If you drafted wisely and have a strong bench, you will likely face lineup decisions on a weekly basis. Those decisions can often make or break fantasy seasons. For example, owners who started Josh Allen or Kirk Cousins over Jared Goff may have won in Week 11 due to a risky or bold call. However, if you decided to play Tyreek Hill or Kenny Golladay over Calvin Ridley or Michael Gallup, the decision may have cost you a victory. It’s small lineup decisions like those that can leave fantasy owners saying the dreaded words: “My bench outscored my starters.” In order for that not to happen, it’s vital to be aware of players drawing tough matchups, who pose a significant risk to your fantasy success. Let’s take a look at several players who check that box in Week 12.
As always, I’m not telling you to sit all of these players. I am telling you to examine your bench to consider whether or not you have a better option.
Jared Goff, Los Angeles Rams (vs BAL)
Goff, owned in 92% of leagues, has become too difficult to trust by even the most desperate fantasy owners. Over the last two games, the star quarterback has thrown three interceptions while failing to throw a single touchdown pass. The fourth-year signal caller has left no reason to feel optimistic that he will turn things around against a Baltimore defense that just held Texans QB Deshaun Watson to one of the worst games of his career. In Week 12, Goff will have a matchup with an underrated Ravens defense that has begun to match the play of their offense. My model suggests fading Goff against a defense that has allowed the fourth-fewest touchdown passes (nine) to opposing quarterbacks this season.
Royce Freeman, Denver Broncos (at BUF)
Following three consecutive double-digit PPR fantasy-point performances, Freeman has disappointed over his last two games with just eight points combined against the Browns and Vikings. The touches have begun to disappear for Freeman as the struggling Denver offense has turned to Phillip Lindsay. Freeman has a road game against the league’s third-best defense, and my model has the second-year back outside of flex status in Week 12 against Buffalo. Owned in 81% of leagues, many owners really need to look at their bench for better options. With Austin Ekeler, Melvin Gordon and Dalvin Cook all on bye, I understand owners may be forced to use Freeman, but expectations should be tempered.
David Montgomery, Chicago Bears (vs NYG)
In Week 8 and Week 9, Montgomery (owned in 99% of leagues) performed at the highest level of his short career, posting a combined 47.3 PPR fantasy points against the Chargers and Eagles. The rookie running back has not been able to match that level of production over the last two weeks despite 15-plus touches in both contests. Montgomery has burned his fantasy owners with just 91 rushing yards on 31 carries and no touchdowns over that two-game span. In Week 12 against the Giants, the promising young back could struggle for a third consecutive game, as the team is expected to bench starting quarterback Mitchell Trubisky in favor of veteran Chase Daniels.
Tyler Boyd, Cincinnati (vs PIT)
Despite a favorable matchup in Week 11 against the Oakland Raiders, Boyd caught just one pass for zero yards. The young wideout, owned in 91% of leagues, has caught only one touchdown pass this season and become a huge risk to fantasy owners (especially with Ryan Finley now under center). In Week 12, the winless Bengals will face a Steelers defense who Boyd to 33 yards receiving back in Week 4. As is normally the case when teams turn to rookie quarterbacks, the playbook becomes smaller and the club leans heavily on the run game. Outside of Joe Mixon, it’s not advised that any Bengal be trusted in any fantasy starting lineup for the rest of the season.
Mohammed Sanu, New England Patriots (vs DAL)
The expectations were so high after Sanu (owned in 92% of leagues) was acquired from the Falcons to become a top weapon for Tom Brady. In Week 9 against the Ravens, the veteran wideout displayed that potential with 10 receptions for 81 yards and a touchdown. However, last week against the Eagles, Sanu produced a paltry two receptions for four yards, despite being on the field for 100% of the offensive snaps. In Week 12, the wide receiver’s ceiling is severely limited as he faces a Dallas defense that has not allowed an opposing wideout to top 49 yards receiving over the last four games.
Jimmy Graham, Green Bay Packers (vs SF)
The star tight end, who has posted single-digit PPR fantasy-point performances in three straight games, has a brutal matchup in Week 12 against the NFL’ s top-ranked San Francisco defense. The 49ers have surrendered the second-fewest fantasy points to opposing tight ends, only allowing two touchdowns in 10 games. Owners should instead turn their attention to Seattle’s Jacob Hollister (owned in 38% of leagues), Jets Ryan Griffin (owned in 32% of leagues) or Browns David Njoku (owned in 16% of leagues).
More Advice From SI Fantasy
—Dr. Roto’s Week 12 Start ‘Em, Sit ‘Em to help with your toughest lineup decisions
—Frankie Taddeo’s top streaming options for the final week of byes
—Jaime Eisner’s stock watch tells you who’s trending up and down as the playoffs approach
—Jaime Eisner’s waiver wire pickups: Randall Cobb, Jonathan Williams, Jacob Hollister and more
—Frankie Taddeo’s droppables, with some big-name players you shouldn’t feel bad about cutting
—Bill Enright’s injury report takes a look at who is out how long
—Mark Deming’s target and snap report dives into the data to make some fantasy conclusions