As week 12 of the NFL regular season draws near, and every player now available due to the end of the bye weeks, it is important to sort through matchups and find the right fantasy play for the week.
Matchups, although important in constructing your Fantasy Game lineup, should not be the overwhelming influence in deciding who you should start for the weekend. You’re not benching Drew Brees because he is facing the vaunted 49ers defense.
With that logic in mind, this column is not written to tell you that you need to start Peyton Manning this weekend against the lowly Kansas City Chiefs. Manning’s a fantasy stud, and as with all studs the matchup does not matter. You’re playing them no matter what. Those are the easy decisions.
Instead, this article is written to help you decipher between that of the next tier of players. The one’s where matchups, injuries and hot-hands come into play.
Here is your Start – Sit for Week 12 for Fantasy Football.
Quarterbacks to Start
Andrew Luck, Indianapolis: Andrew Luck has averaged 41.8 pass attempts and over 300 passing yards per game at home this season. Luck has also thrown eight touchdowns to just two interceptions in Lucas Oil Stadium. And even though he will likely be without wide receiver Donnie Avery and tight end Coby Fleener, Luck remains a solid start against one of the league’s worst fantasy defenses. The Bills rank third to last in the NFL in giving up just under 30 points per game. Luck also poses the threat for a rushing touchdown with already five touchdowns on the ground this season.
Andy Dalton, Cincinnati: The Oakland Raiders have given up 809 passing yards and eight touchdown passes to opposing quarterbacks over the last three games and now are going to ask converted safety Michael Huff to guard the number 1 fantasy wide receiver, Adriel Jeremiah Green. The Raiders are allowing the most points per game this season at just over 30 per contest. Dalton has been on a roll himself of late totaling six touchdowns in his last two games. Look for a big game from Dalton in this one.
Quarterbacks to Sit
Matthew Stafford, Detroit: The Houston Texans defense gave up 354 passing yards and four touchdowns to backup quarterback Chad Henne and the Jacksonville Jaguars last week. So that must mean that Matthew Stafford and the Lions’ passing attack must be in for a big game Thursday, right? Wrong. Lions head coach Jim Schwartz recently sent number 2 wide receiver Titus Young home for conduct detrimental to the team and he will be inactive for Thursday’s game. Already without veteran wide receiver Nate Burleson, the Lions will turn to newly-acquired Mike Thomas and rookie Ryan Broyles to help fill the void in the passing game. Even though the Texans could be without cornerback Jonathan Joseph, the secondary should be able to key-in on Calvin Johnson and limit the big plays, something that they were unable to do last week versus the Jaguars.
Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco: Kaepernick was spectacular Monday night against what has been the best fantasy defense thus far in the 2012 season. However, this will be Kaepernick’s first road start (if he indeed does start), in a very tough and loud environment, on a short week, versus a team that is hungry for a win and seeking revenge from its defeat in the NFC divisional playoffs last season. Kaepernick has played in the Superdome before back in the pre-season during his rookie campaign. In that game, Kaepernick threw two interceptions and fumbled once. Kaepernick should be able to provide some fantasy points with his legs, but those counting on a repeat performance from last week will be disappointed.
Running backs to start
Marcel Reece, Oakland: Since becoming the starting running back in Oakland two weeks ago in place of the injured Darren McFadden, Reece has averaged 6.9 yards per touch. He has caught the ball, 11 receptions, and provided big-play capabilities including a 56 yard reception last week. Reece as yet to find the end zone as the incumbent starting running back, but the opportunity could present itself this weekend in what should be a high- scoring affair between the Raiders and the Bengals.
Bryce Brown, Philadelphia: The former number one overall high school running back in the country looks like he will get his first chance to prove himself Monday night against the visiting Carolina Panthers as regular starter LeSean McCoy is questionable with a concussion. Brown has flashed ability so far this season averaging 4.4 yards per carry on 32 attempts in limited action. Brown, a big back at 223 pounds, has yet to show the ability on being able to catch the ball out of the backfield with only one reception. This is worrisome for fantasy owners, especially considering head coach Andy Reid’s propensity to completely abandon the run and become pass happy. Brown, as a freshman at the University of Tennessee, did catch ten passes as backup. Brown has the athletic ability to catch the ball out of the backfield, but second year running back Dion Lewis is sure to play the bigger role in the passing game than Brown.
Running backs to sit
Felix Jones, Dallas: Felix Jones came into last week’s contest already banged up with a bruised knee. In the game versus the Browns, Jones ended up hurting his other knee and has not practiced yet this week and remains questionable to play Thursday versus the Redskins. Even if Jones were fully healthy going into the game, it would be a tough decision to start him against what is a surprising good rush defense in Washington. The Redskins rank seventh in the NFL in rush defense allowing only 94.6 yards per game on the ground. While the Redskins secondary ranks fourth to last in pass defense allowing nearly 290 yards per game through the air. With their top two backs banged up, it would make little sense for the Cowboys to try to force the running game when they know they can easily move the football against what is a vulnerable secondary.
Vick Ballard, Indianapolis: Vick Ballard is a really good player and a guy to watch out for when next season rolls around. However, right now, he is a low ceiling play at this point. It is unclear how many touches Donald Brown will take away from Ballard out of the backfield and last week even saw a goal – line carry go to Delone Carter instead of Ballard. Andrew Luck leads the Colts in rushing touchdowns this season with five while Ballard still remains without a rushing touchdown so far this season. We love Ballard and what the future brings for him, just not right now in our Fantasy Football games.
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