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If you needed a big game from someone on Monday Night Football, there’s a decent chance you woke up this morning disappointed.
Jalen Hurts got to 18.9 points thanks to a couple of short rushing touchdowns, and Patrick Mahomes got to 20.9, while D’Andre Swift had 19.7 points in PPR scoring. Travis Kelce had a decent 15.4 points, while DeVonta Smith got to 15.9, so it wasn’t all bad news … but it wasn’t great. A.J. Brown had just one catch, Isiah Pacheco just barely cracked double-digit scoring in PPR, while Rashee Rice had 8.2, as we continue to wait for the breakout that may never be coming.
It wasn’t a disastrous game for Fantasy, but we certainly expected more than a surprisingly hard-fought defensive battle here. But that might just be who the Chiefs are now. Mahomes is still incredible, but Kelce hasn’t been the same weekly force he’s been in years past, and nobody else has stepped up consistently enough to elevate the passing game here. Mahomes should have had a much bigger game if not for drops, including a gigantic one by Marquez Valdes-Scantling late that would have won the game for the Chiefs. Rice may yet become that guy, but despite what the Fantasy Football world wants, it hasn’t happened yet.
These Chiefs are leaving points on the field in a way that continues to hold them back, and they’re winning more with an elite defense than an unstoppable offense this season. That might bode well for their chances of winning another Super Bowl, but it’s made them a lot less exciting for Fantasy than they’ve been in recent years.
We’re on to Week 12 with today’s newsletter, but before we get there, the Steelers fired Matt Canada Tuesday morning, something Steelers fans have been calling for pretty much all season. Kenny Pickett’s failure to take a step forward is the main cause for Canada’s firing, and getting him going will be the goal over the next seven weeks. I’m skeptical that this is going to meaningfully change the team’s reality — I think they have a talent issue, especially at QB and along the line. I assume that terminating Canada can’t hurt, so hopefully it means more creativity and better usage of Diontae Johnson and George Pickens. I’m not moving them way up in the rankings, but I’m hopeful that better days are ahead.
Alright, now let’s get right to business with three games slated for Thanksgiving on Thursday. First up, we’ve gotfor Week 12, plus my initial rankings for the week, along with my thoughts on each position.
My Week 12 Rankings:| | |
With injuries to guys like Kenneth Walker, Aaron Jones, De’Von Achane, and D’Onta Foreman at the running back position, Joe Burrow and Deshaun Watson at quarterback, Cooper Kupp at wide receiver, and Mark Andrews at tight end, there are going to be plenty of Fantasy players looking for help on the wire this week. It certainly helps that we have no bye weeks to contend with, but still, that’s a decent number of starting-caliber players who are suddenly out of the picture since last week, and there’s a decent chance you’ll need to replace someone in your lineup this week.
One thing that’s worth noting before we get to the top options for Week 12 is that, if you play in one of the 30% or so of CBS Fantasy leagues where Zach Charbonnet is available, you should definitely make sure you add him. We don’t know how long Kenneth Walker is going to be out with his oblique injury, but I’d be very surprised if he didn’t miss Thursday’s game, so Charbonnet looks likely to start at least one game, and he’d be in the low-end RB2 range if he does. It’s a tough matchup against the 49ers, and the following week has the Cowboys looming, so the schedule isn’t doing Charbonnet any favors. But he should get a chance to be a legitimate three-down back if Walker is out, and the second-rounder’s upside makes him worth chasing in all leagues and all formats. Just in case he ends up being a star.
Alright, now let’s help you find the other help you may need.:
Jamey Eisenberg’s top targets
- Jayden Reed, WR, Packers (58%) — The Packers are still kind of a jumbled mess in the passing game, with four different young wide receivers earning between four and six targets in Week 11, plus rookie tight end Luke Musgrave. But one way Reed differentiated himself last week was with his work in the running game, with three carries for 46 yards and a touchdown. That hasn’t been a huge part of his game so far, but those kinds of schemed-up touches can be exactly what you need in a passing game without an obvious hierarchy otherwise. Reed has shown playmaking chops this season, with at least 83 yards in three of his past four games, and he could be in line for a big closing kick to the season.
- Demario Douglas, WR, Patriots (49%) — Douglas put together his best game of his young career in Week 10 before the bye, catching six of nine passes for 84 yards. It was his first game with more than 55 receiving yards, so we’re not talking about a guy who has established himself as a must-start Fantasy option, especially in what remains a pretty rotten Patriots offense. But, if anyone is going to break out in this offense, the young guy showing flashes is the one to bet on.
- Odell Beckham, WR, Ravens (36%) — Beckham’s the old guy here, both among the top waiver targets and the Ravens offense, but you wouldn’t be able to tell by how he’s played of late. He had a touchdown in both Weeks 9 and 10, and then had arguably his best overall game in Week 11, catching four passes for 116 yards on seven targets. He’s showing that big-play ability more and more of late, and with Mark Andrews out of the picture, the Ravens could feature him even more.
- Isaiah Likely, TE, Ravens (3%) — Andrews has either played fewer than 15% of the snaps or missed five games over the past two seasons. Here is Likely’s catch total in those five games: Six, one, eight, one, and zero. His zero-catch performance took place in Week 11 when Andrews the Bengals-Ravens contest in the first quarter. Likely certainly hasn’t established himself as a must-start Fantasy option in Andrews’ absence the way we hoped he would, but the highs have been hard to ignore, with games of 19.3 and 18.3 PPR points. That upside is hopefully still there despite just one catch in two games with Andrews out or limited this season. Likely is no sure thing, but that upside may still be worth chasing.
- Rashid Shaheed, WR, Saints (62%) — Shaheed has been a solid, boom-or-bust WR this season, but the hope is that coming out of the bye, he might be able to be a little bit more than that. That’s partially because Michael Thomas suffered a “fairly significant” knee injury in Week 10 that could make Shaheed more of a focal point of the offense. This also makes rookie A.T. Perry a target in deeper leagues on waivers this week. The other reason is that Jameis Winston might be starting for the Saints this week with Derek Carr still in the concussion protocol, and while he might not be a net upgrade for the Saints (though he might be), he’s definitely a better deep-ball thrower than Carr, which should benefit Shaheed. His downfield role makes Shaheed tough to trust, but there’s also significant upside here every week — but especially this week, we hope.
My Week 12 Rankings
The list of starting quarterbacks who have been lost for the season got longer last week, and now includes the following names: Aaron Rodgers, Deshaun Watson, Joe Burrow, Anthony Richardson, Daniel Jones, and Kirk Cousins. And, for Week 12 at least, we could also be down a couple more, as Derek Carr (concussion) and Geno Smith (elbow/triceps) are in question as the week kicks off.
And we’re getting a few more QB changes this week, with the Jets finally benching Zach Wilson for Tim Boyle (a net-neutral change for their offense, unfortunately), and the Falcons going back to Desmond Ridder. And the Patriots may be making a change from Mac Jones, though as of Monday that hasn’t been decided yet, apparently.
All told, there might be 12 teams with a different QB in Week 12 than they had in Week 1, and that’s not counting the Cardinals, with Kyler Murray back. And the amazing thing is, there have been weeks prior to this with even more backup QBs starting. Injuries and poor performance at the QB position have been a league-wide issue, and it’s dragged down some of the most promising offenses in the league as a result. The Bengals are likely to be the next one affected, with Jake Browning taking over for Joe Burrow after his season-ending injury.
- Jalen Hurts vs. BUF
- Patrick Mahomes @LV
- Lamar Jackson @LAC
- Josh Allen @PHI
- Dak Prescott vs. WAS
- Jared Goff vs. GB
- Joshua Dobbs vs. CHI
- Justin Herbert vs. BAL
- Kyler Murray vs. LAR
- Justin Fields @MIN
- C.J. Stroud vs. JAX
- Tua Tagovailoa @NYJ
The running back position had been in decent shape with regard to injuries lately, but that changed in a big way in Week 11., and while none of the injuries seem likely to be a long-term issue, two of them play Thursday in Week 12, which obviously complicates things.
We’ll start with expectations for Zach Charbonnet, as Kenneth Walker left with an oblique injury. The Seahawks have a very tough matchup on the way in Week 12 against the 49ers, and the schedule doesn’t look any more favorable after that, with the Cowboys, 49ers (again) and then Eagles over the following three weeks. Charbonnet might find himself running right into one of the toughest gauntlets any RB might face on the schedule this season.
He also has the added complication in Week 12 of potentially playing with a backup quarterback, with Geno Smith in doubt with an elbow injury. Charbonnet could be facing an every-down role against maybe the toughest defense in the league with Drew Lock leading his offense. It’s less than ideal.
Still, I’m viewing Charbonnet as an RB2 for Week 12 if Walker is out, albeit a low-end one. DeeJay Dallas will take on some of the passing role Charbbonet has been dominating, but I’d expect we’ll see something like a 70% snap share for the rookie out of UCLA still. Even against a tough matchup, Charbonnet is going to be hard to get away from if he’s going to get 12-plus carries and four or five targets. It wouldn’t make him a must-start player, but I’m ranking him as a top-24 running back (just barely) for Week 12 at this point.
- Christian McCaffrey @SEA
- Alvin Kamara @ATL
- Jahmyr Gibbs vs. GB
- Jonathan Taylor vs. TB
- Travis Etienne @HOU
- Austin Ekeler vs. BAL
- Bijan Robinson vs. NO
- Josh Jacobs vs. KC
- Rachaad White @IND
- Joe Mixon vs. PIT
- Derrick Henry vs. CAR
- D’Andre Swift vs. BUF
- Tony Pollard vs. WAS
- Saquon Barkley vs. NE
- Breece Hall vs. MIA
- Isiah Pacheco @LV
- Rhamondre Stevenson @NYG
- James Conner vs. LAR
- James Cook @PHI
- Raheem Mostert @NYJ
- Devin Singletary vs. JAX
- David Montgomery vs. GB
- Javonte Williams vs. CLE
- Zach Charbonnet vs. SF
With no bye weeks to contend with in Week 12 of the Fantasy Football season, your options are wide open at the wide receiver position.
Of course, that doesn’t mean there aren’t any absences to contend with as you get ready to set your lineups. As of Monday afternoon, I’m not projecting Cooper Kupp (hamstring), Tee Higgins (hamstring), or Noah Brown (knee) to play in Week 12, though all of them could end up cleared in time for their games Sunday. Thankfully, the six teams playing Thursday enter the week relatively healthy at wide receiver, at least – though Geno Smith’s arm injury could leave Tyler Lockett, DK Metcalf, and Jaxon Smith-Njigba with Drew Lock throwing passes to them against the 49ers, which would be a significant downgrade across the board.
We’ll have to keep an eye on that one, but given the quick turnaround, I’m viewing Metcalf and Lockett as more like boom-or-bust WR3s for Week 12 for now. As for Kupp, well, if he plays, you’re starting him, despite disappointing results of late, while Higgins is in that same WR3 range as Lockett and Metcalf if he plays, with Joe Burrow’s season over with a wrist injury.
There are plenty of options for your wide receivers in Week 12, even if not all of them are great. Here are my top-24 rankings for Week 12 at wide receiver for PPR leagues:
- Tyreek Hill @NYJ
- CeeDee Lamb vs. WAS
- Keenan Allen vs. BAL
- Stefon Diggs @PHI
- AJ Brown vs. BUF
- Amon-Ra St. Brown vs. GB
- Puka Nacua @ARI
- Ja’Marr Chase vs. PIT
- Michael Pittman vs. TB
- Mike Evans @IND
- Davante Adams vs. KC
- Chris Olave @ATL
- Adam Thielen @TEN
- Garrett Wilson vs. MIA
- Tank Dell vs. JAX
- Devonta Smith vs. BUF
- Jaylen Waddle @NYJ
- DJ Moore @MIN
- Terry McLaurin @DAL
- Christian Kirk @HOU
- Brandon Aiyuk @SEA
- Deebo Samuel @SEA
- Jordan Addison vs. CHI
- DeAndre Hopkins vs. CAR
There are no bye weeks to contend with in Week 12, but that doesn’t mean some of you aren’t looking for replacement tight ends this week. Mark Andrews’ season-ending ankle injury last week has left at least one manager in every league scrambling to fill a gigantic hole in their lineup.
Of course, there’s really no replacing a player like Andrews, especially not at this point in the season. Earlier on, you might have had the emergence of Dalton Kincaid and Trey McBride to pivot to, but coming out of Week 11, the options are not nearly as attractive these days.
If you lost Andrews, the first thing you should do is check to see if Kyle Pitts was dropped in your league – he’s down to 82% rostered coming off the bye week. Pitts has been a disappointment yet again, but there still aren’t many tight ends with comparable upside if the Falcons can get their passing game going. The usage has been disappointing lately – five targets in four straight games entering the bye – but there’s still at least theoretical upside here, something few other options at the position have.
David Njoku is also down to 81% rostered, and would actually be a priority over Pitts in all leagues if available. You could also look for Logan Thomas (73%) coming off an eight-target game for the Commanders, and Pat Freiermuth (53%) also has some theoretical upside, though he played just 53% of the snaps and had one target in his return from IR, so there’s no guarantees there, either.
- Travis Kelce @LV
- TJ Hockenson vs. CHI
- Dalton Kincaid @PHI
- George Kittle @SEA
- Trey McBride vs. LAR
- Sam LaPorta vs. GB
- Evan Engram @HOU
- David Njoku @DEN
- Dalton Schultz vs. JAX
- Taysom Hill @ATL
- Kyle Pitts vs. NO
- Logan Thomas @DAL
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