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Fantasy Football 5 Up, 5 Down: Russell Wilson, Rob Gronkowski Up; A.J. Brown, Mike Gesicki Down in Week 12

Rob Gronkowski, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

A healthy Rob Gronkowski should be a TE1 in Week 12

By Sunday, the turkey has been eaten, the family time is over and we can all reflect on what we are thankful for. When it comes to fantasy, it may be being grateful that you accidentally left DeSean Jackson in your lineup. In others, it may be thankful that this is the week you played against D'Andre Swift, as he left early with an injury. Either way, there are plenty of games still to be played in Week 12. Wins are important now because the fantasy playoffs are just around the corner. Start your best lineup and cross your fingers.

Week 12 Positional Rankings: QB I RB I WR I TE I DST I K I Flex

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

5 Up

Russell Wilson, QB, Seattle Seahawks at Washington Football Team (MNF)

Wilson has struggled a lot since returning from his stint on injured reserve after fracturing his finger. It’s not clear if the injury is still bothering him or if there is something else going on, but he has a get-right matchup with Washington in Week 12. WFT allows the most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks. Since Week 1, only one quarterback has not scored at least two touchdowns against this defense (Teddy Bridgewater, Week 8). Wilson hasn’t scored a touchdown in the past two weeks (since returning from injury), but he should bounce back and exceed his No. 10 ranking this week.

Boston Scott, RB, Philadelphia Eagles at New York Giants

With Jordan Howard out for the Eagles, it will be interesting to see how the team distributes the touches between Miles Sanders and Scott. Both play a similar role, and Sanders has been struggling. Scott is ranked No. 36 and he just may exceed that. In Week 11, he only had six carries for 16 yards. He added two receptions for two yards. However, Howard had 10 carries for 63 yards. If those can go to Scott, he is an RB3.

Jeff Wilson, RB, San Francisco 49ers vs. Minnesota Vikings

With Elijah Mitchell out in Week 11, Wilson was given 19 carries. He only managed 50 yards, but it does seem like it will be another opportunity for him in Week 12. Mitchell hasn’t been able to shake his finger injury. He’s practiced, but reports indicate that he isn’t able to use the hand with the finger that had to be operated on. Wilson isn’t a great running back by any means, but he should fare better than his No. 33 ranking, assuming Mitchell is out.

Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Atlanta Falcons at Jacksonville Jaguars

Patterson missed Week 11 with an ankle injury, but it was a Thursday night game (short week). He’s since had 10 days to heal and it seems likely that he will play in Week 12. The Falcons face the Jaguars, which will be a good matchup. Patterson is ranked No. 40 for Week 12 and he should exceed that. When healthy, Patterson can easily put up more than 100 yards from scrimmage against the Jags.

Rob Gronkowski, TE, Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Indianapolis Colts

Some fantasy managers may have been wary to trust Gronk in Week 11 after he burned them in Week 8. This time, coming back from injury, he was able to make it through the entire game and had six receptions for 71 yards. Antonio Brown is still likely out and Mike Evans is dealing with a back injury. It’s not clear if Evans will play in Week 12, but if he’s out, Gronk gets a big boost from his No. 12 ranking. Chris Godwin also is banged up but should play. Tom Brady is going to need as many weapons as he can get and he always favors Gronk.

5 Down

Tom Brady, QB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Indianapolis Colts

Brady is facing a soft Colts defense, but he’s also lacking in pass catchers. Antonio Brown is likely out. Mike Evans hasn’t practiced this week yet with a back injury. Chris Godwin has had limited practices because of a foot injury. Brady should be fine for fantasy managers, but his No. 7 ranking is in doubt. He’ll likely connect with Rob Gronkowski, but it is possible the running backs also have a bigger role in this game.

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AJ Dillon, RB, Green Bay Packers vs. Los Angeles Rams

Dillon is an RB1 with Aaron Jones out. However, he is ranked No. 9, clearly in RB1 territory, but Jones is going to be a game-time decision. Jones has been dealing with a knee injury that was projected to cost him 1-2 weeks. He did miss one game, and it is possible he plays in Week 12. However, even if Jones is active, Dillon will certainly have a role. He had 53 rushing yards and six receptions for 44 yards in Week 11. If Jones is active, start him, and this will undoubtedly impact Dillon's outlook.

A.J. Brown, WR, Tennessee Titans at New England Patriots

Brown has the potential to be an every-week WR1. However, he’s struggled this season (as has his quarterback, Ryan Tannehill). He did suffer a chest injury, which cost him playing time in Week 11 (and left fantasy managers with five receptions for 48 yards). Brown has missed practice this week, but still seems likely to play. Unfortunately, he will be at risk to suffer an in-game setback, which is going to be tough on fantasy managers again. He’s ranked as No. 14, but he is a risky WR2 this week.

DeVonta Smith, WR, Philadelphia Eagles at New York Giants

With only six targets in each of the past three games, fantasy managers are counting on Smith to do something with those targets. He did in Week 9, with more than 100 yards and a touchdown. In Week 10, he scored two touchdowns. Yet, in Week 11, he caught four passes for 61 yards. He’s ranked No. 19, but it’s a risky WR option in Week 12. The Eagles face the Giants, who are a decent matchup, but Smith's recent inconsistency makes it tough to trust him.

Mike Gesicki, TE, Miami Dolphins vs. Carolina Panthers

With only two touchdowns on the year, it’s hard to even call Gesicki touchdown-dependent. Rather, fantasy managers are hoping that he gets enough targets that he’s able to catch (unlike Week 10 where he had seven targets and caught zero of them… ouch). In Week 11, he caught five of his six targets for 50 yards. While 10 points are solid in PPR formats for a tight end, it’s hard to rank Gesicki in the top 10 for Week 12. The Dolphins face the Panthers, who have only allowed two tight ends to have more than five receptions this season. He’s ranked No. 7 but that seems high.

Full Disclosure from Week 11

Up (1/5 correct)

  • Ryan Tannehill, QB, Tennessee Titans (Ranked: 11, Actual: 20)
  • Darrel Williams, RB, Kansas City Chiefs (Ranked: 26, Actual: 46)
  • Latavius Murray, RB, Baltimore Ravens (Ranked: 59, Actual: 39)
  • Rashod Bateman, WR, Baltimore Ravens (Ranked: 34, Actual: 59)
  • David Njoku, TE, Cleveland Browns (Ranked: 22, Actual: 32)

5 Down (2/4 correct)

  • Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers (Ranked: 7, Actual: 2)
  • Saquon Barkley, RB, New York Giants (Ranked: 12, Actual: 19)
  • Boston Scott, RB, Philadelphia Eagles (Ranked: 33, Actual: 45)
  • Elijah Mitchell, RB, San Francisco 49ers (Ranked: 15, Actual: DNP)
  • Dawson Knox, TE, Buffalo Bills (Ranked: 8, Actual: 6)

— 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.