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Citak: Week 12 Fantasy Football Sweet & Sour Lineup Advice

Matt Citak
November 22, 2018 - 3:55 pm
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Ladies and gentlemen, we have officially reached the final stretch of the fantasy football year.

With only two weeks remaining before the start of the fantasy postseason, time is running out to secure your spot in the playoffs.

For those of you struggling with lineup decisions, Sweet & Sour is back for Week 12 to provide some start/sit recommendations, along with a few sleeper picks at each position. 

Players who look poised for a big week will fall under the "Sweet" category, while guys who might be in for a tough matchup will fall in the "Sour" section. In addition, I'll add a couple of sleeper picks at each position for those in need of a streaming option.

Let me preface this article by saying I won't be telling you the obvious. You don't need me to tell you to start Todd Gurley or Antonio Brown each week. And a player falling in the "Sour" section doesn't necessarily mean you should bench him; it means you should lower your expectations for that player given the circumstances that week (matchup, injuries, etc.). While I want these recommendations to help you make lineup decisions, at the end of the day, you have to go with your gut.

Away we go.

Quarterbacks

Sweet

Tom Brady, New England Patriots - Brady may not be putting up the big stats that fans are used to seeing from him, but have no doubt that the veteran QB is enjoying a strong season. The 41-year-old could be looking at a big blowup spot in this Week 12 AFC East matchup, though, as New England will hit the road to take on the Jets. New York has allowed multiple passing touchdowns in every home game this year, and with the Pats coming off a bye, Brady is in a great position to go off against his division rivals. 

Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Starting a Buccaneers quarterback certainly comes with its risks, as Dirk Koetter could decide to pull the plug on Winston after just one or two bad mistakes. However the young QB has a great matchup in Week 12 against a 49ers defense that has just two interceptions in 2018. Winston is playing for his future at this point, and with Tampa Bay having to make a big decision on their QB this upcoming offseason, that should be more than enough motivation. Look for Winston to take advantage of his second stint as the team's starting quarterback.

Sour

Deshaun Watson, Houston Texans - Take away his five-touchdown performance against the Dolphins and all of a sudden, Watson's 2018 campaign looks rather weak. The 2017 first round pick has failed to account for multiple touchdowns in four of his last six games, while picking up more than 15 rushing yards only once over his past five games. Tennessee's defense has been incredibly stingy this season, and with Titans QB Marcus Mariota possibly sitting this one out, this AFC South battle is shaping up to be a low-scoring affair. 

Derek Carr, Oakland Raiders - Carr is coming off a solid game against the Cardinals in Week 11, but with a matchup against the Ravens on-deck, he is unlikely to repeat the performance this Sunday. It doesn't help that a number of Oakland's pass-catching options will be forced to watch this one from the sidelines. While his Week 11 performance offers some hope moving forward, Carr should be no where near your lineup in Week 12. 

Sleepers

Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens - Jackson's ability as a rusher gives him a high fantasy floor. Oh yeah, Oakland is allowing a league-high 6.6 yards per play this season...

Nick Mullens, San Francisco 49ers - It's a risky move, but with a matchup against the Buccaneers in Week 12, Mullens is definitely on the streaming radar.

Running Backs

Sweet

Leonard Fournette, Jacksonville Jaguars - Any concerns that the Jaguars would ease Fournette back into action following his injury were quickly put to rest. The second-year back has touched the ball 59 times in the two games since returning to the field, and has looked spry doing it. The Bills have been awful against opposing running backs over the last month. Combine that with the fact that the Jags are one of the most run-heavy teams in the NFL, and it looks like Fournette is primed for a big game.

Nov 18, 2018; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers free safety Sean Davis (21) carries the ball against Jacksonville Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette (27) during the second quarter at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY
USA TODAY Sports

Sony Michel, New England Patriots - The Jets are really bad this year. The Patriots are coming off their bye, and with the Chiefs losing on Monday, New England is back in the race for the top seed in the AFC. Bill Belichick is going to look to make a statement win over their AFC East rivals, and with the Jets giving up touchdowns to running backs in three of the last four weeks, that could mean a big day for Michel. The rookie, along with James White, are no-brainers for Week 12.

Sour

Tevin Coleman, Atlanta Falcons - The Falcons have a huge matchup against the Saints on Thanksgiving night. While this game has the makings of a NFC South shootout, it may not mean much for Coleman. New Orleans enters Week 12 ranked second in the NFL in yards per carry to opposing running backs, allowing a mere 3.45 ypc. Coleman has become a touchdown-dependent fantasy play, and with Ito Smith also stealing carries, chances are he won't be able to find the end zone. I'm avoiding Coleman this week.

Dion Lewis, Tennessee Titans - After a few good games, Lewis has quickly fallen back to earth over the last two weeks. The 28-year-old back has averaged under 3.0 yards per carry in each of those contests, while gaining just 19 receiving yards total. With Blaine Gabbert likely starting at quarterback Monday night, everyone in the Titans' offense gets a significant downgrade. Lewis is going to have a tough time finding gaps to run through against a Texans defense likely to stack the box all game.

Sleepers

Josh Adams, Philadelphia Eagles - Adams is averaging a league-high 7.0 ypc since Week 8, while the Giants have allowed 152.3 rushing yards per game over that same span. This could be Adams' big breakout performance.

Gus Edwards, Baltimore Ravens - You may not have heard of him prior to last week, but Edwards put together the best rushing performance of any Ravens RB this season in Week 11. Assuming John Harbaugh sticks with him, the rookie has an amazing matchup against the Raiders.

Wide Receivers

Sweet

Emmanuel Sanders, Denver Broncos - Sanders has been a disappointment as of late, recording just 160 receiving yards total over Denver's last three games. However, a revenge matchup against the Steelers should be exactly what the veteran receiver needs to get his season back on-track. Pittsburgh is allowing the third-most fantasy points to opposing slot receivers this season, having surrendered seven touchdowns and the third-most yards. Denver's offense will have to keep up with Pittsburgh's, meaning Sanders (in addition to Courtland Sutton) should have himself a big outing. 

Doug Baldwin, Seattle Seahawks - Baldwin said he finally felt healthy last week, and was able to follow that up with seven receptions for 52 yards and a touchdown. The veteran receiver was wide open and should have had a second touchdown as well, had Russell Wilson not missed the throw. Regardless, Baldwin seems to have regained his position as Wilson's favorite target in the passing game. Going up against a Panthers defense that has struggled to limit opposing receivers over the last three weeks, Baldwin should be in for another strong game.

Sour

Corey Davis, Tennessee Titans - With Mariota likely sitting this one out, Davis is an easy fade. As if Gabbert starting for the Titans wasn't enough to convince you, the Texans are also surrendering the fifth-fewest yards per completion on the year. In Week 2, Davis totaled just 55 yards against Houston, and could be in for an even worse day in Week 12. The playoffs are right around the corner, and Davis is way too risky of a start considering the circumstances.

Devin Funchess, Carolina Panthers - Despite beginning the year as Carolina's number one receiver, it appears those days are in the rearview mirror for Funchess. The 24-year-old has gone four games without finding the end zone, and has failed to top five catches or 45 yards in each of those contests. With the emergence of rookie first round pick D.J. Moore, in addition to increased roles for Curtis Samuel and the always reliable Christian McCaffrey, Funchess no longer remains a solid fantasy play. He will need to score a touchdown to provide any sort of value in Week 12. 

Sleepers

Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Green Bay Packers - MVS put up a stinker last week, but with Xavier Rhodes covering Davante Adams and Jimmy Graham suffering a thumb injury last week, the rookie WR should get plenty of looks from Aaron Rodgers.

Tre'Quan Smith, New Orleans Saints - Smith has seen his role in the Saints offense increase each game over the last month. The rookie should be able to follow up last week's offensive explosion with another strong outing against the Falcons' poor secondary. 

Tight Ends

Sweet

George Kittle, San Francisco 49ers - Kittle has been playing like an absolute stud lately, recording at least 57 yards or a touchdown (or both) in each of his last four games. The second-year tight end is already up to 775 receiving yards on the season, and should be able to add a lot to that number in Week 12. The Bucs are atrocious against slot receivers, which is where Kittle has lined up for a majority of snaps this year. Kittle could be the top TE play this week.

David Njoku, Cleveland Browns - It's been a rough go for Njoku in recent weeks, as the second-year tight end has been unable to reach 20 receiving yards in two of his last three games. But if there were a week for the talented pass-catcher to get his season heading back in the right direction, this is the one. The Bengals are allowing the fourth-most fantasy points to opposing tight ends this year. Even with Hue Jackson now on the Bengals' sidelines, I'm expecting a big game from the Browns' offense, and Njoku is a big reason for that.

Sour

Austin Hooper, Atlanta Falcons - While Hooper has been a lot better than anyone could have expected this season, he should be riding your bench in Week 12. The Saints have prevented every opposing tight end they have faced from catching more than four passes or topping 55 yards this season, an incredibly impressive feat. If the Falcons are going to have a chance against New Orleans on Thanksgiving night, Matt Ryan will have to look elsewhere in the passing game. 

Kyle Rudolph, Minnesota Vikings - To put it simply, Rudolph has sucked in 2018. For whatever reason, Kirk Cousins does not seem to like throwing him the ball, as the big tight end has had five or more targets only twice over the last five games. Green Bay is allowing the fifth-fewest fantasy points to opposing tight ends this season, including giving up only one touchdown to the position. Stay away from Rudolph. 

Sleepers

Cameron Brate, Tampa Bay Buccaneers - I don't even know if I'd consider Brate a "sleeper" this week, as the injury to O.J. Howard has opened the door for the veteran to re-take the role of Tampa Bay's number one tight end. Given his history with Winston under center, Brate could easily be a top 5 tight end for the rest of the season.

Jeff Heuerman, Denver Broncos - Heuerman has been one of Case Keenum's preferred options since the trade of Demaryius Thomas, picking up 21 targets over the last three games. With the Steelers allowing the eighth-most fantasy points to opposing tight ends this year, Heuerman is firmly on the streaming radar in Week 12. 

Matt Citak is a Web producer for WFAN Sports Radio. Follow him on Twitter @MatthewCitak.