Itâ€™s crunch time!Â Most leagues have only 2 or 3 weeks left in the regular season, so itâ€™s time to make your playoff push.Â For those of you who are very close to being in the playoffs, or are already in a position to make it, right now donâ€™t take any big risks.Â Sleepers are your enemy right now, go with the guys who have gotten you there.Â However, if youâ€™re on the outside looking in, it may be the time to play matchups and throw in some guys who maybe arenâ€™t stud fantasy players but could explode for a few games.Â Just take a look at Billy Volek in 2004, many a fantasy player rode that backup all the way to a fantasy championship.Â If you can latch on to that guy, you may just find yourself winning your league this year.Â Now on to week 12:
BEST:Â Â Â Aaron Rodgers, GB
Aside from Philip Rivers, there is no quarterback hotter than Rodgers in the NFL right now.Â In the last two games heâ€™s thrown for 590 yards and 7 touchdowns, thatâ€™s an average of 295 yards and 3.5 touchdowns per game in that span. Â Rodgers should see some passing lanes this week, as he takes on Atlanta.Â Sure, the Falcons have been very good this year, but rank 24th in the league against the pass this season, and have already given up 18 touchdowns through the air this year.Â Rodgersâ€™ two big weeks have come against slightly tougher pass defenses in Minnesota and Dallas (shocking, I know) statistically speaking.Â Â I see him throwing for around 275 yards and multiple touchdowns as he and Greg Jennings seem to have found some nice chemistry since Jermichael Finley went down for the year.Â Start Rodgers with confidence as you should every week.
WORST:Â Jon Kitna, DAL
Donâ€™t let the last two weeks fool you; Kitna is not a good fantasy option.Â Anyone who is a Lions fan knows that Kitna loves to tease you with production and then come in and absolutely kill you with a 4 INT game.Â This will be the multiple INT game.Â The Saints have been very good against the pass this season, and even though they havenâ€™t been the ball-hawks they were last year, they still certainly have that in them.Â I expect Kitna to throw at least two picks this week, and will also likely struggle to get much in the way of passing yardage.Â Sit him unless you have no other option.
BEST:Â Â Â Rashard Mendenhall, PIT
Mendenhall has had two slow weeks in a row, but I think that will change in a big way this week.Â Heâ€™s facing the Buffalo Bills this week who rank dead last in the league in yards per game, giving up an astonishing 163 yards per game.Â Mendenhall is a work-horse back who should see a ton of carries this week as the Steelers pound on the Bills.Â Oddly enough, the only person who may stop Mendenhall this week would beâ€¦Ryan Fitzpatrick.Â How does a teamâ€™s opposing quarterback stop a running back you ask?Â Look at it this way, if the Bills are able to score on the Steelers this week, this could turn into an aerial battle.Â However, I donâ€™t think this happens, and I see the Steelers running away with this game.Â Look for Mendenhall to rack up a bunch of yardage in the second half, and find the end zone at least once.
WORST:Â Knowshon Moreno, DEN
I can hear it now, everyone reading this article screaming, â€œbut heâ€™s playing the Rams!â€Â Well first take a look at more than the Ramsâ€™ record before you say that.Â Theyâ€™re only giving up around 101 yards per game this season.Â Additionally, Moreno has been anything but a consistent fantasy producer this year, averaging under 60 yards per game so far this season.Â Look for Moreno to get right around his average yards this week and may have some trouble getting into the end zone.Â If he does manage to get a touchdown he could be a serviceable play, but I just donâ€™t think the chances of that happening are good enough to give him a full recommendation this week.
BEST:Â Â Â Santonio Holmes, NYJ
I really wanted to pick Dwayne Bowe again, but I thought you all would probably be bored of me going with him (even though he deserves it, with a fantastic matchup against the Seahawks).Â So instead, I went with the second hottest wide receiver behind Bowe.Â What can I say, Holmes has just been on fire lately, and this week he faces a Bengals team that is coming off a game in which it gave up 4 passing touchdowns to the Bills.Â If Holmes doesnâ€™t find the end-zone this week I will be absolutely shocked.Â He is clearly Mark Sanchezâ€™s favorite target, and appears to be rounding into great form after his suspension.Â Look for Holmes to go over 100 yards this week, and score at least one TD.
WORST:Â Terrell Owens, CIN
Heâ€™s been great this year, but you donâ€™t run your mouth about Revis and expect to get away with it.Â If he can shut down Megatron, he can shut down a 37 year old.Â Look for T.O. to have a rough go of it this week, as Revis Island getâ€™s very very lonely for him.
BEST:Â Â Â Brandon Pettigrew, DET
Heâ€™s looked very good lately, and Shaun Hill clearly feels comfortable throwing to him.Â To boot, the Patriots, as good as they have been, have the second worst pass defense statistically in the league right now.Â I think Pettigrew is going to see quite a few underneath routes as New England tries to contain Calvin Johnson (which they wonâ€™t be able to do consistently, by the way) and will have quite a few catches this week.Â I also think heâ€™ll see a fair number of red-zone targets in Week 12, and could easily score a touchdown.Â If you arenâ€™t starting him, you should be.
WORST:Â Brent Celek, PHI
Heâ€™s a talented tight end, but letâ€™s face it, Michael Vick is just not looking his way like Kevin Kolb and Donovan McNabb did last season.Â He may get lucky and snag a red-zone target here and there, but it isnâ€™t a sure thing.Â Iâ€™d look for a better option, someone like Aaron Hernandez or Stephen Gostkowski from the New England Patriots, who actually have a quarterback who is willing to throw them the ball.Â Stash Celek on your bench unless Vick shows he wants to throw him the ball.
BEST:Â Â Â New York Jets
I think the Jets will absolutely swarm the Bengals this week.Â Cincinnati has been pretty solid on offense this week, but as I previously mentioned, T.O. has added fuel to the Jetsâ€™ fire this week by calling out Darrelle Revis as an â€œaverage corner.â€Â I think the Jets will use this as motivation and swarm all over the Bengals this week, limiting them in every facet of the game.Â I expect several sacks, at least one turnover, and for the Bengals to score fewer than 17 points this week.Â Translation:Â a heck of a day for a fantasy defense.
WORST:Â Chicago Bears
This is a risky one, but I have a feeling that the Bears arenâ€™t all that well equipped to take on the Eagles.Â The Bears arenâ€™t fast enough at linebacker (even though they are VERY good at linebacker) to have somebody spy Vick effectively, and there are too many receiving threats on that team for the Bears to really account for everyone.Â I think Jackson and Maclin both get open over the top a few times and Vick makes enough plays with his legs and arm to put up a solid number of points on the Bears.Â If the Bears do stop Vick and the Eagles this week give all the credit to Lovie Smith, because he will have put together a fantasticÂ gameplan.
SLEEPER OF THE WEEK
-Nate Washington, WR, TEN
Heâ€™s facing the Houston Texans this week, who have been pathetic against the pass this season.Â Heâ€™s also had two 100+ yard games since Kenny Britt went down with a hamstring injury.Â Even though I think the â€œRandy Moss Effectâ€ is overstated I see Washington finding quite a bit of space as the Texans will devote a safety over the top to stop Mossâ€™ deep routes.Â Â Of course, there are quarterback issues in Tennessee right now, and that is what makes Washington a sleeper as opposed to a solid play this week.Â Donâ€™t be shocked if Washington goes over 100 yards receiving for the second week in a row, but also donâ€™t be shocked if he gets shut down because his quarterback canâ€™t get the ball into his hands.
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