Welcome to Betting the Spread: Week 12! Though Thanksgiving has come and gone, it’s never too late to share what you’re thankful for. Obviously, I’m thankful for my family and friends who love me and continue to support me. That feeling is mutual. But I’m also thankful to the one and only Podfather who gave me the chance to finally get paid to do something that I thoroughly love and enjoy doing: talk about sports.
I also want to give a shoutout to Cody for helping me every step of the way and answering all my questions. Seth Diewold, our editor at PlayerProfiler, also deserves a major shoutout for cleaning up all my mistakes and making me look so much better than I am. The rest of our staff who I’ve gotten to know has done awesome work and has helped me out as well along the way. Thank you all. I appreciate every bit of your support.
What I’m not thankful for is another 5-7-1 record last week. Our record is now 68-80-5 on the season. Ugh. We have to get on a real heater to finish the season. Let’s hope that starts this week. Onto Week 12!
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-3) vs Cleveland Browns
Pick ATS: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Who’s ready for Rachaad White szn? He’s already earned a role with Leonard Fournette on the field. Fournette might not even be out there this week due to his hip injury.
Coach Todd Bowles said running back Leonard Fournette, who suffered a hip pointer in Germany, is still very sore.
— JennaLaineESPN (@JennaLaineESPN) November 23, 2022
Rachaad White‘s 3.6 true yards per carry is nothing to write home about, and that number is so low in part to how beat up the Bucs’ offensive line has been. But luckily, they get the Browns and the league’s worst run defense according to Football Outsiders’ run defense DVOA metric. White looks like an RB1 option this week if Fournette can’t go. Both would be RB2s in the event Fournette can go.
Cincinnati Bengals vs Tennessee Titans (+2.5)
Pick ATS: Tennessee Titans
The Treylon Burks breakout game finally happened! It looked like we were well on our way once his snaps increased in Weeks 3 and 4, but then he sustained an injury and missed four games. He returned against the tough Broncos secondary that is only allowed to clamp opposing receivers not named Davante Adams, but then he took off against the Packers last Thursday with a big 8-7-111 line. Burks now ranks No. 23 in the NFL among receivers in target rate (26.1-percent) and No. 18 in yards per route run (2.3).
The matchup doesn’t look great on paper. The Bengals rank No. 10 in pass defense DVOA according to Football Outsiders. But, they’ve been more susceptible through the air since star corner Chidobe Awuzie, unfortunately, tore his ACL. Amari Cooper (7-5-131-1), Donovan Peoples-Jones (4-4-81), Terrace Marshall Jr. (6-3-76-1), and George Pickens (6-4-83-1) have since put together solid outings against this Bengals secondary. The Titans could very well be trailing in this game with how potent the Bengals’ offense can be, which should lead to more pass attempts. He should be in most lineups this week.
Houston Texans vs Miami Dolphins (-14)
Pick ATS: Miami Dolphins
I can’t talk about the Texans’ run defense *every week,* so let’s talk about the Texans moving on from Davis Mills to starting Kyle Allen at quarterback. From a long-term view, it looks almost certain that the Texans, current holders of the No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft, will draft likely Bryce Young (Alabama) or C.J. Stroud (Ohio State) with that pick. As for now, this is likely a lateral move, but maybe one that could spark Brandin Cooks or Nico Collins. In two Kyle Allen starts for Washington in 2020, Terry McLaurin averaged an 11.5-7-82-0.5 line.
D.J. Moore played 13 games with Allen under center in 2019 and accumulated 111 targets, 71 receptions, 1,010 yards, and four touchdowns (what would Moore managers give to get those numbers this season?). Kyle Allen isn’t a franchise savior, but he at least knows how to get his guys the ball. That’s all we ask for in this game we call fantasy football. Add a cake Dolphins secondary that ranks No. 29 against the pass according to Football Outsiders’ pass defense DVOA metric, and I’d be playing Brandin Cooks or Nico Collins if I had them.
Chicago Bears vs New York Jets (-6)
Pick ATS: New York Jets
Both teams could be making transitions at quarterbacks. The Bears don’t want to while the Jets have to. For Chicago, breakout star Justin Fields has a separated shoulder. Trevor Siemian would get the start if Fields can’t go. The Jets benched Zach Wilson in favor of Mike White after last week’s dreadful performance against the New England Patriots where Wilson, once again, looked overmatched.
“at this point in his development” ???? can we start off with: you look like you’ve seen a football before pic.twitter.com/JeUa3Jysbw
— charles (parody) mcdonald (@FourVerts) November 21, 2022
There could be more pass volume for the Bears’ passing attack. But with Trevor Siemian going up against the No. 6-best defense according to Football Outsiders’ defensive DVOA metric, I’d avoid every Bear but David Montgomery if Fields can’t go. Mike White, however, could finally inject some life into the many talented receiving options the Jets have. Garrett Wilson recorded at least 9.2 PPR points in all of Joe Flacco‘s three starts in Weeks 1-3.
He’s reached that number twice in seven Zach Wilson starts. Even when you factor in White leaving the Jets’ Week 9 game last year after the first quarter, Elijah Moore scored double-digit PPR points in all four games while Mike White was under center. Corey Davis also has been more successful with White or Flacco rather than Wilson. The Bears rank No. 30 in pass defense DVOA this season. Garrett Wilson is the only safe start of this group, but the outlook on the Jets’ pass attack is pointing up because Mike White has proven he can actually get his guys the ball. It’s also the only way it could possibly go.
Atlanta Falcons (+4) vs Washington Commanders
Pick ATS: Atlanta Falcons
If Justin Fields can’t go this week, and you need a streamer, look to either quarterback in this matchup. We’ve talked about Marcus Mariota a lot on here and mentioned him last week. I’ll give a cliff notes synopsis here: Mariota averages nearly five fantasy points as a rusher per game and ranks in the top ten of every rushing statistic on PlayerProfiler.com. It’s an ugly watch, but he’ll get you your points.
Taylor Heinicke can get points too. Granted, he has one game above 15 points this season, but he’s got that sneaky athleticism to him and gets the Falcons’ defense. The Falcons rank No. 28 in defensive DVOA and pass defense DVOA. They’ve allowed at least 16.5 points to opposing quarterbacks in eight of the first 11 weeks this season. Heinicke wasn’t needed last week against the Texans, and the Commanders ran at will against the Eagles to keep the ball away from their potent offense. He should be a bigger part of the game plan and makes for a fine streaming option this week if Fields can’t go.
Denver Broncos (-1.5) vs Carolina Panthers
Pick ATS: Denver Broncos
Remember when I asked what D.J. Moore managers would do to get the numbers he was posting with Kyle Allen? Well, he might start getting those finally! The Panthers named Sam Darnold their starting quarterback. Darnold is many things, but he at least can get Moore the ball. Moore put up 118 targets, 68 receptions, 848 yards, and three touchdowns in the 13 games Sam Darnold played. Considering the Panthers have played 11 games and Moore has put up an 82-42-504-3 line so far this season, I’d say getting Sam Darnold back at quarterback is a huge upgrade.
Of course, he gets the Broncos’ lockdown defense and star shutdown corner Patrick Surtain II right when Darnold gets the gig. Davante Adams broke through last week against this defense, but many star receivers have faded against this defense. I’d probably sit Moore this week or trade him to a team with better playoff positioning since Moore has a bye next week. If I knew I was making the playoffs, or are close to clinching, I’d be buying all the Moore I could get hoping he and Darnold can recreate the magic with a soft fantasy playoff schedule (Pittsburgh, Detroit, at Tampa Bay).
Baltimore Ravens (-3.5) vs Jacksonville Jaguars
Pick ATS: Baltimore Ravens
Is Demarcus Robinson good? I don’t particularly think so, but I know Lamar Jackson (or Tyler Huntley in the event Lamar can’t play with a hip injury) is good and Mark Andrews can’t get every target. Isaiah Likely has only played more than 40-percent of the team’s snaps with a healthy Andrews just once, and that was in garbage time of Week 1. Devin Duvernay has exceeded four targets in a game three times this season and four receptions only once.
So… Demarcus Robinson! He has at least five targets in three of the five games Rashod Bateman has missed, including games of eight and nine targets in Weeks 8 and 11. The Jags rank No. 31 in pass defense DVOA after a hot start as a secondary to begin the season. It isn’t often you can find the WR1 (notice I said WR1; he’s firmly behind Andrews) on a potent offense on the waivers in Week 12. Robinson isn’t flashy, but he’s a good start this week. Add him if you need him.
Los Angeles Chargers (-3) vs Arizona Cardinals
Pick ATS: Los Angeles Chargers
Both of these teams are dealing with injuries to their wide receiver room. Mike Williams and Rondale Moore both were hurt on their first touch last week (I started them both in a lineup last week. Spoiler alert: I lost). Greg Dortch has been impressive in his own right filling in for Rondale Moore‘s ailments. If his thumb is ok, Dortch is a locked-and-loaded high-end flex, low-end WR2 play.
Greg Dortch's receiving lines in games Rondale Moore was injured:
17.9% target share in those games compared to 2.3% share in seven games behind Moore.
— John Daigle (@notJDaigle) November 22, 2022
Josh Palmer has filled Mike Williams‘ shoes admirably as well. In three games Williams has missed or barely played, Palmer has two 10-8-106 games with two scores in last week’s game against the Chiefs. He had eight targets in the other game between those two 106-yard performances. Palmer ranks No. 16 among receivers in target separation vs man coverage (two yards). He’s got Justin Herbert and a not-very-good Cardinals secondary. Palmer also is a surefire WR2 play as long as Williams is out.
Las Vegas Raiders vs Seattle Seahawks (-3.5)
Pick ATS: Seattle Seahawks
The Raiders’ secondary is bad. Their defense as a whole is bad. They’re last in pass defense DVOA. The Raiders are No. 9 in receiving yards allowed per game. They’re a bottom-five team in fantasy points allowed through the air to running backs, wide receivers, and tight ends according to numberfire.com’s adjusted fantasy points allowed stats. The Raiders rank No. 28 in fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks this season. I’m starting all my Seahawks. Unfortunately, no Seahawk starter is readily available except for Noah Fant (18-percent rostered in Sleeper Leagues). Fant and Dissly play nearly the same amount of snaps, but Fant runs more routes and gets more targets. Fant is the preferred play and a solid streaming option this week.
Los Angeles Rams vs Kansas City Chiefs (-15.5)
Pick ATS: Kansas City Chiefs
Bryce Perkins is the starting quarterback for the Los Angeles Rams this season. Who? He went undrafted in 2020 from the University of Virginia. His numbers suggest he’s a fine passer. He completed 64.5-percent of his passes at Virginia and averaged 7.4 yards per attempt. This is not anything crazy, but those are solid numbers. What makes Perkins intriguing is his rushing profile.
— Jakob Sanderson (@JakobSanderson) November 23, 2022
Bryce Perkins ran for 1,692 yards in two seasons at Virginia. At 6-3 215-pounds, the 4.68 40-yard dash Perkins ran at his pro day is not very far off from Jalen Hurts‘ 4.59 score. Perkins scooted for 39 yards last week in mop-up duty. I don’t expect Matthew Stafford to return this season from a neck injury with how beaten up the Rams’ offensive line is. The Rams will still stink on offense. But Perkins’ rushing could make him viable for fantasy. He should be rostered in every Superflex format.
(sidenote: Perkins’ mobility could hurt Kyren Williams, the team’s new satellite back with Darrell Henderson Jr. released. Williams is still worth a flex start if you’re desperate in a deep league with Vegas suggesting the Rams will trail a lot, but mobility at quarterback tends to lead to fewer targets for running backs.)
New Orleans Saints vs San Francisco 49ers (-9.5)
Pick ATS: San Francisco 49ers
The 49ers are good at many things defensively. Guarding slot receivers isn’t one of them. Cooper Kupp put together a 31-22-201-1 line in two games against the 49ers. Greg Dortch put up 10-9-103 last week. Tyler Lockett went for 11-9-107 in Week 2. JuJu Smith-Schuster had an 8-7-124-1 stat line against them. Perhaps most impressively, even Shi Smith racked up a 5-4-69 performance against San Francisco in Week 5. The 49ers can’t defend the slot. Jarvis Landry is a good start this week.
Green Bay Packers vs Philadelphia Eagles (-6.5)
Pick ATS: Philadelphia Eagles
The Packers rank No. 12 in pass defense DVOA; the Eagles rank No. 3. Green Bay ranks No. 29 in rush defense DVOA; Philly ranks No. 26. Sense a theme? This isn’t to suggest that A.J. Brown will be silent this week.
The Packers have had no problem giving up big games to wide receivers this season and have injuries to their secondary. But I’d expect both teams to lean on the ground and exploit each other’s weaknesses in those areas. This is your vote of confidence to continue trotting out both Aaron Jones and Miles Sanders who both rank inside the top 20 in true yards per carry (Jones No. 9 | Sanders No. 18).
Pittsburgh Steelers vs Indianapolis Colts (-2.5)
Pick ATS: Indianapolis Colts
Remember when I said that Jaylen Warren was looking to take over the Steelers’ receiving work out of the backfield? Well, then he was hurt. A hamstring injury took him out of last week’s game and kept him out of practice on Thursday. Najee Harris took on the challenge and looked more like the Harris of 2021 and Alabama than the one we’ve watched this year. Najee scooted for 90 yards and two touchdowns on 20 carries and hauled in four of six targets for 26 yards. Harris still ranks No. 5 in opportunity share and should get even more if Warren can’t go. The Colts do rank No. 6 in rush defense DVOA, and the Steelers’ offense still stinks, so Najee looks more like an RB2 than the RB3 performance he put up last week. But his ceiling becomes a little higher if Warren isn’t there to poach targets and receptions.