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Fantasy Football Start 'Em, Sit 'Em - Week 12 Matchups Analysis

Derrick Henry - Fantasy Football Rankings, NFL Injury News, DFS Lineup Picks

Welcome back RotoBallers to our Week 12 matchups analysis and Start Em, Sit Em column for fantasy football. Happy Thanksgiving! The injury train just keeps on rolling, taking out superstars like flies on a windshield. Last week was another wild one with plenty of booms and busts, several of which came from individuals that very few managers would have started. Thankfully, there are no teams on bye, but there were three games on Thursday and one game on Friday, so be aware of that matchup later today.

For anyone new to the column, each week we'll be analyzing every game from the Sunday slate and the Monday Night Football game, helping you optimize your fantasy lineups and take down your opponent. Check back regularly for any updates on player injuries or other pertinent information. Additionally, you'll notice some players are obvious starts included in the "matchups we love" section in the interest of making sure everyone is covered. Furthermore, there will be times when one wide receiver or running back is listed individually but their teammates are included in the write-up. I also want to express my gratitude for some of the great resources that help me write this article each week such as RotoBaller's player pages, rbsdm, Pro Football Focus, Rotovitz, FTN Fantasy, Fantasy Life, Pro Football Reference, NFL Next Gen Stats, DraftKings Sportsbook, and Fantasy Points, along with all of you for reading this article.

There is also a separate article for the Thursday Night Football game each week, so be sure to read that. Hopefully, you've survived another round of Russian roulette and knocked off your opponent. Regardless of how Week 11 went, Week 12 is a chance for a fresh start. If you have any additional lineup questions, follow me on Twitter/X @JoshCon, and feel free to ask away. Let's dive into the matchups.

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Matchups Analysis - Friday Game

Miami Dolphins at New York Jets

Spread: Dolphins -10.0
Implied Total: Dolphins (25.5) vs. Jets (15.5)
Pace: Dolphins (20th) vs. Jets (11th)
Dolphins Off. DVOA: 43.0% Pass (3rd), 19.1% Rush (2nd)
Jets Off. DVOA: -18.6% Pass (30th), -26.7% Rush (31st)
Dolphins Def. DVOA:
9.8% Pass (17th), -3.8% Rush (22nd)
Jets Def. DVOA: -11.5% Pass (5th), -10.0% Rush (18th)

Matchups We Love:

Raheem Mostert (RB, MIA)

After waiting four weeks for De'Von Achane to return, he lasted less than a quarter before exiting because he re-aggravated his knee. It's a terrible fate for the young rookie, who has shown an elite level of explosiveness when on the field. His absence resulted in a massive workload for Mostert, who handled 22 of the 25 RB carries (88%). It was also compounded by the team making Jeff Wilson Jr. a healthy scratch. Salvon Ahmed took advantage of the situation as well by hauling in a touchdown pass, but he's been placed on IR now with a foot injury. It's a good matchup, so with Achane limited in practice all week and listed as questionable, Mostert becomes an awesome start with Wilson around the top 24 if Achane misses. Achane would be a risky top-24 back if he's active.

UPDATE: Achane has been ruled out.

Dolphins WRs

Despite spending some time on the sideline and Miami scoring just 20 points, Tyreek Hill kept his absurd season going with 10 grabs for 146 yards and a score. He's averaging about 120 receiving yards per game and needs to average 112 in his remaining seven to break 2,000. I wouldn't bet against him. Jaylen Waddle had eight targets, but only half were deemed catchable, which is exactly how many he caught. It was a poor day all around for the offense, and while the Jets have a strong secondary led by Sauce Gardner, we know they can't sustain drives, so Waddle stays in the top 20.

Matchups We Hate:

Garrett Wilson (WR, NYJ)

New York is moving away from Zach Wilson in favor of Tim Boyle. Could it be an upgrade? It's possible. Does it mean better days are ahead for the receiver Wilson? Doubtful. While things have been difficult for Wilson, last week was an all-time low with two catches for nine yards and a fumble. In half-PPR scoring, he actually lost you points. With Jalen Ramsey on deck, it's wise to move off of Wilson, who is at best a top-36 receiver.

Other Matchups:

Breece Hall (RB, NYJ)

One of the few things the Jets did right on Sunday was target Hall more. He had the second-most targets (six) and receptions (five) he's had this year, scoring on one of them to cap off a nice day as a receiver. It wasn't a good day on the ground with 23 yards on 10 carries, but the offensive line is banged up and teams are expecting them to run. It's also worth noting his performance ended early because they pulled the starters late. Hall remains a top-20 back because of his ability to make plays.

Tua Tagovailoa (QB, MIA)

Tagovailoa was moving the ball down the field quite well. However, turnovers kept ending their drives before they could score. They also got inside the Las Vegas 35-yard line three times, kicking field goals twice and turning the ball over on downs once. All that to say, his day could have been a lot better. They should be able to rack up a decent amount of points against New York, keeping him in the top 10.

Injuries:

De'Von Achane (knee)
Salvon Ahmed (foot)

 

Matchups Analysis - 1:00 ET Games

New Orleans Saints at Atlanta Falcons

Spread: Saints -1.5
Implied Total: Saints (21.5) vs. Falcons (20)
Pace: Saints (5th) vs. Falcons (8th)
Saints Off. DVOA: 3.5% Pass (22nd), -3.5% Rush (13th)
Falcons Off. DVOA: -3.6% Pass (25th), -4.7% Rush (17th)
Saints Def. DVOA:
0.7% Pass (10th), -8.4% Rush (19th)
Falcons Def. DVOA: 24.9% Pass (30th), -13.6% Rush (15th)

Matchups We Love:

Bijan Robinson (RB, ATL)

The theme of teams switching quarterbacks rolls on. After giving Taylor Heinicke the nod in Week 10, Arthur Smith confirmed that Desmond Ridder will take back his role as the starter. It's not great news for the offense because we know what to expect. As for Robinson, his usage finally saw an uptick in Week 10. He played the highest snap share (77%) and had the highest route participation (85%) of his career. Plus, he saw every attempt inside the five. We'll see whether that's the new normal or not this week. New Orleans isn't as impenetrable against the run as they once were, so Robinson remains a top-15 back.

Alvin Kamara (RB, NO)

Much of the outlook for the Saints players depends on who is under center. For example, after Jameis Winston took over in the third quarter last week, Kamara had just two targets. For perspective, he's averaging eight targets per game, so it would be a massive dropoff with Winston in. Fortunately for Kamara, Derek Carr practiced in full and cleared the concussion protocol. Kamara moves up the ranks into the top 10 with Carr back.

Matchups We Hate:

None

Other Matchups:

Chris Olave (WR, NO)

Similarly, Olave had just one reception when Winston entered the game. He finished with six receptions for 94 yards and a touchdown. His outlook improves with Winston as the starter because he throws the ball downfield and takes chances. Additionally, Michael Thomas has been placed on Injured Reserve, creating opportunities for Olave, Rashid Shaheed, and A.T. Perry. After Thomas left, it was Perry who took over his role while Shaheed remained more of a deep threat. Both teams play fast, increasing the number of plays they can run, and the Falcons' pass defense is beatable. Olave slots in as a top-24 receiver with Shaheed and Perry as flex options.

Derek Carr (QB, NO)

The primary concern for Carr is his health. We've seen his shoulder limit him in the past, and it was hard to watch. He'll be a streamer because of the great matchup and the weapons he has at his disposal.

Saints TEs

Thomas's absence is good news for the duo here as well. Taysom Hill has been utilized as a receiver more than ever this season and Juwan Johnson will be even healthier coming out of their bye. Hill certainly has the higher ceiling, one of the highest among all tight ends, but Johnson is capable of earning red zone targets and succeeding in that area of the field. Hill is a boom-bust top-12 tight end while Johnson is a more traditional streamer.

Kyle Pitts (TE, ATL)

Between Arthur Smith and Jonnu Smith, Pitts has a Smith problem. It's hard to rely on him week to week, but given the tight end landscape and the good matchup, he's a streamer this week.

Drake London (WR, ATL)

After a nice streak of top-36 performances earlier this season, London finished as the WR49 and WR52 in his past two outings. He's still the No. 1 option, but the passing attempts haven't been there. The good news is that Marshon Lattimore is out for this one, softening up the coverage. He stays a top-36 receiver with a lower ceiling.

Injuries:

Michael Thomas (knee)

 

Pittsburgh Steelers at Cincinnati Bengals

Spread: Steelers -1.5
Implied Total: Steelers (18.25) vs. Bengals (16.75)
Pace: Steelers (14th) vs. Bengals (25th)
Steelers Off. DVOA: 5.7% Pass (20th), 1.4% Rush (7th)
Bengals Off. DVOA: 13.5% Pass (18th), -4.6% Rush (15th)
Steelers Def. DVOA:
-5.7% Pass (7th), -10.7% Rush (17th)
Bengals Def. DVOA: 4.6% Pass (13th), 3.5% Rush (30th)

WEATHER: This game is expected to have light showers, but nothing that will have a significant impact.

Matchups We Love:

Jaylen Warren (RB, PIT)

While the streak of quarterback changes comes to an end, the Steelers made an equally big move this week by firing their offensive coordinator, Matt Canada. It should cause a shift in the energy and excitement for the players similar to the way it did for the Raiders when they let Josh McDaniels go. That being said, it'll still be another low-scoring slugfest in a battle of two teams without starting-caliber quarterbacks.

Warren broke the game wide open with a huge 74-yard touchdown run to open the second half. He totaled over 100 scrimmage yards for the third straight week and scored for the second. It was a near-even split in terms of touches, with Najee Harris edging him 13-12. However, Warren's receiving role and ability to break off chunk plays make him the clear-cut No. 1 running back for fantasy. Warren is a top-20 back with Harris a flex option.

Matchups We Hate:

Steelers Passing Attack

The hope is that the offense takes a significant step forward, and while that's possible, Kenny Pickett and the passing attack are still hard to trust. Additionally, Cincinnati has suffered injuries to their run defense, setting this game up as a perfect spot for Pittsburgh to keep it close and pound the rock. Neither Diontae Johnson nor George Pickens are performing well right now, but Johnson gets the edge as a flex option. Meanwhile, Pat Freiermuth returned from Injured Reserve last week and played 58% of snaps, so he's still getting back to full health, making him a risky streamer.

Other Matchups:

Ja'Marr Chase (WR, CIN)

After losing Joe Burrow for the year, Chase joins the laundry list of upper-echelon wide receivers who are catching passes from backup signal-callers. It's a massive downgrade because Burrow was rounding into form. Chase becomes a volume-based top-24 receiver with a much lower ceiling than we're used to. Similarly, Tee Higgins, if active, and Tyler Boyd lose a lot of their value, forcing whichever one of them is active as the No. 2 into the flex tier.

UPDATE: Higgins has been ruled out, making Boyd a flex option.

Joe Mixon (RB, CIN)

Mixon also takes a hit in value because the offense will inevitably score fewer points. The matchup is decent and they'll likely lean on their ground game more with Jake Browning at the helm. One thing we don't know for sure is the tendencies of Browning and whether he'll check it down to Mixon as a receiver. For now, he's a top-24 back.

Injuries:

Tee Higgins (hamstring)

 

Jacksonville Jaguars at Houston Texans

Spread: Jaguars -1.5
Implied Total: Jaguars (24.5) vs. Texans (23)
Pace: Jaguars (21st) vs. Texans (6th)
Jaguars Off. DVOA: 22.3% Pass (13th), -12.8% Rush (23rd)
Texans Off. DVOA: 40.7% Pass (4th), -20.0% Rush (27th)
Jaguars Def. DVOA:
-4.8% Pass (8th), -21.4% Rush (2nd)
Texans Def. DVOA: 13.8% Pass (22nd), -14.1% Rush (12th)

Matchups We Love:

C.J. Stroud (QB, HOU)

Stroud entered Sunday with just two picks on the season and then proceeded to throw three against Arizona, who is not known for having a quality defense. He was fortunate to escape with the victory because usually, three turnovers will seal your fate. He still cleared 300 passing yards and tossed two touchdowns. The matchup is tougher as Jacksonville ranks in the top 10 in defensive EPA per dropback and defensive pass DVOA. However, Stroud did well in their first clash back in Week 3, so he remains in the top 10.

Texans WRs

Tank Dell and Nico Collins are proving to be quite the young duo. The connection between Stroud and Dell is particularly evident. Dell went over 100 receiving yards and scored again, locking him in as a top-15 wideout in a potential shootout. Meanwhile, Collins led the way by earning 11 targets, keeping him in the top 24. Noah Brown has yet to practice, which would be good news for Collins, Dell, and Robert Woods, who is a flex option.

UPDATE: Brown has been ruled out again, so it's full speed ahead with Dell and Collins.

Travis Etienne Jr. (RB, JAX)

Etienne Jr. struggled against a stout Tennessee run defense, but what really hurt his value was Trevor Lawrence stealing two rushing touchdowns. He had zero on the year before Sunday, so there's a strong chance those go to Etienne this week. While Houston has become a harder matchup, allowing the fourth-fewest fantasy points over the past five weeks, Etienne remains a top-15 back because this offense loves to tote the rock near the goal line.

Evan Engram (TE, JAX)

During that same five-week stretch, they've allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to tight ends, which bodes well for Engram, whose day was mediocre last week. The volume was still there with six targets, but the offense didn't need to throw as much and Engram's receptions were closer to the line of scrimmage. It's possible the return of Zay Jones factored in, but we've seen Engram produce earlier in the year with him present, so he jumps back into the top 10 this week with so few quality options at the position.

Matchups We Hate:

None

Other Matchups:

Trevor Lawrence (QB, JAX)

As mentioned above, Lawrence found the end zone twice as a runner. He also connected twice with Calvin Ridley for a total of four touchdowns. Getting Jones back is key for Lawrence as it opens up the offense more and provides another weapon. One great game doesn't equate to viewing him as an elite option, but he's an intriguing streamer in what figures to be a back-and-forth contest with a higher over/under.

Jaguars WRs

Every so often, Ridley goes nuclear and it feels bad not to have him in your lineup. Yet, the majority of the time it feels worse playing him. He's now had three of these performances in 2023 and there are three commonalities. One is that they win the game, which makes sense given the points he accounts for, the second is that it's against weaker pass defenses including the Colts, Bills, and Titans, and the third is that Jones is active. Houston's pass defense is below average and the Jaguars are slight favorites, but who knows if that's the recipe for success. With Jones back, Christian Kirk's targets, air yards, and snaps all took a hit. It makes deciphering this group a bit tricky. Kirk and Ridley slot in as top-36 wideouts with opposite floor-ceiling combinations while Jones is a flex option.

UPDATE: Jones is expected to play after being listed as questionable.

Devin Singletary (RB, HOU)

Singletary had 20-plus carries for 100-plus yards and a score for the second straight week. He's been fantastic handling a full workload with Dameon Pierce out. Unfortunately, his running mate will return to action on Sunday, complicating this backfield. It's hard to imagine the team moving away from Singletary after how he's performed and adapted the scheme, so he projects as the lead back. Pierce is more of a threat on the ground, so Singletary remains a top-24 back against a stout Jacksonville run defense.

Dalton Schultz (TE, HOU)

Schultz earned just three targets, saving his day with an early touchdown. He faces another tough matchup for tight ends, so with a lot of mouths to feed in this offense, he drops into the streaming tier.

Injuries:

Noah Brown (knee)
Zay Jones (knee)

 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Indianapolis Colts

Spread: Colts -2.5
Implied Total: Buccaneers (21) vs. Colts (23.5)
Pace: Buccaneers (13th) vs. Colts (2nd)
Buccaneers Off. DVOA: 14.3% Pass (16th), -21.7% Rush (30th)
Colts Off. DVOA: 14.0% Pass (17th), 0.8% Rush (8th)
Buccaneers Def. DVOA:
10.9% Pass (20th), -19.3% Rush (3rd)
Colts Def. DVOA: 1.8% Pass (11th), -3.3% Rush (24th)

Matchups We Love:

Rachaad White (RB, TB)

White survived another difficult matchup against the 49ers by catching six passes. He also capitalized on a pass interference penalty that set him up at the one-yard line for a touchdown. He has been great in almost all situations and now faces a subpar run defense. He's a borderline must-start this week.

UPDATE: White is expected to play with the team stating that adding him to the report was more of a formality.

Mike Evans (WR, TB)

The juicy matchup applies to Evans as well against the Colts and their young secondary. He led the team in receiving and found the end zone, which is really all you can ask for. He's inside the top 20. Chris Godwin is in a good spot as well, but that hasn't mattered this season. The volume isn't what it once was and the ceiling is quite low. He's an okay flex option, but not someone to force into your lineup.

Colts WRs

The Colts' home games have been a bit like the Lions were last year, producing a total of 59 points on average this season, which is awesome for everyone involved. It includes Michael Pittman Jr. and Josh Downs, who is off the injury report coming out of their bye. The Buccaneers are stout against the run but exploitable through the air, locking these guys into the top 24.

Matchups We Hate:

None

Other Matchups:

Jonathan Taylor (RB, IND)

As we alluded to, the matchup isn't great for Taylor, but the workload is. During their past two contests, Taylor has averaged 82% of the snaps, 75% of the backfield carries, and a 13% target share. His utilization is too elite to be worried about him.

Gardner Minshew (QB, IND)

Minshew will throw a lot and there figures to be plenty of points scored, so with Downs back, he's a capable streamer who also has sneaky rushing upside near the goal line.

Baker Mayfield (QB, TB)

Mayfield struggled against the 49ers, tossing two untimely interceptions. Similar to Minshew, the matchup is good and he has quality weapons, so he's in the streaming category.

Injuries:

Rachaad White (knee)

 

New England Patriots at New York Giants

Spread: Patriots -3.5
Implied Total: Patriots (18.5) vs. Giants (15)
Pace: Patriots (1st) vs. Giants (16th)
Patriots Off. DVOA: -6.2% Pass (27th), -4.7% Rush (16th)
Giants Off. DVOA: -25.6% Pass (32nd), -26.9% Rush (32nd)
Patriots Def. DVOA:
13.6% Pass (21st), -17.7% Rush (6th)
Giants Def. DVOA: 14.3% Pass (23rd), 2.4% Rush (28th)

Matchups We Love:

Rhamondre Stevenson (RB, NE)

The Patriots found a way to lose their Germany game in Week 10, so hopefully a bye did them well. A matchup against the Giants will certainly help things get back on track. While New York stole a win from Washington last week, they still got gashed on the ground, creating a nice opportunity for Stevenson to post a top-24 day. You could also turn to Ezekiel Elliott as a flex option.

Demario Douglas (WR, NE)

The only other Patriot you can feel confident about is Douglas, who led the way with nine targets in that loss, hauling in six of them for 84 yards. It's a good matchup, making him a reliable top-36 receiver.

Matchups We Hate:

Giants Passing Attack

Kudos to Tommy Devito for shocking the world with 246 yards and three touchdowns. Perhaps more impressive was that he led his team to victory, despite taking five sacks in the first quarter alone. It probably says more about the Commanders than it does the passing attack, but it was fun to watch nevertheless. The one player who made big plays downfield was Darius Slayton, but he's dealing with a neck injury, making him a risky start if he does play. The best decision is probably to avoid this group entirely.

UPDATE: Slayton is listed as doubtful, meaning he'll almost certainly be out.

Other Matchups:

Saquon Barkley (RB, NYG)

Barkley accounted for 140 of their 292 (48%) yards of offense and two of their three offensive touchdowns. He was extremely impressive, especially as a receiver where both those scores came from, along with four receptions for 57 yards. New England's run defense is formidable and the offense is all but guaranteed to perform worse, setting Barkley up as a high floor, low ceiling top-24 back.

Injuries:

Darren Waller (hamstring)
Tyrod Taylor (ribs)
Darius Slayton (neck)

 

Carolina Panthers at Tennessee Titans

Spread: Titans -3.5
Implied Total: Panthers (16.5) vs. Titans (20)
Pace: Panthers (9th) vs. Titans (29th)
Panthers Off. DVOA: -23.3% Pass (31st), -19.0% Rush (26th)
Titans Off. DVOA: 3.7% Pass (21st), -3.0% Rush (11th)
Panthers Def. DVOA:
8.4% Pass (15th), 10.8% Rush (32nd)
Titans Def. DVOA: 22.0% Pass (28th), -18.8% Rush (4th)

WEATHER: This game is expected to have light showers, but nothing that will have a significant impact.

Matchups We Love:

Derrick Henry (RB, TEN)

It's been a disappointing campaign for Henry, who appears to be nearing the end of his time in Tennessee. Some of that is the poor quarterback play, some of it is the emergence of Tyjae Spears, and much of it is the negative game scripts against superior opponents. Fortunately, this is the week the stars align for him. Carolina sits dead last in the standings, has the league's worst run defense, and the game is at home. If ever there were a time to call for a vintage Henry performance, this would be it.

Adam Thielen (WR, CAR)

Frank Reich had seen enough from the offense, so he took back playcalling duties. It was never going to make a difference in terms of the outcome against Dallas, but it worked out well for Thielen, who was on fire before two consecutive duds. He caught 50% (eight) of Bryce Young's completions for 74 yards. It's a much better matchup this week against a team they'll be able to compete with, pushing Thielen into the top 24.

Matchups We Hate:

Panthers RBs

As Miles Sanders has been getting healthier, Chuba Hubbard's snaps, rush share, and targets have steadily decreased. This past week, it was a near-even split, cratering both their upsides in a bad matchup. Unfortunately, it's a very similar situation this week against the Titans, who continue to shut down the run. Without a clear leader in the backfield, it's wise to look elsewhere for a tailback.

Other Matchups:

DeAndre Hopkins (WR, TEN)

Week 11 was shaping up to be another letdown for Hopkins until he came down with a 43-yard bomb from Will Levis. The volume is inconsistent and the offense often struggles, but the potential for a big touchdown remains everpresent. Most teams elect to run it down the throats of the Panthers, but there is an opportunity for a spike week from Hopkins as a boom-bust top-36 receiver.

Injuries:

Treylon Burks (concussion)

 

Matchup Analysis - 4:25 ET Games

Los Angeles Rams at Arizona Cardinals

Spread: Rams -2.5
Implied Total: Rams (23.75) vs. Cardinals (21.25)
Pace: Rams (18th) vs. Cardinals (4th)
Rams Off. DVOA: 12.5% Pass (19th), -4.0% Rush (14th)
Cardinals Off. DVOA: -5.3% Pass (26th), -3.4% Rush (12th)
Rams Def. DVOA:
10.3% Pass (18th), -2.6% Rush (25th)
Cardinals Def. DVOA: 23.4% Pass (29th), 2.5% Rush (29th)

Matchups We Love:

Puka Nacua (WR, LAR)

Cooper Kupp suffered an ankle injury early in their contest against Seattle. It was unfortunate because he's finally been healthy and Matthew Stafford was back. It led to a nice day for Nacua, who caught five passes for 70 yards and a touchdown on seven targets. The Seahawks possess a better defense than the Cardinals, setting this group up nicely this week. Kupp has returned to practice on Thursday, but it's unclear whether he'll suit up. Nacua is a top-20 receiver with either Kupp or Tutu Atwell (if Kupp's out) in the top 24.

UPDATE: Kupp practiced in full on Friday and is good to go for Sunday.

Kyren Williams (RB, LAR)

The Rams activated Williams from Injured Reserve, meaning he'll make his return to action in Week 12. The move coincided with waiving Darrell Henderson Jr., who has since rejoined their practice squad, and is indicative of their confidence in Williams. Royce Freeman did serve as the lead back last week with 17 carries and remains a factor, but Williams should take back his role as the starter. It's a fantastic matchup, so Williams moves into the top 20 with Freeman as a solid flex option.

Kyler Murray (QB, ARI)

Murray started strong against Houston in what looked like it could be a shootout. Unfortunately, things slowed down quickly, thanks in part to turnovers. The offense stalled in the second half, but Murray's rushing line of seven rushing attempts for 51 yards and a score provides him with a nice baseline. He'll get another shot to limit turnovers and sustain drives against the Rams, keeping him in the top 10.

James Conner (RB, ARI)

Conner's workhorse role continued with 14 of the 15 (93%) RB carries and three targets. It would be great to see the passing usage grow, but the larger concern is the goal-line work. The offense got inside the five-yard line just one time and Murray ended up running the ball. Los Angeles is a below-average matchup, positioning him in the top 24 with plenty of upside if he finds the end zone.

UPDATE: Emari Demercado is listed as questionable. It's slightly noteworthy because he did take away some receiving work earlier in the year.

Trey McBride (TE, ARI)

With only 30 passing attempts and 20 completions by Murray, it's hard for multiple receivers to be successful. McBride finished second in targets (seven) and receptions (five) and third in yards (43). It wasn't the huge outing we had hoped for, but the volume is still there to make him a top-12 tight end.

Matchups We Hate:

Tyler Higbee (TE, LAR)

New week, same issue for Higbee. He's earned more than three targets once during his past six contests. There's no reason to consider him against Arizona.

Other Matchups:

Matthew Stafford (QB, LAR)

We discussed Stafford's outlook for last week as dependent on his health and ability to score touchdowns, knowing that the offense tends to run the ball near the end zone. He appeared to get banged up again but gutted it out for a win and had the one touchdown to Nacua. Despite the matchup, his ceiling remains low as a streamer.

Cardinals WRs

The player McBride trailed in receiving was not Marquise Brown or Rondale Moore, but Greg Dortch, who played more snaps because Michael Wilson was out. Moore caught a 48-yard touchdown on their opening drive and then never caught another pass. Meanwhile, Brown hauled in just two passes for 18 yards. With Murray back, they've finished in the bottom half of the league in passing volume each of the past two weeks. It drops this entire group outside the top 24 with Brown as the favorite, then Moore and Dortch with Wilson set to miss another week.

UPDATE: Wilson has been ruled out as expected. Meanwhile, Brown is listed as questionable after missing back-to-back practices, making him a risky start if he plays.

Injuries:

Zach Ertz (quad)
Emari Demercado (toe)
Michael Wilson (shoulder)
Marquise Brown (heel)

 

Cleveland Browns at Denver Broncos

Spread: Broncos -1.5
Implied Total: Browns (17.75) vs. Broncos (19.25)
Pace: Browns (15th) vs. Broncos (23rd)
Browns Off. DVOA: -11.2% Pass (28th), -9.5% Rush (21st)
Broncos Off. DVOA: 19.1% Pass (15th), -7.8% Rush (19th)
Browns Def. DVOA:
-33.5% Pass (1st), -25.2% Rush (1st)
Broncos Def. DVOA: 28.0% Pass (31st), 8.7% Rush (31st)

Matchups We Love:

Jerome Ford (RB, CLE)

After back-to-back divisional clashes, the Browns face another squad that is mirroring their approach of playing strong defense and keeping it close to win late. A key component of that equation is pounding the rock, which they did 29 times against the Steelers. Ford shared the workload with Kareem Hunt but found the end zone and earned five targets from Dorian Thompson-Robinson, who threw the ball 43 times. Denver's defense has improved in recent weeks, but they continue to get beat on the ground, setting Ford up as a top-24 tailback with Hunt as a flex option.

David Njoku (TE, CLE)

That massive volume led to 15 targets for Njoku, which is incredible. Part of the reason they were able to get so many plays off was that the Steelers' offense was so inept, punting the ball away on nine of their 11 drives. That being said, Njoku has a great matchup and remains a reliable streamer given his volume.

Matchups We Hate:

Russell Wilson (QB, DEN)

Wilson played excellent, completing 77% of his passes for 259 yards and a touchdown with no turnovers. He also only took two sacks. It's a brutal matchup, and his ceiling is already lower, so there's no optimism here from a fantasy perspective.

Amari Cooper (WR, CLE)

While the passing attempts were high, the yards per attempt of 3.8 was pitiful. It led to 8.5 yards per reception for Cooper, who is typically a downfield receiver. He'll face off against Patrick Surtain II, which is a recipe for disaster, forcing him into the flex range with no need to chase Elijah Moore given that there are no bye weeks.

Other Matchups:

Javonte Williams (RB, DEN)

After trending towards a workhorse role, Williams lost a significant chunk of the passing work to Samaje Perine last week. Much of it came on the final drive, where he had four catches for 40 yards. However, Williams ran just four routes and earned two targets. He still dominated the rushing attempts with 11 of the 14 (79%), but now gets the Cleveland defense, which is excellent against the run. If that shift in usage was an anomaly, then he'll be an okay volume-based option, but the risk is higher given what we saw in Week 11.

Courtland Sutton (WR, DEN)

Predicting a player to find the end zone is usually reserved for the elite options like Hill, Justin Jefferson, or Kupp. However, Sutton has joined that category with eight touchdowns in 10 games. Beyond his knack for scoring, he's only earned more than six targets three times all year, so it won't be pretty if he fails to find the end zone. Jerry Jeudy led the way in targets with seven, catching five of them for 58 yards. Neither are receivers to feel confident in, but Sutton remains the preferred wideout.

Injuries:

Greg Dulcich (leg)

 

Kansas City Chiefs at Las Vegas Raiders

Spread: Chiefs -10.0
Implied Total: Chiefs (26.75) vs. Raiders (16.75)
Pace: Chiefs (26th) vs. Raiders (19th)
Chiefs Off. DVOA: 31.3% Pass (6th), -7.4% Rush (18th)
Raiders Off. DVOA: -12.9% Pass (29th), -21.5% Rush (29th)
Chiefs Def. DVOA:
-20.6% Pass (3rd), -1.3% Rush (27th)
Raiders Def. DVOA: 5.1% Pass (14th), -4.4% Rush (21st)

Matchups We Love:

Travis Kelce (TE, KC)

Kelce had a costly fumble late in the game that hurt their chances of completing the comeback. He was barely targeted in the first quarter and finished with seven total, which by his standards is low. He did find the end zone as he so often does. It was a rainy game with a poor outing for the offense as a whole, but heading to Las Vegas will almost certainly fix those issues.

Isiah Pacheco (RB, KC)

Pacheco was the lone bright spot in terms of his play on the field, gashing the talented Philly run defense for 89 rushing yards. He also earned three targets. The final output for fantasy wasn't huge, but it's promising for this week in a much easier matchup. He's in the top 20.

UPDATE: Jerick McKinnon has been ruled out, removing one of the threats to Pacheco's workload.

Matchups We Hate:

Chiefs WRs

After a slow breakout from Rashee Rice, it now looks like Justin Watson is the No. 1 wideout in Kansas City. He earned the most targets on the team and caught the other receiving touchdown. There are far too many players rotating in and out, none of which are particularly dependable. You can take a shot on Watson or Rice, but there are probably better options.

UPDATE: Mecole Hardman Jr. and Kadarius Toney have been ruled, consolidating the options a little.

Other Matchups:

Patrick Mahomes (QB, KC)

It's hard to pin their home loss on Mahomes, who struggled to complete passes to his inadequate receiving corps. It's become a broken record at this point, and there's no reason to believe it will improve. On top of that, Kelce has not looked healthy. He appears to hobble to the sideline on a weekly basis. Mahomes has only thrown more than two passing touchdowns twice this season, which is hard to fathom. Furthermore, he's passed for 300-plus yards just three times. He's still among the elite for fantasy, but he isn't at the top.

Josh Jacobs (RB, LV)

The trend of Aidan O'Connell targeting his receivers and tight end instead of Jacobs continued. Last week it was just one target for Jacobs, which is problematic when he faces tough defenses and the team is trailing. The Chiefs are a softer matchup on the ground, so he should be able to get it going, but if they get behind and have to air it out, there's a possibility Jacobs is uninvolved. He's still in the top 20 but with a wider range of outcomes.

Davante Adams (WR, LV)

The quarterback transition has boded well for Adams, who earned 13 targets. He also led the league in air yards in Week 11, which is a good sign that they're using him downfield. In the three O'Connell starts, he's averaged seven receptions for 81 yards and 0.33 touchdowns on 13 targets. The scoring potential isn't as high as it used to be, especially against L'Jarius Snead, but he's back to being an elite wideout.

Injuries:

Mecole Hardman Jr. (thumb)
Jerick McKinnon (groin)
Kadarius Toney (ankle/hip)

 

Buffalo Bills at Philadelphia Eagles

Spread: Eagles -3.0
Implied Total: Bills (22.75) vs. Eagles (25.75)
Pace: Bills (28th) vs. Eagles (31st)
Bills Off. DVOA: 44.6% Pass (2nd), 3.1% Rush (6th)
Eagles Off. DVOA: 26.2% Pass (9th), 7.6% Rush (5th)
Bills Def. DVOA:
9.4% Pass (16th), -13.7% Rush (14th)
Eagles Def. DVOA: 10.6% Pass (19th), -18.5% Rush (5th)

Matchups We Love:

Jalen Hurts (QB, PHI)

As discussed in the last write-up, Hurts led the Eagles to a road win in a rainy game on Monday. He had an abysmal day as a passer, completing just 14 passes for 150 yards with an interception, a fumble the offense recovered, and five sacks. However, because he's the master of the "brotherly shove," he scored twice on the ground to salvage his day for fantasy. It's become like clockwork at this point, providing an extremely high floor to pair with his huge ceiling.

Eagles WRs

When the quarterback throws 14 completions and 150 yards, it means bad things for the receiving corps. DeVonta Smith came out on top with six grabs for 99 yards while A.J. Brown had his worst game of the year with one reception for eight yards. The weather is always worth keeping an eye on this time of year in Philadelphia, but with two great offenses facing off, there's no reason to pivot off of these two.

D'Andre Swift (RB, PHI)

Swift delivered another strong performance on the ground, hauled in all three of his targets, and found the end zone. Buffalo's defense is a shell of its former self with all the injuries, so he's an elite back again this week.

Josh Allen (QB, BUF)

The fears of Allen imploding against the Jets turned out to be unwarranted. They leaned on their rushing attack with 38 carries for 130 yards while Allen threw three touchdowns. The box score will show an interception but that came before halftime on a Hail Mary attempt. Allen did well to adjust his aggressiveness and play mistake-free football. Their first game under their new offensive coordinator, Joe Brady, was a success.

Stefon Diggs (WR, BUF)

For the second straight week, Diggs was a no-show. You can write some it off to the coverage of Sauce Gardner, but it still stings. The biggest issue was that he had no big plays and the game was over early so they didn't need to pass as much. Philly has a strong front, but their secondary is more vulnerable, so hopefully it's a bounce-back week for Diggs. Gabe Davis was a complete goose, failing to earn a target. Meanwhile, Khalil Shakir did it again with an 81-yard bomb that resulted in another spike week. He's an exciting flex option with a high ceiling.

Dalton Kincaid (TE, BUF)

While it'd be nice for Kincaid to score every week, six receptions on seven targets is still very good at tight end. Much like Diggs, he averaged only 7.7 yards per reception, but they'll need to attack downfield more in this one to keep pace.

Matchups We Hate:

James Cook (RB, BUF)

Cook totaled over 100 scrimmage yards and found pay dirt. Cook didn't see any carries near the goal line, but his receiving touchdown was from the five-yard line, so that's a step in the right direction. Hopefully, the new OC keeps him in the game more often in that area of the field. It's a brutal matchup this week, so he'll need the receiving work and goal-line opportunities to come through as a top-24 back.

Other Matchups:

None

Injuries:

Damien Harris (neck)
Dawson Knox (wrist)
Dallas Goedert (forearm)

 

Matchup Analysis - Sunday Night Football

Baltimore Ravens at Los Angeles Chargers

Spread: Ravens -3.5
Implied Total: Ravens (25.75) vs. Chargers (22.25)
Pace: Ravens (30th) vs. Chargers (3rd)
Ravens Off. DVOA: 26.6% Pass (8th), 26.0% Rush (1st)
Chargers Off. DVOA: 34.2% Pass (5th), -13.9% Rush (24th)
Ravens Def. DVOA:
-26.8% Pass (2nd), -16.7% Rush (7th)
Chargers Def. DVOA: 19.8% Pass (26th), -2.41% Rush (26th)

Matchups We Love:

Lamar Jackson (QB, BAL)

The law of averages came to fruition with Jackson, who broke his streak of great NFL performances that didn't translate for fantasy. They dominated the Bengals, especially after Burrow got hurt. Unfortunately, they suffered their own significant loss in Mark Andrews. It does take away Jackson's No. 1 weapon, but the way he's playing combined with the matchup will enable him to be great again this week.

Ravens RBs

Gus Edwards scoring a touchdown is a fabulous bet these days. He's racked up nine in their past five games, which is absurd. While that pace is unsustainable, scoring against the Chargers is a realistic possibility. It also helps that they lost Joey Bosa, the leader of their defense. Keaton Mitchell has officially surpassed Justice Hill as No. 2 on the depth chart. He had nine touches last week. The volume is lower but his big-play potential is off the charts. He has four breakaway runs (15-plus yards) on 20 attempts, which is 20% of his carries. He's an exciting flex option.

Matchups We Hate:

Chargers TEs

Donald Parham Jr. took advantage of Gerald Everett missing last week's game, hauling in four passes for 57 yards. If Everett were to miss again, Parham would become an intriguing streamer because the receiving weapons are so limited.

UPDATE: Everett is listed as questionable for Sunday's game. If he misses, Parham becomes a steamer.

Other Matchups:

Justin Herbert (QB, LAC)

The failures of this franchise are saddening for Herbert. He did all he could, but his receivers let him down along with the defense. It was a fantastic matchup on the ground, prompting him to take the ball and run eight times for 73 yards. It's a bit unusual and likely matchup-driven, but it was nice to see him use his legs. The Ravens are a challenging matchup and his weapons just can't keep them afloat. He drops to the back end of the top 12.

Austin Ekeler (RB, LAC)

Those rushing attempts hurt Ekeler's overall volume, leading to just 12 touches. He was efficient averaging 5.8 yards per touch. Unfortunately, he too has the deal with Baltimore's defense that ranks 10th in EPA per rush allowed and seventh in run defense DVOA. The hope is that we see a vintage performance as a receiver.

Keenan Allen (WR, LAC)

Allen keeps crushing it because he's the only show in town. Last week he earned 16 targets, which was a league-high. Despite the tougher matchup, he's of course in your lineup. After that, it's a mess. Quentin Johnston dropped what would have been a huge catch down the sideline possibly for a touchdown, but there's no one else to look to, so he's worth a dart throw as a boom-bust flex option.

Ravens WRs

Losing Andrews opens the door for someone to emerge. Zay Flowers started the year well when Andrews was out, so he's the preferred choice. That being said, Odell Beckham Jr. has been playing really well as of late, so he's also worth a look. Nelson Agholor and Rashod Bateman are the deep threats, but they're really only desperation plays. It's a good matchup, so Flowers moves into the top 36 with Beckham not far behind.

UPDATE: Flowers and Beckham are listed as questionable, but practiced in full on Friday, which typically means they'll be active.

Isaiah Likely (TE, BAL)

The primary motivation for starting Likely this week is his talent and historical production without Andrews. In three games without Andrews in 2022, Likely had stat lines of 6-77-1, 1-24-1, and 8-103-0. It didn't translate to Week 1 this year where he had just one catch for four yards but we know the upside is there as a streamer.

Injuries:

Joshua Palmer (knee)
Gerald Everett (chest)
Mark Andrews (ankle, leg)
Odell Beckham Jr. (shoulder)
Zay Flowers (hip)

 

Matchups Analysis - Monday Night Football

Chicago Bears at Minnesota Vikings

Spread: Vikings -3.0
Implied Total: Bears (20) vs. Vikings (23)
Pace: Bears (27th) vs. Vikings (7th)
Bears Off. DVOA: -1.1% Pass (23rd), -2.2% Rush (9th)
Vikings Off. DVOA: 22.7% Pass (12th), -21.1% Rush (28th)
Bears Def. DVOA:
20.1% Pass (27th), -14.1% Rush (11th)
Vikings Def. DVOA: 0.5% Pass (9th), -16.0% Rush (9th)

Matchups We Love:

Joshua Dobbs (QB, MIN)

Dobbs fell victim to the Broncos and their opportunistic defense, forcing multiple turnovers once again. He was a threat on the ground with eight carries for 21 yards and a score, which has become a key component of his game. It's a good matchup against a divisional foe, placing him in the streaming conversation.

T.J. Hockenson (TE, MIN)

The tendency to target his tight end remains everpresent for Dobbs. Hockenson led the way again, doing everything except find the end zone, which fellow tight end Josh Oliver did instead. He's one of the handful of elite tight ends that can win you a week.

Justin Fields (QB, CHI)

Fields returned from his thumb injury and elected to run the ball 18 times, which is the most by any signal-caller this year. He finished with 104 yards on the ground to pair with 169 passing and a touchdown. He almost led the Bears to a win and will build off this performance against the Vikings as a top-10 quarterback.

DJ Moore (WR, CHI)

Moore immediately returned to form as a top wideout with Fields at the helm. He caught seven passes for 96 yards and hauled in that passing touchdown. He earned nine targets and deserves to be viewed as a top-20 receiver against Minnesota, whose pass defense has improved.

Matchups We Hate:

Bears RBs

D'Onta Foreman opened the game as their starter and pushed forward for a touchdown before exiting with an ankle injury. Khalil Herbert took over with 16 rushing attempts and two receptions, but the issue of Fields taking away carries along with Roschon Johnson hurts his outlook. The Vikings have been defending the run well, holding Denver to just 46 yards last week. Herbert will likely be the starter, but he's a volume-based flex option with minimal upside.

UPDATE: Foreman is listed as doubtful, meaning he'll likely miss. Even if active, he's best avoided.

Other Matchups:

Jordan Addison (WR, MIN)

Addison continues to face tough matchups and trail Hockenson as the No. 2 option on the offense. This week, things look a little rosier against the Bears, but their defense has improved over the past five weeks as a bottom-half matchup. We're also uncertain about Justin Jefferson, who has a chance to play this week. They do have their bye week in Week 13, so there's definitely logic to holding him out one more game. Obviously, if Jefferson is out there, you're going to play him, but that would drop Addison into the flex range. If he's inactive, then Addison moves into the top 36.

UPDATE: Jefferson is listed as questionable for Monday's game. It's tough to know how aggressive the Vikings will be with his return. At this point, it seems probable that they hold him out through the bye.

Cole Kmet (TE, CHI)

Kmet was targeted heavily on the first drive before disappearing for the remainder of the day. Kmet is a risky streamer against the Vikings, who are a tougher matchup for tight ends.

Vikings RBs

Both Alexander Mattison and Ty Chandler had success against the Broncos. Mattison saw the majority of the carries while Chandler earned more targets and was more explosive overall. He totaled over 100 yards and should be viewed as the better back for fantasy. The matchup isn't as good on the ground, which also favors Chandler, who is an upside flex option.

Injuries:

Justin Jefferson (hamstring)
T.J. Hockenson (ribs)
D'Onta Foreman (ankle)



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Sam LaPorta - Fantasy Football Rankings, Draft Sleepers, NFL Injury News

FFPC Best Ball Fantasy Football Rankings and Tiers (Top 400)

Hello and welcome to RotoBaller's FFPC Best Ball Fantasy Football Rankings for 2024 Best Ball leagues on FFPC. A reminder that on the FFPC Fantasy platform, NFL best ball leagues only have six potential positions -- Quarterback (QB), Running Back (RB), Wide Receiver (WR), Tight End (TE), Kicker (K), and Defense (DST). You will see... Read More


Luther Burden - College, NCAA, Draft, Prospects, CFB, Missouri

2025 NFL Draft - Early Wide Receiver Prospect Rankings

Heading into 2023, everybody knew that Marvin Harrison Jr., Malik Nabers, and Rome Odunze made up the top of a heavy wide receiver class. That held true, and all three studs heard their names called in the top-10 selections. Looking ahead to next season, two receivers have cemented themselves ahead of the rest of the... Read More


Rico Dowdle - Fantasy Football Rankings, Draft Sleepers, Waiver Wire Pickups

Five Fantasy Football Running Back Deep Sleepers for 2024

One of the best parts of playing fantasy football is finding potential sleepers in your draft. The second you hear a league mate exclaim “Who?!” immediately after your pick, you know you’ve done something right. Due to the natural fragility of the position, it's even more important if you can find sleepers at running back.... Read More


Sneaky QB1 Candidates? 2024 Fantasy Football Quarterback Sleepers

The NFL season is right around the corner, which means that fantasy football drafts will soon take place. Drafting your fantasy team is one of the most exciting times for managers. But it also is one of the most stressful times, especially when making certain decisions like when is the best time to draft a... Read More


Video: Undervalued Wide Receivers? 2024 Fantasy Football Sleepers and Draft Steals

We're preparing for football around the clock here at RotoBaller! With early 2024 best ball drafts already underway, we're evaluating fantasy football's most impactful players. NFL Network contributor and RotoBaller analyst LaQuan Jones digs into the potential impact of fantasy football options in 2024. Are these wide receivers being undervalued? Check out some of our... Read More


UFL DFS PICKS, FANTASY FOOTBALL, DRAFTKINGS, FANDUEL

UFL DFS Value Plays: Championship Game Bargain Bin for DraftKings Including Anthony McFarland, C.J. Marable, More

Welcome to the Championship Game edition of RotoBaller's UFL DFS Bargain Bin, where the goal is to touch on some potentially mispriced players in DraftKings' Conference Championships UFL contests. Each week during the UFL 2024 season and postseason, I’ll give you my thoughts on where there may be some value spots to exploit for DraftKings'... Read More


Garrett Wilson - Fantasy Football Rankings, Draft Sleepers, Waiver Wire Pickups - rotoballer icon

Five Fantasy Football Players You Must Have in 2024 Dynasty Startup Drafts

Dynasty has quickly become my favorite format and is easily my preferred way to play fantasy football. When you partake in a startup draft, you are locked into your team for the long haul, strapped into the roller coaster of ups and downs that your particular roster construction is fated for. Dynasty is a bit... Read More