6 Interesting Tidbits for Week 12 (2019 Fantasy Football)
Week 12 is here, which means we are finally nearing the end of bye weeks. This slate of games is the last time we have more than two teams off, with the Minnesota Vikings, Kansas City Chiefs, Arizona Cardinals and Los Angeles Chargers all on bye. While you are probably not panicking to fill out a starting roster this week, it can still be tough to determine who to play in what may be a must-win week for you.
Below, I have six tidbits for Week 12 than can provide a bit of insight and clarity for this slate of games. These tidbits can be useful for projecting value, both good and bad, for season-long or daily fantasy. All ranks and fantasy points take half-PPR scoring into account.
Historically, T.Y. Hilton has performed incredibly well against the Houston Texans, and he has another terrific matchup on Thursday if he is active.
T.Y. Hilton has missed three consecutive games with a calf injury and is listed as questionable for Thursday’s matchup with the Texans. Hilton said he would play on Thursday if he checks all of the boxes. Texans defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel seems more certain about Hilton’s status, saying “yes, he’s going to play.” Assuming Hilton is active, you should not be conservative with the Colts receiver, based on his past performances against the division rivals.
In 15 career games against the Texans, Hilton has averaged 5.5 catches for 101.3 yards per game, totaling 10 touchdowns across the 15 performances. This equals an average of 16.86 fantasy points per game. Against the other 30 NFL teams, Hilton averages just 70 receiving yards and 0.35 touchdowns per game. Aside from his past performances, the Texans allow the fifth-most fantasy points to opposing WRs, at 32.5 per game.
With Sam Darnold under center, Jamison Crowder sees a big boost in targets and fantasy points.
In seven games with Sam Darnold under center, Jamison Crowder averages a team-high 8.4 targets per game and 12.8 fantasy points per game. For perspective, 12.8 fantasy points – a number he’s exceeded in each of his last three games – would rank tied for 18th among WRs who have played more than four games. Over the past three weeks, Crowder has been the top WR in fantasy, averaging 17.0 points.
Darnold has targeted Crowder on 24% of his throws, which is the ninth-most among all QB-to-receiver combos in the league. This type of usage and production is even more impressive when you consider the tough matchups Crowder has faced. He runs 74 percent of his routes from the slot, and he has faced a defense that ranks top-15 in slot WR points allowed in six of his seven games.
Crowder will continue to be force-fed targets every week, making him truly matchup-proof the rest of the way.
If George Kittle is active, he has a matchup against Green Bay that looks even better than first glance.
The 49ers are optimistic Kittle will be active for Week 12 against the Packers, after feeling good and looking a bit better towards the end of last week. However, if he is to miss yet another game, we can replace Kittle with Ross Dwelley, and the rest of this info will remain identical. Dwelley ran a route on 72.7 percent of Jimmy Garoppolo’s dropbacks last week in Kittle’s absence, seeing five targets, turning two into touchdowns.
The Packers have been bad against opposing TEs this season, allowing 12.1 fantasy points per game, which is the fourth-worst in the league. However, things have been much worse for Green Bay over the past five weeks, giving up an average of 20.2 fantasy points to TEs. This is by far the most over this stretch, giving up 5.6 fantasy points more than Tampa Bay, who has been second-worst over this stretch.
In case you were curious, Arizona, who still ranks the worst in the league against TEs, has been fourth-worst over this stretch, surrendering 14.0 fantasy points per game.
Allen Robinson is in a bounce-back spot in Week 12, having the best individual matchup of the week, according to Pro Football Focus.
It was a rough Week 11 for Robinson, totaling just 15 yards on four catches. This is the second time has been held under 20 yards in the past three games, but he is in a terrific bounce-back spot in Week 12 against the New York Giants, who surrender the second-most fantasy points to WRs this season. He has an even better individual matchup, facing DeAndre Baker most of the day. Baker is the worst graded corner, among the players that have seen at least half of the snaps. He has given up 629 yards and six touchdowns this season.
The QB throwing Robinson the ball is still a bit of a question mark, but it is assumed that Chase Daniel will be under center on Sunday. Daniel has played essentially two games for the Bears this season. In those two games, Robinson caught 14/15 targets, taking them for 174 yards and two touchdowns. While I assume you didn’t think a switch from Mitch Trubisky to Daniel would be a significant downgrade, it’s still reassuring to see Robinson get a big dose of targets no matter who is throwing the ball.
Despite the increase receiving role on the Denver Broncos, TE Noah Fant could be in for a tough day against the Buffalo Bills.
Since trading away Emmanuel Sanders, the Broncos offense has featured rookie TE Noah Fant much more. He has been targeted a total of 24 times in the three games, turning them into 12 catches for 201 yards and a touchdown. He also has been targeted five times in the end zone during this stretch but has not turned any of those targets into scores.
Going forward, Fant will be a solid fantasy producer and could put together a league-winning performance down the stretch. However, a performance like that is not likely in Week 12 versus the Bills. The stingy Buffalo defense has been the toughest against opposing TEs this season, allowing just 5.0 fantasy points per game. This is due to versatile safety Micah Hyde, who Fant will be facing on Sunday. Fant sees a 19 percent matchup disadvantage, according to Pro Football Focus.
Also, and this has nothing relevant to do with this tidbit, Fant and Hyde are both former Hawkeyes, so maybe Hyde is slightly more familiar with his game than the typical weekly matchup. Probably not, but it is pretty neat.
Younghoe Koo has a top kicking matchup against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
While there is always a bit of randomness in kicking performances, especially with the way this season is going, Atlanta Falcons kicker Younghoe Koo has a top kicking matchup this week. Tampa surrenders the most fantasy points per game to kickers, at 9.5. This is because their secondary is terrible, but their run defense is actually quite good. In other words, teams are able to drive the field on the Bucs, but when they get into the red zone and the passing is tougher, this benefits the Tampa secondary, and the big guys are taking care of business upfront. This leads teams to settle for field goals.
This narrative sets up perfectly for the Falcons, who still have an above-average passing game, but their running game is almost nonexistent. Also, TE Austin Hooper looks to be out again for Atlanta, taking away their top red-zone weapon, which could lead to many sputtering drives and kicking opportunities for Koo.
Zach Brunner is a featured writer for FantasyPros. For more from Zach, follow him @fantasyflurry.