Thanksgiving and the penultimate week of the fantasy football regular season are upon us as fantasy teams make a final push towards the playoffs.
The holiday may look different for many Americans this year, but the 2020 NFL season appears to be forging ahead, even in the midst of an active COVID-19 outbreak within the Ravens’ organization.
Finish off the season strong and don’t forget to set your lineups for Week 12 between bites of turkey and stuffing. Check out some good plays at each position below, as well as some other players you should consider avoiding.
If you need a streaming option or injury fill-in, check out Week 12 waiver wire pickups here.
Who to Start in Week 12
Derek Carr (QB), Las Vegas Raiders at Atlanta Falcons
It’s been an up-and-down year for Carr’s production in fantasy, but he is coming off of his second-best game all season. He completed 23 of 31 attempts for 275 yards, three touchdowns and one interception against the Chiefs in Week 11. He and the Raiders will face a much easier opponent this week in Atlanta, whose defense has given up the second-most fantasy points to quarterbacks this year. Slot Carr in as a low-end QB1 and solid one-week streamer.
Gus Edwards (RB), Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh Steelers
The Ravens’ three-headed running back committee — which has been a headache for fantasy managers all season long — has whittled down to one heading into the team’s Thanksgiving showdown against the AFC North-rival Steelers. Mark Ingram and rookie J.K. Dobbins were among the Ravens players who tested positive for the coronavirus and were placed on the COVID-19/reserve list this week, leaving Edwards and Justice Hill to shoulder Baltimore’s run-heavy workload. The matchup isn’t great against Pittsburgh, which has a top-three run defense, but Edwards did tally 16 carries for 87 yards and a touchdown in Week 8. He is the presumed lead back and should be started with confidence as a RB2 come Thursday.
Wayne Gallman (RB), New York Giants at Cincinnati Bengals
Gallman has quietly stepped up since Week 7 with Saquon Barkley out for the year. He scored in four consecutive games before the team’s Week 11 bye. He should have ample scoring opportunities this week on the road against Cincinnati with Devonta Freeman still on injured reserve. Pencil Gallman in as a solid RB2 option with upside.
Justin Jefferson (WR), Minnesota Vikings vs. Carolina Panthers
Jefferson delivered once again in Week 11 against the Cowboys, catching three of five targets for 86 yards and a touchdown. He could be the No. 1 target for the Vikings heading into Week 12 with Adam Thielen on the COVID-19/reserve list after testing positive. The test was later revealed to be a false positive, but Thielen’s status remains up in the air for this week. Jefferson remains a high-end WR2 with or without Thielen on the field.
Brandin Cooks (WR), Houston Texans at Detroit Lions
Cooks’ targets cooled off in Week 11, but he still managed to reel in four catches for 85 yards. He should bounce back in the first game of the Thanksgiving triple-header against the Lions, who are subpar against the pass. It helps that quarterback Deshaun Watson has been phenomenal since Bill O’Brien was fired after Week 4. Cooks is a WR2 this week with upside.
Hunter Henry (TE), Los Angeles Chargers at Buffalo Bills
Henry has scored in each of the last two games and posted consecutive top-six finishes. Granted, one of those matchups was against a tanking Jets team, but the Chargers face the Bills on the road this week, who currently rank 30th in the NFL in fantasy points allowed to tight ends. Henry is a mid- to high-end TE1 this week.
Who to Sit in Week 12
Carson Wentz (QB), Philadelphia Eagles vs. Seattle Seahawks
This is a mouthwatering matchup against the Seahawks’ porous defense, but Wentz has been playing very subpar football. He has posted three consecutive lackluster fantasy performances and now leads the NFL in interceptions (14 through 10 games). He has most of his weapons back from injury, but still can’t seem to find his groove, due in part to Philadelphia’s offensive line, which is allowing a league-high four sacks per game. He falls outside the top 12 this week with zero teams on bye.
Leonard Fournette (RB), Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Kansas City Chiefs
Fournette salvaged an otherwise unremarkable outing last week with his first touchdown since Week 2. He posted seven rushes for 17 yards and caught one of four targets for nine yards, while Ronald Jones saw ten carries for 24 yards. Much to the dismay of fantasy managers, neither Fournette nor Jones have managed to pull away as a clear cut stud in this backfield. They are both risky starts this week against the 9-1 Chiefs.
Le’Veon Bell (RB), Kansas City Chiefs at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Bell scored his first touchdown in a Chiefs uniform in Week 11 against the Raiders. His usage has been disappointing, however, and has seen just 5.75 carries per game behind rookie Clyde Edwards-Helaire, who is still dominating touches for Kansas City. The former Jet faces the Buccaneers’ top notch defense, which ranks second in the NFL in fantasy points allowed to running backs this season. Edwards-Helaire is the lone running back you should feel comfortable starting on either side of the ball in this game.
Marquise Brown (WR), Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh Steelers
Brown recorded zero catches on three targets in Week 11 against a below average Titans’ secondary. His “squeaky wheel” approach hasn’t panned out, and he has been unable to capitalize on his targets over the past three weeks. He could see more targets with both Dobbins and Ingram sidelined, but the matchup against the Steelers isn’t great. He isn’t a trustworthy start in even the deepest of leagues at this point.
Tee Higgins (WR), Cincinnati Bengals vs. New York Giants
All of the Bengals’ pass catchers will be impacted to some degree by the change at quarterback after 2020 No. 1 overall pick Joe Burrow suffered a torn ACL and major structural damage in Week 11. Brandon Allen will get the start for the Bengals, which isn’t likely to bode well for Higgins, who was having a breakout rookie season. Higgins caught three of ten targets for 26 yards last week and is nothing more than a deep league flex play moving forward.
Jared Cook (TE), New Orleans Saints at Denver Broncos
Cook’s production has been nearly nonexistent over the past two weeks. He was catch-less in Week 10 and caught one pass for six yards in Week 11 versus the Falcons, whose defense has been comically bad against tight ends this year. The Saints face a more formidable adversary this week on the road in Denver, who just quelled Miami’s five-game win streak last week. Cook falls significantly shy of the TE1 threshold, even with the bleak landscape at the position.