Fantasy Rankings & Tiers For All Your Start/Sit Decisions This Thanksgiving

Fantasy Rankings & Tiers For All Your Start/Sit Decisions This Thanksgiving article feature image
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Pictured: Stefon Diggs and Alvin Kamara.

  • Sean Koerner -- the No. 6 fantasy football ranker so far this season -- is here to walk you through your start/sit decisions.
  • Whether you have players in Texans-Lions or Washington-Cowboys, you can use his tiers to answer your questions.
  • Find his rankings for quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers, tight ends, kickers and defenses below.

Go to Sean Koerner’s updated tiers and rankings for Week 12.


If you want to contend for your fantasy football championship, you have to be diligent about in-season management. And a big part of that is making start/sit decisions.

To help you start strategizing for Week 12, I’ve outlined the early version of my fantasy football rankings into tiers so you can better visualize the drop-off in expected production at each position.

As always, there will be a ton of volatility in how I adjust my rankings up until kickoff, so be sure to check my updated rankings before making final decisions. I’ll also publish an updated version of these tiers before Sunday’s kickoff, but for now, let’s dive into the initial version of my Week 12 tiers!

Fantasy Rankings & Tiers

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QB | RB | WR | TE | K | DEF

QUARTERBACKS

Tier 1

Kyler Murray (@ NE)
Josh Allen (vs. LAC)
Deshaun Watson (@ DET)
Patrick Mahomes (@ TB)
Russell Wilson (@ PHI)

Debating which QB in this tier should be ranked No. 1 is like debating what’s the best pie to eat on Thanksgiving — they are all good.

Kyler Murray is playing through an AC injury in his shoulder that could lower his ceiling, but it could also force him to run more (raising his floor). He is the pumpkin pie of Tier 1, always a safe bet, even when you might not be craving it.

Christian Petersen/Getty Images. Pictured: Kyler Murray.

Tier 2

Taysom Hill (@ DEN)
Justin Herbert (@ BUF)
Aaron Rodgers (vs. CHI)
Matt Ryan (vs. LV)
Derek Carr (@ ATL)
Cam Newton (vs. ARI)
Daniel Jones (@ CIN)
Tom Brady (vs. KC)
Lamar Jackson (@ PIT)

Taysom Hill was a reminder of just how valuable rushing stats are for QBs in fantasy. HC Sean Payton wasn’t trolling us when he said that Jameis Winston wouldn’t be a part of the offense. Hill is a solid QB1 play again this week.

Derek Carr is a high-floor play if you are looking for a streaming option. However, if you need a high-ceiling play (because you are a decent sized underdog this week), you can roll the dice on Daniel Jones.

Jones rushed for 9/64/1 against the Eagles in Week 10 (before the Giants’ Week 11 bye). It’s worth noting that a handful of those rush attempts were designed run plays. His 34-yard TD run was a designed run play, and OC Jason Garrett even drew up a couple of designed runs for Jones near the goal line (very similar to the plays New England draws up for Cam Newton). He has a chance to become a low-end QB1 if this trend continues.

Tier 3

Carson Wentz (vs. SEA)

Wentz has the ideal matchup against Seattle and has most of his supporting cast back healthy. However, he’s tough to trust right now and is a high-risk/reward play. I would only play him if you do not have access to any Tier 2 QBs.

Tier 4

Matthew Stafford (vs. HOU)
Tua Tagovailoa (@ NYJ)
Ben Roethlisberger (vs. BAL)
Philip Rivers (vs. TEN)
Jared Goff (vs. SF)
Teddy Bridgewater (@ MIN)

Stafford is also difficult to trust at the moment, given his thumb injury. He was shut out against the Panthers and now has to play on the short week. I expect him to struggle again here, but he could be closer to 100% health with the 10-day rest heading into Week 13 and the potential return of Kenny Golladay.

Tier 5

Andy Dalton (vs. WAS)
Ryan Tannehill (@ IND)
Kirk Cousins (vs. CAR)
Baker Mayfield (@ JAX)

Kirk Cousins could potentially be without Adam Thielen, which would make him a must-sit. You always run the risk of low passing volume if the Vikings get off to an early lead. Last week’s eruption was entirely due to the Vikings trailing the Cowboys for much of the game. It’s likely the Vikings will be able to beat Carolina with a run-heavy game plan.

Tier 6

Mike Glennon (vs. CLE)
Alex Smith (@ DAL)

Tier 7

Brandon Allen (vs. NYG)
Drew Lock (vs. NO)
Nick Foles (@ GB)
Nick Mullens (@ LAR)
Joe Flacco (vs. MIA)

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RUNNING BACKS

Tier 1

Dalvin Cook (vs. CAR)

Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images. Pictured: Minnesota Vikings RB Dalvin Cook.

Tier 2

Derrick Henry (@ IND)
Alvin Kamara (@ DEN)
Josh Jacobs (@ ATL)
James Robinson (vs. CLE)
Aaron Jones (vs. CHI)

I was concerned that Alvin Kamara would see a dip in receptions with Taysom Hill under center, since rushing QBs tend to pull the ball down and run instead of checking down to their RB.

However, I figured the Saints would still design screen plays for Kamara, which did not happen. I can’t imagine Sean Payton would refuse to get the ball into Kamara’s hands again this week, so I expect him to catch 3-5 passes. Let’s not get too concerned about Kamara unless he goes catchless again this week.

Tier 3

Ezekiel Elliott (vs. WAS)
Nick Chubb (@ JAX)
Mike Davis (@ MIN)

Christian McCaffrey is looking doubtful for Week 12, which means Mike Davis should provide yet another week of RB1 value.

Tier 4

Miles Sanders (vs. SEA)
Kareem Hunt (@ JAX)
James Conner (vs. BAL)
Todd Gurley (vs. LV)
Salvon Ahmed (@ NYJ)

Salvon Ahmed is dealing with a shoulder injury and did not practice on Wednesday. Myles Gaskin returned to practice and may return from the IR in time to suit up for Week 12. It’s a volatile situation we will need to monitor and check back with my Updated Tiers on Saturday once we have more clarity.

Tier 5

Kalen Ballage (@ BUF)
D’Andre Swift (vs. HOU)
Antonio Gibson (@ DAL)
Duke Johnson Jr. (@ DET)
Clyde Edwards-Helaire (@ TB)

Kalen Ballage will be a borderline RB1/2 again this week if Austin Ekeler is unable to suit up. I think it’s very likely that Ekeler will return for Week 13, so this should be the final week we get to use Ballage.

Tier 6

David Montgomery (@ GB)
Chris Carson (@ PHI)
Jonathan Taylor (vs. TEN)
Ronald Jones II (vs. KC)

Jonathan Taylor broke out of his funk and erupted for a 26-touch game with 114 scrimmage yards. We can pencil him back into the RB2 discussion, and has a great matchup this week against the Titans.

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Tier 7

Giovani Bernard (vs. NYG)
Kenyan Drake (@ NE)
Wayne Gallman (@ CIN)
Gus Edwards (@ PIT)
Raheem Mostert (@ LAR)
Damien Harris (vs. ARI)

J.K. Dobbins and Mark Ingram were placed on the COVID list for Week 12, which means Gus Edwards will be the lead back for the Ravens. He’s a low-end RB2 play but has limited upside given the tough matchup (@ PIT) and limited usage in the passing game.

Tier 8

Leonard Fournette (vs. KC)
Frank Gore (vs. MIA)
Zack Moss (vs. LAC)
Nyheim Hines (vs. TEN)
J.D. McKissic (@ DAL)
Melvin Gordon (vs. NO)

Frank Gore was going to take a back seat to rookie La’Mical Perine for the remainder of the season, as the Jets were going to evaluate their roster for 2021 & beyond. However, Perine was placed on IR with an ankle injury, which means Gore should resume lead back duties.

Tier 9

James White (vs. ARI)
Latavius Murray (@ DEN)
Chase Edmonds (@ NE)
Darrell Henderson (vs. SF)
Jamaal Williams (vs. CHI)
Devin Singletary (vs. LAC)
Malcolm Brown (vs. SF)
Carlos Hyde (@ PHI)
Ty Johnson (vs. MIA)
Phillip Lindsay (vs. NO)
Cam Akers (vs. SF)

Tier 10

Tony Pollard (vs. WAS)
Jerick McKinnon (@ LAR)
Adrian Peterson (vs. HOU)
Le’Veon Bell (@ TB)
Brian Hill (vs. LV)
Joshua Kelley (@ BUF)
Justice Hill (@ PIT)
Jordan Wilkins (vs. TEN)
Devontae Booker (@ ATL)

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WIDE RECEIVERS

Tier 1

Davante Adams (vs. CHI)
Stefon Diggs (vs. LAC)
Tyreek Hill (@ TB)
Keenan Allen (@ BUF)
DeAndre Hopkins (@ NE)

Kyler Murray’s shoulder injury and shadow coverage from Stephon Gilmore should lower our expectations for Hopkins this week, but he is still a must-start in all formats.

Tier 2

Adam Thielen (vs. CAR)
D.K. Metcalf (@ PHI)
Tyler Lockett (@ PHI)
Terry McLaurin (@ DAL)
Calvin Ridley (vs. LV)
Will Fuller V (@ DET)

Adam Thielen was placed on the COVID list after testing positive. He later tested negative, which means there is a chance he will be cleared to play this week. Terry McLaurin is questionable with an ankle injury and will be a solid WR1/2 play even if he’s playing less than 100%.

Tier 3

Julio Jones (vs. LV)
Cooper Kupp (vs. SF)
Michael Thomas (@ DEN)
Justin Jefferson (vs. CAR)
Robert Woods (vs. SF)
Allen Robinson (@ GB)
Robby Anderson (@ MIN)
A.J. Brown (@ IND)
Brandin Cooks (@ DET)
Diontae Johnson (vs. BAL)

Michael Thomas was able to post a massive 9/104/0 line despite Taysom Hill only attempting 23 passes. I think it’s unlikely he can maintain that level of efficiency with Hill under center, and I view him more as a solid WR2.

Sean Gardner/Getty Images. Pictured: Michael Thomas high-fives Alvin Kamara.

Tier 4

Chase Claypool (vs. BAL)
Amari Cooper (vs. WAS)
Chris Godwin (vs. KC)
D.J. Moore (@ MIN)
D.J. Chark (vs. CLE)
CeeDee Lamb (vs. WAS)
DeVante Parker (@ NYJ)
Antonio Brown (vs. KC)
Curtis Samuel (@ MIN)
JuJu Smith-Schuster (vs. BAL)
Mike Evans (vs. KC)

JuJu Smith-Schuster was the odd man out in Week 11, and enters this week with a toe injury. The Ravens/Steelers game being moved to Sunday was a blessing in disguise, as it gives him a few more days to get healthy. Check my Updated Tiers come Saturday to see if he’s moved up based on positive news on his toe injury.

Tier 5

Sterling Shepard (@ CIN)
Tyler Boyd (vs. NYG)
Marvin Jones (vs. HOU)
Corey Davis (@ IND)
Cole Beasley (vs. LAC)

All Bengals WRs get a downgrade with Joe Burrow out for the season. Tyler Boyd was able to maintain WR2/3 value last season when Ryan Finley was under center. However, he was only competing with Auden Tate, Alex Erickson and Stanley Morgan for targets. It’s going to be much tougher for him to maintain value with Tee Higgins and A.J. Green in the mix.

Go To Sean Koerner’s Full Week 12 Rankings

 Tier 6

Tee Higgins (vs. NYG)
Jarvis Landry (@ JAX)
Christian Kirk (@ NE)
Michael Pittman Jr. (vs. TEN)
Travis Fulgham (vs. SEA)
Jakobi Meyers (vs. ARI)
Darius Slayton (@ CIN)
Jamison Crowder (vs. MIA)
Jalen Reagor (vs. SEA)
Mike Williams (@ BUF)
Jerry Jeudy (vs. NO)
Nelson Agholor (@ ATL)
Brandon Aiyuk (@ LAR)
Denzel Mims (vs. MIA)

I had high expectations for Denzel Mims heading into the season, and he is meeting those expectations right now. He is in the middle of a breakout despite being in such a poor situation. Mims has a tough matchup this week against the Dolphins and is a “sit” this week. But he is a player we need to keep an eye on going forward and is a solid bench stash (in deeper leagues).

Tier 7

Mecole Hardman (@ TB) (+)
Demarcus Robinson (@ TB)
Russell Gage (vs. LV) (-)
Breshad Perriman (vs. MIA) (+)
Deebo Samuel (@ LAR) (-)
Tim Patrick (vs. NO)
John Brown (vs. LAC)
Chris Conley (vs. CLE)
Keelan Cole (vs. CLE)
Josh Reynolds (vs. SF)
K.J. Hamler (vs. NO) (+)
Rashard Higgins (@ JAX)
T.Y. Hilton (vs. TEN)

Tier 8

Marquise Brown (@ PIT) (+)
Damiere Byrd (vs. ARI)
Michael Gallup (vs. WAS) (+)
Anthony Miller (@ GB) (-)
Zach Pascal (vs. TEN)
Darnell Mooney (@ GB)

(+) high ceiling
(-) high floor

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TIGHT ENDS

Tier 1

Travis Kelce (@ TB)

Tier 2

Darren Waller (@ ATL)

Christian Petersen/Getty Images. Pictured: Darren Waller.

Tier 3

T.J. Hockenson (vs. HOU)
Dallas Goedert (vs. SEA)
Mark Andrews (@ PIT)
Hunter Henry (@ BUF)

I’m currently projecting Zach Ertz to need another week to make his return. If he ends up sitting out, Goedert should provide another week of top-five value. He ran a route on 95% of dropbacks last week and has a dream matchup here against Seattle. This is one of many situations that we will need to revisit in my Updated Tiers on Saturday once we have a better idea of Ertz’s availability.

Tier 4

Hayden Hurst (vs. LV)
Noah Fant (vs. NO)
Evan Engram (@ CIN)
Eric Ebron (vs. BAL)
Rob Gronkowski (vs. KC)
Austin Hooper (@ JAX)
Dalton Schultz (vs. WAS)
Mike Gesicki (@ NYJ)
Jonnu Smith (@ IND)

Hayden Hurst has been a headache to project this season. When it looked like he was on his way to becoming an every-week TE1, he posts a goose egg in Week 11. If we moved on from every TE that posts a dud, there would be none left to play (other than Kelce and Waller). Let’s stick with Hurst as he still saw elite usage with 84% routes run per dropback, and with Julio banged up, he could see an extra one or two targets.

Tier 5

Robert Tonyan Jr. (vs. CHI)
Jordan Reed (@ LAR)
Jordan Akins (@ DET)
Logan Thomas (@ DAL)
Jimmy Graham (@ GB)

Jordan Akins is a sneaky flier this week. The Texans will be without both Randall Cobb and Kenny Stills for their Thanksgiving matchup against the Lions. Keke Coutee should step up as the No. 3 WR, but I can see them giving Akins a more significant role as well. He would have TE1 upside if he returns to his 70-80% routes run per dropback rate we saw from him in Weeks 1-3.

Tier 6

Trey Burton (vs. TEN)
Anthony Firkser (@ IND)
Gerald Everett (vs. SF)
Tyler Higbee (vs. SF)
Mo Alie-Cox (vs. TEN)
Tyler Eifert (vs. CLE)
Jacob Hollister (@ PHI)
Will Dissly (@ PHI)
Richard Rodgers (vs. SEA)
Kyle Rudolph (vs. CAR)

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KICKERS

Tier 1

Daniel Carlson (@ ATL)
Harrison Butker (@ TB)
Rodrigo Blankenship (vs. TEN)

Tier 2

Younghoe Koo (vs. LV)
Ka’imi Fairbairn (@ DET)
Tyler Bass (vs. LAC)
Cody Parkey (@ JAX)
Ryan Succop (vs. KC)
Jason Sanders (@ NYJ)
Matt Prater (vs. HOU)

Tier 3

Wil Lutz (@ DEN)
Greg Zuerlein (vs. WAS)
Jason Myers (@ PHI)
Joey Slye (@ MIN)
Graham Gano (@ CIN)
Mason Crosby (vs. CHI)
Matt Gay (vs. SF)
Dan Bailey (vs. CAR)
Nick Folk (vs. ARI)
Zane Gonzalez (@ NE)
Stephen Gostkowski (@ IND)
Chris Boswell (vs. BAL)
Michael Badgley (@ BUF)

Tier 4

Justin Tucker (@ PIT)
Dustin Hopkins (@ DAL)
Chase McLaughlin (vs. CLE)
Brandon McManus (vs. NO)
Randy Bullock (vs. NYG)
Jake Elliott (vs. SEA)
Sergio Castillo (vs. MIA)
Robbie Gould (@ LAR)
Cairo Santos (@ GB) 

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DEFENSES

Tier 1

Los Angeles Rams (vs. SF)
New York Giants (@ CIN)
New Orleans Saints (@ DEN)
Green Bay Packers (vs. CHI)
Miami Dolphins (@ NYJ)

Tier 2

Seattle Seahawks (@ PHI)
Pittsburgh Steelers (vs. BAL)
Cleveland Browns (@ JAX)
Dallas Cowboys (vs. WAS)
Washington Football Team (@ DAL)

Tier 3

Cincinnati Bengals (vs. NYG)
Buffalo Bills (vs. LAC)
Houston Texans (@ DET)
Minnesota Vikings (vs. CAR)
Philadelphia Eagles (vs. SEA)
Arizona Cardinals (@ NE)
New England Patriots (vs. ARI)
Indianapolis Colts (vs. TEN)
San Francisco 49ers (@ LAR)
Las Vegas Raiders (@ ATL)
Baltimore Ravens (@ PIT)
Kansas City Chiefs (@ TB)

Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: The Philadelphia Eagles defense.

Tier 4

New York Jets (vs. MIA)
Denver Broncos (vs. NO)
Tennessee Titans (@ IND)
Detroit Lions (vs. HOU)
Los Angeles Chargers (@ BUF)

Tier 5

Carolina Panthers (@ MIN)
Chicago Bears (@ GB)
Jacksonville Jaguars (vs. CLE)
Atlanta Falcons (vs. LV)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (vs. KC)

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