Wondering whether or not to start Mark Ingram and A.J. Green, or to bench Tom Savage and Eddie Lacy? The network bozos specialize in that kind of advice. If you’re looking for help with your real starting lineup conundrums, read on.
Here are my picks to roll, and get rolled, in Week 12 of the 2017 season.
Watch ‘em roll
Matt Ryan, QB, Falcons vs. Buccaneers. Ryan – and his trusty sidekick, Julio Jones – have been disappointing their owners most of the season. But nothing says “rebound” quite like the Bucs defense, which just got torched by Matt Moore. Coughing up big plays is apparently part of the Bucs’ weekly game plan, so look for the Ryan-Jones connection to find its groove on Sunday.
Isaiah Crowell, RB, Browns at Bengals. Crowell was on a nice roll before he ran into the Jacksonville buzzsaw last weekend. He has an excellent chance to return to his owners’ good graces against the eminently exploitable Cincinnati rush defense that has recently been overrun by some of the weakest running games in the NFL.
Tevin Coleman, RB, Falcons vs. Buccaneers. It now appears that Devonta Freeman won’t clear the concussion protocol in time for Sunday’s matchup with the improved-but-still-plenty-vulnerable Bucs run defense. Coleman can exploit this unit as both a runner and receiver, and he’s a good bet for at least one scoring play in this divisional showdown.
Danny Amendola, WR, Patriots vs. Dolphins. Assuming Tom Brady’s Achilles issue isn’t serious, there will be plenty of targets to go around for each of his starting receivers to get their fill from the fantasy trough. Miami’s pass defense was ripped apart by Ryan Fitzpatrick last week, and Amendola is back to making plays as understudy to Chris Hogan and Julian Edelman.
Mike Wallace, WR, Ravens vs. Texans. Our enthusiasm for Wallace’s two-game scoring stretch is tempered by his previous two-game duds (4 receptions for 39 yards, combined). The Monday nighter offers great potential, however, as Houston’s sieve-like secondary comes to town. Don’t be surprised if Wallace piles up solid yardage, including a long TD reception.
More thumbs up (excluding the no-brainers): QBs Cam Newton, Ben Roethlisberger, Russell Wilson, Carson Wentz; RBs Kareem Hunt, Leonard Fournette, Alvin Kamara, Dion Lewis, Christian McCaffrey; WRs Mohammed Sanu, JuJu Smith-Schuster, T.Y. Hilton, Tyreek Hill, Jarvis Landry, Rishard Matthews, Alshon Jeffery.
Roll ‘em back
Jared Goff, QB, Rams vs. Saints. The second-year passer cooled off last week in Minnesota, and now he’ll face the solid Saints secondary without go-to receiver Robert Woods (shoulder). The matchup isn’t as tough with elite CB Marshon Lattimore likely sidelined, but it’s hard to expect big production from Goff with only Cooper Kupp and boom-or-bust wideout Sammy Watkins at his disposal.
Doug Martin, RB, Buccaneers at Falcons. Week after week, Martin fails to take advantage of the high volume of carries he receives. He’s a non-factor in the passing game, and with Fitzpatrick at the controls, Atlanta’s so-so run defense can easily stack the line to keep Martin from finding daylight.
Carlos Hyde, RB, 49ers vs. Seahawks. Hyde racked up 143 combined scrimmage yards the last time these teams met. But the Seahawks’ run defense has tightened up significantly since that Week 2 contest, and Matt Breida wasn’t competing for touches like he is now. With C.J. Beathard under center, you can expect Seattle to stack the line and limit Hyde’s upside.
Kenny Stills, WR, Dolphins at Patriots. New England’s pass defense is finding its groove after a horrid start. Meanwhile, Jay Cutler appears to be on track to clear the concussion protocol and return to the starting lineup. Both developments are bad news for those counting on another big outing from Stills, whose moments in the spotlight are generally shared with Matt Moore.
Davante Adams, WR, Packers at Steelers. For all his faults, Brett Hundley has managed to keep Adams fantasy relevant, especially in PPR leagues. But it seems like wishful thinking to expect the connection to prosper on the road against the elite Pittsburgh secondary. Avoid all Packers in this one.
More thumbs down: QBs Tyrod Taylor, Andy Dalton, Jay Cutler; RBs Marshawn Lynch, Thomas Rawls, C.J. Anderson, LeGarrette Blount, Bilal Powell, Alex Collins, Adrian Peterson, Frank Gore, Derrick Henry, Jamaal Williams, Kenyan Drake; WRs Jordy Nelson, Kelvin Benjamin, DeVante Parker, Marqise Lee, Nelson Agholor, Will Fuller, Ted Ginn, John Brown, Dontrelle Inman, Corey Coleman.
TAKING A FLIER
J.D. McKissic, RB, Seahawks at 49ers. Seattle’s offensive line takes a lot of heat, but perhaps the team’s rushing woes should be blamed on its mediocre starting RB corps (see Rawls and Lacy). Russell Wilson can run wild, Mike Davis produced last week in his first start and McKissic has dazzled as the passing-down back when given the opportunity. If Davis sits out Sunday’s primo matchup with his groin injury, as expected, the rookie will likely be spotlighted. McKissic is a free agent in most formats, so PPR leaguers especially should grab him now before the receiver-turned-RB makes his mark.
DON’T BE THE BONEHEAD WHO … benches Larry Fitzgerald. Ever. Sure, the Jaguars are bringing the league’s stingiest defense to town, but the future Hall of Famer is simply too good to sit in any matchup. Fitz continues to play at an elite level, and his target volume pays dividends regardless of which spare QB is under center.
Ladd Biro is a two-time winner and five-time finalist of the Football Writer of the Year Award by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association. Follow all his advice daily at the Fantasy Fools blog (fantasy-fools.blogspot.com), on Facebook and via Twitter (@ladd_biro).