Fantasy Football Week 12: Upgrades, Downgrades, and Sleepers From The Experts

Fantasy Football SpinCorrespondent INovember 24, 2010

ARLINGTON, TX - NOVEMBER 21:  Quarterback Shaun Hill #14 of the Detroit Lions looks for an open receiver against the Dallas Cowboys at Cowboys Stadium on November 21, 2010 in Arlington, Texas.  The Cowboys beat the Lions 35-19.  (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Tom Pennington/Getty Images


Each week we will analyze the matchups and provide our take on which Quarterbacks, Running Backs, and Wire Receivers you should start and which should be riding the pine based on difficult matchups, injuries, potential weather problems, suspensions, bar fights, DUIs etc…

Four offenses (San Diego, Indianapolis, Denver, and Dallas) are averaging over 275 passing yards per game. Those are the most effective aerial assaults.  The least effective belong to Seattle, Kansas City, Arizona, and Carolina.  Those offensive units can barely manage 180 yards per contest through the air.  Kansas City gets a pass considering someone has woken up Dwayne Bowe and he is exploding. 

The top five passing defenses can be found in New Orleans, NY Giants, Oakland, San Diego, and Carolina – meaning that David Garrard (@ NYG) and Jon Kitna (vs NO) could struggle in week 12.  Peyton Manning (vs SD) should do just fine despite the difficult matchup.  He’s Peyton Manning after all and this game has the makings of a shootout.

The worst pass defenses (allowing over 260 yards/game) exist in Jacksonville, New England, Seattle, Washington and Houston.  Eli Manning has a prime matchup vs Jacksonville but temper your expectations as he’ll be without his top two weapons, Steve Smith and Hakeem Nicks.  Additionally, the Giants have seen Ramses Barden and Victor Cruz go on IR, to call them thin at the WR position right now is a drastic understatement.  They are one injury away from requesting work release for Plaxico Burress. 


Shaun Hill should excel on turkey day against a New England defense allowing over 275 passing yards per game.  Brett Favre (@ WAS) and Matt Cassel (@ SEA) are worth considering if your other QBs have difficult matchups.


EXPERT VIEWS: is more pessimistic than most on Big Ben ranking him 11th as the Steelers travel to Buffalo to face a Bills defense that ranks 9th against the pass (209 yards/game). Buffalo has allowed an eye popping 20 TDs through the air with only 4 INTs through 10 games. are expecting a big week from Detroit’s Shaun Hill as they rank him 8thfor Thursday’s matchup against a New England defense that ranks 30th against the pass. are expecting Jon Kitna to struggle (ranked 23rd) on Thanksgiving against the Saints #1 ranked pass defense -  allowing only 12 fantasy points/game to opposing QBs. are expecting Mark Sanchez to continue his hot streak as they rank him 12th this week for a Thanksgiving night matchup against an injury riddle Bengal defense that was abused by the Bills Ryan Fitzpatrick in week 11.



UPGRADE: Shaun Hill (vs New England) - The Patriots are a far better team. That may help Hill’s numbers when the Lions inevitably fall behind and have to air it out. The Pats have a below average pass defense that Hill, Calvin Johnson, and Nate Burleson should be able to exploit. Opposing QBs have rung up an average of 17 fantasy points per game this season against the pedestrian secondary of New England. Hill has top five fantasy potential in week 12 vs the leagues 31st ranked pass defense. Add to all of this the fact that Jahvid Best is hobbled and you have a recipe for a pass heavy offense from the Lions in week 12.

DOWNGRADE: Joe Flacco (vs Tampa Bay) – Tampa boasts the 6th ranked pass defense allowing 200 yards/game. They have given up 15 TDs through the air but are tied for 2nd in the NFL with 15 INTs.  The Ravens should feed a steady diet of Ray Rice and Willis McGahee to the Bucs and dare them to stop it.  They will fail to stop the Ravens ground assault.  Flacco has been on fire.  Last week he posted his highest one game yardage total of the year and his passer rating over the last four contests leads all QBs.  Having said that, those stats may be what is leading people to rank him as highly as they are this week and we think he is going to come back to earth.


SLEEPER: Ryan Fitzpatrick (vs Pittsburgh) - Steelers have the 22nd ranked pass defense allowing 239 yards/game.  They are among the league leaders in nearly every stat category, aside from yards.   They are 2nd in the league in sacks, 1st in interceptions, and have allowed the fifth fewest TDs.  Their bend-but-don’t-break offense surrenders a lot of yards and yards equal points.  The Steelers number one ranked rush defense should leave the Bills with no alternative but to try and move the ball through the air.  People make the assumption that Fitzpatrick will fall flat because he is facing the vaunted Steelers defense, but the fact remains, the Steelers defense gives up yards.


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