FANTASY PLAYS: Seek matchups vs. Packers, Patriots, Browns
The trying times for constructing fantasy lineups appear to be over: most of your better players should be available in Week 12.
Of course, injuries and tough individual matchups always make it a challenge to set the ideal lineup. And with the fantasy playoffs getting closer, there seems to be more pressure surrounding every move.
Don't go crazy second-guessing yourself. Your first instinct when making a tight decision is often your better one.
TARGETING GB DEFENSE
The Packers defense has allowed 40 points in consecutive games and over 30 in its last four. Injuries at linebacker and in the secondary have made the Green Bay defense into a weekly unit to target for fantasy purposes. Philadelphia lacks notable playmakers at wide receiver, but the Pack allows 28.4 fantasy points per game to opposing wide receivers, the most in the league. Jordan Matthews has been a disappointment this year but is a must-start this week. Dorial Green-Beckham scored last week and can be used in larger leagues. Wendell Smallwood could get a lot of work at running back this week and deserves strong flex consideration. He is versatile and the Eagles may move the ball very well against the Packers, ensuring he gets enough significant work as both a runner and receiver. Smallwood might play an expanded role in the Philadelphia backfield this week because of injuries.
AND NEW ENGLAND'S
New England's defense allowed 17 points and 299 yards to an inferior 49ers offense last week and 56 points in the two games prior to that. The Jets will re-insert Ryan Fitzpatrick at quarterback this week and won't play dead in a home game for pride. New England allows 21.1 FFPG to opposing wide receivers, and even though Brandon Marshall has underachieved statistically, you can confidently start him as your third fantasy wide receiver this week. Matt Forte has rushed for four TDs in his past four games and is a solid start, and Bilal Powell should be busy enough as a receiver to help as a flex play in point-per-reception formats.
WINSTON VS. SEATTLE
Jameis Winston has 11 touchdown passes and three 260-plus yard games in his last four outings. He should continue to fare well this week at home against Seattle. The Seahawks will be without starting cornerback Deshawn Shead, and even more importantly, All-Pro safety Earl Thomas. Winston should be able to find some openings in the Seattle secondary and can still be started for at least some adequate fantasy production this week.
PARKER, LANDRY VS. SAN FRANCISCO
The 49ers have been historically awful against the run this year, allowing 179.5 yards per game. But San Francisco has also been generous against the pass, allowing 27.6 FFPG to opposing wide receivers, second-most in the league. Miami WR DeVante Parker has 13 catches for 182 yards in his last two games and is a very viable Week 12 starter. Jarvis Landry scored for the second time this year last week and should be in lineups as well as a third Fantasy WR.
START ALL GIANTS
The winless Browns host the Giants, who are shaping up to be the third best team in the NFC. Eli Manning has thrown nine TD passes in his past three games. Running back Rashad Jennings has awakened to score 36 PPR points in his past two games, rushing for 80 yards in each with a TD in Week 11. Rookie WR Sterling Shepard has scored in three straight games and even TE Will Tye is useful this week. Cleveland's defense is vulnerable in just about every area, so starting any Giants seems like a good choice this week.
FREEMAN WITH COLEMAN BACK
The Falcons return from a bye and get Tevin Coleman back. But the Cardinals allow the least FFPG to opposing running backs at a 12.7 clip. Still, Coleman is explosive and can score from anywhere on the field as both a runner and receiver, so it's hard not to use him as a flex option. His return means Devonta Freeman won't be overworked, and he should be started regardless of this tough matchup, as he has tallied double figure fantasy points in PPR leagues in seven of his past eight games.
The Bengals have lost both A.J. Green and Giovani Bernard to injuries. Baltimore allows 26.0 FFPG to opposing WRs, sixth-most in the league, so both Tyler Boyd and Brandon LaFell will have a chance to step forward this week. It may be Boyd, who is more likely to threaten a Ravens defense that has been vulnerable to big passing plays this season. Jeremy Hill will see an increased workload at RB now, but the Ravens are tied with the Cardinals as the best in the league against RBs in terms of fantasy points. Start Hill as your second fantasy running back because he always has considerable TD potential even if the yardage numbers are not outstanding.
STREAM TITANS DEFENSE
The Titans could be the best streaming defensive option of the week against Bears QB Matt Barkley, who has nine career turnovers in just five games played in his career. Miami's defense allowed 10 points last week and had six sacks and six turnovers in the two games before that. The Dolphins are another fine defensive option at home vs. San Francisco. Other quality defensive options include the Giants at Cleveland, which yielded eight sacks last week, and the Ravens against an injury-weakened Bengals offense. An underrated Chargers defense is another option against a Texans passing game that does not scare many opponents.
This column was provided to The Associated Press by the Fantasy Sports Network, http://FNTSY.com