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Week 12 Boom and Bust Candidates: Drew Brees, Odell Beckham Jr., LeSean McCoy & More

We’re at the point of the season where just one more win may get you into the postseason, and just one more loss may keep you out. It may be the most wonderful time of the year as far as holiday season, but in fantasy football land, this is the end of the line for a lot of owners who’ll make the wrong decisions. Let’s hope that’s not you.

To be extra sure, we’ve created a boom/bust list of players who are most likely to have superb showings on Sunday or Monday, and the others who will disappoint and end many fantasy playoff hopes. Good luck.


Potential Booms of the Week


Eli Manning, QB, Giants: It has been a very up and down season for the younger Manning, but an extra week of preparation for the Redskins makes Manning a great play this Sunday. He has thrown 10 TDs in his last three games and the Redskins have allowed nine TD passes in their last three games.

Drew Brees, QB, Saints: Over the last three games, the Texans have been downright nasty against QBs, allowing just one passing TD and an average of 194.7 passing YDs per game. Still, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Andy Dalton and Marcus Mariota are not Drew Brees. I like the future hall of famer to get back on track this week.

Running Backs:

T.J. Yeldon, RB, Jaguars: Despite not topping 100 YDs since Week 7, T.J. Yeldon has still gotten a lot of touches and offers fantasy owners a high floor and ceiling in any given week. Facing the San Diego Chargers, who are giving up the most fantasy points to RBs in the NFL, Yeldon should be a lock for a huge game.

Chris Ivory, RB, Jets: Chris Ivory did not look great last week against the Texans, gaining just 36 rushing YDs, but then again, no one on the Jets did. This week, the power back gets a home matchup with a Miami Dolphins squad that has allowed 465 rushing YDs and four rushing TDs over the last three games. Expect a nice score from Ivory.

Wide Receivers:

Odell Beckham Jr., WR, Giants: A big game for Eli generally means a big game for OBJ. The second-year wideout has over 100 receiving YDs in each of his last three games and gets a gift matchup against the Redskins in Week 12. Washington has allowed 39 receptions, 513 receiving YDs and five receiving TDs to WRs over the last three weeks.

Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Cardinals: The 49ers are near the bottom of the league in pass defense. Larry Fitzgerald torched them for 134 YDs and two TDs in Week 3. Fitzgerald has at least 90 receiving YDs in six games this season. In their last two games, the Niners have surrendered 28 receptions, two TDs and 316 YDs to WRs.

Tight Ends:

Gary Barnidge, TE, Browns: Fantasy owners certainly missed Gary Barnidge last week, as the TE has grown into a true stud at the position this season, scoring seven TDs so far. Don’t let Baltimore’s defense against TEs (only two TDs allowed this season to the position) scare you off. Barnidge is matchup proof.

Jordan Reed, TE, Redskins: Entering Week 11, Jordan Reed had scored five TDs in the previous three weeks and was looking like a Top 5 TE. Things stalled a bit in Week 11 against Carolina, but they’ve been shutting everyone down. Reed is clearly Kirk Cousins’ favorite target, and the Giants have shown some vulnerability against TEs (363 YDs three TDs in last four games).


Tampa Bay Buccaneers: The Buccaneers have put up double-digit fantasy points in each of the past two weeks and face an Indianapolis team that has allowed defenses to score at least nine in three of the past four weeks.

Kansas City Chiefs: Since Week 5, few defenses have been better than Kansas City’s. They haven’t allowed a team to score more than 18 points in any game during that stretch and have racked up at least 10 fantasy points in five out of six games since then.


Potential Busts of the Week


Matt Ryan, QB, Falcons: Let’s face it, Matt Ryan has been an underachiever this season. Generally considered a top 10 fantasy QB, Ryan had his first three TD game of the season last week. Minnesota has been great against QBs, allowing just one 300 YD passing game since Week 3 and no three TD performances all season.

Andy Dalton, QB, Bengals: After an unbelievably strong start to the season, Andy Dalton has slowed down somewhat in recent weeks. In two of his last four games, he’s posted single digit fantasy football performances and he has also turned the ball over four times in the last four weeks. The Rams have allowed multiple passing TDs just twice this season and 300 YDs passing just once.

Running Backs:

LeSean McCoy, RB, Bills: The elusive RB has played well as of late, but draws an unfortunate matchup against the seemingly impenetrable Chiefs defense. With Kansas City having allowed just a single 100 YD game and one rushing TD to RBs since Week 5, things don’t look good for LeSean McCoy this game.

Frank Gore, RB, Colts: The Buccaneers have a sneaky good defense and have not given up a rushing TD since Week 4. While Frank Gore has been solid this season, he has been largely unspectacular (no 100 YD rushing games, only four TDs). He doesn’t offer much reason to believe he can rise above a bad matchup.

Lamar Miller, RB, Dolphins: The Jets have one of the best run defenses in the league (one rushing TD allowed, three games with 100-plus rushing YDs allowed) and have already shown they can shut Lamar Miller down. Though these Dolphins appear to be a different team than the Week 4 version the Jets crushed, Miller still looks like a good candidate to put up a second consecutive dud.

Thomas Rawls, RB, Seahawks: Thomas Rawls looks ready to become the next fantasy RB star following his impressive 209 YD performance against the 49ers last week. But hold your horses a bit. First, he was at home facing the sorry 49ers. Second, he’s squaring off against a much better Pittsburgh defensive front in Week 12. Though they’ve shown some cracks in the armor recently, the Steelers have been among the best units against the run this season.

Wide Receivers:

A.J. Green, WR, Bengals: A.J. Green has been another fantasy bust this season, with two impact games the entire year. St. Louis has been strong against WRs, limiting them to 346 receiving YDs and one score over the past five weeks. In a game that could see Dalton struggle, Green is not a strong play this week.

Sammy Watkins, WR, Bills: Last week’s tilt with the Patriots looked like a great game for Sammy Watkins to explode. Instead, he put up another sub-par performance with just 39 receiving YDs. Even against a suspect Kansas City secondary in Week 12, Watkins is not someone you can trust anymore.

Tight Ends:

Jordan Cameron, TE, Dolphins: Jordan Cameron actually got in the end zone last week, but still only had two receptions for 21 YDs. His season high in receptions is four. At a very shallow position, it’s hard to get picky about TEs, but when you add in the fact that the Jets have given up 15 receptions, 124 receiving YDs and no scores to TEs since Week 7, it’s clear Cameron is a bad start.


Denver Broncos: It seemed like a risky idea to start the Broncos against the Packers in Week 8 and they scored 11 fantasy points. Then in the following two weeks it seemed they had favorable matchups and have totaled just seven. Heading into a game against the Patriots, there’s no way I trust the Broncos defense. No defense has scored more than six against New England in 2015.


Diamonds in The Rough

Are injuries putting your week and potentially your season in danger? Look to the waiver for a one-week savior. We’re here to guide the way:

Jameis Winston, QB, Buccaneers: You can’t expect five TDs from him again, but he has at least 12 fantasy points in every game this season and the Colts allow an average of 16.8 fantasy points per game to QBs.

David Johnson, RB, Cardinals: Though he has limited upside because of his usage, David Johnson could sneak in some points based on the matchup against the 49ers.

Dwayne Harris, WR, Redskins: Dwayne Harris has seen his production increase over the last few weeks and is worth a shot against the soft Redskins defense.

Kyle Rudolph, TE, Vikings: It would be foolish to expect a repeat of last week’s performance, but Rudolph could get into the end zone against the Falcons, who have allowed six TDs by TEs this season.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers, DEF: As stated earlier, the Buccaneers have been a strong under the radar defensive option in fantasy. Indy’s offense is in disarray and has given up at least one turnover in seven out of 10 games this season.


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