Start ‘Em Sit ‘Em Week 12
We are past the midway point of the season as we now approach week 11. That means each lineup choice has that much more behind it as we inch closer to the playoffs. With that, let’s dive in and look at the players to start and sit for this weekend.
Recapping last week
It was a solid week for our picks in this crucial part of the fantasy football season. Cam Newton finished as QB4 and Carson Wentz finished outside the top-18 but Daniel Jones did struggle with a game outside the top-25. Mark Ingram filled in admirably with a top-15 game and Zack Moss predictably had a tough game with a finish outside the top-50 while D’Onta Foreman was disappointing with an outside the top-36 finish. Elijah Moore tore it up as the WR3 but DeVonta Smith struggled with a finish outside the top-36 and Adam Thielen put up a surprising top-12 performance. Pat Freiermuth and Dawson Knox both had top-12 performances while Jared Cook finished outside the top-24. It’s on to week 12!
Teams on bye: Cardinals, Chiefs
Start ‘Em Sit ‘Em Week 12 QB’s
Seahawks vs. Football Team
ESPN Starting Percentage: 43.3%
In his two games since returning from his finger injury, Wilson has looked pedestrian at best. He has thrown for 368 yards and zero touchdowns while completing just under 52% of his passes. Despite having one of the best wide receiver duos in the league with D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett, this Seahawks’ offense have looked toothless even with Wilson back under center. However, they have the chance to right the ship against Washington. Eight of the last nine starting quarterbacks facing Washington have thrown for at least two passing touchdowns and only two starting quarterbacks have scored under 20 points against them this season. Wilson will be another week removed from his injury and should have a much easier time in this game versus the two tough defenses he has faced since his return. He will be a top-12 option at worst.
49ers vs. Vikings
ESPN Starting Percentage: 8.6%
Admittedly, I’m part of the #FreeTreyLance movement and will continue to be a proud card-carrying member. However, Garoppolo has played pretty well over his last four games. He has eight touchdowns (six passing, two rushing) and only one interception over that time despite only throwing for a combined 41 passing attempts in his last two games combined. The 49ers have been able to rely on their strong rushing attack between Eli Mitchell, Jeff Wilson, and…Deebo Samuel? Nevertheless, Garoppolo should be forced to throw more this weekend against a Vikings’ offense that should put up more of a challenge than the Jaguars. His full complement of passing options (Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk, and George Kittle) are all healthy and playing very well at the moment. Garoppolo has top-15 appeal who could sneak into the QB1 discussion.
Bengals vs. Steelers
ESPN Starting Percentage: 43.7%
After catching fire over the first eight games of the season with at least two passing touchdowns in all of them, Burrow has struggled mightily in his last two. He has thrown for a combined 430 passing yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions. The Bengals have (successfully) been relying more on Joe Mixon and their run game with their passing offense lagging. It’s hard to pinpoint why as Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins, and Tyler Boyd are all healthy along with the Bengals’ offensive line. With that being said, Burrow now faces a tough defense in the Steelers. While Pittsburgh did get decimated by Justin Herbert in week 11, that was without three of their key starters in T.J. Watt, Minkah Fitzpatrick, and Joe Haden. Prior to week 11, the Steelers had only given up one passing touchdown over their last three games combined. All three should have a decent shot of returning. If they do, it could be another long day for Burrow.
Start ‘Em Sit ‘Em Week 12 RB’s
Eagles vs. Giants
ESPN Starting Percentage: 27.3%
In his first start back after his stint on injured reserve, Sanders saw a season-high in carries (16) and turned that into a season-high for rushing yards (94). His 5.9 yards-per-carry in that contest was extremely encouraging considering he was facing one of the best run defenses in the league in the Saints. While he did have a fumble, that was the only mistake in what was an otherwise strong performance. He now faces a Giants’ defense that has given up 74+ scrimmage yards to an opposing running back four times in their last three games. Plus, Jordan Howard was Sanders’ biggest competition for carries and he is likely out for week 12 after suffering an injury on Sunday. Sanders should be a lock for 15+ touches and is squarely in the top 20-24 realm for week 12.
Ravens vs. Browns
ESPN Starting Percentage: 9.1%
Don’t look now but Freeman has four double-digit games in half-PPR format over his last five contests. He’s scored four touchdowns over that span and just had a season-high in touches (22) despite presumed starter Latavius Murray returning from injury in week 11. He hasn’t been particularly efficient (4.74 yards per touch) over these last five games but he has at least 13 touches in each of his last three games. Lamar Jackson should be back under center for week 12, which will likely reduce the number of carries Freeman sees but could open up more running lanes with defenses having to focus on Jackson’s explosive ability as a rusher in his own right. The Browns’ defense has struggled as of late with eight total touchdowns given up to opposing running backs over the last five games. They’ve also allowed a running back to go for 110+ scrimmage yards in four straight games. Freeman is a top-30 option who could be creep towards low-end RB2 territory this weekend.
Raiders vs. Cowboys
ESPN Starting Percentage: 76.1%
Jacobs (like most of the Raiders’ offense) has been struggling to do much with it. He has actually only cleared 75+ scrimmage yards once all season but has not scored a touchdown in three straight games after having scored in the three games prior. He actually has gotten 14 or less touches in each of his last two games and has 97 scoreless scrimmage yards in that time to show for it. This entire Raiders’ offense has sputtered over the last three games as they’ve only scored 43 total points during that time and now are going to be facing a rather tough Cowboys’ defense. They have limited the Chiefs’ and Falcons’ to a combined 22 points in the last two games and now face a struggling Raiders’ offense. Jacobs will remain a touch-based low-end RB2 but he has a rather low ceiling in a sputtering offense.
Start ‘Em Sit ‘Em Week 12 WR’s
49ers vs. Vikings
ESPN Starting Percentage: 25.2%
After a rather dramatic start to the season (one catch for two yards on two targets in his first two games), Aiyuk has turned it on as of late. He has at least seven targets in three of his last four games and is averaging a healthy 12.25 yards-per-reception during that time. He has at least six receptions and 85 yards in two of his last three games and two touchdowns during that time. And even with Samuel and Kittle healthy, Aiyuk is still being productive. He and the 49ers are now facing a Vikings’ defense that just allowed Davante Adams and Marquez Valdes-Scantling to go for a combined 238 yards and three touchdowns on 11 receptions in week 11. The 49ers have won three of their last four and their offense is firing on all cylinders. Aiyuk is an upside low-end WR2/high-end WR3 in week 12.
Raiders vs. Cowboys
ESPN Starting Percentage: 28.2%
With Amari Cooper out due to COVID-19 protocols and then Ceedee Lamb departing at halftime in week 11 due to a concussion, Gallup vaulted to the number one wide receiver for the Cowboys. While his stat line (five receptions, 44 yards, zero touchdowns) isn’t flashy, his team-leading 10 targets are. Plus, the Cowboys are on a short week as they play on Thursday and Lamb faces an uphill battle to clear protocol and Cooper is already confirmed out. Even if Lamb is active, Gallup will operate as the number two wide receiver at worst on a high-powered Cowboys’ offense going up against a Raiders squad on the decline. After only giving up four touchdowns to opposing wide receivers from weeks one through seven, the Raiders have given up four in just their last two games. The Cowboys will look to avenge their loss to the Chiefs with the Raiders coming into town on Thanksgiving. Gallup is a top-24 option if Lamb sits but will still be a strong WR3/FLEX option even if Lamb is active.
Raiders vs. Cowboys
ESPN Starting Percentage: 60.6%
Following the release of Henry Ruggs III coupled with the consistency struggles from Bryan Edwards, Renfrow has stepped up for the Raiders as their number one wide receiver. He’s seen at least eight targets in four of his last six games and has come down with at least six receptions in those four games. However, he’s failed to have more than 58 receiving yards in any game during that span despite the high receptions total. He has only one game during that span with double-digit yards-per-reception numbers as he continues to operate as a short-yardage specialist for Derek Carr and the Raiders. Renfrow has five 10+ half-PPR games this season but he has a touchdown scored in four of those five. He is simply a touchdown-dependent option in fantasy on a now non-existent Raiders’ offense. Now, he faces a Cowboys’ defense that’s only given up one touchdown to opposing wide receivers over the last three games combined. It’s hard to trust Renfrow as more than a high-floor WR3/FLEX this week.
Start ‘Em Sit ‘Em Week 12 TE’s
Buccaneers vs. Colts
ESPN Starting Percentage: 19.7%
In his first full game back since breaking multiple ribs, Gronkowski had a strong performance with 71 yards and six receptions on eight targets as he saw a full complement of work right out of the gate. Even if he doesn’t have an every-down role as he works his way back, Gronkowski is being consistently targeted by Tom Brady and nothing suggests that will change even when Antonio Brown does eventually does return. Gronkowski will be needed in a matchup against a hot Colts’ team that has scored won and scored 30+ points in five of their last six games. The Colts have also been generous to opposing tight ends as of late as they’ve given up 67 yards and/or a touchdown in four straight games. Gronkowski is very much a top-10 option this week and going forward.
Cowboys vs. Raiders
ESPN Starting Percentage: 41.4%
After being a very consistent option for more of the season, Schultz has struggled with inconsistency as of late. He has two games with two or fewer receptions with no more than 14 receiving yards over his last four games. But in his last eight games, he has 53 or more receiving yards in the other six. Schultz also has at least six targets in seven of his last eight games, so he is still very much a featured member of the Cowboys’ offense. Plus, with Cooper out and possibly Lamb as well in week 12, it could be down to Schultz and Gallup to make up most of the Cowboys’ passing offense. The Raiders have also been extremely generous to opposing tight ends this season. They’ve given up at least 70 yards and/or a touchdown to an opposing tight end in seven of their last eight games. Schultz is a top-six option if Lamb sits but a top-eight option at worst even if Lamb suits up.
Falcons vs. Jaguars
ESPN Starting Percentage: 87.5%
Admittedly, it’s hard to sit Pitts with the upside that he has. However, since his two-game eruption in weeks five and seven for 282 yards and a touchdown on 16 receptions, Pitts has struggled since then. He does have two performances with 60+ receiving yards but has no more than four receptions in any of his last four games. Plus, he still has only one touchdown scored on the season as well. With Calvin Ridley still out and now Cordarrelle Patterson dealing with an injury, defenses have been able to shut down the Falcons’ offense and key in on Pitts. He now faces a Jaguars’ defense that has actually played well against opposing tight ends as of late. They’ve only given up two touchdowns in their last six games and have only allowed two tight ends to go for more than 34 receiving yards in that span. Pitts is still a TE1 option for his upside alone but expectations need to be tempered with the entire Falcons’ offense struggling.
Doug Moore is a fantasy football writer for Gridiron Experts. He has previously written for sites such as ESPN, SBNation, FFToday & Inside The Pylon. He also was the co-host for the highly-rated fantasy football podcast Overtime Ireland for several years. You can find him on Twitter at @DMooreNFL