Fantasy Football Overvalued/Undervalued: Week 12 (2019)
When it comes to Week 12, there’s good news and there’s bad news. The good news is that we’ve finally reached the final week of byes for the 2019 season. The bad news is that the teams on bye this week include the Chiefs, Vikings, and Chargers, which each possesses at least two players who typically rank among the top-15 at their respective positions. Even the fourth team on bye, Arizona, has its fair share of intriguing fantasy options.
The other bad news is that most of this week’s games project to be fairly low-scoring. Outside of the juicy Tampa Bay-Atlanta matchup, and perhaps Seattle-Philadelphia, it’s hard to find many games that are likely to turn into fantasy-friendly shootouts. I suppose that’s an argument for starting your studs even in tough matchups, which is really what we should be doing anyway.
As far as last week’s picks go, there’s similarly some good and bad to report. My big errors were underrating Jimmy Garoppolo, who apparently doesn’t need his top receivers to destroy Arizona’s shoddy pass D, and overrating Tyler Boyd, whose previous high weekly floor was shattered by Ryan Finley. My support for Nick Foles and the skepticism of Terry McLaurin worked out much better. My undervalued tight end (Darren Fells) didn’t do a whole lot, but he was still better than my overvalued one (Jack Doyle), who didn’t even show up in the box score. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, I refuse to take an “L” on Kalen Ballage, who outperformed his ranking due to a goal-line plunge but was historically bad otherwise.
As always, my picks for over- and undervalued players for Week 12 are based on FantasyPros’ Expert Consensus Rankings for half PPR formats. I’m also always available on Twitter @andrew_seifter to field your lineup questions.
Overvalued: Jimmy Garoppolo (SF)
My Rank: QB15
I just got finished eating crow on Jimmy G for last week, but here I go doubting him again. I feel like there could be some recency bias at play in his current QB1 ECR because there are plenty of reasons to be concerned about his outlook this week. For one, he’ll be going up against a run-funnel Packers defense that has only allowed 12 passing scores in 10 games. It sounds like his top target George Kittle could return this week, but even if he does, Kittle, Emmanuel Sanders, and Deebo Samuel will all be operating at less than 100 percent health. Outside of two huge games against the Cardinals, Garoppolo hasn’t done much against anybody else this year besides the lowly Bengals in Week 2. He’s far from a matchup-proof QB1, especially with a banged-up receiving corps, but that’s precisely how the ECR seems to view him.
Undervalued: Dak Prescott (DAL)
My Rank: QB8
I did a Reddit AMA on Tuesday, and one thing I was asked about on more than one occasion was whether to stick with Prescott for this week’s brutal matchup with New England. And make no mistake, the matchup is definitely brutal. The Patriots have remarkably only given up four passing touchdowns all season, and the 214 passing yards Carson Wentz had against them last week was the first time they allowed over 200 since Week 1. But they haven’t exactly faced a daunting schedule of opposing QBs, and the one truly elite fantasy QB they did face — Lamar Jackson — did just fine against them.
Dak may not be quite in Lamar’s class (is anyone?), but he’s the QB3 for the season and only trails Lamar in fantasy scoring over his last five games. I’m glad to see the fantasy industry as a whole delivering the message that Prescott is now essentially matchup-proof, but I’d add that he’s a better play than someone like Aaron Rodgers, who hasn’t been nearly as good as Dak and has an equally daunting matchup at San Francisco this week. I can’t quite bring myself to stream Baker Mayfield over Dak, either.
Overvalued: Tarik Cohen (CHI)
My Rank: RB37
The case against Cohen is pretty cut and dried, in my opinion. He currently ranks outside the top-40 RBs in points per game in 0.5 PPR formats, and there is little reason to believe his outlook is going to suddenly improve. Sure, his numbers from last week look decent because he found the end zone, but he is never going to be a great bet to score as the passing down back for a dysfunctional Bears offense. He played extended snaps last week because the Bears fell behind the Rams by two scores in the first half, but he typically plays fewer snaps than David Montgomery in neutral game scripts, and the Bears are favored by six points over the Giants this week. We know what Cohen is at this point, and it isn’t a high-end RB3.
Undervalued: Derrius Guice (WAS)
My Rank: RB22
Putting Guice among my top-24 RBs is admittedly a calculated gamble after he only got eight touches last week, but I have a feeling this could be a breakthrough week for the talented 2018 second-rounder. He flashed his upside with a 45-yard touchdown reception last week and should get more and more work for a Washington team that is already looking towards the future. It just makes sense for Washington to phase 34-year-old Adrian Peterson out of the game plan — remember, he was inactive in Week 1 before Guice got hurt — and that decision could be made easier now that AP is dealing with a toe injury. Peterson is expected to suit up, and Chris Thompson could return, too, but Guice is still the best bet to lead this backfield and get double-digit touches.
If he does indeed get starter’s snaps and touches, Guice is primed for a huge game against a Lions defensive front that has given up the most fantasy points to RBs of any team in the league. Peterson was averaging 96 rushing yards in the four games prior to Guice’s return, and Guice certainly has the skill set to pick up right where AP left off.
Overvalued: James Washington (PIT)
My Rank: WR41
Washington’s ascension to WR3 status in the ECR this week presumably has to do with Juju Smith-Schuster’s likely absence from the lineup and a friendly matchup with Cincinnati, but I’m still not quite buying it. Facing off with the Bengals is obviously a plus, but they’ve been much weaker against opposing RBs than WRs. Meanwhile, Diontae Johnson is trending towards getting cleared from the concussion protocol in time for the game, and Johnson has consistently played ahead of Washington this season when both have been healthy.
Johnson and Jaylen Samuels are both better bets for targets than Washington, so the real question is: do we really want to bank on the third receiving option in this offense? With just a single TD in four of his last five games and an average of only 194 passing yards per game, Mason Rudolph is doing a good job of proving that he isn’t the QB of the future in Pittsburgh.
Undervalued: Marvin Jones (DET)
My Rank: WR23
I made the case on Twitter a few weeks back that Jones is the most underrated wide receiver in fantasy football, pointing out that he has performed as the WR6 (2017), WR26 (2018), and WR10 (2019) in non-PPR formats over the last three seasons. Since then, Jones has managed to keep producing with backup QB Jeff Driskel under center, hauling in five balls for 77 yards in Week 10 and two touchdown catches last week. Sure, his four touchdown explosion in Week 7 is somewhat inflating his 2019 numbers, but that is far from the only big game he’s had this year — he’s got two other games with 100+ yards and a TD plus last week’s two-TD performance. He’s also got a pretty decent matchup with Washington this week, but the key point is that Jones is producing like a player who should just about always be in fantasy lineups, regardless of the matchup or Matthew Stafford’s status.
Overvalued: Vance McDonald (PIT)
My Rank: TE19
If James Washington is the third receiving option in the Steelers’ anemic passing “attack,” that makes McDonald the fourth option. That should be enough of a reason to fade him, but if you’re still on the fence just glance at McDonald’s stats. He hasn’t topped 40 yards in a game all season and has only scored one touchdown since Week 2. I get that he’s facing the Bengals and that tight end is a wasteland, but I’d still rather invest in a guy in a better offense like the next name on this list.
Undervalued: Jimmy Graham (GB)
My Rank: TE13
Graham looked pretty good in his last game before the Packers’ Week 11 bye, and should be rested and (relatively) healthy for a big primetime matchup with San Francisco. Graham has had his fair share of duds this season to be sure, but while McDonald has failed to clear 40 yards all season, Graham has done it in four of his last seven games. He’s also a much better bet than McDonald to find the end zone when you factor in his red zone skill set and the fact that he’s catching passes from Aaron Rodgers. It’s true that the 49ers are a great defense and have been particularly stingy against tight ends, but they haven’t faced many good ones. The last decent tight end they did face, Jacob Hollister, caught eight balls for 62 yards and a touchdown against them.