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Fantasy football starts and sits for Week 12

Including what to do at quarterback with Patrick Mahomes and Jared Goff on a bye.

Atlanta Falcons v Cleveland Browns Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

The Bengals may have struggled to a 1-4 mark in their last five games, but there is no reason your fantasy team should be falling apart as well. In fact, now that the Bengals’ playoff hopes are hanging on by a thread, you can now focus on what’s really important.

That of course is your fantasy team.

Also, just remember it is Thanksgiving this week, which means there are three games on Thursday instead of just one. Make sure you have your lineups set before you pass out into that food coma.

Bye weeks: Chiefs and Rams (shame)

Must start

  • Nick Chubb (Browns RB): The Bengals haven’t been able to stop anyone running the ball this season. Why would that stop now that they’ve officially lost Preston Brown for the season? Chubb has been the guy in Cleveland since they traded away Carlos Hyde and they fired Hue Jackson. He had over 200 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown last week, and should be well on his way to fantasy relevance again this week.
  • Julio Jones (Falcons WR): This seems obvious and it should be. Jones has five straight 100-yard performances and three straight games with touchdowns, which is unheard of for him. Against the Saints defense, he needs to be in your lineup; and to a lesser extent we may even see a Calvin Ridley throwback game. After all, he scored three touchdowns in his last game against the Saints.

Favorable matchup

  • Melvin Gordon (Chargers RB): Gordon is facing the defense that has allowed the third most points to running backs so far this season, according to Fantasy Pros. He has just been a safe play as long as he’s healthy. Last week he was stuffed running the ball, but he still put up 80 receiving yards, so clearly the Chargers love getting him involved no matter what. He shouldn’t see that much resistance against the Cardinals this week though.
  • Odell Beckham Jr. (Giants WR): It is a great week to own Beckham as the Giants are taking on the second worst team at stopping receivers this year, the Eagles. He hasn’t had a low floor by any means this season, but you can tell when he hits his ceiling. He has five games of over 100 receiving yards and at least eight catches. He could see another one of those games this week.

Good but not great

  • Marlon Mack (Colts RB): Mack has recently come back down to earth. Last week he didn’t even crack 70 total yards, but he did score a touchdown. The Dolphins allow 24.2 points per game to opposing running backs though, so he should have some easier sledding. It’s abundantly clear that Mack is becoming more of a matchup based play, and he’s got a good one on Sunday.
  • Marquise Goodwin (49ers WR): Goodwin is a boom or bust play, and with a backup throwing him the ball he has been more of a bust this season. He still will have some fantasy relevance as he goes up against a Buccaneers defense this week that allows 28.2 points per game to opposing wide receivers.

Temper expectations

  • Theo Riddick (Lions RB): Riddick will likely have a larger role with Kerryon Johnson likely out with a knee sprain on a short week. In PPR leagues, Riddick is still a pretty nice play, but if you’re a Johnson owner looking for the same production from Riddick you will be sorely disappointed as the Bears have allowed the fewest points to opposing running backs this season.
  • Packers wide receivers: Aaron Rodgers will be able to cover up a lot for his receivers in bad matchups, but against the Vikings in Minnesota is a tough one to sell. Considering the two most potent offenses are on byes this week you likely can’t afford to sit them, but you shouldn’t expect a huge game from them

Quarterback stream

  • Baker Mayfield (Browns QB): If someone dropped Mayfield during his bye it is time to scoop him up. The Bengals haven’t stopped anyone lately, and Mayfield has been on fire. I wouldn’t say he will have a huge game, but it’ll get you through your week without Patrick Mahomes or Jared Goff.
  • Eli Manning (Giants QB): Having the guy who will get to throw it up to Beckham against the Eagles defense should be a pretty easy sell. He has five touchdowns and no interceptions in his last two games, and he completed 94.4 percent of his passes last week.

Defense stream

  • 49ers against Buccaneers: This is solely based on the fact the Bucs are going back to Jameis Winston as their starting quarterback. He has been a turnover machine this year, so even if the Bucs do score the odds of him tossing a few bones to the 49ers defense should make up for it.
  • Patriots against Jets: The Jets barely look like a competent football team at this point. They are on the fast track to a top five pick in the draft, and the Patriots should have no problem making this one an easy victory.