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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
Jake Elliott Dec 10 12:20am ET

Philadelphia Eagles kicker Jake Elliott made just one of his two field goals in Week 14, but he made both of his extra point attempts. Elliott was perfect through the first few games of the season, but he's been in a bit of a slump lately despite recently signing a contract extension. Still, with a good matchup coming up in Week 15 against Washington, Elliott should be a solid fantasy kicking option then.

From RotoBaller

Philadelphia Eagles Dec 10 12:20am ET

The Philadelphia Eagles Defense didn't do much in a Week 14 overtime win over the New York Giants. They allowed 17 points, all in the first half, and recorded two sacks, both by Vinny Curry. They were unable to record any interceptions or force any fumbles. It was a pedestrian performance against a stone statue resembling Eli Manning. Another good matchup awaits the Eagles defense with Washington up next on the schedule, but they're getting more and more difficult to trust in fantasy lineups.

From RotoBaller

Greg Ward Dec 10 12:10am ET

Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Greg Ward came up with four catches on nine targets in Week 14, gaining 34 yards. Ward had the chance to come up with a few big plays, but was unable to do much with his opportunities. Ward was thrust into a bigger role after Alshon Jeffery was forced to leave the game due to an injury in the second quarter, but Ward quickly showed why he was so far down on the depth chart. Regardless of Jeffery's recovery, Ward won't be a great fantasy option despite a good matchup against Washington in Week 15.

From RotoBaller

JJ Arcega-Whiteside Dec 10 12:10am ET

Philadelphia Eagles rookie wide receiver J.J. Arcega-Whiteside made two catches in Week 14, gaining 29 yards. He was targeted three times but was a near every-down player, especially after Alshon Jeffery was forced to leave the game with a foot injury. Arcega-Whiteside showed some huge upside in the preseason but hasn't really been able to do anything in regular season play. Even if Jeffery is forced to miss Week 15, Arcega-Whiteside will be nothing more than a dart-throw in most fantasy formats.

From RotoBaller

Kaden Smith Dec 10 12:00am ET

New York Giants tight end Kaden Smith was a no show on Monday night. He saw five targets from Eli Manning but was only able to catch two of them for nine yards. Smith was a nice story after solid production last week, but he was never likely to have sustained value. With it probable that either Evan Engram (foot) or Rhett Ellison (concussion) will be back next week, Smiths time on the fantasy radar may be over.

From RotoBaller

Miles Sanders Dec 10 12:00am ET

Philadelphia Eagles rookie running back Miles Sanders was thoroughly outplayed by Boston Scott in a Week 14 win over the New York Giants. Sanders averaged just three yards per carry, running the ball 15 times for 45 scoreless yards. He added four catches for 24 more yards. Scott, meanwhile, accrued 128 yards from scrimmage and made some explosive plays throughout the game. Sanders was forced to leave the game for a bit in the second half due to an injury, but he was able to return soon after. Sanders should still get the start in Week 15, but Scott has certainly earned more playing time and should eat into the upside that Sanders possesses.

From RotoBaller

Jay Ajayi Dec 10 12:00am ET

Philadelphia Eagles running back Jay Ajayi did almost nothing in a Week 14 win over the New York Giants, running the ball just twice for a total of five yards. He saw one target in the passing game, but was unable to come down with a catchable ball. Ajayi has played a very small role on the Eagles offense since being signed, and it has become clear that he is nothing more than depth in the running back room at this point.

From RotoBaller

New York Giants Dec 10 12:00am ET

Early on, the New York Giants Defense did a solid job against a banged-up Eagles offense. They took advantage of an Eagles offense without Alshon Jeffrey, Nelson Agholor, Jordan Howard, and Lane Johnson, getting pressure on Carson Wentz, forcing errant throws and sacking him three times. However, they were never able to get any turnovers and the Giants' utter lack of offense in the second half allowed the Eagles to gather some momentum as the game wore on. Even against the Dolphins and turnover-happy Ryan Fitzpatrick, the Giants are not a recommended streaming defense with so much on the line for fantasy teams.

From RotoBaller

Aldrick Rosas Dec 10 12:00am ET

New York Giants kicker Aldrick Rosas made both of his extra points and his only field goal attempt in Monday's loss to the Eagles. As with most games this season, Rosas' fantasy value is limited by his mediocre offense. The Giants simply don't get the ball into scoring position enough for him to be a fantasy-viable kicker, even next week against the Dolphins.

From RotoBaller

Zach Ertz Dec 10 12:00am ET

Philadelphia Eagles tight end Zach Ertz scored two huge touchdowns in Week 14, including a walk-off score in overtime. Ertz ended up with nine catches on 13 targets for a total of 91 yards. His first score came on a two-yard strike in the middle of the fourth quarter, and his second was another two-yard pass, this one in overtime. Ertz was essentially the entire passing game in this one, as Greg Ward and rookie J.J. Arcega-Whiteside were the only available wide receivers after Alshon Jeffery was forced to leave with a foot injury. With a strong matchup against Washington coming up next week, Ertz should be a strong TE1 once again.

From RotoBaller

Dallas Goedert Dec 10 12:00am ET

Philadelphia Eagles tight end Dallas Goedert made three catches on six targets in Week 14. He gained 41 yards on his three grabs, including one crucial catch near the end of the game that helped lead the Eagles to an overtime win. With Alshon Jeffery forced to leave in the second quarter due to a foot injury, Goedert and fellow tight end Zach Ertz ended up becoming the receiving corps for quarterback Carson Wentz. With another good matchup in Week 15 against Washington, Goedert will be a low-end TE1 again.

From RotoBaller

Carson Wentz Dec 9 11:50pm ET

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz was solid in a rainy overtime win over the New York Giants in Week 14. Wentz completed 33 of his 50 pass attempts for 325 yards and two touchdowns. Both of his touchdowns went to tight end Zach Ertz, with the second one being an overtime walk-off score. Wentz was left with just Greg Ward and J.J. Arcega-Whiteside as the only healthy wide receivers on the roster after Alshon Jeffery left in the second quarter with a foot injury. It's a concern for Wentz's Week 15 outlook, but a good matchup against Washington helps.

From RotoBaller

Eli Manning Dec 9 11:50pm ET

New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning had some magic working early in his first game back in the starting lineup since Week 3, delivering two touchdown passes to Darius Slayton, but the potion wore off as the rain picked up and the Giants collapsed on primetime TV. After his hot start, Manning remained inaccurate and immobile in the pocket. He finished with 15 completions on 30 passes for 203 yards and two touchdowns. The stats will look fine, but this Giants team is unquestionably better with Daniel Jones under center, and the expectation should be that Jones takes the job back next week against the Dolphins if his ankle heals up.

From RotoBaller

Darius Slayton Dec 9 11:50pm ET

New York Giants wide receiver Darius Slayton exploded in the first half of the Giants loss to the Eagles on Monday night. Slayton and Eli Manning connected on two early deep balls as Slayton seemed to beat Ronald Darby at will. He corralled five of his six targets for 154 yards and two touchdowns, but the rain and the Giants ridiculously conservative gameplan caused Slaytons fun to end prematurely. With Daniel Jones likely to come back next week, Slayton remains a low-end WR3 in an easy matchup against the Dolphins, unless Evan Engram also comes back to take away more targets.

From RotoBaller

Boston Scott Dec 9 11:50pm ET

Philadelphia Eagles running back Boston Scott showed some real explosiveness and big play ability in a Week 14 overtime win over the New York Giants. Scott ran the ball 10 times for 59 yards and a touchdown, adding six catches for 69 more yards. Scott looked like the best running back in an Eagles uniform all season in this one, making it look easy as he averaged almost six yards per carry in the rain. Scott got a little extra run in the second half as Miles Sanders had to miss some time with a minor injury. Scott could see his role grow in Week 15 against Washington.

From RotoBaller

Saquon Barkley Dec 9 11:50pm ET

New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley was bottled up in Mondays loss to the Eagles. The Eagles run defense is among the leagues best, so Barkley rushing 17 times for 66 yards was not a surprise. However, in a rainy game with Eli Manning back under center, it was honestly shocking that Barkley was only able to muster one yard on three catches. Why the Giants star has seemingly been phased out of the passing attack is anybodys guess, but it has severely capped his fantasy value. He has a get-right game next week against the lowly Dolphins, but Barkley is just a low-end RB1 now.

From RotoBaller

Golden Tate Dec 9 11:50pm ET

New York Giants wide receiver Golden Tate was an afterthought in his first game with Eli Manning under center. The first-year Giant caught only one of his five targets for 11 yards. With Darius Slayton emerging and Evan Engram possibly returning next week, Tate is falling down the receiving pecking order and could be just a WR4 next week against the Dolphins. It would be safer to find another option for your fantasy playoffs.

From RotoBaller

Sterling Shepard Dec 9 11:50pm ET

New York Giants wide receiver Sterling Shepard was second on the team in targets with seven but only hauled in four passes for 28 yards. Whenever he is on the field, Shepard is a magnet for targets, regardless of who is under center. His consistently high volume means that he could be an intriguing, albeit risky, WR3 option next week against the Dolphins mediocre pass defense.

From RotoBaller

Alshon Jeffery Dec 9 11:10pm ET

Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Alshon Jeffery was forced to leave Monday's game against the New York Giants due to a foot injury. Jeffery limped off the field after going down while running a route in the second quarter. He was carted into the locker room from the sideline. He made zero catches on two bad targets before getting hurt. It's a devastating blow to fantasy owners who trusted Jeffery after his huge Week 13 performance, but potentially even worse for the Eagles, who are left with just Greg Ward and J.J. Arcega-Whiteside as the only wide receivers in uniform.

From RotoBaller

Alshon Jeffery Dec 9 10:13pm ET

Updating a previous report, Philadelphia Eagles WR Alshon Jeffery (foot) will not return to the Week 14 game against the New York Giants due to his foot injury.

Fantasy Spin: Jeffery was carted off in the first half and immediately went to the locker room. He finished without a catch on two targets. Greg Ward Jr., JJ Arcega-Whiteside and Josh Perkins will steer the ship home at wide receiver.

From TheHuddle