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Week 12 fantasy football rankings: Navigating an ever-changing IR landscape

Steven Psihogios
·19-min read

Week 12 of the NFL season has arrived, and after the year it’s been that’s absolutely something to be thankful for.

So with this weekend’s slate approaching after another contentious week of COVID-related issues, cancellations and setbacks, let’s get your lineup ready to produce as we trudge into a critical stretch on the fantasy football calendar.

Here’s your complete Week 12 fantasy rankings:

QB

1) Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs (at Tampa Bay Buccaneers)

2) Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills (vs. Los Angeles Chargers)

3) Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks (at Philadelphia Eagles)

4) Deshaun Watson, Houston Texans (at Detroit Lions) - Played on Thursday

5) Kyler Murray, Arizona Cardinals (at New England Patriots)

6) Justin Herbert, Los Angeles Chargers (at Buffalo Bills)

7) Taysom Hill, New Orleans Saints (at Denver Broncos)

Hill showed enough in his first career NFL start to warrant consideration as a weekly QB1. He wasn’t dominant through the air, but he completed an impressive 18-of-23 passes for 233 yards while adding 10 carries for 51 yards and a pair of scores. He proved that his arm is good enough to be an NFL starter while his athleticism makes him a true dual-threat at the position. In Week 12, his matchup is slightly more difficult as he’s pinned against the Broncos, who are tied for allowing the 16th-most fantasy points to QB’s this year. Regardless, it’s not a matchup I’m shying away from, and I will once again play Hill proactively.

8) Derek Carr, Las Vegas Raiders (at Atlanta Falcons)

Carr’s 2020 fantasy production has been a little sporadic, as Week 11’s 22.60-point performance was his first game with 15+ fantasy points since Week 7. Under the right conditions, however, he’s worth a start and Week 12 presents an optimal matchup in the Falcons. Atlanta is conceding the most fantasy points per-game to opposing QBs this season, so I can see Carr having success in this setting.

9) Cam Newton, New England Patriots (vs. Arizona Cardinals)

In Week 11, Newton turned in a serviceable performance finishing as QB14. What was noteworthy about his effort was his effectiveness through the air — throwing for 365 passing yards and a touchdown — but he struggled on the ground, rushing for a season-low six yards on three attempts. Back home at Gillette Stadium, Newton faces a Cardinals defense which is allowing the third-most rushing yards to quarterbacks this season. Over its past four matches, Arizona has surrendered 199 rushing yards to QBs, which is the most of any team since Week 7. I can see Newton having a lot of success on the ground in this game.

10) Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers (vs. Chicago Bears)

11) Tom Brady, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (vs. Kansas City Chiefs)

Brady looked completely out of sorts in Week 11 against the Rams, making ill-advised throws and completely missing receivers all together. Part of that was due to the strength of Los Angeles’ defense, and part of that was due to Brady’s own struggles. In Week 12, he’ll face another pass defense which has been sneakily difficult for opposing QBs. The Chiefs are tied for allowing the ninth-fewest fantasy points per game to QBs, while their 11.3% hurry rate is the sixth-highest. The status of Buccaneers’ LG Ali Marpet will likely impact Brady’s performance as having him back on the offensive line should help keep the pocket clean. I have confidence that the veteran can bounce back in a pivotal home date against Kansas City, who’ll be playing their second-straight road game.

12) Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers (vs. Baltimore Ravens)

13) Ryan Fitzpatrick, Miami Dolphins (at New York Jets)

14) Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons (vs. Las Vegas Raiders)

15) Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings (vs. Carolina Panthers)

16) Daniel Jones, New York Giants (at Cincinnati Bengals)

17) Carson Wentz, Philadelphia Eagles (vs. Seattle Seahawks)

Even in a golden matchup like the one he’ll see in Week 12, I don't trust that Wentz can deliver. Last week in a game where the Browns were missing their best defensive player in Myles Garrett, all of Wentz’s flaws were on display. His poor decision making resulted in a pick-six, while his bad habit of hanging onto the football too long resulted in a safety. Seattle remains the second-best matchup for opposing quarterbacks in fantasy football, but as Jared Goff proved two weeks ago, you still have to trust the QB in your lineup.

18) Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions (vs. Houston Texans) - Played on Thursday

Stafford has really slipped down the rankings in fantasy football due to injuries. He’s currently dealing with a thumb injury, but that may not be the biggest factor in his struggles. The injury to WR Kenny Golladay hasn’t helped the veteran gunslinger, either. In the four contests he’s played with Golladay in the lineup, Stafford has averaged 18.39 fantasy points per game. In the six games he’s played without Golladay, that number drops to 16.48. He’ll once again be without Golladay on Thanksgiving Day, which downgrades him in a matchup against the Texans, who are surrendering the sixth-highest yards per attempt in the NFL.

19) Andy Dalton, Dallas Cowboys (vs. Washington Football Team) - Played on Thursday

20) Ryan Tannehill, Tennessee Titans (at Indianapolis Colts)

21) Jared Goff, Los Angeles Rams (vs. San Francisco 49ers)

22) Philip Rivers, Indianapolis Colts (vs. Tennessee Titans)

23) Teddy Bridgewater, Carolina Panthers (at MInnesota Vikings)

24) Baker Mayfield, Cleveland Browns (at Jacksonville Jaguars)

25) Alex Smith, Washington Football Team (at Dallas Cowboys) - Played on Thursday

26) Sam Darnold, New York Jets (vs. Miami Dolphins)

27) Drew Lock, Denver Broncos (at New Orleans Saints)

28) Robert Griffin III, Baltimore Ravens (at Pittsburgh Steelers)

29) Nick Mullens, San Francisco 49ers (at Los Angeles Rams)

30) Mitch Trubisky, Chicago Bears (at Green Bay Packers)

31) Brandon Allen, Cincinnati Bengals (vs. New York Giants)

32) Mike Glennon, Jacksonville Jaguars (vs. Cleveland Browns)

RB

1) Dalvin Cook, Minnesota Vikings (vs. Carolina Panthers)

2) Alvin Kamara, New Orleans Saints (at Denver Broncos)

For the first time in his NFL career, Kamara was held to zero receptions in a game during the Saints’ Week 11 win over the Falcons. The potential issue with this development moving forward is that it coincided with Taysom Hill’s first career start. Another potential problem could be his lingering foot injury, as Latavius Murray actually out-snapped Kamara 33-32 in the contest. Regardless, fantasy managers can’t get too worked up about fantasy football’s clear RB2 after the disappointing outing. In Week 12, he battles the Broncos who have been an average run-stopping unit this season. He still should be started with full confidence.

3) Nick Chubb, Cleveland Browns (at Jacksonville Jaguars)

4) Derrick Henry, Tennessee Titans (at Indianapolis Colts)

5) Aaron Jones, Green Bay Packers (vs. Chicago Bears)

6) Josh Jacobs, Las Vegas Raiders (at Atlanta Falcons)

7) Miles Sanders, Philadelphia Eagles (vs. Seattle Seahawks)

8) James Robinson, Jacksonville Jaguars (vs. Cleveland Browns)

9) Antonio Gibson, Washington Football Team (at Dallas Cowboys) - Played on Thursday

10) Kareem Hunt, Cleveland Browns (at Jacksonville Jaguars)

11) Mike Davis, Carolina Panthers (at Minnesota Vikings)

12) Austin Ekeler, Los Angeles Chargers (at Buffalo Bills)

Ekeler’s status for Sunday’s game against the Bills is unclear, but if he plays, he immediately re-enters the RB1 conversation. In the two full games he played with rookie Justin Herbert, he finished as Week 2’s RB16 and Week 3’s RB5, while combining for 43 touches over those two games. He’d be a massive boost for fantasy managers looking to get right as the playoffs near.

13) Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys (vs. Washington Football Team) - Played on Thursday

With Andy Dalton back under centre following the Cowboys’ bye week, Elliott posted his first double-digit fantasy performance since Week 5. It appears that having both Dalton and offensive lineman Zack Martin will help liven Dallas’ offense. Entering a matchup against a Football Team run defence which has allowed over five yards per carry in two of its last three games, Elliott profiles as a high-end RB2 on Thanksgiving.

14) Chris Carson, Seattle Seahawks (at Philadelphia Eagles)

15) Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Kansas City Chiefs (at Tampa Bay Buccaneers)

16) Raheem Mostert, San Francisco 49ers (at Los Angeles Rams)

Mostert was designated for return off of IR this week and he’s set to return this Sunday. He hasn’t played since Week 6, but his 15.70 fantasy points per game rank seventh amongst all RBs this year. His return would be a huge boost as San Francisco has rushed for 100 yards or more in each of the four games Mostert has played in this season, while doing so just twice in the six games he has missed. The Rams are a less-than-ideal opponent as they have conceded the third-fewest fantasy points to running backs this season, but Mostert is a surefire RB2 if he’s active.

17) Nyheim Hines, Indianapolis Colts (at Tennessee Titans)

Despite a quiet outing against the Packers in Week 11, I’m still confident in Hines as a flex option in fantasy football, especially now that Jonathan Taylor (COVID-19 reserve list) will miss Sunday’s game. Hines’ day could’ve been much bigger if it wasn’t for a holding call that negated a receiving touchdown. He’s still one of the most efficient fantasy backs, as his 1.17 fantasy points per touch trail only Kamara amongst running backs. In Week 10 he was a major part of the Colts’ game plan in a winning effort against the Titans. He rushed 12 times for 70 yards and a touchdown while adding five receptions for 45 yards and a touchdown. Tennessee is tied for allowing the seventh-most fantasy points to RBs in 2020.

18) Wayne Gallman, New York Giants (at Cincinnati Bengals)

19) Damien Harris, New England Patriots (vs. Arizona Cardinals)

20) Brian Hill, Atlanta Falcons (vs. Las Vegas Raiders)

Todd Gurley (knee) did not practice at all this week and will not be active in Week 12. Instead, Hill will likely lead the Falcons’ backfield. Hill has been solid in a change-of-pace role for Atlanta this season, handling 60 carries while averaging 4.4 yards per carry. The 25-year-old has also snagged 16 of his 20 targets for 116 receiving yards. The appeal in playing Hill this week really comes in the matchup, as the Raiders are surrendering the fourth-most fantasy points per-game to running backs this season.

21) Giovani Bernard, Cincinnati Bengals (vs. New York Giants)

Bernard (concussion) did not practice on Wednesday, but he did get in a limited session on Thursday and was a full participant on Friday. His status for this weekend’s game against the Giants is uncertain, but the full practice is an encouraging sign. Continue to monitor the situation throughout the weekend, but if he’s not able to play, Semaje Perine is the next RB on the depth chart. He’d serve as an RB3 if he draws the start.

22) Ronald Jones, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (vs. Kansas City Chiefs)

23) Duke Johnson Jr., Houston Texans (at Detroit Lions)

24) Benny Snell Jr., Pittsburgh Steelers (vs. Baltimore Ravens)

It was announced on Saturday that James Conner tested positive for COVID-19, which means Snell Jr. will start in Conner’s place if the game between the Ravens and Steelers is ever actually played. Both teams have battled COVID-19 cases throughout the week, so it’ll be worth monitoring how the NFL handles the situation.

25) David Montgomery, Chicago Bears (at Green Bay Packers)

26) Zack Moss, Buffalo Bills (vs. Los Angeles Chargers)

27) Leonard Fournette, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (vs. Kansas City Chiefs)

28) Melvin Gordon, Denver Broncos (vs. New Orleans Saints)

29) J.D. McKissic, Washington Football Team (at Dallas Cowboys)

30) Chase Edmonds, Arizona Cardinals (at New England Patriots)

WR

1) Davante Adams, Green Bay Packers (vs. Chicago Bears)

2) Tyreek Hill, Kansas City Chiefs (at Tampa Bay Buccaneers)

3) Keenan Allen, Los Angeles Chargers (at Buffalo Bills)

Allen has earned top-3 WR respect. Since Justin Herbert took over as QB for the Chargers in Week 2, he’s WR2 in fantasy football. His 99 targets in that span are 10 more than the next closest player, his 77 receptions are 12 more than the second best, and his four 100-plus yard outings are tied for the most. Playing in the slot, Allen will likely avoid Bills standout corner Tre’Davious White and instead lock up with Taron Johnson, which is a much more favourable matchup. Continue to treat Allen as a top-tier wide receiver and one of the biggest draft values in fantasy football.

4) Stefon Diggs, Buffalo Bills (vs. Los Angeles Chargers)

5) D.K. Metcalf, Seattle Seahawks (at Philadelphia Eagles)

6) Michael Thomas, New Orleans Saints (at Denver Broncos)

7) Terry McLaurin, Washington Football Team (at Dallas Cowboys) - Played on Thursday

8) DeAndre Hopkins, Arizona Cardinals (at New England Patriots)

9) Tyler Lockett, Seattle Seahawks (at Philadelphia Eagles)

10) Calvin Ridley, Atlanta Falcons (vs. Las Vegas Raiders)

11) Will Fuller V, Houston Texans (at Detroit Lions) - Played on Thursday

Fuller V should be locked into all fantasy lineups this week as he will likely draw Lions cornerback Desmond Trufant in coverage. Over the past two weeks, both of Trufant’s primary receiver coverages have had monster days. In Week 10, he allowed Terry McLaurin from the Football Team to catch eight passes for 126 yards. In Week 11, he was responsible for allowing Panthers’ wide receiver Robbie Anderson to record seven grabs for 85 yards, according to PlayerProfiler.com. Fuller, like many, will feast on Thanksgiving Day.

12) A.J. Brown, Tennessee Titans (vs. Indianapolis Colts)

13) Justin Jefferson, Minnesota Vikings (vs. Carolina Panthers)

14) Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons (vs. Las Vegas Raiders)

15) DeVante Parker, Miami Dolphins (at New York Jets)

Parker returned to the end zone in Week 11 and saw nine targets which was the second-most he’s seen this season. Since switching to Tua Tagovailoa, Parker’s numbers have dipped. His receiving yards have dropped from 61 yards per game to 40 yards per game and his yards per target have dropped from 9.33 to 6.33. After Tagovailoa injured his thumb in practice during the week, veteran gunslinger Ryan Fitzpatrick will remain under centre in Week 12. That’s good news for Parker.

16) Diontae Johnson, Pittsburgh Steelers (vs. Baltimore Ravens)

17) Mike Evans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (vs. Kansas City Chiefs)

If you started Evans in fantasy football in Week 11, you were likely extremely pleased by the result considering he went toe-to-toe with Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey. In Week 11, his corner matchup will be much easier as he’ll likely see a lot of Bashaud Breeland in coverage. Breeland has been good this season, as he’s allowed 20 yards or more just once to the receiver he has primarily covered in a game. Evans, however, presents the toughest assignment Breeland’s seen all year. The talented Bucs receiver saw six red-zone targets last week, the most of any receiver in the NFL. It’s pretty obvious where Tom Brady wants to go with the ball when the field gets shorter, and good luck trying to stop him.

18) Cooper Kupp, Los Angeles Rams (vs. San Francisco 49ers)

19) Allen Robinson, Chicago Bears (at Green Bay Packers)

I typically have Robinson slotted very high in my rankings, but this week I’m standing down. The Bears are heading on the road to play the Packers, a matchup that has not been historically kind as the Bears are averaging 15.5 points per game in their last six matchups against the Packers. Additionally, Robinson will likely be blanketed in coverage by star corner Jaire Alexander. Alexander has kept standout receivers like Mike Evans (44 yards), Will Fuller V (22 yards), Calvin Ridley (66 yards) and Justin Jefferson (25 yards) in-check this season. Not to mention, it’s still unknown who’ll be under centre for the Bears. Although when your options are Nick Foles or Mitch Trubisky, it doesn’t make much of a difference.

20) Curtis Samuel, Carolina Panthers (at Minnesota Vikings)

21) Darius Slayton, New York Giants (at Cincinnati Bengals)

Predictably, Slayton has been an all-or-nothing type of player in fantasy football this season and his last two games perfectly encapsulate his volatility. In Week 9, the speedy receiver was held to just one reception for six yards on one target. In Week 10, Slayton got loose for five receptions and 93 yards on seven targets. Sterling Shepard’s return has cut into his target volume, but I think he can take advantage of a weak Bengals secondary. He'll likely line up across from corner William Jackson III who, like Slayton, has had an inconsistent season. Lately, however, opposing receivers have had a lot of success when facing Jackson III. Over his past three games, his primary receivers have combined for 244 receiving yards. If you have Slayton on your roster, this is one of the weeks you’ll likely want to use him.

22) CeeDee Lamb, Dallas Cowboys (vs. Washington Football Team) - Played on Thursday

23) Marvin Jones Jr., Detroit Lions (vs. Houston Texans) - Played on Thursday

24) Robert Woods, Los Angeles Rams (vs. San Francisco 49ers)

25) Chris Godwin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (vs. Kansas City Chiefs)

26) Amari Cooper, Dallas Cowboys (vs. Washington Football Team) - Played on Thursday

27) D.J. Moore, Carolina Panthers (at Minnesota Vikings)

28) Robby Anderson, Carolina Panthers (at Minnesota Vikings)

29) Brandin Cooks, Houston Texans (at Detroit Lions) - Played on Thursday

30) Jalen Reagor, Philadelphia Eagles (vs.Seattle Seahawks)

TE

1) Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs (at Tampa Bay Buccaneers)

2) Darren Waller, Las Vegas Raiders (at Atlanta Falcons)

3) T.J. Hockenson, Detroit Lions (vs. Houston Texans) - Played on Thursday

4) Dallas Goedert, Philadelphia Eagles (vs. Seattle Seahawks)

In Week 11, Goedert put forward his first impressive effort since returning from injury. He brought in five of his six targets for 77 yards and a score while serving as Carson Wentz’s No. 1 option in the receiving game. Eagles head coach Doug Pederson doesn’t expect that Zach Ertz will return this week, which is ultimately a boost for Goedert’s value.

5) Hunter Henry, Los Angeles Chargers (at Buffalo Bills)

6) Rob Gronkowski, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (vs. Kansas City Chiefs)

7) Noah Fant, Denver Broncos (vs. New Orleans Saints)

8) Hayden Hurst, Atlanta Falcons (vs. Las Vegas Raiders)

9) Dalton Schultz, Dallas Cowboys (vs. Washington Football Team) - Played on Thursday

If you need a tight end in fantasy football, go out and add Schultz. He’s likely available in your fantasy football league as he’s only 23% rostered on Yahoo. On the season, Schultz is TE12 in fantasy football and he’s done so while playing with the likes of Ben DiNucci and Garrett Gilbert. Now that Andy Dalton is back, that’ll hopefully provide some stability for the entire Cowboys offense. In Week 11, Schultz’s four red-zone targets were the second-most of any tight end.

10) Evan Engram, New York Giants (at Cincinnati Bengals)

11) Robert Tonyan, Green Bay Packers (vs. Chicago Bears)

12) Eric Ebron, Pittsburgh Steelers (vs. Baltimore Ravens)

13) Jordan Reed, San Francisco 49ers (at Los Angeles Rams)

Reed will continue to serve as the 49ers’ primary tight end in George Kittle’s absence. In Week 10, Reed saw six targets and he caught five for 62 yards. Both his targets and receiving yards were third-most among his position that week. San Francisco has a pretty narrow passing-game tree as when fully healthy, the team relies on Brandon Aiyuk and Deebo Samuel outside of the tight end. As long as Reed can stay healthy, he’s a serviceable low-end TE1.

14) Jonnu Smith, Tennessee Titans (at Indianapolis Colts)

15) Austin Hooper, Cleveland Browns (at Jacksonville Jaguars)

16) Will Dissly, Seattle Seahawks (at Philadelphia Eagles)

17) Logan Thomas, Washington Football Team (at Dallas Cowboys) - Played on Thursday

18) Mike Gesicki, Miami Dolphins (at New York Jets)

19) Trey Burton, Indianapolis Colts (vs. Tennessee Titans)

20) Kyle Rudolph, Minnesota Vikings (vs. Carolina Panthers)

DEF

1) Cleveland Browns (at Jacksonville Jaguars)

2) New York Giants (at Cincinnati Bengals)

3) Miami Dolphins (at New York Jets)

4) New Orleans Saints (at Denver Broncos)

5) Green Bay Packers (vs. Chicago Bears)

6) Los Angeles Rams (vs. San Francisco 49ers)

7) Seattle Seahawks (at Philadelphia Eagles)

8) Baltimore Ravens (at Pittsburgh Steelers)

9) Pittsburgh Steelers (vs. Baltimore Ravens)

10) Washington Football Team (at Dallas Cowboys) - Played on Thursday

11) San Francisco 49ers (at Los Angeles Rams)

12) Dallas Cowboys (vs. Washington Football Team) - Played on Thursday

13) Indianapolis Colts (vs. Tennessee Titans)

14) Arizona Cardinals (at New England Patriots)

15) New England Patriots (vs. Arizona Cardinals)

16) Minnesota Vikings (vs. Carolina Panthers)

17) Kansas City Chiefs (at Tampa Bay Buccaneers)

18) Carolina Panthers (at Minnesota Vikings)

19) Tennessee Titans (at Indianapolis Colts)

20) Buffalo Bills (vs. Los Angeles Chargers)

K

1) Younghoe Koo, Atlanta Falcons (vs. Las Vegas Raiders)

2) Rodrigo Blankenship, Indianapolis Colts (vs. Tennessee Titans)

3) Justin Tucker, Baltimore Ravens (at Pittsburgh Steelers)

4) Wil Lutz, New Orleans Saints (at Denver Broncos)

5) Harrison Butker, Kansas City Chiefs (at Tampa Bay Buccaneers)

6) Daniel Carlson, Las Vegas Raiders (at Atlanta Falcons)

7) Tyler Bass, Buffalo Bills (vs. Los Angeles Chargers)

8) Jason Sanders, Miami Dolphins (at New York Jets)

9) Ryan Succop, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (vs. Kansas City Chiefs)

10) Greg Zuerlein, Dallas Cowboys (vs. Washington Football Team) - Played on Thursday

11) Matt Prater, Detroit Lions (vs. Houston Texans) - Played on Thursday

12) Joey Slye, Carolina Panthers (at Minnesota Vikings)

13) Zane Gonzalez, Arizona Cardinals (at New England Patriots)

14) Mason Crosby, Green Bay Packers (vs. Chicago Bears)

15) Dan Bailey, Minnesota Vikings (vs. Carolina Panthers)

16) Michael Badgley, Los Angeles Chargers (at Buffalo Bills)

17) Jason Meyers, Seattle Seahawks (at Philadelphia Eagles)

18) Brandon McManus, Denver Broncos (vs. New Orleans Saints)

19) Cody Parkey, Cleveland Browns (at Jacksonville Jaguars)

20) Stephen Gostkowski, Tennessee Titans (at Indianapolis Colts)

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