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Cordarrelle Patterson Start/Sit Week 12: Can he be trusted as he returns from injury?

As he makes his return following an ankle injury, is Cordarrelle Patterson safe to plug back into fantasy lineups in Week 12?

In a season full of questions, confusion, and head-scratching results, the undeniable bright spot and welcome surprise has been the sensational play of Atlanta Falcons RB/WR/Everything Cordarrelle Patterson. Set to make his return to the field following an ankle injury, is Patterson set to plug back in as an instant fantasy football starter in Week 12? Or should managers sit him against the Jacksonville Jaguars due to the risk of re-injury?

Update 11/28/21: According to the Falcons, Cordarrelle Patterson will be active today against the Jaguars.

Cordarrelle Patterson is the Atlanta Falcons’ offense

The Atlanta Falcons are a struggling team that is lacking talent. Calvin Ridley has stepped away from the game to focus on his mental health. Julio Jones was traded in the offseason. And for as great as Kyle Pitts is, he can only do so much. The guy who has made this offense tick this season has been Patterson, which I’m sure no one saw coming.

Despite missing a game, Patterson leads the Falcons in rushing yards (303) and touchdowns (2) on 77 attempts. Patterson is also one of the Falcons’ top receivers. He’s caught 39 of 49 targets for 473 yards with 5 touchdowns.

An off-the-waiver-wire RB1

The efficiency has been astonishing as somehow head coach Arthur Smith found a way to unlock Patterson’s unique skill sets. And from a fantasy aspect, fantasy managers couldn’t be happier, as those who took a shot on Patterson early in the season picked up the unofficial Waiver Wire Claim of the Year Award. I might have just made this up, but I like it.

From Weeks 2-10, Patterson is the RB7 in PPR despite not being listed as an RB on most sites. Patterson averaged 18.7 PPR points despite seeing just 12.9 touches per game (31st amongst RBs). Even amongst WRs, he comes in as the WR7, 2.6 points clear of Ja’Marr Chase with 147.3.

In a year where the waiver wire has been as barren as it gets in recent seasons, Patterson has been an oasis for fantasy managers who dealt with early injuries or under-performing draft picks.

Patterson set to return in Week 12 against the Jaguars

The Falcons desperately need to get their offense back on track. It appears they will at least get Patterson back in Week 12 as they take on the Jaguars. He’s currently listed as questionable. Jacksonville listed Patterson as a limited participant in every practice for the second-straight week.

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Playing on a short week last week was likely the deciding factor to hold Patterson out. But now, he benefits from the extra rest, which helps to ease some of the concerns of re-injury. Patterson played on just 15 snaps in Week 10 before his injury, and for the next seven quarters, the Falcons could not move the ball. They have scored 3 points in their last two games with a combined 379 yards of offense.

If active, Patterson needs to be in your starting fantasy lineup for Week 12

There is always some trepidation when it comes to playing a guy the first week back from a lower-body injury. But I could argue there might not be a non-QB who means more to their team right now than Patterson to the Falcons.

Because of this, you know he will be the focal point of the game plan. Mike Davis looks nothing like the back we saw last year when he filled in for Christian McCaffrey. So it’s not as if they can afford to limit Patterson’s touches with a non-productive RB.

The matchup is excellent for Patterson as well from both an RB and a WR aspect, as the Jaguars struggle defending both positions. They allow 22.87 fantasy points to RBs (15th) and are No. 26 against receivers, allowing 37.5 points per contest.

Based on his projected usage and efficiency, Patterson comes into Week 12 as a mid-RB2, meaning he should be in fantasy starting lineups this week.

Tommy Garrett is a Fantasy Analyst for Pro Football Network and is a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA). You can read all of Tommy’s work here, listen to him on PFN’s Fantasy Football podcast, and check out his contributions in PFN’s free fantasy newsletter. Give him a follow on Twitter: @TommyGarrettPFN.

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