Wharton’s Start ‘em Sit ‘em Week 12: Start Rachaad White, Sit Joe Mixon

Week 12's fantasy football start/sit decisions are highlighted by names such as Leonard Fournette and Joe Mixon, among others.

Week 12 of the fantasy football season has a great slate of games, even after six teams played on Thanksgiving. Hopefully, your carefully curated roster is in good shape after the devastating slew of injuries that have affected the NFL. You’re in the right place if you’re in a tough situation with your start/sit questions.

Week 12 Fantasy Football Start ’ems

We’ve dug through the latest roster percentages to identify fantasy football players who you must either start or sit. Our two start options are currently being started in around 40% or fewer of leagues, whereas our two sit players are at around 70% or more. We’re also looking at players owned in a majority of leagues.

Rachaad White, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Few positional groups have performed as well this season as running backs have shredded the Cleveland Browns’ defense. The Browns have allowed the second-most fantasy points per game to backs, giving up an absurd average of 119.5 rushing yards, 35.7 receiving yards, and 1.5 touchdowns to the position. This is a great week to have Rachaad White on your roster, with Leonard Fournette doubtful to play due to a concussion.

You need to start White if you have him. The Browns completely ignored the defensive tackle position this past offseason, and unsurprisingly — as the NFL shifts back to a running league — it’s cost them dearly. Cleveland might still be in the playoff race if they had even a mediocre option to plug holes in the middle of their defense.

Instead, the Browns are just waiting until Deshaun Watson returns as they look forward to next year. The Buccaneers are in the perfect position to take advantage, as they chase their third-straight win and are coming off of a bye. It’ll be important for Tampa to protect Tom Brady as much as they can entering the final stretch of the season.

Even though Fournette took some of White’s red-zone touches over the last few weeks, White had started to earn a bigger share of the Buccaneers’ backfield in recent weeks. White produced 22 carries for 105 yards against the Seahawks in Week 10. I think that was a moment of truth for the Bucs.

White is a better overall runner than Fournette, who is only really effective when he has a runway to sprint through. White is more elusive and creative but less powerful. He fits this offense better.

It’s possible White produces an RB1 week against Cleveland. Make sure he’s in your final lineup.

Latavius Murray, RB, Denver Broncos

There hasn’t been a more disappointing team in 2022 than the Denver Broncos. I’d be shocked if head coach Nathaniel Hackett returns after producing only 147 points (32nd in the NFL) through Week 11. Denver’s slew of injuries hasn’t helped, but the dismal play of Russell Wilson and Melvin Gordon III destroyed this offense, and the head coach deserves some blame for that.

Gordon was released last week and Chase Edmonds is dealing with an ankle injury, leaving 32-year-old Latavius Murray and Marlon Mack as the team’s top two backs. Murray is clearly the lead option after totaling 17 carries and four receptions last week against the Raiders, producing 15.2 fantasy points with 72 yards and a touchdown.

MORE: Melvin Gordon III Landing Spots

I’m expecting more of the same this week. You can even consider taking the higher on Murray’s rushing categories on Underdog Fantasy because the Broncos will surely be relying on the veteran. This also bodes well for your fantasy roster as Denver takes on the lowly Carolina Panthers.

The Panthers have been dreadful against running backs. Only five teams are giving up more fantasy points per game to the position on average. Through 11 games, Carolina’s allowing 140 yards and almost 1.2 touchdowns per game to backs. Teams have run the third-most times against the unit, producing a solid 4.5-yard per-carry average.

I don’t expect a sexy stat line from Murray. Still, he will get a ton of touches and have the chance to score if the Broncos can get near the red zone a few times. He’s almost a must-start option for most rosters because of his opportunity and favorable matchup.

Week 12 Fantasy Football Sit ’ems

Joe Mixon, RB, Cincinnati Bengals

Is it really possible to bench the RB7 in PPR leagues? It’s because we know Joe Mixon is one of the streakiest fantasy performers in the NFL. Take out his amazing 53-point explosion against the Panthers, and Mixon is more likely to produce less than 10 fantasy points than 15+.

Not only does Mixon have a tough matchup against the Tennessee Titans’ defense, which is allowing the second-fewest rushing yards per game, but he’s listed as questionable due to a concussion. Against the Steelers, Mixon produced just 62 yards before suffering the injury and exiting the game.

I’d recommend sitting Mixon even without the injury. Tennessee hasn’t allowed more than 77 rushing yards since Week 3, proving to be much more vulnerable as a pass defense. That’s horrible news against Joe Burrow and his deep array of pass catchers. Cincinnati also expects Ja’Marr Chase to be available this week.

I’m fading Mixon in favor of a huge day from Burrow.

David Montgomery, RB, Chicago Bears

While it’s good news for David Montgomery’s fantasy managers that Khalil Herbert is out, the former remains the second-best rushing option on the offense behind Justin Fields. Fields has been brilliant, as he’s taken on more responsibility, but he’s also getting banged up. How his shoulder injury affects his play and usage could have a big effect on the rest of the unit for the remainder of the season.

Montgomery’s production has been difficult to project all season long. Even with the offense thriving, he produced only seven points in Week 8 against Dallas, then back-to-back weeks of 4.9 points against Miami and Detroit. Montgomery’s 19.6 outburst against Atlanta was needed to keep him in the rotation for managers.

MORE: Week 12 Fantasy Football Rest-of-Season Rankings

However, his remaining season matchups are much more difficult. The Jets’ defense is great against the run and slightly more vulnerable to pass-catching backs. They’ve only allowed 10 rushing touchdowns and one receiving TD  to the position all year.

I’m not counting on Montgomery putting forth one of his better games this week. He’s been relatively inefficient all year and is too dependent on a rare touchdown (he has three all season) or a big receiving play. Sit him if you have a decent option on your bench.

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