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FANTASY PLAYS: Players to start out and sit for NFL Week 12


One other season of fantasy football, one other group of start-or-sit scenarios to reply.

It’s not barely enough to draft the appropriate team and make the appropriate moves off the waiver wire. Everyone knows that. We also should be certain that that we’re starting the right players each week.

In fact, we now have our studs, anchors, and the players we’re starting virtually irrespective of what. We don’t need anyone to inform us to start out Travis Kelce.

But, the further down the lineup we go, the more those questions trickle in.

Nevertheless, no player is a “must-sit” in every scenario, and maybe the WR3 you’ve been plugging in each week could have a greater alternative.

To reply the query, “Should I sit Player X,” is dependent upon the reply to the query, “Who are you able to start as an alternative?”

That’s why I like to modify up the everyday start-or-sit column format. I’m going to be listing out all relevant fantasy football players each week and bucketing them into tiers.

Take among the guesswork out of setting our lineups weekly, I’ll be leveraging hundreds of slate simulations which are based on numberFire’s player projections with dynamic measures for variance, reminiscent of quarterback rushing, running back receiving, and receiver goal depth.

The outcomes will boil right down to three tiers: players we should always be confident about starting, players we are able to consider starting at any time when we don’t have higher alternatives but who aren’t must-plays, and players we should always attempt to bench at any time when we do have higher alternatives (i.e. players listed above them on the list).

These players are listed so as of frequency of hitting the stated threshold (i.e. QB12, RB24, WR24, and TE12 performances), and better on the list means more in a position to start.

The groupings reflect a 12-team, single-quarterback league with the next hypothetical in mind: if I had other viable options on my bench or the waiver wire, should I start this player this week?

Players not listed needs to be presumed sit-worthy in a shallow or standard-sized league, and all fantasy points references and rankings reflect half-PPR scoring.


Start with confidence:

— Josh Allen at DET (84%)

— Jalen Hurts vs. GB (70%)

— Patrick Mahomes vs. LA (70%)

— Lamar Jackson at JAC (62%)

— Tua Tagovailoa vs. HOU (60%)

— Joe Burrow at TEN (54%)

— Justin Herbert at ARI (54%)

— Dak Prescott vs. NYG (51%)

— Justin Fields at NYJ (50% if starting)

— Geno Smith vs. LV (50%)

Consider if needed:

— Kyler Murray vs. LAC (46% if starting)

— Tom Brady at CLE (41%)

— Derek Carr at SEA (37%)

— Jimmy Garoppolo vs. NO (37%)

— Kirk Cousins vs. NE (36%)

— Taylor Heinicke vs. ATL (35%)

— Daniel Jones at DAL (35%)

— Russell Wilson at CAR (34%)

— Aaron Rodgers at PHI (34%)

— Jared Goff vs. BUF (34%)

— Trevor Lawrence vs. BAL (33%)

Bench if possible:

Colt McCoy vs. LAC (30% if starting); Marcus Mariota at WSH (27%); Matt Ryan vs. PIT (25%); Jacoby Brissett vs. TB (25%); Kenny Pickett at IND (25%); Zach Wilson vs. CHI (25%); Davis Mills at MIA (25%); Mac Jones at MIN (24%); Ryan Tannehill vs. CIN (23%); John Wolford at KC (19%); Andy Dalton at SF (19%); Sam Darnold vs. DEN (12%); Trevor Siemian at NYJ (12% if starting).

Justin Fields has a separated shoulder. If fully healthy, he’s on the low end of Tier 1. He’s initially projected at half.

Kyler Murray was limited in practice all week last week. If he starts, he’s at the highest of Tier 2.

Although we now have a number of injuries to key quarterbacks, including Fields and Murray, there aren’t any byes, so we probably don’t have too many huge start-or-sit decisions to work out otherwise. We now have nine quarterbacks above 50% top-12 odds even when we assume Fields sits. Most teams in your leagues must have starters lined up.

Tom Brady is rested up after a Week 10 win in Germany and a bye last week. This week, he’s facing the Cleveland Browns, who rank twenty fifth in adjusted pass defense, based on numberFire’s metrics. Brady has largely taken advantage of his three matchups against bottom-10 pass defenses to the tune of 296.3 yards per game. He averaged just 1.3 touchdowns in those games, though, and the wind is projected to be pretty high for this matchup. Brady makes for a high-end QB2 option this week with a reasonably big selection of outcomes.

Derek Carr has put up five top-12 weeks this season, but has only one week higher than the QB9 — surprisingly against the Tennessee Titans in Week 3 on the road. He gets a plus matchup against the Seattle Seahawks’ Twenty third-ranked pass defense this week. Carr has, though, been very efficient in two matchups against bottom-10 pass defenses: 250.0 yards and 1.5 touchdowns per game against the Houston Texans (twenty eighth) and Jacksonville Jaguars (twenty seventh). He played 0.19 points per play over expected — by numberFire’s expected points model — against those teams. He should give you the option to offer us one other low-end QB1 outing this week.

Taylor Heinicke stays under center for the Washington Commanders for a matchup against a weak Atlanta Falcons defense. Atlanta is thirtieth in overall adjusted defense and thirty first specifically against the pass, per numberFire. Heinicke, overall, has performed below expectation once accounting for opponents faced. That being said, he has faced only two below-average defenses, including the Texans (twenty eighth) last week. In that game, Heinicke put up 191 yards and no touchdowns. He hasn’t exactly taken advantage of great matchups, so he’s a low-end QB2 option for the week for individuals who need streamers.


Start with confidence:

— Derrick Henry vs. CIN (83%)

— Christian McCaffrey vs. NO (80%)

— Austin Ekeler at ARI (79%)

— Josh Jacobs at SEA (78%)

— Jonathan Taylor vs. PIT (77%)

— Saquon Barkley at DAL (75%)

— Travis Etienne vs. BAL (73%)

— James Conner vs. LAC (71%)

— Alvin Kamara at SF (70%)

— Kenneth Walker III vs. LV (69%)

— Nick Chubb vs. TB (69%)

— Rhamondre Stevenson at MIN (66%)

— Dalvin Cook vs. NE (64%)

— Najee Harris at IND (64%)

— Joe Mixon at TEN (61% if energetic)

Consider if needed:

— Jeff Wilson vs. HOU (58%)

— Dameon Pierce at MIA (58%)

— Samaje Perine at TEN (56% without Mixon)

— Antonio Gibson vs. ATL (54%)

— Aaron Jones at PHI (52%)

— Tony Pollard vs. NYG (51%)

— David Montgomery at NYJ (51%)

— Latavius Murray at CAR (50%)

— Miles Sanders vs. GB (50%)

— Devin Singletary at DET (47%)

— Leonard Fournette at CLE (47% at full; 14% at half)

— Michael Carter vs. CHI (47%)

— Cordarrelle Patterson at WSH (47%)

— Ezekiel Elliott vs. NYG (44%)

— Isiah Pacheco vs. LA (41%)

— Rachaad White at CLE (39%)

— Jamaal Williams vs. BUF (35%)

— D’Onta Foreman vs. DEN (35%)

Bench if possible:

D’Andre Swift vs. BUF (32%); James Robinson vs. CHI (31%); Raheem Mostert vs. HOU (31%); Damien Harris at MIN (30%); Elijah Mitchell vs. NO (29%); A.J. Dillon at PHI (28%); Chuba Hubbard vs. DEN (27%); Brian Robinson vs. ATL (25%); Cam Akers at KC (25%); Jerick McKinnon vs. LA (24%); Kareem Hunt vs. TB (22%); Justin Jackson vs. BUF (18%); Kyren Williams at KC (18%); Tyler Allgeier at WSH (14%).

Leonard Fournette is initially projected with a half workload.

Jaylen Warren is projected with a half workload, boosting the expectation for Najee Harris.

The stock on Dameon Pierce is trending down. The Texans are big underdogs against the Miami Dolphins and Houston’s offensive expectations are on the low end once more. Pierce has not scored since Week 8 (a three-game stint with no touchdowns) but stays on the cusp of RB2 territory regardless. The issue is that this week could look rather a lot like last week when the Texans were blown out. Pierce had just 10 carries and three targets for 17 total yards. Though the matchup isn’t as difficult, Pierce is more more likely to be a low-end RB2 than contained in the top 12 this week.

Samaje Perine rates out rather well if we assume that Joe Mixon is ruled out with a concussion. Perine must have the goal-line and receiving work. He could lose some touches to Trayveon Williams and potentially Chris Evans, yet there’s still room for him to be a solid play. Perine, with Mixon leaving early last week, had a 69.2% snap rate and scored thrice through the air.

Antonio Gibson took a giant step forward last week when Washington beat the Texans easily. That sort of script must have been great for teammate Brian Robinson; nevertheless, Gibson was the one with a 67.2% snap rate and 18 carries. Robinson played on 34.3% of the snaps and had 15 carries. With J.D. McKissic on injured reserve, Gibson seems set for a featured role and steps right into an excellent matchup against the Falcons, who rank twenty first, on average, across three key rushing metrics and are average against receiving backs.

With or without Leonard Fournette, Rachaad White is entering the FLEX conversation. White earned the beginning in Germany against the Seahawks in Week 10 before a bye, and Fournette’s injury in that game paved the best way for a 64.9% snap rate and 105 scrimmage yards. Fournette was still involved within the red zone, but White looks like he’s trending up quickly. A matchup with the Browns, who’re thirty second in adjusted fantasy points per carry allowed to backs, makes White an excellent process play.


Start with confidence:

— Stefon Diggs at DET (81%)

— Tyreek Hill vs. HOU (78%)

— Davante Adams at SEA (71%)

— Justin Jefferson vs. NE (64%)

— CeeDee Lamb vs. NYG (64%)

— Deebo Samuel vs. NO (64%)

— Amon-Ra St. Brown vs. BUF (63%)

— DeAndre Hopkins vs. LAC (62%)

— A.J. Brown vs. GB (62%)

— Ja’Marr Chase at TEN (60% at full; 24% at half)

— Tee Higgins at TEN (57%)

— DeVonta Smith vs. GB (50%)

Consider if needed:

— Tyler Lockett vs. LV (49%)

— Gabe Davis at DET (48%)

— Jaylen Waddle vs. HOU (46%)

— D.K. Metcalf vs. LV (45%)

— Christian Kirk vs. BAL (45%)

— Michael Pittman Jr. vs. PIT (45%)

— Chris Olave at SF (43%)

— Mike Evans at CLE (42%)

— Mike Williams at ARI (42% at full; 7% at half)

— Terry McLaurin vs. ATL (42%)

— Chris Godwin at CLE (41%)

— Courtland Sutton at CAR (41%)

— Amari Cooper vs. TB (40%)

— JuJu Smith-Schuster vs. LA (40% at full; 5% at half)

— D.J. Moore vs. DEN (39%)

— Tyler Boyd at TEN (39%)

— Keenan Allen at ARI (37%)

— George Pickens at IND (36%)

— Allen Lazard at PHI (35%)

— Jerry Jeudy at CAR (35% at full; 6% at half)

— Jakobi Meyers at MIN (35%)

— Garrett Wilson vs. CHI (34%)

— Curtis Samuel vs. ATL (31%)

— Brandon Aiyuk vs. NO (31%)

— Christian Watson at PHI (31%)

Bench if possible:

Diontae Johnson at IND (29%); Josh Palmer at ARI (29%); Brandin Cooks at MIA (27%); Zay Jones vs. BAL (27%); Marvin Jones vs. BAL (26%); Donovan Peoples-Jones vs. TB (26%); Adam Thielen vs. NE (26%); Drake London at WSH (25%); Michael Gallup vs. NYG (25%); Kadarius Toney vs. LA (24% at full; 3% at half); Mack Hollins at SEA (24%); Marquise Brown vs. LAC (24%); Marquez Valdes-Scantling vs. LA (23%); Van Jefferson at KC (22%); Allen Robinson at KC (22%); Darius Slayton at DAL (20%); Nico Collins at MIA (18%); Parris Campbell vs. PIT (18%); Robert Woods vs. CIN (16%); Treylon Burks vs. CIN (15%); Rondale Moore vs. LAC (15% at full; 3% at half).

There are lots of early week uncertainties. Ja’Marr Chase, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Mike Williams, Jerry Jeudy, Rondale Moore, and Kadarius Toney are initially projected with a half workload.

It’s a full week for receivers, and the variance inside the position keeps lots of rates down for tertiary and quaternary varieties of fantasy receivers.

Since Week 7 with Taylor Heinicke under center, Terry McLaurin has a stellar 31.6% goal share for 8.6 targets per game and a whopping 52.0% air yards share. His yards-per-route-run rate is an elite 2.93. Curtis Samuel’s goal share is less appealing at 16.2%, but he continues to be averaging 3.2 carries per game in that span (for 20.2 yards). This can be a sneakily fun duo, absorbing lots of usage and entering an excellent matchup against the Falcons, who’re twenty fifth in adjusted fantasy points per goal allowed to receivers.

Let’s take a better take a look at the Green Bay Packers’ pass catchers. Christian Watson has been a top-five weekly receiver in consecutive weeks, because of five touchdowns over two games. That’s great. The priority? The goal totals. Watson has scored five times on 14 targets (35.7%). You almost certainly don’t need me to let you know that it’s not sustainable. Watson, then, over the past two games, is giving us a 25.0% goal share in a run-heavy offense. Allen Lazard has the higher market share in that span (26.8%), but has a catch rate over expectation of -15.7% (Watson’s mark is +9.9%.). Each are on the low-end of the Tier 2 list. Just don’t bench higher options for Watson.

We may as well keep on with the teammate approach and take a dive into the Pittsburgh Steelers’ numbers for the reason that Chase Claypool trade. In two games for the reason that deal, it’s actually tight end Pat Freiermuth leading the best way with a 29.7% goal share. Each George Pickens and Diontae Johnson are tied for second at 15.6% goal shares. The higher leverage on those belongs to Pickens, who has a 15.3-yard average goal depth; Johnson’s mark is 9.5. Pickens has (somewhat) quietly finished because the WR20, WR22, WR54, WR11, WR129, WR23, and WR9 since Week 4. Johnson’s best finish all season is because the WR29 back in Week 3.


Start with confidence:

— Travis Kelce vs. LA (86%)

— Mark Andrews at JAC (74%)

— Pat Freiermuth at IND (55%)

— Tyler Higbee at KC (52%)

Consider if needed:

— George Kittle vs. NO (49%)

— Greg Dulcich at CAR (43%)

— Dalton Schultz vs. NYG (41%)

— Dawson Knox at DET (38%)

— T.J. Hockenson vs. NE (38%)

— David Njoku vs. TB (38%)

— Taysom Hill at SF (35%)

— Foster Moreau at SEA (34%)

— Evan Engram vs. BAL (33%)

— Juwan Johnson at SF (32%)

— Hayden Hurst at TEN (32%)

— Logan Thomas vs. ATL (31%)

Bench if possible:

Tyler Conklin vs. CHI (30%); Cole Kmet at NYJ (27%); Robert Tonyan at PHI (27%); Isaiah Likely at JAC (27%); Noah Fant vs. LV (26%); Mike Gesicki vs. HOU (26%); Gerald Everett at ARI (24% at full; 9% at half); Cade Otton at CLE (19%); Will Dissly vs. LV (19%); Jack Stoll vs. GB (18%); Hunter Henry at MIN (17%); Austin Hooper vs. CIN (15%); Cameron Brate at CLE (15%).

Gerald Everett is projected with a half workload initially.

David Njoku was still limited in practice on Friday last week and returned last week to a limited role: 18 routes (a 42.9% participation rate) for 3 targets and just 17 yards against a tricky defense. This week, he’s up against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who’re twenty first in adjusted fantasy points per goal allowed to the position.

Assuming he gets in a full practice by Friday, we should always be feeling good about rolling him out in our lineups again.

Taysom Hill had a greater role this past week than in recent games. Hill’s snap rate was still only 42.9%, but he attempted three passes, he ran nine times, and he drew a goal. The Latest Orleans Saints wish to get him more involved, so if you happen to need a good end this week and Hill is accessible, give him a go. There’s the next floor than with most tight ends resulting from the rushing, and the unique involvement gives him a ceiling. He’s one in every of the toughest players within the league to account for — each on the sphere and within the simulations.

Logan Thomas’ role has scaled back up since his return from injury. His weekly goal shares since Week 9 are 11.5%, 16.0%, and 26.1%.

The Falcons are pretty solid against tight ends, however it’s value noting they’ve allowed seven end zone targets to the position (second most), but let up only a single rating on those, which seems pretty unsustainable. Quite a lot of Commanders are viable this week, and for tight end-needy teams, Thomas can come through in a pinch.



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