Start ‘Em or Sit ‘Em: Week 12 – by Jamie Zadow

Start ‘Em

Baker Mayfield, QB, Cleveland Browns — Matchup: @ Cincinnati Bengals

What a dream matchup for the rookie coming out of his bye week, as the Bengals have surrendered the second-most FP/G to QB’s this season (23.2). In fact, only two QB’s have failed to score at least 22 fantasy points against this porous Bengals defense this season. Expect Mayfield to continue his hot streak as he entered the bye week scoring at least 21 fantasy points in three of his last four games. A shootout in the ‘Battle of Ohio?’ I think so.

Browns Giants Football
Photo Credit: Associated Press/Adam Hunger

Theo Riddick, RB, Detroit Lions — Matchup: vs. Chicago Bears

I have a feeling that a few running backs will be productive in the first kickoff of Thursday’s Thanksgiving slate, but I’ll make the case for Riddick. With Kerryon Johnson and Marvin Jones already ruled out, expect him to see an uptick in workload. Since Golden Tate was traded to the Philadelphia Eagles, Riddick has been one of Matthew Stafford’s favorite targets, with 18 catches for 126 yards on 22 targets in the last three games. Sure, this Bears defense is no pushover, but in their Week 10 matchup, Riddick found space and hauled in six receptions for 60 yards on seven targets.

Kenny Golladay, WR, Detroit Lions — Matchup: vs. Chicago Bears

Are you crazy going with two Lions players against this stout Bears defense? Maybe. But, we know ‘Starvin’ Marvin’ is once again sitting this one out, which means Stafford will be looking Golladay’s way frequently in this game. ‘Babytron’ has seen a whopping 27 targets in the past two games and has 14 catches for 191 yards and two scores to show for it. And, oh yeah, Golladay was solid in Week 10 at Soldier Field, finishing with six catches for 78 yards and a touchdown on 13 targets.

Photo Credit: Kirthmon F. Dozier/Detroit Free Press

David Njoku, TE, Cleveland Browns — Matchup: @ Cincinnati Bengals

I’m going with the Mayfield-Njoku stack this week. Sure, the big TE has been a bit of a fantasy disappointment overall this year, but it’s hard to ignore the matchup this week. The Bengals are allowing the sixth-most FP/G to the position, while giving up five Top-10 performances to opposing TE’s this year. Look for Njoku to see a heavy workload in Cincinnati this Sunday.

Sit ‘Em

Matthew Stafford, QB, Detroit Lions — Matchup: vs. Chicago Bears

Well, I’ve reached the trifecta this week: picking three players from the same team. It’s a bit ironic of me to bench Stafford, considering I was high on both Golladay and Riddick. But the truth is, this Bears defense sacked Stafford six times in their Week 10 matchup, and we all know how much havoc Khalil Mack can wreak on opposing QB’s. It looks like the Bears will be without Mitch Trubisky this week as he deals with a shoulder ailment, turning the play-calling duties over to Chase Daniel. This can only mean one thing, the Bears will grind the clock out with their ground game and lean on their stout defense. Expect Stafford’s scoring opportunities to be few and far between, and bear in mind that since Golden Tate’s departure, he’s averaging just 11.7 FP/G.

Photo Credit: Mike Mulholland/

Adrian Peterson, RB, Washington Redskins — Matchup: @ Dallas Cowboys

I’m really hesitant about starting Peterson this week. Despite finding the end zone twice last week against the Houston Texans, he’s averaging just 3.1 YPC over his last three games. This week, AP will face a Cowboys defense that has given up the seventh-fewest FP/G to opposing RB’s and only four backs have found the end zone against them all year. Chris Thompson has once again been ruled out this week, and the Cowboys might be feasting on more than just turkey when Colt McCoy lines up under center on Thursday.

Golden Tate, WR, Philadelphia Eagles — Matchup: vs. New York Giants

At this point, Tate can’t be trusted in this Eagles offense, especially in light of OC Mike Groh’s comments about finding it challenging to get him more involved. Tate did manage to lead the team with eight targets last week in a blowout loss to the New Orleans Saints, but he managed just five catches for 48 yards. Expect the Eagles to go back to the well and target Zach Ertz more in this matchup, considering the Giants have given up the 9th-fewest FP/G to WR’s this season.

Kyle Rudolph, TE, Minnesota Vikings — Matchup: vs. Green Bay Packers

Where has Rudolph been all season long you might ask? Well, he’s been rather mediocre, currently sitting at 13th TE overall, with 84.2 fantasy points (PPR). Not the Rudolph many of us expected this season, as he was thought to be a surefire Top-8 fantasy option. I wouldn’t exactly feel confident starting him in my lineups this week, as the Packers have allowed just one touchdown reception, and the fifth-fewest fantasy points to opposing TE’s this season.

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