Fantasy Football Rankings Week 12: Sleepers, projections, starts, sits | Zach Charbonnet, AJ Dillon and more

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Fantasy Football Rankings Week 12: Sleepers, projections, starts, sits | Zach Charbonnet, AJ Dillon and more

Read The Athletic’s fantasy football QB stock watch for Week 12. 

Kyren Williams is back, Zach Charbonnet is a top play, Isaiah Likely is a tight end sleeper and Odell Beckham is relevant again… it’s Thanksgiving week for sure. The Week 12 fantasy football rankings have some interesting names in start-worthy territory, and the game previews have the relevant nuggets to give you an edge. Plus, it’s Thanksgiving food talk to round things (like your belly! badabum-chhhh) out…

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WEEK 12 FANTASY FOOTBALL PREVIEWS

** BYES: NONE **

NOTE: ALL of the stats are SINCE WEEK 6 — unless noted. That’s because it’s good to look at recent performance versus year-long with defenses, etc., as in-season adjustments can change things.

Acronyms

  • RBTouch% — RB touch percentage — percent of team total RB touches that player had
  • TmTGT% — Team target percentage — percent of team total targets going to that player
  • TGT% — Percentage of the time a player is targeted when running routes
  • G2G and GL — Goal-to-Go (inside the 10-yard line) and Goal-Line (inside the 5-yard line)
  • TmAirYD% — Team Air Yard percentage — percent of team total air yards going to that player
  • CPOE — Completion percentage over expectation — allowed completion percentage adjusting for difficulty of the pass (depth, coverage, etc.)
  • Stuff% — A run that doesn’t go for a touchdown, 4+ yards on first down or 3+ yards on any other down
  • Explosive Run — Any rush of 15+ yards
  • YPRR — Yards per Route Run — rather valuable indicator

Packers at Lions, 12:30 p.m., Thanksgiving

  • AJ Dillon is a volume-reliant RB2 with Aaron Jones out.
  • The Lions are fifth in team yards before contact — Jahmyr Gibbs is first (2.42) and David Montgomery fifth (2.23) for RBs with at least 20 rushes.
  • They’re also third and fifth in yards per touch at 7.5 (Monty) and 6.4 (Gibbs). Keaton Mitchell (10.4), Kyren Williams (7.9) and Jaylen Warren (7.4) are the others in the Top 5.

Commanders at Cowboys, 4:30 p.m., Thanksgiving

  • Brian Robinson is a locked-in RB1, even in a tough matchup, if Antonio Gibson is out. If Gibson plays, Robinson is an RB2.
  • The Cowboys have the third-highest QB pressure rate (43.8%), Sam Howell has the most QB pressures (106), Baker Mayfield second (97). When under pressure, Howell also has the 11th-highest Comp% (53.2) and ninth-best YD/Comp (13.9).
  • Conversely, the Commanders have the second-lowest pressure rate (27.2%), and Dak Prescott leads in TD/ATT when not under pressure (9.2% — Brock Purdy second at 8.2% — Kenny Pickett last at 1.1%).
  • The Cowboys lead the league with 36.5% of their drives ending in touchdowns, ahead of the Eagles and Ravens — the other two teams over 30%.

49ers at Seahawks, 8:20 p.m., Thanksgiving

  • Even against the 49ers, Zach Charbonnet is an RB2 with no Kenneth Walker. If KW3 plays, both would be risk/reward RB2/3s.
  • DK Metcalf has actually increased his FPPG over last year (11.4 from 10.9), and while it’s not to his 2020 level, Metcalf has been consistent as a fringe WR2/3 with 8.9-17.9 points in all but one game. Not what we hoped, but not awful either.
  • Brock Purdy has six games of 18+ points, tied with Sam Howell, and only behind Jalen Hurts (9), Justin Herbert and Josh Allen (8 each).

Dolphins at Jets, 3:00 p.m., Friday

  • If De’Von Achane plays, he’s worth the upside as an RB2/3, but without him, Raheem Mostert is MUST-start and Jeff Wilson an RB3/4.
  • The Jets have the lowest — by far — rate of drives ending in a touchdown at 4.8% with the Panthers second-worst (9.6%).
  • The Jets, Chiefs and Broncos are the only three teams not to have a single game total hit the over (five games each).

Saints at Falcons, 1 p.m.

  • With Michael Thomas on IR, A.T. Perry is a high-ceiling/high-risk play and Rashid Shaheed is a solid WR3/4. If Derek Carr can’t go, we know Jameis Winston‘s style makes it all more boom/bust, but it also spoils the Taysom Hill TE1 fun.
  • Desmond Ridder leads the league with 6.7% INT+Fumbles (per dropback or rush) — Aidan O’Connell is next at 5.5%.
  • Drake London was targeted on 22.7% of his routes with Ridder and just 13.0% with Taylor Heinicke — his OFFTGT% of targets was also just 12.1 with Ridder as opposed to 33.3 with Heinicke.

Steelers at Bengals, 1 p.m.

  • Without Joe Burrow, Ja’Marr Chase is a fringe WR1, Tee Higgins is out, so Tyler Boyd is a WR4/5 and Trenton Irwin a Hail Mary.
  • Diontae Johnson had 49.9% of his team’s air yards — last year’s league leader was DJ Moore at 47.6%.
  • The Bengals have the lowest run Stuff% (38.0) with the Broncos second (38.9).
  • Joe Burrow had an 84.5 Catchable TGT% (league-best of qualified QBs) with 10.7 OFFTGT% (second-lowest) while Jake Browning sits at 71.4% and 28.6%.

Panthers at Titans, 1 p.m.

  • Derrick Henry is averaging 4.2 YPC this year (T23 among qualified RBs), tied for a career-low in 2017, when he was splitting work with DeMarco Murray and had Marcus Mariota at quarterback.
  • Bryce Young leads in OFFTGT% (17.7) with O’Connell second (16.0) and Matthew Stafford third (14.2) — Stafford might not finish the season and could give way to Carson Wentz, for those who need to make backup/depth quarterback plans.
  • Chuba Hubbard has five G2G rushes and three GL attempts compared to zero for Miles Sanders.

Buccaneers at Colts, 1 p.m.

  • The Buccaneers allow the highest Comp% (69.8), PassYPG (302.0) and CPOE (6.8%), most receiving TDs (14) and second-highest YD/REC (12.9).
  • The Colts have the must RushYPG allowed (140.2) with the Cardinals second (138.7).
  • Rachaad White is sixth in FPPG since Week 7, partly due to four touchdowns and a league-high 256 receiving yards for running backs — the Colts just let Rhamondre Stevenson and Ezekiel Elliott combine for 33-for-142 on the ground and 7-5-48 receiving before the bye. — Update, if White is out, Chase Edmonds is a risky flier RB3/4 and Ke’Shawn Vaughn the same in half/full-PPR. I wouldn’t want to start either.

Patriots at Giants, 1 p.m.

  • The Giants offense has the highest 3-and-Out% at 52.6 with the Raiders and Colts tied for second at 40.0%.
  • Only the Panthers have a lower Explosive Play% than the Patriots (7.0 and 7.2).
  • The Giants have been the toughest against opposing tight ends in EPA — nearly double the EPA of the Browns.
  • Since missing Week 6, Demario Douglas had 22.8 TmTGT% and 21.9 TmAirYD% for 29-20-218-0 receiving.

Jaguars at Texans, 1 p.m.

  • Trevor Lawrence leads the league in First-Read% (82.9) with Tua Tagovailoa second (75.7) and Russell Wilson lowest (49.3) — in the games with Zay Jones, Calvin Ridley has a 28.3 First-Read% and 24.5 TGT% with Christian Kirk 25.5 and 20.3. Without Jones, Ridley is 21.4 and 17.3 while Kirk is 24.7 and 22.4.

Browns at Broncos, 4 p.m.

  • The Browns have the second-highest QB pressure rate (45.4%), but Russell Wilson has the second-best Passer Rating (115.7) when under pressure (Lamar Jackson 133.9) and highest TD/ATT (12.8% — Jackson second at 8.9%).
  • The Browns forced the second-highest 3-and-Out% (48.7) and the Broncos are sixth in going 3-and-Out% (38.9) — TEN (defense) vs CAR (offense) and NO (defense) vs ATL (offense) are the only other two matchups with oppositions in the Top 10 for each… hope that made sense, haha, these are bad matchups for the offenses.
  • Courtland Sutton is the leader in TD/TGT (16.1%) followed by Romeo Doubs (14.3%).
  • David Njoku leads all tight ends in yards after the catch per reception at 8.69 — also only second to Noah Brown at 9.06.

Rams at Cardinals, 4 p.m.

  • Kyren Williams is a fringe RB1/2. There is Top 10 upside, but the Rams could ease him in, which means Royce Freeman (goal line carries) is a Hail Mary RB4, hoping for a touchdown.
  • Williams is/was second only to Keaton Mitchell in missed tackles forced per attempt (0.55) with Mitchell at 0.75.
  • Over the last four weeks, Trey McBride is Top 10 in TmTGT% (T7 at 30.2%) and TGT% (8th at 29.2%) among WRs and TEs — T.J. Hockenson is the only other tight end inside the Top 10 for both.

Chiefs at Raiders, 4 p.m.

  • Davante Adams and Jakobi Meyers are third and fourth in the percentage of their targets that are off-target (24.6% and 24.2%) behind Jonathan Mingo (32.0%) and Odell Beckham (29.0%).
  • The Raiders allow a league-high 1.81 yards before contact (Ravens second, surprisingly, at 1.65).
  • No Chiefs receiver has more than 12.6% of the targets (Rashee Rice) with all receivers not named Kadarius Toney ranging from 44.5-68.9% of routes run and 205-420 receiving yards.

Bills at Eagles, 4 p.m.

  • The Bills are the only teams failing to cover a spread in five games (six played) with the Chargers failing in four of six.
  • Khalil Shakir saw an immediate jump with the loss of Dawson Knox and more three-wide for the Bills, but he’s hovered in 70.4-75.0% of routes and 8.0-15.4% of targets. Exciting ceiling but a risky floor, keeping him in the WR4 conversation.
  • Last year, DeVonta Smith jumped from 21.6 TGT% to 24.4 and 25.9 TmAirYD% to 36.9 when Dallas Goedert was out. This year, those numbers are even more stark going from 15.5 to 30.2 TGT% and 27.3 to 51.6 TmAirYD%.

Ravens at Chargers, SNF

  • A healthy Odell Beckham is in play as a WR3/4 with Top 20 upside. If he’s out, Zay Flowers becomes more appealing, and Isaiah Likely is worth a gamble either way.
  • The Chargers allow the highest Catch% (84.0) with the Cardinals second (79.9%).
  • Week 11 was the first game since Week 7 (second game back from injury) that Austin Ekeler didn’t score double-digits. Ekeler still had 5.8 YPT and 6.4 YPR, both second-highest outside his Week 1 performance — and the Ravens’ run defense hasn’t been unstoppable with Derrick Henry, Jahmyr Gibbs, Jerome Ford and Joe Mixon all reaching double-digits against them over the last six games.

Bears at Vikings, MNF

  • The Vikings are the only team that has covered the spread in every game the last six weeks (6-for-6) — CLE, DAL, JAX, and PHI all have only missed it once.
  • If D’Onta Foreman is out, Khalil Herbert is pushing RB2 value with Roschon Johnson an RB4 gamble. If Foreman plays, he’d be an RB3 with Herbert fringe RB2/3.
  • The Bears continue to have the highest Stuff% on opponent rushes (52.8% — Commanders second at 51.8%).
  • After limiting the Broncos run game, the Vikings have now held all opposing running backs to 65 rushing yards or fewer since D’Andre Swift in Week 2, and only Isiah Pacheco and Christian McCaffrey reached double-digits with Swift this season.

WEEK 12 FANTASY FOOTBALL SLEEPERS

These are sleepers (DuckTales and Darkwing Duck style — Woo-oo is worthy of the risk in most leagues, and Dangerous is if you need a Hail Mary). They will not mimic my rankings 100%. This is about chasing upside and often carries more risk — put simply, they are upside plays you might consider over a solid floor option.

Woo-oo Worthy

  • QB: Gardner Minshew, IND
  • RB: Isiah Pacheco, KC; Rhamondre Stevenson, NE
  • WR: Zay Flowers, BAL; Adam Thielen, CAR
  • TE: Evan Engram, JAX

Let’s Get Dangerous

  • QB: Jordan Love, GB
  • RB: Ty Chandler, MIN; Keaton Mitchell, BAL
  • WR: Khalil Shakir, BUF; Tutu Atwell, LAR (if Cooper Kupp is out)
  • TE: Isaiah Likely, BAL

FUN WITH RANKINGS!

Thanksgiving is here, so it’s food time! Before we settle into football watching and carb comas between the afternoon/evening games, it’s time for the Top 10 Best — and Worst — Thanksgiving sides.

Best Thanksgiving Sides

  1. Crescent rolls — Breads in general. Hate it all you want, but when do you eat it? With the food… on the side. I could crush an entire basket of them and not blink — warm, fluffy, dripping with butter… drool
  2. Sweet potato… something — I’m not sure what to call it, but thinly sliced, baked in this syrup/brown sugar glaze — candied yams maybe? Sweet potato casserole is a good backup.
  3. Stuffing — Homemade!
  4. Mashed potatoes
  5. Mac and cheese — I can see arguing it’s not a real Thanksgiving dish, and my family doesn’t do it, but if I’m somewhere with it being offered for consumption, you know I’m having some
  6. Stuffed mushrooms
  7. Roasted potatoes (red skin) or potatoes au gratin (not going to lie, I had to look up the spelling)
  8. Cornbread — and NO, cornbread does NOT have actual corn pieces in it
  9. Antipasto salad — Many variations, but my family’s is pepperoni, soppressata, cheddar, mozzarella, pepper jack, artichoke and an Italian dressing
  10. More rolls and stuffing! — Seconds of these are better than anything else you could add to your plate.

Worst Thanksgiving Sides

  1. Ambrosia Salad — I don’t know what unicorn fairy banished to hell thought of this, but this fruit stuff is nightmare fuel.
  2. Salad, salad — A salad? Who’s trying to eat healthy on Thanksgiving or wants to waste time with a salad to start? Just get to the good stuff!
  3. Premade veggie tray — Laziest side dish — aka, your lame friend who spent five minutes and dollars bringing their “contribution to the party”… which they don’t even eat while gobbling down all the good stuff — and you have this.
  4. Coleslaw — I love coleslaw, but it has no place or relevance with Thanksgiving.
  5. Kale — This “superfood” is super disgusting no matter how many times your friends want to ramble on about it while showing you IG photos of their Cross Fit classes, 20-mile hikes and hemp shoes.
  6. Creamed spinach — Is this a dip? It’s not a side dish, that’s for sure. It’s more like when my dog ate pieces of a green toy and puked it up.
  7. Soup — Like salad, why are we wasting time with pre-meal items? No one is sick. Keep your water food away from Thanksgiving!
  8. Corn/Peas canned stuff — Really, any canned vegetable is lame, tasteless and left for the kiddie table.
  9. Cranberry sauce — This will get the most hate because I know many who absolutely love this red, Jell-O-like, glop of “fruit.”
  10. Green bean casserole — How can we make green beans even worse? Put soup on them! Creamy — often mushroom — soup stuff and crunchy onions make them better? Bleh.

WEEK 12 FANTASY FOOTBALL PROJECTIONS

🚨 HEADS UP 🚨 These can differ from my rankings, and my ranks are the order I’d start players outside of added context, such as, “Need highest upside, even if risky.” Also, based on 4-point TDs for QB, 6-point rest, and Half-PPR

Projections Download Link — Saturday


WEEK 12 FANTASY FOOTBALL RANKINGS

🚨 HEADS UP 🚨

  • There is no perfect widget out there, sadly, still. I know many view this on your phone, but 1) use the rankings widget on a PC/laptop/etc. if possible or 2) open in your phone’s browser, especially for Android users, to get the scrolling to properly work.
  • ECR = “Expert” Consensus Ranking (which isn’t updated by everyone consistently, so take with a grain of salt).
  • Updated regularly, so check up to lineups locking.

(Photo by Mark Alberti/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)