Not much to be thankful for this week if your fantasy team has been relying on Patrick Mahomes and Tyreek Hill all season. Maybe it’s a good thing that these guys have Thanksgiving weekend to rest up a few weeks before the fantasy playoffs begin, but fantasy managers still must deal with a bye week that sees some of fantasy’s brightest stars on the bench. Here’s what you need to know heading into Week 12:
Week 12 byes: Cardinals, Chiefs
What you’re missing
Cardinals: Even though he’s missed time due to injury, Kyler Murray remains eighth in FPPG among quarterbacks. Running back James Conner is 11th among running backs, though his value is greater than that now that Chase Edmonds is out. Conner entered Week 11, leading the NFL with 11 rushing touchdowns and will continue to be the Cardinals’ bell cow. With injuries to receivers DeAndre Hopkins and A.J. Green, Christian Kirk has become a viable fantasy option. Kirk started Week 11 with more fantasy points this season than the likes of Amari Cooper and Diontae Johnson.
Chiefs: Patrick Mahomes may be more turnover-prone his season than he’s ever been, but that hasn’t kept him from being the most valuable QB in fantasy football. Mahomes entered Week 11 second overall in fantasy points per game (FPPG), tops among QBs. Despite Tyreek Hill’s inconsistency, he’s sixth overall in FPPG, second among wide receivers. And while tight end Travis Kelce has not been as dominant as last season, he’s still the leading fantasy scorer at his position and a must-start who will be missed.
Week 12 waiver options
Some fantasy squads might be deep enough to have a satisfactory fill-in on their bench when it comes to bye week replacements. If not, you’ll need a short-term waiver add—and it’s not about fighting for the hottest waiver-wire candidates. You just want a stand-in who happens to have a favorable matchup in your week of need.
Here are some Week 12 options:
Patriots QB Mac Jones has nine TD passes in his last four home games. New England is back in Foxborough in Week 12 against the Titans, who allow the fifth-most FPPG to QBs. ... The Falcons made Jones look good last Thursday, and they've allowed 68 points in their last two games. In Week 12, they could be kind to another rookie QB when they take on Trevor Lawrence and the Jaguars. Atlanta allows the third-most FPPG to quarterbacks, so Lawrence could post some nice fantasy numbers. … The Washington Football Team remains the worst team in the NFL regarding FPPG allowed to quarterbacks. Washington hosts Seattle on Monday night, and this could be a get-right game for Russell Wilson.
You've got to be a little desperate to play any Houston Texans, even after their upset win over Tennessee, but if David Johnson is ever going to have a fantasy-relevant performance, it will be this week against a Jets defense that makes all opposing running backs look great. … The Seahawks are second to the Jets in allowing the most FPPG to opposing running backs. It's a long shot that Antonio Gibson is available in your league, but grab him if he is. … If Bears RB David Montgomery is available, it's worth starting him Thursday in Detroit. After all, it's not easy finding a legitimate reason to spend Thanksgiving watching a Bears-Lions matchup. Heck, Khalil Herbert is an option for desperate fantasy managers who need a reason to watch this game.
Robby Anderson has been a major disappointment for fantasy managers this season, which is why the Panthers wideout is available in nearly 60% of leagues. But he’s been showing signs of life since Cam Newton returned to Carolina, and the Week 12 matchup against the Dolphins is favorable. … The Titans allow the most FPPG to opposing wide receivers. Which Patriots receiver should you consider against Tennessee? Kendrick Bourne is the big-play threat in that group, so he’s worth a shot. … If you’re looking for a Thanksgiving Day option to fill in for a player on bye, consider Buffalo’s Cole Beasley Thursday night in New Orleans. The Saints have allowed the fourth-most FPPG to wide receivers, and Beasley quietly has almost as many receptions as team-leader Stefon Diggs.
Cowboys TE Dalton Schultz is rostered in close to 90% of fantasy leagues. If you’re lucky enough to have him still available in your league, Schultz could feast on Thanksgiving Day against a Raiders defense that allows the second-most FPPG to opposing tight ends. ... The team that allows the most FPPG to tight ends is the Eagles, who face the Giants this week. Evan Engram is still available in 23% of leagues, so consider him if he’s there. … For leagues in which Schultz and engram are rostered, a deep sleeper might be Packers' second-year TE Josiah Deguara. Green Bay has had minimal production from its tight ends this season, but Deguara scored his first NFL touchdown last week in Minnesota, so perhaps he’ll gain momentum against a Rams defense that is susceptible to the position.
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