Week 12 of the fantasy football season is already well underway; as 202 points were put on the scoreboard in an action-packed trio of Thanksgiving Day games. For guidance as you get your roster ready for Sunday, we turn it over to our fantasy guru, James Morris:
Week 12 “Start ‘Em & Sit ‘Em” Lineup Advice by James Morris
Week 12 of the NFL brings not only football games and fantasy football news and information, but it also brings one of my favorite holidays of the year, Thanksgiving. On Thursday we got to watch a full day of games that featured plenty of fantasy football studs and duds. The good news is that there are still plenty more games for us to pay attention to as we continue our quest for fantasy glory and that always elusive league title.
Houston and Detroit went into overtime to start the day off; the Cowboys tried to pull out some last minute heroics but fell short in the end; then the Patriots wrapped the night up by embarrassing the Jets on national TV. I warned people not to put too much faith in Garrett Graham (TE, Texans 3 catches for 17 yards), Aaron Hernandez (TE, Patriots 2 catches for 36 yards) or Miles Austin (WR, Cowboys 0 catches). I even had one fan on Facebook promise me that Graham would catch a TD this weekend. I’ve said it before and I will say it again guys and girls, don’t try this at home!
So, without further ado, let’s get to some players you will want in your line-ups, and some others that you will want to avoid like the plague this weekend in our Finsiders weekly Start ‘em/Sit ‘em article.
Colin Kaepernick – QB 49ers: It’s not that I think Kaepernick is the next great QB in the NFL, rather I know the Saints secondary has more holes than a slice of Swiss cheese! Krazy Legs (Yes, the K was intentional) has shown the ability to run going back to his college days, but last week he showed that he also has the ability to remained poised in the pocket and find the open man in the NFL game. I think he has a really good shot at QB1 stats this week because of the Saints defense.
Andy Dalton – QB Bengals: Everyone outside of Cincinnati is sleeping on Dalton, and I can’t figure out why for the life of me. He is currently ranked 38 at QB in NFL.com fantasy football leagues with 197 points, and that is above every week starters such as Eli Manning, Ben Roethlisberger and Cam Newton. This week he faces a Raiders defense that gives up 22.8 PPG to QBs, 4th most in the NFL.
Chad Henne – QB Jaguars: This is the only time in my life you will ever see “start” and “Chad Henne” in the same sentence without the whole sentence reading “start running from Chad Henne.” The Jags face off with a Titans defense that is very generous with their stats allowed. Not to mention that Coach Mike Mularkey said on Wednesday that Henne will be the Jaguars’ starter entering 2013 if he plays well in his six-game audition to close out the season. I expect him to be riding high on adrenaline and possibly put up QB1 stats when the day is over.
Ronnie Hillman – RB Broncos: With “Whatchu talk’n Bout” Willis McGahee done for the season (torn MCL or broken leg), Ronnie Hillman steps into the starting role at RB. With Peyton Manning able to put plenty of points on the board against an inept Chiefs defense, I expect Hillman to grind out yards on the ground and finish with solid RB2 stats, with a possible bump into the RB1 category if things go right.
Bryce Brown – RB Eagles: All indications are that LeSean McCoy is not going to play this week, which means the Eagles will come out shooting with their B.B. gun in week 12. Brown was actually the #1 High School player in the country back in 08’, ahead of Trent Richardson. The fact that he is a relative unknown player (7th round pick) serves him well for fantasy owners as the Panthers defense is susceptible to t he run. I like him as a high-end RB2 with upside given the Eagles QB woes.
Vincent Jackson – WR Buccaneers: V-Jax is one of those WRs that has a good game, then a bad game, followed by a good game, etc. He did have a good game last week (6 catches for 94 yards, a TD and a 2PT conversion), but I think he could do it again this weekend as the Bucs face the Falcons and their high powered offense. If the Falcons can put points on the board, that means the Bucs have to throw more and Jackson’s chances for a TD increase.
James Jones – WR Packers: The Packers offense is well known with Aaron Rodgers throwing the pigskin around, but I’m not sure people really know how bad the Buccaneers defense is when it comes to defending the pass. They currently ranked dead last in WR PPG with 43.6 in PPR formats, and given up a league high 151 receptions to WRs. Jones, Randall Cobb and Jordy Nelson are all sexy fantasy plays this weekend.
Brandon Myers – TE Raiders: Myers is owned in just 22.7 percent of NFL.com leagues, but has put up big numbers from the TE position the last 3 weeks running. Over that span he has totaled 19 receptions, 171 yards and 3 TDs. For a TE, those are absolute monster numbers given the boom-or-bust nature of the position. He is a big-time sleeper at 22.7 percent owned. I bet you didn’t know that Myers has scored the 4th most FP over the last four weeks (62.00).
Denver Broncos defense: It surprised me that the Broncos are owned in just 74.2 percent of NFL.com leagues. That sounds like a lot, but consider that they are #2 in FP this season (129.00) in NFL.com leagues and the Steelers defense is owned in 81.2 percent of leagues and is ranked 24th in the NFL with 64.00 FP. The Broncos also have #5 ranked Strength Of Schedule for fantasy defenses when you consider the remaining games.
Philip Rivers – QB Chargers: I am from San Diego, so it hurts to see how far the Chargers have regressed in terms of talent on the field each week. Add to that them facing a Ravens defense that always seems to step up, and you have a recipe for fantasy disaster. Danario Alexander does make for an interesting fantasy play because he seems to have Rivers’ eye, but I don’t trust Rivers overall as a fantasy QB.
Jay Cutler – QB Bears: With his head not completely clear of the cobwebs, Cutler is someone I would sit down this weekend as a precautionary measure. The Vikings give up a ton of points to QBs (22.6 PPG, 6th worst in the NFL), but the fact is that Cutler still isn’t 100 percent and that scares me with the running game they are able to put up.
Jonathan Stewart – RB Panthers: It’s not just that Stewart has to deal with DeAngelo Williams stealing carries here and there, but the Eagles run defense actually ranks #11 in FP allowed to RBs with just 21.1 PPG in PPR formats. Stewart is erratic with his fantasy points (7.40 in week 10; 14.30 in week 11), and since he had a good game last week, I fully expect him to go sub 10.00 points this week. He is only a flex option in all formats.
Rashard Mendenhall – RB Steelers: The problem with starting Mendy this week is that Charlie Batch is going to be under center. Now, most big-box websites will tell you that’s a plus because the Steelers are going to rely on the ground game even more. That is why you come here, to get the good information! With Batch under center, as well as Jonathan Dwyer and Isaac Redman both active, there is a log-jam at RB and a 3rd string QB who was barely average when at the top of his game. I want no part of anyone in a Steelers jersey that plays offense.
Fred Jackson – RB Bills: Jackson is still playing back-up to C.J. Spiller, which is a shame because he is running extremely well for a 31-year-old. The good news is that Jackson practiced in full all week long, but the bad news is that Jackson is relegated to goal-line duties for the remainder of the season barring an injury to Spiller. Jackson is owned in 93.5 percent of NFL.com leagues, and started in 49.1 percent of those leagues.
Jeremy Maclin and DeSean Jackson – WRs Eagles: While I do like Brown from the Eagles, I don’t like their duo of overrated WRs. Nick Foles has thrown 3-times as many INTs as he has TDs (1 TD to 3 INTs) and the Eagles coaching staff allowed him to throw the ball a ridiculous total of 46 times last week. I just don’t have faith in the Eagles offense as a whole anymore, but there is a chance the team does run the ball more after last week’s pass-heavy offense.
Dwyane Bowe – WR Chiefs: Far too many people are still trotting Bowe out there as an every week starter, and he is costing people more games than he is winning them. Owned in 93.1 percent of NFL.com leagues, and started in 58.3 percent of those, Bowe hasn’t scored since week 4 and has put up 10-plus FP just once in the last four weeks (13.90 in week 9). Bowe is also dealing with neck and back problems that have him limited in practice this week and no lock to play. On top of all that, Brady Quinn is now the starter for the Chiefs carrousel of QBs. Quinn has completed 53.1 percent of his passes, averaged 144.9 yards per game and throwing 10 touchdowns and 12 interceptions in his 14 career starts.
Heath Miller – TE Steelers: Miller has all the problems in the world to deal with this weekend as the Steelers are running out Batch at QB. I’m pretty sure the Steelers could put Tony Gonzalez, Shannon Sharpe or John Mackey in their prime, with Batch at the helm, and they would still fail to register meaningful fantasy stats. If there was a Do Not Call list for fantasy TEs’ in week 12, I would register Miller’s name for it!
New York Giants defense: The Giants have the 7th best fantasy defense in NFL.com leagues with their 104.00 points this season. This weekend they face the league’s best QB in Rodgers and a trio of highly productive receivers in Jones, Nelson and Cobb. Even though they are #7 overall for fantasy defenses, they give up the 10th most FP to QBs with 21.6 PPG, and passing is what the Packers are best at.
Check back Sunday morning for late-breaking injury news.
Also, for more fantasy guidance, you can follow James on Twitter here.
The opinions, analysis and/or speculation expressed by The Finsiders Blog represent those of individual writers, and unless quoted or clearly labeled as such, do not represent the opinions, policies or desires of the Miami Dolphins organization, front office, coaches and executives. Writers' views are formulated independently from any inside information and/or conversation with Dolphins officials, including the coaches and scouts, unless otherwise noted.