I’m back. Happy Thanksgiving! There’s a time and place for everything, but for now, it’s time to secure a fantasy football playoff spot.
Entering Week 12, there are no teams on bye. All of our fantasy football assets are at our disposable with two weeks left before the playoffs. Knowing who to start is imperative. Enter Cole Beasley, Brian Hill, and a slew of other players.
While this is not a start/sit or sell high/buy low piece, we know that more than likely the biggest question you have on a given week is who to Flex. So each week, we provide you a handful of players to target specifically for the week at the position. We also include a few players that have seen consistent opportunity but have yet to break out. Stats don’t play favorites. If you’re looking for more players, watch our weekly Waiver Wired show.
It’s safe to say trends are taking shape, so let’s use PlayerProfiler’s advanced stats, metrics, and analytics to unearth actionable, evidence-based takes for fantasy football.
Before we get started, below are key statistics to know while following along:
Route Participation – How frequently a pass-catcher runs a route on his team’s pass plays.
Target Rate – Targets Per Routes Run. How frequently a pass-catcher commands a target in context with his Route Participation mark.
Weighted Opportunities – Determines which backs receive the most meaningful touches.
This week, Austin Hooper faces a Jaguars defense allowing the ninth-most points to the tight end position. Hooper dudded last week, commanding five targets but totaling just three receptions for 33 yards against the Eagles. That said, remember, the Browns target tight ends 29.5-percent (No. 3) of the time. Hooper’s produced a top-11 weekly finish every time he’s commanded six targets as well. He totaled five last week.
Action: Up against the Jaguars, the second-worst defense in DVOA, we suggest Hooper over the likes of Jimmy Graham or Mike Gesicki if you’re streaming.
Cole Beasley is fantasy football’s WR24 and you didn’t even know it. Rostered in just over 51-percent of ESPN leagues, Beasley is the No. 2 receiver for QB6 Josh Allen. John Brown won’t play this week, and this Chargers-Bills implied point total is the third-highest as well.
Don’t let Beasley rot on waivers! He’s coming off his best game, a 27.9-point performance against the Jets before the team’s Week 11 bye, but he’s also totaled at least 11.0 PPR fantasy points in all but three games.
Action: Up against a middle-of-the-pack Chargers defense ranking No. 20 in DVOA, including No. 16 in Pass DVOA, Beasley is a must-have Flex – unless you’re rostering three superb running back options.
Marquise Brown was a mid-round fantasy draft pick, but just to be clear, we’re sitting him with two matchups left before the playoffs.
The Ravens average 30.3 (No. 30) Team Pass Plays Per Game, Brown has a measly 21.5-percent (No. 31 among qualified wide receivers) Target Share and he averages a lowly 8.7 (No. 67) Fantasy Points Per Game. His last fantasy-relevant week was Week 5. Fade.
Action: Sit Brown, in case it hasn’t been made clear enough already.
Travis Fulgham and Jalen Reagor
Remember when Travis Fulgham was a WR1 in the first half of the season? Me neither, but for one week only, let’s feel comfortable starting both he and Jalen Reagor. Whereas Fulgham’s production has tailed off, he’s still managed seven-plus targets in all but two games since Week 5. We love his 23.5-percent (No. 15) Target Share and 22.4-percent (No. 69) Target Rate on an Eagles team averaging 41.9 (No. 4) Team Pass Plays Per Game.
For Reagor’s part, he’s commanded five-plus targets in every game since he’s returned from injury. We’ll take that, with a potential target elevation, in a Week 12 matchup against the Seahawks that is just one of seven games with an implied total of 50-plus.
Action: Flex Fulgham and Reagor against a Seahawks defense allowing the most fantasy points to receivers, ranking No. 27 in pass DVOA. This is a get-right spot.
Don’t let last week’s dud scare you off from Jakobi Meyers. Fun fact: he is the WR24 on a points-per-game basis since Week 7. Why bench that while fighting for a playoff spot? The Patriots-Cardinals implied point total sits at 49.5, and before last week, Meyers commanded five-plus targets in every game since Week 7. He produced double digit fantasy points every game in that span as well.
Although the Patriots average 31.6 (No. 29) Team Pass Plays Per Game, Meyers is the clear-cut No. 1 option. He totals a 23.2-percent (No. 17) Target Share and a 28.3-percent (No. 19) Target Rate. Don’t be a goofy!
Action: It’s a juicy matchup on tap for the Patriots pass attack, with potential for volume elevation, against the Cardinals, a defense allowing the seventh-most fantasy points to receivers. Flex Meyers, with Cam Newton able to hang in shootouts (see Weeks 2 and 11).
It’s risky starting players returning from injury, even more so when the playoffs are so close, but Sammy Watkins is the No. 2 receiver in the best offense in the league. Before injury derailed a promising season, he had commanded seven-plus targets in three of his first four games. He was knocked out of action Week 5, but not before scoring his second touchdown of the season.
Check out Sammy Watkins on PlayerProfiler’s New DYNASTY DELUXE Rankings:
Since Watkins’ injury, the Chiefs have thrown the ball downfield more, so that’s something to watch for, but his Target Rate sits at 20.7-percent (No. 86) on a Chiefs team averaging 39.4 (No. 11) Team Pass Plays Per Game. Lastly, the Chiefs-Bucs implied point total sits atop the league at 56, while the Bucs defense just got waxed by a less superior Rams pass attack.
Action: Flex Watkins if you’re looking for a floor play. His Slot Rate sits at 31.7-percent (No. 40) and he has a 7.4 (No. 100) Average Target Distance mark.
The Jets-Dolphins implied point total sits at the third-lowest for the week, but we just love Denzel Mims‘ athletic profile. He’s a baller! The rookie receiver posted a league-leading 180 Air Yards last week, and because of the dismal state of the Jets offense, he’s in position to do so again this week.
While the efficiency isn’t there (yet), we love to see Mims with seven-plus targets in three of his first four games. Hopefully for us that roster him, he nails down chemistry with Sam Darnold this week. Always liable to crib a Deep Ball with a 40.0-percent (No. 5) Air Yards Share, Mims totals a 100.0-percent (No. 1) Route Participation mark, a 25.5-percent (No. 11) Target Share, and a 23.4-percent (No. 57) Target Rate.
Action: Mims is the ultimate all-or-nothing Flex play if you need upside. But if you wary, just add and stash. I’m sure you’ll change your mind next week when he faces off against the lowly Seahawks pass defense.
With Joe Mixon on IR, Samaje Perine is in play as a RB2 for at least this week – if not the next two – if Giovani Bernard were to not play due to his concussion. Remember, opportunity is king. In Mixon’s absence since Week 7, Bernard has totaled 12-plus touches in every start. The efficiency for Perine would tail off, especially with Brandon Allen under center. But the Giants, Cincinnati’s opponent this week, allow the eight-most fantasy points to backs.
Action: Perine would be worth the gamble at Flex if Bernard sits. The implied point total for the game is the lowest of the week, indicating the Bengals won’t have to abandon their Game Script like most weeks, while the Giants field a middle-of-the-pack, No. 17-ranked Rush DVOA.
With Todd Gurley ruled out for Week 12, Brian Hill faces the Raiders in a matchup with the second-highest implied point total of the week. Adding juice to the matchup is the fact the Raiders defense fields the worst Rush DVOA thus far and allows the fourth-most fantasy points to backs. The Falcons, while pass happy, average 27.5 (No. 13) Team Run Plays Per Game.
Action: If the inefficient Gurley, offering no receiving value, can average 13.9 (No. 18) Fantasy Points Per Game while creating 137.9 (No. 11) Weighted Opportunities, Hill can’t be worse.
To have lineup-specific questions answered,