Each week during the NFL season FST brings you our Fantasy Football Start’em column, which takes a look at favorable matchups and how they might impact lineup decisions for your fantasy football roster. Let’s take a look at some players that you’ll want in your starting lineup for Week 12. If you have any start’em sit’em questions feel free to post them in our Fantasy Football Forum.
This leader of the Niners offense has been spotty of late in his last couple games against the Panthers and Saints. He’s got a great chance to step up his game in the prime time lights of Monday Night football against one of the NFL’s worst defenses. DeAngelo Hall and company will have their hands full and a healthy running attack should open up space for Boldin, Vernon and possibly Crabtree (if he comes back from injury) to catch and run. Set high expectations for the Niners signal caller to post 20 plus point numbers this week.
Business as usual for Manning and his first place Broncos as they head towards the stormy northeast to take on Brady’s Patriots. This game still has quite a bit riding on it for both teams and Manning should be considered again a top flight option even though the Patriots defense has top 5 overall unit statistical numbers this season. Manning, like Brady, has a great tight end to work with and even with an ailing Wes Welker there are many options for him to spread the ball around to as well. If Welker is good to go look for him to be involved heavily against his former squad. Manning could have huge game, although history says he doesn’t play well against Belichick.
Since week 2 Boldin has been mostly a bust as far as fantasy relevance. Kaepernick has struggled to make use of Boldin’s physical athleticism and as a result the statistics don’t show him as the dominant player he is capable of being on any given Sunday. That should change on Monday night as the Redskins abysmal secondary are a great recipe to get his touchdown swagger back. He’s a great flex option and low-end WR 2 for those looking at sexy matchup plays.
Andre Johnson is much better when Case Keenum is on the field throwing the pigskin than Matt Schaub. Although the Raiders game didn’t go Johnson’s way, Case will be back as the starting QB on Sunday against what is arguably the league’s stepping stone and standard of futility. It’s hard to not imagine Johnson posting at least 1 TD and over 100 yards receiving. If the Texans are going to compete they need to get Andre the ball and let him use his natural speed and Pro-Bowl abilities. Big day for him awaits.
Murray has the injury bug, but if he makes it on to the field Sunday against the Giants he’ll probably be as good an option as any out there. The Giants gave up significant yardage to Oakland’s second string running back and it’s well noted that the G-men have a weaker than average defensive line this season. Murray is a dual threat to both run and catch passes out of the backfield, so look for him to make fantasy owners with his targets and carries. Just hope that he plays the whole game without hamstring troubles.
Forte has been the strength of all fantasy running backs this season. Going into the fantasy draft many owners might have suspected a decline in his abilities and touches with a new head coach. Instead, Forte has kept the Bears in the thick of the NFC North division title hunt. Without Cutler there to open up the offense with his arm, the Bears use a more balanced approach and Forte is still effective in the passing game. The Rams are better than advertised defensively, but if Forte does his average Sunday thing like he’s been doing then owners should see 15 to 25 points.
Witten has been a staple in the Cowboys offense for many years now. He’s also been a staple as a top 5 tight end. While he’s been asked to block more and less targeted with Dez Bryant being more involved he still sees the red zone targets. Witten helps keep the chains moving and I expect him to be busy again against a Giants defense that prior to the last 2 weeks was 2nd worst in the league against defending the middle of field against tight ends. Big upside for Witten in this divisional showdown on Sunday.
Vernon Davis is one of the leaders in touchdowns this season at the tight end position. So when healthy he’s easily a great option, but against the Redskins defenders who have given up a total of 7 TDs to tight ends this season, he’s a no-brainer start option. His athleticism at his height and size is incredible. If Kaepernick wants to throw up jump balls, it’s more than likely Davis can out jump any defender to snatch it. Monday night could have fireworks for fantasy owners.
The Steelers have been beaten up and their demise has been talked about at great length this season. However, the fact remains that they are still in the AFC North race due to its mediocrity. The Browns gave up nearly 30 fantasy points in standard leagues to the Bengals defense last Sunday so there is great potential here. If the Browns continue to self-implode on offense this could make the Steelers defense the best play of the week. I like 10 plus points by the yellow and black on Sunday.