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START/BENCH: Week 12

This has been quite the year, and the chaos that has enveloped seemingly every facet of American life has spread into fantasy football too.

At running back, the top two running backs (Carolina’s Christian McCaffrey and the New York Giants’ Saquon Barkley) have played in all of one game combined since Week 2. Barkley’s season is over thanks to a torn ACL. McCaffrey may well not play again after injuring his shoulder a few weeks back. The No. 3 back (Dallas’ Ezekiel Elliott) has just one 100-yard game.

He got it last week against Minnesota.

At wide receiver, the first player off draft boards in most leagues (New Orleans’ Michael Thomas) missed a number of weeks and only just recorded his first 100-yard outing in Week 11 as well. Atlanta’s Julio Jones has been nicked up much of the year. And a fistful of big names has been hampered by injuries at quarterback.

It has been, for lack of a better term, a hot freaking mess. But as head into Thanksgiving week, the fantasy managers who best weathered the storm that is 2020 are jockeying for playoff position in the chase to be crowned champion of the weirdest year ever.

It’s a safe bet that we’ll just about all be thankful when 2020 is in relegated to the trash can of history.

Whether you’re angling for a first-round playoff bye, clinging to playoff hopes like grim death or just looking to play spoiler and spread the misery (which is a very 2020 thing to do), at this point in the season every lineup decision is that much more important.

We’re here to help with those lineup decisions, with the Week 12 edition of “Start/Bench” here at Fantasy Sharks.

There are no teams on bye in Week 12. So at least we have that going for us.

QUARTERBACKS

STUDS

Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City (at Tampa Bay)

Lamar Jackson, Baltimore (at Pittsburgh)

Russell Wilson, Seattle (at Philadelphia)

Kyler Murray, Arizona (at New England)

Josh Allen, Buffalo (vs. Los Angeles Chargers)

Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay (vs. Chicago)

Deshaun Watson, Houston (at Detroit)

Justin Herbert, Los Angeles Chargers (at Buffalo) 

ROLL THEM OUT

Derek Carr, Las Vegas (at Atlanta): Carr is coming off an excellent effort against Kansas City — 275 passing yards, three scores and a passer rating of nearly 120. This week he gets the second-best fantasy matchup for quarterbacks this year in Atlanta.

Philip Rivers, Indianapolis (vs. Tennessee): Rivers has been on a mini-roll of late, posting Top 10 fantasy numbers among quarterbacks over the past two weeks. The veteran signal-caller topped 300 passing yards two weeks ago against Tennessee.

Tua Tagovailoa, Miami (at New York Jets): It takes some guts to start Tagovailoa after he failed to hit 100 passing yards and got benched last week in Denver. But this week’s matchup with the Jets sets up well for a rebound.

Carson Wentz, Philadelphia (vs. Seattle): Wentz admittedly looked awful last week in Cleveland, and the Seattle defense is coming off maybe its best game of the year. But Seattle still leads the league in fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks in Sharks League Scoring.

SIT THEM DOWN

Tom Brady, Tampa Bay (vs. Kansas City): Brady scuffled a bit in last week’s loss to the Los Angeles Rams, throwing a pair of costly interceptions. The sledding won’t be substantially easier on Sunday against a Kansas City team surrendering the eighth-least fantasy points to quarterbacks.

Jared Goff, Los Angeles Rams (vs. San Francisco): Goff just lit up Tampa Bay for 376 passing yards and has topped 300 yards three weeks in a row. But he has just four touchdown passes over that span and draws a Bottom 10 fantasy matchup this week with San Francisco.

Lamar Jackson, Baltimore (at Pittsburgh): Jackson struggled the first time these teams met, posting 273 total yards with two scores and four turnovers. If he has another game like that Thursday night, his status on the “Studs” list is going to be hard to justify.

Ryan Tannehill, Tennessee (at Indianapolis): Tannehill played well in Week 11 against Baltimore, but two weeks ago against Indianapolis was another story — just 147 passing yards and one touchdown pass in a 17-point loss.

About Gary Davenport

A member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association and Pro Football Writers of America who resides in Columbus, Ohio, Gary has been featured on a number of fantasy websites and in nationally circulated publications. These publications include the USA Today Fantasy Football Preview and the magazines distributed by Fantasy Sports Publications Inc., for whom Gary is a both a contributing author and associate editor. Gary is an nine-time FSWA Award finalist and three-time winner who has been a finalist for that organization's Fantasy Football Writer of the Year award each of the last four years. He won the honor in 2017 and 2019. Gary also appears regularly on Sirius XM Radio (including live from Radio Row at Super Bowl XLIX) and over-the-air stations across the country. Gary was one of the co-founders of, and Head Writer at, Fantasy Football Oasis before joining Fantasy Sharks as an IDP Senior Staff Writer in 2011. He knows football. Or so he's heard.