Happy Thanksgiving! Hopefully everyone is tying up a bow on securing a playoff spot in their seasonal leagues. If not, then make sure you’re dabbling in DFS to tide you over for the rest of the season as you have the freedom to play any level you want.
Let me provide the disclaimer that I encourage you use the game by game tables and data points in conjunction with your own information and thought process rather than searching out your own players in the individual player diagnosis and turning that section into a linear start/sit guide. You can always cross reference these thoughts with my weekly rankings for further context. With that out of the way, let’s hit all the Week 12 games in a PPR light…
Minnesota vs. Detroit
- After allowing 4.6 yards per carry through seven games (26th), Detroit has allowed 3.2 (5th) since.
- Minnesota ranks 32nd in rushing offense (70 yards per game) while Detroit ranks 30th (79.5).
- After allowing 77.8 rushing yards per game through five weeks, the Vikings have allowed 123.8 yards rushing per game since.
- 73.3 percent of Theo Riddick‘s points have come from receiving production, the second most behind James White (89.8 percent).
- The Lions have scored a touchdown on four of 31 possessions over their past three games (12.9 percent) 31st in the league.
- Matthew Stafford‘s average weekly finish versus the Vikings over his past seven starts has been QB17 as he’s averaged 239 passing yards per game and 6.6 yards per pass attempt in those games.
- Eric Ebron has had 21.9 percent of the team targets since returning after seeing 16.2 percent when active prior to injury.
- Minnesota is the only team in the league that has yet to allow 100-yards receiving to a wide receiver this season.
- After allowing 25.5 points per game through six weeks, the Lions have allowed just 18 points per game since.
- Kyle Rudolph has seen 13.9 percent of the team targets over the past three weeks after seeing 23.1 percent of the team targets through seven games.
- Opponents average 9.8 possessions per game against the Lions, the fewest in the league.
Trust: Eric Ebron (he’s had 70 yards receiving and at least 14 points in every game since returning while Minnesota has allowed a top-10 scoring tight end in four straight games), Stefon Diggs (putting him tentaively here with the belief that he practices Wednesday, he has six or more receptions in each of his past four games and Darius Slay rarely ever moves into the slot)
Bust: Matthew Stafford (the Vikings defense hasn’t been unbeatable over the past month, but they are still mushing quarterback production and Stafford doesn’t have a strong record of accomplishment against Mike Zimmer’s defense), Marvin Jones (the Vikings aren’t allowing splash plays and Jones has fallen to the fourth or fifth option in the passing game now), Vikings Running Backs (you know the drill at this point, you can chase a short touchdown from Matt Asiata or leave them alone)
Reasonable Return: Theo Riddick (Minnesota has been giving on the ground over the past month and Riddick should surely improve on the one reception he had against the Vikings three weeks ago when he was still the RB26), Golden Tate (his touchdown in overtime masks his line from the last meeting a bit, but there’s a safe floor of points from receptions to be had), Sam Bradford (the Lions are still a target for passing efficiency and Bradford was the QB14 in Week 9 on only one touchdown), Kyle Rudolph (his role in the passing game has taken a hit since the coordinator change, but the Lions are still a weekly target for tight ends), Adam Thielen (he’s been the WR37, WR35, WR11 over the past three weeks and if Diggs somehow doesn’t play, he went 7-127-1 without Diggs active in Week 5)
Washington vs. Dallas
- Washington averages 471 yards of offense per game over the past six weeks, the most in the league.
- Dallas averages 429.2 yards of offense per game over the same span, third in the league.
- Dallas has over 400 yards from scrimmage in eight straight games, their longest streak in franchise history and the longest streak by a team since the Broncos in 2013 (10 games).
- Dak Prescott has scored 17 or more fantasy points in nine straight games, the longest streak in the league and the longest since Tom Brady of last season.
- Prescott has thrown multiple touchdown passes in five straight games after throwing multiple touchdowns once over his first five games.
- Cole Beasley has converted 71.4 percent of his red zone targets for touchdowns, tied with Rishard Matthews for the highest rate of all wide receivers.
- No team faces fewer rushing attempts per game than Dallas at 19.9.
- Opposing teams have called a passing play 70.1 percent of the time in the second half against Dallas and 79.1 percent in the 4th quarter, both the highest rates in the league.
- Jamison Crowder‘s 1.87 points per target leads all wide receivers with 50 or more targets on the season.
- Crowder has double digit points in nine games on the season, trailing only Larry Fitzgerald and Mike Evans (10 each) at the receiver position.
Bust: DeSean Jackson (Dallas has allowed just one 100-yard wide receiver on the season as they’ve limited boundary options), Rob Kelley (you’re going to keep using him, but a one dimensional back that is a big road underdog facing a team that faces the fewest opportunities for how that back scores his points is a neon sign to come in with some trepidation)
Reasonable Return: Dez Bryant (Josh Norman didn’t follow Dez when these teams first faced off, but Bryant is still capable of producing in this matchup and is always a threat near the end zone), Cole Beasley (he’s scored in four of his past six and Washington has been vulnerable to slot receivers), Jason Witten (there’s limited ceiling potential, but Washington has allowed a top-3 tight end in each of their past three games), Kirk Cousins (this game has shootout potential with how efficient both offenses are playing, but the looming potential hangups here are that Dallas negates play volume and Cousins enters as a large road underdog), Jamison Crowder (he’s living off of perceived efficiency that is unsustainable, but we have a large body of work of him doing so and Dallas’ biggest weakness has been interior receivers), Pierre Garcon (he’s been a WR3 or better in three straight and in five of his past six), Jordan Reed (he’s been a top-10 scorer in six of eight games, but has been a top-6 option just twice)
Pittsburgh vs. Indianapolis
- The Colts are allowing 419 yards per game at home, the most in the league.
- The Colts allow 28.3 passing yards per drive, the most in the league.
- Opponents have scored on 47.6 percent of their possessions versus the Colts, the second highest rate in the league.
- Albeit both at home, Ben Roethlisberger has thrown for 886 yards and 10 touchdowns against the Colts over the past two seasons.
- In 19 games on the road over the past three seasons, Roethlisberger has thrown 19 touchdowns to 19 interceptions.
- In 18 home games over the same span, Roethlisberger has thrown 54 touchdowns to 13 interceptions.
- Indianapolis is allowing a league-high 340.6 passing yards per game to opposing quarterbacks at home this season.
- Antonio Brown leads the league with seven games with seven or more receptions.
- Since returning, Le’Veon Bell has 22.9 percent of the Pittsburgh targets. David Johnson has the next closest share of his team’s targets for a running back over that span at 19.4 percent.
- 38.2 percent of the runs against the Colts have gained five or more yards (31st), while 13.7 percent (31st) have gained 10 or more yards.
- The Steelers are allowing a league low 42.4 percent touchdown rate in the red zone this season while the Colts have a 71.9 percent touchdown rate in the red zone this season, second in the league.
- The Colts averaged 19.5 points and 227 passing yards per game without Andrew Luck last season as opposed to 22.4 points and 268.7 passing yards per game with him active.
- 38.4 percent of Donte Moncrief‘s fantasy output is from touchdown production, second only to Danny Amendola (39 percent) for all wide receivers.
Trust: Ben Roethlisberger (the sample size of his splits on the road are large enough to stock, but the other pro factors in this matchup are overwhelming in his favor to roll him out against one of the worst defenses in the league indoors), Antonio Brown (the best weekly floor and Vontae Davis is injured as icing), Le’Veon Bell (another fantastic matchup for this all-purpose monster)
Bust: T.Y. Hilton/Donte Moncrief (it’s hard to expect either living up to weekly expectations with Scott Tolzien and the Steelers are allowing a touchdown once every 44 targets to opposing wide receivers, the best in the league), Dwayne Allen (he surpassed Jack Doyle as the feature tight end last week, but he’s been a top-20 scorer just twice in seven games), Ladarius Green (he’s played just 20 total snaps since returning, so you’re blindly swinging if using him), Sammie Coates (he’s played just three total snaps the past two weeks)
Reasonable Return: Frank Gore (he’s rushed for only 52 yards per game over the past month, but his floor has remained just as steady as he has double digit points in every game except for one on the season), Eli Rogers (he’s the third target in a game that should feature a larger passing game plan than a week ago)
Los Angeles vs. New Orleans
- Drew Brees leads the league in passing yards at home with 366.4 per game.
- Los Angeles has allowed 266.6 passing yards per game to quarterbacks on the road as opposed to 194.2 per game at home.
- Brees has 18 passing touchdowns inside of the 10-yard line, the most in the NFL. The Rams have 12 pass attempts from inside of the 10-yard line for the season.
- Brees is tied with Aaron Rodgers with seven games of 20 or more points on the season.
- Brandin Cooks has been a top-24 scoring receiver in four of five games at home as opposed to just once in five games on the road.
- The Rams average 1.4 offensive touchdowns per game, last in the league. The Saints average 3.4 offensive touchdowns per game, the most in the league.
- The Rams have scored on just 26.1 percent of their possessions, last in the league.
- Los Angeles has three offensive touchdowns since Week 7, the fewest in the league. They have allowed five touchdowns over those games, also the fewest in the league.
- The Saints have allowed just 3.0 yards per carry over the past three weeks, the fewest in the league.
Bust: Rams Passing Game (even the NFL version of Coors Field can’t help this passing game that was reluctant to push the downfield in Jared Goff’s first start), Coby Fleener (the Rams are allowing the fourth fewest receptions and the third lowest yardage per game to opposing tight ends)
Reasonable Return: Todd Gurley (the touches will keep being here and he finally broke a long run last week, but still hasn’t been a top-12 scorer in any week this season), Michael Thomas (the best red zone option and has held the most consistent floor of this receiving group), Willie Snead (he’s scored double digit points in three of four games at home), Tim Hightower (if Mark Ingram is out, Hightower is solid RB2 option in a game where the Saints should control throughout. If Ingram is active, then Ingram would be an RB2 with Hightower in play as a flex)
Tennessee vs. Chicago
- The Bears are allowing 279.5 yards per game at home (3rd) as opposed to allowing 380.3 per game on the road (23rd).
- DeMarco Murray has scored double digit points in every game this season, matching David Johnson and Le’Veon Bell at the running back position.
- Murray is tied with Johnson with seven games of 20 or more points on the season.
- Marcus Mariota leads the NFL in touchdowns over the past seven weeks (19), throwing multiple touchdowns in all seven games played game.
- Since Week 5, Rishard Matthews is 24th in targets among wide receivers (46), but 6th in fantasy points.
- Tennessee leads the league in red zone touchdown percentage at 75 percent.
- Chicago has scored on 10 of their past 42 possessions over their past four games (23.8 percent), 31st in the league.
- Jordan Howard‘s 23 runs of 10 or more yards ranks fourth of all running backs and his 17.6 percent rate of 10 plus yard runs trails only Jay Ajayi (19.6 percent) for all players with 75 or more rushing attempts on the season.
Trust: DeMarco Murray (Chicago is allowing the second fewest yards from scrimmage per game to backfields, but Murray has been as steady as any top running back in all components of his offense and Tennessee is expected to remain in positive game script throughout this game), Marcus Mariota (he’s on fire while the Bears have allowed a top-12 scorer in three of their past four and four of their past six games)
Bust: Bears Passing Game (too many injuries and Matt Barkley under center make it hard to latch onto anyone here despite a favorable setup for just about any passing game), Tajae Sharpe (Mariota is hot enough that you can justify swinging as a flex, but in the two games he’s had more than four targets over the past month, Tennessee has chased points all game, something that is unlikely here)
Reasonable Return: Jordan Howard (he’s the only player in this offense you can expect anything from and has 99 yards or more from scrimmage in five of his past six games with double digit touches), Rishard Matthews (it’s doubtful he flirts with double digit targets like last week when the Titans trailed big early, but has been a consistent source for touchdown upside paired with a quarterback throwing a lot of them), Delanie Walker (only one tight end has cleared 50 yards receiving against the Bears, but they have allowed a touchdown to the position in back to back games)
Arizona vs. Atlanta
- Atlanta is averaging 416.6 yards per game, the third most in the league while Arizona is allowing the fewest yards per game in the league (287.4).
- The Falcons have scored a touchdown on 32 percent of their drives, third best in the league. They have also allowed a touchdown on 30.2 percent of their opponent’s drives, the third worst in the league.
- Atlanta allows 2.8 red zone touchdowns per game (32nd) while Arizona allows the fewest at 1.3 per game.
- The Falcons face the most pass attempts per game (41.8) and opposing passers have completed 68.2 percent of their passes, the third highest rate in the league.
- Atlanta allows 1.88 passing points per drive, the most in the league.
- Despite only playing three road games, Carson Palmer‘s seven road interceptions are second to only Ryan Fitzpatrick (nine) on the season.
- Matt Ryan averages 31.5 passing yards per drive, the most in the league.
- The Cardinals allow 17.7 passing yards per drive, the fewest in the league.
- Ryan has faced four defenses in the top half of passing points allowed per attempt and his weekly finishes those weeks have been QB11, QB17, QB18 and QB20.
- Arizona allows the fewest passing points per attempt in the league (.282).
- Arizona is the only team in the league allowing fewer than 100 yards from scrimmage per game to opposing backfields (89 YFS per game).
- David Johnson ranks third in rushing points per game (14.6) and third in receiving points per game (11.0).
Trust: David Johnson (all-purpose stud facing an Atlanta defense that is in the bottom half of rushing and receiving points allowed to opposing backfields)
Bust: Matt Ryan (I don’t want to completely run away from this offense at home with such a high team total, but I see this being a similar type of game that he had versus Denver and Seattle, which is peripheral QB1 expectations), Michael Floyd/John Brown/J.J. Nelson (there’s been zero weekly consistency for this group, but if I had to chase one of them, Floyd had gotten back over 70 percent of the team snaps in each of the past two games), Austin Hooper (no team has allowed fewer yards to opposing tight ends than Arizona and they’ve yet to allow a touchdown to the position), Devonta Freeman/Tevin Coleman (I’d still use either as a lower end RB2, but the only strong fantasy games Arizona has allowed to backs in fantasy are ones in which they compile 20 plus touches, something that will be harder for either back to reach with both active)
Reasonable Return: Julio Jones (Arizona has allowed just one 100-yard receiver on the season and Atlanta has shown they won’t force feed him targets, but he can still get over in any matchup and the last time he squared off against Patrick Peterson he caught all eight of his targets for 171 yards and a touchdown), Carson Palmer (he’s hard to believe in at this point as he’s been inside of the top-15 in just one of his past seven games, but there should be big yardage available here as a starting point no matter how the script plays out), Larry Fitzgerald (his only top-12 weeks over the past eight games have come against San Francisco, but he’s third in targets per game while Atlanta has had trouble defended slot options without moving Desmond Trufant there), Mohamed Sanu (two of his three best games this season have come when Jones is limited by the opposition and Arizona has struggled versus slot receivers, even when Tyrann Mathieu was available)
New York (NFC) vs. Cleveland
- The Browns average 191.7 total yards per game over the past three weeks, fewest in the league.
- Cleveland has scored just 26 points combined the past three weeks, the fewest in the league.
- Opponents have scored a touchdown on just 15.3 percent of their drives against the Giants, the lowest rate in the league.
- The Browns have 57 rushing attempts total over their past four games, the fewest in the league.
- The Browns have allowed 24 or more points in 12 consecutive games, the longest streak since 1963.
- The Giants have averaged just 15.8 points per game on the road this season, 30th in the league.
- Eli Manning has averaged 215.8 passing yards per game on the road as opposed to 307.5 per game at home this season.
- Opposing teams have rushed 53.9 percent of the time in the second half against the Browns (the second highest) and 63.8 percent of the their 4th quarter plays, the highest rate in the league.
- New York has rushed for 100 or more yards in back to back games in a season for the first time since 2014.
- Rashad Jennings played 70 percent of the team snaps last week, his highest total since Week 11 of 2014.
- The Giants have scored a touchdown on eight straight red zone possessions.
Trust: Rashad Jennings (he posted season highs in yards from scrimmage and snaps last week while the Browns have allowed six top-15 scorers over their past five games), Eli Manning (the road splits aren’t endearing and neither is the expected cap on passing volume if the Giants cruise, but he’s a solid bet for multiple scoring chances)
Bust: Isaiah Crowell (at least he’s catching some passes now as the Browns aren’t even attempting to run anymore and even if they could, the Giants have allowed 100-yards from scrimmage to just one back all season), Duke Johnson (his floor hasn’t been nearly as good as it was earlier in the season as he’s been the RB33 or lower in four of the past five games), Gary Barnidge (he reached the end zone for the first time this season, but still was held to just 23 yards receiving, the fourth straight game in which he’s been held to fewer than 50 yards while Josh McCown has played significant snaps those weeks)
Reasonable Return: Odell Beckham (we should be more excited about him in this spot, but his road splits have followed Manning’s and the Browns actually haven’t allowed a top-12 receiver over the past four weeks), Sterling Shepard (Cleveland has difficulty stopping any slot receiver that is a part of his offense while Shepard has scored in three straight games), Will Tye (if you’re in need of a waiver play at tight end, Tye has been the TE12 and TE13 over the past two weeks while Cleveland is in the bottom of the league across the board limiting tight end production), Terrelle Pryor (he’s had 25 percent or more of the team targets in five of his past six games and the passing volume will be here weekly from here on out)
San Diego vs. Houston
- San Diego is second in the league in points per play (.440), while Houston ranks 30th (.272)
- Just 24.2 percent of the yards gained against San Diego have come from the ground, the second lowest rate in the league.
- Lamar Miller averages 4.9 yards per carry over his past five games after averaging 3.7 YPC over his first five games.
- 19.5 percent of Philip Rivers‘ pass attempts have come from inside of the red zone, the highest percentage in the league.
- Rivers has not been a top-12 scoring quarterbacks over any of his past five games, his longest streak since 2014.
- 24.6 percent of Antonio Gates‘ targets have come from inside the red zone, the highest rate for all tight ends.
- Gates’ 5.1 yards per target is the lowest for all tight ends with 25 or more targets on the season.
- Melvin Gordon is the first Chargers running back to have 25 or more touches in five straight games since LaDainian Tomlinson in 2004.
- Gordon is the only player to account for over 50 percent of his team’s touches on the season (50.3 percent).
- Houston has allowed just 56 rushing yards per game over their past three games after allowing 135.4 per game over their first seven games.
Trust: Melvin Gordon (he’s a near lock for 20 touches and isn’t coming off the field and while Houston has limited opponents on the ground recently, two of the three teams they’ve faced over that span are at the bottom of the league in rushing)
Bust: Philip Rivers (I believe the streak of weeks outside of the top-12 continues for Rivers as Houston is allowing just 218.7 passing yards per game and they defend the tight end and wide receiver position well), Antonio Gates (you’re playing him for his touchdown appeal but Houston has allowed just two touchdowns to opposing tight ends and over 53 receiving yards to just one), Tyrell Williams (Houston has allowed just three top-20 receivers on the season), DeAndre Hopkins (the last time he hit 75 yards receiving was Week 2 and has been the WR37 or worse in each of the past four weeks)
Reasonable Return: Lamar Miller (the matchup isn’t strong as San Diego is allowing the 6th fewest rushing yards per game, but he was back up to over 40 percent of the team touches last week after three weeks of in and out usage due to injury), C.J. Fiedorowicz (he’s been a top-12 scorer in four of his five and five of his past seven games), Dontrelle Inman (there are better options in his bracket of receivers, but if you’re looking for a solid WR4, Inman has been that over the past month)
Jacksonville vs. Buffalo
- The Bills average 33.5 points per game at home (2nd) as opposed to 19.8 per game on the road (20th).
- Buffalo averages 193.5 rushing yards per game at home, the most in the league.
- 45.9 percent of the Bills’ offensive yardage has come from rushing. They are the only team in the league over 40 percent.
- Jacksonville has allowed just 260.3 yards per game over the past three weeks (second) after allowing 349.3 yards per game over their first seven games.
- Tyrod Taylor averages 18.4 passing yards per drive, the second fewest of all full season starting quarterbacks.
- The Jaguars allow 19.8 passing yards per drive, the fourth fewest in the league.
- Jacksonville is allowing just 9.4 yards per completion, the lowest in the league.
- Blake Bortles‘ 6.3 passing yards per attempt are ahead of only Brock Osweiler (5.7 Y/A) among full season starters.
- Taylor averages 18.5 completions per game (30th) while Bortles averages 16.5 incompletions per game, the most in the league.
- Allen Robinson has just five receptions of 20 yards or more after leading the league with 31 receptions of 20 or more yards in 2015.
Trust: LeSean McCoy (Buffalo hasn’t wavered on his availability this week and the Bills should be able to control this game while stacking rushing output)
Bust: Tyrod Taylor (outside of last week, he was one of the most bankable commodities, so I don’t want to knock him for just one game, but with limited receiving options and Buffalo expected to control script, he just may not have to do much while Jacksonville has been very underrated as a pass defense), Julius Thomas (he has just 146 receiving yards over his past seven games with a high of 28), Sammy Watkins (targets are immediately available for him if he’s active, but I always enter with lowered expectations for players come off of long injury layoffs)
Reasonable Return: Allen Robinson (he’s living off of his red zone ability more than anything, but still carries a heavy target share against a defense allowing the 6th highest yards per target to opposing receivers), Marqise Lee (he’s been a top-30 receiver in four of his past six games, reaching 50 yards in five of them), Chris Ivory (contingent of the status of T.J. Yeldon, Ivory had a season-high 23 touches last week and career highs in receptions and receiving yards)
Cincinnati vs. Baltimore
- Baltimore is allowing just 230.4 yards per game at home this season, the fewest in the league.
- Jeremy Hill has rushed for fewer than 4.0 yards per carry in 18 games over the past two seasons, the most in the league.
- Baltimore allows 3.4 yards per carry to opposing running backs, the second fewest in the league.
- Both Andy Dalton and Joe Flacco have just two games each with multiple touchdown passes, tied with Cam Newton for the fewest on the season for full season starters.
- In four games since 2014 without Green active, Dalton has averaged .8 passing touchdowns per game as opposed to 1.6 per game with Green in the lineup.
- A.J. Green and Giovani Bernard had accounted for 45.9 percent of the team targets and 49.4 percent of the Cincinnati receiving yardage entering Week 10.
- Tyler Boyd had a season-high 20 percent of the team targets last week after receiving 13.6 percent prior.
- Brandon LaFell had 22.5 percent of the team targets, his second largest total on the season.
- Mike Wallace and Steve Smith have accounted for seven of the 10 Baltimore receiving touchdowns.
Trust: Steve Smith (he’s scored in three of his past four full games while being a top-20 receiver in four of his past six)
Bust: Andy Dalton (his yardage has fallen off the past two weeks and he already wasn’t throwing any touchdowns, so losing Green while his best remaining option in Eifert draws a terrible matchup on top of being on the road isn’t something to pursue), Tyler Eifert (there will be weeks to lock onto him going forward as the lead option in the passing game, but Baltimore has smothered tight ends, allowing just one higher than TE18 on the season), Terrance West/Kenneth Dixon (as a whole, I like the spot for the group, but there’s not much stable ground to latch onto as Dixon’s snaps have risen five straight games with just one usable week while West hasn’t finished inside of the top-24 in any of the past four games), Joe Flacco (on a full week of games, his team total is too minuscule while he’s been a top-12 option just twice on the season to reach on him being a starting option)
Reasonable Return: Mike Wallace (he’s been outside of the top-30 just once over his past five games), Jeremy Hill (this isn’t a great matchup on paper and I don’t really care about what Hill did as a rookie without Bernard as he’s been an ineffective player since then and the situation isn’t as strong, but he’s going to get enough volume to put him on the map as an RB2 option and he always holds touchdown upside) , Tyler Boyd/Brandon LaFell (with Eifert likely being the focus in an already tough matchup for him, both should have plenty of opportunity to be useful while Baltimore is allowing a touchdown once every 12.2 targets to opposing wideouts, the third worst rate in the league)
San Francisco vs. Miami
- The Dolphins rank last in the league in pass attempts per game (30.0) while San Francisco ranks 30th (31.2).
- San Francisco has allowed over 400 yards of offense in five straight games, their longest streak since 2005.
- Opposing teams average 4.1 red zone possessions per game against San Francisco, the most in the league.
- San Francisco faces 34.7 rushing attempts per game, the most in the league.
- Miami averages 30.8 rushing attempts per game since Week 6, the third most in the league.
- The 1,795 rushing yards allowed by the 49ers are the most allowed by a team through 10 games since the 1987 Falcons (1,864 rushing yards).
- Jay Ajayi leads the league in percentage of runs that have gone for 10 or more yards (19.6 percent) while San Francisco has allowed the most 10 or more yard runs on the season (45).
- DeVante Parker leads the team in targets