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Week 12 NFL Matchups Analysis (Part 2): Start/Sit for Fantasy Football

Vladimir De Wet breaks down the second half of the Week 12 matchups for the 2015 NFL football season.Be sure to also check out part one of this week's matchups analysis for the earlier games.

Each week of the NFL season, we will be breaking down each of the NFL matchups and providing you with some fantasy football advice and lineup recommendations based on matchups that we love, matchups that we hate, and some high-risk/high-reward players, as well.

Below, you will find part two of our Week 12 NFL matchups & fantasy football start/sit analysis, which should help you prepare your lineups to win this week. It’s essential to analyze the weekly NFL matchups to find lineup sleepers and gems, while also avoiding those players who may turn out to be busts.

The second half of the matchups features lots of aging running backs that are having great seasons, but can you still trust them this week and going forward? Also, the Sunday Night Football matchup is one that should answer a lot of questions about both Peyton Manning and Tom Brady despite the fact only one of them is playing.


Chargers @ Jaguars - Sunday 11/29 @ 1:00 PM EST

Matchups We Love:

T.J. Yeldon, RB, Jaguars - The Chargers are giving up the most fantasy points to opposing back this year. They've given up the seventh-most rushing yards and the second-most rushing touchdowns this season (12). Yeldon has four straight games of at least 14 rushes with an average of 4.3 yards per carry. Outside of two blowout losses to the undefeated Panthers and Patriots, the Jaguars have been in every game this season with Yeldon playing a key role. Yeldon should get his third 100-yard game of the season against one of the league's worst run defenses.

Julius Thomas, TE, Jaguars -Thomas has had a bad start to his career in Jacksonville with a few injuries and just an overall low level of production. Over the last three weeks he has seen a consistent amount of targets despite not being able to do much with it. The Jaguars seem committed to getting Thomas the ball no matter what though. This should be his best week this season as he's going against a Chargers team that has given up the second-most touchdowns to TEs.

Matchups We Hate:

Blake Bortles, QB, Jaguars - Bortles has been playing really well but just hasn't produced much fantasy value. The simple fact is Bortles has a lot of talent around him and he just has "game manage" by converting third downs and getting the ball to his two outside studs, Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns. Bortles has thrown an interception in six straight games with a touchdown to interception ratio of 14-9 during that time. He is obviously getting better week-to-week and has a slightly favorable matchup this week, but after being unable to produce at a high level against Baltimore and Tennessee the last two weeks Bortles just can't be trusted to start in any format.

Notable Players:

Philip Rivers, QB, Chargers - After watching Antonio Gates almost rip Philip Rivers' head off on the sidelines last week I think it is fair to say that the 2-8 Chargers are beginning to implode. The loss of Keenan Allen might be too great for the offense to overcome as Rivers has been downright pedestrian the last two weeks. Rivers is having a good season by most standards but the writing on the wall suggests it should just get worse and worse for him and this offense as the weeks keep flying by. If the Chargers are 2-10 I wouldn't be surprised at all if Rivers suddenly has an "injury" that ends his season.

Melvin Gordon, RB, Chargers - The Chargers haven't given up on Melvin Gordon and neither should you. Despite the fact Gordon hasn't eclipsed 60 yards rushing since week two he is still getting a consistent 12-15 touches per game. The team won't be giving up on their first round pick that fast, so Gordon should still be in a lot of lineups because he still has a lot of upside.


Dolphins @ Jets - Sunday 11/29 @ 1:00 PM EST

Matchups We Love:

Lamar Miller, RB, Dolphins - After starting the season as one of the league's most dominant run defenses the Jets have given up an average of 121.75 yards rushing per game over the last four. Miller has been seeing a lot of the ball lately and should have multiple opportunites to put up numbers against this Jets defense. Both teams play close, low-scoring games so there won't be too many fantasy studs. Miller's running and catching make him a must-start though.

Eric Decker, WR, Jets - Decker is tied for the team lead in receiving touchdowns with Brandon Marshall (7). Decker has four receptions or more in every game this season except for the first one. He has been a consistent force this year and is putting together a very good season as a second option at receiver. The Dolphins gave up a touchdown to Decker in Week 4 and I'd expect him to get that and more this Sunday.

Chris Ivory, RB, Jets - Chris Ivory has averaged 16 carries for 44 yards over the last five games. Teams have keyed in on stopping the Jets running game recently and the team has gone 1-4 as a result. The Dolphins should be a perfect matchup to help revive Ivory's season. He had his most carries and yards against them in Week 4. Miami is giving up the second-most rushing yards per game in the league this season (138.6). Everything points toward Ivory having a solid bounce-back performance after a shaky last few weeks.

Jarvis Landry, WR, Dolphins - Despite the fact that both Sammy Watkins and DeAndre Hopkins took Darrelle Revis' lunch money the last two weeks, everyone is still convinced the 30 year old corner is the dominant force he was last year. In fact, both Revis and Cromartie have had average seasons while younger players Buster Skrine, Marcus Gilchrist, and Calvin Pryor have all looked like they're still trying to figure the game out. Landry is Tannehill's number one target and if T.J. Yates can come off the scrap heap and do well against this Jets secondary, there's no reason to think that Tannehill and Landry won't also light them up.

Matchups We Hate:

No one. A lot of hit-or-miss players, but neither team is good enough to be concerned about them taking anyone out of the game.

Notable Players:

Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB, Jets - FItzpatrick is playing with a thumb he needed surgery on and has started looking like the journeyman QB that is good enough to stay in the league but not really good enough to do anything other than lead your team to 8-8. The Jets seem to have a lot of talent on the team but Fitzpatrick, who I suggested earlier would be worth the fantasy points, just looks to be getting worse as the season goes on.

Jordan Cameron, TE, Dolphins - Cameron came from Cleveland as a big-money signing and a potential red zone threat. He has disappointed in a lot of ways this season and should be cut. He just isn't used that well and Tannehill doesn't look for him on a consistent basis. Cameron should be cut in all formats.


Cardinals @ 49ers - Sunday 11/29 @ 4:00 PM EST

Matchups We Love:

Chris Johnson, RB, Cardinals - After holding Devonta Freeman to 12 yards on 12 carries the 49ers gave up 209 yards on 30 carries to Thomas Rawls. In-between the Jekyll and Hyde performances the team had a bye week to "get better", but there is no telling with them. The fact is that over the course of the season San Francisco hasn't been good against the run, giving up 139+ rushing yards in half their games. This bodes well for Johnson who hasn't gotten less than 18 carries for four straight weeks. The league's third-leading rusher will have another solid opportunity to add to his, "why didn't my team sign Chris Johnson for the cheap, are you serious?" season.

Matchups We Hate:

Blaine Gabbert, QB, 49ers - With Colin Kaepernick's season ending with a mysterious injury that puts him on injured reserve, the team officially belongs to Gabbert. After absolutely crushing him when he was first announced as the starter, I am willing to concede that he's not the worst QB in the league anymore. He's had back-to-back solid performances completing over 60% of his passes with three touchdowns to two interceptions. Both games were against good teams (Falcons and Seahawks) but the Cardinals are a serious step up in class. Gabbert won't be awful, but he definitely won't be good. This isn't the time to get cute and start Gabbert.

Notable Players:

Michael Floyd, WR, Cardinals - After a slow start to the season, Floyd has been on fire the last two weeks. In an offense that spreads the ball around he was lost but has slowly started looking like the breakout star he was slotted to be before the season started.

Carlos Hyde, RB, 49ers - The 49ers just don't have a running back right now but it looks like Hyde might be close to a return. If he doesn't play this week he should next and will be worth the start whenever he does because the team will be feeding him the ball.

Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Cardinals - Michael Floyd's reemergence hasn't done anything to stop Fitzgerald from getting the ball. Carson Palmer has thrown 11 targets or more to Fitzgerald for three straight games. The Cardinals are the ultimate turn the clock back team wtih Palmer, Fitzgerald, and Johnson all dominating the league.


Steelers @ Seahawks - Sunday 11/29 @ 4:00 PM EST

Matchups We Love:

Martavis Bryant, WR, Steelers - Even with Antonio Brown going absolutely off the last two weeks Bryant has had nine catches for 209 and two touchdowns. On a team with a lot of receiving options Bryant is the clear second to Brown. Since his return he's had at least three receptions in every game as well as a score in all but one. The young Pittsburgh receiver will see balls come his way because the Seahawks will have to give the on fire Brown more attention than usual. The former "Legion of Boom" gave up 250 passing yards and a score to Blaine Gabbert last week so expect Bryant and the Steelers receivers to be confident heading into Sunday's matchup.

Doug Baldwin, WR, Seahawks - The Seahawks have had 200 yards passing and 100 yards rushng in every game this season. The league's most balanced team has been sorely lacking a consistent receiving threat, but Baldwin has stepped up the last two weeks. The Steelers have given up the fifth-most passing yards this season and 17 receiving touchdowns. Baldwin has played well recently and is going into a favorable matchup against a weak Steelers secondary.

Matchups We Hate:

DeAngelo Williams, RB, Steelers - The Seahawks are still a top-10 run defense in the league. Williams has played extremely well when given the starting position, but now that the position clearly belongs to him teams will be looking to shut him down. This week against a desperate Seahawks team isn't a good matchup for Williams.

Notable Players:

Thomas Rawls, RB, Seahawks - Rawls is a RB1 with Lynch out after a sports hernia surgery. The Seahawks are always able to run it and the younger Rawls has simply looked better than Lynch this season. With two 200-yard rushing performances this season Rawls will be a top-tier running back until the season ends.

Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Steelers - Is he starting? I don't know, but even if he's not you should still probably start him. This is a season that might be forgettable for the Steelers organization as a whole but one I will always remember Roethlisberger just refusing to be injured like a regular person.


Patriots @ Broncos - Sunday 11/29 @ 8:30 PM EST

Matchups We Love:

Vernon Davis, TE, Broncos - After the Davis to Denver trade was announced I was hesitant to have faith in it for two reasons: Peyton Manning and Vernon Davis. As long as Peyton was throwing, there was no reason to believe in any Denver receivers outside of Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas. Davis had been forgotten about in San Francisco so assuming he would light it up based just on a change of scenery seemed unlikely to me. Now that Davis has played in three games with the Broncos and gotten more targets every week it is clear that he is a functioning member of an offense again. Davis' six catches for 68 yards last week were both season highs. As long as Osweiler is throwing the ball Davis should be a solid TE2 with upside for the rest of the season.

Matchups We Hate:

Tom Brady, QB, Patriots - Yes I hate Mr. 18-1. I'll admit it. With the potential loss of Danny Amendola and an already depleted offensive line Brady has looked almost human these last few weeks. Going against an incredibly tough defense that should be able to bother or even outright cover Rob Gronkowski will leave Brady with very few options to go to. Everyone is entitled to have at least one complete and total stinker of a game each year and this week is as good as any to be Brady's stinker week. And yes, if he throws for less than 250 yards, two touchdowns, two interceptions, and they win the game I will still consider that a Brady failure.

Broncos RBs - The Patriots have given up the second-fewest rushing yards this season. In fact, they've given up the third fewest fantasy points to opposing RBs. The combination of Devin McCourty in the secondary, Dont'a Hightower in the second level, and Chandler Jones on the defensive line has created a New England Patriot team with genuine defensive stars. Because the whole world is obsessed with the Brady/Belichick soap opera it's gone unnoticed that this year's Patriots defense might be better than last year's Super Bowl winning team. The combination of C.J. Anderson and Ronnie Hillman find themselves in a running back committee against arguable the league's best run defense. Not a good matchup.

Notable Players:

Demaryius Thomas, WR, Broncos - Thomas will be getting the Malcolm Butler treatment this week. Butler has shown he's more than just a back up with a Super Bowl winning play this season. Emmanuel Sanders will reportedly sit out this week because of a high ankle sprain meaning even more focus might come Thomas' way. Thomas has at least three receptions in every game this year so he will always get his no matter the opponent and should do better with Osweiler under center.

James White, RB, Patriots - White scored twice last week edging out Brandon Bolden for third-down and back-up RB duties. The Patriots will have to lean on White even more despite the fact it doesn't seem like the fully trust. White is the ultimate boom-or-bust proposition as the team tries to reshuffle around all the injuries to it's skilled players.

Patriots WRs - If Amendola does miss the game the Patriots will be forced to turn to Aaron Dobson, KeShawn Martin, and Brandon LaFell. All I know is that at one point people thought Brady was turning Kenbrell Thompkins into a legitimate threat so any one of these guys might step up for the next few weeks. Seeing how this Patriots team responds to the injuries and going up against a tough Broncos defense will go far in determining who to pick up late and help you win your league.


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