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Erickson: NFL Week 12 fantasy football start'em, sit'em

Seattle, Washington, USA; Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) passes against the Arizona Cardinals during the first quarter at Lumen Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

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My Week 11 start/sit picks went 16-12-3, with the wide receiver position filled with the most hits. It's crucial to nail wide receivers, as they can be the ultimate deciding factor in a fantasy football win or loss. Hitting those boom weeks and avoiding the busts can make or break you.

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QUARTERBACKS

START

RUSSELL WILSON, SEATTLE SEAHAWKS

The Washington Football Team bleeds fantasy points to quarterbacks, having given up the most per game to opposing signal-callers in 2021. Wilson has been abysmal in his two starts returning from injury, ranking dead last in PFF passing grade, but the matchup itself warrants putting him back into starting lineups. 

No quarterback has performed under expectation more (-29.6) than Wilson over the past two weeks — a tell-tale sign that a return to form is imminent. 

CAM NEWTON, CAROLINA PANTHERS

Newton made his first start for the Panthers since 2019 and looked the part of a mobile fantasy quarterback. He took 10 carries for 46 rushing yards and a touchdown to go along with 189 passing yards and two more scores. 

If he is still on waivers, Newton is the No. 1 quarterback to add ahead of a plus-matchup versus the Miami Dolphins. The Dolphins rank 30th in passing yards allowed per game (291) and 28th in fantasy points per game surrendered to quarterbacks this season. 

PFF Greenline uses exclusive game and player data to make projections on NFL game spreads, moneyline, and over/under.

JOE BURROW, CINCINNATI BENGALS

Similar to Russell Wilson, Burrow has failed to meet expectations in recent weeks. His 22 fantasy points under expectation since Week 8 are the most by any quarterback. He should have eight passing touchdowns, but he's managed just four.

Trends like this for above-average players like Burrow — PFF’s seventh-highest-graded quarterback — don’t tend to last. Look for Burrow to boom versus a leaky Steelers defense that operates mostly from Cover 3 and ranks last in passer rating allowed (129.0) on throws of 20-plus air yards. 

Burrow is PFF’s fourth-highest-graded quarterback versus Cover 3 this season. 

TAYLOR HEINICKE, WASHINGTON FOOTBALL TEAM

The Seattle Seahawks defense is hardly one to fear for fantasy football, especially for Heinicke. The Old Dominion product ranks sixth in expected fantasy points per game since Week 7 and was utterly impressive against the Carolina Panthers in Week 11. He tossed three touchdowns and finished the week as PFF’s highest-graded quarterback (87.5).

All signs point to Heinicke having another productive outing versus Seattle, which ranks second in passing yards allowed per game (292). 

SIT

RYAN TANNEHILL, TENNESSEE TITANS

Things have gone from bad to worse for Tannehill. Injuries have taken their toll on his offensive weaponry, putting him in an extremely difficult spot this week on the road versus the New England Patriots. The Patriots have allowed the fewest fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks over the past four weeks (5.52).

TUA TAGOVAILOA, MIAMI DOLPHINS

Tagovailoa is a dream for fantasy football streamers. He delivers in plus-matchups against teams like the Jaguars, Falcons and Jets, and he underwhelms versus teams like the Bills. 

Week 12 is shaping up to be the latter in a tough spot versus the Carolina Panthers. Carolina ranks third in fewest fantasy points allowed per game to quarterbacks and fifth in yards per attempt allowed (6.6) this season. 


RUNNING BACKS

START

ANTONIO GIBSON, WASHINGTON FOOTBALL TEAM

Gibson churned out back-to-back solid rushing performances against two strong run defenses, so he should perform well above expectations in a plus-matchup versus the Seattle Seahawks. Seattle has allowed the second-most fantasy points to the position this season.

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