Fantasy Football Sleepers Week 12
We are entering Week 12 of the fantasy football season which means we are approaching the fantasy playoffs rather quickly– the fantasy playoffs begin in Week 14 in most formats. While some teams are dominating their leagues, there are others that are struggling as well as others hoping to make a last-minute run to the dance. So here is some advice.
- If you are on top of your league, this is not the time to get soft. It is fantasy football and anything can happen. So keep the pressure on the rest of your league and remain on top of your game. You should also prepare yourself for the playoffs as well. If you have a deep enough bench, you might be in the position to stock your roster with an extra D/ST — assuming your league still runs with them. Why should you do it? The answer is simple. To keep them away from those teams that are streaming on a week-to-week basis and also if you are streaming as well. Look at their schedules. If they have favorable playoff matchups, then those are the D/STs you should be targeting. The same scenario goes for the quarterback and tight end positions as well. So be sure to be proactive rather than reactive.
- If you’re already eliminated, you should still remain involved in your league. Not only do you have the chance to play spoiler, but some leagues have prizes for even the worst teams. And even if your league isn’t one that has a prize for the bottom-dwellers, it is good etiquette to set your lineup. Don’t be that guy.
- If you are a fringe playoff team, it is not too late to make a run. As I said above, anything can happen in fantasy football. Sure, maybe you are a David Johnson owner and now hurting for a running back, but if you were lucky enough to land Derrius Guice on waivers, he brings the upside to fill Johnson’s role on your team. What’s more, you can always get lucky and find a red-hot D/ST like the Steelers. While they flopped last week, which could have scared owners enough to drop them, they did manage to drop double-digit points in every game leading up to it since Week 4. Grab them and hope they get back on track.
The following is a recap of the players from my Week 11 Fantasy Football Sleepers article. You can read that here.
Most-Productive Players from Week 11
Fantasy Sleepers Week 11: Full-Disclosure
|Player||Position||PPR Rank||PPR Points|
- Sam Darnold is now healthy and is beginning to play well. And while he doesn’t have a tremendously high ceiling, his floor is at least respectable. Darnold has now accumulated 20 fantasy points in back-to-back games.
- In his first game back from injury, Derrius Guice managed to save the day for his fantasy owners with an impressive 45-yard catch-and-run for a touchdown. He ended up finishing Week 11 as the RB18 with 13.9 fantasy points. If Guice can remain healthy, he could really make a difference for any fantasy team that either held on to him or snagged him off of waivers.
- While Terry McLaurin only finished as the WR37, he nearly reached the double-digit fantasy-point mark with his 9.9 points. And while his stat line wasn’t anything great — 3/69/0 on four targets — it was his best line since Week 6.
- Dallas Goedert is really beginning to emerge as an every-week fantasy starter despite the presence of Zach Ertz. Due to all of the injuries and uncertainties with Eagles pass-catchers, Carson Wentz has been leaning on Goedert, especially in the red area. In four of his past five games, Goedert has accumulated at least 9.8 fantasy points and finished in the double-digits three times in that time span. He’s also managed at least five targets in 4-of-5 games in that time period with three scores.
Have some tough start/ sit decisions for Week 12? Don’t sweat! My co-host at the FF Faceoff Podcast, Mike Hauff, has you covered with his weekly Start’em/ Sit’em column featured exclusively at Gridiron Experts. You can read that here.
Week 12 QB Fantasy Sleepers
ESPN Start-Percentage: 15.4
With Matthew Stafford still sidelined with his back injury, we can assume he will once again end up being ruled out for Week 12. In fact, if it was up to me, if I was the Lions, I would shut down my franchise quarterback for the remainder of the season to get him healthy for 2020 because the Lions are in a loaded NFC and arent going to make a postseason push anytime soon, which means it is time to fire up Jeff Driskel. Yea I said it! Fire. Up. Jeff. Driskel.
While Driskel is a second-year backup defected from the Cincinnati Bengals who selected him in the sixth round of the 2018 draft, he is actually playing well through two starts in Detroit. In fact, he has finished as a QB1 in back-to-back weeks against Chicago and Dallas. What Driskel has to his advantage is his rushing ability and elusiveness. After all, he was one of the speediest signal-callers in the 2018 draft class, which explains a lot. While he’s accumulated a combined 478/3/1 stat line as a passer since Week 10, Driskel has also put 88 yards and a touchdown rushing on 13 carries in that time period. His elusiveness also helps him avoid the pass-rush and extend plays. Considering his arsenal off pass-catchers that include Kenny Golladay, Marvin Jones, Danny Amendola and T.J. Hockenson, not to mention the fact that J.D. McKissic is a quality check-down option out of the backfield, Driskel has enough tools and weapons around him to pull out a third consecutive QB1 outing, especially when he is getting a terrific matchup on Sunday with the Redskins.
While the Redskins are in the middle of the pack in fantasy points allowed to QBs — they are ranked 15th surrendering 18.7 FPPG — they have been gashed by the enemy QB in each of the past two games giving up a 19.2-point floor to Josh Allen and Sam Darnold. Sure the Redskins’ defense tightened up since the first five games of the year, but that only lasted three games from Weeks 6-8 until Josh Allen had his nearly 20-point outing back in Week 9 while allowing Darnold to drop 30.4 points on them in Week 11 coming out of their Week 10 bye. If the Lions can get a running game going to keep Washington’s defense honest, Driskel could once again be in the back-end QB1 conversation when it is all said and done in Week 12.
ESPN Start-Percentage: 6.0
I have been one of the biggest Mitchell Trubisky ney-sayers for a long time. However, there are times in which he can pop-off, and I believe he will do just that in Sunday’s matchup with the Giants. Not only are the Giants allowing the ninth-most fantasy points to QBs at a 20.9 FPPG rate, but they’ve also been consistently bad for the duration of the season. In fact, there were only two games in 2019 in which they failed to surrender at least 22 fantasy points to the enemy QB, which were back in Week 4 against Dwayne Haskins and the Redskins and in Week 7 against Kyler Murray and the Cardinals. Giving up 24.7 percent more fantasy points above the 20.5 NFL average in the past three weeks, Trubisky should have one of his best games of the year against this Giants defense.
When looking at Trubisky’s numbers this season on a game-to-game basis, it is like the tale of two quarterbacks with no middle ground. He either goes off for at least 22 fantasy points, a feat he has accomplished in 3-of-9 games played, or he flops and finishes in the single-digits, which he’s done in 4-of-9 games. He only had one game in which he finished around the teens, a 12-pointer that occurred last week. In the past two outings, Trubisky has played his best football from a fantasy football perspective.
Whilst his back-to-back games with at least 12 fantasy points is dismal for most quarterbacks, it is a bright spot for Trubisky in 2019 — Trubisky put up 25.7 points against the Lions in Week 10 and the aforestated 12 against the Rams in Week 11. With Taylor Gabriel and Anthony Miller finally getting going a little bit as all the targets are not seemingly going in Allen Robinson’s direction anymore, Trubisky is in line for another quality fantasy start. While he could ultimately flop, the odds are in Trubisky’s favor for a big game. Start him if you are in a desperate spot with players that include Kyler Murray, Kirk Cousins, Philip Rivers and Patrick Mahomes on a bye.
Week 12 RB Fantasy Sleepers
ESPN Start-Percentage: 20.0
It seems like the Lions have a revolving door at the running back position ever since Kerryon Johnson was placed on IR. The latest cream of the crop is coming in the form of Bo Scarbrough, a former seventh-round pick of the Cowboys. With an under-performing Ty Johnson not getting the job done as well as J.D. McKissic, who is more of a hybrid back, playing underwhelming ball as well, Scarbrough received the opportunity to carry the Lions’ ground game and delivered in a revenge game against his former team in Week 11.
In last week’s loss to the Cowboys, Scarbrough carried the ball 14 times for 55 yards and a score while finishing with 11.5 PPR points. And although he won’t see very much action in the passing game — he did not get a target last week, which is to be expected as that is more or less McKissic’s role — he should see enough of the in-between the tackles workload to be productive in an outstanding Sunday matchup facing a Redskins defense surrendering the eighth-most fantasy points to RBs at a 21.4 FPPG pace. While the Redskins front-seven have been sub-par against the run all season long, they have been especially bad in recent memory. In their past three games since Week 8, the Redskins have given up at least 17.2 PPR points to the opponent’s top-scoring back while allowing at least 23 points two times with three total TDs in that time period — one in each game. Scarbrough is in the Flex conversation with fringe RB2 upside if he scores in Week 12. With four teams on a bye, you might have to roll the dice.
ESPN Start-Percentage: 14.6
I am going in on Derrius Guice for the second straight week. While he only received eight touches (one reception) for 69 (45 yards receiving) total yards and a TD, Guice finished Week 11 as the RB18 with 13.9 PPR points. While the usage was down, you have to consider the fact that last week was Guice’s first game back from his knee injury and the Redskins were easing him into action. However, in his upcoming matchup with the Lions, which will be his second game back into action, I am expecting Guice to see touches somewhere in the double digits. Not only did Guice exit Week 11 as the RB18, but he also did not suffer any setbacks. What’s more, it seems like Adrian Peterson is dealing with a toe injury as has yet to practice this week, which is a cause for concern. While the future Hall of Fame back does not need to practice to play per se, the fact that he is banged up could open up additional opportunities for Guice. And although there is a chance Chris Thompson could be making his return from his hamstring injury this week — he practiced in a limited capacity — there are no guarantees he even plays.
It is looking more and more like Guice will be the running back to own from the Redskins on Sunday from a fantasy football POV, which is terrific considering he will get a matchup with a Lions defense yielding the most fantasy points to enemy backs at a 25.8 FPPG rate. In fact, the Lions are surrendering 40 percent more fantasy points to RBs above the 23.4-point league average in the past five weeks and 32.4 percent more points above the 23.4-point NFL average in the past three weeks. The Lions have given up at least 21 fantasy points to the opposing team’s top-scoring rusher in 8-of-10 games played this season, a trend that could be maintained on Sunday. If Guice indeed receives the opportunity, he could return an RB2 ceiling for Week 12. Start him in the Flex with confidence.
ESPN Start-Percentage: 13.3
I don’t love Kalen Ballage this week, but he does garner enough of the opportunity to produce if he gets lucky. In his past two games without Mark Walton, Ballage has clearly been featured, getting 38 touches in that time period. And while he has not been very efficient, you have to chase volume and hope he prevails if you are in a desperate enough spot to even have to consider starting him.
Ballage has accumulated at least 8.5 PPR points in each of his past two games, which were his best two outings of the season. While he saw 24 touches (four receptions) for 45 total yards (two yards receiving) in Week 10 against the Colts (8.5 PPR points), he had his best game of the year in last week’s loss to the Bills. In the aforementioned Week 11 outing, Ballage received nine carries for nine yards with a TD while catching 5-of-6 targets for eight yards. Again, the efficiency is in the tank, but his receptions and his touchdown were enough for Ballage to finish with 12.7 PPR points. Not mind-blowing numbers but again, Ballage is a desperation play at best.
With Ballage, you are counting on the opportunity. He has received at least nine carries, at least four targets with at least four receptions in each of his past two games. As long as he doesn’t go backward — which is a damn possibility — I don’t see him completely flopping, especially in a decent matchup facing a Browns defense surrendering the 16th most fantasy points to RBs at an 18.7 FPPG pace. The Browns have given up double-digit fantasy points to their opponent’s top-scoring back in five of their past six games including six total TDs in that time period. If you are in a bind, you can’t do much worse than taking a shot on Ballage in Week 12.
Week 12 WR Fantasy Sleepers
ESPN Start-Percentage: 3.9
The Bears offense has been dismal this season, notwithstanding Taylor Gabriel. However, while he did go off against Washington earlier in the year for a 6/75/3 line, the speedy wideout looks to be picking up his play in recent weeks. In fact, in his past four games, Gabriel has accumulated at least 9.8 PPR points while in his past two outings, he has put up at least 12.7. What’s more, he has drawn at least six targets in three of those four games as well.
With Gabriel trending in the right direction — he is coming off of a season-best 14 target outing in last week’s loss to the Rams — he is shaping up to be a high-floor play in his upcoming matchup facing a Giants defense allowing the second-most fantasy points to enemy WRs at a 27.5 FPPG pace. The Giants secondary has been consistently gashed by the wide receiver position all season long and I don’t see that changing this week, barring a complete flop from Mitchell Trubisky. And with Allen Robinson likely getting Janoris Jenkins in coverage, Gabriel could very well get rookie DeAndre Baker, which is a tremendous plus. Baker is the 126th ranked corner at Player Profiler and has been abused all season long. If Trubisky can get going, Gabriel has the matchup and play-making ability to have a monster game. But even if he doesn’t go-off, Gabriel’s floor is at least suffice.
ESPN Start-Percentage: 4.3
I like Hunter Renfrow a lot this week against the Jets. Not only are the Jets surrendering the third-most fantasy points to WRs at a 27.2 FPPG rate, but they have given up 39.2 percent more fantasy points above the 33.6 NFL average in the past three weeks. In fact, in their past four games since Week 8, the Jets have allowed their opponent’s top-scoring wideout to accumulate at least 20.3 fantasy points while giving up 10 total TDs to the wide receiver position in that time span.
For Renfrow, he has come on of late. In three of his past four games, Renfrow has accumulated at least 11.6 PPR points with at least 66 yards receiving or a TD in those three productive outings. He has also drawn at least four targets in each of his past four games including two games with at least six looks from David Carr. And while Tyrell Williams is listed as the WR1, he is more or less the Oakland big-play threat and actually has one fewer target than Renfrow in their past four contests since Week 8. It is safe to say that Renfrow has carved out a role for himself in the Oakland passing attack and should be productive on Sunday against the Jets.
ESPN Start-Percentage: 8.7
I am going to take a shot on Josh Gordon in his upcoming matchup against the Eagles. While D.K. Metcalf is emerging into a legit weapon for Russell Wilson and Tyler Lockett already established, you’d think that there would be no room for Gordon to flourish. However, that is not the case, at least for this week. Although Lockett is expected to play through what appeared to be a “severe” leg injury suffered against the 49ers in Week 10, he had his Week 11 bye to recover and should be fine for Sunday. But since he is only practicing in a limited capacity this week, there is a slight chance that Lockett is not at full health, which ultimately benefits Gordon, especially if Lockett can’t finish the game. But I am talking hypotheticals here.
I like Gordon strictly for his big play and scoring upside against one of the worst secondaries in the NFL in the form of the Eagles. While the Eagles secondary is playing better and getting healthier, they can still be exploited, especially by the caliber of quarterback that Russell Wison is. After all, the Philadelphia secondary is still giving up the fourth-most fantasy points to WRs at a 27 FPPG rate.
In their past three games, the Eagles secondary was able to contain Bears, Bills and Patriots wideouts — not exactly the elite passing offenses in the league. The Eagles will be tested again on Sunday and if they regress into what they looked like in the first half of the season, there is a good chance that Gordon finds pay dirt. Gordon is a speculative Flex option who needs to score to return value for Week 12. With four teams on a bye, I would roll the dice due to Gordon’s matchup, his big-play ability, and his quarterback.
Week 12 TE Fantasy Sleepers
ESPN Start-Percentage: 18.6
I’m going in on Dallas Goedert again this week. Not only did he finish as the TE9 with 12.6 fantasy points last week, but he has also finished as a TE1 in four of his past five games. In those four TE1 outings, he has managed a 9.8 PPR point floor with a 16.9-point ceiling. Goedert has also managed at least five targets in four of his past five games with three touchdowns in that time period. With all of the injuries to Eagles pass-catchers, Goedert has really emerged as a reliable option for Carson Wentz, especially in the red zone — Goedert has drawn four of his six red area targets in the 2019 season in his past three games since Week 8.
Even if Alshon Jeffery returns to the lineup this week, I still believe Goedert should be in all fantasy lineups. Not only for this week but for the remainder of the season. Goedert is a top-three option in the passing game for Wentz behind only Zach Ertz if Jeffery is out and behind Ertz and Jeffery if the latter is active because we know Nelson Agholor, Mack Hollins and whoever the hell else the Eagles are rolling out there at the receiver position is not working.
Goedert will take all of the positive variables working in his favor into a great matchup on Sunday facing a Seattle defense yielding the sixth-most fantasy points to TEs at an 8.8 FPPG pace. And while they have seemed to have tightened up in the past two games — they’ve allowed fewer than 5.4 PPR points to TEs in each of the past two outings since Week 9 — they’ve managed to shut down Buccaneers tight ends — we all know how they have been this year at the position — as well as a 49ers club sans George Kittle. Preceding Week 9, the Seahawks have given up at least 10.6 PPR points to the opposing team’s top-scoring tight end in five of the eight games. In a game that could turn out to be a high-scoring affair, especially if the Seattle offense led by Russell Wilson could get going, the Eagles might be a trailing position, which means Wentz will have to pass a ton from a negative game-script, opening up additional opportunities for Goedert. Goedert is a must-start high-end TE2 who brings legit TE1 upside for Week 12.
ESPN Start-Percentage: 13.9
There aren’t many positive takeaways from the Jets in 2019, but Ryan Griffin has emerged to be one of them. While Chris Herndon was supposed to be the guy at tight end for the Jets, his 2019 is a year to forget. Not only did he open the year on a suspension, but he battled injuries coming off his ban. What’s more, when he finally was able to get on the field, he suffered another injury and wound up on the injured reserve list, appearing in only one game. Meanwhile, Griffin has played some of the best football of his career and doesn’t look like he will be slowing down anytime soon.
Not only has Griffin managed to finish with at least 11 fantasy points in four of his past six games, but he also finished as a TE1 three times in that time period. Moreover, in four games since Week 8, Griffin has drawn at least four targets in three of them while scoring three TDs in that time span with a TD or 50 yards receiving in three of his past four games.
Griffin, who is the No. 7 TE in yards per target, the No. 2 TE in target separation and No. 3 TE in fantasy points per target, will take his somewhat shocking efficiency into a terrific Sunday matchup with a Raiders defense surrendering the third-most fantasy points to TEs at a 9.9 FPPG rate. While the Raiders were able to hold T.J. Hockenson and Tyler Eifert to fewer than 8.4 PPR points in two of their past three games, they allowed Jimmy Graham, Darren Fells, and Hunter Henry to accumulate at least 13 PPR points on them in three of their past five games since Week 7. With Griffin seemingly acting as Sam Darnold’s No. 2 or No. 3 option in the passing game behind only Jamison Crowder and Le’Veon Bell, the stars are aligning for the 29-year-old tight end to have another big outing in Week 12.