Fantasy Football Preview, Week 12: Crunch Time

Fantasy Football Preview, Week 12: Crunch Time

NFL Week 12 is here, and with just two more weeks to go until fantasy playoffs start, this Sunday’s matchups are critical. This week’s action kicks off with an AFC West showdown between the Kansas City Chiefs and the winless Oakland Raiders Thursday night at 8:25 Eastern.

New England running back Jonas Gray barnstormed the Colts last week, going off for 201 yards and four touchdowns on a whopping 37 carries. Gray will face the best run defense in the league this week in the Lions, so if you’ve added him, make sure to keep your expectations in check.

Tampa Bay wide receiver Mike Evans continued his hot streak, catching seven balls for 209 yards and two touchdowns. Evans has compiled over 450 yards and five touchdowns over his last three games; get him into your lineup this week against a weak Chicago Bears secondary. Speaking of the Bears, Brandon Marshall did some damage of own last week, grabbing 90 yards and two touchdowns in the Bears’ win over Minnesota. Marshall should remain hot this week against the Bucs.

On the quarterback front, Aaron Rodgers was up to his old tricks in the Packers’ demolition of the Eagles last week, completing 22 of 36 passes for 341 yards, three touchdowns, and no interceptions. It simply doesn’t matter who Rodgers plays week-to-week at this point; just keep trotting him out and you’ll be laughing all the way to the fantasy trophy room.

For those who read last week’s Fantasy Football Preview, San Diego wide receiver Malcom Floyd delivered, catching four balls for 44 yards and a score in the Chargers’ victory over the hapless Raiders, while Eagles wide receiver Jordan Matthews grabbed five catches for 107 yards and a touchdown against the Packers. Both receivers should be viable options for fantasy owners this week, particularly Matthews, as he’ll get a crack at the Tennessee Titans at home.

Here are this week’s player rankings for all offensive positions except kicker, and as always, some extra sleepers to propel your team into the playoffs.

Player Rankings, Week 12:


1. Aaron Rodgers, GB (@MIN)

2. Andrew Luck, IND (vs. JAX)

3. Peyton Manning, DEN (vs. MIA)

4. Drew Brees, NO (vs. BAL)

5. Colin Kaepernick, SF (vs. WAS)

6. Jay Cutler, CHI (vs. TB)

7. Tom Brady, NE (vs. DET)

8. Russell Wilson, SEA (vs. ARI)

9. Matthew Stafford, DET (@NE)

10. Philip Rivers, SD (vs. StL)


1. DeMarco Murray, DAL (@NYG)

2. Matt Forte, CHI (vs. TB)

3. Jamaal Charles, KC (@OAK)

4. Arian Foster, HOU (vs. CIN)

5. LeSean McCoy, PHI (vs. TEN)

6. Eddie Lacy, GB (@MIN)

7. Marshawn Lynch, SEA (vs. ARI)

8. Mark Ingram, NO (vs. BAL)

9. Andre Ellington, ARI (@SEA)

10. Alfred Morris, WAS (@SF)


1. Demaryius Thomas, DEN (vs. MIA)

2. Calvin Johnson, DET (@NE)

3. Jordy Nelson, GB 

4. A.J. Green, CIN (@HOU)

5. Dez Bryant, DAL (@NYG)

6. T.Y. Hilton, IND (vs. JAX)

7. Brandon Marshall, CHI (vs. TB)

8. Jeremy Maclin, PHI (vs. TEN)

9. Julio Jones, ATL (vs. CLE)

10. Mike Evans, TB (@CHI)


1. Jimmy Graham, NO (vs. BAL)

2. Rob Gronkowski, NE (vs. DET)

3. Julius Thomas, DEN (vs. MIA)

4. Antonio Gates, SD (vs. StL)

5. Larry Donnell, NYG (vs. DAL)

6. Martellus Bennett, CHI (vs. TB)

7. Travis Kelce, KC (@OAK)

8. Delanie Walker, TEN (@PHI)

9. Jason Witten, DAL (@NYG)

10. Mychal Rivera, OAK (vs. KC)

Breakout Alert, Week 12:

1. Isaiah Crowell, RB, CLE (@ATL) – With Ben Tate on his way to the Minnesota Vikings, Crowell and Terrance West are the only runners left in Cleveland. I like Crowell more than West; despite losing a fumble last week, he rushed for 64 yards on 14 carries, getting far more touches than West. Browns head coach Mike Pettine says the running back situation is week-to-week in Cleveland, but Crowell remains the best bet. Atlanta gives up the second most fantasy points to running backs this season.

2. Josh Gordon, WR, CLE (@ATL) – He’s back. Maybe we’re a little too enthusiastic on Browns players this week, but Gordon should feast on the Falcons secondary in his season debut. Gordon apparently looked great in practice this week, and he’s certainly well rested. Make sure the other players in your league didn’t sleep on Gordon and leave him on the wire. If he’s there, well, you know what to do.

3. Kenny Stills, WR, NO (vs. BAL) – With Brandin Cooks done for the season, Stills’s role should increase going forward. It’s always tough to pick which Saints receivers are going to have a nice day, but Stills definitely stands to benefit here. The matchup against the Ravens is pretty good, as Baltimore gives up the seventh most fantasy points to wide receivers this season. If you’ve got an empty wide receiver slot you need filled, give Stills a look.

For any last-minute lineup questions, find me on Twitter @NussBB.