The fantasy matchup stats you need to know for Week 12

Jeff Ratcliffe runs through the key things fantasy owners need to know for the weekend of Week 12.

| 7 months ago
Bills RB LeSean McCoy

(Harry How/Getty Images)

The fantasy matchup stats you need to know for Week 12

Play the matchups in fantasy football, and you’ll win more often than you lose. Now that we’re in the thick of the bye weeks, knowing the matchups to avoid and exploit becomes even more important. Bellow you’ll find the key matchup stats to know from each of the 14 remaining games this week.

Don’t forget to also take a look at the best and worst wide receiver matchups for the week. Also, new this week, we have our fantasy positional matchups chart, which allows you to quickly identify all of the best matchups each week for all offensive and IDP positions. You may also find our O-Line/D-Line matchup chart helpful.

Just a quick note about the recommendations. Downgrading a player is not the same as sitting a player. If an RB1 is downgraded, that means he moves to an RB2 for the week, and vice versa for upgrades. These matchup recommendations and others are reflected in our weekly rankings — an invaluable tool in lineup decision-making each week. 

Tennessee at Chicago: Avoid the Bears altogether

Things are spiraling out of control for the Chicago offense with Jay Cutler doubtful for this week, Zach Miller on injured reserve, Alshon Jeffery suspended, and Eddie Royal looking very iffy after missing practice on Wednesday and Thursday. The Bears will roll out their junior varsity squad this week with Matt Barkley under center and a potential wide receiver corps of Cameron Meredith, Josh Bellamy, and Deonte Thompson along with Logan Paulson at tight end. Yep. It’s that bad. Jordan Howard is the only fantasy option worth anything in Chicago, but he gets a tough matchup against a Titans defense that gives up the sixth-fewest fantasy points per game to opposing running backs.

Jacksonville at Buffalo: Shady McCoy is a RB1 despite the injury

Jacksonville has done fairly well against running backs over the last three weeks, but did give up 158 yards on the ground to the Texans backfield in Week 10. However, this play is all about volume. In full games played, McCoy is averaging 21.3 touches. He’s dealing with a thumb issue from last week, but has been able to practice this week and appears to be on track to play. The Bills offensive line has a significant advantage over the Jags front four. That plus McCoy’s projected big workload make him a solid RB1 play. 

Cincinnati at Baltimore: Fade Jeremy Hill

With Giovani Bernard on injured reserve, Hill now figures to see feature back work. Unfortunately, he has to face a tough Ravens run defense this week. Baltimore currently surrenders the second-fewest PPR points per game to opposing running backs and haven’t allowed a rushing touchdown to the position since Week 7. With Cincinnati extremely banged up, game script isn’t likely to favor Hill this week. Fantasy owners should fade him if possible. 

Arizona at Atlanta: Downgrade Devonta Freeman

Unlike Hill, Freeman should still be in fantasy lineups as an RB2. However, fantasy owners should be prepared for a potentially bad day. The Cards have been stout against the run, allowing over 100 yards to running backs just once this year. For fantasy purposes, they’re the worst PPR matchup for the position. That being said, the Falcons potent offense negates some of the matchup disadvantage, so Freeman still offers some potential upside. Be he and Tevin Coleman are volatile risk/reward plays. 

NY Giants at Cleveland: Start Rashad Jennings

This one is pretty easy. Cleveland has given up 100-plus yards to opposing backfields in each of their last five games with eight rushing touchdowns yielded to the position over that span. Three weeks ago, it appeared like rookie Paul Perkins pulled even with Jennings in the Giants backfield, but Jennings was the clear lead back last, out-touching Perkins 26-6. Jennings doesn’t have massive upside, but he’s a rock solid RB2 play in this one.

Los Angeles at New Orleans: Todd Gurley remains a strong fantasy play

Disgruntled fantasy owners continue to want to call Gurley a bust because he isn’t the No. 1 fantasy running back right now, but let’s face the facts. Entering this week, Gurley is 19th among running backs in standard scoring and 18th in PPR. No, he isn’t an elite option. But he’s putting up RB2 numbers, which makes him an every-week starter. He’s also top-10 at the position in touches per game. You can’t always get what you want, but with Gurley, you get what you need. And that’s fantasy points. He found the end zone last week and was an RB1 in standard leagues. This week he gets a strong matchup against a Saints defense that has struggled at times against the run. Gurley’s arrow is pointing up this week.

San Francisco at Miami: Start all of your Dolphins

Following this week’s flow chart of who plays the 49ers, we get a surging Dolphins offense. Jay Ajayi has cooled off recently with the Miami offensive line banged up, but he’s still a good bet for 100-plus yards this week. San Francisco has only held two opposing backfields under the century mark this season. Ryan Tannehill is also a sneaky streamer for those in need of quarterback help. The 49ers have given up at least two passing scores in 8-of-10 games played.

San Diego at Houston: Lamar Miller keeps it rolling

After a sub-par Week 10 performance, Miller exploded on Monday night, racking up 104 yards and score on the ground. This week, he faces a Chargers defense that gives up the second-most PPR points per game to opposing running backs. San Diego has allowed at least one rushing touchdown in each of their last four games. 

Seattle at Tampa Bay: Thomas Rawls is an RB1

C.J. Prosise’s injury opens the door for Rawls to assume feature back duties for the Seahawks going forward, and he’s a good bet to get off to a solid start. Tampa hasn’t allowed a rushing touchdown to opposing running backs since Week 7, but they have surrendered 100-plus yards to three of the last four backfields they’ve faced. With the Seahawks surging, Rawls figures to see heavy volume, and makes for a top-10 play this week. 

Carolina at Oakland: Greg Olsen gets back on track

Last week was rough for Olsen owners, as he managed just 33 yards on four catches. However, he’s poised for a bounce back week against a Raiders defense that currently allows the eight-most points per game to tight ends. This past Monday night, Texans tight ends racked up 128 yards against Oakland. Fantasy owners should forget about last week and start Olsen with confidence.

New England at NY Jets: Don’t start Dion Lewis just yet

This contest is fairly straight forward in terms of the matchups. You’re going to start who you normally would, and that does not include Lewis at this point. That being said, he is a player we need to monitor. Lewis got back on the field last week and managed eight touches, which was well behind LeGarrette Blount’s 19. But the Patriots did use Lewis as both a runner and a receiver, which is not what they’ve done with James White. Lewis’ workload has the potential to expand even more this week.

Kansas City at Denver: Keep starting Spencer Ware

Yes, he was somewhat of a dud last week despite a plus matchup. However, Ware did rack up 19 touches and was the clear lead back. This week, he faces a lackluster Broncos run defense that surprisingly gives up the seventh-most PPR points per game opposing running backs. Denver has allowed 100-plus yards to the position in three of their last four games. Ware will see heavy volume and is a good bet to post top-10 fantasy numbers.

Green Bay at Philadelphia: Zach Ertz is back

A popular preseason breakout pick, Ertz was injured earlier in the season and failed to put up strong fantasy numbers. However, that trend seems to be reversing. Over the last three weeks, he leads all tight ends with 25 targets and ranks seventh in fantasy points. The Packers currently allow the sixth-most PPR points per game to the position, and just surrendered a big day to Delanie Walker in Week 10. Ertz is a solid TE1 play and should be strongly considered as a DFS option this week.

| Director of Fantasy

Jeff Ratcliffe is the Director of Fantasy at Pro Football Focus. He produces all of our projections and is 2016's second-most-accurate ranker in the fantasy industry. Jeff also is the host of our show on SiriusXM fantasy sports radio and is one of the main hosts of our Fantasy Slant podcast.

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