Week 12 was an important one for fantasy football. Managers are trying to make that last playoff push as the regular season will soon come to a close. Three exciting games were played on Thursday Night Football, while many teams with playoff aspirations faced off on Sunday. A recap of each game is going to be provided in this article each week.
Chicago Bears @ Detroit Lions
The least exciting Thanksgiving game on paper, this one came down to a game-winning field goal and provided plenty of entertainment. Andy Dalton (24/39, 317 yards, 1 score, 1 pick) filled in for the injured Justin Fields, and provided a boost to the Chicago passing game. Darnell Mooney (5/123) was the main beneficiary of this, continuing his breakout 2021 campaign. Cole Kmet (8/65) and Jimmy Graham (2/34/1) both put up some points today, but in most games will cancel each other out. Neither are recommended fantasy options. David Montgomery ran for just 46 scoreless yards, and his 3 catches were not enough to save his day. His lack of receiving means he won’t have a big day unless Chicago is in a rare positive game script. He’s a low-end RB2 ROS.
Jared Goff (21/25, 171 yards, 2 touchdowns) was good enough to keep Detroit in the game. However, T.J. Hockensen (3/35/1) is the only fantasy-relevant receiving threat on the Lions, and is just a mid-to-low range TE1. Josh Reynolds (3/70/1) had a spike week, but the consistency and volume is not there for him to be a starting option. Now, to the sad part of this game. D’Andre Swift suffered a shoulder injury. Swift is day-to-day with his injury, and his practice participation needs to be closely monitored by his fantasy football managers. Furthermore, the absence of Swift lowers the touchdown upside of everyone on this offense. Jamaal Williams is an RB2 in games that Swift misses.
Las Vegas Raiders @ Dallas Cowboys
This game was a barnburner where both teams had multiple players have big fantasy days. Derek Carr threw for 379 yards and 1 score, allowing his receivers to eat. Hunter Renfrow (8/134) had his best game of the season, while DeSean Jackson (3/102/1) caught a long touchdown. Darren Waller was injured, and will likely miss at least one week. In his absence, Hunter Renfrow is a WR2, while Jackson is not a viable start due to his reliance on long touchdowns. Josh Jacobs (22/87/1) had one of his best games of the season, and shapes up as a solid RB2 for the rest of the year.
On Dallas’ side, Dak Prescott rebounded from a poor week 11 by throwing for 375 yards and 2 touchdowns. Tony Pollard ended up out-touching Ezekiel Elliott, and now Zeke might sit out Thursday’s game against the Saints. Pollard will be on the RB1/RB2 borderline if Elliott sits. Elliott has become touchdown-dependent in recent weeks, and is a high-end RB2 if active. However, he will carry an extremely low floor. Michael Gallup (5/106) and Cedrick Wilson (7/104) had great weeks. Neither are fantasy options next week though, as both Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb appear on track to play on Thursday. Dalton Schultz (3/46/1) continues to provide value as a consistent mid-range TE1.
Buffalo Bills @ New Orleans Saints
Josh Allen (260 yards, 4 touchdowns, 2 interceptions) helped the Bills roll over the Saints. Allen is a top 4 option at QB. Neither Devin Singletary (15/44) nor Matt Breida (9/26) were particularly efficient, though Breida did score a receiving touchdown. I don’t recommend either player next week against a New England defense that has allowed 26 total points in its last 4 games. Stefon Diggs (7/74/1) has now scored at least one touchdown in 5 of his last 6 games. He is an elite WR1. Dawson Knox (3/32/2) remains a low-end TE1 for his redzone ability.
Trevor Siemian threw for just 163 yards, and Taysom Hill is now taking QB1 reps at practice. Both Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram were ruled out for Thursday Night Football, and Tony Jones (16/27) was a dud as their replacement. No Saints receiver went over 47 yards, and Nick Vannett caught the only touchdown. Taysom Hill doesn’t raise the ceiling of this passing offense either, leaving Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram as the only reliable starters, depending on which back returns first.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Indianapolis Colts
Tom Brady (25/34, 226 yards, 1 touchdown, 1 interception) didn’t throw all too well, but did enough to get the win. Rob Gronkowski (7/123) was his main target, and Gronk is once again a top option at the position. Leonard Fournette put up 131 total yards and 4 touchdowns (Seriously, are we back in 2017?) and will be a high-end RB2 against Atlanta. Chris Godwin (4/24) and Mike Evans (3/16) took a backseat to Gronk today, but are likely to put up big numbers against a terrible Falcons defense, even with the possible return of Antonio Brown.
Carson Wentz threw for 306 yards, 3 touchdowns, and 2 picks, and remains a fringe QB1. Jonathan Taylor was just 3 yards shy of another 100 yard games, but his touchdown allowed him to still score 19.7 points. Taylor is the number 1 RB in fantasy football (possibly real life), and it isn’t particularly close. Michael Pittman (4/53) has fallen back down to Earth a bit, but is still a solid WR2. T.Y. Hilton scored, but had just 28 yards and is droppable if you still have him rostered. Jack Doyle came out of nowhere to score 20.1 points, but is nowhere near startable. Sunday was his second game of the season with more than 10 fantasy points.
Tennessee Titans @ New England Patriots
Tennessee is now missing both of their top receivers, and it showed. Ryan Tannehill put up just 93 yards in the blowout, and isn’t a recommended fantasy option for the remainder of the season. Nick Westbrook-Ikhine led Tennessee in receiving with just 25 yards, showing you just how far this passing game has fallen. On the other hand, Tennessee’s running backs both had good games. Dontrell Hilliard (12/131/1) led the charge in yards and is also the pass-catcher, while D’Onta Foreman (19/109) garnered the most touches. Foreman is the most likely to retain his role after the bye, as Jeremy McNichols’ eventual return could eat into Hilliard’s workload.
Mac Jones (23/32, 310 yards, 2 touchdowns) was again sharp as he orchestrated a demolition of the Tennessee defense. Jakobi Meyers (5/98) will be a high-end WR3 for as long as Jones can maintain this level of performance. The same goes for Kendrick Bourne (5/61/2), who has more touchdown upside than Meyers with a lower floor. Jonnu Smith (3/49) and Hunter Henry (2/16) canceled each other out. Rhamondre Stevenson (9/46) and Damien Harris (11/40/1) are now splitting carries, muddying the waters of this backfield as neither catch passes. Both running backs are high-end RB3s, but if either were to get injured, the other would immediately become a high-end RB2.
New York Jets @ Houston Texans
Zach Wilson threw for 145 scoreless yards and an interception, and severely hampers the upside of the offense. Tevin Coleman (16/67) was in control of the backfield, but will struggle to score touchdowns in this lethargic environment. Elijah Moore (4/46) will always have huge upside when Corey Davis is out, but Wilson ensures a low floor as well. Jamison Crowder (1/5) cannot be played with confidence, as New Yok can only support one pass catcher a game.
Tyrod Taylor (158 yards, 2 scores, 1 interception) was alright, but like Wilson (to a lesser extent), he prevents Houston from supporting many fantasy options. Brandin Cooks (3/45/1) is the only Texan even worth starting consideration. David Johnson (10/39) an Rex Burkhead (12/27) are below-average back splitting carries for a bad team. I hope your fantasy football roster has a better option than those two.
Philadelphia Eagles @ New York Giants
Jalen Hurts threw for just 129 yards and 3 interceptions, and his legs were not enough to save him today. His 77 scoreless rushing yards certainly helped, but Hurts still put up just 6.86 points. Nevertheless, he remains an elite option at the position, especially against the Jets in week 13. Boston Scott (15/64/1) out-gained and out-touched Miles Sanders, who suffered an ankle injury. Scott could be an intriguing option if both Sanders and Howard are ruled out next week. DeVonta Smith (2/22) had a quiet game, but his upside and a great matchup leave him as a high-end WR3 for week 13.
Daniel Jones (19/30, 202 yards, 1 touchdown) played alright, and added 30 yards on the ground. Saquon Barkley ran for just 40 yards on 13 carries, while gaining just 13 yard on his 4 catches. He has yet to rush for over 57 yards this season, and can be considered an RB2 instead of an RB1 ROS. Kenny Golladay (3/50) stepped up in the absence of Kadarius Toney and Sterling Shepard, but Jones’ inconsistency and lack of yardage leaves Shepard the only real fantasy option, if he ever gets healthy.
Carolina Panthers @ Miami Dolphins
Cam Newton made many fantasy rankings, mine included, look downright terrible. He completed under 25 percent of his passes for 92 scoreless yards and 2 interceptions while not logging a single rush attempt. D.J. Moore (4/103) will be a boom-or-bust WR2 for the rest of the season, regardless if Newton or P.J. Walker is the QB. Either way, the passing offense will be inefficient and reliant on big plays. Christian McCaffrey has been ruled out for the season, leaving Chuba Hubbard to become the starter. Hubbard will be an RB2 ROS.
Tua Tagovailoa had the exact opposite day of Newton. He completed 27 of his 31 passes for 230 yards and a touchdown. Myles Gaskin (16/49/2) had another big day, although Phillip Lindsay logging 12 rushes behind him is concerning. Jaylen Waddle (9/137/1) had the best game of his young career, and is quickly moving into solid WR2 territory. Mike Gesicki (3/17) has been inconsistent the last few weeks, but is still a TE1 given the barren landscape of the position.
Pittsburgh Steelers @ Cincinnati Bengals
Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh offense was held to just 10 points. However, Diontae Johnson (9/95) continued his campaign as a WR1, while Chase Claypool (3/82) made some big plays. Pat Freiermuth (4/40/1) remains a low-end TE1. Najee Harris had just 37 total yards and was the biggest non-injury-related bust of the week. Baltimore presents a tough matchup, but I expect this offense to bounce back, especially Najee.
Joe Burrow didn’t need to throw often, attempting just 24 passes, but was effective while doing so. Tee Higgins (6/114/1) had a career game and is a solid flex option. Joe Mixno (28/165/2) continued his rampage across the league, and has entered elite RB1 territory. Ja’Marr Chase (3/39) will have better games when Cincinnati needs to throw more. Tyler Boyd, however, is too often the odd man out, and is not a good start at WR.
Atlanta Falcons @ Jacksonville Jaguars
Matt Ryan (19/29, 190 yards, 1 touchdown, 1 interception) wasn’t terrific, but had a much better game than either of his previous two showings. Cordarrelle Patterson, back from injury, racked up 108 rushing yards and 2 touchdowns while adding 2 catches for 27 yards. Patterson is a no-brainer top 8 player at RB, and still maintains dual eligibility at WR in Yahoo leagues. He is one of the most valuable assets in fantasy football. Russell Gage (6/62/1) led Atlanta in receiving, and is a dart-throw WR4 in deep leagues. Kyle Pitts (2/26) remains just outside the top 10 at TE.
Trevor Lawrence (23/42, 228 yards, 1 touchdown, 1 interception) continues to fight through growing pains, preventing any of his receivers from being legitimate fantasy football options. James Robinson, on the other hand, is a solid RB2, an rushed for 86 yards while adding 3 catches for 29 yards. Dan Arnold has been placed on IR, eliminating a streaming option from the TE pool.
Los Angeles Rams @ Green Bay Packers
Matthew Stafford (21/38, 302 yards, 3 touchdowns, 1 interception) is entering Jameis Winston in Tampa Bay territory. The last few weeks, he hasn’t played well in real football, but has put up the numbers to make fantasy football managers happy. Darrell Henderson caught a touchdown, helping to make up for his mediocre rushing performance. Cooper Kupp’s 7 catches for 96 yards was one of his worst games of the season, letting you know just how dominant the Rams wideout has been. Odell Beckham (5/81/1) caught a long touchdown and was targeted 10 times. If his injury isn’t serious (he was able to play through it on Sunday), then OBJ has legitimate WR2 upside in his new home.
Aaron Rodgers threw for 307 yards and 2 scores, and continues to be a top 8 QB1. AJ Dillon out-touched Aaron Jones 25-10, and this backfield could quickly become a fantasy headache if Aaron Jones is unable to become healthy enough to regain his status as the team’s clear RB1. Davante Adams (8/104) is a consensus top-2 player at WR. Marquez Valdes-Scantling (5/50) isn’t very consistent, but always carries massive upside if you need to take a risk.
Minnesota Vikings @ San Francisco 49ers
Aside from lining up under the wrong lineman, Kirk Cousins (238 yards, 2 scores, 1 pick) had a decent day. Justin Jefferson (4/83) is still an elite WR1. Adam Thielen (5/62/2) sits on the WR1/WR2 borderline. Dalvin Cook was having a good day before disaster struck. Cook suffered a dislocated shoulder and a torn labrum. It is likely not a season-ending injury for the Vikings, but could possibly be one for your fantasy football team. Alexander Mattison will be an RB1 for any games that Cook misses.
Jimmy Garoppolo (230/1/1) did his job in securing the win for the 49ers, but did not put up big fantasy numbers. Deebo Samuel will miss 1-2 weeks with a groin injury, leaving Brandon Aiyuk (3/91) as the clear number 1 receiver in San Francisco. He currently ranks as a high-end WR3, but easily has the potential to reach WR2 status by the end of the year. Elijah Mitchell (27/133/1 rushing, 5/35 receiving) had a career game, and is firmly entrenched as the 49ers’ starter. is creeping towards the RB1/2 borderline. George Kittle 1/13 had another disappointing game, but given the state of the TE position in fantasy football, it is hard to rank him outside the top 5.
Cleveland Browns @ Baltimore Ravens
Baker Mayfield was completed under 50 percent of his passes, but that did not stop Jarvis Landry (6/111) from having one of the best games of his season. Landry has still only been over 37 yards 3 times this season, and ranks as a low-end WR3. Nick Chubb (8/16) and Kareem Hunt (7/20) weren’t able to get anything going on the ground. Chubb is still an RB1, while Hunt has RB2 appeal and remains an elite handcuff.
Lamar Jackson somehow carried the Ravens, while he simultaneously almost cost them the game. His 165yards, 1 touchdown, and 4 interception left a lot to be desired, but his 68 rushing yards and constant avoiding of sacks helped them drive down the field late in the 4th quarter. Devonta Freeman has secured the starting RB spot from Latavius Murray and is a low-end RB2. Mark Andrews (4/65/1) is an elite TE option, while Marquise Brown (8/51) is a high-end WR2. Rashod Bateman (4/31) has upside, but is the clear cut 3rd option, and should be left on fantasy football benches.
Seattle Seahawks @ Washington Football Team
Russell Wilson (20/31, 247 yards, 2 touchdowns) had a better performance than his previous two games. The offense was still stagnant at times, but at least there were signs of life. Alex Collins (7/14) should not be started in any format, despite being an unquestioned starter for his team. Tyler Lockett (3/96) is starting to have some consistency, and is a WR2 ROS. D.K. Metcalf has struggled mightily since Russ returned, and is being downgraded from a WR1 to a mid-to-high WR2. He will get it going at some point, but fantasy football managers need that point to be NOW.
Taylor Heinicke (223 yards, 1 touchdown, 1 interception) did not quite live up to my start of the week expectations, but managed to get the win. Antonio Gibson (29/111 rushing, 7/35 receiving) was phenomenal, and he is peaking at just the right time this season. J.D. McKissic (7/30/1 rushing, 5/26/1 receiving) is a touchdown-dependent, PPR favored boom-or-bust RB2. Terry McLaurin (4/51) did not have his best game, but Scary Terry should bounce back against a Raiders secondary that got torched by Cedrick Wilson and Michel Gallup. Logan Thomas 3/31) is a mid-range TE2.
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