It’s Thanksgiving morning as I write this column and I am officially allowing myself to listen to Christmas music to kick off the holiday season. While Kenny G is hoping that I Have Myself a Merry Little Christmas softly in the background, I want to gift you with a present that helps you win your fantasy football matchups in week 12.
Many fantasy football sites and podcasts feature a weekly segment that goes by many names – booms or busts, heroes or zeros, yay or nay, etc., and I enjoy them. But I never struggle with the decisions to start Zeke, Davante, Kupp, McCaffrey, Dalvin, or any such studs regardless of their matchups and whether or not they may hit expectations. Jonathan Taylor has a tough spot this week against the stout run defense of Tampa. Would I agonize over this decision? No, you plug and play these guys every week.
The studs are easy. Many times the difference between our weekly wins and losses will live and die based on how well we choose our flex spots – those pesky, week to week, pain in the butt decisions – unless your team is absolutely stacked. Mine is not. Case in point, do I flex Javonte Williams v the Chargers, Elijah Moore v Houston, Miles Sanders v the Giants, Elijah Mitchell (if active) v the Vikings, or OBJ v the Packers? See what I mean? These are my choices. I’ve written before about choosing wrong even when contributing author, Kendall “The Hexorcist” Lowman, gave me the winning suggestions which ignored. But this week I play against The Hexorcist, so I’m not asking him.
In our column “This Guy or That Guy?” I want to process through some of these lukewarm options and determine which ones are the best choices for week 12. Then we can peacefully move forward with all-day football and gorging ourselves on turkey, ham, stuffing, and mac-n-cheese.
I used 4for4.com week 12 projections for all RBs and WRs sorted in descending order. I skipped the top 24 RBs and WRs because in 12-man leagues in which you start 2 RBs and 2 WRs, these guys are your starters. Life gets tricky at #25 and beyond. We can all use a rankings list like the one at 4for4.com and make the simple decision to play the highest projected player and in which case you don’t need this article. But to win, we want to choose the players in the best spots to exceed expectations. The points shown below are 4for4’s projections and I think each player will beat them.
Ty Johnson, RB, Jets v. Texans, 8.3 points
Johnson faces a defense that gives up an average of 20 points a game to running backs which ranks them at #24 against the position. With RB Michael Carter out, Johnson should get plenty of work on the ground and he’s a target in the passing game as well. In weeks 8 and 10, Johnson was targeted 6 and 8 times.
Tony Jones, RB, Saints v. Bills, 9.8 points
This pick is contingent upon Mark Ingram’s status. He’s trending towards not playing tonight, but with Kamara out, Jones could still be flex-worthy with Ingram playing. If Ingram does play, he may not be at full health, which gives Jones more opportunities against a Bills defense that defends the pass much better than the run. To beat the Bills, the Saints need to keep it grounded.
Tony Pollard, RB, Cowboys v. Raiders, 9 points
Pollard is facing a team ranked 25th against the run and 9th against the pass, and with Cee Dee Lamb inactive, Dallas is wise to run the ball down the Raiders’ throats. Zeke will eat, but Pollard has plenty of room at the Thanksgiving dinner table to feast, also.
AJ Brown, WR, Titans v. Patriots, 11.2 points****updated. Brown is inactive
It’s surprising to see Brown ranked outside the top 24 WRs, but he is playing the Patriots with a #5 ranked defense against wide receivers. The Pats D also posted 26.68 points in their last game against the Falcons. Yeah, it’s a bold call to project any player to boom against the Patriots, but the Bullrush doesn’t cower away from tough decisions. Can the Titans run against the Pats, ranked 10th against the rush, with a running back who was on his couch watching the games before November 2? Doubtful. AJ Brown is the Titans’ best offensive weapon and Tanny needs to feed him.
Odell Beckham, WR, Rams v. Packers, 8.8 points
I do still think OBJ can play and I think he wants to prove it. He had only a couple of days to prepare for his first game with the Rams on November 15 against the 49ers and he had a lackluster 3 targets, 2 catches, 18 yards, and no TDs. Now off a bye week with time to learn the Rams’ offense and build chemistry with Stafford, this is the week for OBJ to silence his critics. Stafford should also be anxious to rebound from 2 horrible outings in which he threw 4 interceptions, half of them pick 6’s, and only 2 touchdowns. His total fantasy output over those 2 games was a pathetic 22.88 points. 4for4’s projections don’t factor in a TD for Beckham, but I say he gets one.
Javonte Williams, RB, Broncos v. Chargers, 10.6 points
Ok, this is a bonus call because he is actually ranked as the #22 RB on 4for4, just behind his running mate, Melvin Gordon. But I am calling for the JW breakout game that JW truthers have wanted all season. The Chargers’ defense is 2nd best in the league against the pass and when your QB is Teddy Bridgewater, why tempt fate? Keep the ball on the ground against the porous, 28th ranked defense against the run. I think Javonte finally goes ham (or turkey, whatever your preference) on the Chargers and he is my candidate for the biggest boom of the week.
Now let’s go feast at the dinner table and in fantasy football.
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