Week 12 of the 2022 NFL season begins with three games: Bills vs. Lions, Giants vs. Cowboys, and Patriots vs. Vikings.
Some lineup choices, like Josh Allen, Dak Prescott, Amon-Ra St. Brown, Saquon Barkley, Tony Pollard, CeeDee Lamb, Rhamondre Stevenson, Dalvin Cook, Justin Jefferson, TJ Hockenson, et al. are simple. Make sure you have those lineups in place before the turkey coma sets in.
Below are some fringe players at each position that you may be unsure about starting Thanksgiving.
week 12 Start them
Quarterback to start
Daniel Jones, Giants (at Cowboys)
Jones has come off his second-best game of the season against the Lions’ ill-fated defense. He completed 27 of 44 attempts for 341 yards, a touchdown, two interceptions and rushed seven times for 50 yards and a touchdown. He finished as QB3 and is QB10 a game this year.
Although Jones will face a much more legitimate opponent this week, I’m still starting him because he’s rushing to the top. For what it’s worth, the Cowboys are more pedestrian versus barrel, which should give Jones a higher floor.
In Week 3, when these two teams first met, he was passable, completing 20 of 37 for 196 yards, zero touchdowns, one interception and rushing nine times for 79 yards – good enough for 15 fantasy points. It’s a high-end QB2 with QB1 potential.
Wide receiver to start
Darius Slayton, Giants
Slayton had another solid fantasy game in week 11. He clinched 5 of 10 goals for 86 yards and finished as a WR22 with a half PPR scoring.
This was Slayton’s fourth game (of seven) this season in which he finished as a WR2 or better. He’ll have far more opportunities now as rookie Wan’Dale Robinson is out for the season with a cruciate ligament rupture.
Even in this tougher matchup against the Cowboys, who are ranked 2nd in Pass DVOA, I start Slayton as a WR3/Flex option in week 12 depending on the opportunity.
Jakobi Meyers, Patriots (at Vikings)
Meyers has been a bit quiet lately after a hot six-game streak early in the season. He was the WR14 on a per game basis in the PPR halfway point for the first eight weeks.
Last week he caught 4 of 6 targets for 52 yards and finished as a WR45 in a terrible offensive performance by both the Jets and Patriots.
I like Meyers’ chances to hit back this week against the Vikings, whose defense ranks 19th in DVOA pass and has allowed the sixth-most fantasy points for wide receivers. Start Meyers as WR3/flex.
Running backs to start
Jamaal Williams, Lions (vs. Bills)
Williams shone again in Week 11 against the Giants. He rushed 17 times for 64 yards and three touchdowns, finishing as the RB4 in a half PPR scoring.
Williams is everything we hoped D’Andre Swift – who has struggled with injuries all season – would be. He is the RB10 per game and has only three games with single digit fantasy points.
The Bills are tough against the run, ranking fourth in Rush DVOA, though the unit has been more pedestrian in terms of fantasy points conceded to RBs. Williams is the alpha in Detroit’s backfield for the time being and should still see significant carries. He is an RB2 with benefits at week 12.
Devin Singletary, Bills
Singletary has delivered solid fantasy games back-to-back. In Week 10, he rushed 13 times for 47 yards and two touchdowns to finish as the RB12 in the PPR half. In Week 11, he ran 18 times for 86 yards and a touchdown, finishing as the RB10.
He’s been up and down intermittently this year, but I suspect this will be a good matchup for him against the Lions, who rank 27th in Rush DVOA and have allowed the 10th most fantasy points for running backs this year .
This should also be a pretty positive game script for the Bills, who go into this game as 10-point straight favorites. Singletary should be considered RB2 at week 12.
Tight ends to start with
Dalton Schultz, Cowboys
Schultz has been a disappointment this season due to lack of performance and injuries. He was drafted as a top-six tight end according to the ADP but has missed two contests and has one or fewer fantasy points in three other games. He struggled in Minnesota and caught 3 of 5 targets for 22 yards and finished as a TE21 in a half PPR scoring.
Despite those struggles, Schultz should be a solid TE1 against the Giants, whose defense ranks 24th in the Pass DVOA and was average against tight ends for Fantasy.
Dawson Knox, Bills
Knox had his second-best fantasy game of the season in Week 11 against the Browns. He posted season bests in goals (seven), receptions (seven), and yards (70) and finished as a TE6 in the PPR half.
After a slow start, this was Knox’s fourth game in the last five with at least eight fantasy points and a top 13 tight end. According to the DVOA, he was supposed to be a low-end TE1 against Detroit’s 23rd-place pass defense, giving tight ends to the third-most fantasy points.
Week 12 sit ’em
Jared Goff, Lions
Goff has had moments of fantasy relevance this year — just not lately. He completed 17 of 26 attempts for 165 yards, zero touchdowns and zero interceptions and finished Week 11 as the QB26.
I have serious reservations about starting it against the Bills, whose defense ranks seventh in the DVOA run and conceded the seventh lowest fantasy points to the quarterbacks. Goff is a disadvantaged QB2 in this brutal matchup.
Kirk Cousins, Vikings
Cousins had by far his worst game of the season in Week 11 against Dallas. He completed just 12 of 23 attempts for 105 yards and zero touchdowns, finishing as the QB29 with four teams bye.
This is Cousins’ third straight difficult matchup after facing the Bills and Cowboys in consecutive weeks. The Patriots rank No. 1 in pass DVOA (one spot ahead of the Cowboys), which could knock Cousins out of top-12 consideration for Week 12.
Wide receiver for sitting
Adam Thielen, Vikings
Thielen has been a pedestrian in recent weeks. He saw a season-low three goals and caught two passes for 25 yards in Week 11 against the Cowboys and finished as a WR66 with a half PPR scoring.
I bench Thielen for the same reason I bench Cousins: the matchup. The Patriots are incredibly stingy on the pass and have conceded the third fewest fantasy points to wide receivers.
walking back to sitting
Damien Harris, Patriots
Harris had his best game since his injury in Week 5 against the Lions. He ran for 65 yards eight times and caught two passes for 28 yards and finished as an RB22 in half PPR scoring.
He’s clearly number 2 to Rhamondre Stevenson, who was nothing short of phenomenal. Stevenson beat Harris 49-15 in the team’s Week 11 win over the Jets.
Harris is a desperation RB3 at best this week against the Vikings, whose defense is actually above average according to the Rush DVOA. I would still start Stevenson without hesitation, but Harris’ workload is the biggest wild card.
D’Andre Swift, Lions
Swift saved an otherwise boring week 11 fantasy day by falling into the end zone. Otherwise, he had five carries for 20 yards and three passes for 12 yards, finishing as an RB20 in a half PPR scoring – his best since Week 2.
Since returning from injury, Swift has only 42 rushing yards but has been kept afloat with three touchdowns in four games. It appears he lost his starting job to Jamaal Williams, who has beaten Swift from 95 to 50 over the past three weeks. Justin Jackson was also in the mix – he passed Swift 25 to 21 – and saw nine carries for a team-high 66 yards.
Swift’s role in that offense is up in the air. Throw in the matchup against the Bills, who are third overall in defensive DVOA, and it’s a recipe for disappointment. Swift is a risky RB3 at week 12.
Tight ends to sit on
Hunter Henry, Patriots
Henry was a complete dud in Week 11 against the Jets. He caught a pass (a goal) for 20 yards and finished as a TE30 at half PPR. Jonnu Smith, on the other hand, hit all four of his targets for 40 yards.
This remains a TE by committee situation as long as both are sane. Even in this soft matchup against the Vikings, Henry is a risky TE2.