Andrew Luck has thrown for at least three touchdowns in four-straight starts, becoming just the fourth quarterback in NFL history to do so. If he can make it eight against the Dolphins, he will join Tom Brady and Peyton Manning as the only players with such a streak.
Matt Burke’s defense is going to do all it can to make it happen. Hollowed out by injury and lacking a pass rush, the Dolphins are allowing 8.1 yards every time the opposing quarterback passes the ball. Deshaun Watson and Aaron Rodgers have both recently conducted target practice against Adam Gase’s club. At home with a newly-energized T.Y. Hilton, Luck is a top-three play for Week 12.
Week 12 Quarterbacks
QB Notes: With Patrick Mahomes on bye, someone else finally gets a week at the top. Drew Brees is the no-brainer choice. Coming off a complete and utter throttling of the Eagles, Brees is averaging 351 yards at home to go along with a 78.9 completion percentage and 16:0 TD:INT ratio. Nutty. The Falcons, meanwhile, are surrendering the second-most quarterback fantasy points. Thoughts and prayers. … Opposing Brees will be Matt Ryan, who is having almost as good of a year. Ryan will put the “actually, the Saints’ defense is good now” meme to its second-stiffest test since New Orleans’ Week 6 bye. Ryan gutted the Saints for 374 yards and five scores in Week 3. … Coming off his most prolific passing effort of the season, Cam Newton has a home date with a Seahawks defense that has remained stout amidst its personnel turnover. Keeping Newton in the top five is his consistency (at least two scores every game since Week 2) and rushing threat. The recent co-emergence of big-play threats D.J. Moore and Curtis Samuel has served to up Newton’s already-considerable ceiling.
The Bucs are on pace for an NFL-record 5,776 passing yards. It does not matter who is under center. A terrible defense and barely-there running game ensures that the Bucs’ quarterback will be running the air raid all afternoon. Jameis Winston has a delightful matchup in a 49ers defense sporting a 21:2 TD:INT ratio. … Carson Wentz had been one of the league’s hottest players before last Sunday’s meltdown in New Orleans. He will bounce back against a Giants D that’s tallied the league’s second-fewest sacks (11). … Averaging the second-most yards of his career (307.3), Aaron Rodgers has a tough but hardly stay-away matchup in the Vikings. There is really no such thing for the best player of his generation, one who has had 10 days to rest up. … Opposing Rodgers will be Kirk Cousins, who has a modest nine passing touchdowns over his past six starts. The Packers’ defense has solid rate stats but has been slipping since its Week 7 bye thanks in part to a biblical wave of injuries to its safety group. Cousins will hit his floor with a decent chance at ceiling.
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Ben Roethlisberger survived one of his annual meltdown games for a QB4 finish in Jacksonville. Week 12 opponent Denver has been victimized by three-straight bombing campaigns from Patrick Mahomes, Deshaun Watson and Philip Rivers. … Tom Brady entered the Patriots’ Week 11 bye in one of the quietest stretches of his entire career. He totaled one score against the Bills, Packers and Titans. Although Brady is inarguably in physical decline, his slump has seemed fluky more than anything else. The Jets are a perfect get-right spot for a well-rested GOAT. … Deshaun Watson is averaging 211 passing yards to go along with a 3:2 TD:INT ratio in two games without Will Fuller. The Titans allow receiver production but have coughed up the fifth-fewest QB fantasy points. Watson owners will be hoping for a floor day. … Russell Wilson enters Week 12 second only to Patrick Mahomes in touchdown percentage. We keep saying it’s not sustainable, but it is not difficult to envision Wilson’s passes ending up in the end zone 2-3 times against a Panthers defense that’s served up the fourth-most aerial scores (23).
For his first NFL start, Lamar Jackson tallied the most quarterback rushes (27) in a game since 1950. The Ravens then spent the week insisting they love Jackson as a passer. Whatever formula they employ against the sad-sack Raiders, Jackson will have week-winning upside as the most intriguing dual-threat since rookie-year Robert Griffin III. … Baker Mayfield looked like a new player under OC Freddie Kitchens in the two games before the Browns’ Week 11 bye. Mayfield comes off his breather to face a Bengals D getting dismantled for the most enemy quarterback fantasy points. … Although highly efficient, Philip Rivers has not broken through for a three-score game since Week 4. Despite the Cardinals’ troubles, they have been elite against the pass, permitting the second-fewest QB fantasy points. … Dak Prescott has solidified his QB2 floor with four rushing touchdowns over his past five games. … Living a charmed NFL life so far, Nick Mullens gets one more mouthwatering matchup in the Bucs before a Week 13 date with the Seahawks. … It will be the tale of two Eli Mannings in Week 12. On the one hand, the Eagles’ fearsome pass rush. On the other, their awful secondary. Hopefully Eli can split the difference.
Missing Marvin Jones and Kerryon Johnson against the league’s best defense, Matthew Stafford has vanishingly-little Thanksgiving day upside. … Ryan Tannehill returns from injury to a depleted receiver corps. He is also not 100 percent healthy. Do with that what you will in two-quarterback leagues. … Colt McCoy is worse than Alex Smith but more daring. Just about every quarterback is. Coach Jay Gruden has taken the air out of the ball this season, but McCoy is one of his favorite humans. He will pop off for a random 300-yard game or two down the stretch. The Cowboys are an unlikely spot. … If Marcus Mariota returns from his latest injury against the Texans, it will be versus a defense allowing the third-fewest quarterback fantasy points. … Josh McCown was a mega bust in his Week 10 spot start. He’s expected to once again be missing No. 1 weapon Robby Anderson against the Patriots. … Blake Bortles is closer than ever to his second official benching after last week’s de facto benching. … Chase Daniel has one of the weakest arms you will ever see in the NFL. Expect check down after check down in Detroit. … At least so far, Josh Allen has been even worse than expected.
Week 12 Running Backs
RB Notes: Melvin Gordon is averaging 132 yards from scrimmage. Stunningly, the Cardinals are hemorrhaging 171 weekly yards from scrimmage to rival backs. Yikes. … Ezekiel Elliott is dabbling with putting an offense on his back in a way no runner has since Adrian Peterson in 2012. Elliott is averaging 167 total yards in three games since the Cowboys’ bye. … Alvin Kamara could easily be ranked No. 1 overall. The scorer of eight touchdowns over his past four games, Kamara will be having Thanksgiving dinner with a Falcons defense that has permitted a stupefying, and league-worst, 85 running back receptions. … Saquon Barkley had the best rushing effort of his young career against the Bucs. Although a more formidable foe, the Eagles are quietly allowing 4.71 yards per carry. Barkley could have another monster day if Eli Manning can keep his wits about him. … In a two-game lull, James Conner has a slump-busting appointment in a Broncos D coughing up the 11th-most running back fantasy points. Just five teams have given up more running back rushing yards.
Each of Melvin Gordon, Todd Gurley and Aaron Jones have had big fantasy days against the Seahawks over the past three weeks. Averaging 115 yards from scrimmage since starting his touchdown binge four games ago, every-down player Christian McCaffrey should stay hot at home. … Nick Chubb has been a bona fide RB1 since Carlos Hyde’s trade, averaging 114 yards and scoring four times in four games. Aside from maybe the Bucs, matchups do not get softer than the Bengals, who just lost MLB Preston Brown for the season. … Fully reinstated as the sun, the moon and the stars of the Cardinals’ offense, David Johnson is doing everything new OC Byron Leftwich could possibly ask of him. Whatever kind of game flow develops against the far-superior Chargers, Johnson should stay fantasy viable because of his renewed passing-game usage. The Chargers are almost as bad at defending pass-catching backs as the Falcons. … Leonard Fournette has a monstrous 59 touches in two games since returning from his hamstring injury. He’s turned them into “just” 250 total yards, but that’s the kind of usage where quantity trumps quality. The Bills are softer on the ground than through the air.
Joe Mixon brick walled in a tough Week 11 matchup. Allowing 132 rushing yards per game, the Browns — who have surrendered a league-worst 14 rushing scores — will provide ample opportunity for a bounce back. … Aaron Jones is averaging 138 yards from scrimmage in two games since vanquishing Jamaal Williams for good, scoring four times in the process. The Vikings are a tough matchup, but Jones’ near every-down usage in an Aaron Rodgers-LED offense makes him a weekly RB1. … Marlon Mack dominated three-straight soft matchups before coming back down to earth in two difficult ones. The Dolphins, who arguably have the league’s worst run defense, are decidedly in the former category. … Matt Breida had one of his most-impressive games of the season in Week 11. Ever banged up, he’s now had 10 days to heal up for a smash spot in the Bucs. Tampa’s “defense” has silver plattered 17 running back touchdowns in 11 games. … Alvin Kamara has taken control of New Orleans’ backfield, but that has not stopped Mark Ingram from posting back-to-back 100-yard days on the ground. Crazily bad at slowing opposing runners, the Falcons are a pecan pie-level matchup for Thanksgiving.
Phillip Lindsay has averaged at least 4.5 yards per carry in 9-of-10 games. He’s averaging 100 yards from scrimmage over his past four contests. Game flow could become an issue versus the Steelers, but Lindsay was able to hang tough with both the Chargers and Chiefs over the past three weeks. … Even in James White’s pre-bye dud he managed to catch five passes for the seventh-consecutive game. He gets a mulligan. … After struggling in his Week 10 return, Sony Michel should be more effective against the Jets after getting a week to rest his bulky knee. There will be drives to finish and clock to kill in a game where the Pats are 9.5-point favorites. … Lamar Miller looked refreshed coming off the Texans’ Week 10 bye, handling the ball a season-high 23 times versus the Redskins. Volume will remain present in a game where the Texans are six-point home favorites. … The 60.5 over/under certainly helps Tevin Coleman. The Saints’ elite run defense, not so much. Coleman has cleared 100 yards only two times all year, though Ito Smith’s usage slowly fading to black could soon change that.
With 10 days to heal up since the Seahawks’ win over the Packers, Chris Carson will be as healthy as he has been in some time. Even with Rashaad Penny and Mike Davis mixing in, Carson provides 25-touch upside. … The Packers are an attackable opponent for Dalvin Cook, but I am still taking a wait-and-see approach with a player who has had basically one good carry all season. … Is Gus Edwards going to be the Alfred Morris to Lamar Jackson’s Robert Griffin III? He should certainly get the first chance at establishing the hot hand against the Raiders’ pathetic defense. … Dion Lewis’ Week 11 snapped a string of three-straight 19-touch performances. Blaine Gabbert could make it difficult to get back to that number, but 15 remains a reasonable expectation for the Titans’ backfield leader. … LeSean McCoy had his best game before the Bills’ bye. I’m skeptical he can repeat with the Jags likely to torpedo Josh Allen. … LeGarrette Blount is averaging 2.34 yards per carry — lol — but will lead the Lions’ backfield with Kerryon Johnson (knee) on the shelf. … Jon Gruden can’t decide if he benched Doug Martin in Week 11 or if he was hurt. The upshot is that Jalen Richard will likely lead the Raiders’ backfield in a tough draw with the Ravens.
Week 12 Receivers
WR Notes: Both Michael Thomas’ No. 1 overall floor and ceiling with be raised higher if Tre’Quan Smith (foot) cannot get cleared to face the Falcons. … Julio Jones has scored a touchdown in three-straight games. Now he gets a supposedly-improved Saints defense that has nevertheless coughed up the most receiver fantasy points. … Antonio Brown has 10 touchdowns over his past eight games. … Even if DeAndre Hopkins draws shadow coverage from Adoree’ Jackson, he will be facing a corner who badly lost his Week 11 showdown with T.Y. Hilton. Despite a solid overall defense, the Titans have struggled to contain rival wideouts. … Finally slumping with just 88 yards over his past two games, Adam Thielen has a get-right matchup with the Packers. … The Eagles’ secondary is somehow even more banged up than the first time Odell Beckham faced it in Week 6. Eli Manning remains a liability, but Beckham is seeing enough volume to overcome any matchup. The Eagles are a golden opportunity for enemy wideouts. … Reaching DeAndre Hopkins levels of consistency, Davante Adams is a safe top-eight option even for tough spots like this week’s with the Vikings.
Despite the Bucs’ quarterback chaos, Mike Evans is sixth in receiving (957). He will spend enough time away from Richard Sherman for a WR1 day versus the 49ers. … Stefon Diggs has 44 targets over his past three contests. 10-12 would be more than enough against a Packers D permitting the seventh-most receiver fantasy points. … It’s not quite 44, but Keenan Allen has drawn 31 looks over his past three appearances. The only Week 12 word of caution is that the Cardinals are a tougher passing-game foe than meets the eye. … Perhaps this feels point chasey with T.Y. Hilton, but his target share continues to rise, and the Dolphins are the softest of matchups. I will give Hilton the WR1 benefit of the doubt on Lucas Oil Stadium’s fast track. … Like a jumbo version of Stefon Diggs, JuJu Smith-Schuster simply has too much upside to ever fade beyond the top 16. … Kenny Golladay has indeed taken advantage of Marvin Jones’ absence, drawing a league-leading 27 targets over the past two weeks. The Bears are not a defense you would typically attack for fantasy purposes, but Golladay is seeing the ball with too much frequency to rank any lower.
Josh Gordon compiled 211 yards on 21 targets in two games before the Patriots’ Week 11 bye. The Jets are tissue soft versus wideouts. … Julian Edelman has been a turbo-charged Emmanuel Sanders over the past three weeks, turning 32 targets into 24/279. Edelman also has the better quarterback and Week 12 matchup than Sanders. … Tyler Boyd’s WR2 status for a middle-of-the-road matchup in the Browns will depend on A.J. Green’s (toe) health. For now, Green appears poised to miss his third-straight game. That would change with a Thursday or Friday return to practice. Green would be immediately reinstated into the top 20 if he can gain clearance. … About the only thing Golden Tate’s Eagles addition has accomplished so far is fewer looks for Alshon Jeffery. The Eagles’ No. 1 wideout has just 12 catches over his past three games while being held below 50 yards each time out. Steadier Tate production would have Jeffery looking like a Raiders-era Michael Crabtree for fantasy purposes. Not bad, but not what you signed up for.
Amari Cooper has 23 targets through three games as a Cowboy after drawing 30 in six games as a Raider. Even if he lacks a WR1 ceiling, Cooper is looking like a legitimate WR2 in Big D. … Tre’Quan Smith (foot) appears genuinely questionable for Thanksgiving night against the Falcons. Just be sure to awaken from your food coma to check inactives at 7PM ET. … Doug Baldwin drew a season-high 10 targets in finally finding the end zone against the Packers. The Panthers are one of only four teams to allow at least 23 passing touchdowns. … Baldwin’s pal Tyler Lockett is averaging just five targets but can’t stop scoring. Lockett has also matched his 2017 yardage total in six fewer games. … Coming off a 157-yard outburst, D.J. Moore will vault into the WR2 ranks if Devin Funchess (back) sits. … As for Funchess, he will barely be on the WR4 radar if he gets cleared. Greg Olsen’s return and Moore and Curtis Samuel’s emergence have rendered him a no-upside option. … Josh Rosen completed only nine passes in Week 11, making life tough for Larry Fitzgerald. OC Byron Leftwich has still shown enough of a commitment to his veteran wideout that he can be considered a safe WR3.
I can’t quite decide what to do with Corey Davis. If Blaine Gabbert is looking guaranteed to start by Sunday morning (Tennessee plays Monday night), Davis could be in for a further plunge. … Chase Daniel has a pop-gun arm. I’m guessing it will be bad for vertical threat Allen Robinson, though Robinson cannot be completely counted out thanks to Matt Nagy’s elite game planning. Anthony Miller certainly has a higher Week 12 floor. … Marquez Valdes-Scantling has been the subject of some overhype, but his three-target Week 11 is not going to happen again. Randall Cobb’s (hamstring) return would make him a rankings faller, however. … There is now a big enough sample size to consider Keke Coutee a volume-based WR3. … I want to have Christian Kirk higher, but the Chargers obviously have some players in the secondary, and Josh Rosen is a weekly derailment threat. Kirk is amongst the league’s most volatile WR4s. … Quincy Enunwa would seem poised to compile in Robby Anderson’s (ankle) absence, but he does not have a track record with fill-in QB Josh McCown. … Although I am expecting more Ravens passing volume this week, we are basically dealing with a complete resorting of the receiver corps. All we can do is wait.
Week 12 Tight Ends
TE Notes: Zach Ertz has as high of a ceiling as George Kittle, but Kittle has done a better job of hitting his floor in recent weeks. Ertz has posted 43 yards or fewer in three of his past five games. Kittle has cleared 57 in four-straight contests, averaging 75 over his past five to Ertz’s 73. Kittle’s cakewalk matchup with the Bucs puts him over the top for this week’s top spot. … Rob Gronkowski has played only one game since October 14. He will still deserve immediate re-insertion into the top three if he can get back against the Jets. Tight end is just that shallow. … Jordan Reed scored his first touchdown since Week 1 after Colt McCoy took Alex Smith’s place against the Texans. The duo has actually made five previous starts together, all coming in 2014. Reed averaged 5/51 with McCoy at the controls. Sadly, that would be enough for top-five status most weeks in 2018. With McCoy likely to be the check-down king as he navigates a limited supporting cast, Reed should be one of the main beneficiaries in Dallas.
Although he’s coming off his worst game in a month, Greg Olsen managed to find the end zone for the fourth time in five games. Cam Newton is not about to stop looking his way, especially in the red zone. … The Raiders lost yet another receiver in Week 11 when Brandon LaFell went down. With 15 targets over the past two weeks, Jared Cook is a bet-on-volume TE1 play despite his highly-uneven production. … Jack Doyle’s usage continues to dwarf Eric Ebron’s, but each player has the same golden Week 12 matchup. The Dolphins’ collapsed defense has made two-touchdown stars out of such luminaries as Michael Roberts and Jordan Thomas. You can bet on Doyle’s floor in week where it’s defensible to chase Ebron’s touchdown-scoring upside. … The Bengals’ already-undermanned defense just lost MLB Preston Brown for the season. Only the Browns can stop David Njoku. … As Evan Silva points out, noodle-armed Chase Daniel’s presence under center would make it a good week to chase targets with Trey Burton.
Austin Hooper has at least eight targets in four of his past six games. That’s a completely-reasonable expectation in a contest that should be quite #turnt in New Orleans. … Averaging five targets over his past three appearances, Vance McDonald has found the end zone twice during that timespan. The Broncos are surrendering the seventh-most tight end fantasy points. … Evan Engram is coming off his second-best yardage effort of the season, but has a foreboding matchup in an Eagles D permitting the third-fewest tight end fantasy points. … It’s been over a year since Cameron Brate has done anything notable. That includes Weeks 16 and 17 last season, the last time O.J. Howard was sidelined. Brate should be considered touchdown-or-bust for the time being. … Chris Herndon arrived on the map in Week 6. In the five games before the Jets’ Week 11 bye, he was eighth in tight end yardage (210). He’s not a bad TE2 dart throw against the Patriots’ tight end permissive defense. … Ed Dickson and Nick Vannett’s random touchdown odds will be a little better than usual against the Panthers’ wow-bad tight end defense. … Jonnu Smith is quietly seventh in tight end yardage (89) over the past two weeks.
Week 12 Kickers
Week 12 Defense/Special Teams
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