Happy Thanksgiving weekend. With two football games already played and some big performances from Antonio Gibson and Will Fuller may have helped fantasy owners take an early lead. However, that’s not a reason to get complacent. There can be plenty of big performances on Sunday as well... assuming all games are played.
Fantasy owners need to be aware that because of COVID-19, some schedule changes may need to take place (in particular, Baltimore is having a tough time containing their outbreak, but other teams may be affected as well). Follow along and be sure you have enough players on your bench to cover any players that may unexpectedly be out 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.
Philip Rivers, QB, Indianapolis Colts
Even though Rivers is a little banged up (he's listed on the injury report with a toe issue that likely occurred last Sunday), he is expected to play. He faces the Titans (again) in Week 12. When these two teams played each other in Week 10, Rivers threw for 308 yards with a touchdown and no interceptions. He's ranked No. 15 this week, but the Titans' secondary is banged up and he should have success this week to propel him into the top 12.
Frank Gore, RB, New York Jets
With La'Mical Perine now on injured reserve, this really appears to be Gore's backfield moving forward. He may be 37 years old, but he still is a solid running back. In Week 11, he had 61 rushing yards and a touchdown. He added two receptions for 10 yards. The Jets face the Dolphins in Week 12, who allowed two rushing touchdowns to Melvin Gordon last week. It's not a great matchup, but based on volume alone, Gore should exceed his No. 57 ranking and be an RB3.
Damien Harris, RB, New England Patriots
Harris has been on a mission to prove that he deserves the starting running back job in New England over Sony Michel. Michel has been activated from IR but didn't play in Week 11. It's likely he's active in Week 12, but Harris has earned the role he's been given. With Rex Burkhead done for the season, there should be enough work for Harris to get the bulk of the carried with Michel spelling him on occasion. The Patriots face the Cardinals, who haven't exactly shut down opposing running backs. Harris is ranked No. 21 but he looks more like a top-20 option for Week 12.
Keenan Allen, WR, Los Angeles Chargers
Allen is Justin Herbert's favorite target, and for good reason. He's the best pass catcher on the team, and while he's healthy, he is a solid WR1. However, he's ranked No. 15 this week, most likely because of the matchup. The Bills can be tough, but this game has the potential to be a shootout. In four of the past five games, Allen has at least nine receptions and at least 11 targets. He has four touchdowns in the past five games as well. He should continue his hot streak in Week 12.
Jimmy Graham, TE, Chicago Bears
The Packers have been a tough matchup for tight ends, but they did just allow Trey Burton and Jack Doyle to score touchdowns in Week 11. Graham came off his 6/55/1 performance in Week 9 to give fantasy owners a goose egg in Week 10. The Bears had a bye in Week 11, but now that they are returning, Graham should be a TE2 option. While a starting quarterback has not yet been named, the team may go back to Mitchell Trubisky, who did seem to look for Graham earlier in the season.
Matt Ryan, QB, Atlanta Falcons
Ryan's success is largely dependent on his surrounding cast. Julio Jones is dealing with a hamstring injury and if Jones is out, Ryan's production goes down. The Raiders are a decent team in terms of allowing fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks, but they also have shut some big names down (Drew Brees had just one touchdown, for example). Ryan should be decent, but not QB9 as he's ranked, especially if Jones is out.
Ronald Jones II, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Jones had an incredible Week 10, but followed that up with 10 carries for 24 yards in Week 11. Leonard Fournette is still in the picture, and that was evident on Monday night. The Bucs face the Chiefs in Week 12, and that should be a high-scoring game. However, both backs will likely see work this week. Jones is ranked No. 17 and if Fournette wasn't in the picture, that would make sense, but with two running backs essentially splitting carries, it's going to be hard for him to reach that.
DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Arizona Cardinals
Hopkins has been great at points this season, but he also has had some rough games. In the past three games, he has one game with more than 100 yards and two games with less than 55 yards. In Week 12, the Cardinals face the Patriots. Stephon Gilmore, the reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year, is expected to shadow Hopkins, and the Patriots often try to take out a team's best player. In this case, it's Hopkins, so it seems like a stretch to expect him to perform up to his No. 3 ranking.
Robby Anderson, WR, Carolina Panthers
With a banged-up Teddy Bridgewater, it may be tough for Anderson to reach his No. 14 ranking. The matchup against Minnesota is a good one, but he's had other seemingly advantageous matchups and he's fallen short. In the past two weeks, he's had a total of 11 targets and 67 yards. DJ Moore has stepped up as the No. 1 with Anderson as the No. 2. He's a WR3, but not nearly as high as he's ranked.
Jared Cook, TE, New Orleans Saints
With Taysom Hill as quarterback, Cook did not have the value that he did with Drew Brees (and even that production was on the decline). In Week 11 with Hill, Cook had one target. He caught it for six yards, but that's not worthy of being started in fantasy. The Saints play the Broncos in Week 12 and this defense hasn't allowed a tight end to score a touchdown since Week 1. Cook is ranked No. 13 but he's barely a TE2.
Full Disclosure from Week 11
5 Up (2/4 correct)
Carson Wentz, QB, Eagles (Ranked: 17, Actual: 17)
La'Mical Perine, RB, Jets (Ranked: 39, Actual: 30)
Kalen Ballage, RB, Chargers (Ranked: 23, Actual: 17)
Tee Higgins, WR, Bengals (Ranked: 23, Actual: 66)
Logan Thomas, TE, Washington (Ranked: 16, Actual: 39)
5 Down (3/4 correct)
Aaron Rodgers, QB, Packers (Ranked: 6, Actual: 6)
Ronald Jones II, RB, Buccaneers (Ranked: 16, Actual: 58)
James Robinson, RB, Jaguars (Ranked: 9, Actual: 23)
Cooper Kupp, WR, Rams (Ranked: 16, Actual: 6)
Jerry Jeudy, WR, Broncos (Ranked: 29, Actual: 59)
Jonnu Smith, TE, Titans (Ranked: 8, Actual: 11)
— 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.
(Top photo by Arizona Cardinals, courtesy of azcardinals.com)