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9 Sleeper Starts and Duds: Week 12 (Fantasy Football)

Nov 24, 2021

Week 12 is always a bit of a harder week for fake football GMs. We’re forced to have much of our lineup decisions sorted out by Thursday. For some people, that could mean automatically benching one of your questionable weekly starters because your best stopgap option is playing on Thanksgiving. Plus, injury news can break all throughout the day and that can obviously have a negative impact on our squad. The combination of football, food, and family or friends is an awesome one, but the dilemma the Thanksgiving slate places upon us is a little less so. Fortunately, we’re here to lend you a helping hand as we share our thoughts on which lower-ranked players we’re looking to start along with which higher-ranked athletes we’re tempering our expectations for.

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Q1. Who is a player outside of our top 100 flex rankings that is a deep sleeper start and why do you think he has upside this week?

Latavius Murray (RB – BAL) 
“While Devonta Freeman has been handling the backfield for the Ravens lately, I actually like Murray to find the endzone in his second game back from injury. He has scored in four of seven games this year, and he’s had a pair of catches in each of his last three contests. Meanwhile, the Browns have given up 100-yard rushers in each of their last two games and at least one rushing touchdown in four straight contests. They’ve also given up the seventh-most rushing touchdowns on the year, all of which makes Murray a borderline starter for me in Week 12.”
– Bart Wheeler (Hail to Fantasy Football)

Ty Johnson (RB – NYJ) 
“Johnson will get a big uptick in touches with Michael Carter sidelined the next couple of weeks. A matchup with the Texans in Week 12 puts him firmly in the flex conversation, as they are one of the worst run defenses in the league. Johnson hasn’t been used much as a ball carrier this year but he’s hauled in at least five catches in three of the last five games and found the end zone three times since Week 5. Johnson should bring a solid floor in PPR leagues and has a good chance to be involved near the goal line.”
– Pierre Camus (RotoBaller)

Nick Westbrook-Ikhine (WR – TEN) 
“I’m keeping an eye out for Westbrook-Ikhine. With injuries to A.J. Brown, Julio Jones, and Marcus Johnson, there are not many options left for Ryan Tannehill. Brown could be back, but either way, Westbrook-Ikhine more than proved himself this past week with seven receptions on eight targets for 107 yards. It’s a deep dart throw, but with so many star receivers on bye or injured, there are definitely worse options than him.”
– Garret Price (Dynasty Nerds)

Marquise Goodwin (WR – CHI) 
“This is truly a desperation play, but the path for upside is there with Goodwin this week against Detroit. The Lions’ secondary has struggled to slow down opposing wideouts all season long and Andy Dalton has shown that he can get the job done when called upon. With Allen Robinson all but ruled out already for this game, we should see Goodwin get enough work in a favorable matchup to be considered a deep sleeper start this week.”
– Kyle Yates (FantasyPros)

Cedrick Wilson (WR – DAL) 
“Wilson could play a big role for the Cowboys on Thanksgiving Day. Amari Cooper is on the COVID-19 list and won’t play. CeeDee Lamb has a concussion, and rarely is a player who sustains a concussion on a Sunday cleared to play a Thursday game. Wilson could be Dak Prescott’s No. 2 receiver behind de facto No. 1 Michael Gallup.”
– Pat Fitzmaurice (FantasyPros)

Q2. On the flip side, what player inside the top 40 flex rankings is likely to disappoint fantasy managers this week?

Leonard Fournette (RB – TB) 
“Fournette has turned into a dependable weekly RB2 for fantasy teams this year. He’s finished outside the top-15 running backs in PPR once since Week 4 and that came against the stifling Saints run defense. Another tough matchup looms in Week 12, as the Bucs face the Colts, who allow the fewest fantasy points per game to RBs on average. The Colts are one of the hottest teams in the league and control the game on the ground, making it unlikely the Bucs will be able to run at will so I recommend fading Fournette in favor of someone with higher upside.”
– Pierre Camus (RotoBaller)

“We certainly shouldn’t be completely fading Leonard Fournette this week, but there’s enough going against him to be at least concerned. The Colts are allowing the fewest fantasy points to opposing RBs this season and we could see the Bucs focus on the passing game versus trying to force something that might not happen. Fournette’s still a top-20 RB this week in my rankings, but we should at least be aware that he has a lower floor strictly due to the matchup.”
– Kyle Yates (FantasyPros)

Tee Higgins (WR – CIN) 
“I’m not feeling so great about starting Higgins after that two-catch performance against the Raiders last week. In fact, Higgins hasn’t had a touchdown since Week 2 and hasn’t hit the 100-yard mark since the middle of LAST season. The Bengals didn’t have to throw much in their Week 3 win in Pittsburgh, so we could be looking at a lot more Mixon on Sunday. Of course, the talent is there with Higgins, but if the targets aren’t, then he could be a disappointment based on where he’s ranked this week.”
– Bart Wheeler (Hail to Fantasy Football)

Myles Gaskin (RB – MIA) 
“Gaskin is getting heavy touch volume but isn’t producing much value. Over his last five games, Gaskin has had 84 carries and 17 catches, but he’s averaged 66 yards from scrimmage over that span. That’s only 3.9 yards per touch. Miami’s patchy offensive line ranks 31st in Football Outsiders’ adjusted line yards. Gaskin could struggle this weekend in a difficult matchup against the Panthers.”
– Pat Fitzmaurice (FantasyPros)

A.J. Dillon (RB – GB) 
“Dillon makes me a bit nervous this week. So far he hasn’t been overly efficient with his carries, and rushing yards and touchdowns will be hard to come by against the Rams’ defense. It’s unlikely that you have too many other options to play, but I would be shocked to see Dillon have a ceiling game this week.”
– Garret Price (Dynasty Nerds)

Thank you to all the experts for giving their sleeper starts and duds. Be sure to give them a follow on Twitter for more great advice. Also, please check out our latest podcast episode below.

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