by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
Trying to decide who you should start or sit this week? Let’s take a look at a few potential decisions owners have and try to sort through them:
Start – Marcus Mariota – Tennessee Titans – at Chicago
The last time Mariota failed to throw at least 2 TD in a game was October 2 against Houston, a streak of 7 games (and he’s had 3+ TD in four of them). He’s also now thrown for 290+ yards in three straight games and has proven capable of making plays with his legs when needed (5.9 YPC on the season). Remember when this was thought of as a run first offense? He’s thrown the ball 37+ times in three of his past five games, so that clearly is no longer the case. Continue using him with confidence.
Sit – Colin Kaepernick – San Francisco 49ers – at Miami
He’s become a hot name of late, but in single-quarterback formats there’s far too much risk. Keep in mind that Miami has actually allowed the second fewest points per game to opposing quarterbacks over the past four weeks, having allowed just 4 TD vs. 6 INT. Kaepernick has really only had one big game from a throwing perspective (four games of 210 yards or fewer), so if he doesn’t find the end zone with his legs what value does he really have?
Start – Spencer Ware – Kansas City Chiefs – at Denver
The Broncos have one of the best defenses in the league, though over the past four weeks they are actually allowing the fourth most points per week to opposing running backs. Ware, for his part, hasn’t been too bad over the past two weeks against tougher defenses, with 72 total yards against the Panthers and 85 total yards against the Buccaneers. The key is going to be if he can find the end zone or not, but he’s the lead back against a defense that has been yielding points. That’s a hard situation to ignore, given the other questions around the league.
Start – Rashad Jennings – New York Giants – at Cleveland
Jennings has suddenly emerged as the go to back for New York and draws a Browns defense that has been horrendous against the run all year long (1,437 yards is the second most, 13 TD is tied for the league lead). While it’s possible the Giants build up a big lead, leading to Paul Perkins seeing some touches, there’s little reason to think Jennings won’t continue to be a significant impact player.
Sit – Jeremy Hill – Cincinnati Bengals – at Baltimore
The knee jerk reaction to the loss of Giovani Bernard (and A.J. Green) would be pushing Hill significantly up your rankings. Maybe, long-term, that proves to be the case but it’s not for Week 12. Hill draws an extremely difficult matchup against a Ravens’ defense that has allowed just 676 rushing yards all year long (fewest in the league). Hill has also been terrible on the road this season:
- Home – 5.7 YPC
- Road – 2.9 YPC
Maybe as a desperation FLEX play, but in most cases you should be looking elsewhere.
Sit – Isaiah Crowell – Cleveland Browns – vs. New York Giants
He’s rushed for 29 yards or fewer in four straight games (and six of the past seven)… Over the past three weeks he’s totaled 23 carries… He has been able to make a few plays out of the passing game, but that’s hardly enough. The Browns are a disaster and it’s impossible to trust any of their “skill” players, outside of Terrelle Pryor.
Wide Receivers (Two-Receiver Formats)
Start – Jordan Matthews – Philadelphia Eagles – vs. Green Bay
The matchup alone would dictate recommending Matthews, as the Packers have been torched by opposing wide receivers over the past four weeks (785 yards is the fourth most in the league, while 9 TD is two more than anyone else). You also have questions riddling the running backs and four straight games with 10+ targets (given the matchup that helps a lot).
Sit – Tyrell Williams – San Diego Chargers – at Houston
In three-receiver formats we’re using him, but in shallower leagues it’ll be hard to trust him. The Texans have allowed the second fewest points per week to opposing wide receivers over the past four weeks and prior to a big Week 10 (thanks to 11 targets) he had seen his usage decrease (7 catches on 13 targets in the previous two games). That just means significant risk, which in shallower formats probably isn’t worth taking.
Wide Receivers (Three-Receiver Formats)
Start – Steve Smith Sr. – Baltimore Ravens – vs. Cincinnati
No one really believed that Mike Wallace would be the team’s best WR all season long, did they? Smith has come alive of late and is coming off one of his best game of the season (8 receptions, 99 yards, 1 TD). The Bengals secondary isn’t a shutdown unit, so there’s a good chance he keeps the good vibes rolling.
Sit – John Brown – Arizona Cardinals – at Atlanta
He played a lot in Week 11, though he failed to record a catch. The fact is, outside of Larry Fitzgerald, this receiving corps is an absolute disaster. Unless someone proves that they can be productive week in and week out, fantasy owners should ignore them all.
Start – Zach Ertz – Philadelphia Eagles – vs. Green Bay
Not only have the Packers struggled against wide receivers, but tight ends as well (tied for a league high 355 yards over the past four weeks). Ertz, meanwhile, has finally started posting solid numbers over the past three weeks:
- at New York Giants – 8 receptions for 97 yards
- vs. Atlanta – 6 receptions for 55 yards
- at Seattle – 6 receptions for 35 yards and 1 TD
He’s been targeted at least 7 times in each of these games and is as good a bet as any after the top names are off the board.
Sit – Jared Cook – Green Bay Packers – at Philadelphia
It’s easy to get excited after his monster Week 11, but can anyone really guarantee he’s going to continue seeing a significant number of targets? Keep in mind there are a lot of mouths to feed, with Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, Davante Adams and Ty Montgomery, plus you know they are going to want to try and get James Starks and the running game going.
Sources – NFL.com, ESPN
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Make sure to check out all of our Week 12 rankings: