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Week 12 Rankings


Updated 11/24/2013 at 12:05 PM ET. Mike Brown removed. Hakeem Nicks dropped, Rueben Randle bumped up slightly. Julius Thomas dropped to No. 17 ahead of likely removal this afternoon/evening. 

Updated 11/24/2013 at 1:00 PM ET. Julius Thomas officially removed after FOX's Jay Glazer reported it would "have to be a miracle" for him to play. 

Updated 11/24/2013 at 3:00 PM ET. No. 39 receiver Hakeem Nicks removed. No. 84 receiver Da'Rick Rogers removed. No change for Rueben Randle, who was already ranked as if Nicks would be inactive/highly limited.  

As we enter the season’s stretch run, just nine running backs are averaging more weekly fantasy points than Zac Stacy. Alfred Morris, Chris Johnson and Stevan Ridley are a few of the names behind Stacy. The numbers are even more impressive when you quarantine them to the past five weeks, where Stacy’s weekly 17.6 points are behind only Matt Forte and CJ?K. Since taking over as the Rams’ lead back in Week 5, Stacy is averaging 21 carries for 88.8 yards, and has four total touchdowns in six games.

How did we get here?

It wasn’t easy. Despite being a favorite of the draftnik community, Stacy was No. 4 on the depth chart by Week 2. A healthy scratch for Weeks 2 and 3, Stacy finished the first month of his NFL career with exactly one carry. But as Daryl Richardson, Isaiah Pead and Benny Cunningham all struggled, the Rams found themselves in a “well, why not?” situation by Week 5. When Sam Bradford went down in Week 7, Stacy was elevated from “de facto back” to “focal point of the offense.” Since Bradford’s injury, Stacy has taken the rock 79 times for 323 yards and two scores in three games. He’s averaged “just” 4.1 yards per carry since taking the keys to the car from Bradford, but those numbers are skewed by the Rams’ 38-8 Week 10 rout of the Colts. With St. Louis racing out to a 21-0 lead just four minutes into the second quarter, Stacy was slammed into a brick wall in predictable running situations 20 times over the game’s final 41 minutes.

Why has Stacy had so much success? Because he carries himself like a runner who expects it. Stacy is extremely decisive, typically making his first cut before the hole is even opened, and then hitting it as soon as it does. Stacy is not the speediest guy — he doesn’t look as fast as even his 4.55 40-yard dash would suggest — but makes up for it with lightning quick feet. Stacy knows he can’t simply explode into the second level of the defense, so instead he ping pongs his way into it with a series of quick cuts. As we’ve established, Stacy lacks the home run speed to pull away from the second level — his longest run this season is all of 32 yards — but he runs with a toughness and forward lean befitting of his 5-foot-8, 216-pound frame. He uses his size and exceptional balance to create missed tackles, 22 in six games by Pro Football Focus’ count. That’s 3.6 per game, which is on par with LeSean McCoy (3.6) and Alfred Morris (3.4).   

Now Stacy gets a Bears defense that’s been getting positively eaten alive by opposing running backs over its past seven games, silver plattering 1,053 yards (150 per game) and 10 touchdowns. This is a unit that made Ray Rice look like Ray Rice last weekend. It all adds up to a No. 4 Week 12 ranking for a player who didn’t even have a job when the Bears’ cold streak began.

In the end, Stacy is unlikely to emerge as one of the league’s elite runners. That’s typically the case for backs who lack truly special qualities. But Stacy is a smart, decisive runner who knows his limitations. His run of success has been unexpected, but hardly a fluke. He’s a player who can produce in good and bad matchups alike, and has a dream one for Week 12.

Week 12 Quarterbacks

Rank Player Name Opponent Notes
1 Drew Brees at ATL -
2 Peyton Manning at NE Probable (ankle)
3 Matthew Stafford vs. TB -
4 Tom Brady vs. DEN -
5 Cam Newton at MIA -
6 Tony Romo at NYG -
7 Andrew Luck at ARZ -
8 Colin Kaepernick at WAS Probable (back)
9 Case Keenum vs. JAC -
10 Philip Rivers at KC -
11 Robert Griffin III vs. SF -
12 Ben Roethlisberger at CLE -
13 Eli Manning vs. DAL -
14 Matt Ryan vs. NO -
15 Alex Smith vs. SD -
16 Carson Palmer vs. IND Probable (hand)
17 Josh McCown at STL -
18 Scott Tolzien vs. MIN -
19 Mike Glennon at DET -
20 Joe Flacco vs. NYJ -
21 Ryan Fitzpatrick at OAK -
22 Ryan Tannehill vs. CAR -
23 Jason Campbell vs. PIT -
24 Christian Ponder at GB -
25 Kellen Clemens vs. CHI -
26 Chad Henne at HOU -
27 Geno Smith at BAL -
28 Matt McGloin vs. TEN -

QB Notes: Drew Brees had his worst game of 2012 in the Georgia Dome, but history is highly unlikely to repeat itself. The Falcons are allowing the eighth most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks, while Brees has been held below 300 yards just twice in 10 starts. He’s averaging a weekly 337, compared to 357 for Peyton Manning. Helming an unstoppable offense, Brees has played Manning to a draw over the past five weeks. … As for Manning, this will be his 15th meeting with the Bill Belichick/Tom Brady era Patriots. Manning boasts a 5-9 career mark against his archrivals, and is the owner of a 29:19 TD:INT ratio. He’s averaged a healthy 291 yards against Belichick’s defenses, but his 62.9 completion percentage and 7.4 yards per attempt are both below his overall career marks (65.4 and 7.7, respectively). Manning is going to have a good game Sunday. This is a man who can only be slowed down, not stopped. But few have had better success at slowing Manning down than Bill Belichick’s New England Patriots. … Matthew Stafford had a sorry second half against the Steelers, but is still fantasy’s No. 3 quarterback by a comfortable (three weekly points) margin.

If Tom Brady’s not “back,” he’s as close as you could possibly get. Brady bookended New England’s bye week with his first and third best performances, the latter coming against Carolina’s nearly impenetrable defense. Brady threw for 296 yards against a unit allowing a weekly 199.8 coming into Week 11. Playing with a full deck on offense for literally the first time all season — Monday was the first time each of Shane Vereen, Danny Amendola and Rob Gronkowski all suited up at the same time — Brady can be counted on down the stretch as the elite QB1 fantasy owners drafted him as. … Although he lacks for weapons, Cam Newton has not lacked for fantasy points. His weekly 23.0 places him behind only Manning, Brees, Stafford and Philip Rivers. … When last we saw Tony Romo, he was throwing for his fewest yards (128) in a non-injury shortened game since Week 2, 2009. Romo has been highly inconsistent this season, but will be getting back Miles Austin against the Giants, and almost certainly making a point of throwing to Dez Bryant coming off the Cowboys’ bye week. Romo has been a part of the almost unprecedented volatility at quarterback this season, but remains an every-week QB1.        

The matchups are tough for Andrew Luck and Philip Rivers, but what are you going to do, start Scott Tolzien? Very few owners should be in position to bench their QB1s. … Case Keenum is a tough sell at No. 9 following his Week 11 benching, but coach Gary Kubiak has realized the error of his ways, while Keenum has a dream matchup in the Jaguars. Opposing quarterbacks sport a 65.9 completion percentage and 8.0 YPA against the Jags, while only Dallas has allowed more fantasy points to rival signal callers. Kubiak claimed he benched Keenum because he was struggling to recognize Oakland’s pass rush, but as’s Marc Sessler points out, Keenum has posted an 4:1 TD:INT against the blitz despite being pressured more than any quarterback in the league. The kid has done just fine, and is going to have fun chucking it deep to an angry Andre Johnson against one of the league’s worst defenses. … As is the case with Keenum, Colin Kaepernick’s ranking is very generous considering his recent performance, but facing a defense that’s absolutely porous in every phase of the game, he can’t be dropped any lower. Kaepernick is just a month removed from averaging 24.9 points in Weeks 6-8, and has mostly taken advantage of his good matchups this season. He’s a leap of faith, but one you should take if the alternative is among the Jason Campbells of the world.

Fantasy’s No. 7 quarterback over the past five weeks, Ben Roethlisberger gets a Browns team he’s 15-1 lifetime against. The Steelers want to be a run-first offense, but with Le’Veon Bell averaging a woeful 3.1 yards per carry, they’re going to have to keep relying on Big Ben’s big arm. … Eli Manning’s role has been dramatically dialed back during the Giants’ four-game winning streak, but he should get no shortage of opportunities to uncork the ball against a Cowboys defense allowing the most fantasy points to opposing QBs. The Cowboys are permitting a mind-boggling 313 passing yards per game, and let Manning drop 450 on them in Week 1. “The Book of Eli” has been one of pain and regret for most of 2013, but Week 12 should offer a respite to beleaguered fantasy owners. … Not a whole lot has gone right for Matt Ryan in 2013, but Harry Douglas has continued to shine in the slot, while Tony Gonzalez (toe) looked no worse for the wear in Week 11. At home in his beloved Georgia Dome with Roddy White finally through the Darrelle Revis and Richard Sherman portion of his schedule, Ryan is a decent bet for top-15 numbers against his archrival.

Alex Smith is a man of little upside, but has an excellent matchup in the Chargers’ league-worst secondary. It doesn’t hurt that only four teams have allowed more rushing yards to opposing quarterbacks than the Bolts. … Carson Palmer has come alive since getting torn apart by the Seahawks in Week 7, but has been aided by plus matchups, and surpassed 241 yards in only one of his past three starts. He’s still very much a QB2. … The matchup is right for Scott Tolzien in a Vikings defense allowing the third most fantasy points to quarterbacks, but he’s still a low-end QB2 that only truly desperate Nick Foles, Andy Dalton and Russell Wilson owners should consider. … Two-QB league owners could do worse than Mike Glennon and Joe Flacco. For Glennon, the Lions continue to spring leaks against the pass. For Flacco, the Jets are a different team on the road than they are at home. … It’s a good matchup for Ryan Fitzpatrick. … It’s a terrible matchup for Ryan Tannehill. … Matt McGloin showed some nice things in his first NFL start, but only three teams are allowing fewer fantasy points to quarterbacks than Tennessee. Avoid.

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Week 12 Running Backs

Rank Player Name Opponent Notes
1 Jamaal Charles vs. SD -
2 Matt Forte at STL -
3 Adrian Peterson at GB -
4 Zac Stacy vs. CHI -
5 Reggie Bush vs. TB Probable (knee)
6 Frank Gore at WAS Probable (ankle)
7 Alfred Morris vs. SF -
8 Eddie Lacy vs. MIN -
9 Knowshon Moreno at NE -
10 Andre Brown vs. DAL -
11 Rashad Jennings vs. TEN -
12 DeMarco Murray at NYG -
13 Chris Johnson at OAK -
14 Ben Tate vs. JAC Probable (ribs)
15 Stevan Ridley vs. DEN -
16 Bobby Rainey at DET -
17 Pierre Thomas at ATL -
18 Le'Veon Bell at CLE -
19 Chris Ivory at BAL Probable (knee)
20 Ryan Mathews at KC Probable (hamstring)
21 Maurice Jones-Drew at HOU Probable (knee)
22 Ray Rice vs. NYJ -
23 Shane Vereen vs. DEN Probable (wrist)
24 Andre Ellington vs. IND -
25 Danny Woodhead at KC -
26 Donald Brown at ARZ -
27 Steven Jackson vs. NO Probable (toe)
28 Chris Ogbonnaya vs. PIT -
29 Rashard Mendenhall vs. IND Probable (toe)
30 Trent Richardson at ARZ Questionable (calf)
31 Montee Ball at NE -
32 Joique Bell vs. TB Questionable (foot)
33 Mike Tolbert at MIA -
34 Lamar Miller vs. CAR -
35 DeAngelo Williams at MIA -
36 Jacquizz Rodgers vs. NO Probable (ankle)
37 Mark Ingram at ATL -
38 Daniel Thomas vs. CAR Probable (ankle)
39 Brian Leonard at DET -
40 Jonathan Stewart at MIA -
41 Bilal Powell at BAL -
42 Fozzy Whittaker vs. PIT Probable (ankle)
43 Willis McGahee vs. PIT Probable (knee)
44 Shonn Greene at OAK -
45 LeGarrette Blount vs. DEN -
46 Brandon Jacobs vs. DAL Questionable (knee)
47 Roy Helu vs. SF -
48 Bernard Pierce vs. NYJ -
49 Toby Gerhart at GB -
50 James Starks vs. MIN -
51 Dennis Johnson vs. JAC -
52 Kendall Hunter at WAS -
53 Marcel Reece vs. TEN -
54 Michael Bush at STL -
55 Antone Smith vs. NO -
56 Jason Snelling vs. NO -
57 Jordan Todman at HOU -
58 Knile Davis vs. SD -
59 Brandon Bolden vs. DEN -
60 LaMichael James at WAS -
61 Benny Cunningham vs. CHI Questionable (ankle)
62 Khiry Robinson at ATL -
63 Jonathan Dwyer at CLE -
64 Felix Jones at CLE -
65 Ronnie Brown at KC -
66 Isaiah Pead vs. CHI -

RB Notes: Jamaal Charles has finally hit a lull in his all-conquering 2013, failing to notch a score in three consecutive games. He’s still averaged 98 yards from scrimmage in the process, however, and is the clear-cut RB1 overall in a week where Adrian Peterson (groin) is hobbled and LeSean McCoy is on bye. … Mired in a major slump by his standards, AD has tallied just 140 yards over his past 41 carries (3.4 YPC), and was bothered “a lot” by his groin injury in Week 11. Even a gimpy Peterson is a top-five Peterson, but his injury status is worth monitoring. … Matt Forte has gained fewer than 90 yards from scrimmage only once in 10 games. He should have little trouble going 10-for-11 against a Rams defense allowing the third most fantasy points to opposing running backs. … Reggie Bush’s Week 11 benching was an inane moment in an otherwise stellar season. Whatever coach Jim Schwartz’s motivations were, they were dumb, but it’s not a mistake he’s going to make twice. Bush is averaging 145 yards from scrimmage at Ford Field, ergo he’s a top-five option for Week 12.

Sunday’s loss to the Saints was the first time since Week 3 that Frank Gore didn’t manage at least 70 yards on the ground. Now he gets the Redskins, who have been getting smoked by opposing runners (among other positions), allowing an average of 23.1 fantasy points per game. Gore is a strong bet for a touchdown. … Matchups don’t really matter for Alfred Morris, who has cleared 90 yards rushing in five straight games, and averaged at least 4.0 yards per carry every week since Week 2. A guarantee for yards, he’s 50-50 for a touchdown. … Eddie Lacy has managed just 100 yards on 38 carries (2.63 YPC) in the two games since opposing defenses could start game-planning for him as the focal point of the Packers’ offense, but the matchup is right in the Vikings. Minnesota has allowed 11 rushing scores on the year. Provided he gets them, Lacy should be able to punch in his goal-line looks. … What appeared to be a possibility in Week 8 looked like a done deal in Week 11: Knowshon Moreno is losing goal-line work to Montee Ball. Regardless, his zero-catch night against the Chiefs was a fluke, while the Patriots are allowing the ninth most yards per carry (4.3) and sixth most yards per game (125.7) to opposing backs. Playing in the league’s best offense, Moreno remains an RB1.      


Stopping the run is going to be a lot harder for the Cowboys without Sean Lee. That’s a problem, as Big D was already allowing the most fantasy points to opposing running backs. Andre Brown is averaging just 3.77 yards over his first 48 carries, but has the workload and matchup of a low-end RB1 for Week 12. … Rashad Jennings is averaging 3.4 yards after first contact. That’s compared to 2.0 for Darren McFadden. It’s one of the reasons revolution is in the air in Oakland’s backfield, and why Jennings can be trusted as an RB2 against a Titans defense allowing the sixth most fantasy points to running backs. … Picking up steam with each passing week, Ben Tate is a legit RB2 as he moves further away from his rib injury. It looks like he has an impressive contract drive in him, after all. … If you know which Chris Johnson is going to show up for Week 12, could you let us know? … Stevan Ridley can’t stop fumbling, but was never outright benched in Monday’s loss. He’d be higher on this list if not for the Sha-nanigans potential in New England on Sunday. Either way, a player with seven touchdowns in his past five games cannot be benched.


Brian Leonard was the favorite to lead Tampa’s “ham and egg” running-back committee going into Week 11. Then Bobby Rainey’s 30-carry, 163-yard, two-touchdown afternoon happened. Six of Rainey’s carries went for at least 10 yards — including his first three — while three more went for at least eight. How did he do it? First off, he received some excellent blocking from his offensive line. As Rotoworld’s Evan Silva put it, Tampa essentially blocked out the sun against the Falcons. They were that dominant up front. But Rainey didn’t just get what was blocked. A man who played behind Ray Rice last season had some vintage Rice to his game, fitting himself into small holes and coming out with extra yards. Rainey finished off his runs with burst, most impressively on his 43-yard touchdown. Rainey also used patience and exceptional quickness to shed all sorts of tackles, eight by Pro Football Focus’ count. It’s the kind of thing that’s easy to say in hindsight, but Rainey looked so good, it’s hard to believe that both the Ravens and Browns let him go. Maybe Rainey will be a one-week wonder. It wouldn’t be the first time it’s happened. All we know is, Tampa’s ham-and-egg committee has found its chairman, and he has a solid Week 12 matchup in a Lions defense allowing 4.1 yards per carry. Rainey is worth RB2 consideration.       

Pierre Thomas has cleared 80 yards from scrimmage in six consecutive games, and averaged 5.3 catches in the process. It appears he’s passed up Darren Sproles as the FLEX du jour in New Orleans’ backfield. … Even if it was for only one week, it was nice to see Ray Rice look like Ray Rice again. With the Bears swapped out for the Jets’ league-leading run defense, Rice’s resurgence shouldn’t produce an encore. Sell while you still can. … Is Shane Vereen going to catch eight passes every week? No. Is he a massive upgrade on Brandon Bolden, who isn’t even that bad of a player? Yes. Even the most casual of observers should be able to spot Vereen’s playmaking ability, and why he’s very much worth the FLEX plunge in fantasy leagues. … Donald Brown has an extremely tough matchup in the Cardinals, but here’s guessing the Colts — who continue to sing Trent Richardson’s praises publicly — have deemed Brown their “hot hand” privately. … Chris Ogbonnaya has risen to the top of the Browns’ running back scrap heap. He’s a spare part you can start in a pinch. … The Dolphins think Daniel Thomas is better than Lamar Miller. The Dolphins are stupid.

Week 12 Receivers

Rank Player Name Opponent Notes
1 Calvin Johnson vs. TB Probable (knee)
2 Dez Bryant at NYG Probable (back)
3 Andre Johnson vs. JAC -
4 Demaryius Thomas at NE -
5 Brandon Marshall at STL -
6 Vincent Jackson at DET Probable (knee)
7 Pierre Garcon vs. SF Probable (ankle)
8 Antonio Brown at CLE -
9 Josh Gordon vs. PIT -
10 Victor Cruz vs. DAL -
11 Jordy Nelson vs. MIN -
12 Alshon Jeffery at STL -
13 Wes Welker at NE Probable (concussion)
14 T.Y. Hilton at ARZ -
15 Eric Decker at NE -
16 Torrey Smith vs. NYJ -
17 Harry Douglas vs. NO Probable (knee)
18 Kendall Wright at OAK -
19 Marques Colston at ATL -
20 Keenan Allen at KC Probable (knee)
21 Danny Amendola vs. DEN Probable (groin)
22 Larry Fitzgerald vs. IND -
23 Jarrett Boykin vs. MIN -
24 Cecil Shorts at HOU Probable (groin)
25 Dwayne Bowe vs. SD -
26 Anquan Boldin at WAS -
27 Steve Smith at MIA -
28 Roddy White vs. NO Probable (shoulder)
29 Michael Floyd vs. IND Probable (shoulder)
30 Rueben Randle vs. DAL -
31 Emmanuel Sanders at CLE Probable (foot)
32 Aaron Dobson vs. DEN -
33 Mike Wallace vs. CAR -
34 James Jones vs. MIN -
35 Brian Hartline vs. CAR -
36 Nate Burleson vs. TB Probable (arm)
37 Miles Austin at NYG Probable (hamstring)
38 Rod Streater vs. TEN Probable (hip)
39 Brandon LaFell at MIA -
40 Rishard Matthews vs. CAR -
41 Santonio Holmes at BAL Probable (hamstring)
42 Terrance Williams at NYG -
43 DeAndre Hopkins vs. JAC -
44 Kenny Stills at ATL -
45 Marlon Brown vs. NYJ Probable (knee)
46 Greg Jennings at GB -
47 Chris Givens vs. CHI -
48 Tavon Austin vs. CHI -
49 Kris Durham vs. TB -
50 Cordarrelle Patterson at GB -
51 Dexter McCluster vs. SD -
52 Eddie Royal at KC -
53 Jerricho Cotchery at CLE -
54 Ace Sanders at HOU -
55 Lance Moore at ATL -
56 Julian Edelman vs. DEN -
57 Vincent Brown at KC -
58 Nate Washington at OAK -
59 Mario Manningham at WAS Probable (knee)
60 David Nelson at BAL Probable (illness)
61 Ted Ginn at MIA -
62 Greg Little vs. PIT -
63 Jarius Wright at GB -
64 Donnie Avery vs. SD -
65 Tandon Doss vs. NYJ -
66 Tiquan Underwood at DET -
67 Andre Holmes vs. TEN -
68 Justin Hunter at OAK Probable (concussion)
69 Andre Roberts vs. IND Probable (knee)
70 LaVon Brazill at ARZ -
71 Markus Wheaton at CLE -
72 Davone Bess vs. PIT -
73 DeVier Posey vs. JAC -
74 Jerome Simpson at GB -
75 Stephen Hill at BAL Probable (foot)
76 Robert Meachem at ATL -
77 Darrius Heyward-Bey at ARZ Probable (ankle)
78 Kenbrell Thompkins vs. DEN -
79 Jacoby Jones vs. NYJ -
80 Austin Pettis vs. CHI -
81 Aldrick Robinson vs. SF -
82 Darius Johnson vs. NO -
83 Kerry Taylor at HOU -
84 Greg Salas at BAL -

WR Notes: An immovable object (Calvin Johnson and his 35 catches for 746 yards and seven touchdowns over his past four games) meets an irresistible force (Darrelle Revis) this weekend. Get your popcorn ready. The duo tangled in 2010, where Revis held Megatron to one catch for 13 yards. That was an entire knee ago, however. … Dez Bryant hasn’t produced like fantasy’s No. 2 receiver this season, and really hasn’t even come close. The Cowboys have had an entire bye week to think about what they’ve done, though, and that’s target Bryant fewer times than Cecil Shorts. Dez’s vengeance should start raining down upon the league. … Andre Johnson got what he wanted: Matt Schaub’s “return” lasted all of one half. That’s a very good thing for fantasy owners. … Demaryius Thomas has 512 yards after the catch. No other receiver has more than 450. With Aqib Talib (hip) looking shaky, there’s no one on New England who can stop Denver’s No. 1 receiver. … Pierre Garcon has still caught fewer than six passes only once all season, and even then it was five. Averaging 120 yards over his past three games, he’s earned his WR1 ranking.

Predictably, Vincent Jackson has run frustratingly hot and cold this season, but this could be the rare instance where he follows up a big game with another big game. Detroit is allowing the third most passing yards in the league, and the second most fantasy points to enemy receivers. All the ingredients are there for V-Jax to pop big plays. … Antonio Brown gets Joe Haden this weekend, but the notion that Haden is some Revis-esque sphinx is overblown. He’s a great corner, but not an eraser. Brown’s already excellent season has gone hyperdrive since his Week 9 message benching, and Haden is going to be hard pressed to stop him from going at least 5-75. … Josh Gordon seems to alternate big games the way Vincent Jackson does, but should be able to out-physical Pittsburgh’s Ike Taylor the way Calvin Johnson did in Week 11. Gordon is averaging 12.8 fantasy points per game, which is fifth amongst wideouts. … Averaging seven catches for 87 yards in the two full games since Aaron Rodgers went down, Jordy Nelson has hardly fallen off the face of the earth, but will remain more WR2 than WR1 until he gets his quarterback back.    

Wes Welker’s upside is such that he’s still an every-week WR2, but as his touchdowns have slowed, so has his fantasy production. He’s just the No. 31 receiver over the past five weeks, and averaging a modest six catches for 65 yards on the season. Of course, you can count on Peyton Manning peppering Welker with targets as he seeks revenge on the team that thanked him for his six years of 100-catch service by low-balling him in free agency. … T.Y. Hilton was a few Andrew Luck overthrows away from his third straight 100-yard game in Week 11. Cooking with gas as the Colts’ new No. 1 receiver, Patrick Peterson isn’t going to be enough to wreck Hilton’s Week 12. … Targeted 86 times this season, Torrey Smith has just one drop. … Harry Douglas won’t draw Keenan Lewis’ shadow Thursday evening, and averaging seven catches for 107 yards over his past five games, is a good bet to keep on chugging from the slot for a team that figures to be playing from behind against the Saints.

Tied for ninth in the league with 59 receptions, Kendall Wright is doing battle with a Raiders team allowing the seventh most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers. Wright would be the fantasy talk of the town if only he had more than one touchdown. Don’t hold it against a stabilizing force at a volatile position. Wright needs to be 100 percent started in three-receiver leagues. … Marques Colston rested his knee in Week 9. Since returning in Week 10, he’s caught 12 passes for 187 yards and a touchdown across two games. Colston is not the player he was in his prime, but still the No. 1 receiver for one of the league’s very best offenses, he’s back to every-week WR3 status. … Fading a bit in recent weeks, Keenan Allen now has a minor knee injury and the Chiefs’ league-leading defense to contend with. Allen is still a player a large majority of owners need to be starting, but he’s more WR2/3 than WR1/2 for Week 12. … Larry Fitzgerald got upstaged by Michael Floyd in Week 12, but still managed to score his sixth touchdown of the season. Coach Bruce Arians hasn’t been able to return Fitz to WR1 status, but he’s been arguably fantasy’s best WR3.

Jarrett Boykin’s 74.4 catch percentage (he’s corralled 29-of-39 targets) leads all active receivers. He’s still a bit of a fantasy leap of faith with Scott Tolzien under center for the Pack, but very few owners should be in position to bench a player who’s cleared 80 yards in four of his past five games. … The matchup couldn’t be better for Dwayne Bowe, who’s coming off back-to-back decent games into a showdown with arguably the league’s worst secondary. He’s still a mere WR3, but not the low-end one we’ve grown accustomed to. … The “squeaky wheel” theory will be put to the test with Cecil Shorts against the Texans. Only four teams are allowing fewer fantasy points to receivers, while Houston continues to lead the league in passing yards against (168 per week). There’s almost no way Shorts will be held to two catches for the third consecutive game, but don’t count on 8-100, or even 6-80, just because Shorts complained after Sunday’s loss. … This is the week fantasy owners have targeted for Roddy White to get back on track, but as Evan Silva lays out in this week’s Thursday Matchups column, it’s no sure thing against a Saints defense that’s largely eliminated enemy No. 1 wideouts this season.

Week 12 Tight Ends

Rank Player Name Opponent Notes
1 Rob Gronkowski vs. DEN Probable (back)
2 Jimmy Graham at ATL Probable (foot)
3 Vernon Davis at WAS -
4 Coby Fleener at ARZ -
5 Tony Gonzalez vs. NO Questionable (toe)
6 Jason Witten at NYG -
7 Greg Olsen at MIA -
8 Garrett Graham vs. JAC Probable (thigh)
9 Antonio Gates at KC -
10 Jordan Cameron vs. PIT -
11 Delanie Walker at OAK -
12 Charles Clay vs. CAR -
13 Martellus Bennett at STL -
14 John Carlson at GB -
15 Heath Miller at CLE Probable (-)
16 Rob Housler vs. IND Probable (groin)
17 Brandon Pettigrew vs. TB Probable (knee)
18 Jared Cook vs. CHI -
19 Tim Wright at DET -
20 Mychal Rivera vs. TEN -
21 Jeff Cumberland at BAL -
22 Brandon Myers vs. DAL -
23 Marcedes Lewis at HOU Probable (calf)
24 Joel Dreessen at NE Probable (knee)
25 Fred Davis vs. SF -
26 Anthony Fasano vs. SD -
27 Lance Kendricks vs. CHI Probable (finger)
28 Andrew Quarless vs. MIN -
29 Ladarius Green at KC -
30 Joseph Fauria vs. TB -
31 Ed Dickson vs. NYJ -
32 Sean McGrath vs. SD Probable (knee)
33 Dallas Clark vs. NYJ -
34 Ben Watson at ATL -
35 Logan Paulsen vs. SF -
36 James Hanna at NYG -
37 Jacob Tamme at NE -
38 Brandon Bostick vs. MIN -
39 Kellen Winslow at BAL Probable (knee)
40 Vance McDonald at WAS Questionable (ankle)
41 Levine Toilolo vs. NO -

TE Notes: Fantasy owners keep doubting him, but Vernon Davis trudges on as a top-four option at tight end. Only Rob Gronkowski, Jimmy Graham and Julius Thomas are averaging more weekly points. Davis shouldn’t be benched in any format. … The matchup is not inviting in a Saints defense allowing the fifth fewest fantasy points to rival tight ends, but Tony Gonzalez sits in at No. 7 in a week where both Jordan Reed (concussion) and Julius Thomas (knee) are banged up. New Orleans held Gonzo to 3-36-1 in Week 1. … Reed has yet to be cleared for Monday night’s game against the 49ers, and the Redskins haven’t hinted at his status one way or the other. Keep him penciled in for now, but be ready to erase Reed from your lineup. … The same is true of Thomas, who sat out of Wednesday’s practice. Considering Thomas’ lengthy injury history, it would be far from surprising if he missed Sunday night’s showdown with the Patriots.

Coby Fleener’s inconsistency has been a running theme in this column, but coming off his best game of the season into a matchup with a team allowing the most fantasy points to enemy tight ends, the time is now for a player the Colts desperately need to keep improving. It’s worth rolling the dice on Fleener over mid-range veterans like Jason Witten and Antonio Gates. … Speaking of Witten, he’s cleared five fantasy points just once in his past five games. But everyone knows that when Witten breaks, he breaks big. He can still win you a week when he’s on his game. The Giants are not an imposing matchup for tight ends. … You can practically set your watch to Greg Olsen catching four passes for 50 yards. That’s hardly a recipe for fantasy glory, but at least you know there won’t be a doughnut in your future. … Antonio Gates started out hot this season, but is averaging just six points over his past six games. It’s going to be a hard trend for Gates to shake against a Chiefs defense allowing the fewest fantasy points to opposing tight ends.

Jordan Cameron’s breakout year was slowed by Brandon Weeden, and now seemingly derailed by Jason Campbell. Cameron is still not a bad bet for 5-6 catches, but has only one touchdown in six games since Brian Hoyer tore up his knee against the Bills. He’s averaging 45 yards in the same timespan. … With 14 catches for 153 yards and two touchdowns in two games since Ryan Fitzpatrick took over as the Titans’ starter, Delanie Walker is a solid TE1 streamer against a Raiders defense that’s middle of the road against rival TEs. … Charles Clay’s floor and ceiling aren’t that far apart. … John Carlson has been the Vikings’ leading receiver in back-to-back weeks. … With 10 catches for 157 yards over his past two games, Rob Housler is finally defrosting. … Coming off back-to-back one-catch efforts, Tim Wright has a tough matchup in a Lions defense allowing the sixth fewest points to opposing tight ends. … Mychal Rivera showed a good rapport with Matt McGloin last weekend. It’s a connection worth keeping an eye on for desperate fantasy owners.  

Week 12 Kickers

Rank Player Name Opponent Notes
1 Stephen Gostkowski vs. DEN -
2 Matt Prater at NE -
3 Mason Crosby vs. MIN -
4 Adam Vinatieri at ARZ -
5 Justin Tucker vs. NYJ -
6 Dan Bailey at NYG -
7 Nick Folk at BAL -
8 Garrett Hartley at ATL -
9 Shaun Suisham at CLE Probable (hamstring)
10 Robbie Gould at STL -
11 Ryan Succop vs. SD -
12 Nick Novak at KC -
13 Blair Walsh at GB Probable (hamstring)
14 Jay Feely vs. IND -
15 Phil Dawson at WAS -
16 Caleb Sturgis vs. CAR -
17 David Akers vs. TB -
18 Greg Zuerlein vs. CHI -
19 Graham Gano at MIA -
20 Sebastian Janikowski vs. TEN Probable (ribs)
21 Kai Forbath vs. SF -
22 Rob Bironas at OAK -
23 Matt Bryant vs. NO -
24 Randy Bullock vs. JAC -
25 Josh Brown vs. DAL -
26 Billy Cundiff vs. PIT Probable (quadriceps)
27 Rian Lindell at DET -
28 Josh Scobee at HOU -

Week 12 Defense/Special Teams

Rank Player Name Opponent Notes
1 Panthers Def/Spec Team at MIA -
2 Ravens Def/Spec Team vs. NYJ -
3 Texans Def/Spec Team vs. JAC -
4 Chiefs Def/Spec Team vs. SD -
5 Titans Def/Spec Team at OAK -
6 Saints Def/Spec Team at ATL -
7 Browns Def/Spec Team vs. PIT -
8 Cardinals Def/Spec Team vs. IND -
9 Fortyniners Def/Spec Team at WAS -
10 Bears Def/Spec Team at STL -
11 Packers Def/Spec Team vs. MIN -
12 Colts Def/Spec Team at ARZ -
13 Jets Def/Spec Team at BAL -
14 Rams Def/Spec Team vs. CHI -
15 Steelers Def/Spec Team at CLE -
16 Lions Def/Spec Team vs. TB -
17 Broncos Def/Spec Team at NE -
18 Dolphins Def/Spec Team vs. CAR -
19 Cowboys Def/Spec Team at NYG -
20 Redskins Def/Spec Team vs. SF -
21 Raiders Def/Spec Team vs. TEN -
22 Giants Def/Spec Team vs. DAL -
23 Chargers Def/Spec Team at KC -
24 Vikings Def/Spec Team at GB -
25 Patriots Def/Spec Team vs. DEN -
26 Falcons Def/Spec Team vs. NO -
27 Buccaneers Def/Spec Team at DET -
28 Jaguars Def/Spec Team at HOU -

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