News & Analysis

Week 12 Fantasy football predictions: The week's sleepers and busts

By Tyler Loechner
Nov 22, 2018

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Oct 7, 2018; Charlotte, NC, USA; New York Giants wide receiver Sterling Shepard (87) stands on the sidelines in the fourth quarter against the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Who are the biggest fantasy football sleepers and busts for Week 12 of the 2018 NFL season? We use advanced matchup analysis to bring you a list of players who will overperform (sleepers) or underperform (busts) their typical production.

Below are some of the top sleepers and busts for Week 12.

Week 12 fantasy football sleepers

Nick Mullens, QB, San Francisco 49ers

Our own Mike Castiglione highlighted Mullens as a streaming option for Week 12, and I couldn’t agree more. Mullens draws the struggling Buccaneers pass defense, which has given up the second-most fantasy points per dropback to opposing quarterbacks. In his two games, Mullens has a passer rating of 104.0 while completing 70.5% of his passes for over 250 yards and 2 TDs per game (on average).

Lamar Jackson, QB, Baltimore Ravens

If Joe Flacco sits again, the QB/RB hybrid will go to work against an Oakland defense that has given up the most fantasy points per dropback to quarterbacks. We can’t expect over 20 rushing attempts every week, but Jackson is clearly going to be utilized as a rusher. And this week, his passing proficiency should be top-notch against a weak defense.

Nick Chubb, RB, Cleveland Browns

Chubb will face off against the Bengals, who have given up the fourth-most fantasy points per touch to opposing running backs. Chubb is averaging 1.05 points per touch, which ranks 13th among all running backs who have at least 100 touches this year.

Marlon Mack, RB, Indianapolis Colts

Mack has the ninth-best running back matchup (against the Dolphins) from a fantasy-points-per-touch perspective and the fourth-best matchup in terms of total points. Miami has recently given up huge games to Aaron Jones (172 total yards, 2 touchdowns), Lamar Miller (133 rushing yards, 1 touchdown), and Kerryon Johnson (179 total yards) — and that’s just in their last four contests.

Keke Coutee, WR, Houston Texans

Coutee returned in Week 11 and saw a normal allotment of targets (8). He has a strong Week 12 matchup against the Titans, who have given up the fifth-most fantasy points per target to opposing wideouts.

Sterling Shepard, WR, New York Giants

Shepard should flourish against the Eagles, who have given up the second-most fantasy points to receivers this season and the fifth-most fantasy points per target. He’s a great bounceback candidate after totaling just four catches for 31 yards in his last two games combined.

Jonnu Smith, TE, Tennessee Titans

Smith, who has been trending in the right direction, should keep it rolling against the Texans, who have given up the 10th-most fantasy points per target to tight ends this year. Tight ends have a touchdown and at least 70 yards against Houston in two straight games.

Chris Herndon, TE, New York Jets

Herndon faces a Patriots defense that has given up the ninth-most fantasy points per target and sixth-most fantasy points overall to tight ends. New England has allowed seven tight end touchdowns against this year, tied for second-most in the NFL.

Week 11 fantasy football busts

Marcus Mariota, QB, Tennessee Titans

Mariota, who is banged up to start the week (check his status), will find it tough to score points even if he is a full go against a Texans defense that has given up the second-fewest fantasy points per dropback to quarterbacks.

Andy Dalton, QB, Cincinnati Bengals

The once-hot Dalton has cooled off with fewer than 215 passing yards in three of his last four, with two games with just one touchdown in that span. The cold streak might continue in Week 12 against the Browns, who have allowed the fourth-fewest fantasy points per dropback to quarterbacks on the year.

Lamar Miller, RB, Houston Texans

Houston’s wideouts may find success, but Miller will have little room to roam against the Titans, who have given up the fewest fantasy points per touch to running backs. Miller isn’t particularly deft in the points-per-touch department, as he ranks tied for 48th at the position.

LeSean McCoy, RB, Buffalo Bills

McCoy, who ranks 44th among qualifying running backs in points per touch, squares off against the Jaguars, who have given up the third-fewest fantasy points per touch to running backs. McCoy had a big Week 10 (26-113-2), but prior to that, he had just 24 rushing yards over his last three weeks combined.

Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Arizona Cardinals

Fitzgerald goes to battle against the Chargers, a middle-of-the-pack secondary (overall) in terms of fantasy points per target — but Fitzgerald’s matchup is even tougher than that, as he’ll primarily face Desmond King (our top-graded corner) in coverage.

Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Buffalo Bills

Benjamin was toying with the idea of being viable as a bye-week desperation fill-in with over 40 yards in four straight games (before a 0 in last game) — but you absolutely should not start Benjamin in Week 12 against a Jaguars defense that fourth-best in fantasy points per target given to wideouts.

Ricky Seals-Jones, TE, Arizona Cardinals

Seals-Jones, the Week 11 bust of the week, will flirt with bust territory again in Week 12 against the Chargers, who have given up the fifth-fewest fantasy points per target to tight ends.

Evan Engram, TE, New York Giants

The super-inconsistent Engram faces an Eagles team that has given up the third-fewest fantasy points per target and fourth-fewest fantasy points overall to opposing tight ends. Engram has more games with fewer than 20 receiving yards (4) than he does with over 30 receiving yards (3).

The best matchups

Below is a list showing how each team fares on a per-touch or per-target basis. This list will be updated weekly and can be used to identify strong matchups.

Fantasy Points Per Touch (FP/T), Points Per Target (PPT), and Points Per Drop Back (PPDB) Given Up
Team QB: PPDB RB: FP/T WR: PPT TE: PPT
ARZ 0.43 (7) 0.86 (9) 1.85 (17) 1.93 (18)
ATL 0.57 (27) 1.17 (32) 1.99 (24) 1.71 (8)
BLT 0.42 (5) 0.72 (2) 1.54 (2) 1.97 (21)
BUF 0.39 (1) 1.02 (27) 1.75 (11) 1.62 (7)
CAR 0.52 (25) 0.90 (12) 1.81 (13) 2.41 (31)
CHI 0.42 (3) 0.74 (4) 1.75 (10) 1.86 (13)
CIN 0.57 (28) 1.08 (29) 1.83 (14) 2.04 (22)
CLV 0.42 (4) 1.01 (26) 1.71 (6) 1.80 (11)
DAL 0.48 (17) 0.82 (7) 1.83 (15) 1.87 (16)
DEN 0.48 (16) 0.90 (13) 1.86 (18) 1.94 (19)
DET 0.61 (30) 0.96 (22) 2.34 (31) 2.28 (29)
GB 0.46 (12) 0.91 (14) 1.89 (19) 1.76 (10)
HST 0.40 (2) 0.81 (6) 1.55 (3) 2.04 (23)
IND 0.48 (20) 0.85 (8) 1.99 (25) 1.95 (20)
JAX 0.48 (18) 0.73 (3) 1.61 (4) 2.23 (28)
KC 0.47 (15) 1.13 (31) 1.51 (1) 2.10 (27)
LAC 0.43 (6) 0.94 (19) 1.93 (21) 1.59 (5)
LAR 0.54 (26) 0.96 (21) 2.37 (32) 1.73 (9)
MIA 0.49 (23) 0.98 (24) 1.92 (20) 2.08 (25)
MIN 0.45 (10) 0.79 (5) 1.71 (7) 1.91 (17)
NE 0.49 (22) 0.91 (16) 1.69 (5) 2.05 (24)
NO 0.58 (29) 0.94 (18) 2.23 (29) 1.43 (1)
NYG 0.49 (24) 0.97 (23) 1.97 (22) 1.61 (6)
NYJ 0.44 (8) 0.89 (11) 1.74 (9) 1.87 (15)
OAK 0.66 (32) 0.93 (17) 2.08 (27) 2.61 (32)
PHI 0.48 (19) 1.04 (28) 1.84 (16) 1.54 (3)
PIT 0.46 (13) 0.86 (10) 1.71 (8) 1.81 (12)
SEA 0.45 (9) 1.00 (25) 1.81 (12) 2.09 (26)
SF 0.49 (21) 0.91 (15) 1.97 (23) 1.86 (14)
TB 0.64 (31) 1.10 (30) 2.28 (30) 2.33 (30)
TEN 0.46 (11) 0.69 (1) 2.09 (28) 1.45 (2)
WAS 0.47 (14) 0.96 (20) 2.00 (26) 1.56 (4)

 

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