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Fantasy Football: Week 12 Studs And Duds

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Fantasy Football: Week 12 Studs And Duds

Frank Victores-US PRESSWIRE

It’s Thanksgiving week, which starts a crucial time for fantasy football owners with the regular season winding down and the playoffs approaching. Three games are on the schedule for Thanksgiving, with the Houston Texans taking on the Detroit Lions and the Dallas Cowboys welcoming the Washington Redskins, followed by the nightcap with theNew England Patriots taking on the New York Jets.

There are no more bye weeks on the NFL schedule, so one potential headache for fantasy owners is now gone for another year. But multiple significant injuries in recent weeks look certain to alter results in a lot of fantasy leagues.

As I have done all season, I have once again attempted to focus on players I feel have good upside for fantasy owners this week (“Studs”) as well as those that have fairly significant downside potential (“Duds”) as well. I have also again tried to avoid clear-cut, obvious players that qualify as essentially matchup proof on a weekly basis, but at times those guys do land on my radar here.

By this point in the season most fantasy owners can pencil in the majority of their lineup each week, for better or worse, but being able to take advantage of good matchups among the less noteworthy names on a roster is still very important. Being able to recognize favorable or unfavorable circumstances for players has become a lot easier with a significant body of work available.

With all of that, here are my “Studs and Duds” for Week 12.

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Stud QB- Andy Dalton, Cincinnati Bengals


Dalton threw for 230 yards and accounted for three touchdowns (two passing, one rushing) against the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 11, giving his six touchdown passes over his last two games heading into a favorable matchup in Week 12 against theOakland Raiders. The Raiders have allowed the third-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks (18.3 per game, ESPN scoring), including 20 passing touchdowns to the position (tied for second-most in the league). Oakland has also intercepted just six passes all season and just one in their last three games. Dalton is a virtual must-start if you can start two quarterbacks, and is worth considering as a QB1 in deeper leagues.

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Dud QB- Matt Stafford, Detroit Lions


Stafford went 17-for-39 for 266 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions last week against the Green Bay Packers, as his inconsistent recent run continued. He now gets what looks to be a challenging matchup on Thanksgiving Day against the Houston Texans, who are still in the top 10 of the league against opposing quarterbacks (12.8 fantasy points per game, ESPN scoring) despite allowing Chad Henne of the Jacksonville Jaguars to throw for 378 yards and four touchdowns in Week 11. Add a thinning wide receiver group for Detroit withTitus Young suspended for this week’s game, and Stafford is likely to have a hard time getting back on track this week.

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Stud RB- Doug Martin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers


Martin had 24 carries for 138 yards and four catches for 23 yards in Week 11 against the Carolina Panthers, giving him at least 135 rushing yards in three of his last four games. Now another favorable matchup is coming against the Atlanta Falcons this week, as the Falcons have allowed 18.1 fantasy points per game to opposing running backs (seventh-most in the league) and at least 100 rushing yards to the position in all but two of their games. Martin should get a significant workload again on Sunday as the Buccaneers’ offense tries to control the ball, and he makes for a solid RB1 with upside regardless of league format.

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Dud RB- Marshawn Lynch, Seattle Seahawks


Lynch had 27 carries for 124 yards and a touchdown against the New York Jets in Seattle’s last game in Week 10, and now has four straight 100-yard games with a touchdown in three straight games. But a tough matchup is coming on the road against the Miami Dolphins in Week 12, as the Dolphins have allowed 12.6 fantasy points per game to opposing running backs (tied for sixth-fewest, ESPN scoring) and just one rushing touchdown to the position since Week 1. Lynch should see enough carries to put up a decent yardage total on Sunday, but fantasy owners need to keep expectations in check this week.

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Stud WR- Victor Cruz, New York Giants


Cruz had just three receptions for 26 yards in Week 10 against the Cincinnati Bengals, and had just 10 catches over the three games heading into the Giants’ bye week last week. A chance for a turnaround is coming in Week 12 against the Green Bay Packers, who are in the bottom 10 of the league against opposing wide receivers (22.4 fantasy points per game, ESPN scoring) and have allowed more than 20 fantasy points to the position in three of their last four games. The return to full health of Hakeem Nicks (foot/knee) will also help Cruz find room to operate against a Green Bay secondary that will be without Charles Woodson. Fantasy owners that have waited for Cruz to put together a big game may not have to wait any longer after Sunday night’s game.

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Dud WR- Brandon Lloyd, New England Patriots


Lloyd had four catches for 45 yards against the Indianapolis Colts in Week 11, as he also saw the field for just over half of the Patriots’ offensive snaps (34 out of 61). He now has less than 50 receiving yards in four straight games, and four of his last five games overall, ahead of a tough matchup against the New York Jets in Week 12. Despite allowing five touchdowns to the position over the last two weeks, the Jets have still allowed the fifth-fewest fantasy points to opposing wide receivers (16.3 per game, ESPN scoring). Lloyd is also dealing with a knee injury, and even though it has not prevented him from playing the injury may be a factor in his recent dismal production. A declining role, an injury and a tough matchup combine to give Lloyd a lot of downside this week.

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Stud TE- Aaron Hernandez, New England Patriots


Fantasy owners that have him have certainly been glad that Hernandez (ankle) has been declared out fairly early over the last two weeks, but multiple reports suggest he will play Thanksgiving night against the New York Jets. The Jets have allowed the sixth-most fantasy points to opposing tight ends (8.4 per game, ESPN scoring), and if Hernandez is active he should get plenty of opportunities with Rob Gronkowski (forearm) out. Do be sure he at least remains on track to be active before confidently putting him into your lineup, but those that have hung onto Hernandez are likely to be glad they remained patient this week.

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Dud TE- Heath Miller, Pittsburgh Steelers


Miller had just two catches for 22 yards against the Baltimore Ravens last week, and has now gone three straight games without a touchdown. With Ben Roethlisberger (shoulder, ribs) still out and Byron Leftwich (ribs) now sidelined, the Steelers will start Charlie Batch under center against the Cleveland Browns in Week 12. The Browns come into the week allowing just 4.6 fantasy points to opposing tight ends (fewest in the league, ESPN scoring) and have only allowed more than five catches to an individual tight end once all season. Miller has been a surprisingly productive player for fantasy owners for much of this season, but circumstances dictate benching him if you have a better option this week.