Fantasy Football Overvalued/Undervalued: Week 12 (2020)
Happy Thanksgiving weekend, everyone! If you have Antonio Gibson, Deshaun Watson, Will Fuller, Adrian Peterson, or Amari Cooper in your lineup, I’m guessing you’ve thoroughly enjoyed the holiday even if you didn’t get to spend it with family and friends like most years. But if you were facing any of those guys? It probably seemed like the turkey was overcooked, the cranberry sauce was too sour, the potatoes were lumpy, and your weird uncle wouldn’t stop talking your ear off during the Zoom meeting.
I usually try to begin this column with some profound thoughts about fantasy football, but to be honest I am still in a food coma as I write this, so I’m going to keep things simple this week. I just want to convey that I am very thankful to have the normalcy of football during this very abnormal Covid-19 year, even if the fantasy season has been tougher to navigate than ever. And most of all, I am thankful for you, my readers. When I get positive feedback on a stat I dug up or a piece of lineup advice I doled out, it really does make my day. So keep reading — and keep engaging!
Week 11 was a solid one for my overall rankings, but not so much for the overvalued and undervalued picks. I did really nail my QB selections, though, anticipating that Andy Dalton would get the Cowboys’ passing game going and correctly calling that Jameis Winston would end up behind Taysom Hill in the Saints’ QB pecking order. I was frankly astounded at how much groupthink there was dismissing Hill in the fantasy community, and if you’d like to know why check out my Twitter timeline or this little rant on MFSN’s The Hub.
Outside of QB, my picks didn’t work out too well. I apparently inspired Jonathan Taylor, Robert Woods, and Hunter Henry to have their best fantasy performances of the season (or close to it) by labeling them as overvalued. Oof. I also swung and missed on Gus Edwards and Rob Gronkowski, who both flopped, while Amari Cooper was only ok (I was a week early on him as it turns out).
As always, my Week 12 overvalued and undervalued picks come against FantasyPros’ Expert Consensus Rankings for 0.5 PPR formats. Keep those start/sit questions coming on Twitter — I’m @andrew_seifter — and make sure to subscribe to MFSN’s The Hub on YouTube to get my waiver wire picks every Tuesday and strategy tips every Saturday.
Overvalued: Russell Wilson (SEA)
My Rank: QB6
Russ’s cooking hasn’t been so tasty lately. Over the last three games, he’s finished as the fantasy QB13, QB21, and QB12. Perhaps more importantly, he threw multiple interceptions in Weeks 7, 9, and 10 (all Seahawks losses), leading to a season-low in pass attempts (28) and passing yardage (197) in Week 11. Is Pete Carroll taking Chef Russ out of the kitchen?
The Seahawks will surely need Wilson to drop back to pass 40+ times again at some point, and when they do, I expect huge stats to follow. I’m not doubting Wilson’s ability for one second. But it only makes sense that Carroll would seek to re-establish the running game that the team has traditionally been built around, especially if Chris Carson is able to return to action this week. The Seahawks are healthy five-point favorites over the Eagles, who allow the sixth-fewest passing yards and third-fewest passing touchdowns per game. Philadelphia hasn’t given up a touchdown pass since Week 7 or allowed an opposing QB to top 245 passing yards since Week 3. With turnover machine Carson Wentz constantly creating run-heavy game scripts for the Eagles’ opponents, it’s no surprise they rank near the bottom of the league against the run. Look for Seattle to get out to an early lead and grind the rock, limiting Wilson’s chances to put up gaudy fantasy numbers.
Undervalued: Teddy Bridgewater (CAR)
My Rank: QB14
Bridgewater has been cleared to play this week after missing Week 11 with a knee injury, and he returns to a plum matchup with the team that drafted him way back in 2014. The Vikings have been an exploitable matchup for opposing QBs and that continued last week when Andy Dalton tossed three touchdowns against them. It marked the fifth time this season that Minnesota has surrendered 3+ passing scores, and they’ve allowed 290+ passing yards five times as well. Bridgewater hasn’t thrown three touchdowns in a game yet this season, but he has produced three TDs in each of his last two games when you also account for rushing scores. As the QB16 in fantasy points per game, I am comfortable ranking him a couple of spots above that for this favorable matchup. He’s a solid streamer in single-QB formats.
Overvalued: David Montgomery (CHI)
My Rank: RB26
Montgomery has cleared the concussion protocol and will return to action on Sunday night against Green Bay, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he belongs in your fantasy lineup. The Packers are certainly a favorable matchup — they’ve given up 100+ scrimmage yards to a running back in four of the last five games — but is the Bears’ running game good enough to take advantage? There is some reason to believe that Montgomery is better than his surface stats suggest, but there is no getting around the fact that he is merely the RB29 in fantasy points per game or that Chicago ranks dead last in the league in rushing. I’ll be the first to say that opportunity is king in fantasy football, but Montgomery is the exception that proves the rule.
Undervalued: Chase Edmonds (ARI)
My Rank: RB23
Much as Montgomery is overrated due to his spot atop the depth chart, Edmonds is underrated due to the perception that he is the backup running back in Arizona. The reality is that Edmonds ranks 13th in fantasy points per game among RBs over his last seven games, three spots ahead of teammate Kenyan Drake over his last seven contests. Drake only missed one game during Edmonds’ hot streak (Week 9), and it wasn’t even one of Edmonds’ better statistical performances. The bottom line is that Drake and Edmonds each have distinct roles within the Cardinals’ high-powered offense, and both are perfectly capable of producing RB2 numbers in fantasy leagues. This week, the duo face off with a Patriots defense that allows the 12th-most rushing yards per game.
Overvalued: Sterling Shepard (NYG)
My Rank: WR44
People seem to take it as an article of faith that Shepard is the quintessential WR3, but I’m not so sure. He’s merely the WR47 in fantasy points per game this season, which is even lower than I have him ranked this week. If you were going to make a case for him, it would likely involve pointing out that he has at least six catches in four straight games and is facing the Bengals. But even over that four-game stretch, Shepard has failed to ever top 74 yards, scored just once, and ranks as the WR41. Shepard is the kind of heavily-targeted possession receiver that has a reasonable floor, but with just 10 touchdowns over the last four seasons combined, his ceiling is painfully low, even against Cincinnati.
Undervalued: Jamison Crowder (NYJ)
My Rank: WR29
Now, you might be saying to yourself, “Crowder is a low-upside possession receiver just like Shepard. Why does this guy hate the Giants and like the Jets?” I’d respond that 1) nobody likes the Jets, or at least Adam Gase’s version of the Jets, and 2) there are some key differences between Shepard and Crowder. To begin with, Crowder has much more of a nose for the end zone; his nine touchdowns in 22 games with the Jets far outpace Shepard’s 10 TDs over his last 43 games with the Giants. Second, Crowder has shown big-play upside this season that Shepard has not, including three 100-yard games. Two of those 100-yard games came in the only two games Crowder has played with Sam Darnold, who is returning to the lineup this week.
Crowder’s two most recent games were disappointing, but he was working his way back from a groin injury while catching passes from Joe Flacco. He went back to being a near-every down player in Week 11 and has a great shot to get back on track statistically against Miami’s middle of the road pass defense.
Overvalued: Austin Hooper (CLE)
My Rank: TE16
It’s a fine line between the starting lineup and the trash heap when it comes to tight ends. Hooper is a player I was hyping in this space just a couple of weeks ago, with the thinking being that the Browns’ glaring need for reliable pass-catchers would allow him to relive his Atlanta glory days. Instead, Hooper has continually disappointed fantasy managers, just as Odell Beckham Jr., Jarvis Landry, Rashard Higgins, and David Njoku did before him. Hooper is a fine player, but it’s a fool’s errand to invest in the passing game in Cleveland, where the winds swirl at 40 miles per hour and the team has attempted the second-fewest passes behind only the Vikings, Browns coach Kevin Stefanski’s former squad.
It doesn’t take much to be a top-12 TE these days, and yet Hooper barely ranks inside the top-30 in fantasy points per game. His matchup with the Jaguars is appealing, but it’s simply not enough to go on to feel comfortable streaming him in most formats.
Undervalued: Kyle Rudolph (MIN)
My Rank: TE14
I haven’t given serious consideration to starting Rudolph in a fantasy league in years, but here we are. Adam Thielen, the Vikings’ leading target-getter, is not expected to play this week, nor is Rudolph’s main competition at tight end, Irv Smith Jr. Rookie sensation Justin Jefferson is great and all, but Kirk Cousins is going to need a second option, and backup wideouts Chad Beebe and Olabisi Johnson may not fit the bill.
Over a four-game stretch that Thielen missed at this time last year (Weeks 10-14), Rudolph hauled in four touchdown catches. Yes, the same argument I used against Hooper also applies to Minnesota’s low-volume passing attack, but the Vikings have done far more with their limited pass attempts than the Browns have. It might make me a bit queasy to say it, but Rudolph is a decent streamer if you are digging deep at tight end this week.
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