Koerner’s Week 12 Fantasy Football Tiers: Rankings for QB, RB, WR, TE, More

Koerner’s Week 12 Fantasy Football Tiers: Rankings for QB, RB, WR, TE, More article feature image
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USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Browns WR Odell Beckham Jr. (13), Falcons QB Matt Ryan (2), Raiders RB Josh Jacobs (28).

  • Need help making start vs. sit decisions? Sean Koerner separates his Week 12 fantasy football rankings into tiers.
  • Below you'll find his comprehensive strategy for every position -- QBs, RBs, WRs, TEs, kickers and defenses.

Week 12 features some outstanding primetime matchups: Colts vs. Texans on Thursday night, Packers vs. 49ers on Sunday night and Ravens vs. Rams on Monday night.

There’s also plenty of opportunity for massive games from star players in each of those games.

Consider these tiers a visualization of my early-week rankings. There will be a ton of volatility in how I adjust my rankings up until kickoff, so as always, be sure to check my updated rankings before making final sit/start decisions.

And if you’re looking for streaming advice, you can find my favorite streamers here.


Go To: QB | RB | WR | TE | K | DEF


Week 12 Fantasy Football Tiers

Quarterbacks

Tier 1

Lamar Jackson (@ LAR)

Jackson continues to crush his preseason ADP and is arguably the real-life and fantasy MVP this season. His passing/rushing ability makes him the QB1 each week (regardless of matchup) due to his lethal high ceiling/floor combo.

Tier 2

Deshaun Watson (vs. IND)

Watson is coming off the worst game of his season in Week 11. Expect him to bounce back this week and hopefully get Will Fuller back from injury. Patrick Mahomes is on Bye this week which gives Watson some added value as the only quarterback to be within three projected points of Jackson in my initial projections.

Tier 3

Russell Wilson (@ PHI)
Matt Ryan (vs. TB)
Drew Brees (vs. CAR)

Matt Ryan gets the biggest boost this week based on matchup. The Buccaneers are the most extreme pass funnel defense in the league.

With Brian Hill struggling to replace Devonta Freeman last week, it makes sense for the Falcons to put together a pass-happy game script this week. Ryan’s outlook will be elevated even more if Austin Hooper is able to suit up this week.

Russell Wilson is also facing a pass funnel defense and Tyler Lockett is expected to play through a leg injury he suffered before their Week 11 Bye. He has one of the best receiving corps in the league now with Tyler Lockett, D.K. Metcalf, and Josh Gordon.

Tier 4

Carson Wentz (vs. SEA)
Jameis Winston (@ ATL)
Tom Brady (vs. DAL)
Josh Allen (vs. DEN)

Jameis Winston had another interception happy performance, throwing four last week against the Saints. You could make the case that two of them were not his fault, but this is still a chronic problem for him. Interceptions are significantly more devastating in real-life than they are in fantasy.

buccaneers-saints-betting-odds-pick-preview-nfl-week-11-2019
Robert Hanashiro-USA Today Sports. Pictured: Jameis Winston.

Most formats only dock 1-2 points for an interception, which isn’t enough to shy away from him in fantasy. He’s constantly underrated in fantasy due to this Bohemian Rhapsody like confusion between real-life and fantasy.

I’ve been urging Wentz owners to be patient and for non-Wentz owners to possibly buy low if they wanted to lock in a cheap QB1 for Weeks 12-16. After a brutal stretch on the schedule, things will start to open up for Wentz this week.

I’m projecting Alshon Jeffery to return this week, but if he ends up needing another week to get right, I would lower my projections on Wentz enough to likely drop to the bottom of this tier.

Tier 5

Baker Mayfield (vs. MIA)
Derek Carr (@ NYJ)
Jimmy Garoppolo (vs. GB)
Aaron Rodgers (@ SF)

Baker Mayfield is another quarterback who has faced a brutal schedule for the past seven weeks. Things open up for him this week against the Dolphins. This could be a good spot for Odell Beckham Jr. as the Browns may want to use the easy matchup to force a touchdown his way.

Any sort of game plan that uses this game as a way to boost Mayfield/Beckham’s chemistry will only help. The Browns have the third-highest team total this week which boosts all skill players’ touchdown odds in my model, especially Mayfield.

Tier 6

Jeff Driskel (@ WAS)
Sam Darnold (vs. OAK)
Dak Prescott (@ NE)

Driskel is a sneaky streaming option this week if you need a bye week fill-in and also happen to be a pretty big underdog (this could be the case if you own a few Chiefs players). He is a high ceiling/low floor option based on his rushing ability and the four top notch weapons he has at his disposal on the Lions.

He has been able to put up QB1 numbers in each of his two starts, but a lot of that had to do with the Lions trailing in both games allowing him to rack up numbers late in the game.

His floor and risk in this matchup is the fact that the Lions are 3.5-point road favorites this week. This could force the Lions to have a much more conservative run-heavy game script that could hurt his fantasy value.

The No. 1 passing offense (Cowboys) in the NFL faces the No. 1 pass defense (Patriots) this week. This is obviously a matchup where we need to consider benching Prescott.

The Patriots allowed 214 passing yards to Wentz last week, which made him the first quarterback to throw for 200 or more yards against them since Ben Roethlisberger in Week 1! Granted, they have not faced many passers of the same caliber as Prescott.

cowboys-jets-betting-odds-picks-predictions-nfl-week 6-2019
Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4).

One more troubling number to point out here is that the Cowboys team total is currently the same as the Redskins. It should be a clear sign that we need to significantly lower our expectations this week for Prescott.

However, I think if your options are limited, I would still be OK starting Dak this week. He is likely one of the few quarterbacks who could overcome any matchup, even one as brutal as the Patriots.

Tier 7

Ryan Tannehill (vs. JAX)
Mason Rudolph (@ CIN)
Jacoby Brissett (@ HOU)
Daniel Jones (@ CHI)
Jared Goff (vs. BAL)
Mitchell Trubisky (vs. NYG)
Nick Foles (@ TEN)

Hopefully you aren’t forced to tap into this Tier unless it’s a 2QB/Superflex format or a deeper 1QB league.

Goff is not to be trusted, even at home, against a white hot Ravens defense that has allowed the following fantasy finishes the past four games: Russell Wilson (QB17), Tom Brady (QB20), Ryan Finley (QB24), Deshaun Watson (QB28). Aside from Finley, those quarterbacks fell well below expectations and we can’t expect Goff to fair any better this week.

Tier 8

Kyle Allen (@ NO)
Ryan Fitzpatrick (@ CLE)
Dwayne Haskins (vs. DET)

Haskins is coming off a QB14 finish in Week 11 and has a great matchup this week against the Lions. It’s enough to elevate him from the very bottom Tier, but this may only be a single week occurrence.

Tier 9

Brandon Allen (@ BUF)
Ryan Finley (vs. PIT)


Running Backs

Tier 1

Christian McCaffrey (@ NO)

CMC is an eye-popping four-plus projected points in my initial projections this week. Despite snapping a seven-game streak with at least one touchdown he still managed to be the No. 2 running back in Week 11 with an 11-catch game and 191 total yards.

Tier 2

Alvin Kamara (vs. CAR)
Leonard Fournette (@ TEN)
Saquon Barkley (@ CHI)
Nick Chubb (vs. MIA)
Josh Jacobs (@ NYJ)
Ezekiel Elliott (@ NE)

It’s a jam packed Tier 2 this week as only 0.8 projected points separate the top to the bottom of this group of backs. Chubb has a smash spot this week against the Dolphins. However, it has been a bit concerning just how much Kareem Hunt has eaten into his passing game involvement.

Mitchell Layton, USA Today Sports. Pictured: Nick Chubb.

Chubb only has five receiving yards in the two games Hunt has played this year. He is likely to see at least three catches per game to go along with his 20-plus carries going forward making him remain a solid RB1 despite Hunt’s presence.

Tier 3

Derrick Henry (vs. JAX)
Le’Veon Bell (vs. OAK)

Henry is fresh off his bye and it was about this time last season he went on his tear. As defenses begin to wear down we could see the Titans opt to give Henry bigger workloads to take advantage.

The Jaguars a great matchup to exploit on the ground as they have struggled against the run ever since Marcel Dareus was placed on IR in Week 8.

Carlos Hyde ran for 160 yards against them in Week 9 and Marlon Mack and Jonathan Williams ran for 100-plus yards on them last week. A massive Henry game could be brewing for Week 12.

Tier 4

Todd Gurley (vs. BAL)
Aaron Jones (@ SF)
Chris Carson (@ PHI)

All three lead backs have tougher matchups this week. However, the 49ers have been a bit vulnerable on the ground of late. Allowing significant rushing yard totals to Nick Chubb (87), Adrian Peterson (81), Christian McCaffery (117), Kenyan Drake (110 and 67), and Chris Carson (89) over the past seven games.

The Packers would be wise to lean on Aaron Jones here so don’t be too worried about rolling him out despite seeing the imposing matchup at San Francisco this week.

Tier 5

Mark Ingram (@ LAR)
Jaylen Samuels (@ CIN)
David Montgomery (vs. NYG)
Phillip Lindsay (@ BUF)
Devin Singletary (vs. DEN)
Tevin Coleman (vs. GB)

Assuming James Conner is out this week, Jaylen Samuels is a premier RB2 play this week in any sort of PPR formats. It’s a situation that we will need to monitor through the week and even if Conner ends up suiting up, Samuels could end up still being a RB3/Flex play.

Just before Week 11 kicked off there was some reporting the Broncos wanted to unleash Lindsay down the stretch and give him extra carries. This prompted me to bet on the over for his rushing yard props at any book that let me (to follow my player prop picks for free follow me in the Action Network app).

Phillip Lindsay-Fantasy Football
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Denver Broncos running back Phillip Lindsay (30).

The first half of Week 11 proved this to be true as Lindsay rushed 10 times and was on pace for a season-high in carries. However, the Broncos allowed the Vikings to go on a 20-0 run for the thrilling comeback win.

Lindsay ended up still hitting the over on all of his props but I would imagine next week the Broncos stick with their plan to give him 18-20 carries. The Bills are very much a run funnel defense, which means we could see Lindsay have a higher ceiling this week than normal.

Tier 6

Joe Mixon (vs. PIT)
Kareem Hunt (vs. MIA)
Carlos Hyde (vs. IND)
Miles Sanders (vs. SEA)
Tarik Cohen (vs. NYG)
Brian Hill (vs. TB)
Jonathan Williams (@ HOU)

Hill was a bit of a flop in Week 11, but the process of adding him from the waiver wire and plugging him in as a RB2/3 was still solid process wise and we can’t let the results impact how we handle similar situations in the future.

One thing people may have missed by not watching the game is that Hill ran for a 1-yard scored that was called back by a ticky-tack holding call. It’s something as simple as that which would have completely changed the narrative around his Week 11 performance. Just a reminder as to why football really is a game of inches. If Freeman ends up missing this week we will have to treat Hill as a RB3/Flex play facing a tough run defense.

Marlon Mack is out this week which means Jonathan Williams, Jordan Wilkins, and Nyheim Hines need to be on our radar this week. Wilkins would have been the next man up to replace Mack but has been dealing with an ankle injury.

It’s a very volatile situation, so be sure to check my rankings tomorrow before making any sit/start decisions for the Thursday Night Football game.

Tier 7

Sony Michel (vs. DAL)
Ronald Jones (@ ATL)
Bo Scarbrough (@ WAS)
James White (vs. DAL)
Jordan Howard (vs. SEA)

The Lions became a pass heavy offense once Kerryon Johnson went down as they didn’t have a true workhorse back that could fill-in for him. With Stafford now missing time with a back injury it’s critical for them to have a more balanced attack.

Scarbrough helped solved that issue in Week 11 with a solid 14/55/1 game on the ground. This was in a game the Lions were trailing so we can speculate he could see 15-20 carries this week in a matchup the Lions are 3.5-point favorites.

Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Detroit Lions running back Bo Scarbrough (43).

He’s a sneaky RB2 in standard formats, but takes a hit in any sort of PPR format considering I’m only projecting him for 0.4 catches this week.

The reason his projection is so low is because McKissic/Johnson are the pass catching backs and Jeff Driskel is a quarterback who tends to pull it down and run as opposed to checking it down to a running back.

Tier 8

Latavius Murray (vs. CAR)
Jamaal Williams (@ SF)

Tier 9

Kalen Ballage (@ CLE)
Royce Freeman (@ BUF)
Adrian Peterson (vs. DET)
Nyheim Hines (@ HOU)
Derrius Guice (vs. DET)
J.D. McKissic (@ WAS)

Kalen Ballage managed to eek out RB2 value in PPR last week in what I will forever label as a “Kalen Ballage” type stat line of 9/9/1 on the ground with a 5/8/0 receiving line. I’m afraid we won’t be able to bank on him bailing us out like that going forward.

I would keep an eye on Patrick Laird who could potentially have a bigger role going forward. He shined in Week 11 and with the Dolphins cutting bait with Mark Walton, there is a chance we could see Laird pop up as a RB3/Flex type play at some point over the next few weeks if he starts seeing more work.

The rest of this tier is shaky running backs that are part of a committee and all have deeper league Flex value but are not players we should be going out of our way to plug in.

Yes, Guice had a solid game but bailed out an eight-touch game with a 45-yard touchdown grab. Only start him if you don’t have access to players in Tiers 1-8 to fill out your starting lineup with.

Tier 10

Duke Johnson Jr. (vs. IND)
Matt Breida (vs. GB)
Patrick Laird (@ CLE)
Frank Gore (vs. DEN)
Rex Burkhead (vs. DAL)


Wide Receivers

Tier 1

Michael Thomas (vs. CAR)

Thomas now has at least 89 yards or a score in every single game this year. It has been a remarkable run of consistency in a year which the top tier of receivers have been a bit shaky.

Tier 2

Julio Jones (vs. TB)
DeAndre Hopkins (vs. IND)

Given how extreme pass funnel the Buccaneers defense is, this is a potential Jones eruption spot.

Tier 3

Mike Evans (@ ATL)
Julian Edelman (vs. DAL)
Davante Adams (@ SF)
Chris Godwin (@ ATL)

Tier 4

Cooper Kupp (vs. BAL)
Calvin Ridley (vs. TB)
Odell Beckham (vs. MIA)
Amari Cooper (@ NE)
Tyler Lockett (@ PHI)

Beckham has gone eight straight games without a touchdown  catch. As I speculated above, this is a spot where I think the Browns could likely give him the “squeaky wheel” treatment and I view him as a WR1 this week.

rams-browns-betting-odds-pick-preview-nfl-week 3-2019
Scott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Odell Beckham Jr.

Cooper is playing at less than 100% and has a brutal matchup this week against the Patriots. He will likely see a ton of Stephon Gilmore coverage and while we need to lower expectations due to the matchup, he is still a must-start this week.

Tier 5

D.J. Moore (@ NO)
D.J. Chark (@ TEN)
John Brown (vs. DEN)
Courtland Sutton (@ BUF)
Terry McLaurin (vs. DET)
Jamison Crowder (vs. OAK)
Jarvis Landry (vs. MIA)

Brown had surprisingly settled in as a high floor, low ceiling WR2 through Week 10. Then Week 11 happened. He erupted for a 9/137/2 game against the Dolphins. Brown has been one of the biggest surprises of 2019 and can be viewed as a WR2 with WR1 upside going forward.

Sutton and McLaurin have been able to maintain WR2 value despite having 2 of the worst quarterbacks in the league throwing to them. It’s scary to think of how good they would be on a better offense with a better passer throwing to them.

Tier 6

Allen Robinson (vs. NYG)
Kenny Golladay (@ WAS)
Emmanuel Sanders (vs. GB)
Alshon Jeffery (vs. SEA)
Marquise Brown (@ LAR)
D.K. Metcalf (@ PHI)
T.Y. Hilton (@ HOU)
DeVante Parker (@ CLE)
Marvin Jones (@ WAS)
Will Fuller (vs. IND)
Deebo Samuel (vs. GB)

Hilton and Fuller could return from injury this week. I will need a better read on whether either guy will see any limitations so their ranks could go up or down a bit based on anymore clarity.

I downgraded Sanders and Brown last week due to them being less than 100% heading into Week 11. They are another duo of receivers who I will be monitoring health wise this week. Both of them would move up a tier if they appear to be closer to 100%.

Parker has quietly averaged 6/102/0 in the two games since Preston Williams suffered his season-ending injury. Parker should be viewed as a WR3 as long as Fitzpatrick is still making starts for the Dolphins.

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Miami Dolphins wide receiver DeVante Parker (11).

Deebo Samuel broke out with back-to-back games of eight receptions and 110 or more receiving yards. We have to realize a lot of the opportunity has been a result of Sanders and George Kittle missing time. His rank could shoot up if Kittle misses his third-straight game or if Sanders is still less than 100% heading into Week 12.

Tier 7

Tyrell Williams (@ NYJ)
Brandin Cooks (vs. BAL)
Juju Smith-Schuster (@ CIN)
Golden Tate (@ CHI)
Michael Gallup (@ NE)
Curtis Samuel (@ NO)
Robert Woods (vs. BAL)
Mohamed Sanu (vs. DAL)

Cooks and Woods are set to return Week 12, but due to the tough matchup and Goff struggling, they aren’t necessarily must starts this week. We will need more info on their status this week before making any final sit/start decisions. Sanu flopped in Week 11 as he only played 55% of the snaps and put up a 2/4/0 line.

The most concerning part was that N’Keal Harry played 43% snaps in his debut. There is a chance that Harry’s presence could rob Sanu of some upside going forward so we will need to temper our expectations a bit while this receiving rotation sorts itself out.

Tier 8

Kenny Stills (vs. IND)
Corey Davis (vs. JAX)
A.J. Brown (vs. JAX)
Tyler Boyd (vs. PIT)
Josh Gordon (@ PHI)
Dede Westbrook (@ TEN)

Ryan Finley has single handedly removed Boyd from the sit/start discussion. The snaps, routes run, and targets have all been there for Boyd, but he has not been able to find any chemistry with Finley. We will need to see some signs of life between them before trusting him in our lineups again.

Tier 9

Demaryius Thomas (vs. OAK)-
Hunter Renfrow (@ NYJ)-
Taylor Gabriel (vs. NYG)
Sterling Shepard (@ CHI)
Darius Slayton (@ CHI)+
Phillip Dorsett (vs. DAL)
Chris Conley (@ TEN)+
Robby Anderson (vs. OAK)+
Danny Amendola (@ WAS)-
James Washington (@ CIN)+
Cole Beasley (vs. DEN)-
Adam Humphries (vs. JAX)-
Russell Gage (vs. TB)-

(-) higher floor WRs: Start these if you are a fairly big favorite, you’ll want a player who can at least get you a handful of points.
(+) higher ceiling WRs: Start these if you are a fairly big underdog and need the upside of a big game at the expense of having a higher chance of a dud.

These WR4/Flex type players should be inserted in your lineup based on your fantasy matchup this week:

The one receiver from this tier who can shoot way up by the end of the week is Washington. If Smith-Schuster or Diontae Johnson are ruled out this week it will significantly boost Washington’s outlook this week.

Heading into Week 11 I noted that James Washington’s route tree has expanded which has seen his target could get a boost as a result. He was typically just running go routes and seeing limited volume, but that role has been given to Johnny Holton the past several games.

Given the health of the Pittsburgh’s receivers, Washington could be in line for an 8-10 target role this week.


Tight Ends

Tier 1

Zach Ertz (vs. SEA)
Darren Waller (@ NYJ)
George Kittle (vs. GB)
Mark Andrews (@ LAR)

This is a very thin week at tight end. Travis Kelce and Hunter Henry are on Bye. Kittle, Hooper, and Evan Engram have been dealing with injuries and could miss this week. There is an extreme drop off from Tier 1 to the rest of the position this week.

Tier 2

Jared Cook (vs. CAR)
Evan Engram (@ CHI)
Greg Olsen (@ NO)
Ryan Griffin (vs. OAK)

Engram is tentatively set to return Week 12, but so is Sterling Shepard as well. Shepard’s return will further cap Engram’s target share now that if all pass catchers for the Giants are healthy this week.

Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: New York Jets tight end Ryan Griffin (84).

Ryan Griffin has entered the TE1 discussion after a four-week stretch where he has put up the TE2 overall numbers. With Chris Herndon sent to season-ending IR, his potential return is no longer a threat to Griffin’s long term value which means if you are hurting at tight end he is worth a flier.

Tier 3

Vance McDonald (@ CIN)
Dallas Goedert (vs. SEA)
Noah Fant (@ BUF)
Gerald Everett (vs. BAL)
Eric Ebron (@ HOU)
Jacob Hollister (@ PHI)

McDonald would jump up one tier if Smith-Schuster/Johnson ends up missing Week 12. The Steelers are likely to have a very conservative game plan against the Bengals this week that should result in targeting McDonald more than usual. He’s a solid TE1 this week.

Tier 4

Cameron Brate (@ ATL)
Michael Gesicki (@ CLE)
Jason Witten (@ NE)
Darren Fells (vs. IND)
T.J. Hockenson (@ WAS)
Dawson Knox (vs. DEN)
Jimmy Graham (@ SF)
Jack Doyle (@ HOU)
Delanie Walker (vs. JAX)
Ben Watson (vs. DAL)
Tyler Eifert (vs. PIT)

This grab bag of aging veterans and raw young talent makes up the streamer tier this week for deeper leagues. Cameron Brate leads this group as the best speculative add this week. I would urge caution that we should temper expectations going forward and not expect anything close to the 10/73/0 line he had last week.

Both Mike Evans and Chris Godwin were shut down last week, which led to more targets for Scotty Miller and Cameron Brate. It’s not likely both stud WRs get shut down the same week again.

Either way, with Howard being benched and likely in Bruce Arians doghouse we can expect Brate to be the starter and see 50-75% of the snaps until further notice.


Kickers

Tier 1

Wil Lutz (vs. CAR)
Justin Tucker (@ LAR)
Younghoe Koo (vs. TB)
Austin Seibert (vs. MIA)
Nick Folk (vs. DAL)

Tier 2

Ka’imi Fairbairn (vs. IND)
Daniel Carlson (@ NYJ)
Matt Gay (@ ATL)
Jake Elliott (vs. SEA)
Matt Prater (@ WAS)
Jason Myers (@ PHI)
Eddy Pineiro (vs. NYG)
Chris Boswell (@ CIN)

Tier 3

Greg Zuerlein (vs. BAL)
Ryan Succop (vs. JAX)
Adam Vinatieri (@ HOU)
Chase McLaughlin (vs. GB)
Mason Crosby (@ SF)
Steven Hauschka (vs. DEN)
Sam Ficken (vs. OAK)
Josh Lambo (@ TEN)
Joey Slye (@ NO)
Dustin Hopkins (vs. DET)
Brett Maher (@ NE)

Tier 4

Randy Bullock (vs. PIT)
Jason Sanders (@ CLE)
Aldrick Rosas (@ CHI)
Brandon McManus (@ BUF)


Defenses

Tier 1

Pittsburgh Steelers (@ CIN)
Cleveland Browns (vs. MIA)
Buffalo Bills (vs. DEN)

Tier 2

Chicago Bears (vs. NYG)
New Orleans Saints (vs. CAR)
Detroit Lions (@ WAS)
Atlanta Falcons (vs. TB)
New England Patriots (vs. DAL)
Tennessee Titans (vs. JAX)

Tier 3

Jacksonville Jaguars (@ TEN)
Oakland Raiders (@ NYJ)
Washington Redskins (vs. DET)
Denver Broncos (@ BUF)
Baltimore Ravens (@ LAR)
San Francisco 49ers (vs. GB)

Tier 4

New York Giants (@ CHI)
Cincinnati Bengals (vs. PIT)
Houston Texans (vs. IND)
Green Bay Packers (@ SF)
Indianapolis Colts (@ HOU)
Seattle Seahawks (@ PHI)
Philadelphia Eagles (vs. SEA)
Los Angeles Rams (vs. BAL)
Miami Dolphins (@ CLE)

Tier 5

New York Jets (vs. OAK)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (@ ATL)
Dallas Cowboys (@ NE)
Carolina Panthers (@ NO)