Fantasy Football Starts, Sits, Sleepers: Week 12

Fantasy Football Starts, Sits, Sleepers: Week 12

by November 27, 2021 2 comments

The best part about fantasy football is winning. The second best part is the draft. However, the draft has come and gone. Now fantasy owners struggle with the weekly decision about which players to start, which to sit, and which to use as a sleeper. To help with that, I will provide two starts, two sits, and two sleepers at each position every week. Be sure to reach out with any fantasy football questions you may have. Without further ado, let’s get started.

All stats are based on four-point per passing touchdown and PPR scoring.

Quarterbacks

START: Russell Wilson at Washington Football Team

Since returning from a finger injury, Wilson has been horrible for fantasy owners. Over the past two weeks, Wilson has totaled 368 passing yards, zero touchdowns, two interceptions, and 14.1 fantasy points. Even before suffering the finger injury, Wilson had two games in a row with under 155 passing yards. However, fantasy owners should expect a bounce game Monday night. Washington has given up 23.9 fantasy points per game to quarterbacks this season, the most in the NFL. They have allowed at least two passing touchdowns in seven of their past eight games, giving up an average of 2.8 passing touchdowns per game during that span. While Wilson has struggled lately, he will bounce back Monday night.

START: Cam Newton at Miami Dolphins

In his first start since returning to the Carolina Panthers, Newton was close to perfect. He completed 77.8 percent of his passes, threw two touchdowns, and scored 26.2 fantasy points. Newton also had his typical role in the running game, finishing with 46 rushing yards and 10.6 fantasy points on the ground against Washington. Since returning to the Panthers, Newton has scored a touchdown on 11.4 percent of his throws and rushing attempts. This week Newton takes on a Dolphins defense that has allowed quarterbacks to average 1.8 passing touchdowns and 19.3 fantasy points per game this season. As he learns the offense, Newton will become a better quarterback. He has top-12 upside this week and the rest of the season.

SIT: Tua Tagovailoa vs Carolina Panthers

Last week, Tua scored 17.5 fantasy points against the New York Jets. It marked the fourth game in a row that Tua had 15 or more fantasy points as the starter. However, fantasy owners need to find a replacement option this week as Tua takes on the Panthers. They have held quarterbacks to only 15.6 fantasy points per game this season, the fifth-fewest in the NFL. Quarterbacks have thrown one or fewer touchdowns against the Panthers in 63.6 percent of their games this season, including four of their past five games. Tua belongs on the bench this week. However, expect him to bounce back next week against the New York Giants.

SIT: Teddy Bridgewater vs Los Angeles Chargers

Earlier this season, Bridgewater appeared to have weekly top-12 upside after back-to-back 20 plus fantasy points performances. However, he has averaged only 14.7 fantasy points per game since then, scoring 19 or more fantasy points only once. More importantly, Bridgewater has scored under 14 fantasy points in three of the past four games. Tomorrow he takes on a division rival in a critical AFC West matchup. The Chargers have held quarterbacks to 16.1 fantasy points per game this season, the sixth-fewest in the NFL. They have also held quarterbacks to 1.5 passing touchdowns per game this season, giving up under two touchdowns in three of their past five games. Despite all the weapons around him, Bridgewater will finish the week outside the top-20 quarterbacks.

SLEEPER: Jimmy Garoppolo vs Minnesota Vikings

Over the past four weeks, the only quarterbacks to score more fantasy points than Garoppolo have been Justin Herbert and Josh Allen. Since Week 8, Garoppolo has averaged two touchdowns, 251.5 passing yards, and 19.7 fantasy points per game. Surprisingly, Garoppolo has scored 14.7 or more fantasy points in all but two games this season. Fantasy owners should expect Garoppolo to keep up his recent success this week against the Vikings. They have allowed quarterbacks to average 19.2 fantasy points per game this season. However, they have given up 23.3 fantasy points per game to quarterbacks over the past month, giving up at least 17.2 fantasy points in three of those contests. While starting Garoppolo might be distasteful, his recent production makes him an excellent streaming option.

SLEEPER: Tyrod Taylor vs New York Jets

While he is far from the sexiest player to start, Taylor has played well this season. He has averaged 16.3 fantasy points per game this season, scoring two total touchdowns in 75 percent of the games. In the three games he has played start to finish, Taylor has scored 19 or more fantasy points in two of them. Meanwhile, the Jets have allowed quarterbacks to average 18.6 fantasy points per game this season. Over the past month, they have given up an average of two passing touchdowns and 21.6 fantasy points per game to quarterbacks. For those who need a bye week filler at quarterback, Taylor is an excellent replacement.

Running Backs

START: Miles Sanders at New York Giants

After missing three games with an ankle injury, Sanders returned last week and had 94 rushing yards against a talented New Orleans Saints run defense. While he didn’t score a touchdown, Sanders led the backfield in rushing attempts (16), snaps played (36), and fantasy points (7.4). Despite scoring only 7.4 fantasy points last week, Sanders has top-12 upside this week. The Giants have struggled to slow down running backs this season, giving up 27.1 fantasy points per game to the position. They have also given up at least 95 rushing yards to running backs in five of their past seven games. With Jordan Howard out this week, expect Sanders to have a strong performance against the Giants.

START: Devonta Freeman vs Cleveland Browns

Early in the year, Ty’Son Williams appeared to be the lead back. Then, Latavius Murray took over before suffering an ankle injury. Last week Murray returned from the ankle injury while the Baltimore Ravens released Le’Veon Bell. However, Freeman appears to be the lead back for the Ravens moving forward. He has led the team in snaps played in every game since the bye week, playing at least 58 percent of the snaps in every contest. Over the past three weeks, Freeman has been the RB13, averaging 15 fantasy points per game. Meanwhile, the Browns have allowed running backs to average 131.7 rushing yards, 1.7 rushing touchdowns, and 33.6 fantasy points per game over the past three weeks. Expect Freeman to keep up his recent hot play tomorrow night.

SIT: Myles Gaskin vs Carolina Panthers

Last week, Gaskin made the start list and had his second-best fantasy performance of the season with 18.6 fantasy points. In odd weeks, Gaskin has averaged 17.8 fantasy points per game. By comparison, he has averaged 5.3 fantasy points per game in even weeks. Furthermore, the Dolphins claimed Phillip Lindsay off waivers on Wednesday. While Lindsay won’t take over as the lead back, he will cut into Gaskin’s workload. More importantly, the Panthers have shut down opposing running backs this season. They have held running backs to only 18.4 fantasy points per game this season, the fewest in the NFL. The Panthers have also kept running backs under 18 fantasy points in over 63 percent of the games this season. Expect a quiet performance from Gaskin tomorrow.

SIT: Damien Harris vs Tennessee Titans

The New England Patriots backfield has turned into a three-headed monster between Harris, Rhamondre Stevenson, and Brandon Bolden. Unfortunately, that is the exact opposite of what fantasy owners want. After three games in a row with at least 14 rushing attempts, a rushing touchdown, and 14 fantasy points, Harris has back-to-back games with under 10.5 fantasy points. Harris has averaged 12.5 rushing attempts for 43 rushing yards and only 8.9 fantasy points per game over the past two games. Tomorrow, he faces a Titans defense that has shut down running backs recently. Over the past six weeks, the Titans have held running backs to only two rushing touchdowns and 17.9 fantasy points per game. Leave both Harris and Stevenson on the bench this week.

SLEEPER: Ty Johnson at Houston Texans

Unfortunately for the Jets, the rookie Michael Carter will miss the next few weeks with an ankle sprain. The running back mainly replacing Carter will be Johnson. Despite playing only 39.1 percent of the snaps this season, Johnson has scored double-digit fantasy points in 60 percent of the games, including five of the past seven. He also has double-digit rushing attempts in all but three games this season. Meanwhile, the Texans have given up an average of 25.4 fantasy points per game to running backs this year. They have given up at least 100 rushing yards to running backs in all but two games this season, including eight of the past nine games. While Tevin Coleman will have a role with Carter out, expect the Jets to lean on Johnson.

SLEEPER: David Johnson vs New York Jets

Over the past month, the Texans have traded away Mark Ingram and released Lindsay. The backfield that was once a fantasy wasteland has become somewhat transparent. In the past two games, Johnson led all Texan running backs in snaps played (66), touches (23), and fantasy points (13.4). While his numbers don’t stand out on paper, the matchup this week couldn’t be more appealing. The Jets have allowed running backs to average 37.5 fantasy points per game this season, the most in the NFL. Furthermore, the Jets have given up an average of 123 rushing yards, 2.2 rushing touchdowns, and 42.1 fantasy points per game to running backs since their bye week. Johnson is a flex option this week with plenty of upside given the matchup.

Wide Receivers

START: Brandon Aiyuk vs Minnesota Vikings

After a slow start to the season, Aiyuk has picked up his play lately. Over the past month, Aiyuk was the WR13, averaging 6.5 targets and 14.1 fantasy points per game. He scored 18.5 or more fantasy points in two of the past three games, including a season-high 21.5 fantasy points last week. Aiyuk has also scored two of his three touchdowns this season over the past three games. Tomorrow he has a great matchup against the Vikings. They have allowed wide receivers to average 41.4 fantasy points per game this season, the third-most in the NFL. Last week, the Vikings gave up 22 or more fantasy points to each Davante Adams and Marquez Valdes-Scantling. Aiyuk should have another game with over 18 fantasy points tomorrow.

START: Elijah Moore at Houston Texans

Over the past four weeks, Moore has been the WR1, averaging 20.9 fantasy points per game. He has scored at least 13 fantasy points in all four games. By comparison, Moore scored a total of 14.6 fantasy points before the Jets’ Week 6 bye. Last week, Moore had the best game of his career with eight catches on 11 targets for 141 receiving yards and 29.6 fantasy points. Tomorrow he has a great matchup against the Texans. They have allowed wide receivers to average 37.1 fantasy points per game this season. The Texans have also given up seven receiving touchdowns to wide receivers over their past five games. Moore has top-12 upside this week against a struggling Houston defense.

SIT: Courtland Sutton vs Los Angeles Chargers

Since Jerry Jeudy returned from an ankle injury, Sutton has been awful for fantasy owners. In those three games, he has a total of nine targets and 14.8 fantasy points. By comparison, Sutton had three games with 11 or more targets and 23 or more fantasy with Jeudy out of the lineup. Meanwhile, the Chargers have held wide receivers to only 28.7 fantasy points per game this season, the second-fewest in the NFL. They have also held wide receivers to only two receiving touchdowns over the past five games. Given how poorly he has played lately, Sutton belongs on the waiver wire.

SIT: Chase Claypool at Cincinnati Bengals

Coming off an impressive rookie season, Claypool has regressed this year. He has averaged only 12.2 fantasy points per game this season. Claypool has scored under 10.5 fantasy points in 62.5 percent of his games this season, including three of the past four contests. Tomorrow the Pittsburgh Steelers take on the Bengals in a critical AFC North matchup. The Bengals have held wide receivers to 34 fantasy points per game this season. However, they have stepped up their play recently. Wide receivers have scored under 32 fantasy points in under 60 percent of their games this season, including four of the past five games. Given the matchup this and his recent struggles, Claypool belong on the bench.

SLEEPER: Tyler Boyd vs Pittsburgh Steelers

While he has been inconsistent this season, Boyd has picked up his play lately. Over the past three games, Boyd had eight targets in two of them. He scored 12 or more fantasy points in both of those games. This week he faces a Steelers defense that has struggled to slow down wide receivers this season. The Steelers have allowed wide receivers to average 37 fantasy points per game this season. They have also given up over 41 fantasy points to the position in half of their games. More importantly, the Steelers have struggled to slow down slot receivers. Darnell Mooney and Keenan Allen have each scored over 20 fantasy points against the Steelers over the past three weeks. Boyd is a safe PPR flex option this week against the Steelers.

SLEEPER: Marvin Jones Jr. vs Atlanta Falcons

Given how poorly Jones has played this season, he is on the waiver wire in many leagues. Despite scoring under 9.5 fantasy points in six of the past seven games, Jones should turn things around tomorrow. He had six or more targets in all but two games this season, including five of the past seven games. More importantly, the Jaguars will need to count on Jones more moving forward with Jamal Agnew out for the season. Meanwhile, the Falcons have allowed wide receivers to average 37.3 fantasy points per game this season. They have also given up an average of 169 receiving yards, 1.7 receiving yards, and 42.2 fantasy points per game to wide receivers over the past three weeks. Don’t be surprised if this is the week Jones bounces back.

Tight Ends

START: Rob Gronkowski at Indianapolis Colts

After spending weeks on the injury report because of rib and back injuries, Gronkowski is off the injury report this week and ready to play tomorrow. In the three games he didn’t leave early this season, Gronk has averaged six catches on seven targets for 66.7 receiving yards, 1.3 touchdowns, and 20.7 fantasy points per game. Tomorrow he has a great matchup against a struggling Colts defense. They have given up an average of 15.8 fantasy points per game to tight ends this season. Furthermore, the Colts have allowed tight ends to average 17.5 fantasy points per game over the past month, the fourth-most in the NFL during that span. With Antonio Brown out again the week, expect Tom Brady to look Gronk’s way early and often in this game.

START: Noah Fant vs Los Angeles Chargers

The third-year tight end has been up and down this season, in part because of quarterback play. However, Fant has averaged 14.4 fantasy points per game this season when he sees at least six targets. Tomorrow Fant has a great matchup against the Chargers in a critical AFC West showdown. The Chargers have allowed tight ends to average 17.2 fantasy points per game this season, the second-most in the NFL. Over the past two weeks, they have given up 11 catches for 60 receiving yards, four touchdowns, and 41 fantasy points to tight ends. They have also given up at least one touchdown to tight ends in all but three games this season. Given the matchup, Fant has top-five upside this week.

SIT: Mike Gesicki vs Carolina Panthers

Over the past four weeks, Gesicki has averaged only 7.3 fantasy points per game, finishing as the TE15 in that span. Despite averaging 6.3 targets per game in the past month, Gesicki has scored 10 or fewer fantasy points in every game. Furthermore, he has averaged only five fantasy points per game over the past two weeks despite seeing 13 targets in that span. Unfortunately for Gesicki, the matchup tomorrow is far from ideal. The Panthers have held tight ends to only 10.6 fantasy points per game this season, 1.6 fewer fantasy points per game than the league average. Furthermore, they have given up only one touchdown and 7.8 fantasy points per game to tight ends over the past month. This week, fantasy owners need to leave Gesicki on the bench.

SIT: Hunter Henry vs Tennessee Titans

Earlier this season, Henry had a four-week stretch where he scored a touchdown in every game. During that span, Henry was the TE7, averaging 13.4 fantasy points per game. However, he has regressed since then. Over the past four weeks, Henry has averaged only 3.3 targets and 9.6 fantasy points per game. He has become a touchdown or bust type of tight end. Meanwhile, the Titans have held tight ends to only 8.8 fantasy points per game this season, the fifth-fewest in the NFL. More importantly, the Titans have given up only three touchdowns to tight ends this season, the fourth-fewest in the league. Henry has failed to score a touchdown in two of the past four games. He’s unlikely to score a touchdown tomorrow, limiting his fantasy appeal.

SLEEPER: Logan Thomas vs Seattle Seahawks

On Monday, Washington designated Thomas to return from injured reserve, opening up his practice window. Before going on injured reserve with a hamstring injury, Thomas averaged 11.2 fantasy points per game in the three healthy contests he played. He scored two touchdowns in those games while averaging 4.7 targets per game. Meanwhile, the Seahawks have allowed tight ends to average 14.5 fantasy points per game this season. Last week, they gave up a season-high two touchdowns and 28.8 fantasy points to Zach Ertz. It marked the third time the Seahawks have given up 20 or more fantasy points to tight ends this season. While Thomas won’t score 20 fantasy points in his return this week, the matchup makes him a top-10 tight end.

SLEEPER: Austin Hooper at Baltimore Ravens

Hooper has been mostly quiet this year, averaging only 5.1 fantasy points per game over the first nine games of the season. However, he has averaged four catches on six targets for 39 receiving yards, 0.5 touchdowns, and 10.9 fantasy points per game over the past two weeks. More importantly, Hooper had a 19.4 percent target share in those two games. Fantasy owners should expect Hooper to keep up his recent play against the Ravens on Sunday night. They have allowed tight ends to average 16.4 fantasy points per game this season. They have also given up three touchdowns over the past four weeks to tight ends. While Hooper won’t score 16 fantasy points this week, he should have no trouble scoring 11 or more against the Ravens.


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Mike Fanelli is the Editor in Chief and fantasy football expert for Prime Time Sports Talk since 2018. He is a featured writer for FantasyPros. Follow him on Twitter @Mike_NFL2 and reach out anytime with any fantasy football questions.

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