Thanksgiving week is always tough for fantasy football owners, and the NFL did us no favors by putting two of the NFL’s best offenses (Chiefs and Cardinals) on bye. There’s also no shortage of injuries and COVID situations to deal with either, so it’s likely you’re struggling with at least one start ’em, sit ’em decision. That’s where we come in, providing Week 12 lineup advice and DFS picks to help you have a stress-free (and profitable) holiday weekend.
With three games on Thursday (Bears-Lions, Raiders-Cowboys, Bills-Saints), rosters will need to be checked and some decisions finalized a little earlier than usual. Don’t let a full stomach cause you to slip and miss out on some key injury news. If there’s any question about a player’s availability on Sunday and you have a viable fill-in you know is starting on Thursday, give extra consideration to that player. If you can get another viable fill-in later in the week, then it’s usually worth holding out for your “questionable” starter.
Fantasy Football Week 12 Start ‘Em: Quarterbacks
- Tom Brady, Buccaneers (at IND)
- Jalen Hurts, Eagles (at NYG)
- Lamar Jackson, Ravens (vs. CLE)
- Dak Prescott, Cowboys (vs. LV)
- Aaron Rodgers, Packers (vs. LAR)
- Matthew Stafford, Rams (at GB)
- Justin Herbert, Chargers (at DEN)
- Josh Allen, Bills (at NO)
Kirk Cousins, Vikings (at SF). The Niners should set up a shootout here with two struggling defenses, and Cousins is feeling it with his primary targets.
Russell Wilson, Seahawks (at WAS). Wilson has to get back on track with the best possible get-well matchup for his wide receivers.
Joe Burrow, Bengals (vs. PIT). The Steelers’ defense isn’t nearly the same with key personnel losses, and Joe Burrow can follow ripping them like Justin Herbert did.
Jimmy Garoppolo, 49ers (vs. MIN). He’ll get it going on the other side of Kirk Cousins, as his go-to guys have great matchups across the board.
Taylor Heinicke, Washington (vs. SEA). He’s locked into his growing weapons and also doing good damage with his legs.
Mac Jones, Patriots (at TEN). He didn’t need to do much against the Falcons, but look for the Patriots to jump on the Titans with the pass to take them out of their game script.
DFS Bargains/Streamer Specials
Cam Newton, Panthers (at MIA, $5,600 on DraftKings). Newton has the support and running to boost his value even if the downfield arm and passing consistency aren’t there. He’s too expensive on FanDuel at $8,000, but he’s still well underpriced on DK.
Carson Wentz, Colts (vs. TB, $5,800 on DraftKings, $7,300 on FanDuel). Wentz will be needed more as the Colts can’t run all over the Bucs. The coverage looks will help him put some good garbage with volume opposite Tom Brady.
Fantasy Football Week 12 Sit ‘Em: Quarterbacks
Derek Carr, Raiders (at DAL). You can’t really trust him anymore, and the Cowboys balled out vs. Patrick Mahomes.
Tua Tagovailoa, Dolphins (vs. CAR). He’s always a desperation play, but the numbers won’t be quite enough in this matchup.
Daniel Jones, Giants (at PHI). Jones could sneak out 250 yards and two TDs, but his floor also is very low. This should be a run-heavy game for New York.
Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers (at CIN). Don’t go chasing what happened against the Chargers — not in an outdoor divisional road game, anyway.
Andy Dalton, Bears (at DET). The matchup says “yes,” but the sputtering offense and limited points allowed by the Lions say “no.”
Teddy Bridgewater, Broncos (vs. LAC). If you need to go here, you should be prepared to be very disappointed after the bye.
Matt Ryan, Falcons (at JAX). He tends to suddenly play well when he’s gone Matty Ice Cold, but the Jaguars aren’t as good of a matchup as you think.
Trevor Lawrence, Jaguars (vs. ATL). This could be a “turnaround game” in favorable home matchup with some supposed changes, but let’s see it before we believe in it.
Fantasy Football Week 12 Start ‘Em: Running backs
- Christian McCaffrey, Panthers (at MIA)
- Jonathan Taylor, Colts (vs. TB)
- Dalvin Cook, Vikings (at SF)
- Nick Chubb, Browns (at BAL)
- Austin Ekeler, Chargers (at DEN)
- Joe Mixon, Bengals (vs. PIT)
- Najee Harris, Steelers (at CIN)
- A.J. Dillon, Packers (vs. LAR)
- Ezekiel Elliott, Cowboys (vs. LV)
- David Montgomery, Bears (at DET)
- D’Andre Swift, Lions (vs. CHI)
- Kareem Hunt, Browns (at BAL)
- Saquon Barkley, Giants (vs. PHI)
- Darrell Henderson Jr., Rams (at GB)
- James Robinson, Jaguars (vs. ATL)
- Alvin Kamara (if he returns) or Mark Ingram, Saints (vs. BUF)
- Damien Harris, Patriots (vs. TEN)
- Antonio Gibson, Washington (vs. SEA)
- Leonard Fournette, Buccaneers (at IND)
Cordarrelle Patterson, Falcons (at JAX). He should return in a solid spot on the road and get his usual mini-load of touches.
Jeff Wilson Jr., 49ers (vs. MIN). He should get the key touches again with Elijah Mitchell (finger) still hurting, and this time he’ll add better yardage and a score.
Javonte Williams, Broncos (vs. LAC). Denver needs to run as much as possible to beat the electric Chargers, which gives Williams strong flex appeal.
Rhamondre Stevenson, Patriots (vs. TEN). He’ll get enough key touches with a chance to score behind Damien Harris to also flex into lineups.
Tony Pollard, Cowboys (vs. LV). The Raiders got ripped by Joe Mixon last week, and with Zeke (knee) banged up and Dallas’ passing game depleted, look for the Cowboys to deploy Pollard more than usual.
Ty Johnson, Jets (at HOU). This matchup is good enough to consider New York’s most talented fill-in for Michael Carter.
David Johnson, Texans (vs. NYJ). This matchup (and volume) is good enough to consider this other Johnson in the same game.
Melvin Gordon III, Broncos (vs. LAC, $5,300 on DraftKings, $6,300 on FanDuel). Gordon and Javonte Williams will remain in a strong timeshare, and the matchup calls for them to busier than their passing game options. Gordon keeps getting it done in different ways, and this also is a revenge game.
Miles Sanders, Eagles (at NYG, $5,100 on DraftKings, $6,100 on FanDuel). Sanders looked good in his return, taking advantage of the Eagles’ new run-heavy approach. No Jordan Howard (knee) gives him more appeal should Jalen Hurts let him score one rushing TD.
Fantasy Football Week 12 Sit ‘Em: Running backs
Josh Jacobs and Kenyan Drake, Raiders (at DAL). We’ve been really trying here, but we’re also dying here. The matchup won’t lift them out of a committee slump.
Devonta Freeman and Latavius Murray, Ravens (vs. CLE). The Browns are still strong against the run, and with this split you’re hoping for a TD to make one playable. Avoid unless you’re in a big bind.
Myles Gaskin, Dolphins (vs. CAR). He came through last week, so you know what’s coming to follow that in a questionable matchup at home.
Alex Collins, Seahawks (at WAS). Stop trying to make fetch happen, Pete Carroll. It’s never going to happen.
All Bills (at NO). They’re not going all Philly in NOLA.
All Titans (at NE). Good night and good luck figuring out who will touch the ball.
J.D. McKissic, Washington (vs. SEA). Revenge-game narrative aside, he’s been needed less as Taylor Heinicke is using the wide receivers better.
Fantasy Football Week 12 Start ‘Em: Wide receivers
- Davante Adams, Packers (vs. LAR)
- Deebo Samuel, 49ers (vs. MIN)
- Cooper Kupp, Rams (at GB)
- Ja’Marr Chase, Bengals (vs. PIT)
- Stefon Diggs, Bills (at NO)
- Justin Jefferson, Vikings (at SF)
- Terry McLaurin, Washington (vs. SEA)
- Keenan Allen, Chargers (at DEN)
- Mike Williams, Chargers (at DEN)
- Adam Thielen, Vikings (at SF)
- Mike Evans, Buccaneers (at IND)
- Chris Godwin, Buccaneers (at IND)
- D.K. Metcalf, Seahawks (at WAS)
- Tyler Lockett, Seahawks (at WAS)
- A.J. Brown, Titans (if he plays, at NE)
- Marquise Brown, Ravens (if he returns, vs. CLE)
- Diontae Johnson, Steelers (at CIN)
- Chase Claypool, Steelers (at CIN)
- D.J. Moore, Panthers (at MIA)
- Jaylen Waddle, Dolphins (vs. CAR)
Michael Gallup, Cowboys (vs. LV). He’s in a smash spot with no CeeDee Lamb and Amari Cooper, as Dak Prescott will trust him often all over the field.
Elijah Moore, Jets (at HOU). The rookie is getting it done with all their quarterbacks, and the matchup is beautiful. Corey Davis also can be played in deeper leagues.
Darnell Mooney, Bears (at DET). Mooney is rolling regardless of QB, showing why he’s Chicago’s No. 1 receiver right now.
Brandin Cooks, Texans (vs. NYJ). Cooks was put on the backburner in that ugly Titans game, but he will go back to producing with good volume at home.
DeVonta Smith, Eagles (at NYG). Their coverage scheme plays into his elite route-running.
Tee Higgins, Bengals (vs. PIT). Higgins has a good chance to dent the end zone away from Ja’Marr Chase.
Hunter Renfrow, Raiders (at DAL). He’s the only reliable Raiders wideout and should make amends for a blah Week 11.
Marvin Jones Jr., Jaguars (vs. ATL). Jones looked like he should have in the offense last week and is overdue for a score.
Michael Pittman Jr., Colts (vs. TB, $5,600 on DraftKings, $6,600 on FanDuel). Pittman is undervalued given he’s Indianapolis’ clear go-to guy, and the matchup goes back to being great with much higher volume ahead.
Brandon Aiyuk, 49ers (vs. MIN, $5,300 on DraftKings, $6,300 on FanDuel). Aiyuk looked awesome with the passing game alive in Jacksonville, and he has the speed and quickness to torch this secondary right along with Samuel.
Kendrick Bourne, Patriots (vs. TEN, $4,900 on DraftKings, $5,800 on FanDuel). Here’s revealing the identity.
Fantasy Football Week 12 Sit ‘Em: Wide receivers
Jerry Jeudy and Courtland Sutton, Broncos (vs. LAC). The Steelers did well against the secondary, but the Broncos’ passing game is difficult to believe in here.
Rashod Bateman, Ravens (vs. CLE). Bateman struggled without Marquise Brown last week, and this secondary is tough for him regardless.
Emmanuel Sanders and Cole Beasley, Bills (at NO). They’re going back to more basics to help Josh Allen, and Beasley (ribs) simply isn’t healthy.
Jarvis Landry, Browns (vs. BAL). He has low upside when not scoring, and the knee is bothering him more again.
All Giants (vs. PHI). Your guess is as wrong as ours.
Odell Beckham Jr., Rams (at GB). Oh hell no, you’re not reaching for this.
Tyler Boyd, Bengals (vs. PIT). He won’t be needed much here with Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins doing their thing.
Laviska Shenault Jr., Jaguars (vs. ATL). Trusting two Jaguars receivers in a week in 2021 is like trusting one non-Calvin Ridley Falcons receiver.
Fantasy Football Week 12 Start ‘Em: Tight ends
- George Kittle, 49ers (vs. MIN)
- Mark Andrews, Ravens (vs. CLE)
- Kyle Pitts, Falcons (at JAX)
- Darren Waller, Raiders (at DAL)
- Mike Gesicki, Dolphins (vs. CAR)
- Rob Gronkowski, Buccaneers (at IND)
- Dallas Goedert, Eagles (at NYG)
- T.J. Hockenson, Lions (vs. CHI)
Dawson Knox, Bills (at NO). Knox is the main man after Stefon Diggs now based on the adjustments for Josh Allen in the passing game.
Dalton Schultz, Cowboys (vs. LV). Schultz will join Michael Gallup in being a key target for Dak Prescott, and the matchup rocks.
Noah Fant, Broncos (vs. LAC). The Chargers gave up two more TE TDs to the Steelers. Boom.
Pat Freiermuth, Steelers (at CIN). The ‘Muth, the ‘Muth, the ‘Muth is on fire (again).
Hunter Henry, Patriots (vs. TEN). The Hunter provides more big game for fantasy owners.
Austin Hooper, Browns (vs. BAL). He has a good chance to score … and that is all.
Evan Engram, Giants (vs. PHI, $3,800 on DraftKings, $5,500 on FanDuel). This has been the best matchup for tight ends in 2021. Engram might seem like a reach based on recent results, but the matchup is reliably good.
Fantasy Football Week 12 Sit ‘Em: Tight ends
Tyler Higbee, Rams (at GB). It’s hard to get Higbee with it in a middle-of-the-road matchup.
Dan Arnold, Jaguars (vs. ATL). Do you really want to play a guy who suddenly got zero targets last week?
Tyler Conklin, Vikings (at SF). This matchup is much better for their wide receivers, so avoid.
Cole Kmet, Bears (at DET). He didn’t do much with Andy Dalton, and Detroit actually handles the position well.
Jared Cook, Chargers (at DEN). Take him off the gas in a brutal matchup.
All Colts (vs. TB). The matchup feels pretty good for Jack Doyle and Mo Alie-Cox, but not when Kylen Granson is getting involved.
Fantasy Football Week 12 Start ‘Em: Defenses
- Patriots (vs. TEN)
- Bills (at NO)
- Cowboys (vs. LV)
- Bears (at DET)
- Eagles (at NYG)
Panthers (at MIA). They will rebound here vs. Tua with some sacks and takeaways.
Chargers (at DEN). They can let their pass defense tee off here in the second half.
Bengals (vs. PIT). They got going against the Raiders and will keep it up at home.
Ravens (vs. CLE). Give them the emotional home prime-time bump against a lesser offense.
Texans (vs. NYJ). The matchup is good enough to give them a cheap streaming shot.
Jets (at HOU). The matchup is good enough to give them a cheap streaming shot.
Falcons (at JAX, $2,500 on DraftKings, $3,800 on FanDuel). Here’s another cheap streamer than can provide a good DFS return.
Fantasy Football Week 12 Sit ‘Em: Defenses
Steelers (at CIN). They are shorthanded, and the Bengals are too potent.
Buccaneers (at IND). The Colts are mostly careful with the ball at home.
Saints (vs. BUF). It’s NOLA contendre against a smarter Allen.
Titans (at NE). Forget them in New England vs. Bill Belichick and Josh McDaniels.
Colts (at TB). They’re not shutting down the G.O.A.T. like they did the Bills.
Dolphins (vs. CAR). Not against this revamped red-hot offense.
Washington (vs. SEA). Here’s a prime-time trap on the other side of the Beltway.
Get more of Vinnie Iyer’s in-depth fantasy football advice for Week 12 by subscribing to the Locked On Fantasy Football podcast.
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