Fantasy Football: Week 12 Start 'Em & Sit 'Em

Mark Deming

Start and sit can be a challenging column to write, week after week. We obviously want to attempt to advise, educate and inspire fantasy players while also being bold and conservative at the same time. I'm going to try something new this week since we are so close to the regular season finale in most leagues and nobody needs any start and sit fluff at this point. Below are the top five starts and sits according to the data. Some are obvious, but you’ll also find some surprising nuggets. 

The top 5 QBs, RBs, WRs and TEs to start and sit in numerical order, according to the data.

Note: The numbers next to the position players represent the opponent’s average fantasy points per game allowed to that position.

Quarterbacks

Start:

  1. Matt Ryan: 23.14 / Bucs
  2. Mason Rudolph: 22.73 / Bengals
  3. Dwayne Haskins: 21.88 / Lions
  4. Baker Mayfield: 21.39 / Dolphins
  5. Jacoby Brissett: 21.13 / Texans

Sit:

  1. Dak Prescott: 7.88 / Patriots
  2. Aaron Rogers: 10.9 / 49ers
  3. Josh Allen: 12.29 / Broncos
  4. Brandon Allen: 12.43 / Bills
  5. Daniel Jones: 13.13 / Bears

Analysis:

Matt Ryan is an obvious play against a Tampa Bay secondary struggling to stop anyone. Rudolph at No. 2 is interesting because the Steelers' offense is so dialed down with him under center. He's the check-down king, but sometimes that can work in fantasy. All the data points to Baker Mayfield, so if you've held him all year or have a bye at the quarterback position, he's the one that could produce huge statistics in Week 12.

It's hard to sit both Dak Prescott and Aaron Rodgers. One has been a league MVP and one is currently in the running this year's award. Some of the Patriots and 49ers early QB domination had to do with soft schedules. It's also later in the season and more injuries on defenses have occurred. Josh Allen is hot right now and this is when he heated up last season. The Brandon Allen data is chalk, but with both quarterbacks in that game on the sit list, that game in Denver is a potential Under bet. It's currently at 37 and started at 35. Always double-check the potential weather forecast when playing Over / Under bets.

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Running Backs

Start:

  1. Adrian Peterson & Derrius Guice: 31.21 / Lions
  2. Tevin Coleman: 28.55 / Packers
  3. Benny Snell & Jaylen Samuels: 28.02 / Bengals
  4. Alvin Kamara: 27.29 / Panthers
  5. Saquon Barkley: 26.3 / Bears

Sit:

  1. Ezekiel Elliott: 14.12 / Patriots
  2. Aaron Jones: 16.36 / 49’ers
  3. Brian Hill: 16.69 / Bucs
  4. Christian McCaffrey: 17.47 / Saints
  5. Carlos Hyde: 20.49 / Colts

Analysis:

The numbers showcase two top-3 picks in most seasonal formats in Kamara and Barkley. The Saints are looking to ride Kamara and his 53.3 Week 11 touch-percentage. Let’s see if Barkley can put up a monster game, as he has produced a meager 15.5 and 8.1 fantasy points in his last two games. The data also indicates Coleman, but he’s also been pedestrian over last two weeks with 11.2 and 9.2 fantasy points. Benny Snell is an interesting play in his first game back in three weeks. Shawn Childs, who has been murdering weekly rankings, is higher on Snell than most experts.

Pittsburgh Steelers RB Benny Snell

The sit data has three of the year's best fantasy players in CMC, Aaron Jones and Zeke. However, we always tell people, "do not bench your studs." Last week's FAAB darling Brian Hill also makes the list, but could surprise if the Falcons remain hot. 

Wide Receivers

Start:

  1. Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley: 46.72 / Bucs
  2. Terry McLaurin & Kelvin Harmon: 41.08 / Jets
  3. Allen Robinson: 41.03 / Giants
  4. Michael Thomas: 39.58 / Panthers
  5. Mike Evans and Chris Godwin: 39.07 / Falcons

Sit:

  1. Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup: 22.47 / Patriots
  2. Golden Tate and Darius Slayton: 26.98 / Bears
  3. Julian Edelman and Mohammed Sanu: 27.08 Cowboys
  4. John Brown: 27.1 / Broncos
  5. Davante Adams: 28.27 / 49ers

Analysis:

Four of the top five wide receivers to start are obvious standouts and must-plays. Michael Thomas will reward patient season-long drafters who took him with their first pick in a pivotal Week 12 fantasy week. The one play that doesn't make sense in Week 12 is the Redskins wide receiver duo, but maybe it does? McLaurin had a long TD called back last week and Harmon led the Redskins in targets.

Washington Redskins wide receiver Terry McLaurin

The sit data reveals some major studs at the WR position in line for some challenging Week 12 matchups. Personally, I'm playing all the WRs listed, as they are prominent pieces in their respective team's game plans. The data also reveals something that surprised me with both the Patriots and Cowboys poised to shut down the opponent's passing game. The total opened at 47 and is down to 45.5. 

Tight Ends

Start:

  1. Jaeden Graham: 17.76 / Bucs
  2. George Kittle & Ross Dwelley: 14.77 / Packers
  3. Ben Watson: 14.69 / Cowboys
  4. Ryan Griffin: 14.66 / Raiders
  5. Tyler Eifert & C.J. Uzomah: 14.8 / Steelers

Sit:

  1. Noah Fant: 6.46 / Bills
  2. Jimmy Graham: 6.97 / 49’ers
  3. Jared Cook: 8.58 / Panthers
  4. Gerald Everett: 9.04 / Ravens
  5. Daren Waller: 9.08 / Jets

Analysis:

The TE starts reveal a few potential sleepers in Jaeden Graham, Tyler Eifert and C.J. Uzomah. All three players are likely available on your league's waiver wire. Ryan Griffin was a popular FAAB TE and his hot Week 11 game is followed by a golden matchup in Week 12 according to the data. Ross Dwelley is one to monitor as George Kittle's playing status remains a mystery.

The numbers say to sit Noah Fant, but he's also been a larger part of the offensive game plan since Brandon Allen took over as the starting quarterback. Darren Waller will be interesting this week, as the numbers say to sit him. Early in the season, Derek Carr and the Raiders depended on Waller immensely, but more Raider skill position players like Hunter Renfrow are more involved now. Waller is coming off his best week since Week 7 with 12.8 points, his first week of double-digit fantasy points in over a month. Somehow, I don't think fantasy owners will be sitting Waller in Week 12.

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