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The Primer: Week 12 Edition (2022 Fantasy Football)

by Derek Brown | @dbro_ffb | Featured Writer
Nov 24, 2022
The Primer: Week 12 Edition (2022 Fantasy Football)

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Denver Broncos vs. Carolina Panthers

Pace and playcalling notes

  • If there’s any silver lining to this disgusting game, it’s that both teams sprint in neutral environments. Denver is sixth in neutral script pace, and Carolina is ranked 12th. Denver continues to rely on Russell Wilson, ranking 12th in neutral passing rate. Carolina has gone ground and pound with the 12th-highest neutral rushing rate.

Quarterbacks

Russell Wilson: Wilson is a weekly QB2. Since Week 5, there’s been one game where he’s finished higher than QB20 (QB15). The falloff for Wilson has been tough to watch this season. He’s 27th in PFF passing grade, 27th in adjusted completion rate, and 26th in fantasy points per dropback. The hope candle for this offense was extinguished long ago. Since Week 6, Carolina has conceded the 12th-highest success rate per dropback. They are also 20th in passing yards per game and 14th in explosive pass rate allowed.

Sam Darnold: I can’t craft you any pro-Darnold narrative. Not against Denver. This secondary is suffocating. The Broncos have held quarterbacks to the third-fewest passing yards per game, the fourth-lowest EPA per drop back, and the tenth-lowest explosive pass rate. The Broncos have surrendered the second-fewest fantasy points per game to quarterbacks. The answer regarding Darnold is no. Just no.

Running Backs

Latavius Murray: Well, we finally have an undisputed workhorse in Denver. Time to rejoice, right? Not exactly. With Melvin Gordon gone and Chase Edmonds on the IR, Murray slides into a nearly every down role. This could not be any grosser. Among 69 running backs with at least 25 carries, Murray ranks 67th in yards after contact per attempt and 50th in PFF’s elusive rating. Murray has zero breakaway runs with his 74 carries. Last week he churned out 72 total yards with his 21 touches. He’s purely a gross volume play as an RB3 who likely outplays that ranking if he scores. Carolina has not been good at attempting to stop the run. Since Week 6, they are 24th in rushing yards per game, 22nd in EPA per rush, and 27th in explosive run rate allowed.

D’Onta Foreman: If the Panthers can keep this game close, they will ride Foreman. Foreman has eclipsed 25 carries with at least 115 rushing yards in two of his last four games. In the other two games where Carolina lost, he averaged nine touches and 22.5 total yards. Foreman can be crushed by game script in any week. He’s been an effective early-down hammer when Carolina can lean on him. Foreman ranks 30th in yards after contact per attempt, 23rd in breakaway rate, and 34th in PFF’s elusive rating (minimum 25 carries). Denver has toughened up against the run, ranking tenth in rushing yards per game, 15th in EPA per rush, and 11th in explosive run rate allowed since Week 6.

Chuba Hubbard: Even when the script flipped, Hubbard wasn’t useful last week. He played 40% of the snaps turning his six touches into 25 yards. Hubbard has been unable to surpass 2.2 yards after contact per attempt in three of his last four games. He’s a low-end stash at this point, in case Foreman misses any time.

Wide Receivers

Courtland Sutton: Sutton is the WR35 in fantasy points per game. He hasn’t finished a week higher than WR26 since Week 4. With Jeudy out the last two games, he’s averaged nine targets (26.9% target share), 5.5 receptions, and 73 scoreless receiving yards. His 2.35 yards per route run last week was his highest single-game mark since Week 3. Sutton is eighth in deep targets and 22nd in red zone targets (one touchdown). Sutton is a WR3 that will run about 86% of his routes against Jaycee Horn (51.7% catch rate, 31.3 passer rating) and C.J. Henderson (72.7% catch rate, 106.6 passer rating). Horn hasn’t shadowed all season. Sutton has some hope, but he has to make the most of his targets against Henderson.

Kendall Hinton: Hinton is a viable WR4/5. Over the last two weeks, Hinton has had an 11.9% target share with 2.33 yards per route run while running 57% of his routes from the slot. Hinton will match up with Jeremy Chin (91.7% catch rate, 118.8 passer rating) this week. If Sutton is locked down, Hinton could get more looks this week. Hinton nearly scored last week but was pushed out of bounds near the goal line.

Jerry Jeudy: Jeudy has been ruled out. 

D.J. Moore: Moore is back to suffering through wretched quarterback play. No, Darnold against the Denver secondary doesn’t give me more hope. After a brief flash of brilliance as the WR9 and WR5 in Weeks 7-8, Moore has been the WR60 and WR62 over the last two games. Moore has a 26.7% target share (14th) and 42.1% air yard share (second). Moore could get shadowed by Patrick Surtain (59% catch rate, 89.1 passer rating) this week. Surtain has followed top receivers five times this season, blanketing them on at least 72% of their routes three times. Moore is a scary WR4.

Terrace Marshall: Marshall was limited in practice on Wednesday and Thursday before upgrading to a full practice Friday. Since Week 7, Marshall has been a full-time player in this offense with a 19.4% target share, 41.7% end zone target share, and 33.7% air yard share. He’s finished as a WR3 or better twice. Over this five game stretch Marshall has a 2.38 yards per route run and 83% route run rate. Marshall is a WR4/5 that will run about 92% of his routes against Surtain and Damarri Mathis (70.8% catch rate, 99.1 passer rating).

Tight Ends

Greg Dulcich: After coming out the gate hot, Dulcich has disappeared in the last two games as the TE35 and TE16. Dulcich has a 16% target share (14th) with seven deep targets (third) but only one target inside the 20-yard line. Carolina has allowed the eighth-most receptions and 14th-most receiving yards to tight ends. Dulcich is a borderline TE1.

TB vs. CLE | CIN vs. TEN | HOU vs. MIA | CHI vs. NYJ | ATL vs. WAS | DEN vs. CAR | BAL vs. JAC | LAC vs. ARI | LV vs. SEA | LAR vs. KC | NO vs. SF | GB vs. PHI | PIT vs. IND | BUF vs. DET | NYG vs. DAL | NE vs. MIN

Baltimore Ravens vs. Jacksonville Jaguars

Pace and playcalling notes

  • Baltimore is 32nd in neutral pace while riding their run game with the eighth-highest neutral rushing rate.
  • Jacksonville has been pushing the pace, ranking fifth in neutral environments while operating with a balanced philosophy (18th in neutral passing rate).

Quarterbacks

Lamar Jackson: At best, Jackson has been a low-end QB1 since Week 4. Over the last seven games, he has had three QB1 finishes but none higher than QB9. In this same period, he has surpassed 50 rushing yards five times. While his rushing equity has allowed his floor to remain high without garnering rushing scores or passing touchdowns, his ceiling has been lowered. Since Week 4, Jackson has thrown for multiple touchdowns only once and has only one rushing touchdown. Luckily this is a spot for Jackson to get back on track against a floundering Jaguars’ secondary. Since Week 6, Jacksonville has been 31st in pass defense DVOA, ranking 31st in passing yards per game and 32nd in EPA per dropback. Jackson is a weekly QB1, but he could creep back into the top five this week.

Trevor Lawrence: This matchup is no joke for Lawrence. Since Week 6, Baltimore is ninth in pass defense DVOA giving up the tenth-lowest success rate per dropback and EPA per dropback. Over their last five games, Baltimore has surrendered the second-fewest fantasy points per game to quarterbacks. Lawrence has been playing better and has added some rushing to his repertoire. Since Week 6, he’s 17th in PFF passing grade and 13th in adjusted completion rate (minimum 100 dropbacks). He’s finished as a QB1 in four of his last five games, surpassing 23 rushing yards four times (three rushing touchdowns). Lawrence is a borderline QB1.

Running Backs

Gus Edwards: Edwards practiced in full on Thursday and Friday. He has been listed as questionable. In his two active games, he’s averaged 28% of the snaps with 13.5 rushing attempts and 65.5 rushing yards. It’s a small sample of 27 carries, but when active Edwards has been extremely efficient. Among all running backs with at least 25 carries he ranked second in yards after contact per attempt and first in PFF’s elusive rating. Since Week 6, the Jaguars are 15th in rushing yards per game, 13th in EPA per rush, and 20th in explosive run rate allowed. Edwards is an RB3 with upside for more if he gets into the endzone this week.

Kenyan Drake: In Edwards’ two active games, Drake has averaged 11 touches and 36 total yards. He’ll take a back seat to Edwards on early downs and in the red zone. Drake is an RB4.

Travis Etienne: Since Week 7, Etienne has played at least 78% of the snaps averaging 21.6 touches and 120 total yards. In his last six games, Etienne has only once finished lower than RB22 (RB25). Etienne is seventh in breakaway run rate, 24th in evaded tackles, and 18th in yards created per touch. He’ll have his hands full with a Ravens run defense that’s been a brick wall. Since Week 6, they are second in rushing yards per game, 11th in EPA per rush, and first in explosive run rate allowed.

Wide Receivers

Demarcus Robinson: Before anyone gets carried away with Robinson’s Week 11 performance realize that’s only the second time this season he’s eclipsed 60 receiving yards or WR4 status. He’s finished outside the top 80 wide receivers in fantasy five times. Robinson is 44th in PFF receiving grade, 56th in yards per route run, and 54th in targets per route run. Robinson is a WR5/6 that will run about 92% of his routes against Tyson Campbell (58.8% catch rate, 80.5 passer rating) and Darious Williams (58.8% catch rate, 87.5 passer rating).

Devin Duvernay: Duvernay is a similar crapshoot as Robinson. He’s the WR53 in fantasy points per game with only three games as a WR3 or better. He’s finished outside the top 60 fantasy wideouts in four of his last five games. Duvernay has a 12.8% target share and a 15.3% target per route run rate (88th). He’s a deep league dart throw flex at best that will run about 69% of his routes against Campbell and Williams.

Christian Kirk: Kirk is the WR12 in fantasy sporting a 24.6% target share (23rd), 27.7% target per route run rate (14th), and a 28.1% air yard share (29th). Kirk is fourth in deep targets while also seeing ten downfield (28th) targets. Kirk is 21st in PFF receiving grade and 26th in yards per route run (minimum 25 targets). The Ravens have split slot coverage over the last few weeks between Marlon Humphrey (72.7% catch rate, 52.8 passer rating) and Kyle Hamilton (71.4% catch rate, 80.7 passer rating). Kirk is a WR2.

Zay Jones: Zay Jones is the WR39 in fantasy points per game with a 20.9% target share and 19.8% air yard share. Zay Jones has been utilized in the short and intermediate areas (7.4 aDOT, 83rd). Zay Jones is a low-ceiling WR4/5 with one red zone target over his last six games. He’ll run about 65% of his routes against Stephens and Marcus Peters (67% catch rate, 109.4 passer rating).

Marvin Jones: Ok, the last time I went out on the Marvin Jones limb slightly, he finished with one grab and 33 receiving yards (vs. KC), so understand this is risky. If you need a ceiling play at flex, Marvin Jones could be it this week. Marvin Jones has a 16.0% target share and 28.6% air yard share (26th) as Jacksonville’s field stretcher. He is seventh in aDOT and leads the team with 14 deep targets. Jones will run about half of his routes against Brandon Stephens (career: 68% catch rate, 125.5 passer rating). Baltimore is allowing the highest deep ball completion rate (25th in DVOA vs. deep passing) in the NFL. They are eighth in deep passing yards allowed. Jones is a WR5 that could pay off big this week.

Tight Ends

Mark Andrews: Andrews returned last week as a full-time player handling 93% of the snaps. Andrews is the TE2 in fantasy, ranking top-two in target share (29.3%), target per route run rate (30.6%), and air yard share (34.1%) at the position. Andrews is sixth in deep targets and third in red zone targets. Jacksonville is 32nd in DVOA against tight ends allowing the 11th-most receiving yards and third-highest yards per reception.

Evan Engram: Engram is a borderline TE1. He’s the TE18 this season, handling a 15.3% target share (15th) and seven deep targets (third). Engram is 21st in yards per route run. His biggest deterrent to a high ceiling is that he only has four red-zone looks this season. Baltimore is 25th in DVOA against tight ends allowing the fourth-highest catch rate and seventh-most receiving touchdowns (tied).

TB vs. CLE | CIN vs. TEN | HOU vs. MIA | CHI vs. NYJ | ATL vs. WAS | DEN vs. CAR | BAL vs. JAC | LAC vs. ARI | LV vs. SEA | LAR vs. KC | NO vs. SF | GB vs. PHI | PIT vs. IND | BUF vs. DET | NYG vs. DAL | NE vs. MIN

Los Angeles Chargers vs. Arizona Cardinals

Pace and playcalling notes

  • This is arguably the best game environment for a ton of plays and passing attempts. Each team ranks inside the top ten in neutral pace (LAC first, ARI third) and neutral passing rate (LAC eighth, ARI ninth).

Quarterbacks

Justin Herbert: Herbert is the QB12 in fantasy living off massive volume. With the Chargers’ pace-up approach, Herbert is second in passing attempts. With injuries hampering this passing attack and Ekeler becoming a focal point, Herbert ranks 35th in aDOT. He’s also tenth in PFF passing grade, eighth in adjusted completion rate, and seventh in passing touchdowns. With healthier weapons last week, we saw his aDOT climb to 9.1. Arizona isn’t a pass-defense to fear. Since Week 6, they have allowed the second-highest success rate per dropback. They also rank 23rd in passing yards per game in that period. The Cardinals have allowed the most YAC and missed tackles in the NFL. Herbert can pepper the short areas of the field this week to a big day. He’s a strong QB1.

Kyler Murray: Murray has practiced in full all week and doesn’t carry an injury designation into this game. In the three games Murray has played with Hopkins, he’s 20th in PFF passing grade, second in passing attempts, and tenth in adjusted completion rate (minimum 25 dropbacks). He finished as QB10, QB3, and QB8. Murray logged at least 30 rushing yards in each game. Since Week 6, the Chargers are 22nd in EPA per dropback, 22nd in explosive pass rate, and seventh in yards per attempt. Murray is a strong QB1 who could finish top five if this game shoots out.

Running Backs

Austin Ekeler: Ekeler still wears the crown as the RB1 in fantasy averaging 19.2 touches and 97.1 total yards. He’s 12th in opportunity share, first in weighted opportunities, third in red zone touches, and second in total touchdowns. Ekeler is matchup-proof with his 21.2% target share (second). He’s eighth in yards per route run, 17th in evaded tackles, and 12th in breakaway runs. Ekeler will eat the Arizona defense alive. The Cardinals are 18th in rushing yards per game, 26th in EPA per rush, and 26th in explosive run rate since Week 6. Arizona is 30th in DVOA against receiving backs giving up the tenth-most receptions, fourth-highest yards per reception, and fourth-most receiving touchdowns (tied). Ekeler is RB1 overall again this week.

BETTLE MATCHUP OF THE WEEK

Each week, we’ll pick a matchup of the week, presented by Bettle. For Week 12, Austin Ekeler is our Bettle Matchup of the Week.

Beettle, Play the Field

James Conner: Conner has been reinstalled as Arizona’s bell cow. He played 96% of the snaps in Week 10. Last week, his snap count and usage were noisy because the team pulled their starters late as they were getting truck sticked by San Francisco. Conner has played at least 71% of the snaps over the last three games averaging 17.3 touches and 68 total yards. Conner is 26th in juke rate, 28th in evaded tackles, and 27th in yards created per touch. Since Week 6, the Chargers remain one of the worst run defenses in the NFL. They rank 31st in rushing yards per game, 28th in EPA per rush, and have allowed the third-most fantasy points per game to running backs. Conner is a borderline RB1.

Wide Receivers

Keenan Allen: Allen has practiced in full all week and doesn’t carry an injury designation into this game. Last week Allen played 68% of the snaps seeing a 26.7% target share, 39.9% air yard, and 73.7% route run rate. Allen had 3.36 yards per route run running 67% of his routes from the slot. Isaiah Simmons (87.2% catch rate, 99.7 passer rating) and Antonio Hamilton (64.5% catch rate, 94.0 passer rating) split the slot coverage duties last week. Allen is a WR2 with WR1 upside this week.

Joshua Palmer: Palmer is in the midst of a breakout season. Over his last three games, he’s garnered a 26.9% target share, 47.9% air yard share, and produced 2.32 yards per route run. He’s finished as a WR2 or better in three of his last four games. Palmer will run about 76% of his routes against Hamilton and Marco Wilson (57.4% catch rate, 88.7 passer rating). Palmer is a WR2.

Mike Williams: Williams has been ruled out.

DeAndre Hopkins: Hopkins is the WR6 in fantasy with a monstrous 31.3% target share (third), 32.2% target per route run rate (fourth), and 47.0% air yard share (first). Hopkins has finished as a WR1 in four of his five games. Hopkins will about 74% of his routes against Asante Samuel Jr. (60% catch rate, 100.2 passer rating) and Michael Davis (63.6% catch rate, 91.7 passer rating) as a WR1.

Rondale Moore: Moore has been ruled out (groin).

Greg Dortch: Dortch didn’t practice all week (thumb), but he’s been listed as questionable. I doubt he will play this week.

Tight Ends

Gerald Everett: Everett was inactive last week due to a groin injury. He was limited on Wednesday before upgrading to full practices on Thursday and Friday. He doesn’t carry an injury designation into the game this week. Everett is the TE9 in fantasy points per game with a 15% target share and nine red zone targets (fifth-most). Everett is a high-ceiling TE1 facing the best matchup for tight ends on the board. Arizona has allowed the second-highest catch rate, the most receiving yards per game, and the most fantasy points per game to the position.

Trey McBride: McBride saw a 9.5% target share with a 73% route run rate in Week 11. He could see an elevated role if Arizona is injury-depleted this week. I’ll update his projection once we get clarity on Moore and Dortch.

TB vs. CLE | CIN vs. TEN | HOU vs. MIA | CHI vs. NYJ | ATL vs. WAS | DEN vs. CAR | BAL vs. JAC | LAC vs. ARI | LV vs. SEA | LAR vs. KC | NO vs. SF | GB vs. PHI | PIT vs. IND | BUF vs. DET | NYG vs. DAL | NE vs. MIN

Las Vegas Raiders vs. Seattle Seahawks

Pace and playcalling notes

  • While the neutral pace of this game (LVR 15th, SEA 16th) will be a snooze-fest, the passing volume should be quite nice (LVR 4th, SEA 14th).

Quarterbacks

Derek Carr: Carr has mustered five low-end QB1 games this season. This week he’s better viewed as a QB2. His struggles have continued all season as he ranks 22nd in PFF passing grade, 28th in adjusted completion rate, and 18th in yards per attempt as the QB19 in fantasy. Seattle has strengthened their pass defense down the stretch. Since Week 6, they are 12th in passing yards per game, fifth-best in success rate per drop back, and allowing the eighth-lowest EPA per dropback.

Geno Smith: Chef Geno never leaves the kitchen. He’s a culinary master with the fifth-highest PFF passing grade, the third-highest big-time throw rate, and the seventh-highest yards per attempt. He’s the QB9 in fantasy with QB5 and QB11 finishes over his last two games. The Raiders have taken the opposite approach as the Seahawks’ defense, as they’ve bottomed out lately. Since Week 6, they are giving up the highest success rate per dropback, third-highest EPA per drop back, and tenth-highest yards per attempt. Smith is a locked-in QB1.

Running Backs

Josh Jacobs: Jacobs is averaging 21.7 touches and 118.1 total yards as the RB4 in fantasy. He’s second in opportunity share, fifth in weighted opportunities, and 21st in red zone touches. His pass-game involvement has helped pad his floor and ceiling. He’s 11th in target share, with the eighth-most receiving yards and ninth-most receptions among running backs. Jacobs will need the added points from grabs through the air. Seattle has also strengthened their run defense. Since Week 6, they are ninth in rushing yards per game, fourth in EPA per rush, and 13th in explosive run rate allowed. Over that period, they have given up the eighth-fewest fantasy points per game to running backs. Jacobs is a volume-based RB1. Jacobs popped up with a calf injury landing on the injury report on Friday. He’s been listed as questionable. I’ll keep tabs on his status on Saturday and Sunday up to kick-off. 

Kenneth Walker: Since Walker took over starting duties, he has averaged 22 touches and 106 total yards. He’s only once finished outside the top 24 running backs (RB25) and has posted three RB1 weeks. He’s ranked 27th in yards after contact per attempt, third in breakaway rate, and 19th in PFF’s elusive rating (minimum 25 carries). Something magical happened in Week 10. Walker commanded a 23.5% target share while rocking a 61% route run rate. But wait, this can’t be. I was told that Walker couldn’t catch passes during the NFL draft process. (Whispers…he can) over his last two games, he’s seen a 48.1% route run rate. Seattle expanding this part of his game will make him matchup-proof. Walker will gash the Raiders this week. Since Week 6, Las Vegas is 29th in rushing yards per game, 17th in EPA per rush, and 15th in explosive run rate. Walker can also crush the Raiders through the air. Las Vegas is 32nd in DVOA against pass-catching backs allowing the most receiving yards and eighth-highest yards per reception. Walker is a stud RB1.

Wide Receivers

Davante Adams: Apparently, only the flu can stop Adams at this point. He’s posted at least 90 receiving yards in 70% of his games this season with four weeks as a top-three wide receiver. Adams is first in target share, eighth in target per route run rate and sixth in air yard share. He’s fourth in deep targets and third in red zone looks among wide receivers. He’s a top-five wide receiver weekly who will run about 68% of his routes against Tariq Woolen (57.8% catch rate, 71.7 passer rating) and Michael Jackson (56.9% catch rate, 75.9 passer rating).

Mack Hollins: While Adams is impervious to cornerback matchups, lesser talents like Hollins aren’t. Hollins has a 16.8% target share and ranks 77th in yards per route run. As the Raiders’ field stretcher, his skill set is less than ideal against a secondary that’s 14th in DVOA against deep passing. Hollins is a WR5 that will run about 86% of his routes against Woolen and Jackson.

D.K. Metcalf: This week is Metcalf week. You already know what I’m going to say. Man coverage equals Metcalf crush. Last week the Raiders’ top three corners operated in man coverage on 44-61% of their coverage snaps. Metcalf has seen 33% of his target volume against man coverage, ranking 24th in PFF receiving grade and 13th in yards per route run (minimum ten man coverage targets). Overall, Metcalf has a 25% target share and 36.8% air yard share (12th). He’s operated downfield (14th in deep targets) and in the red zone (fourth in red zone targets). Metcalf is a high-end WR2 with top-five WR1 upside this week. He’ll run about 82% of his routes against Rock Ya-Sin (57% catch rate, 74.6 passer rating), Anthony Averett (81% catch rate, 137.5 passer rating), and Sam Webb (72.7% catch rate, 98.3 passer rating).

Tyler Lockett: Lockett isn’t chopped liver, but his numbers against man coverage aren’t as stellar. He’s seen 22% of his target volume against the coverage type, ranking 65th in PFF receiving grade and 50th in yards per route run. Lockett is the WR18 this season with a 23.1% target share and 33.5% air yard share (19th). He’s utilized more as a deep threat (tenth in deep targets) than in the red zone (only six red zone targets). Lockett is a WR2. Lockett will run about 57% of his routes against the Raiders’ corner trio.

Tight Ends

Foster Moreau: Since Week 7, Moreau has had a 14.8% target share, 30% end zone target share, and 80% route run rate. Over that period, he’s 15th in PFF receiving grade, 27th in yards per route run, and has drawn three red zone targets. Moreau is a borderline TE1 this week. Seattle is 29th in DVOA, allowing the second-highest yards per reception, seventh-most receiving touchdowns, and the third-most receiving yards per game.

Noah Fant: I hate the Seattle coin flip tight-end situation. I truly do. This week we side with Noah Fant. Since Week 8, he has a 12.1% target share (Dissly, 8.1%), 0.26 weighted opportunity (Dissly, 0.13), and 53.3% route run rate (Dissly, 39.2%). Fant doesn’t have much touchdown equity in this offense, with only five red zone targets and one touchdown. Fant is a matchup-based streaming option/TE2. Las Vegas has allowed the 11th-highest catch rate and fourth-most receiving touchdowns to tight ends.

TB vs. CLE | CIN vs. TEN | HOU vs. MIA | CHI vs. NYJ | ATL vs. WAS | DEN vs. CAR | BAL vs. JAC | LAC vs. ARI | LV vs. SEA | LAR vs. KC | NO vs. SF | GB vs. PHI | PIT vs. IND | BUF vs. DET | NYG vs. DAL | NE vs. MIN

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