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Lineup Prep: Week 12

Wed Nov 20 10:06am ET
By JEFF PAUR
Sr Fantasy Writer

Mixon is trending up right now


It is hard to believe, but the regular fantasy season is about over. There are just three weeks left in most formats. Some teams are already eliminated from playoff contention. Hopefully, you aren’t one of those teams. For those of you still in contention, a strong finish is what you are all hoping to happen. You don’t want to limp into the playoffs. So here is to wishing all of you a great finish to your regular season. We are going to do all we can to help you finish on a high note. 

Now for my random thoughts for the week. . . . .

I would be worried if I had any Rams right now. This offense is trending the wrong way, mainly because of the poor play from Jared Goff. He just looks indecisive and unsure of himself these days, losing confidence. I think the league is catching up with the Rams offense, which is causing issues for Goff. He is having a hard time adjusting. I would expect continued struggles from him going forward, which is bad news for Cooper Kupp, Robert Woods and Todd Gurley. 

Kyler Murray is the real deal. He is going to a star and fantasy star for years to come. He is a rookie but still seventh overall in fantasy quarterback scoring despite playing in an offense that lacks some top playmakers. This guy just makes plays. He is only going to get better as the Cardinals surround him with better talent. Murray has multiple touchdowns six of 11 games.

Jets receiver Jamison Crowder has been a pleasant surprise for me. His career has seen a resurgence with his new team. He has at least five receptions three straight games and is up to 23rd overall in fantasy receiver scoring. He also is finding the end zone, having scores three straight games. This guy could be a big fantasy factor down the stretch, giving many teams that took him late or picked him up on the waiver wire a big advantage over the rest of their league mates.

Melvin Gordon’s numbers are better the last few weeks, but I think the missed camp and some regular season games has really impacted his play. He just doesn’t look like the same player from the past few years. He is dropping passes and lacks a little burst. Maybe he can get it going after his bye this week, but I’m not sure he reaches his big numbers of the past few years. You might have to wait until next season for Gordon to look like the Melvin Gordon of old.

I would not count on David Johnson being much of a help to fantasy teams the rest of the way. Johnson played just nine snaps last week and didn’t get an offensive touch. He just doesn’t look healthy while Kenyan Drake is playing well with his chances. I would expect the Cardinals to keep relying on Drake the rest of the way. Drake has six receptions each of his last two games and is eighth overall in fantasy running back scoring his last three games. He could be a big fantasy factor the rest of this season.

Who would have thought Jarvis Landry would be the leading fantasy receiver for the Browns? Well, that is the case right now. Landry has been the better fantasy player, outplaying Odell Beckham. Landry has touchdowns three straight and at least four receptions seven of 10 games. He is 20th overall in fantasy receiver scoring and should continue to be a big part of this offense going forward. 

The Ravens continue to impress me on a weekly basis. They are now my favorite to win the Super Bowl. I still think the defense needs to pick it up a little, but for now, I think this is the best overall team in the NFL. Lamar Jackson is doing special things at quarterback, making that offense extremely tough to defend on a weekly basis. I know the Patriots are the Patriots, but I have questions about that offense this year. Tom Brady finally seems to be slowing down some, which is a concern for me. I think the Ravens are the better team. We’ll see.

You have to give the Falcons some credit. This team has started to play much better in recent weeks, especially on the defensive side of the ball. Atlanta could have packed it in after a terrible start to the season, but this team looks like a tough opponent going forward. The defense was a disaster earlier in the season but is showing signs of life. Atlanta has allowed just 12 points the last two games, playing the Saints and Panthers - two pretty good offensive teams. So kudos to the Falcons for not giving up and trying to turn their season around.

As always, don’t forget to check out my weekly rankings here: Week 12 rankings

News and Notes: The Dolphins released running back Mark Walton on Tuesday. Walton was already suspended for violating the league's personal conduct policy, but had another off the field incident, leading to his release from the team.  

HOT PLAYS

Joe Mixon, RB, Bengals. The insertion of Ryan Finley into the lineup has been a big positive for Mixon. He has produced his best fantasy numbers with Finley as the Bengals starting quarterback. Mixon is sixth overall in fantasy running back scoring his last three games. He has more than 100 total yards two straight games and found the end zone three of four games. He should get another workout this week against the Steelers. Pittsburgh has allowed more than 100-rushing yards two of their last three games. 

Baker Mayfield, QB, Browns. If Mayfield is ever going to have the huge week, this is the week. He gets the Dolphins, a team that allows the seventh most fantasy points to quarterbacks and 31 points per game. Mayfield also has been showing some signs of life in recent weeks, which is also encouraging. He had his first three-touchdown game of the season last week and has multiple scores two straight games. 

Allen Robinson, WR, Bears. Some might be really down on Robinson because of his poor showings two of the past three games. He has fewer than 20 yards two of three games. But you can’t ignore his production from throughout the season, having at least four receptions nine of 10 games. He gets his catches and targets on a weekly basis despite poor quarterback play from Mitchell Trubisky. We don’t think the play of Trubisky will impact Robinson this week against the Giants. New York has been a disaster all year against the pass, ranking 25th overall against the pass. The Giants allows the third most fantasy points to receivers this season. Robinson can turn it around this week.

Tevin Coleman, RB, 49ers. Coleman had his struggles last week, rushing 12 times for just 14 yards. But the Cardinals have a pretty stout defensive front. It wasn’t a huge surprise to see him get shut down, especially after he had his struggles against this same defense a few weeks back. Coleman has enjoyed plenty of big games this year, though, so he can turn it around this week. He gets the Packers, a team that has consistently struggled against the run all season. Green Bay allows the third most fantasy points to running backs and rank 25th overall against the run.

D.K. Metcalf, WR, Seahawks. Metcalf continues to grow in the Seahawks offense. He has six receptions each of his last two games and double-digit fantasy points five of six games. Metcalf had a season high 10 targets last week. He also has touchdowns two of three games. He has a good chance to find the end zone again this week against the Eagles. Philadelphia has allowed 17-passing touchdowns this season and allows the seventh most fantasy points to receivers. Metcalf should be considered a solid No. 2 fantasy receiver in Week 12.

COLD PLAYS  

David Montgomery, RB, Bears. Montgomery is getting most of the carries at running back these days but that isn’t helping his fantasy numbers. He has just six fantasy points each of his last two games. And one of those games was against the Lions, a team that really struggles to stop fantasy backs. This is not a good sign for Montgomery. If he got more work in the passing game, he would be a lot easier to trust for fantasy teams. He has one or no receptions five of 10 games. It might look like a good matchup on paper for Montgomery this week, getting the Giants, but New York has allowed fewer than 80-rushing yards two of three games. It could be more of the same for Montgomery in Week 12. 

Gerald Everett, TE, Rams. Everett was a huge bust last week, getting a catch for 20 yards. He had a favorable matchup and was coming off a big performance, so he got plenty of starts from fantasy teams. Everett had just a target the entire game. This followed a pattern of erratic play from Everett, though. He has 20 or fewer yards three of five games. He is a hard player to depend on for fantasy teams, especially this week against the Ravens. Baltimore allows the fifth fewest fantasy points to tight ends.

Aaron Jones, RB, Packers. Jones has been great this year, finding the end zone on a regular basis while also getting his yards. He had a three-touchdown game his last time out while rushing for 93 yards. Jones didn’t have a catch his last game, though, and has just one catch his last two games. That is a little concerning for his fantasy value. Jamaal Williams is getting more chances in the passing game, which is limiting Jones a little in recent weeks. Jones also has seen his rushing number dip a little, having fewer than 70-rushing yards four of five games. He could have a tough game this week against the 49ers. San Francisco allows the second fewest fantasy points to running backs and just five rushing touchdowns all year.

John Brown, WR, Bills. Brown is having his best season to date as the No. 1 receiver for the Bills. He has been really consistent, having at least four receptions every game. He has double-digit fantasy points all but a game. So it is tough to bench Brown. He is producing on a weekly basis. We would just temper your expectations for Brown this week. He has a tough matchup against Broncos cornerback Chris Harris. He has done a great job of shutting down opposing No. 1 receivers. Denver allows the third fewest fantasy points to receivers. 

Tom Brady, QB, Patriots. His team might be winning but Brady isn’t helping many fantasy teams win right now. He didn’t find the end zone last week and has one or no scores three of four games. His fantasy numbers have been very mediocre much of the season. Brady could produce more of the same this week against the Cowboys. Dallas allows the eighth fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks and have looked much better against the pass in recent weeks. 

SLEEPERS  

Sam Darnold, QB, Jets. Darnold had his best game of the season last week, throwing four touchdowns passes. He also threw for 293 yards, giving him 230 or more passing yards three straight games. Darnold is never a sure thing but you have to be encouraged by his play the last few weeks. He is starting to produce more consistently, having 16-plus fantasy points four straight games. He gets a matchup for more success this week against the Raiders, a team that allows the sixth most fantasy points to quarterbacks. The Raiders are 27th overall against the pass and allow 25 points per game.

Taylor Gabriel, WR, Bears. Gabriel led the way at receiver for the Bears last week, catching seven passes for 57 yards. His reception total was a season high for Gabriel. He has been getting more looks in recent weeks, though. Gabriel has at least three receptions four straight games and nine or more fantasy points all of those games. His workload has been steadily increasing, giving him some value as a spot starter or injury replacement. We would consider using him this week in either of those capacities. Gabriel gets the Giants, a team that allows the third most fantasy points to receivers.

Dallas Goedert, TE, Eagles. Goedert has been a top red-zone target for the Eagles in recent weeks. He has scores three of four games and at least three receptions five straight games. The Eagles have all sorts of injuries at receiver, giving Goedert more playing time despite Zach Ertz continuing to serve as the starter for the Eagles. Goedert can help fantasy teams as a low-end No. 1 fantasy tight end. He has a matchup for success this week against the Seahawks, a team that allows the eighth most fantasy points to tight ends.

Derrius Guice, RB, Redskins. Guice returned to action last week and split the work at running back with Adrian Peterson. Guice was the more productive back, though, finishing with 69 total yards and a touchdown on eight touches. His role should continue to increase going forward, taking over as the lead back for the Redskins. He could be a help to fantasy teams down the stretch, especially this week against the Lions. Detroit allows the most fantasy points to running backs and are 24th overall against the run.

Ted Ginn, WR, Saints. Ginn has not been much of a fantasy help most of the season. He has double-digit fantasy points just two times all year. He has more than two receptions just two games. The good news is he has at least two receptions all but two games. He gets some weekly work. He also found the end zone last week, which was another positive for Ginn. He is alway capable of that big game in this offense because of his big-play ability. It would not be a surprise to see him have his best game to date this week against the Panthers. Carolina allows the fifth most fantasy points to receivers. Ginn could be a sneaky No. 3 receiver play in Week 12. 

High/Low Scoring Games

Each week we will take a look at some of the high and low scoring games for the coming week. In high scoring affairs, get your marginal players on those teams in your lineup to take advantage of the possible points barrage. And in the low scoring games, keep those marginal players on the bench and make sure to have your defenses involved in those contests.

High Scoring Games: Colts/Texans, Bucs/Falcons, Panthers/Saints, Seahawks/Eagles, Ravens/Rams.

Low Scoring Games: Steelers/Bengals, Broncos/Bills.

Bye Weeks: Cardinals, Chiefs, Chargers, Vikings.

Jeff Paur is a two-time finalist for FSWA Fantasy Football Writer of the Year and won the FSWA award for Best Fantasy Football Article on the Web in 2011. He also was the most accurate expert in 2012, winning the FSTA Fantasy Football Accuracy Award. If you have any questions for Jeff, email him at jeff@rtsports.com. Follow Jeff on Twitter @jeffpaur.

Player Notes
Nick Chubb Dec 6 11:20am ET

Cleveland Browns running back Nick Chubb draws a fantastic matchup against a struggling Cincinnati Bengals Defense in Week 14. Chubb should see at least 20 touches against a Cincy run defense that ranks 27th in DVOA and is allowing the seventh-most fantasy points per game to the running back position. The Browns are likely to jump out to a big lead in this one, which means there should be plenty of second-half, clock-killing carries on tap for Chubb. Fire him up as a locked-in RB1 for the first round of the fantasy playoffs.

From RotoBaller

Roquan Smith Dec 6 9:13am ET

Chicago Bears LB Roquan Smith (pectoral) is feared to have suffered a torn pectoral muscle Thursday, Dec. 5. If the MRI confirms the injury, he would be out for the season.

From TheHuddle

Anthony Miller Dec 6 3:30am ET

Chicago Bears wide receiver Anthony Miller recorded just three catches for 42 yards against the Cowboys but hauled in a touchdown toss from Mitch Trubisky midway through the third quarter. Though the 25-year-old had a much more efficient outing on Thanksgiving against the Lions, he continued to benefit from the absence of Taylor Gabriel (concussion), who has now missed the last two games. Keep on eye on Gabriel's status moving ahead, and if he is out against the Packers in Week 15, Miller should continue to have a place on fantasy rosters in deeper formats.

From RotoBaller

Allen Robinson Dec 6 3:20am ET

Chicago Bears wide receiver Allen Robinson had five catches for 48 yards and two touchdowns during the win over Dallas on Thursday. Robinson picked up both of his touchdowns in the second quarter and has now scored four times over the last three weeks while also combining for 30 targets during that span. He should continue to benefit from the absence of Taylor Gabriel (concussion), who has sat out the last two games, so keep an eye on his status leading up to the Week 15 matchup against Green Bay.

From RotoBaller

Tarik Cohen Dec 6 3:10am ET

Chicago Bears running back Tarik Cohen pulled in all six of his targets for 24 yards in the win over the Cowboys. He also had seven yards off of three carries. Once again, Cohen did little on the ground as David Montgomery served as the workhorse on Thursday by logging 86 yards on 20 attempts. After scoring a touchdown in each game against the Lions and Rams, the 24-year-old hasn't done much over the last three weeks outside of picking up the scraps left over by Montgomery, Allen Robinson, and Anthony Miller. He is good for the occasional score, but don't expect much against the Packers in Week 15 or throughout the remainder of the year, for that matter.

From RotoBaller

Nick Kwiatkoski Dec 6 2:33am ET

Chicago Bears LB Nick Kwiatkoski had 10 tackles (eight solo) against the Dallas Cowboys on Thursday, Dec. 5.

From TheHuddle

Roquan Smith Dec 6 2:33am ET

Updating a previous report, Chicago Bears LB Roquan Smith (pectoral) sustained a pec injury during the team's Week 14 win over the Dallas Cowboys that 'does not look good,' according to head coach Matt Nagy.

From TheHuddle

David Montgomery Dec 6 2:30am ET

Chicago Bears running back David Montgomery ran for 86 yards on 20 carries during the win over the Cowboys on Thursday night. Montgomery once again outpaced Tarik Cohen, who had just three carries for seven yards, and maintained a respectable 4.3 yards per carry against a Cowboys Defense that has played decently against opposing backs this season. Next up for him is a Week 15 matchup against Green Bay, with the 22-year-old rushing for just 18 yards on six carries against the Packers back in Week 1.

From RotoBaller

Anthony Miller Dec 6 2:13am ET

Chicago Bears WR Anthony Miller caught three passes for 42 yards and a touchdown in Week 14 against the Dallas Cowboys.

Fantasy Spin: After teasing fantasy owners earlier this season, Miller looks to have arrived as the clear No. 2 target behind Allen Robinson, racking up 24 receptions, 313 yards and a TD in his last four games. Miller is still a WR3/flex type receiver, but he's worth owning in all leagues.

From TheHuddle

Mitch Trubisky Dec 6 2:10am ET

Chicago Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky finished with 244 yards on 23-for-31 passing while adding four touchdowns and an interception during the win over the Cowboys on Thursday. Trubisky shook off an early interception by tossing three touchdowns on the night, two of which went to Allen Robinson in the second quarter, before running one in off of a 23-yard attempt early in the fourth. While turnovers have been an issue (at times) for the 25-year-old, he has now compiled seven total touchdowns over the last two games. Nonetheless, things will get tougher in Week 15 against Green Bay, with Trubisky going 26-for-45 for 228 yards and a pick against the Packers back in Week 1.

From RotoBaller

Allen Robinson Dec 6 2:03am ET

Chicago Bears WR Allen Robinson tallied five receptions, 48 yards and two touchdowns against the Dallas Cowboys on Thursday, Dec. 5.

Fantasy Spin: While other Bears receivers have risen and fallen this year, Robinson has been consistently the top guy with nearly 900 receiving yards and seven touchdowns on the season, including four in the last three games. He should be a borderline WR2/WR3 candidate over the season's final few weeks.

From TheHuddle

Tarik Cohen Dec 6 1:43am ET

Chicago Bears RB Tarik Cohen ran three times for seven yards against the Dallas Cowboys in Week 14. He also caught six passes for 24 yards.

Fantasy Spin: Thursday was pretty much par for the course with Cohen, who was averaging 38 yards per game on the season entering Week 14. His six receptions gave him 60 on the year, which might afford him some depth appeal in PPR formats. Outside of that, though, Cohen isn't really worth owning.

From TheHuddle

Mitch Trubisky Dec 6 1:13am ET

Chicago Bears QB Mitchell Trubisky completed 23 of 31 passes for 244 yards, three touchdowns and an interception in a Week 14 victory over the Dallas Cowboys. He also ran 10 times for 63 yards and a score.

Fantasy Spin: It was relatively easy to dismiss Trubisky's Thanksgiving performance against the Lions, but it might be time to take another look at the much-maligned trigger man. Trubisky looked decisive and aggressive Thursday night, including the return of his long-absent running ability. He'll travel to Lambeau Field in Week 15 to face a team that hasn't exactly locked down QBs this season. It'd be a risk to plug him into your lineup, but it's at least something to think about depending on your other options.

From TheHuddle

David Blough Dec 6 1:10am ET

Detroit Lions rookie quarterback David Blough will get the start in Week 14 when the Lions travel to Minnesota to take on the Vikings. With Matthew Stafford (back) unlikely to return this season and Jeff Driskel (hamstring) placed on the injured reserve, it looks like it will be all Blough from here on out. Those who advanced to the fantasy playoffs are likely not going to be putting their hopes into a rookie quarterback starting for just the second time of his career, but the Lions quarterback situation is terrible news for Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones going forward. Both receivers caught touchdown passes with Blough under center last week, but that cannot be expected on a weekly basis. Blough's performance was impressive, especially given the circumstances, but removing the first quarter of last week's game from the equation paints a much uglier picture, as he was only able to lead the Lions to two field goals the rest of the way. Blough is not a recommended start this week.

From RotoBaller

Jason Witten Dec 6 1:03am ET

Dallas Cowboys TE Jason Witten had five receptions for 37 yards on Thursday, Dec. 5, against the Chicago Bears.

Fantasy Spin: After starting off fairly well, Witten has now averaged fewer than 10 yards per catch in seven straight games, scoring just once during that time. Witten might have a little fringe appeal in PPR leagues, but that's his ceiling.

From TheHuddle

Blake Jarwin Dec 6 12:53am ET

Dallas Cowboys TE Blake Jarwin caught six passes for 50 yards in a Week 14 loss to the Chicago Bears.

Fantasy Spin: Fifty yards was a season high for Jarwin, who clearly looks more dynamic than Jason Witten even though the team insists on basically splitting their chances in the passing game evenly. Until he surpasses Witten, Jarwin only holds value in the largest of leagues.

From TheHuddle

Jameis Winston Dec 6 12:40am ET

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston is coming off a very disappointing performance in Week 13, but that shouldn't hold fantasy owners back from going right back to him in Week 14 against the Indianapolis Colts. Winston was only able to pass for 268 yards with no scores last week, but he should have no problem moving the ball against a bend-but-don't-break defense that gives up plenty of yards. Prior to last week's flop, the fifth-year signal-caller was averaging 324 passing yards and two scores per game since the Bucs bye and has put up QB1 numbers the entire season. Winston will comfortably slot in as a QB1 heading into the first week of the fantasy playoffs.

From RotoBaller

Randall Cobb Dec 6 12:33am ET

Dallas Cowboys WR Randall Cobb had two receptions for 43 yards against the Chicago Bears on Thursday, Dec. 5.

Fantasy Spin: After a nice three-game run in which he caught 14 passes for 307 yards and two TDs, Cobb has posted 53 and 43 yards, respectively, in the last two. While Cobb has already put together his best year since 2016, the veteran is a high-risk, moderate-reward option, which isn't what you want at fantasy playoff time.

From TheHuddle

Dallas Cowboys Dec 6 12:30am ET

The Dallas Cowboys Defense struggled mightily in a Week 14 loss to the Chicago Bears. The Cowboys defense seemed unable to stop the Bears on any third down play. Eternally struggling Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky threw three touchdown passes and ran for 63 yards and another touchdown. The Cowboys defense only intercepted him once and recorded just two sacks. A previously hyped fantasy unit, the Cowboys defense should probably be avoided for the remainder of the fantasy playoffs.

From RotoBaller

Dak Prescott Dec 6 12:23am ET

Dallas Cowboys QB Dak Prescott completed 27 of 49 passes for 334 yards and a touchdown during the team's Week 14 loss to the Chicago Bears.

Fantasy Spin: Prescott led Dallas to 17 fourth-quarter points, but the outcome was barely in doubt at that point as the Cowboys never even possessed the ball with the chance to tie the game. Still, it helped salvage an otherwise forgettable performance in prime time, and Prescott did drop a nice dime for six. He should be a midrange QB1 against the Rams in Week 15.

From TheHuddle