Fantasy Football Report: Week 12

Gourav Pany, Staff Writer

No one needs to be told to start Patrick Mahomes on their fantasy team. But what about the flex tight-end/wide-receiver position? What about that one running back on waivers that might be able to fill in a spot for a starting running back on a bye week? Well, this is the place to find the important information in terms of fantasy football, as well as to get a second opinion on who to start or sit this week.


QB: Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens

Jackson missed last week’s matchup against the Chicago Bears because of an illness but will face a struggling Browns defense next in an AFC North showdown. Although the Browns defense is statistically ranked at the top of the league, a majority of their production has come against lesser opponents, while they have struggled against the Chargers, Patriots and even the Chiefs. Jackson, meanwhile, is instrumental to the Ravens running game, and it is unlikely that he misses a beat given his familiarity with OC Greg Roman’s offense. Jackson will also have WR Sammy Watkins, WR Rashod Bateman and WR Marquise Brown all healthy against the Browns, which will increase his passing ceiling, which would only add to his high rushing ceiling.

Projection: 22.38 points (non-PPR)

RB: David Montgomery, Chicago Bears

Montgomery had two unimpressive games against the pass funnel Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers defenses, but will play against the Lions in Week 12, who allowed 108 yards and two touchdowns to Montgomery the last time they played. Simply put, the Lions defense is physical, but lacks the talent necessary to stop a similarly physical Montgomery and a good run-blocking offensive line. Added to that is the presence of QB Andy Dalton, who will force the Lions to drop back into a Cover 2 or some other kind of formation to where Montgomery could have some open running lanes that would increase his fantasy production.

Projection: 13.80 points (non-PPR)

WR: Michael Pittman Jr., Indianapolis Colts

Pittman Jr. was featured in this spot a couple of weeks ago but is still ignored by most fantasy managers as a streaming option. Pittman is the go-to target for QB Carson Wentz and leads the league in 3rd-down catches, which is crucial, especially with the volume that he receives as the team’s best receiver. Although there are fears that RB Jonathan Taylor’s emergence may dampen the amount of targets that Pittman receives, this may not be the case against a Buccaneers defense that is stout against the run but is severely lacking in the secondary department, which will lead to many targets and chunk plays for the Colts offense, most of which will go to Pittman.

Projection: 11.20 points (non-PPR)

TE: Darren Waller, Las Vegas Raiders

Waller had, debatably, his best performance of the year against the Cincinnati Bengals, with 116 yards on seven receptions. He is the main target of this offense after the departure of WR Henry Ruggs III, and will look to be ‘the guy’ against the Dallas Cowboys, who let TE Travis Kelce of the Chiefs tear them apart for 74 yards on five receptions. Waller is not only the top check down option on this team, but is the primary deep target and red zone target as well, leading to more chances of increased fantasy production.

Projection: 10.30 points (non-PPR)

K: Tyler Bass, Buffalo Bills

Simply put, there aren’t a lot of stars at the kicking position in the league, but Tyler Bass has already cemented himself as a weapon on the field after his consistent performances these last two years, which should look to continue against the New Orleans Saints, who let K Jake Elliot hit four field goal and four extra points, which led to a bevy of points for the Eagles’ kicker. Bass wasn’t perfect against the Indianapolis Colts, and only hit an extra point, but will be a top kicking option after coming off an aberration of a performance in the wind during a surprise blowout.

Projection: 11.00 points (non-PPR)

DEF: New England Patriots

The Patriots are the hottest team in the NFL heading into their clash against the Tennessee Titans, spearheaded by a hard-hitting and ferocious defense that has terrified opposing quarterbacks. In fact, the only team to even post more than 25 points on the Patriots is the Cowboys, who scored 29 with the aid of overtime. The Patriots will go into this game against a Titans offense that is missing RB Derrick Henry and will have an injured WR AJ Brown either sitting or playing injured against star CB JC Jackson. All things considered, the Patriots are a top-5 defense in the NFL and should be considered as such in all fantasy leagues.

Projection: 9.00 points (non-PPR)


QB: Ryan Tannehill, Tennessee Titans

While Tannehill was poised to have a big game against the Houston Texans, what happened instead was a big letdown. The Titans appeared under matched and undermanned against a decent Texans defense, and their offense seemed stagnant at times. The Titans just don’t have a competent run game without RB Derrick Henry, and will be starting an ailing WR AJ Brown, who will be limited nonetheless against star CB JC Jackson of the Patriots. The Patriots defense has been stingy this season, leading to the conclusion that Ryan Tannehill might have his worst game yet this season, even with his four interception performance last week.

Projection: 10.98 points (non-PPR)

RB: Saquon Barkley, New York Giants

For the time in a long time, Barkley looks to be healthy but will go against a Philadelphia Eagles defense that is stingier against the run than the stats suggest. Barkley couldn’t get anything going behind a porous offensive line last week against the Buccaneers, and the firing of OC Jason Garrett compounds things for the offensive scheme, which may negatively impact his fantasy production because of interim OC Freddie Kitchens, who is known for his pass-happy schemes that he ran in Cleveland.

Projection: 6.50 points (non-PPR)

WR: Odell Beckham Jr., Los Angeles Rams

While many expected OBJ to carve a niche in the Sean McVay offense after signing with the Rams, he wasn’t as involved with the offense as many would have hoped. QB Matthew Stafford has shown the propensity to over-target WR Cooper Kupp, and even when he targets Beckham, the two are often not on the same page. Beckham may be more integrated into the offense following the bye week, but even that can’t overcome a bad matchup against the Green Bay Packers, who have been one of the top defenses in the NFL, powered by a strong secondary, which will limit the chances that Beckham gets.

Projection: 3.60 points (non-PPR)

TE: Cole Kmet, Chicago Bears

Though the return of QB Andy Dalton may be beneficial for the Bears’ receivers when talking about fantasy football, Kmet may actually see a decline in targets given Dalton’s recent history. Kmet is not overly talented, though he was targeted a lot when QB Justin Fields was healthy and on the field. Meanwhile, Dalton will run a passing game that favors outside targets, the screen game and the running back dive, which negatively impacts Kmet’s target share and fantasy potential.

Projection: 2.70 points (non-PPR)

K: Brett Maher, New Orleans Saints

Brett Maher was recently signed by the Saints to take over kicking duties following the uninspiring play of K Brian Johnson, which may lead to many thinking that Maher could be an enticing fantasy option. However, the Saints offense showed little ability to move the ball against a Philadelphia defense that is average at best, and they face the Buffalo Bills, who remain one of the league’s top defenses even after their humiliating performance against the Indianapolis Colts. All in all, there are better options than Maher on the waiver wire and in free agency, so it should not be a priority to start Maher this week.

Projection: 5.00 points (non-PPR)

DEF: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

While the Buccaneers have one of the top defenses in the league, they have a tough matchup against the Indianapolis Colts, who battered the Buffalo Bills to the tune of 41 points. RB Jonathan Taylor is playing like a superstar, and will look to continue his red-hot campaign against a stingy but vulnerable Tampa defense that is missing DT Vita Vea, who was an essential cog in that run defense. Combining that with the recent success of QB Carson Wentz, the conclusion is that the Buccaneers do not have a good matchup, and they will be hard pressed to find points against this Colts offense, if any.

Projection: 1.00 points (non-PPR)