Week 12 of the NFL season was certainly a memorable one. It all started with three fantastic Thanksgiving games that saw the Bills, Cowboys, and Vikings all emerge victorious. Then Sunday came around and we saw Mike White light up the Bears, Josh Jacobs absolutely shred the Seahawks, Sam Darnold lead the Panthers to a win, and Doug Pederson and Brandon Staley go for two in game winning scenarios. As you can see, week 12 had a little bit of everything. There were some monster fantasy performances, and there were some duds as well. As we push closer and closer to the fantasy playoffs, setting the right lineup is as important as ever in these next couple of weeks. Who will you be riding with the next couple of weeks? Who’s hitting the pine due to poor performances? Let’s take a look, and as well, let’s overthink this.
Bills 28, Lions 25
Bills top performer(s): Stefon Diggs was pretty quiet for most of the game. It left me thinking, “man, is Diggs really going to disappoint his fantasy owners to begin their Thanksgiving?” Then the fourth quarter happened and Diggs erupted. Diggs ended up finishing with an 8/77/1 stat line. He led the team with a monstrous 15 targets, and Isaiah McKenzie had a really nice game with 6/96/1 as well. It seems like the WR2 position on the Bills will fluctuate from Gabe Davis to McKenzie weekly. One thing that’s never in question though is Diggs and Josh Allen putting up fantasy points. Lions top performer(s): Jamaal Williams scored again. Sound familiar? He has been an absolute steal for those who snagged him with a mid to late round pick. He’s clearly an every week starter, and has been for a while now. Amon-Ra St. Brown also had a huge day with 9/122/1. St. Brown seems to be hitting his stride and should clearly be entrenched in lineups as well as a mid-tier WR1 due to the myriad of ways the Lions utilize him in their offense.
Cowboys 28, Giants 20
Cowboys top performer(s): Dalton Schultz scored twice and continues to climb the TE rankings. Zeke looked like the Zeke of old and Ceedee Lamb had over 100 yards receiving. This offense seems to be improving each week and all of Zeke, Pollard, Dak, Schultz, and Lamb are no-brainer starters. Giants top performer(s): This offense goes as Saquon Barkley goes. Barkley scored again, but averaged a mere 3.5 YPC. The Giants schedule gets pretty tough for the next few weeks (Commanders, Eagles, Commanders, Vikings) but Barkley is a clear RB1 each week. Darius Slayton is now WR1 on this offense and could be viewed as a high-upside flex, however he does offer a pretty low floor as well.
Vikings 33, Patriots 26
Vikings top performer(s): Justin Jefferson. This dude is just an absolute beast. Teams gameplan for him weekly and he still goes off just about every week. All of the top 3 Vikings pass catchers (JJ, Thielen, and TJ Hockenson) found the end zone, and all three are starters from a fantasy perspective, with Thielen being a flex-level player at this point of his career. Dalvin Cook had a down game but was facing New England’s top rated rushing defense. Cook’s volume (had 22 carries in this one) continues to make him a lineup lock. Don’t overthink that one, especially as the push for the fantasy playoffs goes on. Patriots top performer(s): Now THAT was the Mac Jones that most Patriots fans were hoping to see in year 2. Looked comfortable in the pocket and was pushing the ball downfield. Jones threw for close to 400 yards and spread the ball around quite well. Hunter Henry found the end zone once, and I still don’t understand how his potential second TD was ruled a non-catch. As the weeks move on, one thing is certain regarding this offense. Rhamondre Stevenson is that dude. He tallied 36 yards rushing, but provided another 9 catches for 76 yards as he tallied double digit fantasy points yet again. Simply put, he’s a PPR machine at this point and reminds me of a young Alvin Kamara. Start him with confidence as a RB1.
Browns 23, Buccaneers 17
Browns top performer(s): Nick Chubb and Amari Cooper. I have been writing that a TON this season for the Browns, and rightfully so. All they do is put up fantasy points. Both are clear starters, and their ceilings are elevated now that Deshaun Watson is returning from his 11 game suspension. Due to the weak TE position, I consider David Njoku a weekly starter as well. Bucs top performer(s): Chris Godwin had an absolute stellar game, much to the dismay of the Mike Evans owners out there. Rachaad White did a little bit of everything as he contributed 64 yards rushing and another 45 yards receiving on 9 catches. As long as Lenny Fournette is out, White is a starter. Mike Evans at this point is down to a flex-level player, and his floor is what we saw this past week (2/31).
Bengals 20, Titans 16
Bengals top performer(s): With Ja’Marr Chase missing another game due to his hip injury, Tee Higgins stepped up in a big way with a 7/114/1 line. Samaje Perine also filled in admirably for Joe Mixon against a tough Tennessee run D, but now with Mixon set to return, Perine is again regulated to his high-end handcuff role. Even with Chase set to return as well, Higgins remains a strong WR2 play. Titans top performer(s): King Henry was stymied to 38 rushing yards and a poor 2.2 YPC, but he did provide close to 80 receiving yards. You’re still going to play Henry each week without question. Treylon Burks continues to come in a zone as well and is now a viable weekly flex play as well, although I would probably sit him this week as he goes against the strong CB duo of Darius Slay and James Bradberry from the Eagles.
Dolphins 30, Texans 15
Dolphins top performer(s): For those of you that wisely scooped up the Dolphins D/ST and plugged them in this week, you were handsomely rewarded. Tua, Tyreek Hill, and Jaylen Waddle all had solid games, and Jeff Wilson Jr found the end zone. This offense is a machine and provides strong fantasy plays each week. With Raheem Mostert set to return this week, I still like Mostert and Wilson Jr to be flex level plays, although they do face a tough San Francisco defense this week, so temper your expectations. Texans top performer(s): Jordan Akins was the leading receiver for the Texans and found the end zone. This offense is struggling big time. Their only viable fantasy player, Dameon Pierce, has been almost invisible these last two weeks. Pierce has a great matchup on paper this week against the poor Browns run D, but I foresee another potential blowout, and the game script could negatively impact him. In my opinion, I would play Pierce only as a flex play this week, but he does offer massive upside, due to the Browns run D, as previously stated. Give him one more shot!
Jets 31, Bears 10
Jets top performer(s): Will the real Mike White, please stand up! I’m sure plenty of Jets fans are wondering “Ummmm, why weren’t we playing this guy any earlier?” Now, the Bears secondary was severely banged up, but White took what was given to him. The biggest beneficiary? Garrett Wilson, who posted a 5/95/2 line. Next up is the Vikings, but I still like Wilson as a flex play this week. Other than that, I would avoid Jets players this week. Bears top performer(s): The Bears started off kinda hot and then faded fast and could not keep up with the Jets. David Montgomery had a decent game as he totaled over 100 yards and continues to be a mid to low-tier RB2 play, regardless of who is playing QB. The downside? Darnell Mooney hurt his ankle and is now out for the rest of the season. Expect the Bears to lean on their ground game even more.
Commanders 19, Falcons 13
Commanders top performer(s): Brian Robinson Jr had over 100 yards rushing and absolutely BOWLED over the defender on his way into the end zone on one of his 2 receptions. It’s difficult to envision who will be the leading ball carrier in this offense on a week to week basis. Because of that, Gibson and Robinson Jr are both capped at flex level plays. Terry McLaurin, on the other hand, continues to be a lineup lock. Definitely do not overthink that one. For what it’s worth, I think Gibson and Robinson Jr are decent plays this week against the Giants. Falcons top performer(s): Tough game for the Falcons offense, but they did rush for 167 yards as team, although this was spread among 4 different players. The fantasy star? That would be Olamide Zaccheaus, who posted a 5/91 stat line. Outside of Cordarrelle Patterson, I’m not starting any Falcons players.
Panthers 23, Broncos 10
Panthers top performer(s): DJ Moore!!! Unfortunately, I doubt anyone had Moore in their lineup after he has disappointed massively this season, primarily due to poor QB play. D’Onta Foreman continued his strong play since the CMC trade as he went over 100 yards rushing again. Foreman is a weekly start at this point, but I would wait and see another week with Moore. The bad news? Carolina is on a bye this week, so that will have to wait until week 14. Broncos top performer(s): This offense straight up STINKS. Courtland Sutton and Latavius Murray are lower tier flex plays, but if you’re relying on them for production, then you’re in a bad spot. At this point I’m assuming Nathaniel Hackett will survive until the end of the season, but I fully expect him to be one and done (and deservedly so).
Jaguars 28, Ravens 27
Jaguars top performer(s): Doug Pederson deserves a shout out here due to his massive stones going for two after the late TD, as well as his continued success developing Trevor Lawrence. Outside of Lawrence, who had his best game as a pro, Zay Jones was a beast in this one posting 11/145. Travis Etienne was forced out due to injury early, and his status moving forward is certainly worth monitoring. But, if he’s active, you’re playing him without question. The same goes for Christian Kirk. Ravens top performer(s): The Ravens can’t stop blowing leads. In a game they should have won, they let it slip through their fingers. Sound familiar? Regardless, Lamar and Mark Andrews are must starts weekly.
Chargers 25, Cardinals 24
Chargers top performer(s): Austin Ekeler continues to be a PPR machine. He had an absurd 11/60/1 stat line and looks like he may finish as the RB1 overall on the season. Deandre Carter had a solid game as well and frankly has had a strong season for the Chargers. Similarly, Josh Palmer and Keenan Allen had decent games in PPR scoring as well. This offense will continue to score plenty of fantasy points each week, and you should continue playing guys such as Ekeler (DUH!), Palmer, Allen, and Gerald Everett. Cardinals top performer(s): Disappointing loss for the Cardinals in a season full of them. The bright spots? James Conner going 25/120 on the ground and 3/20/1 receiving. Marquise Brown looked good in his return from his foot injury, and Deandre Hopkins continued to do DHop things. Play all three moving forward.
Raiders 40, Seahawks 34
Raiders top performer(s): Josh Jacobs was questionable coming into this game with a calf injury. Well, how did he perform? Just with a casual 300+ yards total and 2 score, including the massive OT run that pretty much none of us saw due to local TV restrictions (so dumb, but I’ll save that rant). In case you had any doubts, which I have no idea why you would, play Jacobs and Davante Adams without question each and every week. Seahawks top performer(s): Kenneth Walker found the end zone twice, but was limited to a weird 14/26/2 stat line, but fantasy owners will gladly take the 2 scores. Strong performances from DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett as well. I like Metcalf over Lockett as a lineup lock each week, but Lockett has boom or bust flex potential.
Chiefs 26, Rams 10
Chiefs top performer(s): Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce. Ketchup and mustard. Bert and Ernie. You get it. These guys just cook and gel together so well. The bigger storyline? Isiah Pacheco receiving 22 carries and finding the end zone. I like Pacheco as a flex play this week against the Bengals, and if he can duplicate the performance he had against the Rams, would be a RB2 heading into the fantasy playoffs. Rams top performer(s): This game was always going to be an uphill battle for the Rams going into KC and playing with their third string QB. Bryce Perkins actually played okay considering the circumstances and found Van Jefferson for a score. But, as I have been screaming from the rooftops for weeks, FADE ALL RAMS PLAYERS! If you’re starting a Rams player, you must be in a bad spot. The Rams will continue to slide and could shelve their veterans down the stretch here.
49ers 13, Saints 0
49ers top performer(s): Pretty uneventful game here from a fantasy perspective, but Brandon Aiyuk continued his strong season with a 5/65 stat line. Elijah Mitchell sprained his other MCL now and will be out for 6-8 weeks, ending his fantasy season. CMC should receive added touches in his absence, but will CMC hold up with this added volume? We shall see, but you are playing CMC regardless. The same can be said for Aiyuk and Kittle heading into a matchup against the Dolphins. If you want to continue rolling Deebo Samuel out there, go for it, but I wouldn’t. He’s clearly banged up this year and his production shows. Saints top performer(s): They score 0 points, but Chris Olave continues to look like a star in the making. Alvin Kamara has always had a wild floor-to-ceiling, and this year that is even more true. However, due to the lack of playmakers on this offense, you have to play him and hope for the best. Olave is a lineup lock.
Eagles 40, Packers 33
Eagles top performer(s): The over/under for this game was set at 46.5 and it was clear within the first 10 minutes of the game that it would be shattered. The Eagles ground game was the clear stars in this one, with Jalen Hurts rushing for 157 yards and passing for 2 scores, and Miles Sanders rushing for a career best 143 yards and 2 scores. Things get tougher on the ground this week against the strong Titans run D, but the Titans have one of the worst passing defenses, setting up Hurts, AJ Brown, Devonta Smith and even Quez Watkins up for strong performances. I like Watkins as a sneaky flex play this week. Packers top performer(s): Aaron Jones had a solid game on the ground and as a receiver, and Christain Watson continues to be on a tear. Moving forward, Jones is a mid-tier RB1 with a great matchup against the Bears this week, Dillon is a mid to low flex, and Watson is a WR2, regardless of who’s playing QB.
Steelers 24, Colts 17
Steelers top performer(s): Tough to pin fantasy stars in this one, as both offenses struggled. Najee Harris was having a good game before being forced to leave with an abdominal injury, which is something to keep an eye on this week. In his absence, Benny Snell played well. George Pickens continues to develop a strong and growing rapport with Kenny Pickett and is a decent flex play. Freiermuth had an average game, but remains a must start TE. Colts top performer(s): I have no idea what the Colts were doing on that last drive. One of the worst clock management scenarios I have seen in recent memory. JT had another strong performance as he continues his recent surge the last few weeks. Continue rolling him out there without hesitation. Michael Pittman Jr had a solid game as well and can be relied upon as a WR2, which is saying something considering how cooked Matt Ryan appears.