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

Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) passes against the New England Patriots during the second half at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Bye weeks continue to play a major role in fantasy football each week, so secondary and tertiary starting options are as important as ever with the fantasy playoffs nearing. Riskier plays can be rewarded if discovered correctly and complacent managers rely too heavily on drafted players. Trust your instincts — coupled with solid PFF metrics, of course.

So, let's get to it: the Week 12 edition of fantasy football start ’em or sit ’em.

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START

QB MATT RYAN, ATLANTA FALCONS

There has been something missing from Ryan’s life in these last two weeks where he threw for a combined 270 passing yards and four picks: Cordarrelle Patterson. Patterson left the team's Week 10 with an ankle injury and subsequently missed Week 11, as well. Now with a long week of rest, Patterson should return to the lineup. In the month prior to his injury, Ryan averaged 291 passing yards and 1.8 touchdowns per game.

The Falcons take on the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 12 in Florida. And while the Jaguars seem to have improved their pass defense after the bye, the slate of quarterbacks faced wasn’t exactly daunting. They still pose the third-easiest matchup for quarterbacks, per PFF’s strength of schedule tool. Ryan should bounce back with one of his top targets returning.

RB JAMES ROBINSON, JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS

This season hasn’t provided the same ceiling for Robinson compared to 2020, but he’s still getting it done. Robinson has scored double-digit fantasy points in six of his past seven outings. This is mostly thanks to his fantastic red-zone touchdown conversion rate. Only Joe Mixon has converted more of his red-zone carries into scores than Robinson, who is getting home at a 38.8% clip. Not to mention, he's averaged 3.5 targets per game in the past month, as well.

In the aforementioned Jaguars-Falcons game, Robinson will have the benefit of taking on a run defense that has allowed 114-plus rushing yards in five straight games. Overall, the Falcons allow the fourth-most fantasy points to opposing running backs. Robinson is a high-end RB2/low-end RB1 this week and should be in all lineups.

WR DARNELL MOONEY, CHICAGO BEARS

Those who started Mooney last week were probably some combination of happy and disappointed. He caught five balls for 121 yards and a touchdown against the Baltimore Ravens. The downside? Mooney saw a whopping 16 targets. For those keeping score at home, that’s a catch rate of 31.3%. It should be noted that with Andy Dalton playing, Mooney caught just three of 11 targets.

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