The Docket: Week 12

A rundown of all the matchups, including notes on all the best players to start, sit and stomach in Week 12. 

Welcome to Week 12 of The Docket, a weekly column that offers strategy and advice on players that you should be targeting and avoiding each week. We bring the energy each week with the positive, neutral and negative charge. (UPDATED 11/25 - 4pm pst).

Rams vs Saints (-7 o/u 45.5)

Rams

Neutral  

  • Todd Gurley – He’s a reliable RB2 this week, but don’t expect the world since the Saints are actually playing better defense and Gurley still rarely breaks any big runs.
  • Kenny Britt – He’s fantasy’s #24 receiver and makes for a fine WR3 with some upside.
  • Lance Kendricks – Goff isn’t great, but neither was Keenum. If you need to reach for him, at least he is seeing targets.

Negative

  • Tavon Austin – You can’t count on him for any production.

Saints

Positive

Neutral

  • Mark Ingram II and Tim Hightower  – If Ingram misses with a concussion, Hightower would be a solid RB2, if Ingram plays, then both are better used as flex options with RB2 upside against a Rams defense giving up 17.2 FPG over the past five weeks.
  • Willie Snead IV - Snead has the toughest matchup against solid slot CB Lamarcus Joyner.

Negative

  • Coby Fleener – I could see him scoring, but tough to trust against a Rams team giving up just 8.3 FPG the past five weeks and he’s a part time player.

Seahawks vs Buccaneers (+6 o/u 45)

Seahawks

Positive

  • Russell Wilson, Doug Baldwin, Jimmy Graham – These guys are all locked and loaded as top plays this week. Bucs giving up 26.7 FPG to opposing QBs the last 5 weeks and Graham and Baldwin should feast on their zone defense.
  • Thomas Rawls – Bucs giving up the 4th most yard to opposing RBs, allowing 4.6 YPC and 6 catches a game.

Buccaneers

Neutral

  • Jameis Winston – Seattle could be sleeping a bit on defense playing across the country. They are also missing DE Bennett, S Earl Thomas and CB DeShawn Shead, so while this isn’t a game Winston should put up huge numbers, he can be started if needed especially with Humphries, Shepard and Shorts all healthy finally at receiver. 
  • Doug Martin – Getting a ton of volume and with the injuries to the Seattle defense he should be okay, as they are giving up 25.7 FPG and over 120 yards the past five weeks to opposing RBs.
  • Cameron Brate – Not a sexy option, but with the injuries and Sherman on Evans, he has a chance to come through.  

Negative

  • Mike Evans – Will see Richard Sherman most of the day. Still start him in season long, since they will be without their safety, but temper expectations big time. 

Panthers vs Raiders (-3 o/u 49)

Panthers

Neutral  

  • Cam Newton – I’m not loving his matchup this week across the country, but at least the Raiders don’t have a great pass rush, so he should have time.
  • Kelvin Benjamin – He’s best used as a WR3 and Raiders CB Sean Smith has the size to play him well. A bit of good news is that Raiders top CB David Amerson looks like he will be out, which could help if the move Benjamin around and it possibly makes Ted Ginn Jr a viable reach play.  
  • Jonathan Stewart – A mere flex play at this point averaging just under 3 YPC over his past four games against a solid Raiders run defense giving up just 16.9 FPG to the position over that same time. The Panthers are still missing their LT Michael Oher and Center Ryan Kalil, which also doesn’t help.
  • Greg Olsen – This whole offense is stuck in neutral this year and the Raiders aren’t the TE sieve they use to be, giving up just 13.3 FPG to opposing TEs over the past five weeks.

Raiders

Positive

  • Derek Carr – Panthers giving up over 360 yards to opposing QBs on the road and they are allowing QBs to complete 70% of their passes against them over the past five weeks. He gets well this week especially with Panthers DE Mario Addison and ILB Luke Kuechly likely out.
  • Michael Crabtree & Amari Cooper – Cooper has been ascending while Crabtree has had a few rough outings, but I think both of these guys get well at home against this funnel defense giving up 40.2 FPG to opposing WRs the last 5 weeks. Cooper has the much better matchup against Daryl Worley, PFF's 78th rated corner, while Crabtree will square off against the much tougher James Bradberry. Fortunately Cooper and Crabtree do move around the formation and Bradberry often plays off the line a bit, allowing Crabtree to work the short to intermediate game. Cooper is a rock solid WR1 and Crabtree more of a middle of the road WR2. 

Neutral

  • Latavius Murray – While he is their lead guy, he’s still only a part time player against a tough run defense. While the yardage might not be there, I could see him scoring a TD or two especially since DE Mario Addison and ILB Luke Kuechly both out. Jalen Richard also has backend flex viability if you are in desperate need.

Chargers vs Texans (+1.5 o/u 46.5)

Chargers

Neutral

  • Philip Rivers, Tyrell Williams, Melvin Gordon III, Antonio Gates – This isn’t a great matchup across the board for any of these guys on the road, so lower expectations and use accordingly. Through sheer volume, Gordon should still put up borderline RB1 numbers, but this doesn’t seem like a week he will go off.

Negative

  • Travis Benjamin – Finally returning and should be healthy, although tough to trust fully in this tougher matchup so you are just hoping for a TD.

Texans

Neutral

  • Lamar Miller – The Chargers defense has been great lately, limiting opposing RBs to the 6th fewest rushing yards a game.
  • C.J. Fiedorowicz – Brock loves looking his way and he’s seeing a ton of targets. He makes for a solid back end TE1, albeit one with little yardage upside.

Negative

  • Brock Osweiler – Tougher matchup and he goes by the name Brock Osweiler.
  • DeAndre Hopkins – Brock kills him, he’s not gaining separation and Chargers secondary is playing well. He squares off against PFF’s #10 rated CB, Casey Heyward, which is a problem, although they have had him lining up in the slot a bit too recently, which is also an issue unless Chargers slot CB Brandon Flowers misses with a concussion. 
  • Braxton Miller and Will Fuller V - Tough to trust either of these guys against a solid Chargers secondary. Miller came on last week and is someone to monitor closely. If Chargers slot corner, Brandon Flowers, misses with a concussion, it would be a bit of a boost for him at least.  

Giants vs Browns (+7 o/u 44)

Giants

Positive

Browns

Neutral

  • Terrelle Pryor – He gets it done every week, so he should be in every owner’s lineup as a WR3 with upside when he gets matched up against rookie CB Eli Apple at times.
  • Gary Barnidge - With McCown back, Barnidge is back!  The Giants are giving up 17 FPG to opposing TEs over the past five weeks, so he has a solid matchup this week. 

Negative  

  • Josh McCown, Isaiah Crowell, Duke Johnson Jr, Corey Coleman,  – The Giants defense has been solid and it’s tough to rely on any of these guys, even at home. The good news is that McCown is back at the starter, which means Duke becomes a viable PPR Flex play and Coleman has a chance to go big like he did Week 2. Still, I can't tell you these guys are more than dart throws. 

Bengals vs Ravens (-4.5 o/u 40.5)

Bengals

Neutral

  • Jeremy Hill – Has a tough matchup against a defense giving up just 3.2 YPC, but with Green and Gio gone, he could have a Melvin Gordian type game where volume is king. That said, when Zeke played this run defense at home, he had 25 carries and still only managed 95 yards, and that was behind that huge Dallas offensive line. 

Negative  

Ravens

Positive

  • Mike Wallace – He’s getting targets, grabbing passes and making plays every week. He should see a lot of CB Adam Jones who plays tough, but he doesn’t have the speed to keep up with Wallace.
  • Steve Smith – He’s scored in three of the past four games and crushed them last year. At home, he should be a solid WR2 with room for more.

Neutral 

  • Joe Flacco – He’s just a 2QB league play, especially in this low projected scoring affair, but at least he’s at home and the Bengals are giving up over 23 FPG the past five weeks.
  • Terrance West – People are super down on him, but I think he comes through this week against a Bengals defense giving up 4.6 YPC and over 5 catches the past five weeks.
  • Kenneth Dixon – He’s hard to trust as anything but a PPR reach flex play, but the Bengals are giving up over 5 catches a game over the past five weeks and he is seeing the field more and more. Unfortunately he may always be more of a Gio Bernard type than a David Johnson, juries still out.
  • Dennis Pitta – He’s one of those 5 catch for 50 yard guys, so if you just need some points in a PPR league he is viable. At least this week he is up against a Bengals team that is giving up over 20 FPG to TEs the past 5 weeks, but this could be a very low scoring and slow paced affair.

Cardinals vs Falcons (-5 o/u 50.5) 

Cardinals

Positive  

  • David Johnson – Don’t use DJ this week … psych!
  • Larry Fitzgerald – He’s as dependable a WR2 in PPR leagues as you can find. Their top CB, Trufant, has been limited all week but may return. If he does, there is a chance he moves into the slot to cover Fitz, but I think he spends more time on the outside. 

Neutral  

  • Carson Palmer – So …. This is tough. This game is at 10am, which means Palmer will play badly, as he has been even at home. Yet, this should be a shootout, so he should throw for 2 TDs against a banged up secondary giving up nearly 300 yds and 2.5 TDs for 26 FPG to opposing QBs the past five weeks.  That said, he will probably throw at least 2 INTs. Where does that leave us? I have no idea, but if you can stomach him, he’s viable.

Negative

  • John Brown, Michael Floyd, J.J. Nelson – So one, some or none of these guys could go off. There is no reason all of them couldn’t dominate, but man it’s tough to totally rely on any of these three.  The somewhat good (bad?) news is that Floyd may not play, so if he's out, then Brown and Nelson become better reaches. If Floyd plays, I like him best of the bunch in a game where some points will be scored. 

Falcons

Neutral

  • Matt Ryan – This is as tough as it gets, but at home against a Cardinals’ team playing at 10am, I’m thinking he comes through. Obviously not a DFS play.
  • Julio Jones – Will see top notch CB Patrick Peterson all day. People bring up Julio taking Peterson to task in a game he had against him two years ago, but that was two years ago, so I’m not paying up for Julio in DFS.  That said, this is Julio, so 6 catches for 85 yards and a TD is certainly possible, so you are not sitting him at home in season long.
  • Devonta Freeman / Tevin Coleman – Both make far better flex plays if you can, as opposed to solid RB2’s. Upside always there as the short passing game to them may be the best way to beat this defense.
  • Taylor Gabriel - If you are looking for a sleeper option, he has a sneaky good matchup against CB Marcus Cooper, PFF’s 101st rated corner.  

Negative

Jaguars vs Bills (-7.5 o/u 45)

Jaguars

Neutral

  • Chris Ivory – Yeldon is banged up and might not play, which makes Ivory a viable starter this week against a tough Bills run defense that at least has been giving up 4.5 YPC lately.
  • Allen Robinson – The Bills corners have disappointed this year, but Bortles playing poorly and CB Stephon Gilmore is no push over. Expect more of the same from him this year, which is unfortunate.
  • Marqise Lee – Well what do you know, last week Lee caught 4 passes for 52 yards and a TD, which is (besides the TD) almost identical to the week before and the five weeks before that, because that is what he does every week. If you need 5 catches for 50 or 60 yards for just 10 points in a PPR league, he’s your guy.  He’s also looking pretty good this season on film.

Negative

  • Blake Bortles – He keeps getting it done every week with some garbage time work, but I’m staying away in a game I think they get dominated. You can only get lucky for so long.
  • Allen Hurns – Even in a great matchup last week he did nothing, so he should not be owned at this point.
  • Julius Thomas – His playing time is down so he’s become a bit TD dependent recently. The matchup isn’t horrible against a Bills team giving up 17.3 FPG to TEs over the past five weeks, but on the road I’m looking for someone better.

Bills

Positive

  • LeSean McCoy – All indications are that he will be good to go and he is the foundation of this offense The Jaguars are playing tough defense, but at home I think he is a solid RB1 in PPR leagues, while probably not worth paying up for in DFS. It should be noted that backup RB Mike Gillislee is not going to play this week, leaving Reggie Bush and intriguing rookie Jonathan Williams.

Neutral  

  • Tyrod Taylor – The Jags are actually playing tough defense lately, giving up a mere 16 FPG to opposing QBs the past five weeks. And while Tyrod might get Watkins back, he also just lost WR Robert Woods. I think he does fine, especially at home and since he adds yards on the ground, but hard to expect a huge game from him. At least the floor is there. 
  • Sammy Watkins – He’s baaack …. And he said he wouldn’t be playing if he didn’t feel 100%, so if he suits up, rely on him as your WR3 and you should be in good shape, as there is only upside from there.

Negative  

  • Charles Clay – He’s getting targets, but doing very little with them, so best to look elsewhere.  

49ers vs Dolphins (-7.5 o/u 44.5)

49ers

Positive

  • Carlos Hyde – HC Chip Kelly said this week that Hyde is the foundation of this offense, so expect 20+ touches for him this week. He’s a sneaky DFS play that not many people will be on in a game that could be close and a battle of the RBs.  He’s also helped by the absence of OLB Jelani Jenkins.

Neutral

  • Colin Kaepernick – He’s a horrible QB but gets a ton of yards on the ground, which helps get him yards and TDs in the air. He makes for a fine play in all formats if you need him as a guy to get you around 20+ points, as he is averaging 24 FPG the past five games.
  • Vance McDonald – He’s good for 3 or 4 catches and possibly a TD every week playing with Kaep. He doesn’t have a lot of upside, but he’s a viable replacement for Gronk and it’s not like there are a lot of TE options that are involved every week out there.

Dolphins

Positive

  • Jay Ajayi – The 49ers have allowed opposing RBs to rush for more than 100 yards in all but one game this year, and 5.6 YPC to and nearly 40 FPG to opposing RBs the past five weeks. Ajayi is a beast at home, although his offensive line is banged up, missing their Center and LT. That said, he was missing both of these guys against the Chargers and Rams on the road, two better run defenses, so he’s the foundation of their offense and I still think he is the top play at the position this week.

Neutral

  • Ryan Tannehill, Jarvis Landry, DeVante Parker and Kenny Stills – While I am not a big fan of this offense outside of Ajayi this season, the 49ers have allowed more than 400 yards of total offense against them the past five weeks, so all of these guys should get it done as you would normally play them.  On the season the 49ers are giving up 312/2.8 to opposing QBs, so points will be scored. Landry could get an extra boost if slot CB Jimmie Ward misses with a concussion; he’s been limited all week. Meanwhile, while Parker has been playing much better lately, he will do battle with solid CB Tramaine Brock, PFF's #17 rated corner. 

Titans vs Bears (+5 o/u 42)

Titans

Positive

  • Marcus Mariota, DeMarco Murray – You’re getting these guys in your lineup and they are on fire, so you can’t sit them. That said, this Bears defense is sneaky good, especially at home. The Bears are allowing the second fewest yards to opposing RBs on the year, but they are giving up catches and 22 FPG to QBs the last five weeks. I’d fade in DFS.

Neutral

  • Delanie Walker –  He came up small last week, with just 4 catches for 36yds on 6 targets and the Bears play the tight end tough, not allowing any TE to go over 50 yards on them. That said, he is their ass pass catcher and the Bears do give up TDs to the position, so he’s a must start in season long in a volatile position.
  • Rishard Matthews –He’s on a major role, so viable WR3 if you need him, but the Bears CBs are actually pretty good, so like the rest of this team, this could be a week where we think they do well, but end up letting us down.
  • Kendall Wright – By far the best WR matchup against CB Cre'von LeBlanc, PFF’s 92nd rated CB. Unfortunately for Wright, they just don’t use him enough.

Negative

  • Tajae Sharpe – Finally got it going last week but I wouldn’t chase on the road against a good Bears secondary.

Bears

Neutral              

  • Jordan Howard – He’s the last man standing. Literally, the rest of the team no longer exists. Both Guards are out, their right tackle is out, Cutler and Hoyer are out, Alshon, Kevin White and Zach Miller are out. That’s it. Howard is at least playing well, he’s playing at home, so he’s a solid RB2 play in all leagues.

Patriots vs Jets (+7.5 o/u 46)

Patriots

Positive

  • Tom Brady, Julian Edelman – The Jets have a top notch run defense but a bad passing offense and actually very little pass rush, so both of these guys are great starts this week.
  • Martellus Bennett, Rob Gronkowski – If Gronk returns he makes for a solid TE1, if not, then Bennett does. It should be noted though that Bennett missed practice on Thursday, so that’s something to watch.

Neutral

  • James White/Dion Lewis – These guys may eat each others value and I’m not sure who will get the most looks this week, but the matchup is certainly good for them against a Jets team that has been gashed by pass catching RBs. Best to use these guys as PPR flex plays.
  • Malcolm Mitchell – It looks like Hogan should miss this weeks game and he can get deep against this Jet’s secondary. Look for him to get a few deep bombs thrown his way.
  • LeGarrette Blount – This is not a big Blount week since the Jets have a great run defense, yet, with Brady moving the ball he could easily run in two or more TDs, so use him as a RB2 in standard leagues but keep expectations in check in PPR leagues especially.

Jets

Neutral

  • Matt Forte/Bilal Powell – They probably won’t put up huge numbers on the ground, but in PPR leagues I think Forte is a viable RB2 and Powell a Flex play in a game that should require them to catch a good amount of passes against a NE defense giving up 8 catches a game.
  • Brandon Marshall – He’s killing you, but if you have Marshall you have to keep using him unless you have a much better option. With Fitzpatrick back at the helm, hopefully he gets back on track this week, but he does have a very tough matchup against PFF's #4 rated corner, Malcolm Butler

Negative

  • Ryan Fitzpatrick, Quincy Enunwa – Have to hope they bounce back at home and get up for this game against their division rival. They also should have to play catch-up, so if you are desperate, this is not a bad week to reach for these guys. One worrisome issue is starting Center Nick Mangold looks to be out this week, which is a big loss.

Chiefs vs Broncos (-3.5 o/u 39.5)

Chiefs

Neutral  

  • Spencer Ware – Interestingly enough, the Broncos are giving up the 3rd most yards from scrimmage to opposing RBs this season, allowing 5.1 YPC and 5 catches a game. He’s their best offensive weapon in this game.
  • Travis Kelce – The Bronco’s linebackers have been beat this season forcing T.J. Ward to cover the TE, which isn't great for Kelce.  Unfortunately he also may be asked to block a lot so I would fade in DFS.  

Negative

  • Alex Smith, Tyreek Hill – Not the week to reach for either of these guys on the road against this defense, especially since the Broncos’ should get DE Derek Wolfe back.

Broncos

Positive

Neutral

  • Trevor Siemian – The Chief's are giving up 26.4 FPG to opposing QBs the past five weeks, so he can help you out in 2 QB leagues if you need a reach play. At least he's at home and the Chiefs are missing DE Dee Ford. 
  • Emmanuel Sanders – Will run a lot of his routes against the Chiefs top CB, Marcus Peters. The good, he scored 2 TDs in their past two meetings. The bad, he only caught 4 passes for 43 yards in those two games.
  • Devontae Booker – He hasn’t been playing well, averaging around 3.4 YPC since he took over. Fortunately he is seeing a lot of volume so he’s a viable, if unspectacular RB2. It was pretty telling that they put in a waiver wire claim on Ronnie Hillman this past week.

Packers vs Eagles (-4 o/u 47.5)

Packers

Positive  

  • Aaron Rodgers – The Eagles corners actually give up decent production, with their safety’s their real strength. They have been giving up 23.9 FPG to opposing QBs the last 5 weeks, so Rodgers is a solid season long play as usual, but worth a fade in DFS.
  • Randall Cobb, Davante Adams, Jordy Nelson – The Eagles have given up   give up 39 FPG to opposing WRs the last 5 weeks, so all of these guys are viable, especially in PPR leagues. Jordy is Fantasy’s #4 scoring WR on the season and should continue to be a solid WR1, while Cobb and Adams are best deployed as WR3’s with upside.

Negative

  • Ty Montgomery and James Starks – They used Montgomery a bit more last week, but hard to trust with James Starks back. Meanwhile Starks only played on 47% of the teams’ snaps last week, so he is looking like a part time player. If I had to choose between the two, I would lean Starks in standard leagues, but it wouldn’t surprise me if Montgomery caught a bunch of passes out of the backfield, so I would roll with him in PPR. The wild card is Mr Awakening himself Christine Michael who is in game shape, so it's possible he comes in, gets a hot hand and rolls. Once again, so much uncertainty. 
  • Jared Cook – Great game last week, but the Eagles safeties have been keeping opposing TEs on lock. On the season they have allowed the 2nd fewest yards and the fewest receptions to opposing tight ends, giving up just 10.4 FPG to TEs the past five weeks.

Eagles

Positive

  • Darren Sproles and Wendell Smallwood - With Ryan Mathews out this week, Smallwood should be able to put up RB2 numbers against a Packers run defense that is getting gashed, especially on the road. Sproles looks like he should play, so he is a viable PPR flex option as they may limit him some.
  • Jordan Matthews – The Packers secondary is a disaster and he has a great matchup in the slot against CB Micah Hyde, PFF’s 86th rated CB. The Packers have given up nine TDs over the past five weeks to the WR position.
  • Zach Ertz – He’s come alive the past three weeks and the Packers are vulnerable to the tight end. At home I like his chances of having a good game this week.

Neutral  

  • Carson Wentz – He’s a viable starter in two QB leagues at home against a Packers defense giving up a solid 23.2 FPG to opposing QBs the last 5 weeks. I would still look to fade him in leagues using just one QB since his receiving core is hard to trust fully.
  • Dorial Green-Beckham – He’s incredibly hard to trust, but if you are looking for a flier, he could come through this week against a Packers secondary that refuses to stop anyone. 

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