It's Week 12, it's the last week of the byes, and it's almost Thanksgiving. Fantasy owners need wins and they need points. Some fantasy owners are no longer even active if they are out of the playoffs. The trade deadline in most leagues has passed and it's just you and the waiver wire. Injuries have affected many teams and have given other players an opportunity to step up. Some have done well, some have done poorly and some are just getting their chance this week.
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.
Teams on bye: Arizona, Kansas City, Los Angeles Chargers, Minnesota
Jeff Driskel, QB, Detroit Lions
Matthew Stafford is still out, so Driskel is still managing the game for the Lions. In the past two weeks, he has three touchdowns and one interception. He has more than 200 yards in each of the last two games and gets to face the Redskins in Week 12. In Week 11, Sam Darnold threw four touchdowns against Washington; Driskel should have success as well. He has a solid corps of wide receivers and an offense that is built around passing the ball. He's ranked No. 25, but should be a QB2 this week.
James White, RB, New England Patriots
With Phillip Dorsett questionable, Mohamed Sanu sidelined, and no tight end to speak of, the Patriots are going to have to find someone besides Julian Edelman to throw the ball to. That's where White excels. Sony Michel can run the ball, but look for White to have a role in this game. In PPR formats, he should exceed his No. 30 ranking. He saw seven targets in Week 11 and he may exceed that as well this week. The Cowboys don't defend screen passes that well; look for the Patriots to take advantage of that weakness.
DeVante Parker, WR, Miami Dolphins
Parker is literally the only player on the Dolphins that fantasy owners should consider starting. He’s had 10 targets in each of the past two games and has caught five and seven of them respectively. He has four touchdowns this season, but the key for Parker is the targets. He’s going to exceed his No. 28 ranking in PPR formats, but he should have a good game in standard leagues as well. The Dolphins face the Browns and Cleveland will be missing some of their key defensive players, paving the way for Parker to have a big game.
Allen Robinson, WR, Chicago Bears
Don't let the Week 11 stats scare you: Robinson was shadowed by Jalen Ramsey all day and Mitchell Trubisky was scared to throw Ramsey's way. Robinson only had four receptions for 15 yards, but expect that to change in Week 12. Regardless of if it's Trubisky or Chase Daniel at quarterback, Robinson is due for a bounce-back week. The Bears face the Giants, who allow the second-most fantasy points to wide receivers. Robinson is ranked No. 16, but he could finish as a WR1.
Vance McDonald, TE, Pittsburgh Steelers
The Pittsburgh Steelers got banged up in Week 11, with JuJu Smith-Schuster dealing with a knee injury and a concussion. Diontae Johnson is in the concussion protocol, and James Conner has a shoulder injury. Mason Rudolph has looked lost over the past couple weeks, but he should be able to find McDonald. McDonald has seen seven targets in each of the past three games. He hasn't been able to do much with them (although he did find the end zone once in the past three games), but he should exceed his No. 15 ranking on volume plus the hope that he falls into the end zone.
Jimmy Garoppolo, QB, San Francisco 49ers
Garoppolo has had two games this year with more than 300 yards (both against Arizona). He has two games with four touchdowns (both against Arizona). When those two games are removed from his stats, he has 10 touchdowns and eight interceptions over eight games. He hasn't been great this season, although he has had two great games. In Week 12, he faces Green Bay, which is a tough matchup for a quarterback. It's unclear what weapons he'll have as a lot of his pass catchers are injured (Emmanuel Sanders, George Kittle, Deebo Samuel). Garoppolo is ranked No. 9 but should finish outside of the top 10.
Joe Mixon, RB, Cincinnati Bengals
The past two weeks have been tough matchups for Mixon. However, he's done well in both. In the past four games he's played, he's either had a touchdown or 100 yards. However, the matchup in Week 12 is tougher than last week. The Steelers haven't allowed a touchdown to a running back since Week 5. They haven't allowed a touchdown pass to a running back and have not allowed one to run for 100 yards. Mixon is a low RB2, but should finish lower than his No. 14 ranking.
Devin Singletary, RB, Buffalo Bills
If Singletary can make more of an impact in the passing game, he could reach his No. 17 ranking. However, he only saw one target in Week 11. He also fumbled the ball twice (both times it was recovered by Buffalo). Frank Gore still has a role in this offense, and for some reason, is still getting the goal-line work. Singletary has two touchdowns this season, the most recent coming in Week 9 against Washington. The Broncos are a tougher run defense than the Redskins. Singletary is ranked No. 17 but is a low RB2.
Marquise Brown, WR, Baltimore Ravens
In the past three weeks, Brown has had four targets in each game. Last week, he only caught two of them for 23 yards. The week before he did get a touchdown, but that has been his only one since the bye week. Brown faces the Los Angeles Rams this week who have been decent against defending wide receivers. Lamar Jackson should still have a good game, but the target share puts Brown lower than his No. 29 ranking.
Darren Waller, TE, Oakland Raiders
Waller is the top-ranked tight end for Week 12 and that ranking is too high. Waller had a good game in Week 11, with five receptions for 78 yards on seven targets. However, in the three games prior, he hadn't had more than three receptions. He only has three touchdowns on the season, and with Tyrell Williams healthy, he is the one Derek Carr looks for. The matchup for Waller also isn't a good one. The New York Jets allow the fifth-fewest fantasy points to tight ends. Waller is still a starter, but not the best tight end to play.
Full Disclosure from Week 11
5 Up (2/5 correct)
Jared Goff, QB, Rams (Ranked: 16, actual: 27)
Joe Mixon, RB, Bengals (Ranked: 18, actual: 7)
J.D. McKissic, RB, Lions (Ranked: 31, actual: 40)
Courtland Sutton, WR, Broncos (Ranked: 15, actual: 9)
Jack Doyle, TE, Colts (Ranked: 10, actual: zero FP)
5 Down (4/5 correct)
Drew Brees, QB, Saints (Ranked: 3, actual: 10)
Todd Gurley, RB, Rams (Ranked: 17, actual: 3)
DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Texans (Ranked: 2, actual: 25)
Christian Kirk, WR, Cardinals (Ranked: 26, actual: 48)
O.J. Howard, TE, Buccaneers (Ranked: 12, actual: zero FP)
— 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.