FanNation Week 12 fantasy football picks: Jay Cutler ready to take advantage of Tampa Bay Buccaneers

By Chris Burke
November 20, 2014

Consider this your annual fantasy football reminder: Check the weather reports. 

Start 'Em, Sit 'Em: Get Josh Gordon in fantasy lineups for Week 12

Not every spot of cold or precipitation is cause for panic -- Aaron Rodgers still can sling it when it's flurrying and 15 degrees at Lambeau. There are going to be some winter-related headaches, however, as the fantasy season ticks toward its conclusion. 

This week, rain is in the forecast for games in Chicago, Minnesota, Seattle and New York among others, while Buffalo has turned into Antarctica North. Of course, my Week 12 FanNation lineup features players taking the field in two of those spots, so to each his own. 

Sign up to play here, and here's latest FanNation fantasy outlook:

Quarterback: Jay Cutler (projected points: 19)
Also considered: Matt Ryan (22), Andrew Luck (21), Brian Hoyer (17)

If you have been waiting for a time to pick Cutler, this is probably it. The Bears' quarterback is coming off a 330-yard, three-touchdown performance against the Vikings and now draws Tampa Bay's 29th-ranked pass defense, which has allowed 20 touchdowns in 10 games. Cutler and his Bears teammates might find a little extra motivation in facing their former coach, Lovie Smith, who now patrols the Buccaneers' sideline. 

Power Rankings: Unrelenting Patriots remain No. 1; Bengals rebounding

Smith's team does not have the bodies to match up with Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery (who does?), so assuming Cutler comes in focused this could be another big showing.

Ryan has struggled to stay consistent, too -- he's averaging 15 FanNation fantasy points over his past five games, obviously well below that 22-point projection. Suddenly, though, the Falcons find themselves in first place and Ryan is overdue for a breakout game. Cleveland's defense presents a tough foe, but count on Atlanta to throw it a bunch.

Luck against the Jaguars might be a free pass. He threw for 370 yards and four touchdowns against them earlier this season. Ryan's counterpart, Hoyer, is less a sure thing. But that Cleveland-Atlanta game could turn into something of a shootout, and Hoyer does have the benefit of Josh Gordon's return this week.

Despite a Week 11 victory, Bears fans have given up on Jay Cutler

Running back: LeSean McCoy (projected points: 17)
Also considered: Shane Vereen (12), Denard Robinson (10), Alfred Blue (7)

Is this the week? Philadelphia has been holding out hope for a vintage Shady performance pretty much all season -- he has topped 100 yards twice in 10 games and has just two touchdowns this season. The Titans, ranked 31st against the run, could be the opponent he needs. They allowed 200-plus yards to LeVeon Bell last week.

Fantasy football Week 12 stat projections

Chip Kelly also might try a little harder to get the run game going this week, if only to take some pressure off Mark Sanchez.

Vereen played a nearly invisible second fiddle to Jonas Gray last Sunday. A Week 12 matchup with Detroit's stout D-line could make the going tougher for Gray's between-the-tackles style, thereby opening the door for the more versatile Vereen. Bill Belichick certainly has never hesitated swapping out running backs.

Robinson's point projection is one of the best values offered by FanNation this week. (A reminder that scores include a handicap based on projected-point totals. More on that in the rules.) He surpassed that number in each of Jacksonville's previous four games.

Blue is a very worthwhile sleeper if Arian Foster sits again. Last week, Blue set a Houston franchise record with 36 carries, totaling 156 yards. Cincinnati's run defense has been mediocre at best.

Wide receiver/tight end: Odell Beckham Jr. (projected points: 13)
Also considered: A.J. Green (16), Rob Gronkowski (13), DeAndre Hopkins (10)

The Beckham selection banks on Eli Manning, you know, throwing it to the right team this week. But even in Manning's five-INT implosion vs. San Francisco, Beckham caught six passes for 93 yards. The rookie has a two-touchdown game against this week's foe, Dallas, in his memory. While Beckham might not repeat that production, he'll see plenty of targets.

A Packer for life? Randall Cobb's contract year push has fans sweating

Green's fantasy value relies on Andy Dalton's play, a variable that is hard to pin down. Last week, the two were terrific together in New Orleans: Green caught six passes for 127 yards and a touchdown. 

Gronkowski always deserves consideration, even against Detroit's defense. Heck, perhaps even more so because the Lions (as mentioned above) might be able to limit Gray and force Tom Brady to get rid of the football early, meaning Brady's attention could drift toward his most reliable target.

Hopkins might be undervalued at a 10-point projection. He's topped 80 yards in the past four games. 

Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)