Start’em Sit’em Week 12
Start’em Sit’em is back for Week 12 of the NFL season. Along with the other fine tools provided by Gridiron Experts, this article is here to help guide you on who to start and who to sit as you head towards victory in your Week 12 Fantasy Football matchups. There are several matchups worth discussing and we will go through those matchups now. One friendly reminder heading into this Week 12 Start Sit article is that there will be four teams on their bye week. This week, the Vikings, Chargers, Cardinals, and Chiefs will all have the week off.
Recapping Last Week
Last week, my selections at quarterback would once again prove to be useful. Both Josh Allen and Kyler Murray turned out to finish in the top-6 in weekly quarterback scoring while my sit suggestion, Jameis Winston, fell completely flat on his face. Other solid selections were suggesting that you sit David Johnson and that you start Jamison Crowder in his revenge game against the Washington Redskins. My biggest shortcoming this past week would have to be settling on the Brian Hill hype that turned out to be nothing more than smoke and mirrors. The lastest results have me determined to continue on delivering you the best picks that Week 12 has to offer, so let’s get started. As always, if you any other start or sit questions that are not answered here, please feel free to reach me on Twitter.
- Scoring and stats are based on half-point per reception scoring and come from fantasydata.com
- Start percentages originate from ESPN.com
- Start options range from 0-60%
- Sit options range from 50-100%
The following are my Start’em Sit’em Week 11 recommendations:
Start’em Sit’em Quarterbacks
Falcons vs. Buccaneers
ESPN Starting Percentage: 56.6%
With six straight games with 300 or more passing yards during the early part of the season, the people who owned Matt Ryan in fantasy were riding high. Following an ankle injury and a bye week, Ryan has come up short with two straight games finishing outside the top-12. Fear not though as help is on the horizon in Week 12 and it comes in the form of a favorable opponent, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. This is a Buccaneers defense that is allowing the second-most points to the quarterback position. Included in that ranking this season is the fact that the Buccaneers have 25 touchdown passes on the season. Those 25 touchdowns passes allowed are just as much as the Falcons last two opponents combined. While this will be the first of two matchups between the Falcons and the Buccaneers this season, last season’s matchups would prove to be huge for Matt Ryan in fantasy. In Ryan’s two matchups with the Buccaneers last season, the Falcons signal-caller would finish inside the top-5 among quarterbacks with a combined 733 yards passing, five touchdowns and one interception. This Buccaneers defense has also allowed opposing quarterbacks to finish inside the top-6 in fantasy scoring in each of the last three weeks. This is undoubtedly the best matchup that Ryan and the Falcons have had in weeks so don’t be afraid to cash in on Matt Ryan in Week 12.
Browns vs. Dolphins
ESPN Starting Percentage: 17.9%
Of all the names to choose from this week, at first glance, the name Baker Mayfield might not seem like the most ideal option. With the initial shock out of the way, I feel like Mayfield is as good an option as any in Week 12. In Mayfield’s first six games before the Browns bye week, the Browns signal-caller would have just five touchdown passes and 11 interceptions. In his four games since that bye week, Mayfield has improved with six touchdowns and one interception. On top of his touchdown to interception ratio, Mayfield has also been more efficient as his completion percentage has gone from 55.4 to 62.5. Coming off of his first consecutive games as a top-12 quarterback this season, the high-profile quarterback will now take aim at the Miami Dolphins. On the season, the Dolphins are allowing the fifth-most points to the quarterback position and just this past week, for the first time since Week 2, the Dolphins finished a week in the top five in most points allowed to quarterbacks. While the Myles Garrett drama is yet another distraction that the Browns do not need, underneath it all, Baker Mayfield is improving and will be solid fantasy play in Week 12.
Cowboys @ Patriots
ESPN Starting Percentage: 74.3%
This past week, if you started Dak Prescott, he likely helped win you your week as he finished as a top-5 quarterback. As we head into Week 12 though, we might see the Cowboys quarterback go from hero to zero. In one of just two late afternoon matchups, the Dallas Cowboys will head to New England as they look to take on the Patriots. In eight of the Patriots 10 games this season, the defending Super Bowl Champions have finished in the top-10 in fewest points allowed to opposing quarterbacks. They are just one of four teams to allow less than 10 touchdowns passes and are also just one of four teams with 10 or more interceptions. While his home and road splits aren’t that far off from one another, the two games in which Prescott has failed to finish inside the top-12, both came on the road. Prescott has been deceptively good for fantasy but I think this is one of those matchups that the Cowboys signal-caller will fall short.
Start’em Sit’em Running Backs
Redskins vs. Lions
ESPN Starting Percentage: 6.1%
This past week was yet another return for Redskins running back, Derrius Guice. While splitting work with Adrian Peterson, Guice would make his targets count as he caught one of his two targets for 45 yards to score his first career NFL touchdown. With the coast looking clear for Guice and his knee, the Redskins running back will now turn his attention to a Detroit Lions team that is allowing more points to opposing running backs than any other team in football. This ranking would include the Lions being one of four teams to allow 10 or more rushing touchdowns and they are the only defense in football to allow more than five receiving touchdowns to running backs. This is also a consistent ranking as in the six weeks since the Lions bye week, they have been in the top-10 in most points allowed to the position. My personal belief is that the more Guice continues to play without issue the more work he will continue to see. With such a small body of work in the NFL, there really isn’t a ton to go on with this selection. That being said, I have always been of the mindset that Guice can be a solid play for fantasy and I think we see that in Week 12.
Broncos @ Bills
ESPN Starting Percentage: 53.2%
Prior to last week’s game, it was noted that Phillip Lindsay would begin to see “most of the carries” in the Broncos backfield. In the first game since that report, against a tough opponent in the Vikings, Lindsay would see double the carries than Royce Freeman as Lindsay tallied 67 yards rushing on 16 carries. While failing to score a touchdown would have Lindsay finishing as the thirty-second best running back on the week, I like his chances to have a better fantasy outing in Week 12. In the Broncos next matchup, Lindsay will be taking on the Buffalo Bills. Despite the reputation of being a gritty run defense, the Bills are currently just outside the top-12 in most points allowed to running backs. More specifically, in two of the Bills last four games, the team has been in top-10 in most points allowed to the position. In regards to fantasy, the two games in which Lindsay had finished as a top-10 running back have both come on the road. Given the report of Lindsay receiving the bulk of the work in the Broncos backfield and the carries last week serving as a direct reflection to that report, I personally believe that the Broncos workload will continue to lean the way of Lindsay and that should help his fantasy owners in this pivotal stretch run.
Falcons vs. Buccaneers
ESPN Starting Percentage: 57.0%
There was no doubt that last week, Brian Hill was the flavor of the week in almost every fantasy format. However, against a very favorable opponent this past week, that flavor of the week turned sour fast as Hill would muster just 30 yards on 15 carries. Now Hill and the Falcons will go from facing a team allowing the third-most points to opposing running backs to a team allowing the second-fewest, the Buccaneers. On top of the opponent being less than favorable in Week 12, there is also word that Devonta Freeman is making progress towards a possible return. So far this season, the Buccaneers defense is tied in allowing the third-fewest touchdowns to running backs with four. Considering that, along with Hill just averaging two yards per carry last week, I feel as if Hill will need to score a touchdown in order to deliver fantasy value. Against this Buccaneers defense, I cannot in good faith suggest that Hill will be able to make good on his touchdown dependency.
Start’em Sit’em Wide Receivers
Raiders @ Jets
ESPN Starting Percentage: 38.3%
Early on, fantasy owners of Tyrell Williams were riding high. With Antonio Brown long gone, Williams had inherited the role of the Raiders top wide receiver and had scored a touchdown in each of his first five games this season. Those good times had come to an end around a handful of weeks ago as Williams has been held out of the endzone in each of the Raiders last three games. While it should be noted that two of those three games mentioned came against teams in the top-12 in fewest points allowed to wide receivers, I feel strongly that better times ahead for Williams and his fantasy owners. In Week 12, the Raiders will be taking a trip to New York to take on a Jets team that is allowing the fifth-most points in the league to the wide receiver position. While this Jets secondary is ninth in receiving yards allowed to the position, what is even more encouraging is the touchdowns that the Jets have allowed. To this point in the NFL season, the Jets are tied for second with fifteen receiving touchdowns allowed to the wide receiver position and I think that could prove to be rather beneficial for a touchdown-dependent wide receiver, like Williams. To be clear, this is more of a half-point or standard play as Williams has only had one game with six or more receptions. On top of that, Williams has also had just one game this season with 100 or more receiving yards. That being said, this is a touchdown-dependent play in every sense of the word and in Week 12, I truly believe that Williams will capitalize on it.
Falcons vs. Buccaneers
ESPN Starting Percentage: 54.6%
Two weeks ago, I had said that Calvin Ridley was a player that should be started and it would appear that I was one week too early. While Ridley fell flat two weeks ago, this past week would be a much different story as Ridley would catch all eight of his targets for 143 yards and a touchdown. This game would mark the second-most receiving yards of his career and I expect Ridley to carry that momentum into a Week 12 matchup against the Buccaneers. So far this season, the Buccaneers are number one in most points allowed to the position. This rank would include the Buccaneers allowing a league-high 17 touchdowns to wide receivers as well as being the only team in football to allow more than 2,000 yards to the position. I also anticipate, as per my running back sit suggestion, that the Falcons running backs will have a tough time against this Buccaneers defense. So on top of that thought and now Julio Jones being involved in yet another touchdown drought, which is now at seven games, I fully expect that Week 12 will be the first time in Ridley’s early NFL career that he will post back-to-back games with 15 or more fantasy points scored.
49ers vs. Packers
ESPN Starting Percentage: 18.2%
In a Week 12 matchup that has been flexed to Sunday Night Football, the 49ers will welcome in a Green Bay Packers team that is allowing the tenth fewest points to the wide receiver position. That ranking still doesn’t have me flinching in regards to 49ers rookie wide receiver, Deebo Samuel. While most had been sitting, waiting, and wishing for Dante Pettis to breakout, it was Andy Holloway who had called for Samuel to have a big game two weeks ago. Samuel delivered and hasn’t looked back. While being targeted 21 times in the last two weeks, Samuel has 16 receptions for 246 yards and no touchdowns. That is precisely why I like Samuel to once again thrive.
As previously mentioned, this Packers defense is allowing the tenth fewest points to the position and one of the biggest parts of that ranking is the fact that the Packers have only allowed just six touchdowns to the position. That being said, the Packers defense is still allowing plenty of receiving yards as they are one of just four teams that have allowed seven or fewer touchdowns but have allowed 1,700 yards or more. While speaking to the media earlier this week, Kyle Shannahan had said that part of Samuel’s recent success has been the fact that Samuel is focusing more on running downfield rather than the sideline to sideline cuts that worked so well for him in his college days at South Carolina. Lots of times in September, we say that a rookie receiver might be able to catch fire down the stretch and I think that is coming to life with Deebo Samuel. While the potential for a returning Emmanuel Sanders might hurt the number of targets that Deebo Samuel will receive, I think that Jimmy Garoppolo growing more and more c0mfotable with his rookie wide receiver and that will speak volumes in Week 12.
Cowboys @ Patriots
ESPN Starting Percentage: 55.2%
Several of the players who were started in 50% or more of ESPN leagues last week had done well for their fantasy owners. Michael Gallup was included in that as he hauled in nine receptions for 148 yards and no touchdowns. That performance would allow Gallup to finish as the seventh-best receiver on the week. This would mark his first game of the season inside the top-10 among fantasy wide receivers and I do not think that we will see back-to-back weeks of that as the Cowboys prepare to take on the Patriots. This Patriots team is coming off of their bye week and are allowing the fewest points to wide receivers. That ranking would include an average of 17.1 points per game being allowed to wide receivers and even worse, the Patriots have allowed just one touchdown to an opposing wide receiver. While I believe that the earlier mentioned Dak Prescott will be a sit option, I believe that whatever production Prescott does have will be limited. While Michael Gallup has had three straight games of ten or more fantasy points scored, those three games all came against teams that are in the top-10 in most points allowed to wide receivers. I do not believe that Michael Gallup is matchup proof and I would advise sitting him in Week 12.
Start’em Sit’em Tight Ends
Jets vs. Raiders
ESPN Starting Percentage: o.6%
While the news of Chris Herndon heading to the IR was somber news for some in the fantasy football community, it did deliver some clarity on the tight end position for the New York Jets. This past week, against the Washington Redskins, Ryan Griffin took full opportunity of being the lead tight end as he caught all five of his targets for 109 yards and a touchdown. That performance would have Griffin finishing a week as the number one tight end for the second time this season and it would also mark his third top-10 finish in the last six weeks. The good times should continue to roll in Week 12 as Ryan Griffin and the Jets will welcome in the Oakland Raiders. So far this season, the Raiders are allowing the third-most points to the position and are one of just three teams to allow seven or more touchdowns. While the Raiders would hold Tyler Eifert to just 3.6 fantasy points this past week, in three out of the last five games, the Raiders have allowed an opposing tight end to finish the week as a top-10 tight end. Ryan Griffin is the fourteenth best tight end in fantasy scoring this season and following Week 12, he will continue to inch closer to the top-10.
Saints vs. Panthers
ESPN Starting Percentage: 66.6%
This past week, Jared Cook had an ideal matchup against a Buccaneers team that is allowing the second-most points to the position. Despite having just two receptions, thanks to a touchdown, Cook managed to finish as the tenth best tight end on the week. Touchdowns might not come as easy in Week 12 as the Saints will do battle against a Panthers team that is allowing the third-fewest points to the position. That rank would include the Panthers being just one of seven teams to allow two touchdowns to the position. On top of minimal touchdowns, the Panthers are allowing an average of 6.9 fantasy points to opposing tight ends and that most assuredly will have any tight finishing outside the top-10. Cook has proven to be hit or miss this season and in Week 12, I say his misses.
Start’em Sit’em D/ST
Ravens @ Rams
ESPN Starting Percentage: 39.6%
The Ravens starting percentage is likely as low as it is due to their previous matchup against DeShaun Watson and the Houston Texans. That turned to be a matchup worth starting the Ravens as they wound up finishing as the fourth-best fantasy defense on the week. Currently, the Ravens are in fifth in fantasy scoring as they have nine interceptions, seven fumble recoveries, and five defensive touchdowns. Opposing the Ravens this week the Rams who are quarterbacked by an under-performing Jared Goff. On the season, Goff has 11 touchdowns and ten interceptions. I truly believe one of the biggest factors in the Rams Super Bowl hangover is the simple and understandable fact that the rest of the NFL has caught up to this Rams offense. In the last two games, it has been the only time this season that the Rams have failed to score 20 or more points in consecutive games. With all of this in mind, I think that the Ravens are an ideal start option in Week 12.
Rams vs. Ravens
ESPN Starting Percentage: 68.7%
I’m going to stay this Week 12 Monday Night Football matchup as while I think that you should start the Ravens, I’m also suggesting that you sit the Rams. While we previously discussed the rest of the NFL catching up to the Rams, it could be argued that the rest of the NFL still hasn’t caught up to Lamar Jackson. Ravens Offensive coordinator, Greg Roman has Jackson soaring to new heights as the Ravens have scored thirty or more points in each of their last four games. In those last four games, the opposing D/ST has finished no better than the fifteenth best on the week. The Rams are still a good play at times, just not in Week 12.
Thanks for reading Start’em Sit’em Week 12!