There is a lot to keep track of this week. A short work week, travel, seeing your family, eating copious amounts of food, not killing your family, and responsibly partaking in the beverage of your choice. But amidst all that chaos, don’t forget about your fantasy team, because Week 12 can be one of the more influential weeks of the season. We’re done with byes, so all 32 teams have games this week, and you can drop “bye week fillers” for the best player available. Games also start early on Thursday, so setting your lineup and handling potentially injured players can be tricky. And finally, given where we are in the season, this is a must win game for any team that is not eliminated. So enjoy yourself this week, but not at the expense of a playoff spot or a potential bye.

Here’s what I’m thankful for heading into Week 12:


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J.J. Watt – He was the first IDP taken in most leagues, and I’ll go out on a limb and say that he hasn’t been dropped in any league. But he has had 4 games this year with 6 points or less, which is not the usual dominance we’ve come to expect from Watt. He re-established his dominance on Sunday with an 8 tackle, 2 sack performance against the Jets, and he very nearly caught a TD pass. Not just any pass, but a fade in the corner of the endzone. There’s literally nothing that he can’t do, and he gets to face three top 10 matchups over the playoff weeks. If you’re facing Watt in fantasy or reality from Weeks 14-16, I’m truly sorry.

Charles Johnson – The Panthers have officially activated Johnson, giving an undefeated team another weapon as they move towards the stretch run. Johnson wasn’t exactly lighting up the stat sheet before he got hurt, and with a Thursday game, my hopes are not high for IDP relevance this week. However, Johnson is joining a defense that now has Jared Allen, and is experiencing breakouts from Kawann Short and Kony Ealy, so opposing offenses won’t be able to key on him nearly as much as they were in Weeks 1-3. Assuming he’s not owned after a long absence, I would pick him up now, but probably wait until next week to actually start him.

Kelvin Sheppard – The Dolphins’ LB situation has been an unreliable mess all year. Jelani Jenkins was the incumbent starter after a breakout 2014, but he has alternately been injured and disappointing. Koa Misi showed signs of life for the first time in his career, but didn’t play a snap on Sunday with an injury, despite being active (What’s the opposite of a healthy scratch? An injured itch? We need a term for this). That leaves Sheppard, who was a top IDP prospect a few years ago, only to fizzle out of Buffalo and Indy with only one relevant season. Sheppard had a whopping 15 tackles on Sunday, and figures to be the lone healthy LB on the roster again this week, even if Misi and/or Jenkins return. I don’t love the matchup, but the price tag could not be lower for a one week flier.

Eric Kendricks – After missing two games, Kendricks returned and put up 7 tackles last week, sending Chad Greenway back to the bench on third downs. Kendricks has had a solid rookie year, and looks to be an IDP stud for years to come, but he has had a glaring lack of big plays in the passing game. Anthony Barr remains a better pass defender, but if Kendricks can start accumulating some tipped passes and interceptions, his ceiling is extremely high. If someone dropped him due to the rib injury, he’s got a great matchup this week and is a LB2 for the rest of the season.

Walter Thurmond – Philly’s secondary has quietly had a solid year at DB in IDP leagues. Led by Malcolm Jenkins and Nolan Carroll, they aren’t really effective in reality, but they do put up a lot of tackles and other IDP goodness. The third man in line has been Thurmond, who has put up about 5 tackles per game, but has only really been startable when he gets a big play. The last two weeks he’s gotten a strip sack, and he gets a nice matchup with Matthew Stafford on Thanksgiving, so call it a hunch, but I have a feeling he gets another big play or two this week.

Bashaud Breeland – Don’t even get me started on DeAngelo Hall. Don’t do it! He was supposed to see an increased role last week after seeing only 17 snaps in his first game back from injury. Instead, he saw a whopping six snaps and put up zero stats, much to the dismay of his owners. While it appears that Hall’s career as a viable IDP is quickly winding down, Breeland looks like a man on the rise. Similar to Hall, Breeland isn’t all that great at preventing guys from catching the ball. He does do a good job of tackling them once they catch the ball, and he has put up 8 or more tackles in 4 of his last 6 games. With a good matchup against the Giants, I like Breeland as a low end DB2 this week.

  1. Aubrey Plaza's Pillow says:
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    wow, 4/6th of guys mentioned are on at least one of my teams. most weeks the guys listed aren’t nearly that many. Some of my leagues are too deep, others too shallow and/or with somewhat ignorant (relative to you or fantasy pros rankings anyway). Nice to see Jenkins is back for DT streaming purposes, he did well last time 2 weeks ago.

    • Aubrey Plaza's Pillow says:
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      @Aubrey Plaza’s Pillow: culliver now out for the year, this should be very good for Hall, both now and next year, and breeland should have no issue with snaps for forseeable future at all.

      • Aubrey Plaza's Pillow says:
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        @Aubrey Plaza’s Pillow: actual question this time, bucannon had a concussion but it wasn’t found out till 2 days after game, but he HAS passed protocol. issue being he doesn’t play till much later than all my other DB’s. so i could go
        S collins/parker
        CB hall/breeland (of course if breeland misses early game from the flu this problem corrects itself, and i just gamble on bucannon playing)
        or
        S collins/bucannon
        CB breeland (or hall if he doesn’t play)/parker

        2. the damn k.robinson quandry yet again. If he plays i could go him, if he doesn’t i could go with compton or s.anthony NO. which is best. At least decision gets binary if robinson is actually out.

        • Aubrey Plaza's Pillow says:
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          @Aubrey Plaza’s Pillow: forget about #2, rankings clearly illustrate answer there.

          • Aubrey Plaza's Pillow says:
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            @Aubrey Plaza’s Pillow: in one, i got another possible thing to do.
            could one of gilchrist/demps/gipson/search, drop compton (leaving me with 4 LB), bench bucannon, play breeland (or hall if breeland misses).

            • Aubrey Plaza's Pillow says:
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              @Aubrey Plaza’s Pillow: or could go browner or c.williams (but worried about cary losing his job to lane just off PUP), slide parker to S, start only 1 of breeland/hall.

              • Kevin Kumpf

                Kevin Kumpf says:
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                @Aubrey Plaza’s Pillow:

                Just getting back from travelling, but I would avoid Buccanon if at all possible given the late game and relatively easy matchup for AZ. I’m still avoiding Hall for the time being until I actually see something, but there are certainly worse options out there.

                • Aubrey Plaza's Pillow says:
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                  @Kevin Kumpf: which of those above guys, just follow ranks and grab c.williams (worried about lane) or browner, or one of the S’s.

                  • Kevin Kumpf

                    Kevin Kumpf says:
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                    @Aubrey Plaza’s Pillow:

                    I’m not too concerned about Lane this week so I’d go Williams, but Browner is not a huge downgrade in my mind so if you want peace of mind I’d have no issue with either.

                    • Aubrey Plaza's Pillow says:
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                      @Kevin Kumpf: had grabbed demps, then checked back here, wow, got demps out of starting slot literally seconds before it locks, never seen the exact second in yahoo it locks up. grabbed cary williams, slid parker to S. Demps had those big games lately, but Cary Williams does get decent tackles for a CB.

                    • Aubrey Plaza's Pillow says:
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                      @Kevin Kumpf: cary williams now inactive, i guess grab Lane? or could go shead (SEA), , gay PIT (he got high % of snaps and is listed as starter), k.williams CLE (but last game poyer got more snaps) or webb BAL? with all of SEA’s injuries and PIT throwing the ball constantly (and being opposite sherman, and just coming off PUP likely to get targeted) is Lane best option?

                  • Kevin Kumpf

                    Kevin Kumpf says:
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                    @Aubrey Plaza’s Pillow:

                    Don’t love any of those options, but I can’t argue with the logic on Lane. Webb would be my safest choice but there’s likely little difference between any of them and if Lane plays 100% of snaps he has a high ceiling.

                    • Aubrey Plaza's Pillow says:
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                      @Kevin Kumpf: i’m looking at the other people who could play the other CB slot, and once Williams is ruled inactive we have only shead in his way.

                    • Aubrey Plaza's Pillow says:
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                      @Kevin Kumpf: i’m also up by like 70 pts and i have c.campbell/heyward (PIT)/aiken BAL/lane/mcmanus K vs only b.marshall DEN, so i’m just going for this week upside and rubbing a beating into my comish.

                    • Aubrey Plaza's Pillow says:
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                      @Kevin Kumpf: i’m just noticing something else, since our league starts 40 CB’s, c.williams (28th in pts), browner (28th), these guys most certainly should be owned already.

                    • Aubrey Plaza's Pillow says:
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                      @Kevin Kumpf: goddman it, and shead does in fact get the start, i’m watching it.

  2. What's a Drexl? says:
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    with all of these, start 2 DB, DL, LB

    hardy/jones/ansah/c.johnson (CAR)
    david/wagner/dansby/k.robinson
    r.jones/cyprien/barron/church

    we have deep benches, but can only own 6 RB/WR each. Drop C.Johnson, or maybe J.Cameron (he’s my 4th TE behind Olsen/Gates/Tamme). I want to make a RB move but can’t since Johnson is in RES slot still.

    • Kevin Kumpf

      Kevin Kumpf says:
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      @What’s a Drexl?:

      Sorry for the late response but despite being stacked at DL, Hardy is a potential wild card, and Johnson gives you nice depth. I think you can get rid of Cameron (or Tamme) and hold onto the depth at DL.

  3. Cheese Eating Surrender Monkey says:
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    probably about time to drop quinn if all of griffen/atkins/bennett/liuget/tuitt are all available. we start 1 DL total 14 team league. i see all of these guys are ranked pretty close. i’m a pretty large favorite even with Quinn being in, but i probably shouldn’t risk him either not playing or playing limited snaps like the last few times he’s played. So grab just highest ranked guy this week (atkins) or are any of these often better than the others overall such that i should grab that one? redraft league here.

    • Cheese Eating Surrender Monkey says:
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      @Cheese Eating Surrender Monkey: guessing you have atkins high since STL’s O-Line is all messed up there?

      • Kevin Kumpf

        Kevin Kumpf says:
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        @Cheese Eating Surrender Monkey:

        I’d definitely go Atkins, as he’s the most reliable weekly option of the guys available. If you’re a championship contender, and have the space, I might still hold Quinn just because his ceiling is so high. But if you don’t have the space, he’s droppable in a 1DL league.

        • Cheese Eating Surrender Monkey says:
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          @Kevin Kumpf: good call, you were way higher on atkins than consensus compared to griffen MIN (the 2nd guy i could’ve went with). STL O-Line is like on their 4th stringers, and they went into year as a bottom 5 type even when healthy.

  4. Aubrey Plaza's Pillow says:
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    i was right to drop mario edwards OAK for c.johnson in dyansty. this is my backup DE, i already have campbell/heyward

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