This season has produced a lot of strange weeks, and Week 11 was no different. Alex Smith failed to throw a touchdown against a porous New York Giants defense, which means that Travis Kelce failed to reach the end zone against a team that had given up 10 touchdowns to tight ends in nine games. Ugh … it is what it is, I guess. Jay Cutler looked abysmal in a great matchup against Tampa Bay before getting concussed, thus opening the door for another Matt Moore sighting (and he looked MUCH better than Cutler …). Let’s just hope that Week 12 isn’t as weird as Week 11. Good news though, Sharks: bye weeks are over! That being said, let’s take a look at some quarterbacks and tight ends with exploitable matchups in Week 12.
Joe Flacco, Baltimore (vs. Houston)
Flacco didn’t look amazing in Green Bay in Week 11, but some of that blame can be put on the frigid and windy weather in which he had to play. The good news is that Houston is coming to town, and Houston is the second-easiest matchup for a quarterback. Look, Blaine Gabbert just tossed three touchdowns against lowly Houston in Week 11, so this is a good spot for Flacco. I also expect Danny Woodhead to be utilized more than he was in Week 11, making Flacco’s life that much easier. You may need to take some Pepto Bismol before you stream Flacco, but the end results should be worth it.
Eli Manning, New York Giants (at Washington)
Manning was another letdown in Week 11, as he failed to throw a touchdown in a great matchup against Kansas City. Again, the weather was also an issue in that contest. The weather won’t be nearly as bad in D.C., so you should look to play Manning on Thanksgiving this week. Washington grades out as the fifth-best matchup for an opposing quarterback on the season. Washington will also be able to put up a lot of points in this contest (the Giants grade out as the easiest matchup for a quarterback …) which should give Manning more passing attempts than usual. Put your trust back in Manning for this Week 12 contest.
Jared Goff, Los Angeles Rams (vs. New Orleans)
Look, New Orleans is a solid defense. I know, Washington was able to put up some good numbers against New Orleans in Week 11, but there haven’t been many others to do so. New Orleans grades out as the sixth-hardest matchup for a quarterback. Also, Goff came crashing back to Earth in Week 11 against a stout Minnesota defense (10th-hardest matchup for a quarterback), failing to throw a touchdown and tossing two interceptions. Goff is not the automatic start that many were beginning to believe, and I’m here to warn you of that for Week 12. I’d look elsewhere if you can …
Tyler Kroft, Cincinnati (vs. Cleveland)
Always start your tight ends against Cleveland. I recommended Marcedes Lewis here last week, and he delivered with 26 yards and a touchdown. Kroft only saw three targets in Week 11, but he did score against Denver. Andy Dalton has been playing much better as of late, and that will continue against Cleveland. You can always stream a tight end who plays Cleveland … it really doesn’t matter who it is. So fire up Kroft as a great tight end play in Week 12.
Benjamin Watson, Baltimore (vs. Houston)
I like Joe Flacco this week, and I like Watson as well. Houston grades out as the seventh-best matchup for a tight end, and I look for Joe Flacco and Co. to exploit that. Yes, Watson was only targeted once in Week 11 (he did take that target and turn it into 33 yards, though …), but Flacco didn’t have to do much against Green Bay. Look for Baltimore to have to throw more in the primetime date with Houston (what a sad primetime game …). Yes, the Houston offense is better than the Green Bay offense right now. Trust me, that was just as hard to write as it was for you to read it.
Cameron Brate, Tampa Bay (at Atlanta)
Brate has been a massive disappointment lately, to say the least. He only has six targets in the past two games, and he has turned that into two receptions for 22 yards. When you partner that with the fact that he faces the fifth-hardest matchup for a tight end in the Atlanta defense, then you have all you need to know about playing Brate in Week 12. I’d avoid this matchup like the plague and look elsewhere.
A Look Ahead to Week 13 …
Derek Carr may be dropped after his abysmal outing against New England in Week 11, but he faces the easiest matchup for a quarterback (New York Giants) in Week 13. Josh McCown gets the third-easiest matchup for a quarterback when Kansas City comes to town. Hopefully his Week 11 bye helped him get back on the track he was playing on before the Week 10 debacle. If you’re really desperate, Mitchell Trubisky faces off against the paltry San Francisco defense (sixth-easiest matchup for a quarterback).
Who plays Cleveland in Week 13? Hunter Henry, step right up! Jared Cook gets the Giants, but he is most likely owned. Denver has been an excellent matchup for tight ends all year (second-easiest), so maybe Julius Thomas can help you in a dire situation? Jason Witten may be dropped after his one-catch performance against Philadelphia, but he gets to face Washington in Week 13. Washington grades out as the fifth-easiest matchup for a tight end.
Week 12, here we come! Remember, there are three games on Thursday, so make sure you get your lineups set earlier than usual this week. I sincerely hope all of you have a great Thanksgiving. Also, you can utilize the Fantasy Sharks Strength of Schedule tool yourself to find good and bad matchups for any part of the upcoming season (and any other position). As always, don’t hesitate to ask me any and everything regarding fantasy football on Twitter (my Twitter handle can be found below). Until next time, Sharks!