Week 12 of the fantasy football season is here, the turkey has been eaten and the Black Friday shopping is underway. However, for fantasy owners, the prize is not a great deal at the mall. Rather, it’s a victory in Week 12, which will result in a playoff berth. The fantasy regular season is rapidly coming to a close. The last two teams are on bye this week (Kansas City Chiefs and Los Angeles Rams) and then all teams are playing through till the end.
Fantasy owners need to take a long look at their teams. It’s time to drop the players that aren’t being used instead of waiting for their breakout games. It’s time to really look at the matchups and what defenses to exploit. Put forth the team that gives you the best chance to win; that’s what it’s all about. If you know you’re already down because of players on your opponent’s team that have already played, it may be worth taking some risks, especially at this point of the season.
Please note 5 Up/5 Down is a guide on players that should exceed or fall below their rank this week. This is based on past performance, injury status and matchup. This is not a start/sit column, but rather a guide. You also can see how my Week 11 calls turned out at the bottom.
Teams on bye: Kansas City, Los Angeles Rams
Baker Mayfield, QB, Cleveland Browns
Mayfield has a great matchup in Week 12; the Cincinnati Bengals give up the second-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks. Prior to facing Lamar Jackson in Week 11, the Bengals have allowed opposing quarterbacks to all throw for at least one touchdown. Mayfield has gotten into a groove, throwing for at least two touchdowns in his past four games. The Browns are coming off a bye, and should have a solid outing. Mayfield is ranked No. 14, but may sneak into the top 10.
Josh Adams, RB, Philadelphia Eagles
In Week 11, the Eagles were absolutely horrific. However, Adams was the leading rusher with 53 yards and a touchdown. He has not yet been given double-digit carries, however, that may change. The New York Giants have allowed a touchdown to a running back in every game they’ve played this season. With Corey Clement and Wendell Smallwood both struggling, odds are that the touchdown goes to Adams. He’s ranked No. 29 but should exceed that.
Marlon Mack, RB, Indianapolis Colts
The Miami Dolphins have been a matchup to exploit for running backs for most of the season. In Week 11, Aaron Jones had 145 yards and two touchdowns. Mack has some equally big weeks (Weeks 7 and 8). When healthy, Mack has been a solid RB2. When paired with a good matchup, he’s been a top-10 running back. Mack is ranked No. 12 for Week 12, and he should exceed that.
Tyler Lockett, WR, Seattle Seahawks
With Doug Baldwin missing multiple practices this week, it seems that at the very least, he won’t be 100 percent if he plays on Sunday. This opens the door for David Moore and Tyler Lockett. Even with Baldwin playing, Lockett has had five receptions in each of the past two games. He has seven touchdowns on the season, and the Carolina Panthers have surrendered five touchdowns to opposing wide receivers in the past three games. He’s ranked No. 24 but is a WR2.
Cameron Brate, TE, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
With O.J. Howard on injured reserve, the last tight end standing is Brate. Even though Jameis Winston (the Week 12 starting quarterback, subject to change) doesn’t utilize the tight end as often as Ryan Fitzpatrick does, Brate does still have value as being the only tight end worth owning in Tampa Bay. The Bucs face the San Francisco 49ers, which is a decent matchup for Brate. He’s ranked No. 16, but based on the fact that the tight end position is so scarce, he just may finish ahead of that ranking.
Cam Newton, QB, Carolina Panthers
In Week 11, Newton wasn’t projected to have a big game. However, he managed 357 passing yards, three touchdowns and one interception. He had two rushing yards. In Week 12, the Panthers face the Seattle Seahawks, who are in the bottom three in terms of fantasy points allowed to opposing quarterbacks. They have allowed opposing quarterbacks in the past four games to throw for two touchdowns, but Newton won’t be a top-five option for Week 12.
Lamar Miller, RB, Houston Texans
While Tennessee has given up plenty of points to opposing wide receivers, they are considerably stingier against opposing running backs. Miller has truly only had two good games all season (Weeks 7 and 8). He’s ranked No. 24 for Week 12, but he should finish lower than that. The Titans have only allowed five rushing touchdowns to opposing running backs this season. Even though Miller may be featured, the matchup and lack of production is enough to stay away from him this week.
Josh Gordon, WR, New England Patriots
The matchup against the Jets is a good one for Gordon, however, the probability that Rob Gronkowski returns complicates things. When Gronk has been out, Gordon has had nine receptions for 211 yards and a touchdown over the past two weeks. Gordon is ranked No. 14 and is a low-end WR2, but likely won’t exceed his ranking. Tom Brady has struggled recently and the Patriots' offense as a whole has slowed because of it. Sony Michel also is expected back, and the Jets usually play the Patriots tough when they are at home.
Corey Davis, WR, Tennessee Titans
After blowing up against the New England Patriots in Week 10 (7/125/1), Davis came back to earth in Week 11. He had a disappointing two receptions for 30 yards. Marcus Mariota suffered a stinger in Week 11, which may have contributed to Davis’ poor fantasy (and real-life) day. However, Mariota’s status is uncertain for Week 12. If Mariota is out, Davis needs to be drastically downgraded from his No. 26 ranking. However, even if Mariota is in, he’s a low WR3 in a tough matchup against the Texans.
Eric Ebron, TE, Indianapolis Colts
Somehow, after not recording a catch in Week 11, Ebron is ranked inside the top 10 (No. 9). He does have a good matchup against the Dolphins, but the reality is that Jack Doyle is the No. 1 tight end for Indianapolis. The Dolphins also struggle against the run, so this game may feature more running than throwing. Either way, Ebron is touchdown-dependent. It certainly is possible he catches a touchdown, but it’s a risk and it’s not likely he’s in the top 10, even in a year where tight end is a tough position.
Full Disclosure from Week 11
5 Up (1/5 correct)
Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Pittsburgh Steelers (Ranked: 17, Actual: 7)
Alex Collins, RB, Baltimore Ravens (Ranked: 20, Actual: 28)
Alshon Jeffery, WR, Philadelphia Eagles (Ranked: 14, Actual: 51)
Maurice Harris, WR, Washington Redskins (Ranked: 51, Actual: 76)
Benjamin Watson, TE, New Orleans Saints (Ranked: 17, Actual: zero points)
5 Down (4/5 correct)
Kirk Cousins, QB, Minnesota Viking (Ranked: 14, Actual: 12)
Jordan Howard, RB, Chicago Bears (Ranked: 23, Actual: 29)
Joe Mixon, RB, Cincinnati Bengals (Ranked: 12, Actual: 18)
Keenan Allen, WR, Los Angeles Chargers (Ranked: 11, Actual: 12)
Eric Ebron, TE, Indianapolis Colts (Ranked: 10, Actual: zero points)
— Written by Sarah Lewis, who is part of the Athlon Contributor network and lives, eats, and breathes fantasy football. Have a fantasy football question? Send it to her on Twitter @Sarah_Lewis32.