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Fantasy Football 2012: Week 12 Underrated Starters

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Fantasy Football Underrated Players for Week 12

Cary Edmondson-US PRESSWIRE

Week 12 of the 2012 fantasy football season is here and the players on bye no longer affect owners. This means that owners can now access all of the players on their roster from this point forward. With no more bye weeks, starting the right players is of utmost importance.

Regardless of where owners are in the standings, it is very difficult for them to correctly predict their optimum starting lineup from week to week. Whether it is deciding among the options they currently own to scouring available options for improvement in Week 12, owners must assess all of the games of the week, determine which available players may overachieve and find hidden gems amongst players that a majority of owners are not starting this week. Regardless of the standings, Picking the right players to start each week could very well serve as the difference between success and failure in Week 12.

Making decisions on who to start every week is one of the unique aspects of fantasy football. With just one game a week for every player, good decisions by one owner can put them in a position to beat any other owner. In Week 12, there are decisions that need to be made in order to put up the best possible starting lineup. Here’s a look at some players at each position with great Week 12 situations and should be considered for starting in more leagues.

* The following players on this list are ranked and are started in under 50% of Yahoo! fantasy football leagues. Player percentage owned/started data and season statistics are accurate as of Friday, November 23, 2012.

Austin Chang is a featured columnist and fantasy sports expert at Rant Sports and you can follow him on Twitter @_austinchang.

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QB Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco 49ers


QB Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco 49ers (at New Orleans Saints, 28% owned, 12% started)

Season statistics: 449 passing yards, 2 passing touchdowns, 187 rushing yards, 3 rushing touchdowns, 1 fumble lost

Yahoo! Sports Staff Composite Ranking: 6

Kaepernick played extremely well last week in his first career start. Supposedly named the starter in Week 12 against the Saints, who have one of the worst defenses in the league, he could easily take advantage of this great matchup and is certainly worth starting despite his inexperience.

Other underrated quarterbacks of Week 12: Cincinnati Bengals’ Andy Dalton (vs. Oakland Raiders, 81% owned, 43% started), New York Giants’ Eli Manning (vs. Green Bay Packers, 96% owned, 41% started), Tennessee Titans’ Jake Locker (at Jacksonville Jaguars, 17% owned, 5% started)

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RB Bryce Brown, Philadelphia Eagles


RB Bryce Brown, Philadelphia Eagles (vs. Carolina Panthers, 26% owned, 12% started)

Season statistics: 141 rushing yards, 8 receiving yards

Yahoo! Sports Staff Composite Ranking: 14

Another case of a player taking over for an injured player, Brown would start on Monday night if LeSean McCoy is unavailable. With McCoy being held out of practice this week with a concussion, he should be a quality starting option against a Panthers defense that on average allows 18.6 fantasy points per game to opposing running backs.

Other underrated running backs of Week 12: Indianapolis Colts’ Vick Ballard (vs. Buffalo Bills, 39% owned, 16% started), Denver Broncos’ Ronnie Hillman (at Kansas City Chiefs, 61% owned, 32% started), Saints’ Darren Sproles (vs. 49ers, 92% owned, 36% started)

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WR Michael Crabtree, San Francisco 49ers


WR Michael Crabtree, 49ers (at Saints, 80% owned, 47% started)

Season statistics: 8 rushing yards, 541 receiving yards, 5 touchdowns

Yahoo! Sports Staff Composite Ranking: 20

Crabtree has been on fire as of late with a touchdown reception in each of his last three games. With Kaepernick behind center, he should be a top option for the second-year player and is definitely a player worth keeping active against the Saints this week.

Other underrated wide receivers of Week 12: San Diego Chargers’ Danario Alexander (vs. Baltimore Ravens, 45% owned, 26% started), Jaguars’ Cecil Shorts (vs. Titans, 57% owned, 33% started), Packers’ James Jones (at Giants, 89% owned, 49% started)

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TE Brandon Myers, Oakland Raiders

Cary Edmondson-US PRESSWIRE

TE Brandon Myers, Raiders (at Bengals, 57% owned, 39% started)

Season statistics: 554 receiving yards, 3 touchdowns

Yahoo! Sports Staff Composite Ranking: 4

Myers had one of his best games last week against, no surprise, the Saints where he was targeted 10 times by Carson Palmer. While the Bengals should present a slightly-tougher matchup this week, he has continued to thrive in offensive coordinator Greg Knapp’s system and could continue to build on his breakout campaign with another solid outing against Cincinnati.

Other underrated tight ends of Week 12: Panthers’ Greg Olsen (at Eagles, 71% owned, 39% started), Packers’ Jermichael Finley (at Giants, 78% owned, 46% started), Jaguars’ Marcedes Lewis (vs. Titans, 14% owned, 9% started)

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K Matt Prater, Denver Broncos


K Matt Prater, Broncos (at Chiefs, 55% owned, 47% started)

Season statistics: 1 0-19 FG, 4 20-29 FG, 5 30-39 FG, 2 40-49 FG, 3 50+ FG, 34 PAT made

Yahoo! Sports Staff Composite Ranking: 5

Prater had a big, busy day in Week 11 against the Chargers with three made field goals and three made extra points. Despite missing a field goal in each of his last two games, he continues to be one of the most productive kickers in fantasy football due to Denver’s efficient offense. Week 12 against the poor Chiefs defense should be no different.

Other underrated kickers of Week 12: Titans’ Rob Bironas (at Jaguars, 27% owned, 15% started), Bengals’ Mike Nugent (vs. Raiders, 19% owned, 11% started), Eagles’ Alex Henery (vs. Panthers, 18% owned, 11% started)

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St. Louis Rams team defense


St. Louis Rams team defense (at Arizona Cardinals, 34% owned, 27% started)

Season statistics: 225 points allowed, 29.0 sacks, 8 interceptions, 1 fumble recovery, 1 defensive touchdown, 2 blocked kicks

Yahoo! Sports Staff Composite Ranking: 6

The Rams will face rookie quarterback Ryan Lindley this week, which only adds to the defense’s likelihood of forcing turnovers and putting pressure on the Cardinals offense. It also helps that the Rams’ Week 5 matchup against the Cardinals this season was also one of their best defensive performances of the season.

Other underrated team defenses of Week 12: Cardinals team defense (vs. Rams, 59% owned, 43% started), Bengals team defense (vs. Raiders, 51% owned, 39% started), Panthers team defense (at Eagles, 14% owned, 11% started)