Welcome back for your Studs and Duds Week 12 edition!
Happy Thanksgiving week everyone! Week 11 proved full of great action once again, and the slate for week 12 looks just as juicy. Given it’s a Holiday week here in the U.S., I’ll keep this week’s intro short and sweet.
I’m thankful for all of you who read this article, listen to our podcast and interact with us on Twitter. I love talking fantasy football, and to share that passion with so many of you has made this past year and a half truly awesome.
The lineup of games for Thanksgiving Day looks great, so while you stuff your faces and enjoy some quality time with the family, it appears you’ll enjoy some great football action as well. Now, let’s get you ready for another important week of fantasy football!
Bye Week: No Teams on Bye
Kirk Cousins vs. Dallas Cowboys
I love the head to head match-up between the division rival Redskins and Cowboys this week. With both quarterbacks red-hot, and both defenses average at best, this has shoot-out written all over it. Cousins has scored less than 20 points just twice this season (in leagues that reward 6 points for touchdowns). He’s a must play this Thanksgiving Day.
Dak Prescott vs. Washington Redskins
Man is this rookie impressive or what? A lot’s been said about Ezekiel Elliott and the offensive line, and they’ve been great no doubt. Prescott has gotten much better throughout the year, himself. With 5 straight games with multiple scores, Dak currently sits at 2640 passing yards, 17 touchdowns and just 2 interceptions. Wow!
Colin Kaepernick vs. Miami Dolphins
The 49ers haven’t won many games this year, and perhaps Kaepernick’s recent success is more a story of garbage time points than anything else. Even so, fantasy has no care for how the points are scored, only that they ARE indeed scored. The Dolphins last two match-ups vs. running QB’s proved a challenge for their defense. Marcus Mariota threw for 163, ran for 60 and scored 4 touchdowns. Tyrod Taylor threw for 221, ran for 35 and scored 2 touchdowns. I’m not sure the 49ers have what it takes to win this game, but I do believe Kaepernick will record his fourth straight 20+ point performance.
Alex Smith vs. Denver Broncos
The Broncos defense has been top notch against the pass, so it should be no surprise to see the erratic Alex Smith in this spot. Having scored 20 or more points in just 4 games this year, Smith often looks like a match-up dream, only to disappoint. This week? He’s a match-up nightmare.
Andy Dalton vs. Baltimore Ravens
With both AJ Green and Giovani Bernard lost to injury, any upside Dalton did have the rest of this season is lost. Other than a solid 4-week stretch from weeks 5-8, he’s been a disappointing fantasy play this season.
Matthew Stafford vs. Minnesota Vikings
Unfortunately, I do not share co-host Kevin Steele’s feeling that this game will be a shootout. I think the Vikings defense gained a bit of confidence back with that huge win last week, now they get a Matt Stafford who’s been struggling. With just 4 touchdowns to 1 interception over his last four games, Staffords red-hot start has come screeching back down to earth.
Running Back Studs
Rashad Jennings vs. Cleveland Browns
He’s had two games in a row with 80 yards and a score. The Giants seem to be trying to committed to getting the run game going, and the Browns are 100% committed to allowing it to happen. Currently allowing 160+ total yards and nearly two scores a game to the position, this is the best match-up Jennings will see all year.
Jonathan Stewart vs. Oakland Raiders
Stewart looked like he would be returning to a dominant form in his first two games back from injury, posing 85+ yards and multiple scores in both games. Since then, he’s found the endzone just once and has yet to record 50 or more yards on the ground. The Raiders are susceptible to big games from opposing RB’s, having allowed four 100-yard rushers and 10 total touchdowns to the position this year.
Terrance West vs. Cincinnati Bengals
Kenneth Dixon is knocking on the door to get more playing time, and the Ravens abandon the run all to early. That makes West a hard man to trust, but with the RB injuries piling up, you likely need a gamble play for the week. I like West to be that play. The Bengals allow the 10th most points to opposing RB’s, and are one of just 6 teams to allow an average of 100-yards a game to the position.
Running Back Duds
Devonta Freeman vs. Arizona Cardinals
He went into the bye coming off one of his worst outings of the year. This week, he contends with the return of Tevin Coleman and the Cardinals 2nd best run defense. Coleman is usually used more in the passing game, which is where the Falcon’s will likely look to utilize their backs this week.
Mark Ingram vs. Los Angeles Rams
The Rams defense has been pretty darn good. Imagine if they had an offense? They did a great job of containing Jay Ajayi to just 84 total yards last week without a score. Ingram owners would hope he’d follow up his breakout performance in week 9 with some solid RoS football, but that just hasn’t happened. In his last two games, he has just 18 carries for 78 yards. Meanwhile, Tim Hightower has 20 carries for 90 yards. It’s an even split, one that you simply can’t afford to rely on this close to playoff time.
Jerrick McKinnon vs. Detroit Lions
He took back the starting job last week and managed just 44 yards on 16 carries. Albeit that was against the Cardinals, so he should see a better time of it this week right? Not really. The Lions defense has been solid on the ground, allowing the 7th fewest fantasy points to opposing backs. They’ve allowed just 1 rushing touchdown all season.
Wide Receiver Studs
Michael Crabtree vs. Carolina Panthers
In his past two match-ups vs. the premiere pass defenses of the Broncos and the Texans, he’s managed just 5 receptions for 32 yards. Good thing that part of the schedule is gone! In the next few weeks he faces the Panthers, Bills, Chiefs, Chargers and Colts. This week’s game vs. the Panthers should be just what he needs to get his owners back to their winning ways. The Panthers allow the 10th most points to opposing receivers, allowing a whopping 180 yards and a score a game.
Kenny Britt vs. New Orleans Saints
He’s very clearly the number 1 target on this team, even with the rookie Jared Goff getting his first start. Since the bye, he’s pulled in 16 of 23 targets for 201 yards and a score. Last week was the first time he hadn’t scored double digit points (PPR) since. I love his upside vs. a Saints defense that has been among the worst in the league yet again, allowing over 180 yards a game to opposing WR’s.
Sterling Shepard vs. Cleveland Browns
He’s still a huge boom-or-bust play, but since the bye week, he’s received no fewer than 6 targets and has scored in every game. The Browns defense has been middle of the pack vs. opposing receivers, currently allowing the 14th most points/game. Their weakness has been the touchdown, having given up 14 (tied for 4th most) to receivers. Time to dust off the ol rookie and put him in the lineup!
Wide Receiver Duds
Tyrell Williams vs. Houston Texans
He’s been on fire lately, having scored a touchdown in each of his last two games, and scoring double digit fantasy points in 3 of his last 4. The Texans defense has been legit this year, allowing the 3rd fewest points/game to receivers. The last time Williams faced an elite pass defense was Denver in week 8. He managed just 1 catch for 4 yards.
Cameron Meredith vs. Tennessee Titans
He’s gone from relative unknown to the only guy who can catch a pass in Chicago. Too bad the quarterback can’t throw the ball. As long as Matt Barkley is behind center, Meredith’s value will be extremely dwarfed. Could be a good stash option for Jay Cutlers return, but keep him on your bench (or the waivers) this week.
Brandon Marshall vs. New England Patriots
I love Brandon Marshall. I think he’s one of the premiere talents in the NFL. His situation is what has him on this list. Ryan Fitzpatrick lost all of his supposed “magic” he enjoyed last year, and Bryce Petty is still enduring growing pains. What that means for Brandon Marshall is 5 straight games with less than double digit fantasy points. Five straight games without a touchdown. Five straight games with no more than 70 receiving yards.
Tight End Studs
Kyle Rudolph vs. Detroit Lions
It seems I have the Lions in this spot every week, but if they can’t stop them, then I can’t stop putting them here. Rudolph has cooled off considerably since his early season hot-streak, but he does have two touchdowns in his last three games. One of those against the Lions in week 9! I will give it to them, the Lions held him to 1 catch for 1 yard, it just happened to be for a TD. With the injury to Zach Miller, I’ll be dialing Rudolph’s number for that TD potential. I recommend you do the same.
Eric Ebron vs. Minnesota Vikings
On the other side of the turf is Lions TE Eric Ebron! He’s scored double digit fantasy points (ppr) in all 3 games since returning from injury. Last week, the Lions showed new and inventive ways to get him the ball, giving him a hand-off inside the 5 for a touchdown. He managed 7 receptions for 92 yards vs. them just 3 weeks ago. I like him to break the 100 yard mark for the first time this year!
Tyler Eifert vs. Baltimore Ravens
With the loss of AJ Green for at least a few weeks, Dalton will be relying on Tyler Eifert more than ever. He’s been 50/50 since returning from injury with two solid outings and two solid stinkers. Don’t shy away due to the perceived “tough” match-up vs. the Ravens either. It’s true they give up the 3rd fewest fantasy points to TE’s, but the only premiere TE they’ve faced is Jordan Reed, who put up 8 receptions for 53 yards.
Tight End Duds
Jared Cook vs. Philadelphia Eagles
He’s coming off a monster game, so naturally he leads the Yahoo! adds list. Fantasy players want a TE to work out in that Packers offense so badly, it’s quite insane. I won’t be one to fall into this trap again. Aaron Rodgers seems to find a new favorite target each week, and given the TE has been the favorite so few times, is already a red flag. Need more of a reason to bench him this week? How about an Eagles defense that has held Zach Miller, Kyle Rudolph and Jimmy Graham in check this season.
Coby Fleener vs. Los Angeles Rams
He’s in the most perfect opportunity he will ever see, and he continues to blow it. He and Brees are clearly not on the same page. His two monster performances this year continue to give fantasy owners hope, but his just 3 receiving touchdowns paint the real picture. The Rams have been damn good against TE’s too. Allowing an average of just 33 yards/game, they’ve allowed the 6th fewest fantasy points to the position.
Julius Thomas vs. Buffalo Bills
Speaking of supremely talented individuals who can’t put it all together, how disappointing has Julius Thomas been in Jacksonville? I’m not close enough to the situation to know if it’s coaching, QB play or Thomas himself, but this dude has talent, we saw it in Denver. Well, it’s either gone, or not being utilized effectively. Thomas has just two games with more than 30 receiving yards. Those were weeks 1 and 2. The Bills got ripped by Gronk and Graham two weeks in a row before putting their foot down and holding Tyler Eifert to a measly 37 yards on 3 catches last week. The match-up could be ideal, but Thomas is too untrustworthy at this point. Keep this gun in your holster.
That’s all for your Studs and Duds Week 12 edition!
Whether you agree or disagree, reach out on Twitter @the1andonlypz and let’s discuss! As always, enjoy another week of great football action, and best of luck to you in your fantasy match-ups!
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I'm the host of The Fantasy Authority podcast, which is awesome because I get to talk fantasy football with a ton of cool people. Occasionally you'll catch an article from me too! Which is why you're seeing this blurb... but don't be shy! Reach out on twitter @the1andonlypz and let's talk.