Week 12 Where to Put em

Wednesday, Nov 23, 2011 at 12:00 pm ET

fantasy football rankings
Where to Put 'em is the Fantasy Football Nerd's look at the best and worst matchups for Thanksgiving Week 12 of the 2011 season. Decisions are based upon the FFN rankings and matchup analysis. Given the known conditions, these matchups are the ones to watch and/or avoid.

This list does not generally include the elite players that you are going to start regardless of matchup. You don't need us to tell you to start Aaron Rodgers, Andre Johnson, or Adrian Peterson. Where to Put 'em takes a look at other players on your team that we believe either have great matchups or should be avoided for multiple reasons. Factors like opposing defense, performance trending, and peer comparisons may influence our decisions.

Put 'em In The Game: Tim Tebow
Perhaps Tim Tebow has higher-power connections. How else do you explain how a mediocre QB who puts up pathetic numbers through the air (avg 118 passing yds/game) can still put up decent fantasy numbers each week? The answer is that he's like Forrest Gump - he can run. Well, run Tebow run. Until defenses figure out how to stop him or he takes a hard-enough hit, we say play him. Why not? He's averaging 21 fantasy points and God knows we could all use some more fantasy points.
Put 'em In The Game: Matt Ryan
Matt Ryan was a question mark for us earlier this year, but he's been on a roll as of late. He has a beautiful match-up this week against the Vikings who surrender 281 yards per game through the air and cough up the 3rd-most fantasy points to opposing QB's. He should continue performing well this week.
Put 'em In The Game: LeGarrette Blount
While LeGarrette Blount may not be as safe a play as B.J. Raji at fullback on the 1-yard line, he's a great match-up player. He ripped up 127 yards against Indy in Week 4 and is coming off a 107 yard performance against Green Bay last week. The Titans (his former team by the way) give up 144 yards on the ground each week and Blount should be capable of grabbing most of those for himself.
Put 'em In The Game: Shonn Greene
Shonn Greene looked healthy in the 3rd and 4th quarters of last week's game but wasn't put back into the game. All indications are that he'll be fine for this week and that's good as he faces a Bills defense that gives up 147 yards on the ground each week and the 9th-most fantasy points. With Rex Ryan reporting yesterday that LT and Kerley both had setbacks in practice, Greene is the running game for the Jets.
Put 'em In The Game: Cedric Benson
If history is any indication, Benson should produce a decent fantasy day. He racked up 121 yards and a score when he faced the Browns in Week 1 this year. If the same Cedric Benson shows up this week, a repeat of those numbers shouldn't be out of the question.
Put 'em In The Game: Jordy Nelson
It's time to add Jordy Nelson's name to the Stud list. He's coming off back-to-back 2-TD performances. We don't care if cornerbacks and safeties are going easy on him because he's white, he's making plays in an explosive offense and compliments Jennings, Driver, and Finley very well. In what many expect to be a barn burner, Nelson should see a lot of action on Thanksgiving day.
Put 'em In The Game: Percy Harvin
We all knew Percy Harvin was fast and it's about time the Vikings start displaying that. Without Peterson, Harvin becomes the de facto stud in that offense. Wide receiver or running back - who cares? If the Vikings have any shot at beating Atlanta, they'll need to get Harvin involved and involved early.
Put 'em In The Game: Brandon Lloyd
Brandon Lloyd's fantasy value would have plummeted had he stayed in a Tebow-flavored Denver offense. He may not be last year's Brandon Lloyd, but he's still a solid option this week against the Cardinals who give up the 2nd-most yards per game to them at 192 yards. He did very well against the Cardinals when he faced them earlier this year and that should continue.
Put 'em In The Game: Victor Cruz
Victor Cruz has quietly become one of the best fantasy WR's in the game. While Nicks and Manningham command defensive attention, Cruz becomes an attractive target for Eli Manning. He has steadily climbed the FFN ranks and should make for a great play this Monday night against the Saints who give up 166 yards/game to opposing WR's.
Put 'em In The Game: Fred Davis
The Washington offense is a hard one to try and figure out. Fred Davis should be a focal point for it, but they don't always treat him like that. If they get him involved this week, his match-up helps cement him as a must-start. The Seahawks give up the 5th-most fantasy points to opposing TE's.
Put 'em In The Game: Owen Daniels
Owen Daniels has been a decent option at TE this year (currently 12th among all TE's in fantasy production) but we'd expect a nice uptick in his stats this week. The Jaguars give up the 3rd-most fantasy points to opposing tight ends and we'd anticipate some short passes from Matt Leinart this week. Daniels becomes an attractive target under this situation.
Put 'em In The Game: Robbie Gould
Projecting kicker performances is like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do but it doesn't get you very far. Without Cutler under center and with the Raiders stacking the box against Forte, it's hard to imagine the Bears spending too much time in the end zone. If they're going to put up points, Gould will most likely have a hand in that.
Put 'em On The Bench: Matt Leinart
Matt Leinart - it's time to step up to the plate and take what's yours. Unfortunately, that's going to have to wait as Jacksonville gives up the 4th-fewest yards per game and the 7th-fewest fantasy points per game to opposing QB's. Even Schaub would have had difficulties. What Leinart cannot accomplish through the air will be gotten on the ground. Arian Foster will be the focal point of this offense this week.
Put 'em On The Bench: Ryan Fitzpatrick
Playing on the road against the Jets is never an exciting prospect for a quarterback. When you're a QB in a fantasy slump it only compounds the problem. The Jets' secondary is scary allowing the 3rd-fewest fantasy points and the 5th-fewest passing yards (210) to opposing signal-callers. It's hard to get a warm and fuzzy when looking at this match-up.
Put 'em On The Bench: Ryan Grant
Ryan Grant is to Green Bay what DeAngelo Williams is to Carolina - starting RB in name only. That changes this week with Starks questionable. If Starks can't go, Grant would be the primary back in this Thanksgiving shootout. That won't matter however as Grant has unfortunately lost a step since his injury last year and is not a safe play any week - let alone this week against the Lions who have a very stout defensive line.
Put 'em On The Bench: Ryan Torain
If Ray Rice can't run on Seattle, why would anyone think that Ryan Torain or any of the other Washington "starters" can? The RB situation in Washington is a fantasy mess and we never know who's going to get the bulk of the carries. If you're on the edge of making your fantasy playoffs, why would you take the gamble on that Washington backfield?
Put 'em On The Bench: Roy Helu
See Ryan Torain above.
Put 'em On The Bench: Steve Johnson
Anytime a player has to line up against Darrell Revis it's cause for fantasy concern. Eric Decker had to do it last week and walked away with zero catches even though he saw targets. With Fitzpatrick's chances of a solid fantasy day being slim, Stevie Johnson's odds go down as well. Johnson's numbers have been terrible compared to our expectations lately. With a one-way ticket to Revis Island, this is one flight I wouldn't want to make.
Put 'em On The Bench: Dwayne Bowe
With Cassel out, expectations were lowered on Bowe with Tyler Palko under center. While Palko looked uncomfortable and woefully inadequate, he did manage to find Bowe much more often than we expected. The caveat to this was that Palko and Bowe were playing against a shaky New England defense that basically bleeds fantasy points every week. When they face the Steelers this week, you can bet that the situation will be very, very different. You hate to sit someone of Bowe's caliber, but if you've got a better option, consider it.
Put 'em On The Bench: Marcedes Lewis
Was that the old Marcedes Lewis that we saw last week hauling in 7 receptions? Easy there, tiger - sad to say that it was only a mirage. Lewis won't regain his designation as a fantasy stud until he can show some consistency. That will be a tough order when facing the Texans this week who give up the 3rd-fewest yards and 4th-fewest fantasy points to opposing TE's this season.
Put 'em On The Bench: Visanthe Shiancoe
Remember the fantasy stud who was one of Brett Favre's favorite targets during his stint in Minnesota? Me neither. This season has blurred my vision on Visanthe Shiancoe. Without Peterson, one would assume that Shiancoe will see more action, but what happens when we assume? Yeah - that's right. He's been dealing with a hamstring issue that, according to reports, he "mildly" strained again in Sunday's loss. He most likely won't play a bulk of the snaps which is too bad because he could have had a nice day.
Put 'em On The Bench: Nick Folk
Nick Folk was a good kicker for many fantasy teams this year but that's no longer the case. When you miss 4 of your last 8 field goals, it's easy to drop to 16th among all kickers in fantasy production. On paper, Buffalo is a Top 10 defense against kickers allowing single digits each week.

Join the Discussion

WazNFL CommentedNov 24, 2011 11:00 am

Nerd, should I risk starting McFadden or Johnson in Flex this week over the likes of Antonio Brown or maybe event Brent Celek?

Nerd CommentedNov 24, 2011 11:00 am

Great question. I've got two dozen emails from folks asking the same thing. Here's where I stand on that (I have Johnson):

If you have enough depth at the RB or WR position, I'd sit those studs for a week. Kubiak has come out and said that Johnson is a "full go" but in the same breath says that they have to be "smart with his snaps". That tells me that he won't be as involved as he was before. I have a quality WR in his place so I have the luxury of holding him out another week to see how this week goes. If you don't have that luxury, start the stud.

WazNFL CommentedNov 24, 2011 11:00 am

Thanks for the quick reply. After rereading my early AM post, I realized I didn't distinguish which Johnson, but you knew!

I'm still very stuck though and I think the thought about losing my playoff birth is making me reconsider too much. I need a second opinion on this. I start 2 RB, 2 WR, and a R/W/T flex.

RB's: Turner, Greene, McFadden

WR's: A. Johnson, Harvin, Boldin, A. Brown, T. Smith (included because of potential shootout)

TE's: Graham, Celek (included because of targets)

Oceanicmedic CommentedNov 24, 2011 11:00 am

DeSean Jackson or Laurent Robinson?

Nerd CommentedNov 24, 2011 11:00 am

@RamRob - I think you're fine there. Good luck!

@Oceanicmedic - I can't believe this is even a question, but it is a legitimate one and difficult. I still think DeSean gets the nod, but not by much.

ergot CommentedNov 25, 2011 11:00 am

PPR Flex - Lynch, Benson, or Fitzgerald?


Anthony CommentedNov 26, 2011 11:00 am


Who would you start between Marques Colston and Brandon Lloyd this weekend and going foward?



Dr. Strangelove CommentedNov 27, 2011 11:00 am

What's the deal with Josh Freeman? He has been falling all week despite one of his best performances last week againast the Pack and has a favorable matchup against the Titans? Sam Bradford is a better possibility without a starting Left tackle?? I am sooo confused.

Nerd CommentedNov 27, 2011 11:00 am

@Anthony - I'd give Lloyd the edge this week but not by much. Going forward, I like Colston.

@ergot - still gotta roll with Fitz.

Dr. Strangelove CommentedNov 27, 2011 11:00 am

BTW, L says hi!

Nerd CommentedNov 27, 2011 11:00 am

I don't know what's not to like about Freeman this week over Bradford. I don't agree with the rankings and would personally start Freeman.

Say "Hi" to L!

Len CommentedNov 30, 2011 11:00 am

PPR Flex options: Olsen or Decker? I've been sitting Decker but he somehow ends up with points, despite Tebow. I'm leaning that way, althoug Olsen is probably safer. Which would you go with and why?

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