This is the Week 12 “Fire or Flop” series, highlighting my favorite and not-so favorite fantasy football plays of the week. I will not mention players who are already in the overall top five of their position in scoring (excluding Def/ST’s). I will list options from each position group (excluding K’s). As always, my thoughts are with PPR in mind.
With the season inching closer to the playoffs and decisions being more crucial, I am going to be taking more questions regarding matchups and start/sits than hard-lining five “Fire” options each week. Be sure to hit me up on my Facebook or Twitter so I can answer your lineup questions on my weekly Q&A videos.
Cam Newton @ New York Jets (22nd | 18.6 FPPG) — Newton has been on a tear lately. The last time we saw him, he put up 349 total yards and 4 TD’s on the Dolphins. He’s averaging 69.4 rushing YPG in his last five games. Newton now welcomes his favorite target, TE Greg Olsen, back.
Matt Ryan vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (23rd | 18.9 FPPG) — The Buccaneers are giving up 309.6 passing YPG on the road this year. While Ryan has been disappointing in fantasy compared to what we saw last year, it hasn’t all been bad. In fact, he has completed 73.2% of his passes and has a 4:1 TD-to-INT ratio in his last two games.
Tyrod Taylor @ Kansas City Chiefs (28th | 20.0 FPPG) — That whole “Tyrod, go sit on the bench” thing didn’t last long. I really hope we get to see him unleash himself and ball-out for the rest of the season. These final six games are basically going to be an audition for the rest of the league. This week, Taylor’s got a decent matchup. The Chiefs give up the seventh-most rushing YPG to QB’s (18.9), and Taylor averages 27.5, so you can pretty much bank on him getting his yards on the ground. He doesn’t put up huge stats but he’s very efficient, with a 14:5 TD-to-TO ratio this year.
Derek Carr vs. Denver Broncos (16th | 17.0 FPPG) — Carr was really disappointing from a fantasy perspective last week in a terrific matchup. This week, he gets a bad matchup where his WR’s won’t be able to have as much freedom. The last time Oakland and Denver squared off, Carr only had 143 passing yards and 1 TD.
Alvin Kamara @ Los Angeles Rams (28th | 26.3 FPPG) — Kamara has become a must-start at this point. Both he and Mark Ingram are top-10 RB’s. Kamara has been very consistent, averaging 90.6 yards from scrimmage per game and scoring 7 total TD’s.
Leonard Fournette @ Arizona Cardinals (14th | 23.4 FPPG) — For the most part, Fournette has been matchup-proof. Last week, he looked like he did earlier in the season, handling 30 touches and putting up 118 total yards in a bad matchup against the Browns.
Christian McCaffrey @ New York Jets (10th | 22.1 FPPG) — McCaffrey is first in the NFL among RB’s in receptions (57) and targets (79) and is third in receiving yards (433), so if you’ve got him in PPR leagues you should be starting him every week. However, he’s been able to make some things happen on the ground lately as well, putting up 89 yards and 2 TD’s rushing in the last two games.
Jerick McKinnon @ Detroit Lions (27th | 26.1 FPPG) — The uptick in McKinnon’s usage since Dalvin Cook went down earlier this year is crazy. He went from averaging 4.5 touches per game to now averaging 18.3. He also averages 88.5 yards from scrimmage and has scored four times.
Tevin Coleman vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (20th | 24.1 FPPG) — Devonta Freeman is still in the concussion protocol after suffering his second occurrence this year. He’s also had at least one concussion previous to this year, so the Falcons are likely to tread carefully. The Falcons are still in good hands with Tevin Coleman, whom they gave 21 touches to last week in a tough matchup against the Seahawks. Coleman has a much easier go of it this week at home against the Bucs.
DeMarco Murray @ Indianapolis Colts (26th | 25.3 FPPG) — You’re probably looking for any reason to sit Murray after his Jekyll and Hyde hijinks this season. Although he had 87 total yards and a TD against the Colts back in Week 6, don’t assume that he’s going to have success again. The Colts defense has been stout the last three games, holding RB1’s to 51.7 rushing YPG and 0 TD’s.
Doug Baldwin @ San Francisco 49ers (21st | 33.3 FPPG) — In the last three weeks, Baldwin has averaged 4.7 catches (8.0 targets) for 81.0 yards and has scored in 2-of-3 games. The 49ers have a pair of young CB’s who may find it hard to hang with Baldwin and his precise route-running this week.
Keenan Allen @ Dallas Cowboys (27th | 35.6 FPPG) — Allen shook off his five-game slump in a big way last week, catching 12-of-13 targets for 159 yards and 2 TD’s against the Bills. This week, he sets his sights on the Cowboys who are among the bottom in FPPG to WR’s. The Cowboys and their offense have been slumping since losing Ezekiel Elliott to suspension. It looks like that will leave more opportunities for Allen and the Chargers offense.
T.Y. Hilton vs. Tennessee Titans (28th | 37.2 FPPG) — As Hilton goes, the Colts go. They’ve only won three games this year, and in those three games, Hilton averaged 6.3 catches for 168.3 and 1.0 TD. The Colts just had their bye week, so they’ll undoubtedly have Hilton in their plans against Tennessee. He was basically shut out by them last time they played, catching just 1-of-4 targets for 19 yards. I definitely think things will go differently this week.
Larry Fitzgerald vs. Jacksonville Jaguars (1st | 21.0 FPPG) — The thing I’m most interested in with this matchup is if Jalen Ramsey is really going to try and get personal and talk trash to Fitzgerald. What kind of a d-bag talks to football’s Gandhi like that? Regardless, Ramsey, A.J. Bouye and their cohorts have smothered WR’s all year.
Vernon Davis vs. New York Giants (32nd | 19.2 FPPG) — There’s a general rule of thumb in fantasy this year that you start TE’s against the Giants D/ST. They allowed a TD to the position in every single game this season except for last week against the Chiefs. Even then, Travis Kelce had 109 yards. Davis has been a stud this year with Jordan Reed’s status constantly in doubt. Davis has averaged 64.3 YPG since Week 3. The big problem, though, is that was also the last time that he scored a TD.
Jared Cook vs. Denver Broncos (31st | 17.5 FPPG) — As bad a New York’s been against TE’s, Denver has almost been as bad. They’ve allowed a TD to TE’s in five of the last six weeks. Cook has had a couple of big games in the last month, totaling 14 catches for 233 yards in Weeks 7 and 9. It’d be wise for Oakland to keep him involved this week.
Delanie Walker @ Indianapolis Colts (22nd | 12.3 FPPG) — Walker has been awesome against the Colts in his career with the Titans, averaging 6.0 catches (8.3 targets) for 58.0 yards and scoring 3 TD’s in nine games. The Colts still have a couple of linebackers in Jon Bostic and Antonio Morrison that are much slower than Walker, so advantage: Walker.
Jack Doyle vs. Tennessee Titans (13th | 11.0 FPPG) — You may have a sour taste in your mouth about Doyle because he had just 2 catches for 9 yards in Week 11, and then the Colts had their bye in Week 12. However, Doyle averaged 8.3 catches (10.3 targets) for 69.5 yards and scored 2 TD’s in the four weeks beforehand. He is Jacoby Brissett’s most-targeted pass-catcher, so he needs to stay in lineups.
Austin Seferian-Jenkins vs. Carolina Panthers (6th | 10.1 FPPG) — Seferian-Jenkins only has one game over 50 yards this season, so his production has been very TD-dependent. He hasn’t scored in the last three games and he has a bad matchup this week. Find a better option.
Jacksonville Jaguars @ Arizona Cardinals (24th | 8.6 FPPG) — The Blaine Train vs. the top D/ST in the league. Sorry, buddy. This shouldn’t go well. Although, how awesome would it be if we got a Blaine Gabbert revenge game this week?
Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Green Bay Packers (26th | 9.1 FPPG) — The Steelers have consistently been a top D/ST all season, scoring at least 9.0 fantasy points in seven games this year. Green Bay has obviously struggled without Aaron Rodgers and now without much of a run game.
Cincinnati Bengals vs. Cleveland Browns (32nd | 13.8 FPPG) — The Browns offense surrenders the most FPPG to opposing D/ST’s. They’re very turnover-prone (league-high 28 giveaways) and they’ve given up the fourth-most sacks (32).
Philadelphia Eagles vs. Chicago Bears (29th | 10.1 FPPG) — Mitchell Trubisky is giving Bears fans reason to be excited for the future but for right now, he’s still very much a rookie. Overall, the Bears give up the fourth-most FPPG to D/ST’s.
Kansas City Chiefs vs. Buffalo Bills (21st | 7.9 FPPG) — I see this being a nice afternoon for the Bills offense. Tyrod is back in the saddle, he’s been clicking with his WR’s and they’ve got LeSean McCoy in the backfield. What’s not to like?
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