL in Completion Percentage Above Expectation (3.3%), the rookie’s as accurate as they come. Pass rush has been the strength of Tennessee’s defense but the Pats’ O-Line is very, very good. Expect another efficient, if mildly fantasy friendly outing in Week 12. He’s a high-floor QB2.

WR Jakobi Meyers — Tennessee has searched for slot CB helped with Elijah Molden routinely getting waxed by opposing slotsters. This offense just does not allow for serious blow-up potential though. High-floor WR4.

WR Nelson Agholor — Tennessee has finally surrendered the title of most fantasy-friendly defense for opposing WRs, now trailing the Minnesota Vikings, 35.6 .5PPR WR PPG allowed to 35.8. The downfield receiver should thrive against a Titans’ secondary that’s given up 38 explosive pass plays this year, T-8th most in the league per SharpFootballStats.com. He’s a WR3.

WR Kendrick Bourne — WR5.

TE Hunter Henry — Henry’s bound to go touchdown-less from time to time (like last week) but even so, he was the lone Pat to see an end zone target. Keep banking on him. TE1.

RBs Damien Harris, Rhamondre Stevenson, and Brandon Bolden — Stevenson has successfully forced a rushing timeshare with Harris but Bolden is still the passing game specialist. The latter ran 11 routes to DH’s 8 and RS’s 5 (PFF.com), while also handling blitz pickup responsibilities with 5 pass blocks while DH and RS had 1 apiece (PFF.com). Harris and Stevenson also received one red zone carry each (PFF.com). Tennessee’s run defense is stout but this rushing attack just bullies foes. Fire up Harris and Stevenson as high-floor RB3s and Bolden as a high-end RB5.

Pittsburgh Steelers at Cincinnati Bengals

Over/Under Points Scored: 45.5

Pittsburgh Steelers

QB Ben Roethlisberger — Roethlisberger completed 28-of-44 Week 11 passes for 273 yards and 3 touchdowns. It was a dink-and-dunk affair–just 6 of his completions traveled further than 10-yards in the air–but it was fantasy relevant nonetheless. Unfortunately for Roethlisberger, Week 12 brings a date with Cincy’s studly pass rush which drops him to the back-end of the QB2 ranks.

WR Diontae Johnson — The Steelers know what they want to do with Johnson; he’s seen 13 targets come his way in 4 of the last 7 games. That kind of usage keeps him in the high-floor WR2 range even if they’re coming from an inaccurate arm.

WR Chase Claypool — A top-36 WR who’s only being held back by his situation. Claypool’s weekly ceiling is somewhere between WR13-24 though.

WR James Washington — Washington will likely start as the team’s primary slot receiver this week as co-slotster Ray-Ray McCloud was placed on the COVID-19/Reserve List on Tuesday. As always, Bengals slot CB Mike Hilton is a match-up to target for our purposes. Start Washington as a high-floor WR.

TE Pat Freiermuth — Eric Ebron is said to have suffered a season-ending knee injury, which means Freiermuth should keep his seven-to-eight target floor. He’s a low-end TE1.

RB Najee Harris — The Bengals’ front-seven can get after the passer which means it’s Checkdown City for opposing RBs. When facing the Bengals, backs are averaging league-highs in targets (10.3) and receptions (7.8). Harris is a top-5 RB. Fun fact: Harris finally tied Derrick Henry’s league-leading touch count of 237 last week.

RBs Kalen Ballage and Benny Snell Jr. — Ballage and Snell are duking it out for the No. 2 RB job.

Cincinnati Bengals

QB Joe Burrow — Pittsburgh is likely to be without stud CB Joe Haden and edge rusher T.J. Watt and potentially even S Minkah Fitzpatrick. Burrow’s a top-12 QB play, as always.

WR Ja’Marr Chase — Chase’s yardage sums have been lacking over the last three Cincy’s contests but he’s still scored in two of them. A locked-in fantasy WR1.

WR Tyler Boyd — Boyd should have a decent day against Pittsburgh’s underwhelming slot DB duo of Arthur Maulet and Tre Norwood. He’s a borderline WR3/4.

WR Tee Higgins — Higgins should benefit from CB Haden’s expected absence this week. He remains a high-floor WR3.

TE C.J. Uzomah — Don’t start Uzomah this week. S Terrell Edmunds’ coverage is not to be tested.

RB Joe Mixon — No. 4 in 2021 RB touches (202), Mixon’s workloads are bulletproof even in a tough match-up like this one. He’s an RB1.

RB Samaje Perine — Perine is more of a primary bellcow backup than he is a rotational player at this point.

Atlanta Falcons at Jacksonville Jaguars

Over/Under Points Scored: 46.5

Atlanta Falcons

QB Matt Ryan — The Jags are currently T-7th in QB pressure rate (26.5%). ATL’s O-line is about as bad as it gets. Ryan’s a back-end QB2.

WR Russell Gage — WR6.

WR Olamide Zaccheus — WR7.

WR Tajae Sharpe — WR7.

TE Kyle Pitts — This isn’t a bad matchup but it’s not exactly a great one either. For whatever reason, the team hasn’t opted to force targets Pitts’ way in WR Calvin Ridley’s absence. Pitts is barely on the TE1 radar at this point.

RB/WR Cordarrelle Patterson — Patterson was a game-time decision last week but was ultimately unable to suit up. Given how close he was though, he should be expected to play in Week 12. He’s a safe RB1.

RB Qadree Ollison — Ollison looks like the No. 2 back here now.

Jacksonville Jaguars

QB Trevor Lawrence — Great match-up but Urban Meyer remains out of his depth. Lawrence is a back-end QB2.

WR Marvin Jones Jr. — High-floor fantasy WR4.

WR Laviska Shenault Jr. — It’s possible that now is the time to add Shenault. DB-convert Jamal Agnew had stolen the slot receiver gig but suffered a season-ending hip injury in Week 11, which resulted in Shenault seeing his highest slot snap rate (50%, PFF.com) since Week 4. Tavon Austin is still likely to take over as the primary slot man but that was a promising and interesting development for Shenault. Low-floor/high-ceiling WR4.

WR Tavon Austin — Austin should most definitely be added in 12-team leagues this week. Meyer’s shown a reliance on “get it to the fast guy” play-calling. Austin is not good but he fits the bill. Fantasy WR4.

TE Dan Arnold — Arnold goose egged last week, which means this is a great time to fire him up in DFS. They’ll go back to him, despite the tough match-up against ATL’s surprisingly solid TE coverage. High-floor TE1.

RB James Robinson — Atlanta’s front-seven is 9th worst in run defense NEFF rating and is currently allowing RBs to generate the 4th most .5PPR PPG (24.6) against them. Robinson remains a high-floor RB1.

Los Angeles Chargers at Denver Broncos

Over/Under Points Scored: 47

Los Angeles Chargers

QB Justin Herbert — Expect Herbert to build on his outrageous Week 11 showing, where he completed 30-of-41 passes for 382 yards, 3 touchdowns, 1 interceptions, and carried the ball 9 times for 90 yards. Top-3 fantasy QB.

WR Keenan Allen — Allen’s 74 catches are No. 3 in the league among wide receivers and he’s got a great opportunity to gain some serious ground on Tyreek Hill (84) and Cooper Kupp (85), the only two men he trails. The Broncos’ stud slot CB Bryce Callahan remains on Injured Reserve which means he’ll square off against veteran CB Kyle Fuller, who Denver has asked to handle the interior role. Fuller is a great perimeter CB but he’s stuck to the perimeter for the vast majority of his career–he’s working in Allen’s wheelhouse now and doesn’t have a great chance of keeping Allen from a fantasy WR1 finish. Fun fact: Allen’s alternated between 11 and 13 targets over the last 4 weeks. Will he keep that streak going this week?

WR Mike Williams — Williams successfully bounced back vs. an injury-depleted Steelers’ defense last week (5-of-6 for 97 yards and 1 touchdown) and the Denver defense offers a similar matchup this week. With Bradley Chubb on IR and Von Miller traded to LA, the pass rush has been neutered, they’re also missing a litany of linebackers, as well as the aforementioned slot CB Callahan. Veteran Ronald Darby and rookie Patrick Surtain are holding things down on the perimeter. They’ll make Williams work for it but he is capable of beating these two. LAC isn’t doing him any favors with the 5.5 targets per game over the last month but he should be able to return fantasy WR2 value here.

WRs Josh Palmer and Jalen Guyton — Parsing snap shares, it had been evident Palmer was taking over as the No. 3 WR but last week Guyton comfortably out-snapped the rookie, ran nearly double his routes (30 to 17, PFF.com) and saw 2 targets to Palmer’s one. The duo finished with eerily similar stat lines though. Guyton receiving: 1-of-2 for 18 yards. Palmer receiving: 1-of-1 for 17 yards. Guyton also took one carry for two yards while Palmer took his lone carry for seven. Brandon Staley is using them interchangeably. They are fantasy WR7s with low DFS appeal.

TE Donald Parham and Jared Cook — Parham and Cook are in a full-on platoon here with a near-50/50 snap share, slightly in Cook’s favor, but neither are seeing target shares to keep themselves fantasy-viable. TE2s in a tough match-up.

RB Austin Ekeler — Ekeler carried the ball 11 times for 50 yards and 2 touchdowns while also securing 6-of-7 targets for 65 yards and 2 more touchdowns. We had him as an elite RB1 entering the year for a reason. Now he gets to tee off against a Denver front that’s missing edge rushers Bradley Chubb and Von Miller, as well as interior linebackers Josey Jewell and Alexander Johnson–the latter of whom is hands down one of the best run defenders in the NFL. Ekeler’s a top-3 fantasy back this week.

RBs Justin Jackson and Larry Rountree — Jackson’s the change of pace dual threat, Rountree is the change of pace bruiser. The latter offers mild DFS appeal given DEN’s aforementioned front-seven laundry list of injuries.

Denver Broncos

QB Teddy Bridgewater — Bridgewater and Co. might be able to put some points on the board this week. LAC’s offense will push the pace and their defense could be missing three starters. DL Jerry Tillery and Christian Covington are on the COVID-19/Reserve List and stud rookie perimeter CB Asante Samuel Jr. is in the concussion protocol. Teddy’s a high-floor QB2 with sneaky upside.

WR Courtland Sutton — Sutton’s been a role player since Jerry Jeudy returned from IR three weeks ago but with CB Samuel possibly out, his Week 12 prospects are going from WR6 status to high-end WR4. It’s worth noting that Sutton smashed LAC DBs in their last two meetings (2019, pre-2020 ACL tear), going 4-of-7 for 92 yards and 1 touchdown and 4-of-5 for 74 yards and 2 touchdowns.

WR Tim Patrick — CB Samuel’s absence more so impacts Sutton but it’s relevant for Patrick too and few Broncos’ pass catchers can actually make the case that they’ve got a better connection with Bridgewater than Patrick. Jeudy might be the No. 1 target but Patrick/Bridgewater are efficient. Fantasy WR4.

WR Jerry Jeudy — Jeudy’s got a brutal match-up here with Chargers’ lockdown slot CB Chris Harris Jr. Volume is king though and Jeudy’s ankle breaking routes certainly help. He remains a high-floor WR3.

TEs Noah Fant and Albert Okwuegbunam — Straight ballers in a great match-up. LAC is allowing 13.9 .5PPR TE PPG, 3rd most in the NFL. Unfortunately they have to share the workload, both with each other and Denver’s outrageously deep WR corps. The two men can only be ranked as nebulous, high-end TE2s but if you need a TE1 starter, either will work. These two need to be in DFS lineups.

RBs Javonte Williams and Melvin Gordon — Williams out-snapped Gordon for the first time in their last game (Week 10 due to DEN’s Week 11 bye) but Gordon still out-carried (9 to 8) and out-targeted him (4 to 3). Both men ran with outstanding yards per attempt marks; 6.0 for Williams and 5.0 for Gordon. Both men were given plenty of work in the red zone and inside the opponent’s five-yard line but, of course, Gordon was the man who scored. It’s fair to rank Williams a hair ahead of Gordon at this point but Gordon’s still in the mix right now–plus, the stud RB duo has a great match-up on their hands. The Chargers’ run defense ranks dead last in run defense NEFF rating and they’re allowing 24.4 .5PPR PPG to the position, 5th most in the NFL. Williams is the RB22 on the week, Gordon the RB24.

Los Angeles Rams at Green Bay Packers

Over/Under Points Scored: 48.5

Los Angeles Rams

QB Matthew Stafford — Blocking data will be parsed further below but it appears as though Sean McVay’s answer to Robert Woods’ (blocking extraordinaire) absence was to reduce everyone’s blocking rate and just give Stafford more weapons to throw to. He’s a safe top-12 QB against a badly injured Packers’ defense.

WR Cooper Kupp — Kupp and his on-field foe, Packers’ WR Davante Adams, will duke it out for the overall WR1 spot. Without lockdown CB Jaire Alexander (IR), GB has little chance of slowing Kupp.

WR Ben Skowronek — Woods’ supposed fill-in really was asked to operate as a receiver, not a blocking receiver. He played on 76% of snaps, ran 33 routes (PFF.com), was given 5 targets… but caught just 1 for 8 yards. It should be safe to assume that McVay will reduce his receiving role having had Week 11’s bye to make game planning adjustments and there are usage hints that point to Jefferson stealing his job. We won’t know until we see it though. He’s a WR8.

Update 11/27/21: Ben Skowronek (back injury) is out. Van Jefferson is a WR3 and Odell Beckham Jr. is a WR4.

WRs Van Jefferson and Odell Beckham Jr. — They played very similar roles last week but Jefferson kicked inside a bit when Beckham stepped onto the field and Beckham’s 22.7 average depth of target (aDot) shows a clear indication that they want him to be the field stretcher; Jefferson’s aDot was 13.1. That’s a lot deeper than Woods’ was but it’s clear who the Rams’ top-3 WRs are. Jefferson is a WR4, Beckham a WR5.

TE Tyler Higbee — One would’ve assumed Higbee might have been asked to handle Woods’ vacated blocking snaps but the talented tight end saw a season-low 20% blocking rate. He’s a TE1.

RB Darrell Henderson Jr. — San Fran controlled the clock last week and LA just couldn’t get the running backs going. Henderson did see six targets come his way though, which reinforces his status as a bellcow back. The Packers’ T-23rd ranked NEFF rated run defense doesn’t stand a chance at slowing him this week. Henderson’s an RB1.

RB Sony Michel — Primary bellcow backup.

Green Bay Packers

QB Aaron Rodgers — This could get ugly. Rodgers failed to practice on both Wednesday and Thursday with a bad toe injury, LT Elgton Jenkins tore an ACL last week and is out for the year, and T David Bakhtiari is out for at least a few weeks after undergoing a cleanup procedure in his knee. Rams’ recent trade acquisition edge rusher Von Miller played on 66% of snaps last week (ankle) and produced two QB hurries. You can bet both numbers increase on Sunday. Rodgers, if active, is a borderline QB1/2.

WR Davante Adams — Elite WR1.

WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling — MVS was downgraded on Thursday with a hip injury, putting his availability for Sunday in serious doubt. He’d be a highly volatile WR5 if active.

WR Allen Lazard — WR6.

Randall Cobb — WR8. Jalen Ramsey will likely shadow Adams but if he doesn’t he’ll continue operating as a slot CB in nickel packages.

WR Equanimeous St. Brown — WR8.

TE Josiah Deguara — TE2. The Rams are not good against opposing TEs.

RBs A.J. Dillon and Aaron Jones — Jones is ahead of schedule in his MCL rehab. Having sprained the same MCL twice before, there was a chance he’d be out for a while. It appears as though he’ll be active as he’s practiced in a limited capacity on both Wednesday and Thursday. Dillon should retain lead back duties as Jones is eased in. The former is a high-end RB2. The latter is a mid-range RB2.

Minnesota Vikings at San Francisco 49ers

Over/Under Points Scored: 48.5

Minnesota Vikings

QB Kirk Cousins — Cousins has had a great season despite overall offensive struggles (read: Mike Zimmer). SF’s pass defense NEFF rating is middle of the pack and their pass rush has struggled to generate pressure on QBs, playing without multiple front-seven starters for much of the year. Cousins is a safe QB1.

WRs Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen — Jefferson’s 30 targets over the last month ranks T-9th in the league at the position and Thielen’s 29 are T-11th. The one-two punch should pummel Niner CBs this weekend. Jefferson’s a top-5 WR play, Thielen’s a top-15 play.

WR K.J. Osborn — WR5 vs. K’Waun Williams’ struggling slot coverage. Chance of a touchdown increases DFS optimism.

TE Tyler Conklin — Impeccable usage keeps Conklin as a high-floor TE1 despite a tough match-up.

RB Dalvin Cook — The 49ers and Vikings are hysterically tied as the 29th ranked RDNEFF units. Cook’s 20+ touches against such a woeful bunch nearly guarantee a top-5 RB finish.

RB Alexander Mattison — Primary bellcow backup with some match-up based DFS appeal.

San Francisco 49ers

QB Jimmy Garoppolo — A pair of passing touchdowns in three straight games, that streak should continue (or break, but in the good way) against a majorly undermanned Vikings’ defense. DE Danielle Hunter and DT Michael Pierce are IR, DE Everson Griffen (mental health) is out, DT Dalvin Tomlinson is on the COVID-19/Reserve List, and LB Anthony Barr is nursing a knee injury. Garoppolo is a QB1.

WR Deebo Samuel — MIN perimeter CBs Bashaud Breeland (560) and Patrick Peterson (305) are respectively Nos. 6 and 54 in receiving yards allowed this year (min. 200 coverage snaps, PFF.com), but keep in mind that Peterson has only played in 7 games. Deebo’s a top-3 fantasy WR this week.

WR Brandon Aiyuk — For the reasons listed in the two sections above, Aiyuk is a fantasy WR2.

WR Jauan Jennings — Slot CB Mackensie Alexander has allowed the 4th most slot receiving yards of 2021 with 338 in 10 games (min. 200 coverage snaps, PFF.com). Jennings is a redraft WR5 with excellent DFS appeal.

TE George Kittle — Elite TE1.

RBs Elijah Mitchell and Jeff Wilson Jr. — Mitchell is practicing in a limited capacity, while only using his left hand to touch/catch/carry the football. It’s possible he plays this week but it might be a stretch. Given the fact that the Vikings will be playing without the entirety of their defensive line, Mitchell would be a must-start RB2 if active. Wilson would assuredly be a factor in this case as well and would likely draw RB2/3 consideration. If Mitchell is inactive, Wilson would push for RB1 status.

Update: Elijah Mitchell is active and will only touch the ball with one hand. As mentioned above though, the Vikings will be without the entirety of their starting offensive line.

RB Trey Sermon — With pass catching back JaMycal Hasty out last week (and likely to miss Sunday’s tilt as well with an ankle injury), Sermon filled in as a change of pace back. His usage is contingent upon Mitchell sitting though. If that’s the case, he’s a high-floor RB3.

Cleveland Browns at Baltimore Ravens

Cleveland Browns

Over/Under Points Scored: 46.5

QB Baker Mayfield — A groin injury has been added to the long list of ailments currently afflicting Mayfield. He’s not startable anywhere.

WR Jarvis Landry — If slot CB Tavon Young (knee/foot) even plays, he’s no match for Landry. High-floor WR3.

RB Nick Chubb — Chubb will get all the work he can handle here as Mayfield’s status nukes everyone’s value outside of Chubb and Landry. Now-No. 2 back D’Ernest Johnson was somewhat phased out last week. Chubb should rock the house as an RB1 as Kareem Hunt likely isn’t quite ready to return to play (calf).

Update 11/27/21: Kareem Hunt is going to play. Chubb is an RB2. Hunt is an RB3.

Baltimore Ravens

QB Lamar Jackson — Top-2 fantasy QB.

WR Marquise Brown — Brown missed last week’s contest with a thigh injury but he returned to practice in a limited capacity on Wednesday. He should be good to go as a fantasy WR1.

WR Rashod Bateman — Borderline WR3/4.

WR Devin Duvernay — Slot CB Troy Hill (neck) should play this week. He’s good, not great. Duvernay is developing as a sound slot receiver but is more of a DFS play than a reliable redraft man. He’s a borderline fantasy WR5/6.

TE Mark Andrews — Elite TE1.

RB Devonta Freeman — Freeman kept the lead back gig even with Latavius Murray back in the lineup. He’s a high-volume RB2.

RB Latavius Murray — Fantasy RB4.