In this article, we take a look at the shortened slate of games for Week 12 in an effort to give you options that we think can help you get the most out of your lineup. We are looking to maximize your lineup by giving you a few cheaper options that can help you to get your lineup loaded up in other areas.
We give consideration to the script of each of the games to determine how these games will likely play out. We also evaluate the play of the wide receivers and tight ends and how they will match up with the defenses they will face. We also look at players that are injured, or those coming back from injury. We then target plays that we like and a few that we don’t.
With the help of our defensive guru Aaron Rudnicki, let’s take a look at players that we both like and a few that we would avoid this week.
Travis Benjamin, WR, Cleveland vs. Baltimore ($5,300)
Bischoff: Benjamin is the clear No. 1 wide receiver for the Browns as they get a bad Ravens pass defense at home Sunday. The Ravens are struggling, and they are ranked the No. 24 pass defense in the NFL through 10 games. They’ve surrender 19 passing touchdowns and given up a passer rating of 99.5 to the opposition. Look for that to continue this week and for Benjamin to have an opportunity to get to GPP value (21.2 points) in this game.
Rudnicki: Benjamin recovered from a stretch of 3 poor games to post 7 catches for 113 yards against the Steelers in his last game before the bye. With the good news that Josh McCown will return to the starting lineup this week, he also gets to match up with the Ravens. The Rams anemic passing game couldn’t take advantage last week, but Benjamin should have little trouble against Ravens outside corners Jimmy Smith and Shareece Wright.
Steve Johnson, WR, San Diego @ Jacksonville ($4,500)
Bischoff: Johnson faces the No. 25 ranked pass defense on the road in Week 12. Jacksonville has given up 17 touchdown passes through the air and a passer rating of 98.0 to opposing quarterbacks. Clearly, if the Chargers are to get this offense going it will be on the backs of Johnson and quarterback Phillip Rivers. At his price and in this full point-per-reception format, Johnson is a very good option this week.
Rudnicki: The Chargers are struggling right now, but Johnson may be the best option they have to try and turn things around. This week, he figures to match up primarily with slot corner Aaron Colvin and a Jaguars pass defense that hasn’t been able to slow many teams down (except the Titans).
Nate Washington, WR, Houston vs. New Orleans ($3,800)
Bischoff: The Saints pass defense has been horrendous in 2015. They’ve given up a league-high 28 touchdown passes and allowed a quarterback rating of 116.6 through 10 games. As simple as it sounds, you want a piece of whoever is facing the Saints secondary. Wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins draws significant bodies in coverage and his price is prohibitive, and that leaves Washington at $3,800. He doesn’t need much to get to GPP value (four catches for 60 yards and a score gets there) and he’ll have that opportunity against this brutally bad secondary.
Rudnicki: The Saints defense was bad enough to get their coordinator fired after their last game, so any Texans players are probably worth considering this week. DeAndre Hopkins figures to match up primarily with No. 1 corner Delvin Breaux throughout the game, which likely leaves Washington to go against Brandon Browner who has been one of the worst corners in the league all season.
Jarvis Landry, WR, Miami @ New York Jets ($6,600)
Bischoff: Landry continues to get enough targets in the Dolphins offense to warrant consideration to be rostered. He’s been targeted 40 times over the past four weeks as he’s one of their more reliable options. This week’s matchup is full of opportunity as he works out of the slot in the Dolphins offense which allows him to avoid physical press corners and gets him matched up against lesser skilled corners.
Rudnicki: The Jets were a matchup to avoid earlier this year, but they have slipped of late. Darrelle Revis isn’t playing at the same high level we’ve grown accustomed to, and there’s a good chance he could miss this week’s game while recovering from a concussion. Working mostly out of the slot, Landry figures to match up against Buster Skrine who has also been slumping while playing through some injuries.
Kendall Wright, WR, Tennessee vs. Oakland ($4,400)
Bischoff: This matchup is juicy for Wright as he’ll draw D.J. Hayden and he should really take advantage of Hayden with his quick and precise route running. Make sure to monitor the injury report to make sure Wright is playing, but if he does he is in line for a good game. At his price and the volume he’ll see, he is an intriguing upside play in Week 12.
Rudnicki: Wright is expected to return to the lineup this week after sitting out the past two games. Fortunately, he gets a great matchup as he figures to go against Raiders corner D.J. Hayden for most of the game. Golden Tate took advantage of the matchup last week to post one of his best games of the year, and Wright should be able to do the same if he’s healthy.
John Brown, WR, Arizona @ San Francisco ($5,000)
Bischoff: The Cardinals get a great matchup for their passing attack in Week 12 as they travel to San Francisco to take on the No. 27 ranked passing defense in the NFL. The 49ers have given up 17 touchdowns and quarterbacks have a passer rating of 102.8 against this defense. Big plays have been a giant problem for the 49ers secondary as they have allowed 39 passing plays of 20+ yards (only six teams have allowed more). They’ve also given up 10 plays of 40+ yards (only three teams have allowed more) and that’s Brown’s game. Look for Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer to take a few deep shots the “Smoke” this week and at this price he could be a steal.
Rudnicki: Brown has been limited by hamstring issues of late, but got into the end zone last week while catching all 3 of his targets. He moves around the formation quite a bit, so he won’t have one key matchup to focus on but there is nobody in the 49ers secondary that is cause for concern. Kenneth Acker was benched last week, but Marcus Cromartie shouldn’t provide much of an upgrade. Brown is a bit under the radar now, but he is healthier than Michael Floyd and should be the No. 2 option for an explosive passing attack with a great matchup this week.
Allen Hurns, WR, Jacksonville vs. San Diego ($5,800)
Bischoff: Hurns had strung together seven straight games in which he scored a touchdown before the Titans kept him out of the end zone last week. The Jaguars passing offense is potent and quarterback Blake Bortles will air it out which tremendously benefits his receivers. I’d look for Hurns to get back into the end zone this week as fellow receiver Allen Robinson draws Chargers No. 1 cornerback Jason Verrett.
Rudnicki: With Allen Robinson likely to be shadowed by Jason Verrett this week, Hurns should match up against Brandon Flowers or Patrick Robinson. That should make him the more appealing target for Blake Bortles this week.
Martavis Bryant, WR, Pittsburgh @ Seattle ($5,600)
Bischoff: Bryant is a firework, ready to go off in a flash and when he does he will score. These big plays happen out of nowhere and at this price he is a bargain. Yes, it is the Seahawks but they have underperformed as a secondary this year. Bryant is going to benefit from the coverage that receiver Antonio Brown sees and it’ll give him the chance to create a few splash plays in Week 12.
Rudnicki: The Seahawks will most likely use their best corner Richard Sherman to shadow Antonio Brown this week, which should leave Bryant matched up against Cary Williams quite often. Seattle will present a much tougher test for Bryant than Cleveland did, but he could wind up as the primary target quite often this week.
Delanie Walker, TE, Tennessee vs. Oakland ($5,400)
Bischoff: The Raiders have been eviscerated by tight ends in 2015. Going into last week they allowed a touchdown to every tight end they faced except for Broncos tight end Owen Daniels in Week 5. Last week, Lions tight end dropped a sure touchdown pass in the corner of the end zone which would have extended the streak. This week the Raiders get Walker, and he should torch this defense.
Rudnicki: The Raiders managed to keep the Lions tight ends out of the end zone last week, which marked just the 2nd time in 10 games that happened. Walker has emerged as the best receiving option for the Titans this year though, and this is matchup that he should feast on.
Jordan Reed, TE, Washington vs. New York Giants ($5,100)
Bischoff: This will be an interesting test for the Giants as they have really struggled against tight ends this year. They’ve had the bye-week to prepare, but their personnel doesn’t have the ability to stay in coverage with athletic tight ends like Reed. Reed had a nice game against the Giants earlier this season and he should have a relatively easy time at home in Week 12.
Rudnicki: The Giants are coming off a bye, but have been one of the most generous defenses to opposing tight ends all year long. They gave up 100+ yards and a touchdown to both Rob Gronkowski and Ben Watson recently, and even Reed posted 6 catches for 96 yards against them back in Week 3.
Brandon LaFell, WR, New England @ Denver ($4,300)
Bischoff: There simply isn’t a way to look at the matchup with the Broncos on defense and get excited about the ability for the receiving options to have great days. The Broncos have too much ability to pressure the quarterback and they also have the best secondary in football. LaFell steps into a great situation with the Patriots offense as they’ve been hammered by injuries, but it’s not the week to play him.
Rudnicki: The Patriots depth at WR has been decimated, which leaves them with fewer options and could make it tough for them to spread out the Broncos defense this week. Brandon LaFell wasn’t able to do much against the Bills corner tandem last week, and figures to have an even tougher time this week with Chris Harris and Aqib Talib. The Patriots offensive line also had trouble with the Bills pass rush, which hasn’t been nearly as effective as the Broncos so that all points to a tough matchup for LaFell and likely Amendola too.
Antonio Brown, WR, Pittsburgh @ Seattle ($8,700)
Bischoff: This is a premier matchup between one of the best wide receivers in the NFL and a No. 1 type cornerback. Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman is still an incredibly effective corner, and I’d expect the Steelers to challenge the Seahawks away from this matchup, although eliminating Brown entirely is not going to happen. The price or Brown is far too high for the reduction in volume that I am expecting.
Rudnicki: If Richard Sherman shadows Brown as expected, Brown should see quite a bit fewer targets than he’s had recently (37 targets over last 2 games). He’s probably still good enough to produce regardless, but this figures to be one of his toughest matchups all year.
Allen Robinson, WR, Jacksonville vs. San Diego ($7,300)
Bischoff: Chargers cornerback Jason Verrett is turning in a great performance on a week to week basis in his second year. I expect Verrett to follow Robinson all over the field and I think it will be one of Robinson’s toughest tests to date. Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles will force the ball to Robinson, so he’ll continue to see volume, but I don’t think there will be a lot of success for Robinson this week.
Rudnicki: Robinson has proven to be mostly matchup-independent so far this year, but he should have a tough time with CB Jason Verrett this week. Opposing No. 1 WR’s have generally not fared well against the Chargers this year, with just a couple exceptions.
Travis Kelce, TE, Kansas City vs. Buffalo ($4,700)
Bischoff: The Bills have very good athletes in coverage that can stay with tight ends and through 10 games they have been fantastic on a week to week basis. Last week they made elite tight end Rob Gronkowksi look invisible, partially due to coverage but also because of the pressure they can out on the quarterback. I don’t expect much from Kelce this week.
Rudnicki: The Bills just shut down Rob Gronkowski on Monday night, and haven’t really given up much to opposing TEs for the past couple months. They’ve only given up 1 TD to the position since Week 2 and no opposing TE has topped 38 yards in that span. Kelce has been solid all year but the conservative Chiefs offense has limited his opportunities.