I love Thanksgiving week for Fantasy Football, but I have to admit, three games on a Thursday presents some pretty obvious complications for us. The biggest is that we have to make lineup decisions for the Bills, Lions, Giants, Cowboys, Patriots, and Vikings before the rest of the teams have even had a second day of practice.
How often do we have mini-panic sessions about big-name players sitting out Wednesday's practice only to see them fully cleared by Friday? Or, conversely, how often do we see injuries on Wednesday that we think are relatively minor only to have star players head into Sunday with legitimate question marks about their status?
We're going to be making lineup decisions with incomplete information this week, so the best advice I can offer is, when in doubt, err on the side of caution, be even more aggressive than usual with your late-week alternatives, and try to avoid using your flex spots for Thursday players. Having that added bit of flexibility is hugely important.
Tomorrow, I'll have a roundup of all the injury news you need to know about from the first batch of practices for most of the teams, plus we'll have Start/Sit calls from Jamey Eisenberg and Dave Richard both tonight and tomorrow morning in the FFT newsletter, so keep an eye out for that. Today, we have Heath Cummings' Week 12 previews to get you started, plus some buy-low and sell-high candidates to consider as you look to bolster your lineup for a playoff run:
🔍Week 12 Position Previews
Every Tuesday, Heath Cummings previews each position, providing injury insights, key stats to know, the best waiver-wire adds, DFS targets, and more for quarterback, running back, wide receiver, and tight end. Here's a brief rundown of each position, along with some key details you need to know before you go read Heath's full breakdowns:
"Week 12 is a breath of fresh air to Fantasy Football managers with zero teams on a bye. That means we no longer have to pretend like Russell Wilson is a top-12 QB. We can avoid terrible matchups for mediocre Fantasy quarterbacks like Aaron Rodgers and Kirk Cousins. We probably don't even need the streamer section this week. Well, assuming you don't have Kyler Murray and Justin Fields as your starter.
"Early in the week we don't have a great indication of the Week 12 status for either Murray or Fields and that is a slightly bigger problem than normal, because of the three games on Thursday."
- On a bye: None
- Injuries: Josh Allen (elbow), Justin Fields (shoulder), Kyler Murray (hamstring), Matthew Stafford (concussion), Carson Wentz (finger), P.J. Walker (ankle) and John Wolford (neck).
- Number to know: 218 -- In his last four games, Josh Allen has eclipsed 218 passing yards just once and has thrown four touchdown passes and six interceptions.
- Matchup that matters: Kirk Cousins vs. NE (10th vs. QB)
- Waiver add/streamer: "Kenny Pickett. As I said at the top, with no teams on a bye you hopefully don't need a streamer. But if you're looking for a Justin Fields replacement, Pickett is my favorite option. I would expect the Steelers to have more success through the air against the Colts and Pickett would be coming off a monster game if George Pickens hadn't dropped a walk-in touchdown last week."
- Stash: "Kenny Pickett. Even if you don't like Pickett this week, he's at Atlanta next week. In a dome against that defense may make him a borderline top-12 option."
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"The trend in the NFL over the past 10 years has definitely been moving towards fewer workhorse backs. That's been a major headache for Fantasy managers, but for the past couple of weeks at least, that trend appears to be reversing itself.
"An injury to Khalil Herbert looks to have David Montgomery lined up for 20 touches per game once again. The Cardinals surprisingly cut Eno Benjamin, putting James Conner in a similar situation. And Jaylen Warren's hamstring injury has the potential to do the same thing for Najee Harris. But the one workhorse back no one anticipated was Latavius Murray."
- On a bye: None
- Injuries: Leonard Fournette (hip), Joe Mixon (concussion), Clyde Edwards-Helaire (ankle), Gus Edwards (hamstring), Jaylen Warren (hamstring), Khalil Herbert (hip), J.K. Dobbins (knee), Chase Edmonds (ankle), Mark Ingram (knee), J.D. McKissic (neck), Darrel Williams (hip) and Damien Williams (ribs).
- Number to know: 84.1% -- Route involvement rate for Najee Harris. The 37 routes in Week 11 were the most by far Harris has run this season and it showed up in his Fantasy output.
- Matchup that matters: Cordarrelle Patterson @WAS (7th vs. RB)
- Waiver add: "Latavius Murray. We would rather start Samaje Perine than Latavius Murray this week, but only if Joe Mixon is ruled out and we won't likely know that before waivers run. Murray has more staying power than Perine; he could be an RB2 rest of season."
- Stash: "James Cook. Cook has performed like a startable flex lately, but you probably don't need to start him this week since there aren't any byes. Still, he's one injury away from league-winning upside. Cook has shown big-play ability in a limited role and could have a Tony Pollardesque breakout if he gets the opportunity."
"Every summer we go to great lengths to emphasize that rookie receivers can take a while to hit. We preach patience, both on draft day and throughout the season. And I think most people get it, but with all the injuries we've seen this season, with all the bye weeks, it's really tough to hold on to guys who aren't showing any life at all. But the door is opening up wide for the 2022 class to make a furious finish to the season.
"Garrett Wilson may be getting a quarterback upgrade if the Jets choose to bench Zach Wilson. We don't know who they'd start for sure, but we do know Wilson has been the worst quarterback the Jets have started the past two years. Both George Pickens and Treylon Burks appear to have emerged as the true No. 1 wide receivers for their teams. Skyy Moore and Drake London could be in for a big target boost because of injuries. And Jameson Williams just returned to practice."
- On a bye: None
- Injuries: Ja'Marr Chase (hip), Mike Williams (ankle), JuJu Smith-Schuster (concussion), Kadarius Toney (hamstring), Cooper Kupp (ankle), Mecole Hardman (abdomen), Jerry Jeudy (ankle), Rondale Moore (groin), Wan'Dale Robinson (knee), Romeo Doubs (ankle), Marquise Brown (foot), Hunter Renfrow (oblique), DeVante Parker (knee), Josh Reynolds (back), Corey Davis (knee), Russell Gage (hamstring) and D.J. Chark (ankle).
- Number to know: 4 -- Brandin Cooks hasn't caught more than four passes in a game since Week 4.
- Matchup that matters: Darius Slayton @DAL (11th vs. WR)
- Waiver add: "Donovan Peoples-Jones. Peoples-Jones has proven to be a good No. 3 wide receiver with Jacoby Brissett, and he hasn't even needed touchdowns to do it. Starting next week he'll have Deshaun Watson, who is an enormous upgrade if he's the guy he was two years ago. Peoples-Jones has top-20 upside in the Fantasy playoffs."
- Stash: Odell Beckham Jr. Beckham is expected to select his team by the end of this month, which means he could be ramped up just in time for the start of the Fantasy Football playoffs. Now is the time to stash him if you've locked up a playoff spot."
"Week 12 is supposed to be one of the best weeks of Fantasy Football. We get three games on Thursday and no one is on a bye. There are 18 QBs I'd feel OK starting this week. There are wide receivers I kind of like who didn't even crack my top 48. I like six tight ends. Five of them I expected to rank this high on a weekly basis, and Pat Freiermuth has earned it even if his Fantasy points don't make him look like a difference maker.
"The Steelers' second-year tight end has seen 19 targets in two games since his bye and has made a huge leap in terms of yards per target, yards per catch, and yards per game on the season. In nine games he has 12 fewer targets than he saw in 16 games last year. He should be in the argument for TE3 overall. Instead, he sits at TE7 on the season because he's scored just one touchdown."
- On a bye: None
- Injuries: Kyle Pitts (knee), Dallas Goedert (shoulder), Gerald Everett (groin), Darren Waller (hamstring), Irv Smith (ankle) and Daniel Bellinger (eye).
- Number to know: 5 -- Five touchdowns in five games for Juwan Johnson. Typically those come by chance, but Johnson's knack for the end zone has him as a viable starting tight end.
- Matchup that matters: Foster Moreau @SEA (31st vs. TE)
Week 12 Trade Talk
Looking to make a trade ahead of the stretch run? Make sure you check out Dave Richard's Trade Values Chart so you know how to make the right offers.
Three to buy-low
Aaron Jones -- I had a friend ask me this week if he should trade Kenneth Walker for Aaron Jones and Latavius Murray, and he was pretty surprised when I said yes, which suggests to me there's some skewed perception around Jones right now. Jones' most recent game wasn't great, but he still managed 14 PPR points, and he's averaging 18.5 per game over his past five -- not far from Walker's 20.2 over his five games as a starter. None of this is to disparage Walker, who is a tremendous talent and a top-12 RB the rest of the way, but Jones simply has more ways to produce value thanks to his pass-catching. Take advantage of the perception that he's struggling.
D.J. Moore -- As I've said a few times already this season, I'm done saying, "Things can't get worse for D.J. Moore." They can, and often do, it seems. But, while I'm not necessarily excited about the prospect of Sam Darnold taking over as the Panthers QB again, I will note that Moore averaged 15.7 PPR points per game in 11 starts with Darnold last season; he's averaging just 11.1 in 16 games with any other QB since the start of 2021. 27.4% of Darnold's passes went Moore's way last season, compared to just 22.3% of Mayfield's. If nothing else, hopefully Darnold leans on his best receiver more than Mayfield has.
D'Andre Swift -- This one is, admittedly, a bit of a shot in the dark for someone looking for upside as the playoffs approach. Swift hasn't played more than 31% of the snaps in his past three games and doesn't have a double-digit carry game since Week 1, and it's possible this role remains in place through the rest of the season, given his struggles staying healthy. However, we know Swift is an elite playmaker when healthy, and there's at least a chance he gets back to being a 12- to 15-touch guy and is a top-12 RB. If you don't necessarily need to rely on him for Week 12 to win, he's definitely worth taking a flier on.
One to buy-high
David Montgomery -- I think Week 11 was probably a pretty good indicator of what to expect from Montgomery for at least the next three games with Khalil Herbert on IR. You'll have to live with a Week 14 bye, which is tough, but if you don't think you'll be in a must-win game there, Montgomery is coming off an 80% snap share with 17 carries and four targets, and should continue to dominate touches for the Bears. He's a must-start RB2 based on volume alone right now.
Three to sell-high
Isiah Pacheco -- Coming off his first ever 100-yard game and with Clyde Edwards-Helaire suffering a high-ankle injury, the arrow is definitely pointing up for Pacheco. But I'm not sure that arrow will ever point high enough to make him a must-start Fantasy option. The Chiefs have an awesome offense, but he's been a completely non-factor as a pass-catcher this season, so he's going to have to produce as a rusher, and this offense just doesn't feature their running backs -- the Chiefs have a Pass-Rate Over Expectation of 12.1%, the highest mark in the league. Their running backs have averaged less than a touchdown per game over the past two seasons, too, and Pacheco is not at all guaranteed to get those opportunities ahead of Jerick McKinnon, so I'm just not sure there's much more than low-end RB2 upside here, even if he's looked pretty good running the ball.
Christian Watson -- We're like three weeks removed from everyone being convinced that Allen Lazard was Aaron Rodgers' clear favorite red zone target, but now it's Watson? I'm not buying it. Watson is a hugely talented player, and it's possible he's just the No. 1 option for the Packers, but we know by now not to be too swayed by gaudy touchdown spurts. Watson is still primarily a deep ball receiver who had as many targets last week as Randall Cobb, so I'm still viewing him as more of a high-upside WR3 than a must-start WR2. I'd rather have Lazard still, and if I could move Watson for someone like Gabe Davis, Devonta Smith, or DK Metcalf, I'd definitely do that.
Latavius Murray -- Broncos running backs are averaging 15.6 PPR points per game right now. All of them. Combined. This is the lowest scoring offense in the league, and Murray is averaging just 3.3 yards per carry since joining them. Maybe he'll be a bigger part of the passing game moving forward -- Russell Wilson is throwing 8.1 passes to his RBs this season, a solid number -- but I'm having a hard time getting excited about Murray. I think you're hoping for RB2 upside in any given week, with RB3 outcomes more the norm than the exception. He's a fine player to have around on your roster, but he's probably more valuable to dangle in front of some RB-needy team right now.
One to sell-low
Miles Sanders -- Sanders' passing game role -- never particularly robust -- has completely evaporated of late, with just three targets in his past five games. That has rendered him truly a touchdown or bust Fantasy option, and the past two games have shown us what that means when he doesn't get into the end zone. The Eagles have a great offense, but they also have a ton of competition down by the goal line, but the bigger issue here is just that touchdowns are pretty random. When they're flowing, it's great, but Sanders is kind of a one-trick pony, and you probably just need to start him every week and ride the ups and downs. Or trade him and let him be someone else's headache.