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Week 12 Start-Sit: What Does Your Team Actually Need?

Week 12 Start-Sit
Photo Credit: Erik Drost

My Week 12 Start-Sit column is definitely the most important of the season so far. As we enter the stretch run for the Fantasy Playoffs you have to make decisions based on where you are in the standings.

After going through my 16 weekly leagues (yes, I know, I might have a problem) I realized how much differently I am having to think and adjust my lineup depending on my team. What I am getting at, is you have to figure out what you need to stay alive.

If you are most likely already locked into the playoffs barring a catastrophic points collapse, then you just need to start high floor guys that won’t drop a goose egg. If you need a massive amount of points to snag that last playoff spot distributed by point total, then you need to swing for the fences with some high-ceiling players.

What if you just need a win? That’s where you have to make the toughest of calls. Play your risks wisely while keeping some level of safety in production.

Last week I kept my risks contained to my best week yet. I ended up going 12-3 with 9 major wins off of my Start-Sit plays. It was my best winning percentage as well as tied for the most major wins in a week.

Hopefully, I can continue this strong finish to the season.

As always I am keeping track of my predictions. Going into the Week 12 Start-Sit picks I am 115-65-4 with 75 major wins. Just a reminder, a “win” is correctly picking a start that out-performs his rankings and underperforms as a sit. A “loss” is the opposite happening. A major win is when a guy over- or under-performs by 12 or more spots.

So let’s get to the Week 12 Start-Sit plays. For our Week 12 Start-Sit projections, I am going to focus on guys ranked outside of the Top-24 RB/WRs and Top-10 QB/TEs for my Starts. I will focus on guys inside the Top-20 RB/WRs and Top-8 QB/TEs for my Sits.

Week 12 Start-Sit

(All rankings based off of the Fantasy Pros consensus PPR rankings as of 11/22)

Start

Tyrod Taylor, QB, Buffalo Bills at Kansas City Chiefs (QB18)

After arguably the worst coaching decision of the year to bench Taylor last week, Buffalo looks to start the former Hokie against the Chiefs. Taylor had just three interceptions all season before the benching. Nathan Peterman promptly threw FIVE picks in just the first half over 14 pass attempts. Now with Buffalo still firmly in the playoff hunt, and Taylor playing for a contract elsewhere, I think he puts pride aside and balls out. Throw in the fact that Kansas City gives up the ninth-most Fantasy Points to quarterbacks, including the sixth most rushing yards, and Taylor is a QB1 this week.

Paxton Lynch, QB, Denver Broncos at Oakland Raiders (QB27)

Lynch looks to get the start for Denver this week and he gets a juicy matchup. The Raiders’ pass defense has been horrible lately. They are giving up over 23 points per game to opposing quarterbacks over their last five weeks. They have given up 300+ yards and three touchdown passes in three of their last four games. While Lynch might not be worthy in a 10-team, single-QB format, for deeper leagues with multiple quarterbacks he is a solid option.

Danny Woodhead, RB, Baltimore Ravens vs. Houston Texans (RB32)


Woodhead played just 13 snaps last week but managed five receptions on six targets. So basically every other play he was on the field he had a pass thrown to him. His snap count percentage will definitely increase, as well as the passing attempts of the Ravens when they are not shutting someone out. I think he is going to be in the 7-10 reception range every game from here on out, is a must-start in PPR leagues, and is the top play of the Week 12 Start-Sit.

Devonta Freeman, RB, Atlanta Falcons vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (RB38)

If he plays, you are starting him. His floor is too high, especially against Tampa Bay. I actually think the week off might do Freeman some good: get his batteries recharged and ready to go for the stretch run.

Austin Ekeler, RB, Los Angeles Chargers at Dallas Cowboys (RB43)

In games that Sean Lee has missed, Dallas has given up almost 33 PPR points a game to opposing running backs. They have given up 451 rushing yards in those three games. Melvin Gordon is the RB1 for me this week and I think Ekeler will have a productive day as well. Ekeler has had at least 13.8 points in three of the last four games and those were against much better defenses.

Emmanuel Sanders, WR, Denver Broncos at Oakland Raiders (WR27)

If I’m thinking Lynch has a good game then Sanders will need to show up as well. He has been hit or miss the past few weeks, but I think Lynch will look Sanders’ way often this weekend.

Corey Coleman, WR, Cleveland Browns at Cincinnati Bengals (WR33)


Coleman has played two full games this season. He has 30.3 Fantasy Points in those two games. There was no easing the Browns’ young receiver back into it, as he received 34.5% of the pass attempts in his direction. All of this was done against the best defense in the league, Jacksonville. With a slightly friendlier matchup against the Bengals this week, Coleman should shine.

Dede Westbrook, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars at Arizona Cardinals (WR76)

This is a deeeeepp pick but I think Westbrook breaks out this week. He came with a lot of talk last week in his debut that was not backed up. With Patrick Peterson likely splitting time between Marqise Lee and Allen Hurns, Westbrook will have plenty of chances.

Greg Olsen, TE, Carolina Panthers at New York Jets (TE13)

If Olsen is playing, then you are starting him. I’ve been holding on to him in several leagues waiting for this moment. The Jets have given up the eighth-most Fantasy Points to tight ends and the Panthers are struggling for a target besides Christian McCaffrey.

Los Angeles Chargers D/ST at Dallas Cowboys (DST14)

Tyron Smith might be playing, but La’el Collins might not on the other side. Either way, Smith won’t be 100% and Joey Bosa is coming for him. Add in Dak Prescott’s new penchant for turning the ball over, and it could get ugly on Turkey-Day.

Sit

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Kirk Cousins, QB, Washington Redskins vs. New York Giants (QB4)

While the matchup looks enticing, I think the Chris Thompson injury is going to really hurt Cousins’ Fantasy value. He loses his leading rusher and receiving with a single broken leg. After Thompson went out, Cousins’ short-passing game took a huge hit. I think Jamison Crowder will eventually fill the void, but with the Giants trying to shorten games as much as possible there will not be enough possessions for Cousins to return elite-level production.

Alex Smith, QB, Kansas City Chiefs vs. Buffalo Bills (QB8)

While the Bills have gotten dominated a few times recently, their defense has not given up 20 points to opposing quarterbacks in over a month. In fact, only Jameis Winston has cracked the 20-point mark all season against Buffalo. Smith has been struggling of late and this is not a good time to rebound.

Jerick McKinnon, RB, Minnesota Vikings at Detroit Lions (RB15)

McKinnon has just 17.7 PPR points since the bye week. Latavius Murray has received the majority of the Red Zone work with four rushing touchdowns over the past four games to McKinnon’s one score. McKinnon has to get involved in the passing game to be effective for Fantasy purposes and even then I’m not sure he is at the high-end RB2 level. He is my best “Sit” in the Week 12 Start-Sit plays.

Joe Mixon, RB, Cincinnati Bengals vs. Cleveland Browns (RB19)


Mixon is definitely getting the volume from the Bengals’ backfield but has yet to do much with it. He managed just 49 total yards off of 22 touches last week. He still has not broken the 14-point mark in PPR points. Toss in the fact that Cleveland has surprisingly given up the third-fewest rushing touchdowns to backs and this is a tough spot for Mixon.

Dez Bryant, WR, Dallas Cowboys vs. Los Angeles Chargers (WR18)

Dez has not scored in a month. He is catching just a smidge over 50% of the targets thrown his way. Dak Prescott has looked like a 4th-round pick. The Chargers have above average corners. Dez is WR22 on the season and has played every game. All of this puts absolutely no confidence in starting Bryant.

Davante Adams, WR, Green Bay Packers at Pittsburgh Steelers (WR21)

I want nothing to do with the Packers’ pass offense.

Rob Gronkowski, TE, New England Patriots vs. Miami Dolphins (TE1)

There’s something that has not been talked about enough and that is the brilliant use of Gronk this season. If the game is a blowout, Gronk is not going to see much action. His best games are the closer contest (Saints, Texans, Jets). The Patriots are massive a favorite this weekend. Gronk will not be used much.


That’s it for the Week 12 Start-Sit predictions! If you have any other questions, please shoot them to me on Twitter @Tomlin3 !

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Michael Tomlin
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Michael Tomlin

Michael Tomlin is an ESPY-nominated, former college football player who stays associated with the game through Fantasy Sports. He has been writing his personal blog, Dirkland.blogspot.com, for three years and it focuses on Fantasy Sports, as well as handicapping. He was born and raised in the DFW Metroplex, and he follows all of the Dallas teams, along with Texas Tech athletics and Manchester City F.C.
Michael Tomlin
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