Posted: Wednesday, November 22, 2017
Happy Thanksgiving! This is the Fantasy Football Nerd's look at the best and worst matchups for Week 12 of the 2017 NFL season. Decisions are based upon the FFN rankings and matchup analysis. Given the known conditions, these matchups are the ones to watch and/or avoid.
Please Note: This list does not generally include the elite players that you are going to start regardless of matchup. You don't need us to tell you to start Drew Brees, Rob Gronkowski, or Antonio Brown. Instead, we take a look at other players on your team that we believe either have great matchups or should be avoided for multiple reasons. Factors like opposing defense, performance trending, and peer comparisons may influence our decisions.
Start 'em Cam Newton (CAR, QB)
Ranked 5th this week is Superman himself Cam Newton facing a Jets secondary that has been very middle-of-the-road this season against the pass. The only other running QB that the Jets faced this year was Tyrod Taylor (twice) who averaged 22.8 fantasy points. Newton is playing again with confidence which was evident in his 254 yards passing, 4 touchdowns, and 95 yards rushing last week.
Start 'em Marcus Mariota (TEN, QB)
Ranked 4th this week is Marcus Mariota facing the Colts who have given up the 3rd-most yards through the air this season. Mariota only put up 14 fantasy points against them earlier this year, but he's coming off his second 300+ yard game where he threw for a score and ran one in. The matchup this week is easier than last week and puts Mariota in low-QB1 territory.
Start 'em Samaje Perine (WAS, RB)
This is why we draft for depth. With Chris Thompson and Rob Kelley out, the workload is there for Samaje Perine to put him in consideration for all fantasy lineups. He's ranked 16th (ppr) against the Giants who give up the 3rd-most yards on the ground and have allowed just about every #1 running back to put up double-digit fantasy points.
Start 'em DeMarco Murray (TEN, RB)
DeMarco Murray looked awful last week against Pittsburgh rushing eight times for just 10 yards and chipping in five catches for 37 yards...but that was Pittsburgh. His matchup against Indianapolis is going to be a bit easier. He put up 14.7 fantasy points (18.7 PPR) when he faced them in Week 6. Look for Murray to bounce back this week.
Start 'em Alfred Morris (DAL, RB)
If you handcuffed Morris or picked him up off the waiver wire, this is a game where you can use him. He's ranked 22nd this week facing a Chargers defense that has given up more yards on the ground than any other team. McCoy ripped the Chargers up last week for 114 yards and a score along with a receiving TD for good measure. The offensive line in Dallas isn't what it used to be, but the matchup is good for Morris.
Start 'em Adam Thielen (MIN, WR)
A persuasive argument can be made that Adam Thielen is the star WR in Minneapolis and that Stefon Diggs is riding second. This is evident in our rankings as we find Thielen ranked 7th and Diggs ranked 22nd (ppr). When they faced the Lions in Week 4, Thielen put up 9 points and Diggs put up 15. Don't be surprised if that gets switched on Thanksgiving.
Start 'em Devin Funchess (CAR, WR)
He may have finished third on the team in targets last week, but Devin Funchess went 5 for 92 and found the endzone...twice. He's ranked 18th this week against the Jets who can be thrown on. Even with Greg Olsen expected back this week, Funchess should still six or more targets each game. He's a WR2 with upside this week.
Start 'em Evan Engram (NYG, TE)
Evan Engram was on our start list last week and he obviously failed to live up to those expectations. Don't sit him just yet. He's ranked 3rd this week facing a Washington defense that gives up the 8th-most yards through the air and an average of 14.2 fantasy points (ppr) to opposing #1 tight ends. He should bounce back nicely this week.
Start 'em Greg Olsen (CAR, TE)
Greg Olsen has been practicing for some time now and is expected to be activated off the I.R. this week. Olsen was dropped in many leagues after suffering a broken foot earlier this year. Assuming he suits up, there's no reason to not consider him a TE1 as he'll likely assume his regular role. Olsen is ranked 6th this week among tight ends.
Start 'em Pittsburgh Steelers (PIT, DEF)
Without Aaron Rodgers, the Packers lack the offensive leadership to put up points on the scoreboard. After being shut out for the first time in more than a decade, Green Bay's offense is clearly struggling. Expect the Steelers to capitalize on that this week. They're ranked #1 among all defenses showing what the industry thinks of this matchup.
Start 'em Justin Tucker (BAL, K)
The Ravens offense is still suspect, but Justin Tucker has managed to be the tenth highest-scoring player for his position. The Texans have allowed an average of 9.7 fantasy points to kickers this year making Tucker a solid start.
Sit 'em Derek Carr (OAK, QB)
There are a ton of question marks surrounding the Raiders right now. Any chance of them surprisingly rebounding against a solid Denver secondary is unlikely. The Broncos give up the 5th-fewest yards through the air (197 yds) and Carr couldn't muster double-digit fantasy points against them in Week 4 (9.72 pts).
Sit 'em Jared Goff (LAR, QB)
Unless you're in a Super Flex league, you'll be best served by letting Jared Goff ride the pine this week. The Saints have given up the 9th-fewest yards through the air and two quarterbacks have been able to score more than 15 fantasy points against them this year (Cousins and Brady). This is a tough matchup.
Sit 'em Marshawn Lynch (OAK, RB)
Lynch was the most effective weapon for the Raiders last week carrying the ball 11 times for 67 yards; however, the matchup with the Broncos this week will be much more difficult than facing the Pats in Mexico. Denver gives up the 4th-fewest yards on the ground and running backs have averaged only single digit fantasy production this year.
Sit 'em Doug Martin (TB, RB)
Even though Doug Martin has regularly gotten a high number of touches this year, he has failed to make anything of them. He's averaging just 3.1 yards per carry and hasn't found the endzone since his second game back. Martin is ranked 38th (ppr) putting him outside even flex territory.
Sit 'em Randall Cobb (GB, WR)
The poor play of Brett Hundley affects everyone around him not named Adams. Cobb finds himself ranked 52nd this week against a Steelers defense that gives up the 3rd-fewest yards through the air and has largely kept wide receivers in check all year. It's tough to consider Cobb at all given the poor performance of the Green Bay offense right now. Time to put him on the bench.
Sit 'em Kelvin Benjamin (BUF, WR)
The Kelvin Benjamin experiment in Buffalo hasn't worked out so well yet. He left the game last week with an injury after pulling in just one catch. Benjamin avoided any ACL issues, but he's day-to-day right now and is not a lock to play this week in what would have been a plum matchup. With both Jordan Matthews and Zay Jones back and healthy, Benjamin is not a safe fantasy play.
Sit 'em Cameron Brate (TB, TE)
With Jameis Winston out, the passing game hasn't been quite the same in Tampa Bay. That affects Cameron Brate as well as the rest of the receiving corp. Brate is ranked 19th this week putting him well outside TE starting territory against a Falcons middle that has largely kept tight ends in check.
Sit 'em Hunter Henry (LAC, TE)
One of the more disappointing tight ends this year (and certainly one of the most difficult to predict) has been Hunter Henry. He was supposed to be the heir apparent for the Chargers but has largely failed to live up to that expectation averaging just 14 yards (3 fantasy points in PPR) over the last three games. He's too risky to start right now, particularly in a tough matchup.
Sit 'em Los Angeles Rams (LAR, DEF)
The Rams defense has been fantastic this season. In fact, they are the third highest scoring fantasy defense, but that doesn't mean that they are matchup-proof. When the Saints go marching in, the Rams secondary will be tested. If you can stream another defense for this week, do it.
Sit 'em Steven Hauschka (BUF, K)
Ranked 23rd this week among kickers is Steven Hauschka who hasn't been the most consistent kicker this season. The Chiefs have not allowed a kicker to score double digit fantasy points all year allowing an average of just 6 fantasy points to the position.