Posted: Wednesday, November 21, 2018
Happy Thanksgiving! Enjoy a fantastic slate of games this Turkey Day!
This is the Fantasy Football Nerd's look at the best and worst matchups for Week 12 of the 2018 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 Aaron Rodgers, 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 Kirk Cousins (MIN, QB)
Even though the Packers have given up a stingy 19.4 fantasy points to quarterbacks over the last four weeks, Cousins put up 425 yards and 4 scores against them in Week 2. Cousins comes into this week's rankings at #5.
Start 'em Jameis Winston (TB, QB)
The QB rollercoaster changes again this week for Tampa Bay. Winston is expected to start under center. Not a great matchup by the numbers as the Niners give up 17.6 FPG to QBs the last 4 weeks, but other than Sherman, they are beatable on the back end and he has weapons.
Start 'em Carson Wentz (PHI, QB)
Carson Wentz disappointed last week completing 19-of-33 passes for 156 yards, zero touchdowns, and three interceptions in a blowout loss to the Saints. Wentz should have better luck this week against the Giants, who he tossed three touchdowns against in Week 6.
Start 'em David Johnson (ARI, RB)
The addition of Byron Leftwich has certainly helped David Johnson. He had another 28 opportunities last week, and frankly, there's nothing scary about the matchup against the Chargers as they give up over 8 catches/game and 30.1 FPG to RBs the last 4 weeks.
Start 'em Nick Chubb (CLE, RB)
An absolutely outstanding matchup as the Bengals have given up 5.2 YPC to RBs and 5 rushing TDs in their last 3 games. Chubb is a big-play guy who can handle big workloads. He will be an RB1 against the Bengals this week.
Start 'em Marlon Mack (IND, RB)
Marlon Mack is a great start this week as the Dolphins have been run on all year and give up 5.7 YPC to RBs the last three games. Aaron Jones put up 32 points. Lamar Miller tacked on 19 points as did Kerryon Johnson. Mack should be in a nice fantasy day. He's a solid RB2 this week.
Start 'em T.Y. Hilton (IND, WR)
T.Y. Hilton saw a huge game last week, and against the Dolphins this week, he may not see top CB Xavien Howard exclusively. It's a good matchup overall as Miami has given up 5 WR TDs in their last three games.
Start 'em Alshon Jeffery (PHI, WR)
Alshon Jeffrey failed to live up to expectations last week catching 4 of his 5 targets for just 33 yards. The good news is the Eagles get to face a Giants defense which Jeffery dominated for 74 yards and two scores in Week 6. He will be a back-end WR2 for this matchup.
Start 'em Doug Baldwin (SEA, WR)
Baldwin came through last week catching 7 of 10 targets and should have had 2 TDs instead of 1. He's got a solid matchup this week against the Panthers who have given up 38.6 FPG to WRs the last 4 weeks and he'll avoid their top CB in the slot.
Start 'em Jordan Reed (WAS, TE)
Reed was targeted on 3 of Colt McCoy's 12 pass attempts in relief of Alex Smith. One went for a 9-yard score, his first end zone trip since Week 1. Reed should be counted on heavily once again with Washington banged up at WR. Dallas has allowed 3 TE scores over the last 3 with Zach Ertz accounting for 2.
Start 'em George Kittle (SF, TE)
Kittle has emerged as a top 5 fantasy tight end. He's the main target in the Niners passing offense, and the nine grabs and 10 targets last week set new season bests. This is a great matchup as the Bucs give up the 5th-most yards through the air.
Start 'em Houston Texans (HOU, DEF)
The Houston Texans have averaged a solid 7 fantasy points over their last three games, and the Titans are giving up 6.3 fantasy points to Defenses the last 4 weeks. Plus Marcus Mariota is banged up which could play to the Texans' favor.
Start 'em Wil Lutz (NO, K)
Are you kidding me? The Falcons and Saints should be a shoot out. The Saints can move the ball almost at will, and if they can't put it in the endzone, Lutz will put it through the uprights.
Sit 'em Eli Manning (NYG, QB)
Eli Manning efficiently completed 17-of-18 passes for 231 yards and two touchdowns in the Giants' Week 11 victory over the Bucs. Even so, it was a tremendously efficient performance for Manning, who primarily relied on YAC to build up his total yardage. He'll be asked to do more in what is actually a plus matchup on paper against the Eagles' ailing secondary in Week 12.
Sit 'em Dak Prescott (DAL, QB)
Prescott and the Cowboys enter Thanksgiving with a solid implied point total of 24. We're just not sure Dallas will need to pass much as they square off against Colt McCoy and a depleted Washington offens.
Sit 'em Matthew Stafford (DET, QB)
Stafford has averaged a solid 21.9 FPG in his last 3 against the Bears including one 2 weeks ago, but overall it's a tough matchup. The Lions might have to lean on Stafford more with Kerryon Johnson and Marvin Jones injured, but he still will not be an exciting fantasy option against the Bears on Thanksgiving.
Sit 'em Frank Gore (MIA, RB)
Should get the ball yet again as he's averaging 15 carries in last three games, but the Colts present a much tougher matchup as they give up 3.5 YPC in that span.
Sit 'em Doug Martin (OAK, RB)
How much of the Raiders offense do you really want? Jon Gruden downplayed Martin's ankle injury earlier this week. His prompt return to practice confirms the injury isn't serious. Martin will be ready to roll Sunday at Baltimore. He'll be a stay-away RB3 in a tough matchup.
Sit 'em Alex Collins (BAL, RB)
Collins only saw 22% of the snaps and 7 carries last week with Lamar Jackson under center. Will Flacco likely out again, Baltimore is likely to roll this week with Gus Edwards again who is a better fit for what they want to do in the run game.
Sit 'em Michael Crabtree (BAL, WR)
A matchup with the Raiders is certainly a beatable matchup, but a very worrisome 1/7 last week on 3 targets makes Crabtree impossible to trust. Frankly, Crabtree won't be a fantasy option in the Ravens' new run-dominant attack.
Sit 'em Demaryius Thomas (HOU, WR)
Despite playing 69% of the snaps, Demaryius Thomas saw just one target last week. Keke Coutee returned from his hamstring injury for nine targets in Sunday's win. As a complementary receiver on a run-first team, Thomas will be difficult to trust as a fantasy starter going forward.
Sit 'em Randall Cobb (GB, WR)
Randall Cobb has a chance to play this week, but a matchup with the Vikings at home isn't a recipe for success. No WR has scored more than 13 fantasy points since Week 4 against them. Cobb will slot in as the No. 3 wideout behind Davante Adams and Marquez Valdes-Scantling if he returns this week but he belongs on fantasy benches.
Sit 'em Jimmy Graham (GB, TE)
Graham will allegedly 'try to play' through his broken thumb, but we have no idea how that's going to work. Graham can't catch passes if he has to wear a club-like cast, and he won't be able to block with a broken thumb. Graham is likely going to miss weeks. If ruled out, Graham can be dropped in redraft.
Sit 'em Antonio Gates (LAC, TE)
The veteran had a huge game last week out of nowhere on 7 targets so he's not hopeless, but Virgil Green also had 4 targets last week. It's tough to trust him in a tough matchup.
Sit 'em Denver Broncos (DEN, DEF)
The Broncos have a chance with Big Ben never being as good on the road, but they give up just 3.8 fantasy points to Defenses the last 4 weeks.
Sit 'em Brandon McManus (DEN, K)
It's tough to trust Brandon McManus right now. He hasn't put up more than five fantasy points over his last three games, and it's been more than a month and a half since he saw double digit production. The Steelers have allowed just 6 fantasy points per game to kickers this year.