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Sneaky Starts, Pivot Plays, and Post-Waiver Pickups for Week 12 - Isaiah Likely, Jeff Wilson Jr., Brandin Cooks, Khalil Shakir, and Odell Beckham Jr.

Khalil Shakir - Fantasy Football Rankings, Draft Sleepers, Waiver Wire Pickups

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! One of the best football days of the year and hopefully one that you get to enjoy with family or friends or your pets or whoever you choose to celebrate with. I hope you all have a great holiday and eat plenty of food. 

Before we get into the sneaky starts and pivot options, I want to take a quick second to thank you. Without you reading, listening, or watching my (or any) RotoBaller content, none of this is possible. So while you may be thankful for fantasy advice, we are far more thankful for your time and your trust. You can read any fantasy analyst in the world and yet you’re here! 

Not only is it Thanksgiving, but it's the playoff push as well! With no byes this week, it's easier to set your full lineup, but injuries are still a factor. This should help get your lineup as strong as possible in Week 12. 

Be sure to check all of our fantasy football rankings for 2024 fantasy football drafts:


Quarterback Pivot Options for Fantasy Football

Baker Mayfield is coming off a down game, but he will not face the 49ers weekly. It was also just the third time all year he scored under 16 fantasy points. That is as reliable of a floor as you can find in a streamer. The Colts rank middle of the pack against QBs, but Baker has the weapons to beat them. His defense has been allowing a ton of production as well so he could have to throw even more. If you need a streamer, Mayfield is your best bet this week. 

GardnerMinshew is diving deeper and hopefully, you do not have to given that there are no byes this week. Minshew has been far from great, but he has shown us he can occasionally display some upside. The Bucs have allowed the third-most passing yards this season. Since Week 7, they have allowed the most yards and second-most touchdowns. The matchup has Minshew in play as a pivot option this week. 

Derek Carr left early in Week 10 and then had a bye last week. But do not overlook that Carr had thrown for over 300 yards in three of the four games before that. He topped 16 fantasy points in four straight games before he was injured. He has only cleared 18 once, so the ceiling is not very high, but the floor is reliable. Carr is in play against the Falcons as a pivot play. 


Running Back Pivot Options for Fantasy Football

Jeff Wilson Jr. was a healthy scratch last week and now is he the only healthy backup RB on the team. De’Von Achane exited with a knee injury and Salvon Ahmed landed on IR. That leaves the Dolphins backfield as Raheem Mostert and Wilson for this week and potentially moving forward. Last season when those two shared the backfield, it was Wilson who was utilized more. I am not saying that will be the case this week, but there is potential here with Wilson. The Jets are elite against the pass but will struggle to score points with Tim Boyle, meaning the Dolphins can heavily rely on the ground game. Wilson is an upside play this week. 

Keaton Mitchell was disappointing last week and easily could do so again this week. But the upside is high as he is the Ravens' most explosive runner. Before last week, he had scored 20.4 and 13.6 PPR points in his two prior games. Despite last week's letdown, he was more involved, playing a season-high 36 percent of snaps. Understand that the floor is low, just like last week, but he is an upside play as he can take one the distance at any point. Mitchell is a good boom-or-bust pivot option and one you want on your roster moving forward. 

Tyjae Spears consistently played around 45-plus percent of the snaps. While he has not been heavily involved on the ground, he has four or more targets in six of his last eight games. He also has a fantastic matchup this week against the Panthers. Carolina has allowed the fifth-most rushing yards, most rushing touchdowns, sixth-most receiving touchdowns, and second-most fantasy PPG to running backs. The floor isn’t reliable, but he is an upside gamble for those diving a bit deeper. 

Rico Dowdle is similar to a lot of these backs listed in that he does not bring a safe floor but comes with an upside. He has 22 touches in the last two games combined and has been playing about a third of the snaps. This could be a game where the Cowboys have a lead late and use Dowdle to grind out the clock. He could give you four points like last week, or 14 like the week prior. He is a pivot option in deep leagues. 


Wide Receiver Pivot Options for Fantasy Football

Odell Beckham Jr. has come to life as of late. He scored a touchdown in his two games before Week 11, when he had his first 100-yard game since the 2021 playoffs. Odell scored 11-plus fantasy points in all three of those games. With Mark Andrews out, the Ravens will need other pass catchers to step up and this is a week they should certainly be able to. The Chargers have allowed the fourth-most yards to receivers on the season and fifth-most since Week 7. They’ve allowed the second-most fantasy PPG. Odell is a strong pivot option. Nelson Agholor comes into play in deep leagues. 

Brandin Cooks leads the Cowboys in air yards per target. That should come in handy this week against the Commanders, who have allowed the most yards and touchdowns to receivers on deep passes. They have also given up the most yards, touchdowns, and third-most fantasy PPG to WRs. Cooks is boom-or-bust and always will be, but he has a really strong chance to go boom this week. 

Khalil Shakir has been getting more run as of late. He’s topped 90 yards and 15 fantasy points in two of his last four games. Last week in the first game with a new OC, it was Shakir who was utilized as the secondary receiver with Gabe Davis not recording a target. Both Shakir and Davis are in play as deeper options. I prefer Shakir as he seems safer, but Davis is a boom-or-bust option. The matchup has them in play as the Eagles have allowed the most fantasy PPG to receivers this season. 

Tutu Atwell is an option if Cooper Kupp is out this week. Do not forget that Atwell was a top-20 fantasy WR in the opening month of the season sans Kupp. He topped 15 in three of those games. If Kupp is out, I would expect Atwell to once again step in as the WR2 and potential field stretcher for the Rams. The Cardinals are a favorable matchup as they are in the top six in yards allowed to receivers this season. Atwell is a viable option as long as Kupp sits. 

Rashid Shaheed is the ultimate boom-or-bust option. He has topped 18 fantasy points three times -- just do not ask about those other weeks. You are either going to get six fantasy points or 18-plus, but if you are diving deep, sometimes all you want is a high ceiling. Shaheed is always a pivot option because of the upside he brings, just understand the risk. 


Tight End Pivot Options for Fantasy Football

Isaiah Likely may have disappointed in Week 11, but he was perfect without Mark Andrews in the lineup last year. He had two games without Andrews and a third where he exited early. Likely went for over 75 yards or scored a touchdown in all three games. He especially exploded in Week 18 last year, catching eight of 13 targets for 103 yards. There is no replacing Andrews, but Likely may be your best bet off waivers. He is a good option against the Chargers, who have allowed the second-most yards and fifth-most fantasy PPG to tight ends. 

Logan Thomas is an option for you if you are diving a little deeper at tight end. He brings a very safe floor as he has scored more than seven fantasy points in all but one game this season. He has only reached double figures three times but twice has surpassed 16, showing he does bring some upside. The Cowboys are middle of the pack against tight ends, but they have allowed a 120.5 passer rating to the position when targeted. 

Michael Mayer has been seeing more usage as of late. He has seen five targets in two straight and topped eight fantasy points in each. The matchup against the Chiefs is tough, but options are very slim when you are diving deeper at the tight end position. Usage is about all we can ask for and Mayer has been getting it -- meaning he is in play as a deep pivot option.


Make sure to follow Michael on X, @MichaelFFlorio.

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