I’ll be honest, with no byes this week it’s hard to recommend any quarterbacks this week over the top-15 guys who are viable starters (except Dak Prescott who will have already disappointed by the time this article goes live) so I had to dig really deep for some start recommendations in 2 QB leagues. I did tweet about Dak (and Dez Bryant and Jason Witten) being sit suggestions on my Twitter which you should follow if you want to ask me anything there.
Andy Dalton, vs CLE, 14.7% starting: Dalton faced these Browns in week four and threw 4 TDs against them for 27 fantasy points, his highest scoring total of the season. The Browns haven’t magically gotten better so I’d definitely be starting Dalton this week.
Tyrod Taylor, @ KC, 3.1% starting: Welp. That happened. Bills coach Sean McDermott made the bold decision to bench Tyrod Taylor and start rookie Nathan Peterman. Nathan Peterman then proceeded to put up a fantasy point total that is normally reserved for the worst of bad defenses: -8. Taylor has been tabbed the starter in week 12 and he’ll have a nice match-up for his skill set in the Kansas City Chiefs. The Chiefs have allowed the 7th most rushing yards to QBs and the in the last two games they’ve played against dual-threat QBs they struggled: Week 5, Deshaun Watson: 34 fantasy points; Week 9, Dak Prescott: 25 fantasy points.
Paxton Lynch, @ OAK, 0.1% starting: Lynch is going to become the 3rd QB to start a game this year for the Broncos after Brock Osweiler and Trevor Siemian couldn’t get the job done. Lynch is a 6’7” QB who was the third QB taken in the 2016 draft after Jared Goff and Carson Wentz. Lynch played in 3 games in 2016 throwing for 497 yards, with a 59% completion rate with 2 TDs and 1 INT. Lynch finds himself in a nice position starting against the Raiders in week 12: they are the only team that hasn’t recorded an INT this season and they are allowing the 5th highest average fantasy points to QBs in 2017. Lynch is an interesting name to watch because the Broncos are desperate to see if he can be their QB of the future so he’ll be getting the starts. On top of that, in the Broncos final 6 games of their season they have pretty nice QB starts: Raiders, Dolphins, Jets, Colts, Redskins, Chiefs.
Damien Williams, @ NE, 10.1%: We were all scrambling to grab either Kenyan Drake or Williams after Jay Ajayi was traded to the Eagles. As it stands right now, Williams has more rushing attempts and more passing targets than his backfield partner Drake so he’s the guy to own. This will still probably be a time share, but one of these guys could take the job and run with it. The Patriots have been pretty lousy against opposing RBs but especially against pass-catching RBs — they’re tired for second in most-receiving yards allowed to RBs which obviously plays to Williams’s strengths.
Devontae Booker, @ OAK, 3.0%: Outside of his 29 fantasy point outburst in week 2, CJ Anderson was averaging 6.25 fantasy points per game prompting the Broncos coaching staff to slowly make a change to Devontae Booker. Last week Booker finally lead the Broncos in rushing attempts and added 54 receiving yards to his lead over Anderson. If Booker again leads the Broncos in rushing attempts he could be in for a productive fantasy scoring day — the Raiders have averaged 19.9 fantasy points to opposing RBs. The Raiders have been particularly bad at containing pass-catching backs. They’ve allowed the third most receptions to RBs on the season.
JD McKissic, @ SF, 1.1%, Man can just ONE of these Seattle running backs be good? I think all of us have just been watching this backfield super-committee hoping that someone would finally break-out, but we’ve all been disappointed. Now, with CJ Prosise out, Chris Carson out, and Mike Davis likely out — why not give JD McKissic a try? He’s their best productive pass-catching back and did lead the super-committee in rushing attempts in week 11. Hopefully he can be the one.
Joe Mixon, vs CLE, 60.2%: Mixon has faced these Browns before back in week 4. The Browns then held Mixon to 29 rushing yards on 17 attempts. The Browns have been surprisingly stingy against the run — allowing the 10th fewest fantasy points to RBs. If the Bengals are smart, they’ll recognize that (and read this article of course) and see that they can exploit the Browns pass defense.
Marshawn Lynch, vs DEN, 55.5% starting: Looking at the Broncos stats against RB it;as clear to see week 9 and week 10 as the outliers. After not allowing a rushing TD all season they allowed 3 to the Eagles in week 9 and 1 to the Patriots in week 10. Week 11 against the Bengals the Broncos were motivated to return to their prior dominance holding the Bengals backfield to 45 rushing yards. Marshawn Lynch has been nothing like the dominant force we’ve seen him be in his past so I can see a highly motivated Broncos defense shutting him down again — they already held him to 12 rushing yards and 1 fantasy point in week 4.
DeVante Parker, @ NE, 41.5%: You’re starting Parker because of the Patriots pass defense. They’ve allowed over 30 fantasy points to wide receiving teams every game this year. They’ve allowed a receiving TD to a WR in every game they’ve played except week 5. They’re tied for most receiving yards allowed. If Matt Moore starts over the concussed Jay Cutler — you have even more reason to start him in your flex spot.
Mohamed Sanu, vs TB, 36.7% starting: You know who the Patriots are tied with for most receiving yards allowed? Sanu’s week 12 opponent, the Buccaneers. The Bucs have allowed more receiving TDs than the Patriots. Julio Jones has been limited at practice this week so whether he doesn’t play or is limited due to his leg injuries, Sanu could be the primary beneficiary.
Rishard Matthews/Corey Davis, @ IND: Before the season started I listed Rishard Matthews as my infatuation pick for 2017. After 7 weeks of inconsistency I fell out of love with Matthews. However, maybe I was a bit pre-mature — in his last 3 weeks he’s averaging over 16 fantasy points. Matthews reemergence as a threat has coincided with Corey Davis returning after getting injured way back in week 2. I like this pair to be successful against a Colts secondary that has allowed the third most yards to wide receivers this season.
Amari Cooper, vs DEN, 63% starting: Cooper has two things working against him: his opponent and himself. The Broncos held him to 9 yards way back in week 4. And outside of his week seven 44 fantasy point game Cooper is averaging only 8 fantasy points per game on the year. Cooper is having a rough year, but in 2018 he is going to be one hell of a draft sleeper.
Greg Olsen, @ NYJ, 18.4% starting: I’m writing this article on Wednesday night and I think Olsen’s 18.4% starting should sky rocket once people realize that he’s expected to return from injury in week 12. The Jets have allowed the 7th most fantasy points to TEs and averaging 18.5 fantasy points allowed to TEs since week 5.
Tyler Kroft, vs CLE, 16.0%: Sorry for my love affair with Tyler Kroft, but he keeps being a solid TE performer at a low cost. Week ten’s 1 fantasy point performance is an outlier in what has been a productive year for Kroft since week 4. What happened in week 4 you ask? Kroft grabbed 2 TD passes for 24 fantasy points. Oh, who did he play? His week 12 opponent — the Browns.
Start ‘em all! The only one I’d keep an eye on is Jimmy Graham due to him nursing an injury, but he’s notched double-digit fantasy points for eight straight games.
New England Patriots, vs. MIA, 22.7%: Looking at their team defense rankings you might be worried about starting this defensive unit, but over their last 5 games the Patriots have averaged 8.6 fantasy points. Week 12 sees them squaring off against the Miami Dolphins who have the 3rd fewest total yards and the second-lowest points per game.
LA Rams, vs NO, 48.6%: With Drew Brees, Michael Thomas and Mark Ingram’s high-powered Saints coming to town you want to get as far away from the Rams as possible. The Saints are the highest total yardage team in the NFL.
Detroit Lions, vs MIN, 55.6% starting: Despite being a top-5 defense on the season you want to avoid the Lions against the Vikings. The Vikings offense has caused opposing defenses to only score a sum of -1 fantasy points. Totally not worth the risk.
Brandon McManus, @ OAK, 17.7% starting: I’m going to stick with my Tuesday waiver pick. Here’s what I said about the Raiders: “They’ve allowed double-digit fantasy points to 6 of the 9 kickers they’ve faced including 10 to this very McManus in week 4. I can easily see another double-digit scoring game for McManus this week.”
Kai Forbath, @ DET, 60.5%: Last time Kai played the Lions he scored 0 fantasy points by missing a field goal and only getting one extra point. Last week he went 1 for 3 against the Rams so this might hurt his confidence a bit.