Wed Nov 25 9:23pm ET
By BRANDON C. WILLIAMS
Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (4) throws against the Kansas City Chiefs during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)
Two weeks remain in the fantasy regular season, making Week 12 an all-or-nothing proposition for owners scratching and clawing their way into the playoffs.
The good news is that there are no bye weeks, giving owners an unlimited landscape to work with. On the other side of the spectrum is the reality some will face if failure during the Thanksgiving Day games fails to offer a needed springboard.
START: Derek Carr, QB, Raiders: Easily the best streaming option at the position, Carr is in line to have a big Sunday at the expense of a Falcons defense which remains the most fantasy friendly unit against opposing quarterbacks. Only the Seahawks have allowed more passing yards than Atlanta, which also ranks tied for 30th with 22 touchdown passes allowed.
SIT: Kirk Cousins, QB, Vikings: Cousins may be without WR Adam Thielen - the league leader with 11 touchdown receptions - expect the Minnesota offense to be heavily run-focused against the Panthers, who rank 27th in fantasy points per game allowed to opposing running backs. That means a hefty dose of RB Dalvin Cook, so don't look to Cousins to continue a hot streak that's seen him throw for eight touchdowns in the past three games.
START: David Montgomery, RB, Bears: Week 12 may be the opportunity for Montgomery to reward his frustrated owners. Scheduled to return off concussion protocol, Montgomery gets a favorable matchup on Sunday night when he runs against a Packers defense that is third worst in fantasy points per game allowed to opposing RBs and has allowed an opposing back to rush for at least 90 yards in four of their past six games.
SIT: Ronald Jones, RB, Buccaneers: Outside of his huge Week 10 performance against the Panthers, Jones has been a fantasy disappointment, having rushed for 34 or fewer yards in four of his past five games. Don't count on the good times to suddenly return as Jones and the slumping Buccaneers run headlong into a Chiefs run defense that is less fantasy friendly to opposing runners over the past month than they were earlier in the season.
START: Jalen Reagor, WR, Eagles: There's risk here, especially with the inconsistency of QB Carson Wentz, but Reagor is the one Philadelphia wideout most capable of exploiting the matchup against a Seattle defense that continues to allow the most fantasy points per game to opposing receivers. Fantasy owners willing to take a gamble could find themselves striking gold Monday night.
SIT: Jakobi Meyers, WR, Patriots: Meyers' reign atop the New England WR pecking order was brief as N'Keal Harry and a solid Week 11 outing from Damiere Byrd resulted in him being an afterthought. His chances for a Week 12 rebound are slim despite playing against a Cardinals defense that has allowed the seventh-most fantasy points per game to opposing wideouts. Adding to Meyers' woes: he'll likely be shadowed by All-Pro CB Patrick Peterson.
START: Dawson Knox, TE, Bills: Why take a chance on a TE that has been injured all season and has just 16 total targets? Simple: Knox has a very favorable matchup as the Bills meet a Chargers defense that has allowed at least one touchdown pass in four straight games to opposing tight ends. With much of the focus going toward slowing down WR Stefon Diggs, Knox should emerge as a stealth option, especially as Buffalo gets inside the red zone.
SIT: Robert Tonyan, TE, Packers: Tonyan scored for the first time since his three-TD performance in Week 4, but remains an afterthought in the Green Bay offense, having been targeted just 10 times in the past three games. The Bears are the ninth-worst fantasy defense against opposing TEs, but have yet to allow one to eclipse 65 yards in a game this season, a feat Tonyan has achieved just twice in 2020.
START: Michael Pittman, Jr., WR, Colts: The rookie has pulled in 14 of his 18 targets for 223 yards and a touchdown over the past three games, slowly emerging as the go-to option for QB Philip Rivers. Pittman has an excellent opportunity to continue evolving into a fantasy threat when he lines up against a Titans defense ranked 28th in fantasy points allowed per game to opposing WRs along with being tied for 28th with 21 touchdown passes allowed.
SIT: Tom Brady, QB, Buccaneers: This is not the week to gamble with Brady, who takes on a Chiefs defense that allows the 10th-fewest fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks. The fact that Brady has not completed a pass attempt of better than 20 yards (0 for 19) over the past month is also unnerving to fantasy owners who rely on Tampa Bay wideouts Mike Evans and Chris Godwin.
START: Nick Chubb, RB, Browns: Back-to-back 100-yard games since his four-game absence is a clear sign Chubb has re-established himself as a must-start runner. A third straight 100-yard game is in the offing when Chubb and Cleveland's power running attack gets to feast on a Jaguars run defense that gives up the ninth-most rushing yards per game. Even better for Chubb's fantasy owners is the fact Jacksonville is the fifth worst in fantasy points allowed per game to opposing RBs.
SIT: Anthony Miller, WR, Bears: The targets are there (26 in the past three games), but the production has fallen short for Miller's owners, who have yet to see him score a touchdown since Week 3. Miller hasn't had a 100-yard game this season and it's unlikely he'll do so Sunday night against a Packers defense that gives up the ninth-fewest fantasy points per game to opposing wideouts.
START: Cooper Kupp, WR, Rams: Targeted a whopping 40 times over the past three games, Kupp will remain the hot hand in the Los Angeles passing game when the Rams take on a 49ers team that held Kupp to just 11 yards and three receptions in Week 6. Don't bank on a repeat performance now that the Rams appear to have opened up their passing game.
SIT: Matt Ryan, QB, Falcons: Ryan has either thrown just one touchdown pass or failed to do so five times this season, including three of his past four. With WR Julio Jones (hamstring) possibly missing the game, fantasy owners should look elsewhere for better production at the position.
Five Waiver Wire Adds: Week 12
Los Angeles Rams TE Tyler Higbee (elbow) banged up his elbow during the Week 11 game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, which is why he did not practice Wednesday, Nov. 25. Head coach Sean McVay said the tight end is considered 'day-to-day'.
Fantasy Spin: Higbee entered the season with high expectations from a fantasy perspective, but he has really only one impressive game while mostly being equaled or outplayed by Gerald Everett. At this point Higbee is only worth retaining in the deepest of fantasy leagues heading into Week 12 and beyond.
The Atlanta Falcons Defense should stay benched this week when the Las Vegas Raiders come to town. Las Vegas has a capable QB in Derek Carr, along with solid weapons such as Josh Jacobs, Darren Waller, and Nelson Agholor. Meanwhile, Atlanta has allowed at least 20 points in nine of 10 games. The unit has also dealt with injuries throughout the season and that has hindered its overall strength. There are better options to start this week.
Atlanta Falcons kicker Younghoe Koo is a terrific start this week against Las Vegas. Last week, the kicker hit three field goals, including two from over 50 yards. Overall, Koo has gone 24-for-25 in field goals this season and 18-for-21 in extra points. The Raiders rank in the middle against fantasy kickers, so he is a great starting option.
Atlanta Falcons tight end Hayden Hurst is a low-end TE1 this week if active. The TE is currently dealing with an ankle injury and it remains to be seen if he plays. Hurst got nothing last week on two targets but has generally been decent this season. He has gotten at least 50 yards and six targets in six of 10 games this season, so he does bring the potential for some solid numbers. The Raiders are middle-tier against fantasy tight ends, so Hurst is certainly worth starting if he plays. Managers can only hope last week's performance was an outlier.
Los Angeles Rams DL Aaron Donald (non-injury), LB Micah Kiser (knee) and TE Tyler Higbee (elbow) didn't practice Wednesday, Nov. 25. OL Brian Allen (knee) was limited.
Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Russell Gage is in the flex conversation this week. Due to Julio Jones going down with an injury last week, Gage had seven receptions for 58 yards on 12 targets. This week, Jones is still dealing with a hamstring injury and may be a game-time decision. If Jones doesn't play, Gage is the biggest player to benefit and would be a flex piece to start this week. Nevertheless, there is a bit of risk considering the WR has only posted over 50 yards in four games and doesn't necessarily get all the attention even when Jones is out. Still, he's the best guy to trust for fantasy over Olamide Zaccheaus and Christian Blake. The Raiders are middle-tier against fantasy wideouts.
San Francisco 49ers CB K'Waun Williams (ankle) and LB Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles (hamstring) didn't practice Wednesday, Nov. 25. DL Arik Armstead (non-injury) was limited and OL Hroniss Grasu (non-injury) practiced in full.
Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones is currently dealing with a hamstring injury and could be a game-time decision this week against the Raiders. Thus, if he plays, he will be a lower-end WR1 and certainly a riskier option to start considering his injury. Last week, Jones only managed two receptions for 39 yards on two targets. When healthy this season, the WR has seen his usual volume and put up fantastic numbers, including three 100-yard games. Nevertheless, proceed with caution this week on Jones and monitor his status closely. If he cannot play, Russell Gage would see an uptick in value.
Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Calvin Ridley is a low-end WR1 this week against the Raiders. It's worth noting he is dealing with a foot injury right now, but there is no sign that his status for Sunday is in jeopardy. Ridley posted five receptions for 90 yards on nine targets last week and has gotten at least 90 yards in five of nine games. He has also seen at least seven targets in seven of nine games. With Julio Jones ailing, Ridley could see more looks on Sunday if Jones doesn't play. Regardless, he remains a solid play due to his weekly volume and consistency.
Buffalo Bills C Jordan Devey, C Jonotthan Harrison, WR Jake Kumerow and LB Darron Lee were designated as protected practice squad players for Week 12 Wednesday, Nov. 25.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB Kenjon Barner, PK Greg Joseph, DT Jeremiah Ledbetter and G John Molchon were designated as protected practice squad players for Week 12 Wednesday, Nov. 25.
San Francisco 49ers RB Tevin Coleman (knee) was limited at practice Wednesday, Nov. 25.
Fantasy Spin: Coleman and Jerick McKinnon will be splitting backfield work until Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson are able to return to the lineup. Both make for a risky FLEX option with McKinnon slightly safer due to more work in the passing game.
Atlanta Falcons running back Todd Gurley II is a low-end RB1 this week versus the Raiders. The RB is coming off a season-low eight carries for 26 yards but has nevertheless remained decent on this offense. Gurley still has had double-digit carries in nine of 10 games and has rushed for over 50 yards in seven of 10 games. That volume and the fact that the Raiders allow the fourth-most points to fantasy backs makes Gurley a solid play. He is dealing with a knee injury, so his status is worth monitoring.
New Orleans Saints DT Sheldon Rankins (knee) was designated for return from the Reseve/Injured list Wednesday, Nov. 25.
Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan is a low-end QB1 against the Raiders this weekend. Ryan has been a bit streaky this season and posted 232 yards and two picks last week. Overall, he has thrown for over 300 yards in only three of 10 games this season and only has four games with multiple passing touchdowns. The Raiders allow the ninth-most points to fantasy QBs, so this is a good week to start Ryan if you have him.
Green Bay Packers DE Montravius Adams (toe) and LB James Burgess (hamstring) were placed on the Reserve/Injured list Wednesday, Nov. 25.
Houston Texans WR Randall Cobb (toe) and DT P.J. Hall (knee, shoulder) were placed on the Reserve/Injured list Wednesday, Nov. 25.
Jacksonville Jaguars DT Abry Jones (ankle) and LB Shaquille Quarterman (knee) were designated to return from the Reserve/Injured list Wednesday, Nov. 25.
Updating a previous story, Los Angeles Chargers RB Austin Ekeler (hamstring) was designated to return from the Reserve/Injured list Wednesday, Nov. 25.
Cincinnati Bengals DT Andrew Brown was signed off the practice squad to the active roster of the Houston Texans Wednesday, Nov. 25. Texans RB Scottie Phillips was also signed off the Houston practice squad to the active roster.