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Sneaky Starts, Pivot Plays, and Post-Waiver Pickups for Week 12 - Donovan Peoples-Jones, Elijah Moore, James Cook, and Jahan Dotson

Elijah Moore - Fantasy Football Rankings, Waiver Wire Pickups, Draft Sleepers

I am in the business of pivot options, at least with this article, but I hope you do not need as many as normal this week. Why? Because the NFL’s Thanksgiving gift to us is that all 32 teams are playing this week. That’s right, no byes this week! For the first time since Week 5, no managers in your league will have to deal with trying to stream to fill in those holes created by the bye weeks. 

There are still injuries to deal with, but this week should be easier than it has been to set a strong starting lineup. And of course, if you are still in need of some sneaky starts, you know I got you! 

Before we get into that, I want to take a quick second to thank everyone who has read this article or consumed any of my work this year. Without you, none of this would be possible. Here’s wishing you all a Happy Thanksgiving with whoever you choose to watch football and celebrate with. Ok, now onto the real reason you clicked this article, for the pivot options! 

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Quarterback Pivot Options for Fantasy Football 

If QBs Kyler Murray and Justin Fields don’t play, you can pivot to… 

Marcus Mariota has been better for fantasy purposes than I think he gets the credit for. Mariota has topped 17 fantasy points in five of his last seven games. He has also rushed for over 20 yards in every game since Week 5, which is two free fantasy points.

This is a week where Mariota may be asked to do more than usual. The Commanders have been the best team at stopping running backs over the last two months, but they have struggled against the pass.

That should lead to Mariota having to throw a bit more than usual, and the more he drops back, the more opportunities for him to just run. You should not be hurting for a QB this week with no teams on bye, but Mariota remains a solid streaming option. 

Ryan Tannehill has topped 250 passing yards, thrown for multiple passing touchdowns, and scored over 19 fantasy points in two straight games. This week, he faces a Bengals defense that has been stingier than I think many realize, but they also have a high-powered offense that is set to get Ja’Marr Chase back this week.

It's also a matchup of the best deep ball-throwing QB (Joe Burrow) against the worst deep ball defense in the Titans. That should lead to the Titans having to put up points to keep up with the Bengals. Tannehill is a streaming option for those in need. 

Taylor Heinicke is in play purely because of the matchup. The Falcons have allowed 18.9 fantasy PPG to QBs this season, which ranks inside the top 10 in the NFL. There is certainly the chance here for some long balls to Terry McLaurin and co. This is only for the desperate, but the matchup puts him in play. 

 

Running Back Pivot Options for Fantasy Football 

If RB Joe Mixon doesn’t play, you can pivot to… 

Latavius Murray is not just the lead back for the Broncos with Melvin Gordon cut, but he is one of just two healthy backs currently on the roster, the other being Marlon Mack. Murray still remains available in a good amount of leagues, but this is a week you can get him and plug him into your starting lineup.

Plus, he gets a favorable matchup against the Panthers, who have really struggled against the run this season. Even better, this could be a close game, allowing the Broncos to rely on Murray even more. He is an RB2 or flex option with an upside this week. 

Gus Edwards could return this week, and if so, he would be in play as a streaming option. Kenyan Drake has been such an enigma, looking great one week and then awful the next. The Ravens are likely looking for more consistency, which as long as he is healthy, Edwards should be able to provide.

The Jaguars have also struggled against the run, allowing nearly 25 fantasy PPG to RBs, which ranks inside the top 10 in the NFL. If Edwards suits up, he is a strong pivot option. And check your waiver wire if he is still out there! 

Samaje Perine is set to get a chance to start for the Bengals this week with Joe Mixon in concussion protocol. Just last week, Perine scored over 30 fantasy points with Mixon leaving early. We have seen him play well in the past when Mixon misses time.

The best thing is we know the Bengals like to use one back and they are not afraid of getting Perine involved in the passing game or near the goal line – the two most valuable touches for a running back. Perine is the top RB streaming option for as long as Mixon is sidelined. 

UPDATE: Mixon has officially been ruled out for Week 12.

James Cook played his most snaps since Week 2 last week and finished with 11 carries and two targets – the same amount of targets that starter Devin Singletary had. Cook rushed for 86 yards in that one and showed a lot of juice.

He is the most explosive runner in that backfield, evident by his 5.8 yards per carry, and could carve out a larger role if he continues to play this well. The Lions have struggled against running backs all year as well. If you are diving deeper, Cook could help you this week. 

 

Wide Receiver Pivot Options for Fantasy Football 

If WRs Mike Williams, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Jerry Jeudy, Marquise Brown, Rondale Moore, and DeVante Parker don’t play, you can pivot to…

Donovan Peoples-Jones is the only player in the NFL to have seven games of 50-plus yards since Week 4. He also has at least six targets in three of his last four games and prior to last week had topped 70 yards in four straight games. Simply put, he has been a very productive receiver.

The best part is if you stream him this week, he will already be on your roster when he gets a QB upgrade next week. DPJ can be a difference-maker down the stretch. 

Greg Dortch would be in play if Marquise Brown and Rondale Moore sit again this week. It is as simple to say if you have one of those two, you can just plug Dortch in their place. Last week, he caught nine of 10 targets for 103 yards.

He is purely volume-dependent, but he would be in store for a safe number of targets against the Chargers if the other receivers sit. 

Demarcus Robinson is coming off a very big game where he caught all nine of his targets for 128 yards. It was the most yards by a Ravens receiver since Marquise Brown in early 2019. Two weeks prior, Robinson caught six of eight targets for 64 yards.

The issue is the floor here is very low, but Robinson is playing well and the Ravens are desperate for receivers, so that makes him a streaming option, especially in a strong matchup against the Jaguars. 

Jahan Dotson gets to go against the Falcons, who have allowed the second-most fantasy PPG to receivers this year (41.8) and in the past month (47.7). Dotson hasn’t done much since he returned from injury but we know he can win downfield and put up fantasy points in chunks.

Again, this is about trying to strike against a great matchup. He is boom or bust, but there is certainly the potential for a nice fantasy day in this matchup. 

Elijah Moore and Corey Davis are in play because of the QB change. Although, I would still argue that Joe Flacco is the best case for the Jets receivers, not Mike White. White last year did throw 26 percent of his passes to the slot 26 percent of the time.

Elijah Moore lined up in the slot in 62 percent of the plays the past two weeks, and he would be the preferred pivot option. He is also the more explosive option of the duo. Davis would be the next fallback option in this Jets' passing attack. 

Richie James and Isaiah Hodgins would be in play strictly because the Giants need healthy receivers on the field. Hodgins caught all three of his targets for 29 yards last week.

Meanwhile, James caught all three for 48 yards. There is no floor here with either, but James would be the preferred play with him running routes out of the slot. 

 

Tight End Pivot Options for Fantasy Football 

If TEs David Njoku and Gerald Everett don’t play, you can pivot to…

Dawson Knox finished with a season-high 14 fantasy points, catching all seven of his targets for 70 yards, all of which were season highs. He has now seen 13 targets in his last two games. That was after only seeing over five targets once in his first seven games.

Not only is he getting more involved, but now he gets the Lions, who have allowed the fourth-most fantasy points per game to tight ends this season (14.9) and the second-most per game in the past month (18.6). Stream Knox! 

Juwan Johnson has caught a touchdown in three straight games and has five scores in his last five games combined. He is averaging 12.98 fantasy PPG since Week 7, which is nearly elite when discussing tight ends.

While he has a tough matchup this week against the Niners, this is more about trusting a player who has been playing well and getting consistent volume. Johnson remains in play, especially as a streaming option this week. 

 

Make sure to follow Michael on Twitter, @MichaelFFlorio. 



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