The playoff push is upon us and last week's bevy of injuries has opened up some opportunites for players who could shine in Week 12. Here's some under the radar options for each position that you might want to take a look at for your starting roster.
Carson Palmer, ARI - at Atlanta. The Falcons have allowed 24, 28, 32, 33, and 26 points in the last five games. Prior to last week's game at Minnesota, Palmer had three straight games with 300+ yards passing. Arizona may be out of the playoff hunt, but this game matches up well for them from a passing standpoint. Atlanta has a way of giving opposing quaterbacks opportunities to score, especially in the second half. Consider Palmer a decent start this week.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, NYJ vs New England - The Jets are going with Fitzpatrick this week and the matchup vs New England favors the Jets passing game. This is more of a hunch than anything, but I see the Jets needing to rely heavily on the pass in this game. The last four quarterbacks against the Patriots each reached 30 pass attempts or more. Russell Wilson and Colin Kaepernick have tossed five touchdowns against New England in the last two games. Fitzpatrick has been a far cry from what he accomplished last year, but this has the feeling of a garbage yards game. Fitzpatrick also has passed for 290 yards with at least 2 touchdown passes in each of the last two games against the Patriots.
Eli Manning, NYG at Cleveland After allowing 25 touchdown passes in the first ten games, Cleveland held Ben Roethlisberger in check last week allowing zero passing scores. Prior to last week Cleveland allowed three touchdown passes in three of the last five games. Manning himself has tossed 9 touchdowns in the last three games. This looks like a good matchup for Manning as he continues his surge in the second half of the season.
Carson Wentz, PHI vs Green Bay - Carson Wentz has only four games (in ten) with multiple touchdown passes, never reaching more than two in a game. That could change this week against the Packers who are absolutely reeling on defense, particularly their pass defense. They have allowed 7 touchdown passes in their last two games and have been heavily targeted as a result. Injuries have taken a toll on the secondary and Carson Wentz is next in line to exploit that weakness.
Frank Gore, IND vs. Pittsburgh - Frank Gore has not rushed for 100 yards since Week 6, but he has topped 70 total yards in eight of ten games tihs year. He also has scored in three of the last four games. Pittsburgh is coming to town for a Thursday night game and the Colts will likely be without Andrew Luck (concussion). Gore may not have a huge rushing game, but he could be in line to catch 5+ passes with Scott Tolzien under center.
Thomas Rawls, SEA at Tampa Bay - Seattle cut ties with Christine Michael and now C.J. Prosise is out with a shoulder injury. That leaves Thomas Ralws left to carry the load, which he showed last year he is more than capable of handling. Look for Seattle to utilize him often in their attack against the Buccaneers.
Rashad Jennings, NYG at Cleveland The Giants have struggled to find an identity at runinng back this year, but that may have shifted to Rashad Jennings over the last few weeks. In his last four games, Jennings has 13,11, 15 and 21 carries and his last two outings he has topped 100 total yards. The matchup this week against Cleveland is favorable, making Jennings someone to consider for your lineup.
Rex Burkhead, CIN at Baltimore. I don't love this particular option against the Ravens on the road, but the injury to Giovani Bernard opens the door for Rex Burkhead to take over the pass-catching back role for the Bengals. Consider Burkhead a player along the lines of Danny Woodhead. He could reach 4-5 catches in this game and might even see some carries. Only consider Burkhead as a sleeper option in deep PPR leagues. He's far from a sure thing, but there is potential for him to thrive in this game, especially if the Bengals are trailing and have an opportunity for garbage yards.
Rishard Matthews/Tajae Sharpe, TEN at Chicago - Rishard Matthews is one of the hottest wide receivers in the league over the last five or six games and if you have him on your roster, he belongs in your lineup especially this week against the Bears. Chicago is particularly vulnerable against wide receivers, allowing 16 receptions for 191 yards on average this season for the highest fantasy points allowed per game against wide receivers. Sharpe is also one to watch. This year his yards per catch average is 13.3, but the last three games it has jumped up to 17.6. He has scored in each of the last two games which has solidified his place as the team's WR2. Consider him someone to target this week in a decent matchup.
DeVante Parker, MIA vs. San Francisco - The Dolphins have won five straight games and recently DaVante Parker has turned the corner as Ryan Tannehill's go-to target besting Jarvis Landry in that category since Week 7. Parker has games of 5-103 and 8-79-1 in his last two outings which has forced people to take notice. San Francisco has allowed opposing wide receivers to catch at least two touchdowns in seven of their ten games. That stat alone makes Parker one to consider this week. Don't shy away from Kenny Stills as a lesser option either.
Dorial Green-Beckham, PHI vs. Green Bay - As mentioned in the quarterback section, the Packers secondary is struggling with injuries lately and opposing offenses are taking advantage. More than one wide receiver has caught at least one touchdown in three of the last four games against Green Bay. Jordan Matthews would be the primary option for Carson Wentz, but don't forget about Green-Beckham who is coming off a 5-54-1 game against Seattle last week.
Sterling Shepard, NYG at Cleveland - Sterling Shepard has scored a touchdown in each of the last three games and now he gets an opportunity against the Browns who will be geared towards stopping Odell Beckham Jr Jr. Cleveland has allowed multiple touchdowns to wide receivers in six of their eleven games.
Dennis Pitta, BAL vs. Cincinnati - Since Week 5 the Bengals have allowed the most fantasy points per game to opposing tight ends. On average tight ends against Cincinnati reach 8 catches for 104 yards and 0.5 touchdowns. Pitta has been relatively quiet recently, but this matchup has the feeling of a get right game for the veteran tight end.
Jason Witten, DAL vs. Washington - Witten has been a big contributor in the Cowboys offense this season and recently he has 8, 6 and 5 catches in the last three games. Washington has allowed a touchdown to a tight end in each of the last three games, including two 100-yard efforts by Jared Cook and Tyler Eifert. If you are debating whether or not to start Witten, go ahead and pencil him in. This is a favorable matchup for the Cowboys veteran tight end.
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