Welcome to the Week 12 starts and sits! In most fantasy leagues, there are only two regular-season weeks remaining, and that means you probably have a whole lot to play for this week. Hopefully this column gives you a few nuggets that can help you, but if you are looking for more takes on more players, I suggest you consult my full lineup rankings at Rotobahn.
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Russell Wilson, Seahawks vs. Cardinals
Wilson has a tendency to run more in big games and tough situations. This game certainly qualifies. With Marshawn Lynch nursing a sore back, Wilson might keep the rock a bit more than normal when given the option. He should be good for 20-plus points.
Mark Sanchez, Eagles vs. Titans
He’s been solid for fantasy purposes and that should continue this week at home vs. a Titans defense that doesn’t scare anyone right now. The only fear I have is that the Eagles run so well that they don’t need to pass much. Sanchez should be serviceable this week. Use him if you need him.
Josh McCown, Buccaneers at Bears
He’s looked very much in control the last few weeks, and with the way Mike Evans is exploding, you have to like McCown’s chances of producing against his old team in his old stomping grounds. The veteran passer should produce QB1 stats this week.
Robert Griffin III, Washington at 49ers
While I think the football world is coming down on Griffin a bit harshly, I also want no part of him on the road in San Francisco. The Niners are too disciplined and they stay home well on defense. They are not prone to giving up big rushing yards to quarterbacks or plays over the top. This is a week to sit Griffin if you have other options.
Denard Robinson, Jaguars at Colts
He’s produced every week since taking over the job in Week 7. That includes strong showings against the Browns and the Dolphins, who both play the run well. Robinson should be in for a solid workload this week and he should produce starter’s stats on the road in Indianapolis.
Tre Mason, Rams at Chargers
He’s battled really well so far in some very tough matchups. Seriously, look at the defenses Mason has played since taking the job.
It really doesn’t get much worse for a rookie back in his first six games. For this reason, I suggest that you ignore Mason’s mediocre stats and consider who he’s played. He gets his best matchup of the season this week at the Chargers. I’d get him active unless your ground game is exceptionally strong.
Isaiah Crowell, Browns at Falcons
It looks as if he’s the guy now. Ben Tate was released, so both Crowell and Terrance West will have weekly roles. For now, the bigger role belongs to Crowell, and this week’s matchup looks promising. He’s a very attractive RB2 play in 12-team leagues.
Shane Vereen, Patriots vs. Lions
Last week’s hero was Jonas Gray, as we all know. This week looks like a Vereen week to me. Detroit’s strength resides in its front four, and Vereen can help Tom Brady by giving him a quick outlet and some route flexibility out of the backfield. This is not the week to expose the future Hall of Famer. This is a week to get the football out of his hands with some urgency on passing plays.
Fred Jackson, Bills vs. Jets (at Detroit)
It’s hard to tell how healthy he is or how much he will play. You also have a difficult run opponent in the Jets, who handle power backs very well. The Bills have also missed a lot of practice time this week. Jackson is for big leagues only.
Josh Gordon, Browns at Falcons
I’ve been telling you to pick him up for months, so it should make sense that I want you starting him this week. Is there some risk? Sure, but Gordon has so much upside that he is, at least, worth a look as your third receiver. By next week, he’ll be locked in as a WR1.
Golden Tate, Lions at Patriots
I expect Darrelle Revis to lock horns with Calvin Johnson for most of the day, and that leaves Tate with Brandon Browner for the most part. This is not a matchup that Tate will fear, as he knows the rough-and-tumble style well from his days in Seattle. Tate easily could be the Lions’ most productive player this weekend. I would not shy away from him in any league.
Torrey Smith, Ravens at Saints
My regular readers might be a bit surprised at this one. Smith has burned me a few times in the past, but I’d be pulling my punches if I failed to list Smith as a start this week. He’s in a lot of my Week 12 lineups both in seasonal and daily leagues. He matches up quite well with what’s left of the Saints secondary, and they will target him often. He has nice upside as a WR3 this week.
Rueben Randle, Giants vs. Cowboys
I thought he played one of his better games last week, and with Odell Beckham drawing more and more defensive attention, Randle should continue to produce. He’s a useful WR3 option this week at home vs. “America’s Team.”
Justin Hunter, Titans at Eagles
He has a sore knee and he hasn’t been all that productive. He still has all kinds of potential, but he is a very risky play this week. I would avoid him unless you are playing in a league with 14 or more teams.
Coby Fleener, Colts vs. Jaguars
With starter Dwayne Allen almost certainly out for this week’s game, I am liking Fleener’s upside. And, to be fair, Fleener has expanded his role even without Allen’s injury. He’s been making fairly regular trips to the end zone and he has an excellent chance to score this week. He’s a TE1 in all formats if you need him.
Larry Donnell, Giants vs. Cowboys
Donnell is a smooth athlete with a pure tight end skill set. He’s outstanding tracking the ball down the seam and he really knows how to use his body to shield smaller defenders. I see no reason to sit Donnell this week against a Cowboys team that gets shredded often by tight ends.
Kyle Rudolph, Vikings vs. Packers
I burned myself last week with Rudolph in a lot of my seasonal lineups. Well, guess what? I am jumping right back into the fire this week. The Vikings need Rudolph like nobody’s business, and with him practicing in full this week, I expect better results. He’s a TE1 in 12-team leagues.
Vernon Davis, 49ers vs. Washington
I had him here last week and he posted zero fantasy points. My guess is that Davis is playing through an injury — most likely the same back injury that he suffered earlier this year. No matter what the reasons are, the lack of production is obvious. Make Davis earn his way back into your lineup, and sit him this week if you have other options.