Five Burning Questions for Week 12 (2020 Fantasy Football)
We’re getting close to the fantasy playoffs and down to crunch time. The schedule looks a little different this week because it’s Thanksgiving. Two games are scheduled for Thursday after the NFL pushed the Ravens and Steelers back to Sunday. Make sure you double-check your lineups and plan accordingly.
Let’s take a look at players to keep an eye on this Thursday, who you can stream, and who you should avoid this week.
A friendly reminder: Move any player who is starting on Thursday out of your flex spot if you can.
1. Should You Start Any Lions Players?
QB Matthew Stafford played last week with a partially torn ligament in his thumb, which was painfully obvious watching their game against the Carolina Panthers. They were also without star rookie RB D’Andre Swift and WRs Kenny Golladay and Danny Amendola. Stafford had his worst completion percentage, fewest yards, and didn’t throw a touchdown for the first time this season.
Sadly, both Golladay and Amendola are trending down in terms of their ability to start Thursday against the Houston Texans. Swift returned to practice on a limited basis, so his return is still up in the air. I would avoid Stafford and temper expectation for receivers WRs Marvin Jones and Marvin Hall, as well as TE T.J. Hockenson.
However, if Swift is able to suit up, Hockenson could be an interesting start at tight end if you are desperate. Swift brings a dynamic new identity to that offense that could help open up the passing game.
2. Who To Watch During the Washington-Cowboys Game?
By watch, I also mean start, and that is WR Terry McLaurin for the Washington Football Team. He’s seen seven or more targets in every game this season and is the primary leader in that receiving corps regardless of who’s in at quarterback. RB Antonio Gibson is also an excellent start who has grown into his own during his rookie year. He has scored a touchdown in each of his last four games, which includes two touchdowns in Week 10 against Detroit. Dallas has allowed nine touchdowns and 1,260 yards on the ground to running backs.
For real football, this game may be more interesting than we may expect. Washington’s defense has been stout (a good streaming option this week, as well) and despite a good showing against Minnesota, backup QB Andy Dalton may struggle in this matchup. You’re obviously starting RB Ezekiel Elliott, but temper expectations for WRs Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb against the number one ranked defense against wide receivers.
3. Is RB Gus Edwards Worth a Start Against Pittsburgh?
RBs J.K. Dobbins and Mark Ingram have tested positive for COVID-19 as part of a team outbreak that caused the AFC North clash to get pushed back from Thursday night. Just to be clear, this is different than getting placed on COVID-19/Reserve list due to contract tracing. Depending on their symptoms, it’s very possible we do not see either back in Week 13 either.
Edwards was likely the number one waiver pick up this week, and it makes total sense. The question this week is whether or not you should start him against the second-best defense versus RBs. The Steelers have allowed the ninth-fewest yards to running backs (832), second-fewest air yards (227), and are tied for the third-fewest touchdowns (five) and second-fewest receiving touchdowns (one) to running backs this season.
This matchup with the Ravens is a divisional grudge match. You may have to start Edwards, but remember that he will be capped in this game against Pittsburgh. Be prepared to sub in a player who has a high ceiling, but may also carry high risk if you are off to a slow start heading into Sunday’s games.
4. Who Can You Flex/Stream in Week 12?
Eagles fans, cover your eyes and skip to question five.
My streaming flex play of the week is Raiders WR Nelson Agholor. The Raiders have new life year under HC Jon Gruden, which we witnessed first-hand in their shocking win over the Chiefs in Week 5 and a close loss in Week 11. QB Derek Carr, who seems like a new man under center this year, is also an excellent streaming option this week.
Carr has used Agholor to stretch the field in tight games with back-and-forth scoring. Last week, Agholor scored 17.8 fantasy points in their loss to Kansas City that came down to the wire. In Week 9, he scored 12.5 in a close win over the Chargers. Back in Week 7, he scored nearly 20 points while the Raiders tried to make a comeback against the Buccaneers. See a trend?
This week, the Raiders face the Atlanta Falcons, who have been bleeding fantasy points to WRs all year. Coming off of a bad loss to the Saints and backup QB Taysom Hill, the Falcons will try and score as much as they can to get the win. They have no choice if they want to compensate for a porous secondary. This means Carr will use Agholor as his go-to target in order to keep up.
5. Who Should You Avoid in Week 12?
I understand that Denver RBs Melvin Gordon and Phillip Lindsay had nice stat lines in Week 11 against Miami. Gordon especially had a game, almost scoring three touchdowns if not for a fumble at the goal line. However, the Broncos will take on the best defense against RBs in the New Orleans Saints. They have allowed only three rushing touchdowns, 660 rushing yards (172 fewer yards than second-place Steelers), and only two receiving touchdowns to running backs.
If you have either of these two backs rostered, it’s likely they are flex or RB2 two option. I would look to swap these players out for a better option.
Happy Thanksgiving, and good luck in Week 12!
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