There are just a few weeks left in the Fantasy Football regular season. First off, I hope that everyone had a fantastic Thanksgiving, and you enjoyed the games from Thursday. There were a lot of good games, and the road teams all came out on top. Not very friendly of holiday house guests, but that’s the NFL. Detroit’s Calvin Johnson had another big game, Matthew Stafford is showing signs of life, and RGIII is, well, RGIII. And, if for some reason you started Justin Forsett, well, congratulations. And, lastly, Tom Brady proved he doesn’t need Rob Gronkowski, or even more than one or two NFL-caliber wideouts, to be successful.
Good luck in Week 12, and Happy Holidays!
Quarterback – surprise start of the week
Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco (at NO): Information has been leaking out from team sources, media outlets and even safety Donte Whitner, indicating that Kaepernick will get the start this weekend over Alex Smith (concussion), even if the latter is healthy. Kaepernick was impressive moving the offense against a strong Bears defense. However, while Kaepernick is a good pick-up, and he will likely have a solid day against a Saints pass defense which allows 305 yards per game through the air, it is his first NFL road start. He could struggle in a hostile environment, making more mistakes than home team friendly Candlestick. He’ll still put up solid yardage totals, but beware of an increase in turnovers.
Other surprise plays: Chad Henne, Jacksonville (vs. TEN), Jake Locker, Tennessee (at JAC), Russell Wilson, Seattle (at MIA)
Quarterback – sit of the week
Cam Newton, Carolina (at PHI – Mon.): Newton and the Panthers will hit the road for one of the ugliest matchups of the season on Monday Night Football. The Eagles have won just three games, but it isn’t because of their pass defense. They have been respectable, allowing just 222.0 yards per game through the air. Newton and the Panthers will find the passing lanes smaller than they saw in games against the New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, etc. If Newton has a respectable stat line, it will be because of his legs.
Other QBs to sit: Sam Bradford, St. Louis (at ARI), Josh Freeman, Tampa Bay (vs. ATL), Christian Ponder, Minnesota (at CHI)
Running back – surprise start of the week
Chris Johnson, Tennessee (at JAC): Johnson and the Titans should find plenty of room in the run game against a Jaguars rush defense which was fileted last week in Houston, and has allowed an average of 138.6 yards per game on the ground this season. Jacksonville has been gouged for 14 rushing touchdowns, tied for most in the league with Oakland. If CJ2K can’t get it going against this run defense, then fantasy owners will again have serious concerns heading into the fantasy playoffs.
Other surprise plays: Ronnie Hillman, Denver (at KC), Ryan Mathews, San Diego (vs. BAL), Jalen Parmele, Jacksonville (vs. TEN)
Running back – sit of the week
Michael Turner, Atlanta (at TB): The Buccaneers have yielded plenty of real estate through the air, but they rank first in the NFL against the run, allowing just 81.8 yards per game. Still, Tampa has allowed seven rushing scores this season, so the weekend might not be a total loss for Turner and his fantasy owners. However, if you have alternatives with a more favorable matchup, it’s a good idea to use them.
Other RBs to sit: Reggie Bush, Miami (vs. SEA), Jamaal Charles, Kansas City (vs. DEN), Trent Richardson, Cleveland (at PIT)
Wide receiver – surprise start of the week
Sidney Rice, Seattle (at MIA): The Seahawks passing game should have a measure of success against a Dolphins passing defense which allowing 266.3 yards per game. Miami has also given up 12 passing touchdowns through 10 games, which is not a terrible amount. However, if the passing game has a big game, and we think they will, Rice should be the biggest beneficiary. A 100-yard day and a score is not out of the question.
Other surprise plays: Kenny Britt, Tennessee (at JAC), Michael Crabtree, San Francisco (at NO), Cecil Shorts, Jacksonville (vs. TEN)
Wide receiver- sit of the week
Vincent Jackson, TB (vs. ATL): The Falcons have a strong defense, especially against the pass. Atlanta has given up just 216.3 yards per game through the air, and 11 passing scores in 10 games. In addition, Jackson is known for the big play downfield, but Atlanta has yielded just four plays of 40 or more yards through the air. Jackson should be in line for one of those 4-45-0 type lines that fantasy owners hate to see at this time of the season.
Other WRs to sit: Dwayne Bowe, Kansas City (vs. DEN), Marques Colston, New Orleans (vs. SF), Josh Gordon, Cleveland (vs. PIT)
Tight end – surprise start of the week: Marcedes Lewis, Jacksonville (vs. TEN)
Other solid, less-than-obvious fantasy plays: Jared Cook, Tennessee (at JAC), Vernon Davis, San Francisco (at NO)
Sit of the week: Dallas Clark, Tampa Bay (vs. ATL)
Others who should be riding the fantasy pine: Kyle Rudolph, Minnesota (at CHI), Benjamin Watson, Cleveland (vs. PIT)
Kicker – surprise start of the week: Rob Bironas, Tennessee (at JAC)
Other solid, less-than-obvious fantasy play: Mike Nugent, Cincinnati (vs. OAK)
Sit of the week: Adam Vinatieri, Indianapolis (vs. BUF)
Other who should be riding the fantasy pine: Phil Dawson, Cleveland (vs. PIT)
Defense/special teams – surprise start of the week: Broncos DST (at KC)
Other solid, less-than-obvious fantasy plays: Dolphins DST (vs. SEA), Eagles DST (vs. CAR – Mon.)
DST sit of the week: 49ers DST (at NO)
Others who should be riding the fantasy pine: Bills DST (at IND), Ravens DST (at SD)