Fantasy Football Start/Sit Week 12: Start Miles Sanders & Cam Newton, Sit Corey Davis & Alex Collins
Getty Images. Pictured: Eagles RB Miles Sanders and Jets WR Corey Davis
Setting your fantasy football lineups each week can be hard, even with just two teams on bye.
Amid the chaos of Thanksgiving weekend and Black Friday mayhem, make sure to swap out any Chiefs or Cardinals players, replace players such as Aaron Jones (knee) and monitor the statuses of questionable players such as Cordarrelle Patterson (ankle) and Elijah Mitchell (finger).
Below are some players at each position you should start for Week 12 of the NFL season, as well as some players you should consider sitting based on matchups, injuries and trends.
Week 12 Start ‘Em
Quarterbacks to Start
Cam Newton, Panthers at Dolphins
Newton finished top five last week in his first start for the Panthers against Washington. He completed 21 of 27 attempts for 189 yards and two touchdowns and tacked on 10 rushes for 46 yards and a touchdown. His rushing gives him a high floor and great upside, especially in a soft matchup against the Dolphins this week. Miami’s defense ranks seventh-worst against fantasy quarterbacks this year, making Newton a locked-in QB1.
Taylor Heinicke, Washington vs. Seattle
Heinicke outperformed expectations in a tough Week 11 contest against the Panthers. He completed 16 of 22 attempts for 206 yards and three touchdowns and rushed six times for 29 yards. He gets a much easier matchup against the Seahawks this week, who have allowed the third-most passing yards per game this year. Heinicke is a solid streaming option for the Patrick Mahomes or Kyler Murray managers with QB1 upside.
Wide Receivers to Start
Brandon Aiyuk, 49ers vs. Vikings
Aiyuk is back in fantasy managers’ good graces once again after a rancid start to the season. He reeled in all seven targets for 85 yards and a touchdown against Jacksonville last week. He has another positive matchup this week against the Vikings, who rank third-worst against fantasy wide receivers this season. Aiyuk should be a solid WR3/flex play.
Rashod Bateman, Ravens vs. Browns
Bateman’s breakout game was delayed once again with Tyler Huntley getting the surprise start in Week 11. He should have feasted with Marquise Brown out, but was hampered by suboptimal quarterback play and caught just three of six passes for 29 yards. He has high-end WR3/flex value this week against the Browns as long as Lamar Jackson plays.
Elijah Moore, Jets at Texans
Moore has been on fire of late and had a monster game in Week 11. He reeled in eight of 11 targets for 141 yards and a touchdown and tacked on a rush for 15 yards. He finished as the WR3 for the week in half PPR scoring and is quickly becoming a must-start, no matter which Jets quarterback is taking snaps under center. He should be a WR2 with upside against the Texans, who have allowed the ninth-most fantasy points to receivers this year.
Running Backs to Start
Cordarrelle Patterson, Falcons at Jaguars
Patterson was close to playing last week in the Falcons’ Thursday night matchup with the Patriots. He was clearly missed as Atlanta was shutout 25-0 in the contest. His status heading into Week 12 is uncertain, as he has not logged a practice this week. Assuming he does play, he should be considered a high-end RB2 against the Jaguars this week.
Miles Sanders, Eagles at Giants
Sanders returned from injured reserve in Week 11 and saw the lion’s share of the running back workload. He logged 16 attempts for 94 yards ahead of both Jordan Howard and Boston Scott (rookie Kenneth Gainwell was a healthy scratch). Howard was also banged up in the contest and suffered a knee injury in the third quarter, which will keep him out of at least one game. This is Sanders’ backfield for now, and he should log RB2 numbers this week against the Giants, who have allowed the seventh-most fantasy points to running backs this year.
Javonte Williams, Broncos vs. Chargers
Williams has been up and down this year and has been limited by the presence of Melvin Gordon. He saw just eight carries for 48 yards in Week 10 before the Broncos’ bye. His snap counts have been increasing (as a function of Gordon’s decreasing), which is a good sign, especially as Denver heads into their Week 12 matchup against the Chargers. Los Angeles’ run defense has been horrendous this year and has allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to running backs this year, making Williams a RB2 play.
Devonta Freeman, Ravens vs. Browns
Freeman picked up the majority of the workload out of the Ravens’ backfield in Week 11. He saw 16 carries for 49 yards and a touchdown and reeled in all six of his targets for 31 yards; Latavius Murray saw just 12 touches for 33 all-purpose yards in the contest. He is a RB3/flex option based on volume this week against the Browns, who have been subpar against the run this year.
Tight Ends to Start
Pat Freiermuth, Steelers at Bengals
Freiermuth bounced back last week after a disappointing Week 10. He caught four of seven targets for 11 yards and a touchdown against the Chargers — his fourth score in four games. He has low-end TE1 value against the Bengals this week whether or not Eric Ebron plays — especially with how lean the position is right now.
Defenses to Start
Philadelphia Eagles at Giants
The Eagles D/ST has been strong in three of the last four games. They have three defensive touchdowns and two games with fewer than 13 points allowed. They are a top play this week agains the flailing Giants, whose offense is in total disarray after the ousting of offensive coordinator Jason Garrett.
Week 12 Sit ‘Em
Quarterbacks to Sit
Ryan Tannehill, Titans at Patriots
Tannehill has been one of the more disappointing cases for fantasy this season. He was QB7 in 2020 with 33 passing touchdowns, but is just QB17 on a per-game basis through 11 games this year. He has a brutal Week 12 matchup against New England, whose defense has allowed the second-fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks this year. Tannehill is a QB2 with downside this week.
Wide Receivers to Sit
Kadarius Toney, Giants vs. Eagles
Toney led the G-Men with a whopping 12 targets last week against the Buccaneers with Sterling Shepard sidelined. He didn’t do much with them, however, and reeled in seven catches for 40 yards. The rookie wideout isn’t a reliable play with the offense in shambles and against the Eagles, who rank fourth against fantasy receivers this year.
Courtland Sutton, Broncos vs. Chargers
Sutton has struggled since Jerry Jeudy returned from injured reserve. Through the first seven games of the season, he was WR17 in half PPR. Since Week 8, he has been WR91 with his targets dropping off significantly. The Broncos face the Chargers this week, whose defense has allowed the second-fewest fantasy points to receivers this year. The matchup and downward trend in workload knock Sutton into the low-end WR3 tier.
Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Packers vs. Rams
Valdes-Scantling recorded season highs in every receiving category last week against the Vikings. He reeled in four of 10 targets for 123 yards and a touchdown and will likely not see a fantasy performance even approaching that level again this season. I refuse to fall for the MVS honey pot and expect him to crash back down to earth against the Rams, who have been above average against the pass.
Corey Davis, Jets at Texans
Davis appears to have lost his spot as the No. 1 option during his two-game absence from action in Weeks 8 and 9. He saw four fewer targets than rookie Elijah Moore last week in a plush matchup and caught three of seven passes for 35 yards against the Dolphins. This is another positive matchup in Houston, but Davis is nothing more than a WR3 in this lowly Jets offense.
Jaylen Waddle, Dolphins vs. Panthers
Waddle had a strong Week 11 against the Jets and caught eight of nine targets for 65 yards and a touchdown. It was his first score and best fantasy performance since Week 6. He gets a matchup on the other end of the spectrum against the Panthers this week, who rank third-best against fantasy wide receivers this year. Waddle is a low-end WR2 in a tough contest.
Running Backs to Sit
Myles Gaskin, Dolphins vs. Panthers
Gaskin has been the definition of inconsistent for fantasy this season. He seemingly has a good fantasy performance every other week and has scored in alternating games since Week 5. He is coming off of a strong Week 11 against one of the NFL’s worst run defenses in which he saw 23 carries for 89 yards and a touchdown and caught three passes for seven yards. The Dolphins face the Panthers this week, whose defense has allowed the fourth-fewest fantasy points to running backs this year. I expect Gaskin’s pattern of production — or lack thereof — to continue.
David Johnson, Texans vs. Jets
Johnson saw a season-high 13 carries last week against the Titans, but did next to nothing with the workload. He tallied just 18 rushing yards (1.38 yards per carry) and has not posted more than eight fantasy points in half PPR since Week 1. Even in this tempting Week 12 matchup against the Jets — who are allowing the most fantasy points to running backs this season — I do not trust Johnson at all for fantasy.
Alex Collins, Seahawks at Washington
Collins has been consistently underwhelming, even with Chris Carson out for the season. He has seen exactly 10 carries in each of the last three games and has five or fewer fantasy points in half PPR in each of the last four games. The Seahawks face Washington this week, whose defense has been average against the run. Collins is a RB3 with a near-zero floor.
D’Onta Foreman, Titans at Patriots
Foreman should have performed well last week with Jeremy McNichols out, but tallied just eight touches for 40 scrimmage yards against Houston. Instead, it was recently-promoted practice squad running back Dontrell Hilliard who finished with the best day for fantasy. Foreman has a little upside now that Adrian Peterson has been released, but this is a tough matchup against the Patriots, who are allowing the eighth-fewest rushing yards per game this year. He is a low-upside flex play this week.
Tight Ends to Sit
Tyler Conklin, Vikings at 49ers
Conklin has been a passable streamer in certain matchups, but it’s unlikely this will be one of them. He struggled in Week 11 against the Packers and caught three targets for 35 yards. This week, he faces the 49ers, who rank eighth-best against fantasy tight ends. Conklin is a touchdown-dependent play, which places him outside of the top 12 for Week 12.
Defenses to Sit
Tennessee Titans at Patriots
The Titans D/ST was a complete dud in what should have been a good matchup against the Texans. They failed to record a single sack or turnover and allowed 22 points to one of the worst offenses in the NFL. They face off against New England this week, who are currently on a five-game winning streak and averaging 32.7 points per game since Week 5.
Los Angeles Rams at Packers
The Rams D/ST has been lackluster at best in spite of their very talented roster. They have allowed 22+ points in six of 10 games this year and recorded just one sack in Week 10 against the 49ers. They haven’t finished as a DST1 since Week 7 against the Lions and aren’t a top-12 play in this difficult matchup against the Packers.