Week 12 kicks off tonight with the divisional rival Houston Texans and Indianapolis Colts battling it out to see which team overtakes the division lead. The teams that are gifted a bye this week are the Arizona Cardinals, Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Chargers, and the Minnesota Vikings.
Let’s get into the starts and sits for the week:
Atlanta Falcons QB Matt Ryan vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The last time Ryan had a really good week was in Week 6 against the Arizona Cardinals, but he does have a great matchup this week against the Buccaneers. The Bucs allow the 2nd most points per game to opposing QB’s, are ranked 30th by pass defense DVOA, and are ranked 23rd by yards-per-pass attempt allowed (YPA).
Cleveland Browns QB Baker Mayfield vs. Miami Dolphins
After an incredibly disappointing start to the season, Mayfield has done a decent job turning it around, as have the Browns as they ride a two-game winning streak back home to face the Dolphins. Mayfield has scored over 17 points in every contest in the past three weeks. The Dolphins allow the 5th most points to QB’s per game and are ranked 32nd by pass defense DVOA and 29th by YPA.
Other potential starts: Mason Rudolph vs. Cincinnati Bengals, Dwayne Haskins vs. Detroit Lions
Buffalo Bills QB Josh Allen vs. Denver Broncos
Allen was the highest scoring QB in the league last week as he put together a 33.84-point performance, but the Broncos are no joke as they allow the 3rd fewest points per game to opposing QB’s. Not only that, but they’re ranked 15th by pass defense DVOA and 9th by YPA. If you don’t have a better option on the bench, you have no choice but to start Allen, but if you’ve got a decent option elsewhere, I’d make the move.
Los Angeles Rams QB Jared Goff vs. Baltimore Ravens
Goff hasn’t put together the season he or the Rams envisioned after inking a massive contract extension as he ranks 21st among all QB’s in scoring. This isn’t the week I envision he breaks out of the slump, with his past two contests both totaling less than six points. It’s been ugly for the Rams’ signal caller, and to double-down, the Ravens allow the 6th fewest points to opposing QB’s and are ranked 3rd by pass defense DVOA and 16th by YPA.
Other potential sits: Brandon Allen vs. Buffalo Bills, Daniel Jones vs. Chicago Bears
Washington Redskins RB Derrius Guice vs. Detroit Lions
Welcome back, Mr. Guice. In his first game back since Week 1, Guice totaled 6.8 points, but that came on only eight touches, one of which was a 45-yard receiving touchdown. Guice looks to have no ill effects from the knee injury which sidelined him for a while, faces the Lions which allow the most points to RB’s per game, and are ranked 18th in run defense DVOA, and 21st in YPC. Guice’s showing last week is sure to get him more playing time and touches, and that bodes well against the Lions.
San Francisco 49ers RB Tevin Coleman vs. Green Bay Packers
Coleman hasn’t scored a touchdown since Week 8, but there’s a good chance he puts together a strong performance this week against the Packers. The Packers allow the 5th most points to RB’s per game and are ranked 28th by run defense DVOA and 27th by YPC.
Other potential starts: Kareem Hunt vs. Miami Dolphins, Jaylen Samuels vs. Cincinnati Bengals
Atlanta Falcons RB Brian Hill vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Hill put up an absolute stinker in his first week as a starter, scoring only 4.80 points. Hill ceded redzone touches, which obviously dampens his value a good amount. In addition to that, the Buccaneers allow the 2nd fewest amount of points per game to opposing RB’s and are ranked 1st in run defense DVOA and 3rd by YPC.
New England Patriots RB Sony Michel vs. Dallas Cowboys
The Cowboys aren’t even a strong run defense, but Michel has performed awfully this season. The Cowboys are only average, allowing the 15th most points to RB’s per game, but Michel hasn’t had a good week since Week 7 against the New York Jets. James White is the only relevant RB on the Patriots’ roster, and that’s only in PPR formats.
Other potential sits: Carlos Hyde vs. Indianapolis Colts, Jamaal Williams vs. San Francisco 49ers
Atlanta Falcons WR Calvin Ridley vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Ridley exploded in Week 11, scoring 28.30 points which was good for the 3rd-highest scoring performance among all WR’s. His matchup in the Buccaneers is a beautiful one as they allow the most fantasy points per game by far to opposing WR’s, and are ranked 30th in pass defense DVOA and 23rd by YPA. Ridley — and his QB — are definite starts this week, as is superstar WR Julio Jones (obviously).
Seattle Seahawks WR D.K. Metcalf vs. Philadelphia Eagles
The Seahawks are coming off a bye in Week 11, but the three prior weeks should have you excited in Metcalf’s ability as he topped 11 points in all three contests, and topped 16 points twice in that same span. The Eagles allow the 4th most points to WR’s per game, and are ranked 12th by pass defense DVOA and 16th by YPA. One thing to note is the Eagles have been better at defending the pass in the past three weeks, albeit against weak opponents.
Other potential starts: Tyrell Williams vs. New York Jets, Jamison Crowder vs. Oakland Raiders, Jarvis Landry vs. Miami Dolphins
Dallas Cowboys WR Michael Gallup vs. New England Patriots
Benching Gallup probably seems insane at this point, but I’d proceed with caution. The Patriots give up the fewest points per game to WR’s and it isn’t really even close. Not only that, but they’re ranked 1st by both pass defense DVOA and YPA. Something has to give, and even though Gallup has played great recently and QB Dak Prescott has played brilliantly, I’d proceed with extreme caution.
Buffalo Bills WR John Brown vs. Denver Broncos
Benching the highest-scoring WR in Week 11 just seems incredibly stupid, but let me at least try to explain why you should consider it. First, the Broncos allow the 4th fewest points to opposing WR’s per game. Second, they’re ranked 15th by pass defense DVOA. And third, they’re ranked 9th by YPA. Brown is incredibly consistent as he’s topped 50 yards receiving every week, but I wouldn’t expect a performance remotely similar to his Week 11 outbreak.
Other potential sits: N’Keal Harry vs. Dallas Cowboys, Darius Slayton vs. Chicago Bears
Atlanta Falcons TE Austin Hooper vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Before anything, make sure you monitor Hooper’s status prior to the week kicking off as he suffered an injury in Week 10 that ultimately held him out of Week 11. It seems Hooper is trending in the right direction and he does face the defense that allows the 2nd most points to opposing TE’s per game. If Hooper is a go, he’s a great play.
San Francisco TE’s George Kittle/Ross Dwelley vs. Green Bay Packers
Kittle is an automatic start every week, but his injury may keep him sidelined for this contest. If it does, Dwelley is a great play with the Packers allowing the 4th most points per game to opposing TE’s. QB Jimmy Garoppolo has some sort of comfort when targeting his tight ends, and that hasn’t changed with Dwelley replacing Kittle. Dwelley doesn’t offer nearly the same upside and big-play potential as Kittle, but he is a solid option who receives opportunities in the redzone.
Other potential starts: Ryan Griffin vs. Oakland Raiders, Jared Cook vs. Carolina Panthers
Green Bay Packers TE Jimmy Graham vs. San Francisco 49ers
If you’re going to bench anyone this week, make it the overrated Graham which faces the defense that allows the fewest amount of points per game to opposing TE’s. The 49ers are an elite defense and Graham is hardly ever used anyways, resulting in a perfect opportunity to bench Graham and look elsewhere in Week 12.
Denver Broncos TE Noah Fant vs. Buffalo Bills
You may not have a better option than Fant, and in that scenario I suggest you just start him anyways, but one thing to note: the Bills allow the 2nd fewest points per game to opposing TE’s. Not only that, but the Bills’ defense is fantastic on all three levels, which could lead to a stinker from Fant’s QB Brandon Allen.
Other potential sits: Gerald Everett vs. Baltimore Ravens, Tyler Eifert vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
Cleveland Browns D/ST vs. Miami Dolphins
The Dolphins are bad, we all know that by Week 12. The Browns are only ranked 22nd this season in points, but they’ve got a great opportunity to continue to expose the mistake-prone Dolphins.
Atlanta Falcons D/ST vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Starting the 29th ranked defense seems ludicrous, but hear me out, the opposing QB is Jameis Winston. That is all.
Other potential starts: Pittsburgh Steelers defense D/ST vs. Cincinnati Bengals, Baltimore Ravens D/ST vs. Los Angeles Rams
Dallas Cowboys D/ST vs. New England Patriots
The Patriots aren’t even good offensively this season, which may seem confusing when I suggest to bench the Cowboys’ defense, but they’ve been bad the past few weeks. The Cowboys got torched by Detroit Lions QB Jeff Driskel last week and scored 0 points the week prior against the Minnesota Vikings.
Los Angeles Rams D/ST vs. Baltimore Ravens
The Rams’ defense is great, taking a major step up since acquiring superstar CB Jalen Ramsey. The issue is they’ll oppose the great MVP-hopeful Lamar Jackson in Week 12. If you have another choice, think long and hard about starting another defense.
Other potential sits: Philadelphia Eagles D/ST vs. Seattle Seahawks,