There’s a lot going on this week in fantasy football, and given that it’s Week 12 there’s a lot on the line in fantasy leagues. Here’s a game-by-game look at news that might impact your players today. Let’s get into it!
Chargers at Bills
Austin Ekeler has been activated off of IR, eight weeks after a hamstring injury derailed his season. Kalen Ballage is dealing with ankle and calf injuries, so Ekeler’s activation could signal that Ballage is out for this week. That would leave Joshua Kelley and Troymaine Pope as the clear backups. The Bills are a bottom five run defense by Y/A, ranking fourth-worst with a 4.8 Y/A mark. They’ve also allowed 15 scores on the ground, third-most in the NFL. That said, the notes I can find on Ekeler do NOT have him assuming bellcow duties today. So don’t go nuts there.
Browns at Jaguars
After Jake Luton flung four picks a week ago, it’s Mike Glennon starting for the Jaguars. If you’re unfamiliar with Glennon, he’s essentially lost two separate starting NFL jobs to Jameis Winston and Mitchell Trubisky…so there’s that. He’s also without D.J. Chark and Chris Conley this week, so his top pass-catchers will be Keelan Cole and Laviska Shenault. The Browns will be without Denzel Ward, so I suppose it’s possible we could see Glennon do some damage down the field. Cole and VISKA are both under 4K on DraftKings.
Titans at Colts
The big news is Jonathan Taylor heading to the reserve/COVID-19 list. Ryan Kelly, the center, is also out for the Colts (neck). Between the virus and regular old injuries, the Colts are also down a pair of defensive linemen and a linebacker. Get ready for the Derrick Henry show for the Titans, and if the Colts are going hurry-up to make up points, maybe we’ll see another ceiling game from Nyheim Hines. I like him over the bruising Jordan Wilkins. The Colts’ run defense has been stout at only 3.5 Y/A allowed so far, but those injuries could change things and Henry generally fares well in this divisional showdown. I dig him on FanDuel where people will see that bellicose-looking “3rd” in red next to his name.
Giants at Bengals
The Battle of the Backups? Not to be confused with the Battle of the Bastards. No Saquon Barkley, no Joe Burrow, no Joe Mixon. It’s Brandon Allen under center for the Bengals. Here’s an in-depth look at Allen, which basically describes an inability to complete passes in the intermediate areas of the field–a guy who was projected early on as a career backup. Can people grow? Sure! But if the Eagles lose to the Seahawks and the Giants win, Big Blue would be tied with the WFT for the division lead with four wins. Crazy, I know. The Giants are six point road favorites in this one, though I don’t know how they’ll reach their implied 25-point total. I’ll be taking a shot or two on Darius Slayton, though. Lastly, Big Blue has only allowed 15 passing scores on the season, a top 10 mark in the league (tied for 8th, actually). Rams, Bears, Eagles, Dolphins, Ravens, Chiefs, Colts…those are the only teams to allow fewer passing scores. Not a bad list.
Dolphins at Jets
Tua Tagovailoa is out with a thumb injury, so it’s back to the Ryan Fitzpatrick show in Miami. Fitzmagic will be without some consistency in the run game, as Myles Gaskin (knee) is still out and now Salvon Ahmed (shoulder) is as well. You can take a shot on Matt Breida THE CHEETAH today. However, the Jets are a top five unit against the run, allowing only a 3.8 Y/A mark to enemy ground games. Against the pass, the Jets rank fourth-worst in the NFL with a 7.5 NY/A allowed, trailing only the Patriots, Jaguars, and Falcons. The Jets have also allowed the fourth-most passing yardage in the league–and that’s despite only having played 10 games due to having their bye week already. The top pass-catchers figure to be DeVante Parker and Mike Gesicki. For the Jets, it’s Jamison Crowder and Denzel Mims if you run it back, and maybe the return of Sam Darnold will keep this one respectable. Lamical Perine is out for New York, making this a potential Frank Gore revenge game.
Raiders at Falcons
With Todd Gurley out, it should be a mixture of Brian Hill and Ito Smith carrying the load for Atlanta. That’s troubling enough, but there’s also Julio Jones’ hamstring injury, which limited him to 22 snaps a week ago. Hayden Hurst (ankle) also popped up on the mid-week injury report, but is expected to play. If all these injuries fall on the negative side, Atlanta’s recent resurgence might hit another bump in the road in Week 12. The Raiders come into this one mostly healthy, though losing stud left guard Richie Incognito last week could ding Josh Jacobs a bit against a better-than-you-think Falcons run defense.
Panthers at Vikings
Run-CMC is out, as is Adam Thielen. The big question here is can Justin Jefferson handle the added attention he’s likely to receive from Carolina’s defense? The Panthers are a middling pass unit, ranking 16th at 6.4 NY/A. They are a bottom six unit against the run, though, with a 4.6 Y/A allowed to enemy backs. With Thielen out this week, this could be a monster ceiling game for Dalvin Cook. If I ran it back with a Panther, for me it’s probably Robby Anderson given that Teddy Bridgewater is back in the lineup.
Cardinals at Patriots
The Patriots rank dead last with an 8.0 NY/A allowed via the air, and Arizona’s passing attack is a bit more narrow this week with Larry Fitzgerald out. That leaves Nuk Hopkins and Christian Kirk as the obvious pairing. Don’t ask me who you’d run it back with on the New England side, however. Jakobi Meyers, I guess. James White is an option if you’re desperate in PPR formats given the absence of Rex Burkhead. White saw nine targets a week ago.
Ravens at Steelers
What was once a Thanksgiving day game was bumped to Sunday, and now it’s being played on Tuesday. I know the game counts on Yahoo, but you’ll want to double-check your platform to make sure your guys count for Week 12. James Conner, Mark Ingram, J.K. Dobbins, and Lamar Jackson are all on the reserve/COVID-19 list. It looks like RG3 will get the nod for the Ravens in this one, while Gus Edwards should lead the running attack. For Pittsburgh, some combination of Benny Snell and Anthony McFarland should lead the ground game. Honestly, I’m mostly staying away from this game outside of the reliable pass-catchers–Mark Andrews and all three Steelers wideouts, to be exact. SCRATCH THAT, Mark Andrews also hit the reserve/COVID-19 list this morning. Just yikes for Baltimore, man. Yikes.
49ers at Rams
Raheem Mostert and Deebo Samuel will return for the 49ers, though the upside here is likely capped with Nick Mullens still quarterbacking. Rookie wideout Brandon Aiyuk (reserve/COVID-19 list) is out, so Samuel should get all the work he can handle against a stout Rams defense. Jordan Reed looks like a worthy TE2 dart in this one given the absence of George Kittle and Aiyuk, as well as this being Samuel’s first game back. I like Reed best in PPR formats.
Saints at Broncos
Holy 10.50 implied point total for the quarterback-less Broncos, Batman! Drew Lock, Brett Rypien, and Blake Bortles are all considered to be high-risk due to COVID-19 exposure, so it’s practice squad QB Kendall Hinton likely at the helm for Denver–with perhaps some tomfoolery involving running back Royce Freeman. The Saints are looking like the top defense of the week, y’all. I’d chill out on anyone not named Michael Thomas or Alvin Kamara in this one, but maybe there’s more work for Latavius Murray if this one becomes lopsided. And what are you going to do, try to run the ball and control the game against the Saints’ nutso run defense? They rank second in the NFL with a paltry 3.3 Y/A allowed to enemy ground games. What a scary day for Denver.
Chiefs at Bucs
These two teams actually look intact, so there’s not much to say except you should enjoy what should be a high-scoring affair. The Chiefs allow a healthy 4.6 Y/A on the ground, so expect the Bucs to try to pound the rock and emulate the success the Raiders have enjoyed against Kansas City. Whether or not it works…who knows? For me, Rob Gronkowski is a touchdown-dependent play only. The addition of Antonio Brown means he’s just not seeing tons of volume.
Bears at Packers
It’s Mitchell Trubisky in for the Bears at QB with Nick Foles (hip) ailing. Trubisky could be auditioning for his next team in this one, as the Bears aren’t bringing him back and he’s a free agent at the end of this year. The Packers offense looks to be at full strength. This one reads like the Bears will lose their fifth straight.
Seahawks at Eagles
I don’t know that I can give the Eagles much of a chance here. Seattle is stout against the run (3.6 Y/A) so it might be another tough outing for Miles Sanders. It’s tough to bank on the arm of Carson Wentz right now, though we still think he’s a “hold” long-term. Start the usual Seattle guys, and I think it’s worthwhile to take shots with Dallas Goedert, Jalen Reagor, and Travis Fulgham if you’re forced to do so.