It seems crazy that we’re already in Week 12 of the fantasy football (and real-life football) season. For many fantasy owners, there are only two weeks left in the regular season. If you’re not in the playoffs, your 2019 season is nearing its end. If you’re fighting for a playoff spot, you need to win. These two games may literally determine whether you’re in or whether you’re out. You may need to get points (if that’s the tiebreaker in your league) or you may just need wins, but it’s time to do anything possible to put your best lineup forward.
Teams on bye: Arizona, Kansas City, Los Angeles Chargers, Minnesota
START These Running Backs
Tarik Cohen, Chicago Bears vs. New York Giants
Cohen is typically the passing downs back for the Bears, but he took on more of a role in the running game with David Montgomery banged up in Week 11. The Bears face the Giants in Week 12, a defense that is a good matchup for running backs. They haven’t allowed a passing touchdown to a running back yet this season, but they’ve allowed running backs to rack up plenty of yards both on the ground and through the air. Cohen often acts as a wide receiver, making him tough to defend and a decent RB3 option for Week 12.
Derrius Guice, Washington Redskins vs. Detroit Lions
After injuring his knee in Week 1, Guice returned in Week 11. He shared carries with Adrian Peterson but caught a touchdown pass. Guice’s role is likely going to increase as he gets healthier and acclimated with the offense. The Redskins offense as a whole, especially with Dwayne Haskins at quarterback, is the problem, but they can have some fantasy success depending on matchup. In Week 12, Washington faces the Lions, who give up the most fantasy points to running backs. Guice is an RB3 with upside.
SIT These Running Backs
Todd Gurley, Los Angeles Rams vs. Baltimore Ravens (Mon.)
Gurley had one of his best games (statistically) of the season in Week 11, with 97 rushing yards and a touchdown. He added three receptions for 36 yards and lost a fumble. However, it still isn’t clear that the Rams are going to give him the lead back role. They are at home again, which bodes well for the offense (particularly Jared Goff), but they face the Ravens, the hottest team in the NFL. Baltimore is a tough defense all the way around and this is a game where the Rams may very well find themselves playing from behind, which is not when Gurley is on the field. He’s an RB2 for this matchup.
Jonathan Williams, Indianapolis Colts at Houston Texans (Thurs.)
Many fantasy owners ran to the waiver wire and added Williams this week after Marlon Mack broke his hand. However, Jordan Wilkins has returned to practice which throws a wrench into those plans. Nyheim Hines also is in the picture, although he is typically used on passing downs. Assume Hines handles passing downs; that still leaves Williams and Wilkins to share carries. Leave this backfield alone, even with a decent matchup against Houston.
START These Wide Receivers
Calvin Ridley, Atlanta Falcons vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Ridley, who is coming off an 8/143/1 game in Week 11, now gets to face the Bucs. Tampa Bay has allowed the most fantasy points to wide receivers. In recent weeks, Christian Kirk had three touchdowns, Tyler Lockett had two touchdowns, and DK Metcalf, Michael Thomas, and Ted Ginn, Jr. all found the end zone as well. It seems like Ridley can easily take advantage of this matchup and have another good day. He’s a WR2.
DK Metcalf, Seattle Seahawks at Philadelphia Eagles
Tyler Lockett is still questionable after suffering a leg injury in Week 10 that required a hospital stay after the game. The Seahawks had a bye in Week 11, but Lockett still was not cleared for full practice on Wednesday. Assuming that he does play, Lockett’s role may be limited. Josh Gordon is in the picture, but this may be a Metcalf game. In the past three games, Metcalf has either had 70 yards or a touchdown. He’s had six receptions in the past two games and three touchdowns in the last three. He’s a WR3 with upside against a beatable Philadelphia secondary.
SIT These Wide Receivers
Amari Cooper, Dallas Cowboys at New England Patriots
Battling a knee injury and facing the Patriots is not a good combination, yet that’s what Cooper is dealing with. Cooper is fully expected to play, indicating the knee injury isn’t serious, but it did hamper him in Week 11. He had three receptions for 38 yards against a vulnerable Lions secondary. He’ll be limited in practice this week and is a risky start. It is certainly possible that he goes out and plays through the injury and looks good, but the Patriots are a tough opponent, especially at home. Cooper is only a WR2 this week.
Darius Slayton, New York Giants at Chicago Bears
Slayton has had two good games in his last three where he scored two touchdowns each. While it’s a small sample size, it seems that in good matchups he does well and in tough ones he struggles. He’s played eight games so far this year and five of them are against teams that are in the top 10 in terms of fantasy points allowed to wide receivers. In those five games, he has 21 receptions, 343 yards, and five touchdowns. In the other three games, he has six receptions for 51 yards and no touchdowns. Projected out to five games for comparison, that would be 10 receptions for 85 yards. Coupled with the fact that Sterling Shepard is likely to return it means Slayton should be on the bench this week.
— 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.