Week 12 Fantasy Football Matchups

Looking at every fantasy-relevant matchup of Week 12.

Tennessee Titans @ Chicago Bears

Titans -4.5; O/U 42

Titans – Marcus Mariota will continue his cupcake schedule in Chicago this weekend. The Bears have done a good job on defense holding their opposition in check, especially their strange ability to shutdown #1 receivers. Last week it was ODB, this week it could be Rishard Matthews which would be troublesome. If that’s the case, the door could open up for either Kendall Wright or Tajae Sharpe to play a bigger role. Delanie Walker should look to shake off a poor game last outing, but the Bears don’t budge against the tight end position. Chicago has also limited production from opposing backs, but DeMarco Murray isn’t your average back. He’s shown that it wasn’t all of the Cowboys offensive line that made him successful.

Bears – Contrary to popular rumors surrounding Jay Cutler, his injury is more day-to-day than season ending. That’s great news for all Bears weapons because Cutler is clearly the best option at quarterback. Running back Jordan Howard has regressed since his monster outbreak against the Vikings. If Chicago wants to get their offense rolling again, it should start with Howard. The injuries and suspension of Zach Miller and Alshon Jeffery will only  give more chances to receivers Cameron Meredith and Eddie Royal. This offense has become one big question mark.

Jacksonville Jaguars @ Buffalo Bills

Bills -7.5; O/U 45

Jaguars – Jacksonville has been a dumpster fire on offense this year all starting with the underwhelming Blake Bortles. Bortles should have a very difficult time against the Bills at home, meaning bad things for receivers Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns. Tight end Julius Thomas has been dealing with injuries this week, and just hasn’t produced much making it a lot harder to play him in your lineups. As for running backs, TJ Yeldon has been missing practices, meaning the burden of work could fall to Chris Ivory. Overall, just try and stay away from any Jaguars players this week.

Bills – While the Jacksonville offense has been in snooze control, the defense actually hasn’t been that bad. Tyrod Taylor is coming off a bad game vs Cincinnati and lost his top receiving weapon in Robert Woods. It could be a tough time for the quarterback with limited options. It could be a real struggle for the Bills if LeSean McCoy can’t operate at 100% after thumb surgery. One would expect McCoy will be just fine, but should his hand start acting up, Mike Gillislee would have to step in. Speaking of stepping in, Sammy Watkins has said he is back to 100%. Coach Rex Ryan has said the receiver is good to go and he could be suiting up this Sunday. That would be huge news for Taylor is he has his top receiving weapon back.

Cincinnati Bengals @ Baltimore Ravens

Ravens -4; O/U 40.5

Bengals – Andy Dalton was dealt a shitty hand with the loss of receiver AJ Green. The elite receiver went down with a hamstring injury but should only be out a couple of weeks which is good news. Dalton will now be throwing to Tyler Eifert and Tyler Boyd as his primary weapons. Boyd had the biggest visible jump in the teams last game. Other receiver Brandon LaFell hasn’t been practicing, finding his Sunday status in jeopardy. The Bengals were also dealt another blow with the injury to Gio Bernard. Bernard’s torn ACL opens the door for Jeremy Hill to have the lead role and not share any carries.

Ravens – The only good offensive punch coming out of Baltimore these days is from Steve Smith Sr. The receiver is defying age and time along with putting up two straight games with touchdowns. He could find some trouble against the Bengals secondary, along with secondary receiver Mike Wallace. Wallace has been very up and down this season after beginning the year en fuego. Running back Terrance West was the same way for a couple weeks, ripping off massive numbers and looking like a waiver wire steal. Now he has fallen back into his true form of mediocre back while Kenneth Dixon starts to eat into his production. Such a low over/under total suggests not a lot of scoring in this one. Few Ravens options are worth starting.

Arizona Cardinals @ Atlanta Falcons

Falcons -5; O/U 50.5

Cardinals – The Arizona offense is blessed with the opportunity to face an Atlanta defense that struggles mightily in all facets. The passing game should have a great opportunity to thrive, meaning Carson Palmer should be in for a big game. His main weapon Larry Fitzgerald is likely to follow with a big game of his own, making him one of the top ranked receivers of the week. Michael Floyd could emerge as the WR2, but he’s been very inconsistent and is hard to trust in lineups. Same goes for JJ Nelson who hasn’t broken out like we expected. David Johnson should continue his dominant ways. You know the drill, he stays in your lineup and gives back with a big time performance.

Falcons – Not an easy matchup here for Matt Ryan and the Falcons. Ryan struggled with the Eagles in his last game, so the Cardinals represent an even bigger challenge for the MVP candidate. The bad news for Ryan is also bad news for Julio Jones, who could draw coverage from Patrick Peterson. Jones could use his size, but his ceiling will ultimately be limited thanks to one of the NFL’s best corners. If the passing game is stagnant, production could have to come from Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman. Coleman finally returns from injury to complete the two headed monster backfield the Falcons had thrived with early on. The offense as a whole has performed much better at home in the friendly confides of the dome.

New York Giants @ Cleveland Browns

Giants -7; O/U 44

Giants – If Eli Manning can’t do well against the Browns then he’s got a problem. It’s a great spot to use Manning, whose weapons should have no problem finding separation and putting up points. Odell Beckham Jr didn’t put up spectacular numbers last game and was kept out of the end zone. Instead, it was Sterling Shepard who found pay dirt yet again. Shepard has gotten back into a groove and is a must play this week along with Odell. While those two receivers should feast, Rashad Jennings has gotten back into his form as his carries have steadily increased. Jennings should have no problem running on the Browns in a more than ideal matchup. A stretch play for the Giants comes from tight end Will Tye, who has been productive recently.

Browns – In other news for Cleveland, Robert Griffin III was activated from the IR and returned from practice. He won’t be starting on Sunday, but maybe he’s the hope this team needs. Facing the Giants is a tough ask for the Browns to produce, especially through the air. Terrelle Pryor will have his hands full trying to crack that secondary, along with Gary Barnidge. It’s a bad spot to use Browns receivers. Browns running backs have not been reliable either for fantasy owners. Both Isaiah Crowell and Duke Johnson have not produced for owners in this desperate time to push for the playoffs. I’d avoid all Browns here, that is, if that wasn’t the case already.

Los Angeles Rams @ New Orleans Saints

Saints -7; O/U 45.5

Rams – Who doesn’t love a trip to New Orleans in the dome? Okay, maybe opposing defenses, but for fantasy owners we love it. Granted nobody is starting Jared Goff but if we know New Orleans like we do, then plenty of points will be scored. The chance for Todd Gurley to run on a suspect defense is there, it’s just a matter of whether or not he gets the touches. The two receivers getting the most targets in Goff’s presence are Kenny Britt and Lance Kendricks. Both can be used in needed situations, but the rest of the offense should be avoided.

Saints – You know the drill. Drew Brees at home will put up his numbers even against a sneaky good Rams defense. Receivers Brandin Cooks, Michael Thomas and Willie Snead are all good plays in the offense. Coby Fleener has been so up and down, it’s nearly impossible to figure out when he decides to go crazy. Mark Ingram has been practicing so he should be cleared of his concussion very soon. This obviously limits the ceiling of Tim Hightower, but the two have shown that both can excel when sharing the backfield. Ingram is the better play, but Hightower can be used if necessary.

San Francisco 49ers @ Miami Dolphins

Dolphins -7.5; O/U 44.5

49ers – Colin Kaepernick has been good from a fantasy perspective since taking over. Between his rocket arm and legs, he’s been able to put up respectable points. What hasn’t translated though is his success with receivers. Both Jeremy Kerley and Torrey Smith are both not start worthy and just not coming away with points. Who you can trust though is tight end Vance McDonald who has been great with Kaepernick. The tight end has a nose for the end zone and has been a consistent target in the offense. The running game for the 49ers hasn’t been particularly good either. Carlos Hyde has yet to do anything great and Shaun Draughn has been getting more work in the passing game.

Dolphins – If there’s anything to take away from this game, it’s that Jay Ajayi has the best matchup of the week. The running back takes on the league’s worst run defense at home in what should be a field day for the former Boise State product. He’s a lock for all lineups. It was nice to see Jarvis Landry get back into the end zone last game. This defense should allow him to build upon last week’s success. DeVante Parker and Kenny Stills remain options for the deep ball naturally, but Parker has been drawing more attention in the offense making for an interesting play.

San Diego Chargers @ Houston Texans

Chargers -1.5; O/U 46.5

Chargers – Philip Rivers and the Chargers face a tough task against Houston’s secondary, but hopes might be high after watching their game against the Raiders in Mexico. Tyrell Williams has been great with Rivers and is pegged as one of our guys due for a big explosion to end the regular season. Rivers continues to look Williams’ way which is great for his production value. The presence of both Antonio Gates and Hunter Henry has hurt the value of each as they continue to cannibalize each other’s points. Gates has been the better option as of late, but a reemerging Henry can really start to swing momentum back towards his side. Melvin Gordon should be fine against the Texans defense. San Diego has made an effort to feed him the rock, and that won’t be changing anytime soon.

Texans – I goddamn hate Brock Osweiler. His stupid face and look of shock as if he was just magically placed in a QB’s body and has no idea what he’s doing drives me up a wall. The number of terrible throws he makes to pair with his bad decision making is all but crippling the value of once elite receiver DeAndre Hopkins. Granted, Hopkins had a big touchdown in Mexico if the refs had a brain/eyes and didn’t call him out when he was very clearly in but hey we’re here now. Hopkins has become a true question about starting and sitting because he is no longer Osweiler’s #1 look. That belong to tight end CJ Fiedorowicz who seems to be getting every single look over the middle for 5-6 yards. Fiedorowicz is leading the team in targets which is MIND-BOGGLING. Fucking figure it out Brock. Along with Hopkins’ decline, Will Fuller has become a nobody and is being replaced by do it all guy Braxton Miller. The one good constant for this offense is Lamar Miller luckily, as he continues to get healthy carry numbers. He will do just fine against San Diego.

Seattle Seahawks @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Seahawks -6; O/U 45

Seahawks – There’s been an awakening, have you felt it? That’s Russell Wilson returning back to his end of 2015 form as the Seahawks are looking as dangerous as ever. The Bucs should pose as no problem for Russ as he’s hit his groove with Doug Baldwin and Jimmy Graham. After watching the Falcons tear the Bucs secondary apart, the Seahawks should have no problem following that lead. In the backfield, CJ Prosise unfortunately is done for the regular season which leaves Thomas Rawls as the lone survivor. Tampa Bay has a decent run defense, so Seattle should have better luck through the air in this game.

Buccaneers – Tough task here for James Winston and the Bucs offense facing the elite Seahawks defense. He could have a very tough time putting points up with the offense, even with elite receiver Mike Evans. Evans has been quiet since his concussion injury and a date with the Legion of Boom won’t help his odds. The good news in the running game is that Doug Martin is back and healthy. The bad news is this is a terrible matchup for the running back. Cameron Brate had started to produce and show chemistry with Winston, but had a slow last game. It is just a rough spot to try and play Bucs this week.

Carolina Panthers @ Oakland Raiders

Raiders -3; O/U 49.5

Panthers – Cam Newton had another rough game on Thursday night at home against the Saints. It should have been a big game for Newton, but he did not deliver in an ideal spot. Kelvin Benjamin and Greg Olsen both also put up bad numbers as the Panthers offense has become dysfunctional. Ted Gina Jr did have an amazing touchdown in the back of the end zone. Ginn’s big play ability allows Carolina to open up the offense and stretch the defense. His play could be the key to it all. Jonathan Stewart has also been lackluster with his play as of late. If Carolina wants to get back to the dominant offense they previously were, Stewart and the running game have to get going.

Raiders – Derek Carr and the Raiders have proven to be serious contenders in the NFL this year. The QB’s breakout year has really propelled Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree into top receiver tiers. The Panthers pose no threat in the secondary, meaning these receivers should be in for a big game. Normally, teams would struggle with the run against the Panthers. With the injury to Luke Keuchly, the Raiders and Latavius Murray could see better results than originally expected. It’s not a guarantee for a big day, but some of the clouds have dispersed and a little sun is shining through.

New England Patriots @ New York Jets

Patriots -7.5; O/U 46.5

Patriots – Tom Brady is exactly who we thought he was. The elite QB of the NFL who will leave the league in a state of scorched earth. Brady should flourish as always, especially against a rival Jets team that has been so poor this year. With Rob Gronkowski out for this game, it should be another big week for Julian Edelman. Edelman saw a big jump in his targets and usage without Gronk on the field. It would also make for a good spot for Martellus Bennett, but he hasn’t been the consistent force we had hoped for in Gronk’s absence. The trio of running backs LeGarrette Blount, James White and Dion Lewis are difficult to predict when it comes to usage and game flow. The smart bet is on White, seeing as the Jets have a stout run defense containing Blount and Lewis is working back from injury. Then again, Blount tore up the Seahawks, so what’s to say he can’t do that again.

Jets – The Jets have announced that Ryan Fitzpatrick will be back as the starting quarterback this week against New England. Fitzpatrick actually had a very good game last year at home versus the Patriots and Brandon Marshall also had a big day in that contest. The New England defense hasn’t looked up to par since the departure of Jamie Collins, so the Jets should look to take advantage of a wounded defense. Matt Forte should really help and could do some work against the Pats front seven. There may be some hope here for Jets players that will be fired up for a divisional game.

Kansas City Chiefs @ Denver Broncos

Broncos -3.5; O/U 39.5

Chiefs – Rough draw here for Alex Smith and Chiefs receivers, but hopefully you weren’t playing them anyways. Tyreke Hill and company can rest easy on your bench, they don’t have the skill to overmatch Denver’s secondary. Where Kansas City can do damage is through the run game. Spencer Ware has the best outlook in this matchup so he has some value in Week 12. Travis Kelce hasn’t been consistent enough to rely upon every week, but he’s a name that can stay in your lineup. It just stinks to have to go against Denver.

Broncos – Trevor Siemian and the Broncos offense should have the ability to move the ball downfield against the Chiefs Sunday. Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders are very nice plays Sunday night at the receiver spot. Devontae Booker has a lesser matchup than his receivers, but should still produce in this offense. What’s alarming here is the low over/under total, meaning this will be a defensive battle between both teams. Offense could be very limited on both sides.

Green Bay Packers @ Philadelphia Eagles

Eagles -4; O/U 47.5

Packers – Despite the Packers consistently losing, Aaron Rodgers has been putting up big points in an offense without a running game. He’s being asked to do it all, and owners are loving it with his returns. Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, and Davante Adams have all found success in the offense. The Eagles could be a little tricky to move the ball easily on, so some receivers could take a hit. The emergence of James Starks is starting to help, and he’s even getting involved in the passing game. Jared Cook has been coming back into the picture as well for Green Bay. His presence only helps to open up chances for this offense.

Eagles – After a hot start, Carson Wentz has been just “meh” for Philly. The passing game hasn’t been doing much aside from feeding Jordan Matthews and now going back to Zach Ertz finally. Those two should be able to continue good stretches of play against a leaky Packers defense. Someone who could also find success is Ryan Mathews, despite not being named the starter behind Darren Sproles. Mathews has technically been working as the lead back with majority of the carries while Sproles continues to be used as a receiver in the backfield. Mathews is the better running back option here while he’s hot.


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