Monday night’s Rams/ Chiefs tilt was one of the most exciting, electric, and high octane four quarters of football I’ve ever seen. That was football in its purest form mainlined to millions.
Outside of Monday’s premier performances, the quarterback and tight end finishes were all over the place. Gerald Everett, Antonio Gates, and relative unknown Robert Tonyan finished among the top 5 at the tight end position. Mariota re-injured his arm, but not before the Titans showed that there is no greater enigma of a team in the NFL. Seriously. How does the team that beat the Patriots in Week 10 struggle against the Colts’ defense in Week 11? I simply don’t understand the Titans. But we soldier on. Bye weeks are done for the most part, but if you own Patrick Mahomes or Jared Goff you might be able to find their one week replacement in this article. Let’s talk turkey.
Eli Manning @ Philadelphia Eagles – FD: $6,700 | DK: $5,700
It’s probably still a bit too soon to tell, but it looks a like Eli’s got at least part of his swagger back. Via transitive properties so has the Giants’ offense.
Granted the last two games for the Giants have been against some of the weakest defenses in the NFL. Still, seeing the Giants put up points like they were predicted to all off-season is a breath of fresh air. This week they’ll be up against the Eagles’ defense which in a total state of disarray after they were embarrassed by the Saints on Sunday afternoon. Injuries abound for the Eagles, and what was once a Championship caliber squad is now reduced to rubble. Given the implications of this division matchup they’ll still put up a fight, but I expect Eli to continue to expand on his last two performances. He’s becoming less of a risk, and in Week 12 he’s got fantastic upside.
Lamar Jackson vs. Oakland Raiders – FD: $7,400 | $5,700
Man. What a great running back! Jackson set some records on Sunday for rushing attempts at quarterback. While he was at it, he brought the Ravens a W on his debut as a starting quarterback.
Jackson ran the ball 27 times for 117 yard, and completed 13 of 19 passing attempts for 150 yards and an interception. His inability to find the end zone on Sunday obviously had a negative impact on his fantasy output, but he showed enough promise as a mobile quarterback to be considered against one of the weakest defenses in the Oakland Raiders. Now that Jackson has a game under his belt, he should get a longer leash in terms of the passing game on Sunday. His skill and utilization in the run game gives Jackson a pretty solid floor, and his upside against a weak defense makes him a sneakier Week 12 play in Season Long and DFS formats.
Baker Mayfield @ Cincinnati Bengals – FD: $7,500 | DK: $5,500
This year’s proverbial QB streaming candidate gets the spotlight yet again this weekend against a struggling Bengals’ defense. The fact of the matter is, Mayfield has been reliable against weaker defenses (which he’s played against the majority of the season).
Baker and the Browns’ offense are coming out of bye week refreshed, while the Bengal will be trying to avoid losing two divisional games in a row. I see good things happening for Mayfield in this match up. He put up some fantastic numbers against the Falcons in Week 10, where he threw for 216 yards and 3 touchdowns. The lack of turnovers in that game was very encouraging. You can be sure that Baker will be looking to come out of the bye strong, and expand on those numbers against their in-state rivals. He has a tough string of match ups after this week. So, depending on how this Sunday’s showdown unfolds, this could be the last time to highlight our main man.
Jameis Winston vs. San Francisco – FD: $7,500 | DK: $6,000
About two weeks ago I figured that we were due for another changing of the guard in Tampa. This past Sunday the Giants provided that extra nudge to the Bucs’ rotating door at starting QB. Winston is back in the fold. In limited time against the Giants managed to throw for nearly 200 yards and two touchdowns with one interception. Mind you, it wasn’t pretty. There was a quintessential Winston fumble at the goal line that happened to blossom into a Tampa TD thanks to the efforts of Mike Evans. Regardless, he is at the helm of a strong Buccaneers’ offense, and has the lingering (and often times frustrating) potential of putting up points. Winston and Co. has the added advantage of going up a “get right team” in the 49ers. Eli was able to bounce back against them in Week 10 to the tune of three touchdowns. Maybe I’m too trusting, but Winston should be a pretty safe play this week in both Season Long & DFS formats for this week.
Andy Dalton vs. Cleveland Browns – FD: $7,500 | DK: $5,300
Despite their loss to the Ravens, Dalton still managed to have a QB #7 finish against one of the better defenses in the NFL. I also made sure to triple check that this weeks game is not a Sunday night, prime time game against the Browns, as we’re all too familiar with Dalton’s shortcomings under the bright lights. This game is very intriguing from a fantasy perspective. The Browns’ defense is better against the pass than the Ravens (on paper), but Dalton and the Bengals will be pulling out all the stops to avoid going 0-2 in as many weeks against division rivals. I can see this game spiraling into a low-end shootout, which gives me additional confidence in Dalton as a starter this week.
Hail Mary Quarterback of Week #12
Nick Mullens @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers – FD: $6,600 | DK: $5,400
This is not because I have faith in Nick Mullens. No. After all he came crashing back down to Earth in Week 11.
This is because I have faith in the sheer ineptitude of the Buccaneers’ defense. The Bucs’ defense is the worst against the pass in the NFL, and Nick Mullens just happens to be the starting quarterback opposite the Bucs’ defense. It’s a Hail Mary play, because Tricky Nick is still a risk. He’s a big ‘ole‘?’ at the position with one fantastic start and one lackluster start under his belt. I think that he has enough talented weapons around him to make some magic happen on Sunday, and enough of a floor to not lose you your week.
Cameron Brate vs. San Francisco – FD: $4,400 | DK: $3,600
O.J. Howard is now on IR, and Winston is the starting QB. Brate has quickly found himself in a very promising position on the Bucs’ offense. This season he’s gone from riches to rags and now back to riches again. The rapport between Winston and Brate is well established and documented, which is essentially what we’re banking on when we throw Brate into our lineups. Brate is averaging 2.6 targets a game. Those aren’t numbers to write home about. Yards and receptions aren’t what you look for out of Brate. It’s purely red zone targets and touchdowns. That is Brate’s money maker.
Jeff Heuerman vs. Pittsburgh Steelers – FD: $5,400 | DK: $3,400
Heuerman is not a name I anticipated highlighting during this articles series at all this season. His growing involvement in the Broncos’ offense has become too difficult to ignore, though. Over the Broncos’ last two games Jeff has seem 16 targets. In that same span he only has one drop in each contest. The production with those targets on Sunday were underwhelming, 4 receptions for 20 yards, but the Chargers have developed a strong defense against the position. I’m relying more in the fact that his targets will at the very least remain consistent, as the Broncos go up against a defense that has been reliable in surrendering points to the tight end position all season long. Tight end has been difficult to predict this season. Heuerman could be your man this Sunday against the Steelers.
Vance McDonald @ Denver Broncos – FD: $5,500 | DK: $4,400
The target thief Jesse James does not seem to be a threat anymore in the Steelers’ offense. He’s seen just one target over the past two games where Vance has been targeted 10 times over that same span. Even better, Vance has a touchdown in those two games.
Things seem to be improving for McDonald at just the right time, and now he’s going up against a Broncos defense that is threatening just in their name alone. Talk about good branding. The Broncos are not the lock down defense of old, and just allowed the ancient Antonio Gates a stat line of 5 receptions on 7 targets for 80 yards and a touchdown. That’s borderline embarrassing. Scratch that. It’s just embarrassing. To put it in perspective of just how embarrassing that was, Gates was averaging 3.2 fantasy points per game before this past Sunday. Even the TE2 on the Chargers, Virgil Green got involved with 2 receptions for 27 yards. My only hesitation with Vance this week is that they will be playing at Mile High stadium in late November. The Broncos have a history of playing tougher at home. I don’t think that’s enough to sleep on a player who has some fantastic upside potential on an offense that’s looking to retain the top spot in their division.
Chris Herndon vs. New England Patriots – FD: $5,300 | DK: $2,900
As a Jets ‘fan’ (now self-loathing chump), I’ve become adept at finding silver linings. The one silver lining for this season has been Chris Herndon’s graceful emergence in that offense. He scored a touchdown in each contest between Weeks 6-8, and maintained his target share in the offense with McCown under center. Something tells me that the Jets are going to struggle a bit against the Patriots this Sunday. Call it a ‘Jets’ fan intuition’. The Jets will likely be in a throwing situation early in this game which is the game script needed for Herndon to have a fantasy relevant performance. The Patriots’ defense against the tight end position is very weak, too. If I’m the Jets, I’ll be looking to exploit any weakness I can against the powerhouse of the division. It’s not pretty, but if you’re in a pinch this week for a TE, he should be a decent fill.
Hail Mary Tight End for Week #12
Ed Dickson @ Carolina Panthers – FD: $4,700 | DK: $2,600
Now I wish I could do a combination ‘Pizza Hut & Taco Bell’-esque highlight for you suggesting the tight end duo of Nick Vannett & Ed Dickson. But, that’s not the way the world works. Simply put, Ed Dickson has the better chance of the two in finding the end zone on Sunday against the Panthers. The Panthers give up touchdowns to tight ends like it’s their job, and that is the trend I expect to continue on Sunday night. Ed is not a ‘between the twenties’ type tight end but is a big body match up nightmare red zone threat. Basically he’s either going to have one catch for a 15-20 yard touchdown or give you a dud. There is always the very exciting prospect of 2 catches for 30 yards and two touchdowns, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Dickson has become most touchdown dependent tight end in the league, and his match up couldn’t be better for the role he’s been given. Ed Dickson =glory play.
QB/TE Week #12 Combo
This week’s stack is a blast from the past. Jameis Winston & Cameron Brate are going to rekindle and revitalize their 2017 on-field relationship this week against the 49ers. I wouldn’t feel as confident suggesting this stack if Howard were still on the roster, but his unfortunate placement on IR has opened up a world of possibilities between Brate & Winston. This game as a whole will be exciting to watch, as I expect a heavy dose of offense for both parties involved. Stack it up and lock it down. Brate-Winston Pt. 2 begins Sunday.
Thanks for reading and I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving Day, and continue to have a great holiday weekend!