We’re back fantasy football fans! Unfortunately, other duties pulled me away from you last week, but we’re getting back to work this week as the NFL collectively prepares for December and you get ready for your playoff push!
My time away found me coming in at 2-0 in money leagues last week, so hopefully you were just as successful in our time away.
If not, let’s see if we can’t remedy that now, with Week 12’s starts, sits and sleepers of the week!
Don’t expect 27 carries for Jackson in Week 12, but it’s obvious the rookie knowns how to make plays and is comfortable doing whatever he needs to in order to make them.
The Ravens don’t seem all that concerned at the moment about letting him feel comfortable on the field, and likely won’t try to bottle him up much in a prime match-up against the Oakland Raiders.
SIT: Marcus Mariota, Tennessee Titans (@ Houston Texans)
Mariota has taken some solid strides towards becoming a reliable NFL quarterback this season. He’s also taken some big steps back.
His roller coaster season certainly doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence in fantasy owners. The fact he’s come out of four of his six road games this year without a single passing touchdown should terrify you.
The Bucs don’t have the best homefield advantage in the world to begin with, and now that Tampa Bay is firmly into draft preparation, it won’t be getting any better.
Nick Mullens may not have gotten drafted this past off-season, but it isn’t stopping him from looking pretty good in the limited opportunities he’s had.
The 23-year old was groomed a bit under coach Todd Monken back in college, and has turned two starts into a 1-1 record with 512-yards passing, four touchdowns and two interceptions. His overall QBR this year is 104.0.
Facing the Bucs’ pass defense which is allowing the most points to opposing quarterbacks this season, he’s a good flier if you need one.
In three starts, Chubb has yet to come in under 18 carries and 80-yards rushing, and has a touchdown in each game.
All three of those were against teams not giving up the most fantasy football points to running backs this year.
The Bengals are. And that’s who Chubb will face for his fourth career start.
SIT: Jalen Richard, Oakland Raiders (@ Baltimore Ravens)
On the Locked on Bucs Friday Fantasy Football Focus last week, I gave Jalen Richard a big thumbs up.
He produced. Double-digit points from a Raiders back is nothing to scoff at, and he was one touchdown away from being a top performer on the week.
It seems Oakland is finally looking to get him involved. This week, in Baltimore, it isn’t going to work.
In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Raiders running back group come in under 50-yards total. Combined. With no touchdowns.
I love seeing Marlon Mack doing well. In five starts this season, he’s averaged no less than 3.4 yards per carry and has a touchdown in three of those games, including two against the Raiders in Week 8.
This weekend, he’s facing a Miami Dolphins defense surrendering more than 24-points per week to running backs.
When Gordon was traded to the Patriots, it was pretty big news. But then it faded rather quickly as the start receiver struggled early to make a big impact, or even get on the field. In his first three weeks with the team he played in just one game and had one catch. Albeit a touchdown catch.
In his first four games in fact, Gordon had more than two catches just once and averaged more than 20-yards per catch just once. But things have been turning around a bit.
Looking at his last four games as a member of the Patriots, Gordon has no fewer than four catches in each, and has averaged 20-yards per catch or more in three of the four.
His touchdown production is still lower than fantasy football players want it to be, but he’s definitely growing on Tom Brady week-by-week.
When Demaryius Thomas was traded to the Houston Texans earlier this season, it was supposed to mean a solid fantasy football increase for Sanders.
The truth is, he’s actually gone down a bit. Sanders had a touchdown catch in two of the three games leading to the trade deadline. He’s had none in the two games he’s played without Thomas on the opposite end of the field.
Bottom line, the Broncos just don’t have the horses this year.
Moore has been quietly getting more and more involved in the Panthers’ offensive scheme as the season has progressed.
In fact, when I picked him up in one of my fantasy football leagues, I actually got asked who he was!
Well, after a seven catch 157-yard explosion against the Detroit Lions, it’s safe to say he’s on the radar this weekend.
Still, you may be able to grab him up. If you can, I suggest you do.
START: George Kittle, San Francisco 49ers (@ Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
Kittle’s rise up the tight end ranks has been muddied a bit by the absence of Jimmy Garroppolo and diluted a touch due to the emergence of Nick Mullens.
No matter who the quarterback has been though, Kittle has been a part of the 49ers game plan since Week 1.
Only once this season has Kittle brought in fewer than four passes. In Week 10, he had a season and career high nine catches against the New York Giants.
Tampa Bay is already missing two of their starting linebackers as both Kwon Alexander and Kendall Beckwith sit on injured reserve preparing for comebacks in 2019.
Lavonte David missed Week 11, and is on track to miss Week 12 as well dealing with his own injuries.
This has left the Bucs playing very thin in the middle of the field. Kittle should have a really big day.
SIT: Evan Engram, New York Giants (@ Philadelphia Eagles)
Engram had an impressive rookie year bringing in 64-catches for 722-yards and six touchdowns.
All of this despite opposing defenses not having to be worried about Odell Beckham Jr. who was out with injury and the fact the Giants had no real running game to contend with.
This year, ODB was back and Saquon Barkley was going to solve their running issues. This would lead to bigger opportunities for Engram, and he was a star on the rise.
Seven games in and on pace to play in thirteen games, Engram isn’t even half-way to the numbers he had last year in fifteen appearances.
Part of this is the injury suffered Week 3 against the Houston Texans. His sprained MCL kept him out of three games, all against 2017 playoff teams.
But it doesn’t explain everything. In four of his seven games this year, Engram has two or fewer catches. He only has five or more in two.
Last week, against tight end friendly Tampa Bay, the Giants rarely looked his direction, and he came out with just two catches. The fact he gained 66-yards on those two shows what kind of day a five or six catch afternoon could have been. But it just didn’t pan out.
For whatever reason, Engram isn’t getting involved. And until he does, he’s not reliable as your playoff push tight end.
SLEEPER: David Njoku, Cleveland Browns (@ Cincinnati Bengals)
Njoku is in a similar boat Engram is. Not doing quite as well in year two as everyone thought he would given his first-year production.
The difference hear is Njoku is on pace to surpass his rookie season, and it isn’t even close.
He already has more catches this year (36) than he did last season (32) and he’s just twenty or so yards from gaining more than in 2017. His two scores in 2018 are exactly half of what he had in 2017, and that’s where our focus is.
Like I said, he’s had more catches already in 2018 than he did in all of 2017. So, it’s safe to say the Browns want him involved. As he should be.
He’s gotten three or more catches in all but two contests this year. The reason he’s TE13 in 2018 fantasy football is those touchdowns.
Two of them in 36 catches. He had four in 32 last year. So his scores per catch has gone way down.
He is a bit hampered right now by a knee issue, but has practiced in limited capacity all week, so he should be good to go for the Bengals this weekend.
Cincinnati’s defense is sixth in giving up fantasy points to the position, and with the amount the Browns want Njoku involved, you can keep rolling him out knowing eventually the seal will break.
Collectively, the Cardinals have lost seven fumbles and thrown fourteen interceptions, all while throwing for the second-fewest yards on the season and the third-least passing touchdowns in the NFL.
Arizona is also one of just eight teams entering the weekend with less than 1,000-yards rushing and possess the league’s fifth-lowest amount of rushing touchdowns with just six.
This offense is bad. Which is good for the Chargers defense.
SIT: Philadelphia Eagles (vs New York Giants)
The Super Bowl hangover is real and the Eagles are feeling it. Thanks to an injury riddled Redskins squad, underperforming Cowboys team and the ever disastrous New York Giants, they’re still in the hunt for a division title at 4-6.
What a league.
Heck, even the Giants sit just two games back with six to play, including this weekend’s divisional match-up against this very team.
I don’t honestly know who will win. But I know the Giants are going to lean on Barkley, Beckham and Manning to put points and yards on the board.
There was a time when you saw Aaron Rodgers coming for your defense and you immediately scrambled to find another unit to use for the week. Not so much anymore.
Rodgers and his head coach are at odds about the offense, and he’s returning to the scene of his season derailing injury from one year ago.
Meanwhile, Minnesota is hoping to keep pace with the Chicago Bears in the NFC North race, so you better believe they’ll be firing on all cylinders.
Green Bay is a threat every week, but this year they’re winless on the road. The Vikings will hope to keep that intact, and will need their defense to have a big day to do so.
Which Week 12 sleeper is the best fantasy football play?
This poll is closed
Minnesota Vikings DST vs Green Bay
David Njoku @ Cincinnati Bengals
D.J. Moore vs Seattle Seahawks
Marlon Mack vs Miami Dolphins
Nick Mullens @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers