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THE LOWDOWN: Week 12

Welcome to The Lowdown for Week 12. This is my little corner of the fantasy football universe — feel free to pull up a chair and stay a while!

Family, Football… and Forced Labor

I hope that everyone enjoyed their Thanksgiving. Personally, my holiday was quiet and reserved, a small family gathering filled with tons of food. I’m a roast turkey freak– I love the stuff. I can eat it every day of the year and really not complain. Throw in a day full of relatively engaging NFL games and life is good.

Except for Sharks’ management. See, they keep insisting that we “care about our readers” and that we “go the extra mile” for them. I mean… seriously. They act as if it’s 1950 and that customer service is important. Personally, I think management is out of its collective mind, but if I want to earn this week’s paycheck, they insist that I write this column despite my turkey and candied yam induced lethargy. I can barely keep my eyes open and my brain is in a thicker fog than usual, but… I have to go that extra mile for the readers.

This is exploitation of the working class! Where’s Bernie Sanders when I need him? Probably sleeping off his Thanksgiving coma like every other American. Oh, well… here’s your Low Down for this week. Just don’t blame me if it stinks more than usual; blame Sharks’ management. [Editor’s Comment: John, don’t sell yourself short. You’re capable of doing much worse work.]

Interesting Players for Week

Not necessarily the players in line for the biggest games this week, but rather some players that caught my interest and upon whom I shall cast my gaze…

QB

  1. Aaron Rodgers, GBP (vs. PHI) – 41.93
  2. Cam Newton, CAR (vs. OAK) – 39.77
  3. Derek Carr, OAK (vs. CAR) – 39.56
  4. Drew Brees, NOS (vs. RAM) – 39.15
  5. Russell Wilson, SEA (vs. TBB) – 39.11
  6. Carson Palmer, ARI (vs. ATL) – 38.90
  7. Marcus Mariota, TEN (vs. Chi) – 38.33
  8. Matt Ryan, ATL (vs. Ari) – 37.93
  9. Eli Manning, NYG (vs. Cle) – 37.33
  10. Colin Kaepernick, SFO (vs. MIA) – 36.52

Colin Kaepernick may not understand anything about Fidel Castro, but he’s been playing at a consistently solid level since regaining the starting job in San Francisco. Russell Wilson has been starting to look more like the QB we’ve been accustomed to seeing, and that’s bad news for the teams remaining on the Seahawks’ schedule.

RB

  1. David Johnson, ARI (vs. ATL) – 54.60
  2. Jay Ajayi, MIA (vs. SFO) – 48.35
  3. Melvin Gordon, SDC (vs. Hou) – 46.13
  4. Todd Gurley, RAM (vs. NOS) – 41.63
  5. Spencer Ware, KCC (vs. Den) – 40.46
  6. Rashad Jennings, NYG (vs. Cle) – 40.26
  7. Matt Forte, NYJ (vs. NEP) – 39.89
  8. DeMarco Murray, TEN (vs. Chi) – 39.26
  9. LeGarrette Blount, NEP (vs. NYJ) – 38.52
  10. Terrance West, BAL (vs. Cin) – 35.06

The Giants have won five in a row, and it hasn’t been due to an explosive offense; instead, they’ve been winning with an ever-improving defense and clutch running from Rashad Jennings. I’m not saying Jennings is a must-start RB1 every week, but he’s built some momentum the past two weeks and he’s facing the Browns. Todd Gurley has been stuck in neutral the entire season, but if the reports indicating that Jared Goff will be taking more shots down the field are true, Gurley might be able to find a few more holes this week.

WR

  1. Larry Fitzgerald, ARI (vs. Atl) – 58.46
  2. Demaryius Thomas, DEN (vs. KCC) – 56.61
  3. Amari Cooper, OAK (vs. Car) – 55.95
  4. Rishard Matthews, TEN (vs. CHI) – 55.13
  5. Odell Beckham, NYG (vs. Cle) – 55.08
  6. Doug Baldwin, SEA (vs. TBB) – 54.83
  7. Brandin Cooks, NOS (vs. RAM) – 54.24
  8. Jordan Matthews, PHI (vs. GBP) – 53.45
  9. Julio Jones, ATL (vs. Ari) – 53.31
  10. Mike Evans, TBB (vs. SEA) – 53.12

Amari Cooper was in line for a disappointing performance last week when he pulled off that great catch-and-run for a TD to hand the victory to the Raiders with 4:51 left against the Texans. I’m not sure why he seems to be playing second-fiddle to Michael Crabtree, but Cooper is the type of receiver you need to get the ball to irrespective of what the defense is doing. Somebody must be the beneficiary of Marcus Mariota’s stellar performance among the Titans’ WR group, and it’s Rishard Matthews. Going against a depleted and demoralized Bears defense should produce a fantasy-relevant day from Matthews.

TE

  1. Greg Olsen, CAR (vs. Oak) – 28.93
  2. Jimmy Graham, SEA (vs. TBB) – 25.02
  3. Zach Ertz, PHI (vs. GBP) – 24.73
  4. Will Tye, NYG (vs. Cle) – 24.71
  5. Dennis Pitta, BAL (vs. CIN) – 24.65
  6. Delanie Walker, TEN (vs. CHI) – 24.38
  7. Travis Kelce, KCC (vs. Den) – 23.26
  8. Gary Barnidge, CLE (vs. NYG) – 21.86
  9. Clive Walford, OAK (vs. Car) – 21.71
  10. Cameron Brate, TBB (vs. SEA) – 21.00

Greg Olsen has had a pair of sub-par games in a row, but the Raiders are a little soft against opposing TEs, so it looks like Olsen is in line for a regression to his mean this week. You have to take a look at Will Tye, if for no other reason than he’s going up against the defense which has allowed the most receptions, yards and TDs to opposing tight ends this season.

 

About John Georgopoulos

John T. Georgopoulos is a 23-year veteran of fantasy sports journalism. John’s Fantasy Forecast series has won the prestigious Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA) award for Best Series, and he’s been nominated as an FSWA Award finalist on nine occasions. You can also listen to his weekly, non-sports NSFW opinions at The Riot.