Our fantasy guru, James Morris, gives his outlook on the fantasy action for week 12.
Week 12 means we are in the home stretch before hitting the fantasy playoffs (week 14 for most) and you are now playing for seeding and a possible bye in the first round. That makes me being right even more important, and you listening an absolute must. Let me give you my 3 rules for playing fantasy football so we can all be on the same page.
Rule #1 – look at stats, not names. Trent Richardson is a big name, but a complete and total fantasy bust; Darren Sproles has a big fantasy name, but has had three (3) good fantasy weeks this season and eight (8) weeks in which he did more harm than good. On the other hand, Nick Foles is ranked #21 overall on NFL.com in their standard scoring leagues (Aaron Rodgers is #20, so he will overtake him following their week 12 bye) and owned in just 60.6 percent of the leagues, and Ryan Tannehill is ranked #28 overall despite being owned in just 10.3 percent of their leagues.
Rule #2 – Don’t get cute. Play the guys who got you this far instead of trying to bench say Stevan Ridley in favor of a hot waiver wire guy like Bobby Rainey. I like Rainey this week, but I am positive he’s had the best game of his career already and it is all downhill from here in fantasy terms.
Rule #3 – Something different isn’t always better. Sure, Sproles is playing horribly, but does that mean you cut him for Mark Ingram or Montee Ball? Good lord no. Just because I don’t play him doesn’t mean I cut him. As sad as it is, Sproles may be an upgrade for teams who drafted poorly and are stuck with Maurice Jones-Drew and say Steven Jackson as their starters, with Richardson in their flex or back-up role.
Follow those simple rules and you will be one step ahead of the average GM who makes his starts based on names more than stats 75 percent of the time.
Case Keenum – QB Texans: You know this was coming if you read my articles! Mirror whatever team plays the Jaguars and you will be right more than you’re wrong. And, after yanking Keenum last week in favor of Matt Schaub and losing the game because of it, you can be sure that Keenum will have the longest leash known to man from here on out. Both the Jaguars and Keenum are playing for 2014; the Jaguars for a better draft pick and Keenum for a starting job. Both make Keenum a top 10 QB this week with real upside into the top 5 range.
Colin Kaepernick – QB 49ers: I’m going to give Kaepernick a play this week because the Redskins defense gives up the 4th most fantasy points to QBs this season at 23.6 PPG. I do worry about the fact that he hasn’t thrown for 200 yards in the last four games, one of which he didn’t even hit 100 yards passing. However, he has managed to score six (6) touchdowns in those four games and touchdowns count more than yards.
Rashad Jennings – RB Raiders: As you’ll see below, I am not a fan of the Raiders passing game this week. However, Jennings has put up the 6th most fantasy points on NFL.com over the last 4 weeks and I see him keeping up the pace this week as the Titans give up the 6th most fantasy points to fantasy RBs this season at 21.9 PPG. Jennings is owned in 36.9 percent of NFL.com leagues, but I see him as a legit RB1 play this week.
Zac Stacy – RB Rams: Stacy is owned in just about all active leagues, but he sits on many benches (58.6 percent started) following the Rams bye week. The Rams face the Bears this week and as good as the Bears offense is, their defense is by far their weakness. Heading into week 12, the Bears allow the 7th most fantasy points to RBs (21.4 PPG) and Stacy has climbed up to the #20 ranking for RBs in just 6 short weeks on NFL.com. I am a BIG fan of his this weekend.
Kendall Wright – WR Titans: Wright is one of those receivers that people love to own (81.0 percent on NFL.com), but rarely start (21.4 percent). This week however I like Wright as a solid WR2 against a generous Raiders secondary that gives up the 7th most fantasy points to WRs this season at 25.4 PPG. Ryan Fitzpatrick has averaged 243 yards passing as the new starter in Tennessee, and has 3 TDs with no INTs during those games. Wright has more PPR value than standard scoring value since he is averaging 5.9 receptions-per-game, but has scored just once and hasn’t reached the 100-yard mark yet.
Cecil Shorts – WR Jaguars: As much as I am not a fan of the Jaguars, I wouldn’t be caught dead sitting Shorts this week after he made some inflammatory comments about the passing game following last week’s 2/22/0 line. You can bet the Jaguars will force-feed Shorts the ball this week and that should translate into some WR2/3 stats with possible upside if he can find the every elusive endzone.
Coby Fleener – TE Colts: And the sleeper TE pick this week is, Fleener! The Cardinals give up a league high of 14.8 PPG to fantasy TEs this season, 3.2 points more than the Jaguars at #2. For a position that is all-or-nothing like TE in fantasy football, 14.8 points is HUGE! Fleener is owned in just 31.2 percent of NFL.com leagues, so I’d go grab him now if you can.
Tennessee Titans defense: The Titans defense is owned in just 21.0 percent of NFL.com leagues, a small number considering they are currently ranked #13 overall this season for defenses. While I do like Jennings at RB this week, I don’t like McGloin at QB and the QB can easily take a defense from average to elite with a few bad throws. I know it is taboo to play a RB and a defense that play against each other, but I am doing just that in more than a few leagues this week.
Matt McGloin – QB Raiders: After throwing for 197 yards and 3 TDs last week, McGloin has been added in about 2,000 NFL.com leagues in the past few days and nearly 4,500 Yahoo leagues as of Sunday night. The problem is that 1) the Texans defense isn’t what it once was. And 2) the Titans defense gives up the 4th fewest fantasy points to QBs this season at 16.2 PPG. I would put my money on Rashad Jennings long before McGloin this week.
Carson Palmer – QB Cardinals: As good as Palmer was last week (419 yards and 2 TDs), the Colts won’t be as easy to throw on as the Jaguars were. Palmer has played better as of late throwing 6 TDs and 2 INTs over last 3 games vs. 8 TDs and 13 INTs over the previous 7 games. The Colts however are tied for 7th in the NFL with 8 INTs this season and Palmer is due for a bad game anytime now. I’d play my normal QB and give Palmer a rest this week.
Trent Richardson – RB Colts: Richardson is owned in 90.1 percent of NFL.com leagues, and started in 63.6 percent of them, despite averaging just 6.44 fantasy PPG on NFL.com (standard scoring) this season. If there were anyone worth owning on the waiver wire, I would suggest outright cutting Richardson for them. But, since there isn’t (assuming Rainey is gone), I would bury Richardson on the end of your bench for the duration of the fantasy season.
Montee Ball – RB Broncos: You would be surprised how many questions I’ve gotten about Ball this week after he scored two touchdowns last week against the Chiefs. Look, Ball had 8 carries for 25 yards and averaged just 3.1 YPC. His two scores were goal-line touchdowns and in no way indicate anything more than flukes. He isn’t worth owning as anything more than desperation add late in the season. Truth is, if Ball looks good, you probably aren’t in the fantasy playoffs anyway.
Miles Austin – WR Cowboys: While I am a proponent of picking Austin up off the waiver wire, I am also a huge proponent of sitting players down their first week back from a long absence so we can see how the team fits them into their gameplan. Austin is going to take back his role as the No. 2 WR for the Cowboys, but Terrence Williams is still the No. 3 and they could end up canceling each other out as Tony Romo tries to adjust his reads. Pick Austin up, but stash him on the bench for now. You’ve made it this far without him, so I know you can make it another week too.
Greg Jennings – WR Vikings: I cannot figure out for the life of me why Jennings is still owned in 73.7 percent of NFL.com leagues. Granted a portion of that can be attributed to GMs who have abandoned their teams, but nowhere close to 73.7 percent. Jennings is NFL.com’s #60 ranked WR this season in standard scoring formats, and he has averaged just 31.6 YPG with no TDs since the Vikings week 5 bye. If you still own Jennings, please do not play him as he isn’t the fantasy player you remember from a few years ago.
Martellus Bennett – TE Bears: Bennett started this season out on a tear averaging 50.9 YPG and scoring 4 TDs before the Bears week 8 bye. Since the bye he has managed just 37.7 YPG and hasn’t reached the endzone. The Rams give up the 2nd fewest fantasy points to TEs this season at 4.9 PPG, meaning Bennett us unlikely to break his funk this week.
Denver Broncos defense: I’m not really that big of a fan of Tom Brady’s anymore as I think he is nearing the light at the end of the playing career tunnel. However, he has shown that he has gas left in the tank as he racked up 432 passing yards and 4 TDs against the Steelers in week 11. This game could easily be a high scoring one as Brady and Peyton Manning duke it out for QB supremacy. I would avoid both the Broncos (85.0 percent owned) and the Patriots (81.7 percent owned) defenses this week and go grab the Titans or the Browns defense for a one-week filler.
And last but not least, I want to give a big shout out to Isaiah and Donovan Molina from Temecula, CA who won the final copy of Madden 25 courtesy of EA Sports. These two brothers, age 11 and 9 respectively, come home from school on Friday’s and set their line-ups against their dad and his friends each week. With my help they are showing what two elementary kids can do against grown adults! Keep up the good work guys, and enjoy beating your dad in Madden 25!
The opinions, analysis and/or speculation expressed by The Finsiders Blog represent those of individual writers, and unless quoted or clearly labeled as such, do not represent the opinions, policies or desires of the Miami Dolphins organization, front office, coaches and executives. Writers' views are formulated independently from any inside information and/or conversation with Dolphins officials, including the coaches and scouts, unless otherwise noted.
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