No more bye weeks, no more excuses. Unless you are one of the unlucky people who have been plagued by injuries… then you might have an excuse. Injuries destroy the game really, and since a lot of them unfortunately happened in week 10 and 11, that leaves no room for patience as time is short, and waiting for players to regain their health is not an option if you are to be successful in the playoffs.
Fear not! Play the match ups right and you still have a great shot at winning in the playoffs, after all, its all about anticipating greatness, and even an 8th seed can take down the top players and win the championship.
- Cam Newton – CAR – vs PHI
What a roller coaster the reigning rookie of the year has been in. The Panthers have managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory in multiple occasions this year. Whether it is hard to blame anyone in particular for the woes of the Carolina Panthers, it is clear that Cam Newton has not been the Cam that we saw last year. He has 9 touchdowns to 10 interceptions this whole year, needless to say, the passing game isn’t working quite right in Carolina. What has always helped is Newton’s rushing abilities, but with only 4 touchdowns on the ground, compared to the 9 he had at this point last year, it makes you think that 14 was a bit of beginners luck. However, the Eagles have allowed 15+ points in 5 straight weeks, and they just came of letting Griffin III go for 32 fantasy points.
- Andy Dalton – CIN – vs OAK
The Raiders have allowed an average of almost 20 points to QBs this season, and they’ve allowed 50 combined in their last 2 games. Dalton, on the other hand, has had a phenomenal last 2 games, combining for 47 combined points, with 6 passing touchdowns, 1 rushing, and no turnovers what so ever. A defense that keeps giving points away to quarterbacks against a quarterback who is hot? Unless he is taking a cold shower on Sunday, Dalton will be a hot Start for week 12.
- Colin Kaepernick- SF – vs NO
Kaepernick is about to take a walk around the park after running a marathon. He destroyed a Chicago Bears defense that had allowed the least amount of fantasy points against quarterbacks at just under 10, and is now going against the easiest match up for quarterbacks, who allow an average of 21. He might’ve had a great week with 18 points on Monday Night Football, but now, Kaepernick can go even farther. 2 touchdowns and no turnovers should earn him another start even with Alex Smith getting healthier. It should be a great game considering the New Orleans Saints still remember what happened in the playoffs last year, believe me when I tell you, as a Saints fan, WE STILL REMEMBER.
Good Desperate Measures:
- Jake Locker – TEN – vs JAC
He might not have shown much this season, partly due to injury, but there were many other factors ailing Locker. His best wide receiver has been hurt, the running game wasn’t working, and the offensive line was putrid, but now that he is back, things have changed. Locker had a decent week against the Dolphins, with 2 touchdowns in a game that belonged to the Titans from the beginning, and after the Jaguars allowed 527 yards a week ago, who are we to say Locker can’t have a decent game? Considering the match up, this has a weird potential to be a good offensive game. I know, I can’t believe I said that either.
- Chad Henne – JAC – vs TEN
Well if I select Locker, I have to select Henne as well. First off, No, Henne will not throw 4 touchdowns, specially after throwing more than 2 for the first time in his career last week, but since he did it against one of the top defenses in the league, he deserves some credit. Henne came as a substitute and was able to make the most of it as the Texans defense let their guard down throughout the whole game. 335 yards and 4 touchdowns against the Texans on only 16 completions was very impressive. He connected well with Blackmon and Shorts, and against one of the worst defenses in the league, Henne should get enough opportunities to get good numbers. I wouldn’t be surprised if he does well, nor if he doesn’t, so this has to go as the desperate start
- Frank Gore – SF – vs NO
Against the Saints, you start every option, and specially the running back. Gore was robbed of a few goal line carries by Kendall Hunter, who eventually turned those opportunities into a score on Monday night football, but against the Saints, I don’t believe the 49ers will decide to take the ball away from their biggest playmaker, specially with a juicy match up. The Saints have allowed the 2nd most points to running backs, and frankly, if Marcel Reece can exploit his match up with the Saints, so can Frank Gore.
- Marcel Reece – OAK – vs CIN
Reece gets another thumbs up for me this week, specially in PPR leagues. He has been an absolute workhorse for the Raiders, and if Mcfadden and Goodson stay inactive, Reece should be able to continue dominating the passing game. The Raiders need as much help as they can get for Palmer, and Reece has stepped up with 90+ receiving yards on two occasions since taking over 3 games ago, and even 103 yards against the Saints last week, which should help make Frank Gore’s argument above.
- Alfred Morris – WSH – vs DAL
Don’t ask me why he is here, I know it is a terrible thing to say, but this is a gut call. Dallas’s defense has allowed only 8 rushing touchdowns and have rarely allowed opposing running backs to go over 100 yards per game. Meanwhile, Morris has failed to get in the end zone in 4 straight games and hasn’t gotten more than 20 carries, but like I said, it just feels like one of those times. Dallas’s passing defense might be overwhelmed facing Griffin III after a great performance against the Eagles, and that should allow Morris to get something going, I at least have my eye out for a touchdown on a nice Thanksgiving afternoon.
- Ronnie Hillman – DEN – vs KC
With Willis Mcgahee out for a while, Hillman was a very popular add on the waiver wire. Hillman is facing a very generous Chiefs defense that allows the 6th most rushing yards in the league, and with Hillman as the lone back, his workload should get him quite a lot of opportunities. At the same time, Hillman has only gotten double digit carries in 2 games this season, but that should be enough to make him good enough to be a nice fantasy start if it comes down to him. The chiefs have bigger worries in Peyton Manning, so leaving a few holes open for Ronnie to exploit wouldn’t be unusual, it’d be up to him to find it.
- Miles Austin – DAL – vs WSH
Austin didn’t really have the best of games last week. If the game against the Browns hadn’t gone into overtime, then his owners would not have been as pleased as they have been all year. However, he still drew double digit targets, and with the Redskins allowing the 3rd most points to wide receivers, Austin should be able to find the endzone at the very least. Specially on a nice thanksgiving afternoon, Miles and Dez Bryant have a great day ahead of them, but the Redskins have also given more points to the #2 receiver over the top one.
- Hakeem Nicks – NYG – vs GB
I hope nobody forgot his 9 receptions for 75 yards on 14 targets against the Bengals right before his bye week. Nicks is healthy and he is playing one of his favorite opponents. 18 catches for 346 and 5 touchdowns in only 3 games against the Green Bay Packers, Nicks should be in for another big game. So long as Eli can get out of his funk on Sunday Night, Nicks should be able to get a lot of work against the Packers. Cruz is still Eli’s favorite target, but Nicks will get at least as much work as him, so there is no reason to bench him.
- T.Y. Hilton – IND – vs BUF
Hilton has to be the biggest beneficiary from Donnie Avery likely to miss their match up against the Bills. T.Y. hasn’t been perfect, but he has been able to make plays when they needed him to. Hilton has two 100 yard games the last 3 games, and scored 2 touchdowns against the patriots. Sure one of them was when the game was out of reach, but that is not the point. Hilton has always had to battle for who is #2 in targets behind Reggie Wayne, and now there should be no battle for him.
- Justin Blackmon – JAC – vs TEN
Boy I hate this pick, but I have to respect his performance from last week. Blackmon worked well with Chad Henne, and even though he has been a disappointment so far this year, his breakout could help his confidence. Even more considering he went against one of the top 3 defenses in the league. Now against a lowly Tennessee defense, Blackmon should at least be able to connect well with Chad Henne, I mean, somebody has to catch the ball right?
- Randall Cobb – GB – vs NYG
You start him now!! Now I tell you! 6 touchdowns in the last 4 games, and 12 targets out of a possible 27, the Packers were not joking when they said they would do everything they can to get Cobb the ball. The yardage haven’t been there really, but when you catch a touchdown almost every week, who cares about yardage. His reception numbers is through the roof as well, the more chances he has, the better for Cobb’s owners.
- Vernon Davis – SF – vs NO
Kaepernick showed very good chemistry with Davis. He lead the team in targets and even though there is not much firepower from Colin, Davis should still be in line for a decent stat line against the, once again, crappy Saints defense. It feels kind of repetitive to keep mentioning to start someone who is playing the Saints, but if it is true, how can I not keep mentioning it. Vernon Davis, one of the most vocal players in the league, has said how happy he is with Colin taking deeper shots. Happy Vernon should mean happy fantasy owners.
- Brandon Myers – OAK – vs CIN
Once again, I absolutely adore this guy. Leads the team in targets, leads the team in receptions, finally getting touchdown catches, and a very favorable match up against the Bengals who allow the 5th most points for a tight end. Palmer has started trusting him more, and Myers has proved to be a tough player by playing against the Saints even though sitting out with a concussion was an option. Myers is the 7th best fantasy tight end, and has the 5th most receptions by one, and considering Gronkowski is out, that makes his value even higher.
- Brandon Pettigrew – DET – vs HOU
The Texans have allowed the 4th most touchdowns to tight ends, Brandon is probably going to be the next guy in the end zone against them. Brandon will benefit hugely from wide receiver Titus Young being suspended due to misconduct. Yes, Pettigrew has been a disappointment this season, but part of it could be blamed on Stafford’s mild struggles and the incredible play from Titus Young and even rookie receiver Ryan Broyles. Thanksgiving should be his day however, get ready
Ryan Fitzpatrick is not the most glamorous of options, but against a Colts defense that gave up 59 points, even he could end up with a great fantasy day. I’m sure nobody has forgotten about the Muscle Hamster against the Falcons this week. Doug Martin keeps playing well, after his record day, he just came off a 151 total yard performance. C.J. Spiller won’t have to be the workhorse with Fred Jackson back, but he has been very explosive this season, the Colts are more than likely to leave a few big plays on the table for him. Going by Fitzpatrick possibly having a good day, Stevie Johnson should be gearing up as well. He doesn’t get the most points in standard leagues, but he does get plenty of targets and the Colts allow the 5th most points to fantasy wide receivers. Michael Crabtree, another one against the New Orleans Saints, and Steve Smith could benefit from Cam Newton’s match up.
- Joe Flacco – BAL – vs SD
Flacco has been inconsistent at home and dreadful on the road. Hes got a combined 29 fantasy points on his last 4 games on the road, the same amount he got on his last game at home against the Raiders. He hasn’t gotten more than 12 fantasy points in any game this year on the road, and the Chargers allow an average of 15 points to quarterbacks. It’s not a match made in heaven.
- Sam Bradford – STL – vs ARI
The Cardinals intercepted Matt Ryan 5 times, what hope does Sam Bradford have? He could only get 11 points against the Jets, and considering Matt Ryan struggled to get only 2 against the Cardinals, this might not be his day. He got 11 against the Cardinals playing in Saint Louis, sure that game saw his favorite target Danny Amendola leave early in the second quarter, but playing in Arizona, even with Amendola back, won’t make things much easier for Bradford.
- Reggie Bush – MIA – vs SEA
I tried giving him shot after shot, even after it all looked lost, well, it is lost now. Bush isn’t even being used as a big threat in the passing game, and the offensive line is not helping him either. He hasn’t carried the ball more than 15 times in a game in his last 5 games, and hasn’t reached more than 70 yards since his week 2 explosion against Oakland. Daniel Thomas isn’t a much better option either. The Seahawks defense has been one of the best surprises of the season, allowing the 4th least amount to running backs this season.
- Mikel Leshoure – DET – vs HOU
Its been an odd season for Leshoure, but his fantasy numbers look good when he scores. Against the 2nd best defense against running backs, I really doubt Leshoure can get in the endzone. Even more considering his touchdowns usually come in the goal line and the Lions might need to work extra hard to even get there. I know miracles happen during thanksgiving games sometimes, but the Texans already allowed a miracle to the Jaguars, they’re not about to allow another one happen.
- Dallas Runnin Backs – vs WSH
Just for good measure I feel compelled to tell you people to stop and not try to figure out who will have the best day in the Cowboys backfield. There are simpler options to figure out. With Murray questionable, Felix Jones hurt, And Dunbar most likely getting the start, it is a mess.
- Mike Wallace – PIT – vs CLE
It is definitely not the most favorable match up, combine that with being in one of the least favorable situations and you can’t help but think maybe you should stay away from Wallace if you have the chance. Leftwich isn’t exactly the quarterback you want for your team, the steelers play making ability took a huge hit against the Ravens last Monday night game. And now they have Charlie Batch as their leader. Mike Wallace has tremendous play making ability, and all of that is wasted if Batch is going to be making the plays.
- Desean Jackson – PHI – vs CAR
Just like Wallace, Desean is another guy who counts on big plays to get fantasy points. I do believe that quarterback Nick Foles is better than what he showed against the Redskins, but Desean is praying Michael Vick comes back. So should Jeremy Maclin though. The Panthers are a good defense against wide receivers, not that there is no chance Jackson does something impressive, but lets just say Desean is not the most popular guy out there.
- Torrey Smith – BAL – vs SD
Nobody gets hurt more than Smith when it comes to their quarterback struggling on the road. Besides his touchdown against the Browns, his numbers haven’t gone over 5. Nothing over 4 catches either. Flacco and Smith have great potential at home, but on the road, it is easy to stay away.
- Scott Chandler – BUF – vs IND
Sure the Colts allow a lot of points to wide receivers and quarterbacks, but when it comes to tight ends, Chandler might make the Colts defense look good. Him and Fitzpatrick haven’t had the connection we expected this year. Playing on the road won’t make Scott any better.
- Heath Miller – PIT – vs CLE
From 4 catches for 48-47 yards his last 2 games with Big Ben, to 2 catches for 22 yards with Byron Leftwich, Charlie Batch is definitely not an upgrade. The Browns allow an average of only 4.6 points to tight ends. That is the best defense in the league against tight ends, and things have been made even easier for them with Charlie Batch.
This is a post submitted by Gino Bernasconi. Gino is currently a Florida International University student going for an electrical engineer major with a journalism minor. He is a huge New Orleans fan and a Miami Dolphins season ticket Holder. He has written fantasy football tips and articles for over 8 years and is prepared to defend any and all arguments you have against his picks. Gino is always looking for new leagues, new challenges, and new victims to build his confidence. Twitter:@GinoBuddah