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Fantasy Football: Week 12 key wide receiver questions and tight end analysis

Houston, Texas, USA; Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Michael Pittman Jr. (11) makes a reception during the second quarter against the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

  • Commanders WR Terry McLaurin is set up to smash against the Falcons' 31st-ranked defense in PPR points per game allowed to wide receivers.
  • Saints WR Chris Olave is averaging the fourth-most yards per route run among any rookie wide receiver since 2015.
  • Colts wide receivers are set up to ball out with Matt Ryan still under center against the Steelers' league-worst defense in fantasy points per game allowed to wide receivers.
Estimated reading time: 30 minutes

Week 12 is here! It’s truly a great day to be great.

What follows is a fantasy football-themed breakdown of each and every wide receiver and tight end group. The following seven categories will be analyzed for all 32 teams:

  • Week 12 TE Fantasy Rankings: Where the wide receiver falls in my fantasy ranks. Updated ranks can be found throughout the week on as well as the new PFF app.
  • WR Usage: Every team’s top-three wide receivers in terms of last week’s route rate alongside their season-long marks in targets per route run and yards per route run.
  • Week 12 Matchup: Opponent’s rank in PPR points allowed to opposing wide receivers as well as their team PFF coverage grade. Higher numbers are better for wide receivers; “32” illustrates the worst defense in a given category, and “1” is the best.
  • Shadow Matchups: Denotes whether or not any wide receivers are expected to be “shadowed” by a specific cornerback.
  • Week 12 TE Fantasy Rankings: Where the tight end falls in my fantasy ranks. Updated ranks can be found throughout the week on as well as the new PFF app.
  • TE Usage: Every team’s top-two tight ends in terms of last week’s route rate alongside their season-long marks in targets per route run and yards per route run.
  • Key question: One key question for every team that is on my mind


ARZ | ATL | BLT | BUF | CAR | CIN | CHI | CLE | DEN | DAL | DET | GB | HOU | IND | JAX | KC | LVR | LAC | LAR | MIA | MIN | NE | NO | NYG | NYJ | PHI | PIT | SF | SEA | TB | TEN | WSH


  • Week 12 WR Fantasy Rankings: DeAndre Hopkins (WR5), Greg Dortch (WR49), A.J. Green (WR57)
  • WR Usage: Greg Dortch (94% routes, 0.16 targets per route run, 1.31 yards per route run), A.J. Green (78%, 0.14, 0.48), DeAndre Hopkins (74%, 0.29, 2.42)
  • Week 12 WR Matchup: LAC: 11 in PPR per game to WR, 19 in PFF coverage grade 
  • WR/CB Shadow Matchups: None.
  • Week 12 TE Fantasy Rankings: Trey McBride (TE15)
  • TE Usage: Trey McBride (72% routes, 0.06 targets per route run, 0.35 yards per route run), Stephen Anderson (16%, 0.11, 0.07)

Key question: Who the hell can we trust in this wide receiver room at the moment?

Obviously, DeAndre Hopkins has earned weekly upside WR1 treatment: Only Stefon Diggs (20) and Davante Adams (19.7) have more expected PPR points per game than Nuk (19.6) this season. Fire up Hopkins in fantasy lineups of all shapes and sizes regardless of who is under center.

There are a lot of moving pieces in this Cardinals wide receiver room at the moment with Moore banged up and Marquise Brown (foot, IR) eligible to return.

  • QB Kyler Murray (hamstring): Reportedly was known all week that Murray wasn’t going to suit up Monday night against the 49ers. ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler now reports that Murray could feasibly be held out through the team’s Week 13 bye. It’ll probably be a good sign that Murray is out another week if he fails to get in a full practice before the Cardinals take on the Chargers next Sunday.
  • WR Marquise Brown (foot, IR): Per head coach Kliff Kingsbury, Brown “wants to be out there, so if he can go, we'll know early this week.” Note that the Cardinals do have a Week 13 bye, so it’s possible they don’t feel to need to activate the artist known as Hollywood if he’s anything less than 100% before Sunday.
  • WR Rondale Moore (groin): Didn’t get an injury update from Kingsbury; he should be considered questionable for Sunday after only playing two snaps in Week 11 before departing with injury. Like Brown, it wouldn’t be super surprising if the Cardinals hold out Moore through their Week 13 bye if the decision is close.

Both Greg Dortch and A.J. Green will receive boosts up the ranks should Brown and Moore be sidelined. The former is particularly enticing considering he’s ripped off 7-63-0, 4-55-1, 9-90-0 and most recently 9-103-0 receiving lines in his only four games this season when pressed into a full-time role.

Be sure to check out the Friday edition of The PFF Fantasy Football Podcast for final thoughts on every fantasy-relevant injury.


  • Week 12 WR Fantasy Rankings: Drake London (WR33), Olamide Zaccheaus (WR76)
  • WR Usage: Drake London (92% routes, 0.24 targets per route run, 1.56 yards per route run), Olamide Zaccheaus (83%, 0.15, 1.76), Damiere Byrd (46%, 0.19, 2.66)
  • Week 12 WR Matchup: WSH: 23 in PPR per game to WR, 6 in PFF coverage grade 
  • WR/CB Shadow Matchups: None
  • Week 12 TE Fantasy Rankings: Anthony Firkser (TE40)
  • TE Usage: Kyle Pitts (67% routes, 0.27 targets per route run, 1.69 yards per route run), Parker Hesse (29%, 0.07, 0.56)

Key question: Can we finally trust Drake London now that Kyle Pitts (knee, IR) is sidelined?

I’m down. The rookie has impressed in his limited opportunities this season.

The problem has been simple: Volume. Overall, London is averaging just 5.9 targets per game, including five or fewer in four of his last six contests.The absence of Pitts suddenly opens up an additional 5.9 targets per game; it’d make sense if London flirts with something closer to WR2 volume moving forward.

Of course, life with Marcus Mariota under center has a way of not making that volume worth as much as it might be elsewhere; just realize London’s trajectory is pointing up at the right time. This week’s matchup is perfectly winnable, and get your popcorn ready for a fantasy playoffs stretch that features the eighth-easiest schedule at the position.


  • Week 12 WR Fantasy Rankings: Demarcus Robinson (WR54), Devin Duvernay (WR55)
  • WR Usage: Devin Duvernay (95% routes, 0.13 targets per route run, 1.33 yards per route run), Demarcus Robinson (81%, 0.2, 1.47), James Proche (35%, 0.11, 0.65)
  • Week 12 WR Matchup: JAX: 22 in PPR per game to WR, 28 in PFF coverage grade 
  • WR/CB Shadow Matchups: None.
  • Week 12 TE Fantasy Rankings: Mark Andrews (TE2)
  • TE Usage: Mark Andrews (97% routes, 0.28 targets per route run, 2.12 yards per route run), Isaiah Likely (43%, 0.19, 1.3)

Key question: Can anybody other than Mark Andrews be trusted as a consistent fantasy option?

Not exactly with all due respect to Demarcus Robinson’s sterling 9-128-0 performance. There are a number of ways to explain why Lamar Jackson has seen his fantasy production and real-life passing success fall off a cliff since Week 3. Here are three:

  1. An already thin WR room lost top dog Rashod Bateman to his first injury problem midway through Week 4.
  2. The Bills set a blueprint of sorts for how to stop this passing game by holding Jackson to just 144 yards passing on 29 attempts.
  3. NFL defenses are really good, making it tough for one individual — however superhuman — to consistently put the team on their back (unless you’re Greg Jennings).

Whatever reason you fancy the reality is clear: Jackson and this passing game haven’t been the same monsters in their last seven games despite the more than stellar 5-2 record. Overall, the Ravens have averaged just 21.3 points in Weeks 4 to 11 after going for 24, 38 and 37 points in their first three games. The passing offense has surpassed 200 yards on just one occasion since Week 3.

Add it all together and Jackson hasn’t finished higher than the fantasy QB10 in any single week since his back-to-back overall QB1 performances in Weeks 2 and 3. This passing game isn’t exactly guaranteed to get right in a major way without much change expected in the personnel department. At least this week’s matchup is plenty winnable against the Jaguars’ bottom-five defense in defensive coverage grade.


  • Week 12 WR Fantasy Rankings: Stefon Diggs (WR3), Gabriel Davis (WR24), Isaiah McKenzie (WR66)
  • WR Usage: Gabriel Davis (93% routes, 0.15 targets per route run, 1.66 yards per route run), Stefon Diggs (87%, 0.28, 2.81), Isaiah McKenzie (50%, 0.15, 0.96)
  • Week 12 WR Matchup: DET: 28 in PPR per game to WR, 32 in PFF coverage grade 
  • WR/CB Shadow Matchups: None.
  • Week 12 TE Fantasy Rankings: Dawson Knox (TE17)
  • TE Usage: Dawson Knox (83% routes, 0.14 targets per route run, 1.1 yards per route run), Quintin Morris (30%, 0.07, 0.63)

Key question: Should both Stefon Diggs and Gabriel Davis be fired up in fantasy lineups of most shapes and sizes? Obviously Diggs, but Davis in more lineups than not as well, right? I mean, this Bills offense is implied to score a week-high 32 points and is led by Josh f*cking Allen. We should probably make a habit of starting his primary pass-catchers as long as feet of snow aren’t actively involved in the football game. So yeah, start Diggs everywhere and Davis in most places?



  • Week 12 WR Fantasy Rankings: D.J. Moore (WR37), Terrace Marshall Jr. (WR52)
  • WR Usage: D.J. Moore (97% routes, 0.22 targets per route run, 1.43 yards per route run), Terrace Marshall Jr. (92%, 0.17, 1.78), Shi Smith (69%, 0.11, 0.68)
  • Week 12 WR Matchup: DEN: 3 in PPR per game to WR, 1 in PFF coverage grade 
  • WR/CB Shadow Matchups: None.
  • Week 12 TE Fantasy Rankings: Tommy Tremble (TE35)
  • TE Usage: Stephen Sullivan (38% routes, 0.06 targets per route run, 1.35 yards per route run), Ian Thomas (38%, 0.17, 1.17)

Key question: What can we expect from D.J. Moore with Sam Darnold back under center?

Things went better than you remember for the Darnold-Moore partnership last season. At a minimum, it looks better after experiencing the living hell that has been most of this season: Moore peeled off PPR WR31, WR11, WR12, WR3, WR49, WR28, WR21, WR40, WR47, WR44, WR64 and WR26 finishes in his 12 games with Darnold under center.

Are there plenty of duds in there? Absolutely, but Moore did put together seven finishes as the WR36 or better; he’s still looking for his fifth-such finish of 2022 through 11 contests. Ultimately, Moore averaged 5.7 receptions for 70.7 receiving yards and 0.25 touchdowns on 9.8 targets per game during the sample compared to his 4-46-0.27 average on just 7.5 targets this season.

Of course, Darnold won’t necessarily step into the 2022 version of the Panthers offense and see anything close to the same level of “success.” It’s fair to be cautiously optimistic about Moore’s stretch run, but this week’s shadow matchup against Patrick Surtain II is not one to mess with. Surtain has blossomed into one of the league’s very best cornerbacks this season, struggles against Davante Adams in Week 11 aside. In fact, PFF only has four cornerbacks graded higher than Surtain (81.4) in coverage grade among 137 qualified payers at the position.

Ultimately, nothing is guaranteed in this low-floor Panthers offense regardless of who is under center. Moore remains a boom-or-bust WR3 far more likely to flirt with the latter outcome against one of the game’s best talents at the cornerback position.


  • Week 12 WR Fantasy Rankings: Darnell Mooney (WR38), Chase Claypool (WR63), Equanimeous St. Brown (WR83)
  • WR Usage: Darnell Mooney (88% routes, 0.19 targets per route run, 1.63 yards per route run), Equanimeous St. Brown (66%, 0.12, 0.84), Chase Claypool (53%, 0.17, 1)
  • Week 12 WR Matchup: NYJ: 6 in PPR per game to WR, 2 in PFF coverage grade 
  • WR/CB Shadow Matchups: None.
  • Week 12 TE Fantasy Rankings: Cole Kmet (TE10)
  • TE Usage: Cole Kmet (81% routes, 0.14 targets per route run, 1.17 yards per route run), Ryan Griffin (9%, 0.24, 0.96)

Key question: Can this Bears passing game be trusted at all if Justin Fields (shoulder) isn’t able to play?

Fields suffered a dislocated shoulder in his non-throwing arm in Week 11. Head coach Matt Eberflus gave the least useful answer imaginable by noting that Fields is “day to day” before not ruling out the possibility that he will miss the rest of the season. At a minimum, Fields should be considered questionable for Sunday’s matchup against the Jets.

Backup QB Trevor Siemian had six extended appearances for the Saints last season and performed surprisingly well with an 11 to three touchdown to interception ratio. Overall, he was PFF’s 25th-highest-graded quarterback among 39 signal-callers with at least 150 dropbacks last season. Siemian turns 31 in December, but did once decline a Pro Bowl invite.


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