Kyle Soppe’s Week 12 Fantasy Football Cheat Sheet: Outlooks for Brandon Aiyuk, Trey McBride, Jerome Ford, and Others

Have questions? Every single player on your radar is covered in this Week 12 preview of the 2023 fantasy football season!

We have officially entered the grind of the fantasy football season. Every decision is magnified, and you have to make these calls while hiding out in your in-laws’ coat closet while your wife and her sisters argue about the appetizer presentation.

C’mon, I’m not alone. Admit it or not, “life” things come up this time of year, and that’s a good thing — balance is good. All the more reason to dive into this novel: Your one-stop shop for everything you need to know!

Join me. Join me on this journey through the Week 12 slate. We are dangerously close to the fantasy postseason, and any misstep this time of year could prove fatal.

Bye Weeks: None!

Green Bay Packers at Detroit Lions | Thanksgiving

  • Spread: Lions -7.5
  • Total: 47
  • Packers implied points: 19.8
  • Lions implied points: 27.3

Quarterbacks

Jordan Love: He has thrown multiple TD passes in consecutive games after doing it just once in his previous six games. Love also has 280+ passing yards in both games, something he hadn’t done a single time this season (Weeks 1-9: 215 passing yards per game).

So yes, I understand deep leaguers wanting to be interested in a shot-taker like Love, who has a few downfield threats capable of elevating his stock in a peak Jameis Winston sort of way. I’m just not taking the bait with his bottom-20 percentile mark in bad throw percentage.

We saw both versions of Love in the first meeting with the Lions – he was beyond awful in the first half (Green Bay trailed 27-3) and salvaged his fantasy day in garbage time with over 70% of his fantasy points in the final 16 minutes.

Does that work for fantasy managers? It does, but for those of us in the evaluation business, that’s not the most sustainable way to get there. I’m not trusting Love in anything but a deep two-QB league where you can afford significant risk.

Jared Goff: Much like Love, Goff had himself an uncharacteristic Week 11. Unlike Love, his fantasy managers were not amused (three interceptions on 35 attempts after throwing just five on 326 attempts).

I’m happy to go back to the Goff well – he’s my QB10 for the week. Prior to last week’s dud, Goff had cleared 270 passing yards in four straight, and I expect him to start a new streak like that in this spot against a Packers team that struggles to keep their offense on the field (24th in average time of possession).

Even in a bad game last week, Goff led his team down the field when it counted most and followed a simple process that I look for when ranking the QB position: intelligence. He funneled 68.8% of his targets to his primary three playmakers in the passing game, the best way possible for a pocket passer to pay off our trust.

Running Backs

Aaron Jones: A sprained MCL resulted in Jones being removed from play after just 15 snaps last week, and he is considered week-to-week. It’s been a tough season in terms of health for the veteran ever since he suffered a hamstring injury in the opener, and it’s fair to wonder if he’ll be extended at any point for the remainder of the season.

He’s clearly a hold at this point, but you’ll want to track Jones’ recovery closely — every roster spot matters this time of year.

AJ Dillon: He saw his role grow once Jones left injured last week, and he gave us 29 yards on 14 carries. Dillon did manage to haul in all four of his targets for 32 yards, something he is going to have to repeat this week and moving forward if he’s going to be a worthwhile fantasy option (3.5 YPC this season, one carry gaining more than 15 yards).

Say what you will about his efficiency, but with Emanuel Wilson also leaving early last week (shoulder), the volume appears to be safe in a game in which the Packers will want to try to keep the explosive Lions off the field.

You know what he is (and I expect a loyal reader out there to trademark this and make all the money when it goes viral)?

AJ Tryp-Dillon-ophan

Yep, I went there. The Packers are going to want to use their 247-pound back as tryptophan and put the Lions to sleep the same way Turkey does good ole Uncle Johnny.

The nickname is elite; I don’t care what you say. Will the production be? That’s a different story; he’s my RB28 and comes with game-script risk but is worth flexing based solely on the number of touches available.

Jahmyr Gibbs: One week means very little with a veteran back coming off of an injury, but two? Two is the beginning of a trend, and with a 36-25 snap edge for Gibbs over David Montgomery, this certainly feels like a backfield that is the rookie’s for the taking.

Gibbs has seen at least five targets in five straight games and rushed for a score in four straight, a massive step forward from the version of him that we saw back in September. In the first meeting with the Packers, the Gibbs/Montgomery duo combined for 46 touches in a blowout victory.

I’m not sure we get that level of usage again, but 30-35 touches are certainly reasonable, and if Gibbs is going to be the lead, that’s more than enough work to have him flirt with RB1 status today.

David Montgomery: Gibbs ended up punching in the short TD last week, but it was Montgomery with the first two red-zone carries (including a direct snap). He has scored in every game in which he has finished (six for six), and in his three healthy games since his Lambeau hat trick, Monty has picked up 301 yards on 43 carries (7.0 yards per carry).

His being passed by Gibbs in touch expectancy shouldn’t stop you from rolling with him in your starting lineup with confidence.

Wide Receivers

Christian Watson: “Great per target production.” That was the rallying cry for Watson supporters this summer, with the thought being that a player that explosive with a clear path to an alpha role would be fantasy gold.

Maybe. We don’t know. He scored on one of his two catches against the Chargers, but he has yet to establish himself as an above-average target earner, and with the quality of opportunity lacking in this offense, that means that Watson isn’t trustworthy.

Love gave six different players 4-6 targets in the upset win, and until that pattern changes, you realistically can’t trust any Packers pass catcher.

If you have a beat as to who will lead this team in targets and want a peak into the mind of a quirky analyst with a research background, well, this is the place for you!

7.7 catches
97.8 receiving yards
17.6 half-PPR points

Those are the averages for the top target earner against the Lions on Thanksgiving during their six-game losing streak on Turkey Day.

I can hear you already: “Yeah, but whoever leads the Packers in targets this week isn’t all that talented.”

That may be true, but that hasn’t been a deal breaker in terms of that trend. The players to account for those numbers are Stefon Diggs, Adam Thielen, Will Fuller, Cole Kmet, Anthony Miller, and Tarik Cohen. Is Watson that guy? Or could it be a talented rookie…

Jayden Reed: The 32-yard TD run against the Chargers showcased Reed’s speed and upside, but that one play isn’t what has me labeling him as a low-end Flex play this week – it’s his usage.

The Packers offense is sporadic, to say the least, so the fact that they went out of their way to keep the rookie involved (three carries and six targets) speaks to their desire to gain stability by way of getting an athlete in space.

That’s easier said than done, and betting on a Love-led offense is a tough sell. Reed, as is the case with every member of this offense, comes with a wide range of outcomes, but he is my preferred option, and that has him flirting with WR40 in my ranks (a viable Flex play in deeper leagues that require you to start three receivers).

Romeo Doubs: This Green Bay offense lacks an alpha-target earner, but I do think Doubs has an edge in that regard to the other options in this pass game. He has scored in four of his past five games. While that’s a great skill to have, the 58.5% catch rate is scary and has resulted in him being held under 55 receiving yards in six straight games.

Fortunately for those looking to roll the dice on Doubs on Thanksgiving Day DFS, that streak doesn’t include the first game against Detroit (season highs across the board with nine catches on 13 targets for 95 yards).

MORE: Should You Start Romeo Doubs, Jayden Reed, or Christian Watson in Fantasy Football Week 12?

Doubs is a good player, but with a route win rate (39%) that is well below Reed’s (48.4%), his floor/ceiling combination isn’t quite as likely, and that has him ranked outside of my top 45 at the position.

Dontayvion Wicks ran a route on 62.5% of his snaps and averaged over 6.0 yards per target in the win over the Chargers. Does the rookie need to be rostered? He doesn’t, but the per-catch potential is there, and without an alpha-target earner in Green Bay’s offense, this likely won’t be the last time Wicks posts a viable stat line this season.

Amon-Ra St. Brown: Even with Justin Jefferson expected back, is St. Brown the best fantasy receiver in the NFC North? He has piled up 130 catches over his past 17 games and is adding scoring equity to his already elite profile (he has scored in four of his past six games).

Outside of Christian McCaffrey, the Sun God has a real claim to be fantasy’s most consistent player. St. Brown is a first-round pick next season as well as a potential league-winner the rest of the way this season.

Jameson Williams caught the touchdown pass last week. However, Donovan Peoples-Jones was hardly used (two snaps), and Josh Reynolds still led him in snaps/routes. It’s likely that a second receiver in Detroit will offer production in any given week, but the ability to predict who it is going to be is a dart throw at best. Thus, none of them should be counted on at any level.

Tight Ends

Luke Musgrave: The idea around Musgrave is reasonably straightforward. He posted a 77.3% route participation rate last week against the Chargers, a role that lends itself to upside in any given week. Does he pay off that upside anytime soon? He might.

I’m not betting on it in this specific spot, but if you’re a TE streamer who makes the playoffs, this is the type of player I’d be looking at when you’re an underdog. Musgrave holds a fine role, but the wildly inconsistent ways of Love have prevented the rookie from returning much value.

If you’re throwing darts at the position and in need of upside, you’re wise to embrace variance and aggression. This Packers offense certainly checks both of those boxes, even if the production has yet to stabilize (and likely won’t).

Musgrave is my TE15 this week, sitting near the top of the tight end blob that runs from TE13-22.

Sam LaPorta: Were we a little early in crowning LaPorta as an elite fantasy option?

He hasn’t reached 60 receiving yards since September and has scored in just one of his past five games despite the Lions totaling 124 points over that stretch.

We may have been premature in labeling LaPorta, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a better option readily available. Totaling 58 yards over the past two weeks is a bump in the road for sure, but averaging 7.6 targets per game over his past five is more than enough to justify locking LaPorta in weekly and feeling good about it.

Washington Commanders at Dallas Cowboys

  • Spread: Cowboys -11
  • Total: 49
  • Commanders implied points: 19
  • Cowboys implied points: 30

Quarterbacks

Sam Howell: In terms of return on investment (or lack thereof), Howell is proving as valuable as any signal-caller in our game this season. He’s posted four straight top 10s and has been a top-15 QB in nine of 11 games this season.

The beauty in Howell is that you don’t really have to trust him as a player. Washington continues to pass at a top-five rate over expectation, which has resulted in him throwing over 40 passes in seven of his past eight games.

This matchup is a brutal one, but the sheer volume means I can only drop Howell so far in the ranks. He’s my QB13 this week.

Dak Prescott: With multiple TD passes in five straight games after doing it just once in his first five games, Prescott is playing at as high a level as we’ve seen him play in some time.

Post-bye: 37 pass attempts per game
Pre-bye: 31.7 pass attempts per game

He had posted four straight top-three finishes prior to an underwhelming fantasy day in the win over the Panthers, and that’s the range I have him in this week (QB4). I don’t love the fact that he has just two games with 20+ rushing yards this season, but no one is perfect.

You’re playing Prescott and playing him with confidence.

Running Backs

Brian Robinson Jr.: It was three months ago when we were worried about Robinson’s lack of versatility and what it would mean with Antonio Gibson on the roster. Well, here we are, with Robinson catching 13 passes over a two-week stretch and turning into one of the game’s best in terms of sniffing out the end zone.

His reliance on touchdowns is concerning to me, especially in a spot like this with a low implied point total. Combine that with game script risk and the fact that the Cowboys miss a league-low 3.2 tackles per game, and Robinson is a low-end RB2 for me that carries more risk this week than we’ve seen from him lately.

Tony Pollard: Rewatch Pollard’s TD run last week — you can’t tell me that he didn’t run like someone who rosters himself in fantasy. The touchdown was good to see, as was the four receptions.

There is still plenty of scar tissue for us Pollard managers to work through, something that a single strong run isn’t going to fix. That said, you don’t have two options that I’d play over Pollard. Fire him up and spend your Thanksgiving dinner tilting every single carry.

Pollard — the fate of our Thanksgiving day is in your hands.

Wide Receivers

Terry McLaurin: With at least seven targets in six straight games, McLaurin has had the usage of a WR1, but the production has been lacking (consecutive finishes outside of the top 40, giving him five such performances this season).

Given how this offense functions, McLaurin owns a reasonable floor — 5+ catches in eight of his past 10 games — and that’s enough to justify flexing him, but he’s certainly underachieving based on preseason expectations.

If you’re curious, McLaurin caught just five of 12 targets against the ‘Boys last season. You can start him, but you don’t have to. If you’re discouraged by his trajectory, rookies Zay Flowers, Rashee Rice, and Tank Dell could all justifiably be played over him.

Jahan Dotson: He has scored in three of his past four games, but Dotson has still failed to catch more than three passes in the majority of his games this season.

He participated on 76.9% of routes last week, and that’s his path to value given how this offense functions. But still, four targets earned against the Giants in a situation where the game script was working in his favor.

I have Dotson ranked in the same tier as the Packers receivers and a struggling Tyler Lockett.

CeeDee Lamb: With 53 targets over his past four games, Lamb is at the intersection of Elite Talent and High Usage.

There isn’t anything in Lamb’s profile that suggests he’s destined to regress. So as long as Prescott is playing at a high level, you can feel good about putting him up against any receiver in the league.

Brandin Cooks: If there is a spot to use Cooks, this is the time. His 12.1 aDOT leads the team, and the Commanders own the third-highest opponent aDOT this season. Teams feel comfortable in attacking Washington, and that’s all you could want if you’re considering Cooks for your Flex spot.

The Commanders’ high pass rate also means this game could feature a high possession count — more bites at the apple is always a plus!

MORE: Should You Start Brandin Cooks or Michael Gallup in Week 12?

Of note for those in deeper leagues, Jalen Tolbert looks to be ahead of Michael Gallup in the hierarchy of Cowboys receivers. He earned a target on 29.4% of his routes against the Panthers (Gallup: 21.1%) and was on the field for more snaps.

The “WR3” role in this offense isn’t of interest in average-sized leagues, but if you were holding out hope on Gallup in a crazy league, you can move on.

Tight Ends

Logan Thomas: Did you know that Thomas has the same number of top-15 finishes at the position as George Kittle (six)? Or that, since Week 5, Thomas has been pacing for 82.6 catches over a full season?

The pass rate in Washington is real, and it’s spectacular. The matchup with the Cowboys may seem like a tough one, and for the Commanders’ offense as a whole, it is. But for Thomas? A top-10 pressure defense that has a bottom-10 opponent aDOT isn’t a bad spot to be.

Thomas has separated himself from the TE blob and deserves to be started with confidence, even if the ceiling is capped.

Jake Ferguson: If Week 11 was “one of those weeks” for you, you probably had Ferguson and were in a rare mental space when Luke Schoonmaker hauled in an 18-yard TD (his fourth catch of the season). Ferguson didn’t get the TE score and finished with just 4.7 fantasy points, a disappointing effort in a good matchup.

I wouldn’t worry about it. Ferguson more than doubled Schoonmaker’s snap count and quadrupled his route count – this was a misfortune, not a red flag. Ferguson ran a route on 83.3% of Prescott dropbacks, and from a process standpoint, that’s a solid profile to bet on.

The Commanders have allowed four TE touchdown receptions over their past four games against an opponent with an even semi-dangerous option at the position. Ferguson is a top-10 play for me and a starter in all formats.

San Francisco 49ers at Seattle Seahawks

  • Spread: 49ers -7
  • Total: 43
  • 49ers implied points: 25
  • Seahawks implied points: 18

Quarterbacks

Brock Purdy: Mr. Irrelevant was Mr. Perfect in Week 11. Against the Bucs, Purdy posted a perfect passer rating (21 of 25 for 333 yards and three touchdowns). It’s almost like having a healthy do-it-all Deebo Samuel makes a significant difference:

Last three games with healthy Samuel: 1.00 FP per pass
Three games with Samuel limited/out: 0.37 FP per pass

Purdy averaged 9.8 yards per pass in two games against the Seahawks last season and is a top-10 option for me in this spot. I wouldn’t bank on perfection again, but his high-floor skill set alongside a healthy trio of talent-elevating pass catchers is a combination I’m certainly not fading.

I have Purdy ranked ahead of Kyler Murray (vs. LAR) and Justin Herbert (vs. BAL) this week.

Geno Smith: A tricep injury resulted in him missing some snaps against the Rams last week, but Smith was able to return, and it sounds like he’ll be fine for this weekend.

Being on the field for the Seahawks and in your starting lineup, however, are two very different things.

Smith’s rushing upside we saw last season is no longer something we can project (more games with negative rush yards than games with over 15 rushing yards), and his production through the air has been spotty against strong defenses.

I take that back. “Spotty” was far too nice.

  • Week 6 at CIN: 27 of 41 for 326 yards, zero TDs, and two INTs
  • Week 8 vs CLE: 23 of 37 for 254 yards, two TDs, and two INTs
  • Week 9 at BAL: 13 of 28 for 157 yards, zero TDs, one INT
  • Two games vs. LAR: 345 total passing yards

Smith is ranked well outside of my starting consideration in standard leagues, and I think there’s a real chance he’s a below-average option in Superflex leagues. I’m out on Smith against the sixth-best pass defense on a per-pass basis that allows the second-fewest red-zone trips per game.

Running Backs

Chrisitan McCaffrey: Phew. McCaffrey somehow was able to overcome his massive one-game scoreless drought last week against the Bucs, as he caught his fifth touchdown pass of the season and added 21 carries (his most since Week 1) for good measure.

CMC is as productive as any back in the game, and that’s with him being held without a 20-yard carry for over a month. Imagine what would happen if he was ripping off chunk plays in the run game!

McCaffrey cleared 130 scrimmage yards and scored in both of his games against Seattle last season. Similar production this week wouldn’t surprise me at all.

Kenneth Walker III: An oblique injury sidelined Walker in the early going of last week’s loss in Los Angeles and seems likely to keep him sidelined for this game on short rest at the very least.

That’s tough news for his fantasy managers. Walker’s four straight top-15 finishes at the position early this season likely put you in a spot to challenge for the playoffs, something that you now need to do without K9.

While Zach Charbonnet was starting to gain momentum, it should be noted that Walker was being used as the early-down back prior to suffering the injury. The schedule is brutal over the next month, but once Walker is cleared to return to action, he’ll be ranked ahead of the rookie for me.

It should go without saying that you need to sit on Walker until we know more. His raw talent makes him worth tying up a roster spot to hang onto, even if his contributions in the short term are going to be minimal.

Zach Charbonnet: Grab you some of your finest cheese; it’s Charbonnet season.

Can you tell I’m not a drinker? That felt awkward typing, so I can only imagine how it came across reading it. I may struggle when it comes to the analogies of the high life, but I can land the plane when it comes to fantasy analysis!

Charbonnet is averaging 4.9 yards per carry this season and has caught 15 of 16 targets since the middle of October. We just saw Rachaad White total 14.8 half-PPR points on 15 touches against these 49ers last week, proving that even a tough matchup can be overcome by the right skill set.

MORE: Early Week 12 Waiver Wire Pickups — Zach Charbonnet, Odell Beckham Jr., and Zay Jones Are Worth Adding

Seattle clearly believes in their second-round pick. They repeatedly told us that Walker’s reduction in work over the past month had nothing to do with health and everything to do with the desire to extend the pride of UCLA.

There might be a learning curve to work through — last week was Charbonnet’s first with double-digit rush attempts — but given the state of the possession, I have him ranked as a high-end Flex play, even in a tough matchup.

In total, I think he can do something similar to what White did last week, which is plenty from someone who has been stashed on your bench all season long up to this point.

Wide Receivers

Brandon Aiyuk: After being held scoreless in six straight games, Aiyuk has found paydirt in both games since Deebo Samuel returned, catching eight of nine targets in the process (211 yards).

Teams that don’t always challenge the Seahawks down the field, and that could limit the ceiling potential that Aiyuk flashed last week. His aDOT this season is more than double that of Samuel and is 64.4% greater than George Kittle.

But with Samuel attracting attention, Aiyuk’s ability to win in single coverage keeps his catch expectancy high enough to label him as a strong WR2 in all formats.

Aiyuk has racked up 1,279 receiving yards and eight scores over his past 17 games — per-game production that I’m penciling in for the stretch run of this season.

Deebo Samuel: While Purdy and the 49ers’ offense as a whole has looked much better since Samuel returned, his fantasy stock is a bit of a moving target. In those two games, Samuel has earned just 15.4% of the targets, and outside of a 23-yard TD run, his two games have totaled just five rushing yards.

I very much believe that Samuel is more valuable to the 49ers than he is to fantasy managers these days, but better days are still ahead. The Seahawks own a bottom-10 opponent aDOT and are among the 10 worst defenses in terms of missed tackles per game, a brutal set of metrics to take into this matchup.

I still prefer Aiyuk over Samuel if I’m picking a San Francisco WR, but I do have both easily inside of my top 25 at the position and think you can feel great about starting either as long as Purdy is playing at this high of a level.

Tyler Lockett: We are coming up on the year anniversary since the last time Lockett cleared 60 receiving yards. And with a banged-up Smith under center, the downside figures to keep outweighing the upside.

I don’t want to say I stumbled upon an equation that rivals that of Albert Einstein or an invention that will go down alongside the Wright Brothers in history, but I won’t say I didn’t.

  • Lockett vs. teams with a top-five opponent aDOT: 19.7 ppg
  • Lockett vs. teams without a top-five opponent aDOT: 6.4 ppg

We’re only talking about a 10-game sample, but teams that are attacked downfield are vulnerable to those strong Lockett weeks. This ain’t that. The 49ers rank 25th in opponent aDOT, making Lockett flirt with WR40 for me this week.

DK Metcalf: Is Metcalf preparing to peak at the right time? He has 12 catches for 192 yards and a touchdown over his past two games after totaling 13 catches for 220 yards and one touchdown in his five games prior.

Metcalf has commanded a 29.3% target share in his past two games against the 49ers. If that level of usage is sustained, I’m too low on him at WR24.

I don’t trust Smith in a big way, so if I’m taking a chance on one of his receivers, it would be the one in form with the greater single-play upside (Metcalf owns a 20% edge in aDOT over Lockett this season).

Jaxon Smith-Njigba: The former Buckeye is holding more value on a weekly basis with both Lockett and Metcalf healthy than I thought he would this summer, but that doesn’t mean he’s a Flex option in a matchup like this.

Even with him performing above my personal expectations, we’re still talking about just two top-30 finishes this season for the rookie. With a QB who is at less than 100%, a pair of receivers who rank ahead of him in the target hierarchy, and a matchup against the seventh-best team in terms of time of possession (Seattle ranks 31st), there’s no need to get cute with JSN.

I’m holding onto him the same way I’m holding onto Elijah Mitchell or Latavius Murray — one injury away from mattering, but not there without a teammate going down.

Tight Ends

George Kittle: Is it possible that I am dead wrong in my analysis of Kittle? Yes, that is always a possibility, no matter how much time I pour into the research. If the risk of failure scared me, I wouldn’t be in the predictions business.

I’ve been out on Kittle all season, citing his sporadic production was priced too high on draft day. I stand by that idea, even if it’s made me look like a crazy person over Kittle’s past three games — 20 catches for 354 yards and two TDs.

Kittle’s been a top-three TE performer in each of those games and not a single manager is complaining.

But guess what? He has as many top-five finishes at the position as weeks ranking outside of the top 25. It just so happens that he has clustered all of the strong games in a tight window.

Does that mean he’s a foolproof, Tier 1 tight end the rest of the way? Let me ask that question a different way for anyone who has been married.

If, in one day, I do the dishes, cut the lawn, and not only do the laundry but also put it away, am I now the greatest husband in the history of mankind? Or is my wife happy with these results, understanding that it’s only a matter of time before I leave the toilet seat up or burn her rice?

That’s where I stand with Kittle. I’m thrilled with the production. I am. I roster him in a league where he fell too far, and he’s been great.

But I’m not moving off of my preseason priors the same way I wasn’t victory-lapping his six catches for 49 yards through two weeks to open the season. This is part of the Kittle experience — enjoy the ride. He’s a top-10 TE for me every single week, but the optionality of this offense makes it only a matter of time (in my opinion) before he buys the wrong brand of coffee.

Miami Dolphins at New York Jets | Black Friday Special

  • Spread: Dolphins -10
  • Total: 41
  • Dolphins implied points: 25.5
  • Jets implied points: 15.5

Quarterbacks

Tua Tagovailoa: After opening the season with two top-two finishes in three weeks, Tagovailoa has finished better than QB9 just once since then. For a QB who has yet to reach double figures in rushing yards, the equation really is quite simple:

Average finish when he has a 40+ yard completion: QB6
When he doesn’t: QB19

My QB11 ranking of Tagovailoa this week is as low as I’ve gone this season. If you have Brock Purdy, Jared Goff, or Kyler Murray, I’m sitting Tagovailoa.

Running Backs

De’Von Achane: The rookie was given the first carry of the game last week as he returned from IR before again leaving injured. While he sat out the rest of the game, reports surfaced that he was chopping at the bit to return, an indicator that he should be all systems go this week.

We know the per-touch potential is rare, which has me considering both he and Raheem Mostert as RB2s this week. Although, I do think there is as much risk as potential reward.

Scroll down the RB rankings, and you’ll notice a lot of fringe backs in tough spots.

Brian Robinson (at DAL)
Zach Charbonnet (vs. SF)
James Cook (at PHI)
Alexander Mattison (vs. CHI)

If I’m going to gamble, I want to do it on an offense that I trust. I have both Dolphins ranked ahead of all of those listed options.

Raheem Mostert: It was a small sample before Achane left injured, but Mostert handled three carries to Achane’s zero on the second drive, as this was shaping up to be a full committee situation that has the potential to swing within a game based on performance.

MORE: Fantasy Injury Update — Raheem Mostert, AJ Dillon, and Kyren Williams Impacting Week 12 Waiver Wire

This season, 43.5% of yards gained against the Jets come on the ground, easily the highest rate in the league. If that’s going to continue to be the case, both of these backs have the potential to score in double figures.

Breece Hall: The Dolphins own the fourth-worst red-zone defense in the league, and that along with my feeling that the Jets are going to try to control tempo, result in my ranking of Hall as an RB1.

Hall has caught at least three passes in seven straight games. With a change at QB, it’s likely that the short passing game is leaned on heavily.

Efficiency has been an issue over the past month (2.3 ypc), but we know the one-play upside that Hall possesses. If New York can stay competitive — Miami hasn’t won the first quarter in five straight games — Hall should get 15-20 touches. That’s enough work for me to feel very comfortable in playing him in all formats.

Wide Receivers

Tyreek Hill: Once a team figures out how to defend this guy, let me know. His 38-yard touchdown catch-and-run last week saw him hit the turbo button and move at a level that even the greatest athletes in the world can’t contain.

For those keeping track at home, Hill needs just 73 receiving yards to remain on pace for 2,000 yards.

Jaylen Waddle: With an aDOT that is slightly below Hill’s, Waddle is in a reasonable spot to return top-20 value for the fourth time this season.

The Jets own the second-lowest opponent aDOT and the second-lowest blitz rate. Their goal is to make you kill them with 1,000 paper cuts, giving Waddle a chance to rack up 5-7 catches.

He has cleared 55 receiving yards just once in his past seven games, but don’t let that detour you from rolling out Miami’s WR2 in your starting lineup.

The rules in today’s NFL are structured to give elite offenses the edge over elite defenses.

Garrett Wilson: If you exclude the Patriots and Giants, two teams without a WR1, the ‘Fins have allowed the opposing team’s top receiver to score in six straight games. Wilson is clearly that for the Jets, but with a change under center, you need to factor in plenty of risk.

I’m playing Wilson as a WR2. The downside is obvious, but QB play has been an issue all season, and he posted four straight top-25 finishes from Weeks 6-10. He’s ranked in the Michael Pittman Jr., Deebo Samuel, and Adam Thielen tier this week for me.

Tight Ends

Tyler Conklin: He’s a boring option that has the potential to carve out a niche in an offense that is void of a secondary option, but you can afford to be patient here.

If Conklin shows a connection with Tim Boyle, you’ll have the opportunity to add him free of charge next week. Anytime there is significant change within an offense, savvy fantasy managers act swiftly based on what they see.

I’m not saying Conklin will emerge, I’m just saying to track all usage markers in this game.

New Orleans Saints at Atlanta Falcons | Sunday

  • Spread: Saints -1
  • Total: 42
  • Saints implied points: 21.5
  • Falcons implied points: 20.5

Quarterbacks

Derek Carr: The fact that he emerges from the bye having completed over 70% of his passes in three straight games is encouraging, but not nearly enough to put him on the fantasy radar against a defense that is better than league average against the pass on a per-attempt basis.

Carr’s two most viable fantasy weeks this season have come when pushed to be aggressive, something that is unlikely against Arthur Smith’s bottom-10 scoring offense.

Running Backs

Alvin Kamara: The versatile Saint has over 6.0 fantasy points as a pass catcher in five straight games, usage that elevates his floor. Kamara may not have a 20-yard carry this season, but an 89.3% catch rate is nothing short of elite.

The Falcons haven’t played much in the way of pass-catching backs, but it’s worth noting that Rachaad White caught all six of his targets when playing Atlanta (65 yards) and that Brian Robinson Jr. caught a 24-yard TD in this spot.

Kamara is a solid bet to finish this week as a top-15 back for the seventh time in eight games.

Jamaal Williams: He doesn’t have a 10-touch effort since Week 1 and doesn’t need to be on fantasy rosters given Kamara’s usage and the threat of Taysom Hill when this offense is in tight.

Bijan Robinson: Did we as a community win in Week 10 when Robinson carried 22 times (essentially double his rate prior)?

It was certainly a step in the right direction, but one week doesn’t make a trend.

The strength of this Saints defense is defending the pass, something that could extend Robinson’s underwhelming usage as a receiver (11 targets for 19 yards over the past month). But it elevates his upside as a rusher in this conservative offense to a level where he’s unquestionably locked into all lineups (six top-20 finishes this season) — and considered for DFS!

Tyler Allgeier: Only three times this season has Allgeier finished as a top-30 RB, and he doesn’t have a game with 60 rushing yards since the season opener. His 10-13 touch role makes him roster-worthy in deeper formats, but if you’re in a roster pinch as you navigate injuries, Allgeier isn’t a player you’re ever going to start with confidence and can thus be cut.

Wide Receivers

Chris Olave: Slowly but surely, it would seem that Olave is rounding into fantasy form. He posted consecutive top-10 finishes going into the Week 11 bye after posting just two top-20 finishes prior to this recent run.

Olave is pacing for nearly 160 targets this season, and given his athletic profile, that makes him a starting option every single week. We saw Jameis Winston come in and flash his reckless aggression in Week 10, a style of play that would elevate Olave’s ceiling if Carr were to get banged up.

The Falcons own an opponent aDOT that is well above average, and my hope is that the Saints used the off week to find ways to get their clear-cut WR1 the chance to make some splash plays.

Rashid Shaheed: You don’t need me to tell you what Shaheed is. He has three top-12 finishes this season sprinkled in, alongside seven weeks in which he wasn’t a top-50 producer at the position.

I could tell you that Atlanta has surrendered some chunk gains through the air. But you need to be aware that the physical makeup of those playmakers (recently: Trey McBride, Mike Evans, and DeAndre Hopkins) was a little different than the 180-pound Shaheed.

By “different,” I mean the average weight of those other three was a tick under 232 pounds. I’m skeptical about Shaheed in this spot and have him ranked outside of my top 40. Still, I’ll admit that he’s an appealing profile for fantasy teams that can take on significant risk.

Michael Thomas: For the first two months of this season, Thomas was bizarro Shaheed — all floor, no ceiling.

He gave you 7-10 fantasy points in seven of his first eight games this season, and as unsexy as that was, it was comforting to know you had access to that production if you needed it. Acceptable, not exceptional — a lot like my glorious career as a high school point guard.

MORE: Fantasy News Tracker

In Week 9, however, Thomas was shut out and earned just a single target on his 26 routes against the Bears. He earned a target on his first two routes in Week 10, showing early signs of putting the dud performance behind him, but he then exited with a knee injury and never returned.

The team put Thomas on IR Tuesday, and he can now be dropped in all formats where placing him on your IR is not an option. The upside simply isn’t high enough to justify burning a roster spot in the most important portion of the fantasy regular season.

Drake London: We can’t count on this offense to consistently hand the ball to the right player, so in what world are we comfortable in a below-average quarterback putting any pass catcher in a spot to give us the fantasy numbers we want?

No world. London has one top 20 (Week 6 vs. WAS) on his résumé this season and four finishes outside of the top 45.

Actuarial science is a discipline that applies mathematical and statistical methods to the systematic observation of natural events to assess the risk of events occurring and help formulate policies that minimize this risk.

It’s a complicated field. I thought I wanted to major in it coming out of high school and took the basics during my freshman year at Penn State. Let me put it this way, I’ve never been more sure that my future was in analyzing fake football teams.

No, I didn’t do well in those classes, but I’m comfortable in saying that if my professors were to apply all of their fancy algorithms and theorems to this London situation against an elite defense, we’d get to the exact same evaluation:

London’s stock is too risky to invest in.

Tight Ends

Taysom Hill: How volatile is his value? In Week 9 against the Bears, Hill played 29 snaps, threw a touchdown pass, and touched the ball 15 times. In Week 10 against the Vikings, Hill played 20 snaps and touched the ball three times (zero passes, 23 yards).

His fantasy value is hyper-fragile, and at any other position, that would make him a complete fade. But at the wasteland that is tight end, any path to upside has my interest.

Hill certainly isn’t a safe option. I rank him outside of my core 10 at the position but ahead of the streamers, which makes him a fantasy starter in deeper formats.

Kyle Pitts and Jonnu Smith: Over the past month, Pitts has less than 60 receiving yards in all five games, while Smith has been held under 40 yards four times.

If there was an option to start “ATL TE” and get all of the production from the position as a whole, I’d jump on it. However, in a committee situation where you have to pick one in a run-centric offense, it’s a pass for me.

Pittsburgh Steelers at Cincinnati Bengals

  • Spread: Steelers -1
  • Total: 34
  • Steelers implied points: 17.5
  • Bengals implied points: 16.5

Quarterbacks

An AFC North game featuring the Steelers facing a backup QB. Sound familiar? It shouldn’t, we saw it last week. And by “saw,” I mean “we have a box score to prove it happened” because the game hardly popped up on RedZone and generated very few noteworthy plays.

In that game, there were 71 passes thrown and 271 passing yards accumulated. You read that right. It feels almost impossible in this era of football, but it’s true, and while this week should be slightly better, I’m going out of my way to not be invested in either passing game.

Running Backs

Najee Harris: For reasons unknown, Harris led Jaylen Warren in snaps (33-26) and routes (12-11) last week against the Browns. He ran for just 35 yards (half of which came on a single run) on 12 carries and averaged 1.5 feet per target.

A suspect Bengals run defense as a part of a unit that allows the second-most red-zone trips per game could lead to Harris returning value this week, but he hasn’t been efficient enough on a consistent basis to continue to earn work.

I’m skeptical of his value for the stretch run, though one more usable week out of him is certainly possible.

Jaylen Warren: Can we get this man some volume? If you extend Warren’s November numbers in a clear misuse of mathematical skills … 2,086 scrimmage yards.

I’m not suggesting that he’d be an RB1 if given the lion’s share of the work in Pittsburgh, but I’d love to find out what that looks like. Even with the limited usage, he has a 20+ yard carry in three straight games and multiple receptions in nine of 10 games.

MORE: Jaylen Warren Fantasy Value

I have him ranked ahead of Harris this week, but in a near even split, neither should be viewed as anything more than a Flex option, even against the second-worst per-carry run defense in the league.

Joe Mixon: The Steelers get out-gained every week and rank 30th in time of possession. The Bengals are in damage-control mode with a backup quarterback. This looks, on paper, like a high usage game for Mixon.

The veteran matched a season high with five catches last week and has cleared 20 receiving yards in four of his past five games, giving him multiple paths to fantasy goodness this week.

The matchup with Pittsburgh isn’t great, but we did see Green Bay RBs run for 105 yards on 22 carries two weeks ago in this spot. Mixon is the clear featured back in this offense and grades out as a viable RB2 for me this week.

Wide Receivers

Diontae Johnson: The past two weeks have been an abject disaster for Johnson managers (three catches on 12 targets for 33 yards), and while the firing of Matt Canada can only help this stagnant offense, we are in wait-and-see mode when it comes to playing any member of this pass game.

We might see an increase in route variation with the switch at OC, but with no teams on a bye this week, why jump the gun on an unknown? The Bengals held Zay Flowers to a 17.4% target share, even with Mark Andrews leaving early, a nod to their ability to lock down the short passing game.

I remain hopeful that Johnson can regain form in time for the fantasy playoffs, but at WR37, he’s not in my Week 12 lineup.

George Pickens: On our Tuesday podcast, Jacob Gibbs laid out a strong case for Pickens to be the primary beneficiary with the change in play-caller, and I tend to buy what he was selling.

Adding branches to his route tree could serve as a floor elevator, and that’s ultra-appealing in a spot where Pickens could access some of his ceiling, given that the Bengals own the highest opponent aDOT by 13.5% this season.

There’s no denying that investing in a Kenny Pickett-led offense is scary, but if I’m flexing one of their receivers, it’s Pickens as I chase his ceiling (three top-20 finishes, two of which were top 10).

Ja’Marr Chase: If you thought deciding whether or not to Flex a receiver under Pickett required mental gymnastics, just wait until you try to project Chase in this Jake Browning-led unit.

Now, Chase has scored in three of his past four games and is facing a defense with the fourth-highest opponent aDOT this season, so don’t count him out. The floor is low, and while the ceiling isn’t what it was with Joe Burrow healthy, the talent at play here has the potential to be QB-proof.

Chase is my WR26 this week, a tick behind his average positional finish since the bye (WR23).

Tee Higgins: We’ll see if the mini bye allows Higgins to return from this nagging hamstring injury. But even if he’s all systems go, I’m going to have a hard time getting Higgins into my top 35 wide receivers.

How much different is he from Diontae Johnson? In theory, Higgins offers more per-catch upside. But with one catch this season over 21 yards and a 12.9% dip in yards per catch, does he?

Playing with a backup QB is less than ideal. Being injured and thus not able to get on the same page is even worse.

Tyler Boyd: I wouldn’t cut Boyd until we have a feel for Browning’s target preferences, but there’s no way you’re plugging him in this week.

If Browning prefers the short passing game and Higgins’ hamstring continues to plague him, there’s a world in which Boyd holds a palatable PPR floor. That’s not a likely outcome, but it’s non-zero, which has me holding onto him through this week unless pressed to make a move for my Week 12 lineup.

Tight Ends

Pat Freiermuth: After missing more than a month, Freiermuth returned last week and turned in his fourth single-digit receiving-yardage game of the season.

He ran a route on just 42.4% of Pickett’s dropbacks, but part of that low rate was due to Pittsburgh fearing Myles Garrett’s ability to wreck the game.

Freiermuth is going to need a touchdown to pay off playing him most weeks, so I’ll fade him in this low-scoring game (TE16). I’m keeping an eye on his usage because I do think there’s a role available for Freiermuth that allows him to push the top 12 at the position for the stretch run, but I’m not plugging him into any lineups this weekend.

Carolina Panthers at Tennessee Titans

  • Spread: Titans -3.5
  • Total: 36.5
  • Panthers implied points: 16.5
  • Titans implied points: 20

Quarterbacks

Will Levis: There are boom/bust options at every position, and Levis embodies that at QB more than any other option that is even remotely on radars. His average length of touchdown pass this season is 33.7 yards, a stat that can be read two ways.

He’s amazing! Those splash plays are going to win me my matchup.
That’s too unsustainable for me. What happens if he doesn’t hit a home run?

The Panthers’ defense isn’t intimidating in the least, but they do have a 6.9-yard opponent aDOT (seventh lowest), and that’s not ideal for a big-armed QB like Levis who wants to stretch the field.

Levis hasn’t finished better than QB20 since his historic debut against the Falcons, and while I think he has a chance to break that streak, he’s of no interest to me in any 1QB format.

Running Backs

Chuba Hubbard and Miles Sanders: With Frank Reich back calling plays, Hubbard’s role as the lead man in this backfield evaporated, and we’re back into a full blown committee situation that needs to be supported by one of the worst units in the league.

In Week 11 vs. Dallas, Hubbard led Sanders in snaps (29-17) and routes (15-13).

This is a classic “if you have two, you don’t have any” spot. A bell-cow role on this offense was interesting, not because of my belief in the player or situation, it was solely a volume play. These two backs have combined for 230 touches this season and have zero gains of over 21 yards.

There’s little yardage upside in this backfield, and with the Titans owning the second-best red-zone defense (TD allowed on just 37.8% of red-zone drives), the lack of scoring equity has both of these backs outside of my top 30 at the position with confidence.

Derrick Henry: Last week was brutal (10 carries for 38 yards against a Jaguars defense that he has killed in the past), but don’t allow that failure to turn into two lost weeks by overreacting and benching Henry this week.

The Panthers miss more tackles than anyone (8.6 per game), a flaw that has 41.9% of opponent yards coming on the ground (second most). Tyjae Spears gets onto the field, but as long as the Titans can keep this game tight, I’m not at all worried about Henry’s quality or quantity of opportunity.

Henry is locked in as an RB1 for me this week.

Tyjae Spears: The rookie doesn’t have more than 10 touches in a game this season and has found paydirt just once on 76 touches. The snap share is enough to convince me that he’s the Henry handcuff to roster, but the low touch-per-snap route has him way off of my Flex radar, especially in a game that figures to be competitive.

Wide Receivers

Adam Thielen: Bryce Young posted a single-digit QBR last week and again looked lost. But his one-target reads were enough to get Thielen the needed numbers for PPR managers (eight catches for 74 yards, all other Panthers totaled eight catches for 49 yards).

We were spoiled by the high-floor stylings of the veteran receiver early this season. Production is certainly possible given his role in this offense, but the limitations are going to result in just as many down weeks as productive ones.

I settled on Thielen as my WR20 this week in a plus matchup. Game flow is usually going to work in his favor, but this is likely as high as I have him ranked in any week moving forward unless we see some serious growth from Young that I’m not currently projecting.

Jonathan Mingo saw five targets on 34 routes, while DJ Chark got a nice afternoon of cardio in (zero targets on 29 routes). Mingo is the flier in very deep leagues or a DFS punt play if you want a cheap way to get access to this matchup, but not worth your time in standard-sized leagues.

DeAndre Hopkins: That’s three long TD catches in four games with Levis for Hopkins, a level of upside that lands him on the Flex radar. The downside?

Four games with Will Levis for Hopkins:

Three long TDs: 32.6 fantasy points
All other catches: 24.3 fantasy points

Much like Thielen, you’re assuming plenty of risk when you walk in the door with a rookie QB. Also like Thielen, this is the right spot to take the calculated risk on him paying off your trust.

Nuk is a top-30 WR for me this week, and the schedule lines up nicely for him to have a productive stretch run.

Tight Ends

Betting on either of these pass games is risky as it is, and that’s not what I’m looking for when I’m throwing darts at the tight end position. I often say that there is no such thing as a bad TE streamer based on how little it takes to prove viable at the position — this game challenges that change of thought.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Indianapolis Colts

  • Spread: Colts -2.5
  • Total: 43.5
  • Buccaneers implied points: 20.5
  • Colts implied points: 23

Quarterbacks

Baker Mayfield: If you need to go down the board at the QB position, Mayfield is your Week 12 streaming option. He has five QB1 finishes this season (four straight before the Week 11 dud in San Francisco) and has thrown at least 37 passes in four of his past six games.

The Bucs have acknowledged who they are: a team that can’t run the ball. So why try? Volume isn’t a concern for Mayfield and this defense is vulnerable through the air, the game script is almost always in his favor.

Mayfield is my QB16 this season and isn’t for the faint of heart. But I do have him ranked over Matthew Stafford, Russell Wilson, and Will Levis if you’re skimming the waiver wire for help at the position.

Gardner Minshew: Unlike Mayfield, Minshew has a running game that is more than capable of doing the heavy listing. The Colts have no real reason to put the ball in his hands with regularity (under 30 pass attempts in three of his past four games), a usage pattern that has had him finish each of his past three games outside the top 15 at the position.

I made the case on the Waiver Wire podcast this week that Minshew could be a deep league and/or DFS option. The argument there was more about the spot and less about Minshew – getting an extra week to prepare for the third-worst pass defense that allows over 75% of opponent yards to be gained through the air seems advantageous.

You have my blessing to go in that direction if forced: that isn’t likely the case with no teams on a bye this week.

Running Backs

Rachaad White: I don’t want to say he is the most bulletproof RB2 that we’ve seen in some time, but with 20 carries or six catches in five straight games, the usage is truly unique when compared to non-stars.

MORE: Yates’ Fantasy Football Updated RB Rest-of-Season Rankings Week 12

Let me put that into context for you. He’s on pace for 240 carries and 70 catches, a season stat line that isn’t that different from Christian McCaffrey’s 244-carry 85-catch 2022 season. White is not overly efficient but with a below-average opponent aDOT, the Colts’ defense is likely to give him those extended handoffs, making his eighth top-20 finish of the season a likelihood.

Jonathan Taylor: He’s back. It took us nearly three months, but you’re locking in Taylor weekly and not thinking twice about it, regardless of the matchup. He has been a usable RB in five straight games and there have been a pair of top 10 finishes sprinkled in there.
You rolled the dice on JT in August and it’s time for your loyalty to pay off in a major way!

Zack Moss: This is the tough part of fantasy – Moss’ average positional finish through five games this season was RB10 and now you can feel fine about cutting ties if you’re in a roster pinch.

For me, holding onto Moss fits into how I approach this time of year, but I certainly understand if you need immediate impact options during your playoff push. I build roster depth by way of upside, with the thought being that if my team suffers a significant injury that requires me to go to my bench, I’ll be willing to roll the dice.

At this time of year, my bench is full of clear-cut handcuff RBs like Moss and high aDOT receivers (Rashid Shaeheed and Michael Wilson types).

Wide Receivers

Mike Evans: For the third time in four years, we are looking at another 14+ yards-per-catch, double-digit-TD season from Evans. The stat line at the end of the season always looks somewhat similar, but the week-over-week consistency is a concern.

Four top-15 finishes
Three finishes outside of the top 25

With a score in four of five games and a matchup against the lowest-blitz defense in the league (thus giving Evans time to navigate his way down the field), Evans deserves to be locked into lineups and has a real shot at returning WR1 value (my WR11), you just need to remember that the floor is low and structure your starting lineup accordingly.

Chris Godwin: In November, Godwin’s average positional finish is WR51.

We entered this season assuming that Godwin would have a nice floor with some spike weeks. What we’ve gotten through 11 weeks is a nice floor with a ceiling that is non-existent. He has 4-6 receptions in seven of 10 games this season with just one score to show for his efforts.

Remove the Week 4 win in New Orleans, a game in which Evans left early, and Godwin’s 17-game pace is 79 catches for 844 yards. That’s basically Diontae Johnson or Drake London from last season.

On a loaded fantasy team, that production is valuable, but without much upside, he’s sitting outside of my top 35 receivers this week (in the exact same tier of those two comparisons I just laid out).

Michael Pittman Jr.: After a slow start to the season that saw Pittman finish as WR30 or worse in four straight games, he has rattled off five straight top-25 games (eight catches or a score in each of those games).

The Buccaneers’ secondary can be had, and with a target expectation flirting with double digits, Pittman is a rock-solid WR2. I don’t think his ceiling this week is as high as you want it to be (the Bucs own the league’s best red-zone defense), but he’s a good bet to reach expectations and keep your team competitive.

Josh Downs: Downs is a good player capable of producing low-end Flex numbers (three straight top 30 finishes in Weeks 5-7), but I need him to prove full health before I entertain the idea of him as an option.

Could that happen this week against the second blitz-heaviest defense that is trying to cover up for a struggling secondary? It could, and that makes him a live DFS option, but in season-long leagues where you have every healthy player at your disposal, I have a hard time believing that you don’t have 3-4 safer receivers than Downs.

When dealing with nagging injuries at this point in the season, I’m going to be a week late rather than a week early in trusting them. I can win a week with a big performance on my bench, but winning with a goose egg in my starting lineup is pretty difficult to overcome.

Tight Ends

Cade Otton: For a player that doesn’t come off the field (95.8% of the snaps and 90% route participation last week, just another day at the office) on an offense that can’t run the ball, one 50-yard performance is damning.

Otton has one good game on his résumé this season. Where is the room for growth? He can’t be on the field more. He can’t run more routes. He’s just not capable of earning targets at a level that has my interest.

With a lack of a running game, he does carry some scoring equity as Tampa Bay reaches the red zone, but there’s no floor to save him from putting you behind in your matchup, and that fact has him outside of my top 15 at the position.

New England Patriots at New York Giants

  • Spread: Patriots -3
  • Total: 33.5
  • Patriots implied points: 18.3
  • Giants implied points: 15.3

Quarterbacks

I’m not doing it, and I almost don’t care what format you play in. If it’s not absolutely required to start a quarterback from this game, I’m not doing it. That includes SuperFlex situations where you have the option to look elsewhere.

Running Backs

Rhamondre Stevenson: With 27 targets over his past five games and a pair of rushing scores over that stretch, Stevenson is slowly beginning to pay off some of his preseason ADP (RB21 or better in four of those five games).

I remain very concerned about his value for the fantasy playoffs, but I have no issue starting him this week against a Giants defense that gives up the third most yards per carry and coughed up 131 scrimmage yards to Brian Robinson Jr. last weekend.

This game features two of the four blitz-happiest defenses in the NFL, and given the lack of reliable play under center on both sidelines, we could be looking at a lot of dump off passes to support Stevenson’s floor.

I’m looking for 15-ish carries with 5-7 targets, a role in a plus-matchup that is more than enough to land him in starting fantasy lineups.

Ezekiel Elliott: The veteran back has been held to eight carries or fewer in seven of 10 games and has cleared 15 receiving yards just twice this season. There was a moment in October when it looked like ‘Zeke could be a fringe Flex option – but that moment has passed.

Elliott isn’t worth stashing — his current role isn’t roster-worthy, and there just isn’t much room for growth down the stretch.

Saquon Barkley: It would seem that the gravitational pull of Barkley is stronger than the Giants’ offensive vortex, which tries to eliminate all usable fantasy pieces. He has finished as RB17 or better in five of his six games since returning, including a 140-yard two-touchdown showing against the Commanders (fantasy’s top RB).

The third drive last week was a perfect snapshot of Barkley: three carries for -4 yards, two catches for 45 yards, and a score. The floor is concerning, but the versatility is enough to keep him locked into lineups.

The Patriots own the second-best run defense on a per-carry basis – you’re banking on a chunk play or two, but you have one of the best in the game at ripping off gains like that.

Wide Receivers

Demario Douglas: Not every offense needs to have a fantasy pass catcher that is on our radar, and Douglas is a good example of that. With at least five catches in three straight and 29 targets over his past four, he offers an early-season Michael Thomas profile that lacks upside but provides enough of a floor to be usable in the right spot.

A matchup like this, in theory, should make Douglas more appealing than other weeks, but you’re playing a situation more than a player. If you need stability to round out your starting lineup, Douglas is a fine option, no matter the matchup. If you need upside and potential – you’re always going to be looking elsewhere.:

NYG WR: Five different Giants ran at least a dozen routes, and none of them need to be rostered, given the lack of value per target. If you’re in a deep league and looking for upside, Darius Slayton’s big-play potential and ability to earn a target on 22.7% of routes last week are at least noteworthy.

That said, recent studies show that people with a positive outlook on fantasy football are indirectly tied to brain cells spent thinking about the Giants.

Tight Ends

Hunter Henry: Over the past two months, Henry has scored just once, and his last game with a catch gaining more than 16 yards came back in Week 4. The TE position is a wasteland, I get it, but you’re absorbing all the same risk as the other options on the waiver wire without access to much of a ceiling by playing Henry.

He’s not a top-20 option and doesn’t deserve to be rostered in deep leagues or even tight-end premium spots.

Jacksonville Jaguars at Houston Texans

  • Spread: Jaguars -1.5
  • Total: 48.5
  • Jaguars implied points: 25
  • Texans implied points: 23.5

Quarterbacks

Trevor Lawrence: Did we do it? Did we as an industry double, triple, and quadruple down enough on Lawrence to have him positioned to be the league winner we thought he was back in August?

I used “we” a lot right there. It was me with the preseason hype. I was the problem. Not we.

Lawrence was fantasy’s top quarterback last week, his first finish better than QB8 this season. His elite performance was aided by the return of Zay Jones and with a full complement of weapons at his disposal entering this week – Lawrence is in a spot to thrive at the right time.

Over Jacksonville’s past three wins, he has completed 73.1% of his passes. That’s a positive trend to take into this matchup as a favorite facing a Texans defense that is allowing the second-highest opponent completion percentage this season (69.9%).

Part of Lawrence’s Week 11 success was his line’s ability to keep him clean. He was sacked just one time in the convincing win, the third instance this season in which he wasn’t dragged down multiple times. One of those other games took place in Week 3, the first meeting with Houston.

Did the game come against a pass funnel in the Titans? Sure, but you don’t discredit a kid learning how to ride a bike when he/she uses training wheels, do you?

My preseason heartthrob is my QB10 this week. That means he checks in just ahead of two QBs Tua Tagovailoa and Justin Herbert who have been more productive than Lawrence this season.

C.J. Stroud: No big deal, just a rookie throwing for 1,162 yards during a three-game win streak. He struggled in the second half last week against the Cardinals, but we aren’t in the business of asking for perfection – we just need the numbers by the end of the game (shoutout old school Blake Bortles).

Much like Lawrence, standing upright is optimal, and his team has allowed that to happen with regularity of late. Stroud was sacked 11 times in his first two starts, the same number of takedowns he has suffered since.

I have Stroud (QB6) ranked ahead of Lawrence due to the proven floor and extended form, but I do think both are viable in season-long leagues and DFS contests.

Running Backs

Travis Etienne Jr.: You want to know how worried I am about Etienne finishing outside of the top 25 RBs in consecutive weeks (totals: 103 yards and zero TDs)?

He’s my RB2 this week.

Those two poor performances came in tough matchups (San Francisco and Tennessee), something that isn’t the case this week in Houston against a defense that ranks 22nd in yards per play and 23rd in red-zone trips allowed.

If Lawrence has truly turned a corner, his tide will rise all ships. The Jags rank fifth in time of possession this season, while the Texans rank 18th. If the play count is as high as those stats suggest, Etienne should get his monster season back on track.

Devin Singletary: For the first time in his career, Singletary is coming off of consecutive games with 100+ rushing yards (total: 262), and he’s looked great in producing those numbers. He has punched in a touchdown in both of those games and has a pretty clear grip on the lead role in Houston with Dameon Pierce banged up.

Can it last? Some people bring small talk topics to the Thanksgiving table, I bring sell-high candidates for my home league. Hate it or love it, I am who I am and my family gets it. For the most part. Usually.

Anyway, Singletary is the top name on that list. Back-to-back great games is one thing, but has anything changed? Weren’t we worried about this offensive line entering November? The rushing efficiency seems more likely than not to regress in short order. If it does, will the volume follow?

To that end, Singletary’s next game with more than two catches in a game this season will be his first. That’s not a skill set I’m comfortable riding into the fantasy postseason for an offense that relies on moving the ball through the air.

Jacksonville owns a top-10 per-carry run defense. That scares me that regression could happen in a significant way should Dameon Pierce return and eat into the carry count. Singletary is an average Flex play for me this week, not a matchup decider like he has been over the past two weeks.

Dameon Pierce: He was ruled out on Friday last week, a sign that he was never really a threat to suit up. By averaging 3.0 yards per carry in his seven games this season, Pierce has lost the benefit of the doubt when it comes to his role. If he returns this week, he’ll be ranked 8-12 spots behind Singletary.

I have no problem in holding Pierce as we see exactly what his role is, but I don’t have him ranked as a fantasy asset this week or for the remainder of this season.

Wide Receivers

Christian Kirk: Does the value of this passing game completely rely on Zay Jones? It seems to be for Kirk based on these splits:

Games Jones has a catch in (three): 7.9 yards per target, 45.0 yards per game
All other games (seven): 9.0 yards per target, 76.7 yards per game

Jones made it through Week 11 unscathed, and that puts Kirk in a tough spot to fully trust. His seven top-30 finishes this season have bought him enough goodwill to consider him viable.

He’s a Flex play against a defense that misses the second-most tackles per game, but be careful in assuming he’s a locked-in WR2 as he has been for most of the past two months.

Calvin Ridley: After failing to finish among the top 60 producers at the position in three of four games, Ridley was fantasy’s #1 receiver in Week 11 (seven catches. 103 yards, 18 rush yards, and two touchdowns). Let’s run through the same splits I laid out for Kirk (above) for Ridley:

Games Jones has a catch in (three): 11.6 yards per target, 108.7 yards per game
All other games (seven): 5.9 yards per target, 35.4 yards per game

Much like his time in Atlanta alongside Julio Jones, a perimeter threat playing opposite Ridley is critical to his success. As long as Jones remains healthy, Ridley is profiles as the WR1 in this offense and a WR2 in our world with tremendous upside. Just ask the Titans.

Zay Jones: After sitting out six of seven games (knee), Jones ran a route on 77.1% of Lawrence dropbacks and didn’t appear to have any physical limitations.

Unfortunately, he’s a giver and not a taker in this relationship. His presence meant the world to open up to Ridley, but he was unable to take advantage of the strong play from Lawrence. In fact, after an encouraging season opener, Jones has turned 15 targets into just 43 yards.

He is a means to an end. Remember when your teacher would give you a study guide for an exam and tell you that he/she wouldn’t collect it? You got nothing for completing the study guide, but it allowed you to do well on the assessment.
Jones is the study guide, Ridley is the test.

He’s a fringe roster-worthy player for me and ranked outside of my top 50 at the position this week.

Nico Collins: Over his past two games, Collins has totaled 119 yards on 10 catches. That’s not terrible, but when you consider that Stroud has 806 passing yards in those games (Tank Dell: 263 yards), it’s easy to wonder what could have been.

Despite the success of Dell, Collins still earned one more target last week and continues to lead the way at the position in my ranks, though the gap is certainly narrowing.

His aDOT was essentially half that of Dell last week, and while that may mean his ceiling is lower than that of the rookie, I do think his edge is significant and thus results in him ranking higher for me in this matchup against a Jags defense that sees 74.5% of opponent yards gained through the air (fourth highest).

Collins is a high-end WR2 for me, while Dell checks in closer to the backend of my WR2 tier.

Tank Dell: That’s now three straight games with double-digit targets for the rookie as he and Stroud seem to be growing in unison. It’s a beautiful site, really.

Last three games: 30.4% target share
Three games prior: 13.3% target share

Of course, there have been some missing pieces in this offense over that stretch, but it’s rare to see a target share like that for a player who has posted a 16.1-yard aDOT over that stretch.

Dell’s skill set comes with inherent risk, but as long as the volume is stable, he carries more reward than risk. We can worry about a potential dip in target count in a future week – with Noah Brown likely out again and this Jaguars offense positioned to push Stroud, this isn’t the week to hop off of the ride!

Noah Brown: All signs point to this groin injury sidelining Brown for at least one more week. Given his recent production, Brown should remain rostered, but make sure you’re keeping expectations in check.

His two big games came with the Houston receiving corps at less than full strength — we don’t yet know what his target share will look like when his three primary running mates are all healthy.

Tight Ends

Evan Engram: Consecutive down weeks from a tight end we otherwise trust shouldn’t worry you in the slightest. Engram has at least four grabs in every game this season and is pacing for 126 targets. His role is safe in an offense with upside and that lands him ahead of most at the TE position.

I’m watching Engram’s target share and route participation with Jones back in the mix, but I’m not currently worried at all about ranking him as a weekly top-10 option, and I don’t see that changing.

Dalton Schultz: He is the Texan that could see his stock fall the most if/when all the receivers and running backs are healthy, but that doesn’t appear to be a concern for this week.

On his way to a sixth top-10 performance in a seven-game stretch, Schultz ran a route on 80.5% of Stroud’s dropbacks last week against the Cardinals.

He continues to hold an elite role in a developing offense. The target inconsistencies are currently being offset by high-end scoring upside, which means Schultz holds a role in this offense, and that makes him a fantasy lineup lock.

Cleveland Browns at Denver Broncos

  • Spread: Broncos -2.5
  • Total: 35
  • Browns implied points: 16.3
  • Broncos implied points: 18.8

Quarterbacks

Russell Wilson: There are spots to like Wilson as a potential streamer or cute DFS option in Weeks 13-14, but this isn’t one of them. “Mr. Unlimited” hasn’t cleared 260 passing yards since September, and after running for 20+ yards in five straight games, the veteran QB recorded just a single yard on the ground on Sunday night against the Minnesota Vikings.

Over his past five games, Wilson only has two multi-passing-touchdown games, and they both came against QBs that were supposed to create a high-scoring environment (KC and BUF). That’s something to track down the stretch if you’re considering going this direction, but again, nothing like that is in play this weekend.

Running Backs

Jerome Ford: The snap count ended up being basically even last week. Ford led Kareem Hunt 37-33, but it very much was a drive-by-drive sort of deal. If I roster Ford, I liked what last week said about the hierarchy of this backfield, despite an underwhelming snap share.

On the first two drives, Cleveland ran 15 plays, and Ford had 10 touches for 36 yards and a TD. If we are to believe that the first few series are what the team spends the week scripting to take advantage of what they do well, Ford is clearly set to hold the lead role in this backfield for the foreseeable future.

This season, 40% of yards gained on the Broncos come on the ground, which puts Ford in a position to potentially approach 100 rushing yards for the third time this season. He’s tallied 80 rushing yards or a rushing score in six of his past nine games.

I have Ford ranked as a viable RB2 in all formats this week.

Kareem Hunt: His streak of five-straight games with a rushing score was snapped last week, as he once again averaged under 4.0 yards per carry – something he has done in every game this season.

Ford out-snapped Hunt 10-2 on third downs last week, a role that we assumed Hunt would fill when he rejoined this team following the RB Nick Chubb injury.

Hunt is a roster stash more than a realistic Flex option right now. The volume is a concern, and there isn’t enough upside to chase at the moment (one yard on four targets this month, zero 20-yard gains this season).

Javonte Williams: We can nitpick exactly where to rank Williams in this tough matchup (high-end RB2 for me) all we want, but the fact of the matter is that you’re playing him. He has caught 15-of-16 targets since the beginning of October and is dominating the carry share on a weekly basis.

Denver was badly out-possessed last week against the Vikings, and that resulted in an underwhelming stat line. But the role is what we are trusting here, and that was still there (11 of 13 RB carries).

Due to the high number of committees around the league right now, Williams is going to be ranked as a strong starter no matter the matchup, and with a favorable December schedule, he could crack the top 10 for the final month of the fantasy season.

Wide Receivers

Amari Cooper: Buckle up; this is going to be a bumpy ride to the finish line. After three straight games clearing 85 receiving yards, Cooper turned eight QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson targets into just 34 yards.

The limited per-target production was to be expected and is cause for concern, but I didn’t think we’d be looking at a sub-20% target share. If that continues, Cooper is at risk at falling completely off of my Flex radar.

MORE: Yates’ Early Week 12 Fantasy Football WR Rankings

As is, he’s on thin ice. I expect him to see his fair share of Denver Broncos CB Patrick Surtain II this week, and that makes low-quality targets worth even less. He’s floating around WR40 in my ranks at the moment – a spot that lands him in the Buffalo Bills WR Gabe Davis/Green Bay Packers WR Jayden Reed tier.

WRs Cedric Tillman and Elijah Moore both had a route participation north of 84% playing alongside Cooper. I have my concerns about the Browns getting consistent play under center at any point for the remainder of the season, so if I’m throwing darts, give me the deep threat (Tillman’s aDOT is 29.8% higher than that of Moore this season).

Courtland Sutton: The SMU product entered this season with 14 touchdown catches in 65 career games, so of course, he has scored in five straight and in eight of 10 games this season.

To be honest, I’m not sure how he continues to do it. He’s seen more than six targets just three times this season and plays for an average offense in terms of PPG, yet he has been productive on a week-in, week-out basis.

The floor is concerningly low (pacing for under 850 receiving yards) should the scoring dry up, and that needs to be considered this week with the low implied total. I have Sutton ranked as my WR30, which happens to be his average positional finish this season.

Jerry Jeudy: We entered the season hoping that Jeudy would prove to be an alpha target earner, but that simply hasn’t been the case. Don’t get me wrong, the fact that he has seen 5-7 targets in eight of nine games is a level of consistency that allows us to evaluate him with confidence, but it’s just not what we expected from Jeudy this season.

He has yet to give us a top-25 performance, and I have him barely inside of my top 50 at the position. He’s averaging a WR47 ranking.

Marvin Mims: Mims participated on 67.6% of dropbacks, and that at least puts him on the radar for deeper leagues. As we approach the end of the fantasy regular season, there are going to be situations in which you are willing to ignore all risk and chase potential. Mims is firmly on that radar.

He doesn’t need to be rostered in most leagues, but if you’re punching above your weight and are a big underdog in a must-win situation, a player like Mims is a live option.

Tight Ends

David Njoku: I’m not sure how many people thought Njoku’s target total in Week 11 would be greater than the number of points the Browns scored, but life comes at you fast sometimes.

I don’t think his 36.6% target share is even remotely sticky, but it was encouraging to see Thompson-Robinson looking his way with a level of confidence. Njoku’s 65.2% catch rate this season is underwhelming for a player averaging under 10 yards per catch, and that keeps his floor low without access to much of a ceiling.

That said, the sheer number of targets makes him worth a look, even if those opportunities aren’t layered with potential. Njoku checks in as my TE13 this week — a high-end blobber.

Los Angeles Rams at Arizona Cardinals

  • Spread: Rams -1
  • Total: 44.5
  • Rams implied points: 22.8
  • Cardinals implied points: 21.8

Quarterbacks

Matthew Stafford: Despite the receiver talent at his disposal, Stafford has been held under 200 passing yards in consecutive games and under 235 in five straight. In his first month, he was averaging 307.3 yards per game. With inconsistencies through the air and no rushing equity, Stafford shouldn’t be rostered in any single QB format.

Kyler Murray: I’m officially OK with trusting Murray for the remainder of the season after posting finishes of 13th and sixth at the position in his first two starts of the season. In both of those games, he has at least 30 rushing yards and a score on the ground, elevating his floor to that of a fantasy start.

Could he access a top-five ceiling? Probably not consistently, given the lack of support around him, but with his aDOT through two games up 47.9% from last season, there is certainly a ceiling to chase.

You know I like Detroit Lions QB Jared Goff and Jacksonville Jaguars QB Trevor Lawrence plenty, but I have Murray ranked ahead of both of them against a below-average defense in terms of yards per play.

Running Backs

Kyren Williams: Williams will return from IR (ankle) after a minimal stay, and it’s important to remember just how productive he was prior to the injury. He had four top-seven finishes at the position in six games.

I’m not comfortable in ranking him as an elite option in his first game back, but he is starting for me wherever I have him against a defense that allows 4.5 red zone trips per game.

How big is that number? No other team this season allows even 4.0 red zone trips per game. That was the case last season, as well. This defense puts opponents in position to score fantasy points in bunches, and Williams has excelled at taking advantage of those opportunities with seven touchdowns.

Williams may not be a bell cow in his return to the lineup, but with the team waiving RB Darrell Henderson on Tuesday, they are clearly confident in his health. Williams is my RB19 this week, ranking right next to his counterpart James Conner.

Royce Freeman: By holding a 42-24 snap edge over Henderson last week, it was clear that the Rams landed on Freeman as their preferred Williams insurance, making the waiving of Henderson not overly surprising.

Freeman can’t be started with confidence this week, and if Williams makes it through this week healthy, Freeman will be a reasonable cut option when we talk next week.

In four games with the Rams, Freeman doesn’t have a single catch. A lack of versatility in a role behind a trusted touchdown scorer isn’t ideal. I’m viewing him as a handcuff that doesn’t carry standalone value.

James Conner: The veteran has 16 touches in both of his games since returning, and that usage figures to continue in an offense that carries more upside now with Murray back than it did for the first two months.

I’ll be watching this game for Conner’s usage patterns. He has gained three feet in the receiving game since returning and averages 2.0 more yards per carry than per reception this season. A featured back with a goal-line role is a starter in all formats. If he can rediscover his role in the passing game (3.5 catches per game last season), we’re talking about a top-15 RB.

The Rams miss the fourth-most tackles per game, a flaw that has Conner ranking ahead of Cincinnati Bengals RB Joe Mixon (vs. PIT) this week.

Wide Receivers

Cooper Kupp: The Rams have been consistent since the injury was suffered that their star receiver is day-to-day with an ankle. It’s been a bumpy ride for the former All-Pro after a sparkling run to open his season.

First two games, total: 15 catches for 266 yards and 1 TD (71.4% catch rate)
Last four games, total: 9 catches for 109 yards and 0 TDs (36% catch rate)

It should be noted that he and Stafford were just barely off on a free play last week that should have been a 35-yard TD. His status directly impacts Puka Nacua, so you’ll want to monitor it, even if you don’t roster Kupp.

Should he play, he’ll join Nacua in the low-end WR2 tier against the seventh-worst defense in terms of yards per pass.

Puka Nacua: I voiced concerns last week about Nacua’s floor when Kupp is right and earning targets at a high rate. Those concerns are still there, they just may not matter in Week 12 if the ankle injury limits him.

With Kupp out for the majority of Week 11, Nacua saw his customary seven targets (a number he has reached in every game of his young career) and scored for the third time this season.

The production floor in PPR leagues is strong if Kupp sits and he’d be a high-end WR2 for me if that’s the case. He falls a handful of spots should he end up splitting opportunities with Kupp, but without a health guarantee on Kupp, Nacua can be counted on as a starting option this week in all formats.

MORE: Tutu Atwell Fantasy Waiver Wire Week 12

Marquise Brown: Much was made of Brown’s spike in value with Murray under center, but through two weeks, there have been zero signs of that coming to fruition.

None.

In those two games with Murray, Brown has seen 15% of the targets and that is far from the most damning of numbers. How about 9.9% of Arizona receiving yards or 7.7% of receptions? I still think there is potential to chase as we come down the homestretch of the fantasy regular season, but I’m chasing it by way of roster depth — not starting lineup commitment.

The matchups with the Bears and Eagles in Weeks 16-17 remain interesting. Be patient, Hollywood has a chance to be an asset for those with their focus on the big picture.

Michael Wilson: The rookie sat out last week after suffering a setback (shoulder) late in the work week. In his absence, Greg Dortch led the Cards in catches (six), targets (eight), and receiving yards (76), while Rondale Moore caught a 48-yard TD.

Some would read that as Arizona having other pass catchers who are capable of producing. I, however, read that this team can provide value to multiple pass catchers.

I’m not too concerned about Wilson losing his role as the WR2 in this offense when healthy, and the Cardinals are certainly motivated to see what they have in their third-round pick.
I might not be buying more Wilson stock, but I’m not interested in selling the shares I do have. Wilson is very much worth stashing as long as his health trends in the right direction.

Rondale Moore: The 48-yard touchdown was a thing of beauty (over-the-shoulder catch, all air yards) on Arizona’s first drive in Houston. Fact. Moore would not be targeted again for the remainder of the game. Fact.

Moore isn’t typically used as a downfield option, making the lack of targets more concerning than the big play is encouraging. He was well behind Dortch in terms of targets last week, and if that’s going to continue to be the case, he might be the fifth option through the air when Wilson returns.

Moore is roster depth at best, and his skill set isn’t the top I trend toward when filling out my roster. The same applies to Greg Dortch, a player who was hardly used in the first 10 weeks of the season. At best, this offense can sustain value to two pass catchers – Brown and Trey McBride.

Tight Ends

Trey McBride: If last week was something we consider a “down” game from McBride, then we are going to be just fine. He caught five of seven targets for 43 yards against the Texans, a production that certainly isn’t elite, but that’s a viable floor compared to the dozen or so tight ends that rarely see five targets, let alone five receptions.

he super sophomore played every single snap and ran a route on every single Murray dropback. McBride graduated from the TE blob at the beginning of the month and that status isn’t going anywhere – you can count on him weekly as your starter and feel good about it.

Kansas City Chiefs at Las Vegas Raiders

  • Spread: Chiefs -8.5
  • Total: 43.5
  • Chiefs implied points: 26
  • Raiders implied points: 17.5

Quarterbacks

Patrick Mahomes: You don’t need me to tell you to feel good about plugging in Mahomes every single week — or at least you shouldn’t.

I understand that it’s been a rough month for those holding a Mahomes bag (no better than QB12 in all three of those games with a bye week factored in), and that’s no fun to deal with.

In those three games, he’s thrown four touchdown passes and 200.7 pass yards per game. In the three games prior, he had seven touchdown passes and 337.0 pass yards per game.

But worry not, I’ve got you covered with both predictive stats and a storytelling one. I feel it is my duty to cover you on all fronts!

With 20+ rushing yards in five straight and nine of 10 games, I’d argue that Mahomes has access to a different type of floor/ceiling combination than we’ve seen in years past. Combine the mobility with the fact that he has thrown at least 38 passes in five of his past six games, and you being worried is like a wealthy person filling up the yacht with gas; it’s annoying, but you have a yacht, stop complaining.

When it comes to a goofy stat, you know there’s always a string I’m willing to pull. This is his first meeting with the Raiders this season, and that has been gold of late. In his first meeting with Las Vegas in 2021, Mahomes passed for 406 pass yards and five touchdowns. In his first meeting with LV in 2022, he tallied 292 pass yards and four touchdowns.

Patrick Mahomes is good at football.

Running Backs

Isiah Pacheco: I’ve been underwhelmed with Pacheco’s role in the passing game of late. He’s recorded -1 yard on six targets over his past three games. Still, he continues to run as hard as anyone in the league, and if he’s getting his 16-19 carries as he has in each of Kansas City’s past two games, his value as a top-12 RB isn’t going anywhere.

The Raiders own the sixth-worst red zone defense this season, giving Pacheco the potential to snap his five-game streak without a rushing score.

Josh Jacobs: After seemingly getting on track with three straight productive weeks, Jacobs let his fantasy managers down with 5.6 fantasy points in the loss to the Miami Dolphins. From a skill-set standpoint, I’m not worried that the Space Jam aliens stole Jacobs’ talent or anything like that, but I do worry about the game script.

In the Raiders’ five wins, he’s averaged 81.6 rush yards per game. In their six losses, though, he’s averaged just 42.2 rushing yards per game.

I still have Jacobs ranked as a starter, but he’s more of a middling RB2 in this spot as a big underdog against the third-best defense in terms of fewest missed tackles than he is a surefire RB1. I’m looking elsewhere in DFS. In season-long leagues, it’s unlikely that you have two RBs I prefer over the Raiders’ back.

Wide Receivers

Rashee Rice: On the bright side, Rice has scored in every other game since the beginning of October, so him not scoring in the Super Bowl rematch of Week 11 puts pattern believers in a good spot this week.

I still can’t believe that this team isn’t treating Rice like a WR1, but fantasy is a game of projecting how a team will use their players – not how I personally would. Shame. If it was the latter, Rice would be locked into fantasy lineups as a strong WR2 by now.

As it is, we are looking at a five-to-six target expectation with limited downfield routes. In this offense with an implied total like this, flexing Rice remains viable, but there is no denying the risk that remains with him. He’s only had one game this season with over 60 receiving yards.

Are they saving him for a playoff run? I still can’t figure out the capped usage, and it’s going to bother me until it changes. Please keep him rostered. Bench him if you’d like, but I’m not moving on from him in any capacity. He is tantalizingly close to mattering in a significant way when it matters most.

Justin Watson: After having a touchdown called back in Germany, Watson earned 11 targets and scored against the Eagles Monday night. Most people will remember the play he didn’t make on fourth down with the game on the line, but the fact that he was in position to see that target is just as noteworthy.

Due to Kansas City’s lack of commitment to Rice, Watson has a path to significant targets, and that puts him on the radar when it comes to ranking my top 50 receivers for the week. Of course, the fact that he had 25 targets for the games prior to last week hints that his usage could drop in short order.

MORE: Justin Watson Waiver Wire — Should You Add the Chiefs WR?

I’m sitting on Watson right now. If we get a second consecutive high-usage game, we can have the conversation about him cracking the top 40, but not yet – not the way this offense functions.

Davante Adams: Did I love to see him being responsible for five of rookie QB Aidan O’Connell’s first nine completions for 56 yards and a touchdown? Of course. His 46-yard touchdown catch was worth more half-PPR points than he had in five of his six games prior and served as a reminder of the elite talent that resides within the star receiver.

That said, does one good week erase all of the concerns we had entering the week? It doesn’t. Not for me, at least. We still have a situation with very questionable quarterback play, and now Adams will likely be dealing with shadow coverage from L’Jarius Sneed.

I’m still ranking Adams as a starter (WR20), but why would I rank him over someone like Jacksonville Jaguars WR Calvin Ridley? The former Atlanta Falcon has had some similar struggles and impressed in Week 11, but he just has a more stable QB situation in an offense with a much higher point expectancy.

Adams is more likely to fall a handful of spots in my ranks than he is to gain as we approach kickoff due to injury situations impacting the WRs I currently have in this tier.

Jakobi Meyers: Easy come, easy go. Meyers posted back-to-back-to-back top-15 finishes at the position in Weeks 5-7, but he hasn’t been better than WR40 in three of the four weeks since that run, and it’s difficult to see that changing.

In his past four games, Meyers’ lone touchdown came on a rush, and he’s seen a total of just 13 targets. Meanwhile, Adams has seen 13 targets in consecutive weeks.

Meyers is easily outside of Flex territory for me — even in leagues that require you to start three receivers.

Tight Ends

Travis Kelce: The GOAT managed to find the end zone against the Eagles, but his 22 targets over his past three games have netted just 116 yards. That’s a 40.8% drop in per-target yardage production. And while there’s nothing actionable to do with this, it’s worth watching as we come down the stretch.

Kelce’s fantasy production has dipped toward the end of regular seasons in consecutive seasons. I’m not saying it’s happening again, but it is something I’m paying attention to.

Michael Mayer: For the first time this season, Mayer has seen a handful of targets in consecutive weeks, but until those looks come with any level of upside, he can remain on waiver wires.

It’s been over a month since the rookie had a 20-yard catch, and with limited touchdown equity in an offense that struggles to move the ball, there’s more risk than reward in going his direction in the TE streaming game.

Buffalo Bills at Philadelphia Eagles

  • Spread: Eagles -3.5
  • Total: 48.5
  • Bills implied points: 22.5
  • Eagles implied points: 26

Quarterbacks

Josh Allen: We are all NFL fans at our core, but this game of ours does create some interesting reflection points.

If you’re anything like me, the NFL fan in you believes Allen is searching for consistency as a passer, and with an interception in seven straight games, he could end up being the reason these Bills fail to win the first Super Bowl in franchise history.

The fantasy manager part of me when I see the interceptions?

IDGAF!

The fantasy penalty for a pick is minimal, and most of his turnovers are the direct result of aggression. I’m happy to go into any fantasy battle with an aggressive QB who is trying to get me all the points possible.

But if you dig deeper, we can find a middle ground. Allen actually leads the AFC in on-target rate – his bad decisions just happen to be really bad.

Even with his warts, Allen has been a top 5 QB in four of his past five games. He has a rush TD or 3+ TD passes in nine of 10 games this season. I compare his fantasy standing as that of a diva WR: You have to deal with the bad to get the good.

For fantasy fans, that’s not a problem. For Bills fans, that can be a headache, but this isn’t a Bills fans article!

How does Allen do when facing another big-time signal caller? Well, we don’t have a ton of looks at that this season, but in these rare instances, the returns have been great:

Burrow — 258 passing yards, 44 rushing yards, two total TDs (QB4)
Lawrence — 359 passing yards, 14 rushing yards, three total TDs (QB2)
Tagovailoa — 320 passing yards, 17 rushing yards, five total TDs (QB1)

Jalen Hurts: His QB11 finish against the Chiefs snapped a streak of eight straight weeks inside the top 10 at the position, but as you’d guess, there aren’t many concerns here.

I don’t love the fact that he has completed just 31 passes in total over his past two games, but those were tough matchups (DAL/KC). The Bills’ defense doesn’t provide nearly that level of resistance, so we should see the dual-threat version of Hurts reemerge this weekend.

Six times this season, Hurts has at least 10 rush attempts, and he’s yet to finish worse than QB6 when playing in front of the Philly faithful this season. I like both of those trends to continue this week in a “bounce back” effort.

Running Backs

James Cook: Even in a tough matchup, Cook matched a season-high with 17 carries against the Jets and looked just fine (73 yards). He also hauled in his second TD catch of the season on a nice decision in close, showcasing his versatility that we love to see.

The scoring equity is limited due to Allen’s usage around the goal line, not to mention the RB rotation, but his between-the-20s role has him in the 15-touch range weekly, and that’s enough for a talent like this.

That said, this is a brutal matchup (PHI: league-low 76.5 rush yards allowed per game) that could see the possession count kept in check. You have a RB2 most weeks with Cook, and I have him ranked as such for the remainder of the season, but in this matchup, he’s more of an average Flex play with the usually reliable floor being lower than normal.

D’Andre Swift: Remember that weird season opener against the Patriots that was oddly competitive? The game where Swift touched the ball twice?

That was the last time he failed to get 15 touches in a game, and we are seeing signs of his per-touch upside (four 20+ yard touches in his past four games).

The role on the ground is stable (15+ carries or a rush TD in eight of his past nine games), and with the Bills owning the lowest opponent aDOT, his role in the short passing game should be profitable.

You’re playing Swift anywhere you have him, and I don’t mind the idea of locking him into DFS lineups.

Wide Receivers

Stefon Diggs: A blip on the radar. That’s all I’ve got for you. Diggs has just 9.6 fantasy points in total over the past two weeks, matchups that featured Patrick Surtain and Sauce Garner on the other side of the ball.

Even the best receivers in the game have down weeks, especially when a sporadic QB is in charge of getting him the ball in advantageous spots.

There’s nothing to see here. The Eagles’ run defense is their strength, so I’m looking for Diggs to return to the 7-catch, 85-yard expectation that he had for him through nine weeks. You’re playing him with confidence, knowing that elite talent rarely slumps for an extended period of time if the situation around them remains stable.

Gabe Davis: It’s hard to play 88% of the snaps without seeing a target, but that is exactly what Davis did last week against the Jets. That was after the “it can’t possibly get worse” thought crossed the mind of his managers entering Week 11 after a two-game stretch where he caught just two of eight targets.

He deserves to remain rostered due to his playing time on a potent offense, but you’re bolder than I if you decide to call his number in any non-DFS format.

If you want to overthink the DFS thing, I’m here for you. The Eagles blitz at the fifth lowest rate – Davis gave us 92 yards (including the longest catch of his season) and a score against a similarly low blitz Raiders defense back in Week 2. Yes, that’s a shaky narrative to put much weight in, but his upside remains strong, and in GPPs, his low ownership number makes him a game theory option more than anything.

Khalil Shakir: The 23-year-old showed nice creativity with the ball in his hands during an 81-yard TD last week against the Jets, which is encouraging for an offense that needs a secondary receiver next to Diggs.

MORE: Top Players To Add in Week 12 Include Odell Beckham Jr., Zay Jones, and Khalil Shakir

He posted a 75% route participation rate in the blowout win as Buffalo continues to shift toward three-WR sets. That usage is enough to land him on fantasy rosters, but like Davis, there’s just too much risk to Flex him right now. The long TD was nice last week, but we are still looking at a player who has earned more than four targets one time this season.

A.J. Brown: It’s never fun to see your star receiver lay a complete egg during an island game, but that’s what happened here (one catch on four targets for eight yards). If it needs to be said – don’t worry. This was his first game since mid-September in which he didn’t clear 100 yards or score.

Relax. No one is perfect. If you panicked back in Week 2 when he gave you just 29 yards against the Vikings and traded him, then you missed out on a historic run. Brown is just as capable of leading your fantasy team to glory now as he was a week ago.

DeVonta Smith: That’s three straight productive games for Smith after a three-game run that saw him total 99 yards, putting him on track to peak at the perfect time. During this productive stretch, Smith has hauled in 16 of 18 targets, a massive improvement from a catch rate that stood at 64% prior.

Smith is going to struggle to return value based on the draft capital you spent on him this summer, but a strong finishing stretch that gives you a chance to win a title would certainly work and is a possibility.

Tight Ends

Dalton Kincaid: Maybe all of this chasing of a WR2 in Buffalo is useless, and Kincaid is just destined to fill that role. He has caught at least five balls in five straight games and has an absurd 87.9% catch rate this season.

Remember that on-target stat I gave you for Allen? Kincaid is, without question, the beneficiary, and I don’t see that changing.

Hockenson and Kelce are the top two at the position. Kincaid has every bit of the résumé to claim that he is the next best option at the position. That means any team with him starting weekly is positioned for a strong run, given the lack of cost it took to acquire him.

With a league-high 76.4% of yards gained vs Philadelphia coming through the air, the rookie TE should be in for yet another productive week.

Dallas Goedert: The Eagles elected not to put him on injured reserve, and that suggests that they are hopeful that he can return sooner than later. There’s little to suggest that he has any chance of playing this week, but he should be universally rostered – make sure he is.

Baltimore Ravens at Los Angeles Chargers

  • Spread: Ravens -3.5
  • Total: 47
  • Ravens implied points: 25.3
  • Chargers implied points: 21.8

Quarterbacks

Lamar Jackson: There are two sides to every coin, and Jackson’s performance against the Bengals was a prime example.

Did Jackson average over 9.5 yards per pass for the third time in five games? Did he record his second-highest passing total of the season? Did he fail to record a 10-yard rush for the second consecutive game after going 9 of 9 to open the season? And did he fail to throw 30 passes for a fifth straight game?

Yes. All of those questions have the same answer, and depending what side of the Jackson coin you want to argue, all are valid points for either great concern or supreme optimism.

I tend to fall on the side of the latter, understanding that the volume on the ground (101 carries) is stable and that he continues to grow in Todd Monken’s system.

Obviously, the loss of Mark Andrews hurts in a significant way, but Jackson was productive through the air last week, and that was while adjusting on the fly in a more difficult matchup.

Jackson may only have four multi-TD pass games this season, but three came in games started by QBs capable of putting up points in bunches (Joe Burrow twice and Jared Goff). Jackson’s opposing number in his remaining games this fantasy season:

Justin Herbert
Matthew Stafford
Trevor Lawrence
Brock Purdy
Tua Tagovailoa

I don’t think we’ve seen the best of Jackson yet – a late-season peak could very well start on Sunday night in Los Angeles.

Justin Herbert: No one could have seen Herbert rushing for 73 yards last week in Lambeau – the first 10 weeks, he totaled just 113 rushing yards – and the threat of him doing that simply adds to an already attractive fantasy profile.

Do I have concerns about the lack of a WR2 in this offense or the fact that Herbert hasn’t completed even 60% of his passes in five of his past seven games? I do, especially in a matchup like this. The ROS outlook is an optimistic one for Herbert, but in the scope of Week 12, he’s outside of my top 10 for the first time this season.

It’s been a few minutes since you’ve had a quirky Kyle stat — time to change that!

Herbert, this season, has averaged a QB4 rating against the NFC North and a QB13 rating against the rest of the NFL. I’ve confirmed with sources that the Ravens do not play in the NFC North.

Running Backs

Gus Edwards: Generally speaking, I tend to fade running backs who have more rushing scores (10) than receptions (nine) at this point in the season, but Edwards’ role near the goal line is clear. And with Andrews out of the picture, there really is no secondary skill player when it comes to who Baltimore trusts in close.

Of course, I’m worried about what Edwards’ profile looks like if/when the volume scoring ends (nine in his past five games, including three multi-score efforts). He has cleared 14 carries just once over the past month, lacks versatility, and has two other backs vying for work in addition to a unique weapon under center.

If you can sell Edwards as a top-15 option at the position, I would. That said, I wouldn’t go out of my way to force a deal.

His path to fantasy production isn’t the most sustainable, but a matchup on extended rest against an iffy defense on all three levels isn’t exactly a prime regression spot. Edwards is a locked-in RB2 for me this week (lower than that in my rest-of-season rankings).

Keaton Mitchell: The talent certainly leaps off the screen – the back has recorded a 20-plus yard carry in each of his past three games – and this offense is constantly in scoring position. But until Baltimore shows a real willingness to allocate 12-15 touches his way, you can’t justify playing him.

He remains worthy of a roster spot due to the one-play upside and any potential changes that occur as OC Todd Monken looks to adjust to life without TE Mark Andrews. That said, as long as Edwards is running hard, there’s not really a path to Mitchell sneaking onto my Flex radar.

Justice Hill: You can safely move on from Hill at this point. He has a total of four touches over the past two weeks, as Mitchell has been involved. Hill only has two touches of 20-plus yards this season.

In theory, there might be a path to an increased involvement in the pass game, due to the Andrews injury, but I don’t anticipate that potential bump being anywhere near large enough to land Hill close to starting lineups. His profile doesn’t fit the mold of how winning teams build out their bench.

Austin Ekeler: For the third time in five games, Ekeler failed to surpass two receptions – a minor concern, given that it is rare for him to handle more than 15 carries. He’s only done this once since returning to action in Week 6.

Ekeler has been shaky of late with three drops in Week 9 and a lost fumble last week, and a matchup against an elite defense on extended rest isn’t optimal, but benching Ekeler — or even thinking about it — is getting too cute.

Lower him in your rankings if you’d like, but there’s nothing actionable to do when setting your lineup.

Wide Receivers

Zay Flowers: The rookie leads the Ravens with a 23.9% target share this season, and with Mark Andrews being second on that list at 22.9%, the time is now or never for Flowers.

He hasn’t been a top-30 receiver in four straight games after posting three straight weeks as such, leaving fantasy managers no choice but to bench him.

Scared money doesn’t make money. I have Flowers returning to top-30 form this weekend against the second-worst per-attempt pass defense in the NFL and rewarding the managers who have stayed with the kid through a rough stretch.

I have him ranked over Jacksonville Jaguars WR Christian Kirk, Ja’Marr Chase, and the touchdown machine that is Denver Broncos WR Courtland Sutton this week.

Giddy up!

Odell Beckham Jr.: The veteran isn’t yet winning my Flex decisions, but it’s getting close. His 16.6% target share this season figures to rise with Andrews lost for the season, and we’ve seen some positive returns of late. Beckham has caught a 40-plus yard reception in consecutive games and at least seven targets in three of his past five.

I’d be surprised if he jumped ahead of Flowers in the target hierarchy of this offense, but I wouldn’t be surprised if a talented QB like Jackson elevated OBJ ahead of receivers like Cincinnati Bengals WR Tee Higgins, Pittsburgh Steelers WR Diontae Johnson, and Atlanta Falcons WR Drake London that come with serious question marks under center.

Beckham is my WR39 for Week 12 as he continues to battle through a shoulder injury, but a fully healthy version of him could crack my ROS top 35 with a strong showing in the first full game following the Andrews injury.

Keenan Allen: He posted another massive stat line last week (10-116-1), and it should have been even better if not for some weird shadows that forced him to completely miss on an end-zone target that hit him square in the chest.

Allen continues to put together a case for fantasy MVP among players drafted inside the top 75 overall – he has turned the clock back and looks the part every single week.

Quentin Johnston: He dropped his chance. Literally. With the game on the line, Johnston couldn’t make a play down the sideline in a game where the Chargers were without all of their secondary options behind Allen. He has shown no signs of being ready to perform at the NFL level, yet the Bolts had no choice but to run him out there on 90.9% of Herbert’s dropbacks.

For the season, the rookie is averaging just 0.81 yards per route run, a level of inefficiency that is difficult to fully grasp. He has one more week to show us something before Joshua Palmer is eligible to return from IR.

MORE: Fantasy Football Cut List Week 12

Even if he does, what will the target count look like as the WR3 in this offense that has an elite pass-catching RB alongside a pair of viable TEs?

If you need to make space for a player that will help you this week, Johnston is certainly a cut candidate. As crazy as it may sound, I don’t mind the idea of buying low in Dynasty, but that’s a different conversation (we will be having Dynasty talk on the podcast starting in December on our Tuesday shows).

Tight Ends

Isaiah Likely: Following Thursday night, I discussed Likely’s rest-of-season value and ranked the tight ends I’d trade for if I were an Andrews manager.

This is a good spot for the 23-year-old to come through on the promise he has shown in the past when given the opportunity against one of the worst per-pass defenses in the league. All the metrics like Likely for the same reasons mentioned in the rest-of-season article I mentioned, but there’s also a team component to consider here.

With the Ravens pushing for the top seed in the AFC and a deep playoff run, they’re very motivated to see just how much of the Andrews’ role Likely can handle. You added him during waivers this week, and you should be comfortable plugging him in right away to your starting lineup.

Gerald Everett and Donald Parham: When both of these tight ends are healthy, it’s difficult to trust either one. Everett is the superior target earner, while Parham owns the work inside of the 10-yard line – a TE committee that is the peak of frustrating for anyone trying to get a piece of this offense.

Everett sat last week, and that led all of us (myself included) fleeing to Parham in the DFS streets. I’m not going to say an involuntary yelp escaped when I saw a big tight end rumbling for a 51-yard touchdown against the Packers, but I’m not denying it.

Two seconds later, when I realized I had yet again rostered the wrong Chargers tight end, “Yelp” wasn’t on the long list of four-letter words that came to mind.

It was Stone Smartt because, of course, it was. Kids, don’t forget the first rule of fantasy — we don’t know anything.

Speaking of Smartt, he ran a route on 63.6% of his snaps against the Packers. He’s not meaningful in our game other than the fact that the team is comfortable in him running routes and serves as a wet blanket if Everett misses more time.

Chicago Bears at Minnesota Vikings | Monday Night Football

  • Spread: Vikings -3.5
  • Total: 43
  • Bears implied points: 19.8
  • Vikings implied points: 23.3

Quarterbacks

Justin Fields: There is nothing wrong with a QB8 finish in a return to action, and that is exactly what Fields gave his loyal fantasy managers last week, thanks to 18 rush attempts for 104 yards.

He now has three top 10s on his 2023 ledger, along with three finishes as QB20 or worse. You know what you’re signing up for. He was accurate, going 16-of-23 through the air, but 169 yards and only one touchdown is a tough way to live if the rushing numbers are anything short of elite.

These Vikings hurt Fields back in Week 6, so if you’re big into narrative games, this is a fine spot for you. If you’re a more numbers-driven manager like me, Minnesota’s league-leading blitz rate is something I want to target. It forces Fields to either make quick decisions with his arm or trust his legs.

I’m OK with either of those results, considering that he has seen the seventh-lowest percentage of his passes dropped this season. There is a path for a ceiling game in this spot as much as there is significant risk about a defense trending in the right direction.

I’m sitting on the fence a bit here and ranking Fields as my QB14. I think he has as good a shot of finishing as QB8 as he does QB20, making his mean outcome right where I have him ranked.

Joshua Dobbs: With a rushing touchdown in all three games with the Vikings, Dobbs has carved out a strong production floor — one that, in theory, should only be elevated by the likely return of WR Justin Jefferson (even if Jefferson doesn’t care about your fantasy team).

There’s a lot to like about this matchup, and that has me ranking Fields and Dobbs side-by-side. The Bears are the worst red zone defense in the league and see 75.6% of opponent yards come through the air.

If the Vikings truly unleash Dobbs, we could see a top-10 performance. If there is a learning curve with the WR1 back and Chicago trying to control the clock, Dobbs could leave fantasy managers wanting more. He has yet to complete a 30-yard pass as a member of the Vikings — a level of passing limitation that worries me just enough to keep him outside of my starting ranks in anything but very deep formats.

Running Backs

Khalil Herbert: After missing five games with an ankle/shin injury, Herbert picked up just 41 yards on 18 touches in Detroit. It was an underwhelming effort, but I was encouraged by the role, even if part of it was the result of an early RB D’Onta Foreman injury.

It’s clear that Chicago wants to find creative ways to prevent the number of throws for Fields, and as long as that is the game plan, the lead back in this offense is going to have value.

Following the Foreman injury, Herbert held a slim 20-16 snap edge over RB Roschon Johnson. I think that gap widens, given the usage patterns of both this season – not to mention Herbert being a week removed from the injury that cost him over a month.

Even with me projecting him for the lead role in this backfield, Herbert sits outside of my top 30 at the position in a week where no teams are on a bye. Herbert is a gas station slice of pizza — it might be enough to get you through the week, but there’s not a ton of upside in this option.

D’Onta Foreman: An ankle injury resulted in an early exit last week, but not before the Bears showed their hand in considering him their lead back.

Foreman received the first running back carry and was on the field for eight of 10 snaps during the first drive. Now, it’s possible that this was destined to be a drive-by-drive backfield situation, but at the very least, we know that the plan going in was in Foreman’s favor over Herbert.

The injury, however, likely changes that, as he is no longer the healthiest of the two-down backs on this roster. If Foreman is able to play this week, I’ll have him ranked behind Herbert and in the “Ty Chander/Tyler Allgeier” range of running back with a 10-ish touch projection with limited upside.

Roschon Johnson: I’m a fan of paying attention to what teams are telling you with their actions. Coach speak can be misleading, but when it comes to evaluating how teams actually use their players, a pretty clear picture can be painted about the internal feel.

That is, until injuries require you to pivot. The Bears have made every effort this season to keep Johnson in a third-down role, but with Foreman and Herbert unable to stay off the injury report, he is working his way toward an increase in usage.

I’m waiting and seeing. If this backfield was 100% healthy, I’d have no interest in hanging onto the rookie, but that’s not the case. He is averaging 4.5 yards per carry this season and has an 82.7% catch rate.

The blitz-heavy Vikings could leave them susceptible to well-run screen passes, and if Johnson can get into space, the most productive week of his young career is possible. Keep an eye on the injury report, but there’s a world in which Johnson is a live Flex play this week, despite not having a 10-touch game since September.

Alexander Mattison: At this time last week, we weren’t sure that Mattison (concussion) would play, but he cleared through all protocols and handled 19 touches in the loss against the Denver Broncos with a 48-23 snap edge over Ty Chandler and 100% of the goal line snaps.

Last week was the third consecutive healthy game in which he cleared 15 carries, making him a safe volume play at the very least in an offense that we only expect to get better down the stretch. Him losing a fumble last week didn’t seem to impact how he was being ued, elevating my optimism that his role is here to stay.

By no means should you consider Mattison a league winner. Him having 148 carries this season without a 20-yarder speaks to his limited per carry ceiling. That’s OK. Not every player has to have the ability to break your matchup open.

He’s ranked lower this week than most for me (low-end Flex play) due to the matchup with the best per-carry run defense in the NFL. But after Minnesota’s Week 13 bye, I’d be comfortable in considering him an RB2 for the remainder of the fantasy season.

Ty Chandler: Chandler played well behind Mattison, but getting a touch on 60.9% of his touches is at least encouraging in the sense that the team thinks highly enough of him to keep him involved, even as a secondary option in the run game.

Chander deserves to be rostered in a Tyler Allgeier sort of way – he’s going to get consistent work, and that’s fine in a “break glass” sort of situation if you’re dealing with depth issues. But as long as the starter is healthy, he isn’t going to project as a viable Flex play.

MORE: Fantasy FAAB Picks Week 12

The four catches is something I’m viewing as an outlier. There isn’t much receiver work in his prospect profile, and with Jefferson due back, this sort of usage is unlikely to remain.

Wide Receivers

DJ Moore: The Bears wanted to keep Fields comfortable, and that resulted in more rush attempts (18) than completions (16). Even with the limited number of throws, Moore had no problem paying off loyal fantasy managers who went back to him in Fields’ return to action.

In the heartbreaking loss to the Detroit Lions, Moore earned 40.9% of the targets, bumping his rate during Fields’ past three healthy games to a robust 35.4%. The lack of volume and matchup against an improving defense would normally scare me, but given the eyes that Fields has for the WR1 that he hasn’t had in the past, Moore is a WR2 for me this week.

I’m comfortable in playing him ahead of star receivers like Cincinnati Bengals WR Ja’Marr Chase, Seattle Seahawks WR DK Metcalf, and Washington Commanders WR Terry McLaurin.

Justin Jefferson: There are returns to action to tread cautiously around. Situations where a fringe skill guy comes back in a tough matchup (Green Bay Packers WR Christian Watson back in October) or the replacement option is thriving (Bears RB Khalil Herbert last week). In certain spots, proceeding with caution makes sense.

This is not one of those spots.

Jefferson was a WR1 in his four games prior to getting hurt and has been consistent in saying that he will not return to action until he’s 100% healthy.

Well, he’s back now (probably). For his career, Jefferson averages nearly 100 yards and scores once every two games. If I lose this week because I trusted the receiver off to the best start to a career in NFL history, so be it. He says he’s healthy, and I say he’s facing a pass defense that ranks bottom 10 in yards per attempt, yards, and passer rating.

Welcome back, Jefferson. Now, let’s get to work.

Jordan Addison: I hate to be the wet blanket on a promising young talent, but that’s the path I’m assuming with Jefferson set to return.

In the three games with Dobbs, the most targeted player next to Addison and T.J. Hockenson saw a 12.5% target share. That’s not going to get it done – not in a pass game that is averaging 32 attempts per game (that would project for four targets).

MORE: What To Do With Jordan Addison

I’d keep Addison rostered until Jefferson proves his health, but he’s not near my lineup, even in a positive matchup on Monday night.

K.J. Osborn: Running a route on every single dropback is usually a good thing, but the fact that Osborn did that and only managed to earn two targets is a concern.

We came into this season thinking that Osborn would push Addison for the WR2 role next to Jefferson. That dream is gone and with Jefferson likely back this week, Osborn (under 50 yards in nine of 10 games) can safely be cut in all formats.

Tight Ends

Cole Kmet: You can do better. Kmet has failed to clear 55 yards in eight of 10 games this season, and that means you are in need of a score from an offense that rarely threatens the end zone through the air.

He’s very much in the TE blob where TE13-TE22 are separated by next to nothing. I worry about the scoring equity in this offense, and for a player without a 25-yard grab in over a calendar year, he’s relegated to the no-trust zone.

I’d rather roll the dice on a player with a higher team throw rate (Logan Thomas) or a unique TE with access to upside (Taysom Hill).

T.J. Hockenson: After a nice month of production, Hockenson underwhelmed last week (four catches for 55 yards). Don’t sweat it. Dobbs was looking his way on the final possession as the Vikings tried to mount a game-winning drive, and that level of confidence is next to impossible to find at the TE position (especially with Mark Andrews out for the remainder of the season).

Jefferson returning will certainly impact his usage some, but as mentioned, he still figures to be plenty involved with Addison’s role most impacted. In Week 6, Hockenson saw 26.7% of the targets and accounted for 28.6% of the receptions against the Bears (no Jefferson).

I’d dial back those expectations some, but we have proof that he can find space to operate, and that makes another solid day at the office more than likely!

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