Fantasy football week 12 is upon us. With it, we inch one step closer to the fantasy football playoffs. Every roster choice you make feels critical to the success of your team. The question of “who do I start?” and “who do I sit?” now looms larger than ever. The Packers and 49ers face on Sunday Night Football in a match-up that screams “SIT ‘EM!” but we know at least one player you should probably start. As for the rest? You’ll have to read to find out!
Lamar Jackson – Start ‘Em
At some point this season Lamar Jackson is going to have a disappointing fantasy game. That game won’t come in week 12 against the Los Angeles Rams. While the defense is vastly improved recently, Jackson should have no problem tearing them apart.
With improved accuracy in his second season, Jackson is set up to the shred the Los Angeles secondary, especially Jalen Ramsey, who has been the 90th worst cornerback in the league since being traded (although he appeared to have a breakout game against the Bears). Jackson is the second highest point earner in Yahoo! this year, so keep riding him if you can.
Cooper Kupp – Sit ‘Em
As the Rams fall further and further out of the playoff hunt, it only makes sense they will start using less of their starters. While that shouldn’t happen in week 12, Cooper Kupp is still a prime target to start getting less work.
Combine that with the defense he’s going up against, the Ravens, and you have a recipe for a goose egg. Kupp already has one zero point week that left fantasy fans reeling. Could it happen again? If the Ravens can stop the run game and put Goff under pressure in the pocket, the answer is yes.
Jameis Winston – Start ‘Em
No fantasy QB is as frustratingly inconsistent as Bucs’ starter Jameis Winston is. Still, he gets a start in week 12 thanks to a juicy matchup against the Atlanta Falcons. Until crushing the Saints, the Falcons were one of the worst defenses in the league.
We doubt they turned over a new leaf in week 10, even after another solid game against the Panthers in week 11. Maybe the Saints and Drew Brees just had a bad day. Maybe Atlanta rallied to keep head coach Dan Quinn from getting fired. Whatever the case is, Winston is a start with caution (always with caution) quarterback for week 12.
Christian McCaffrey – Start ‘Em
This one wasn’t easy for us to write. When choosing what players to start and which ones to sit, defensive match-ups are key. Christian McCaffrey is going up against the New Orleans Saints’ defense, which is one of the stingiest in the league.
When it comes to Run CMC, though, the matchup doesn’t matter. In standard Yahoo! leagues he has scored more points than anyone else and it’s not even close. If you bench him because you’re scared of Dennis Allen’s defense you’re playing the game wrong.
Amari Cooper – Sit ‘Em
How could we possibly be suggesting you sit the Dallas Cowboys unquestioned wide receiver one? Because A) the team is facing the Patriots and B) we’re not really sure he is the team’s number one.
As more defenses have focused on stopping Cooper in the passing game, Randall Cobb and Michael Gallup, both of whom are finally healthy, have seen increased targets. Throw in Ezekiel Elliot’s impact in the passing game (yes, passing game) and it’s hard to recommend a player with so few touches to go around.
Aaron Rodgers – Sit ‘Em
Time for the first controversial choice on this list. On paper, Aaron Rodgers should be seen as a match proof quarterback. If you own him you start him. In reality, that might not apply against one of the league’s best defenses at forcing turnovers.
The 49ers may have lost to the Seahawks in week 10, but they also doubled Russell Wilson’s interception total on the year and forced a fumble they returned for a TD. While Rodgers should put up numbers, mistakes could cause a lower score output from him than you need.
Zach Ertz – Start ‘Em
Another player who can go boom or bust any week, Zach Ertz should be a low risk and high ceiling play against the Seattle Seahawks. Overall, the team’s defense has struggled this year, and in Pete Carroll’s defensive scheme, tight ends end up being left open. A lot.
All that means is Ertz should be seeing plenty of targets and shots in the middle of the field. Per usual, we expect him to split those targets with Dallas Goedert, but there should be plenty to go around.
Nick Chubb – Start ‘Em
Nick Chubb is having a transcendent year as the Cleveland Browns lead running back in 2019. With the Browns’ season falling apart, however, could his production go down, especially against a suddenly resurgent Dolphins’ team?
The answer, by our estimation, is no. Even with Kareem Hunt in the mix in Cleveland now, Chubb is still the bell cow, and we don’t buy that the Dolphins are any more than their record says they are. Start Chubb and enjoy the fantasy points!
Josh Allen – Sit ‘Em
On any given Sunday, Josh Allen can be considered a fantasy wild card. The Buffalo Bills look like the real deal this season, and part of that is thanks to Allen’s development in his second season under center.
Going up against the Denver Broncos in week 12, though, is not a good match-up for the former first-round draft pick. The Broncos are only allowing a little of 200 yards passing per game. This one will be one or lost on the ground, not through the air.
Derrick Henry – Start ‘Em
Starting Derrick Henry against the Jacksonville Jaguars in week 12 should come as no surprise. Ever since Ryan Tannehill took over for Marcus Mariota under center in Tennessee, Henry has carried the offensive load.
In week 10 Henry blew up Yahoo! rushing for nearly 200 yards while scoring two touchdowns. The Jaguars sport a bottom 10 rushing defense and should be easy to pick on. Expect the powerful, hard-nosed runner, to have himself another day full of yards and scores.
Mike Evans – Start ‘Em
Let’s cut to the chase, if Jameis Winston is a start against the Falcons, so is his top receiving target. Mike Evans is a big body with great hands who is one of the highest-scoring fantasy players this year.
Making this match-up even more enticing is just how bad the Falcons’ pass defense is. They allow over 260 pass yards per game, meaning Evans should be able to see plenty of targets. He’ll probably score a touchdown or two as well!
Aaron Jones – Start ‘Em
The good news about sitting Aaron Rodgers against the 49ers in week 12 is you can comfortably start Aaron Jones. The running back has had a breakout year in 2019 and San Francisco’s only weakness on defense, stopping the run, shouldn’t slow him down.
The 49ers are giving up over 100 yards per game on the ground this year. If there is any downside to the match-up, the team has only given up four rushing touchdowns. Jones should get anywhere between 15 and 20 points but will need to score a TD or two to really prove his prowess.
Eagles’ Running Backs – Start ‘Em
Heading into week 11, the Seattle Seahawks had allowed 12 rushing touchdowns. Because of that, we’re suggesting that if you have a running back on the Eagles, you can start that running back. Especially with Darren Sproles getting injured, there are now less backs for the same number of touches.
Seattle is also allowing 100 yards rushing per game. Splitting the load, the Eagles won’t have a 100-yard rusher, but they will score points. Look for short passes to come into play in PPR leagues, and goal-line scoring.
Alvin Kamara – Start ‘Em
The New Orleans Saints play the Carolina Panthers in week 12 and Alvin Kamara might the safest fantasy start. Carolina’s run defense is giving up 136 yards per game on the ground to go along with more than 17 touchdowns.
Making this match-up all the better is that Kamara will be entering the game with fresh legs. Having recently come back from an injury, his legs will be fresher than they would normally be 12 weeks into the season. New Orleans, who will be playing for home-field advantage in the playoffs, won’t hold back either.
Kenny Golladay – Start ‘Em
In his third year in the league, Lions wide receiver Kenny Golladay has firmly planted himself as Matthew Stafford’s first choice. Golladay has a great match-up against the Washington Redskins in week 12, a team that has allowed almost 20 touchdowns through the air.
Washington, admittedly, has played harder for interim head coach Bill Callahan than they did for Jay Gruden, but the facts are still in the stats. Even if Golladay doesn’t score, he should see plenty of targets come his way.
Le’Veon Bell – Sit ‘Em
Le’Veon Bell, for all accounts and purposes, has had an underwhelming season in his first year for the Jets. We don’t expect that to change in week 12. New York will go up against the Oakland Raiders, a team that has surprisingly put themselves into the playoff picture in the AFC.
Oakland is allowing less than 100 yards per game and has only allowed seven rushing touchdowns. When a team’s running back is already performing poorly, the chances are he won’t have a bounce-back week against a stout front.
Deshaun Watson – Sit ‘Em
Call this one a Thursday Night Football hunch. Deshaun Watson is having an MVP caliber season in Houston, but on TNF, “having” is a term that can get thrown away. Playing on a short week tends to mess with players.
We also think the Colts have shown a fighting spirit all season that makes them an interesting match-up for almost any team. With Jacoby Brissett back and healthy, this game should be a close, and low scoring. We’ll be waiting on the other side to say, “we told you so.”
Dak Prescott – Sit ‘Em
It’s not that we don’t think Dak Prescott is a bad quarterback, we just think he has a little bit of Kirk Cousins in him. You know what we mean, he’s amazing when it doesn’t matter, but against heightened competition, his skill set diminishes.
The Patriots also have one of the best defenses in the NFL this year. Sure, the Ravens exposed them a few weeks ago, but Prescott is not Lamar Jackson. No one is Lamar Jackson.
Tom Brady – Sit ‘Em
Tom Brady is 42-years-old. That’s the storyline you’ll hear every Sunday to explain how incredible Tom Brady is. It’s also an excuse when he looks “human.” Is this bad a game sign that the end is near for Tom Brady?
The truth is Brady is still an elite quarterback, but he’s back to being helped by a multi-faceted run game. Against a great defense, as the Cowboys have, Brady should put up solid, but not fantasy football worthy numbers.
Derek Carr – Start ‘Em
It may not have seemed like it at the beginning of the season, but Derek Carr is suddenly a viable starting fantasy quarterback. If you need a streaming option, Carr has a great match-up against the Jets that should provide you with yards and touchdowns.
As long as the Raiders don’t take too large of a lead too early, there should be plenty of action played through the air. If you happen to have Darren Waller then you have a great one-two punch set up for Sunday!
Todd Gurley – Sit ‘Em
If you haven’t learned yet this season to sit Todd Gurley then we don’t know what to tell you. His overall touches have been limited and he’s just not a viable fantasy option. There have been rumors that his workload will increase down the stretch, but there were also rumors at the end of last year that his knee was fine.
The Ravens also won’t let the run game beat them but they can force Jared Goff to. Like Gurley, Goff has been exhaustively mediocre this year. Start another running back if you can.