Photo by Cody Glenn/Icon Sportswire
Welcome to Week Twelve, dear reader, I am Brennen Gorman and I am in charge of our On the Bubble column. These articles will focus on bubble and bench players that could make an impact this week, even if they might not make an impact every week, and on bubble and bench players that might not make an impact this week.
Baker Mayfield, Cleveland Browns [ESPN Own: 39% / Start: 6%]: Had Baker Mayfield started the season, he would be ranked somewhere around the 15th best quarterback. As the season progressed he has made fewer turnovers — against a bottom-dwelling Cincinnati defense, he presents a solid upside stream.
Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay Buccaneers [ESPN Own: 33% / Start: 5%]: Its a terrible team, but someone has to throw the ball 40+ times per game. Jameis Winston is back in as quarterback and will still have the same high-volume/aggressive scheme Tampa Bay has run all season. Winston has plenty of risk baked into his stock given his ability to throw interceptions regularly – but against a weak San Francisco defense he should have a good week back.
Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings [ESPN Own: 91% / Start: 45%]: Kirk Cousins has put up more than 20 fantasy points only once since Week Four and is facing a Green Bay defense that has allowed 20+ points to opposing quarterbacks twice this year. Dalvin Cook should see an increased workload as well. Volume may drive Cousins value, but there is plenty of reason to be skeptical that he will be a top-1o quarterback in Week Twelve.
Start: Running Backs
Matt Brieda, San Francisco 49ers [ESPN Own: 83% / Start: 28%]: Matt Brieda is coming off a season-best game and a BYE week to face a disastrous Tampa Bay defense. Brieda should see close to 20 carries and is a good bet for another solid week.
LeGarrette Blount, Detroit Lions [ESPN Own: 11% / Start: 2%]: Kerryon Johnson is doubtful for Thursday giving LeGarrette Blount and Theo Riddick more room to work. Riddick only has nine carries on the season and while he will see seven or so targets, the ground game will be all Blount. Even against a tough Chicago defense, Blount will have volume.
Sit: Running Backs
Adrian Peterson, Washington Redskins [ESPN Own: 95% / Start: 70%]: A season-ending injury to Alex Smith will force more work onto Adrian Peterson‘s plate in Week Twelve. Dallas will likely shift to prevent the run lowering Peterson’s already tenuous week-to-week value.
Start: Wide Receivers
Doug Baldwin, Seattle Mariners [ESPN Own: 82% / Start: 38%]: Doug Baldwin finally looked like the receiver most thought they would have when they drafted him, bringing in seven of 10 targets. Baldwin’s knee is 100% and will face a beatable Carolina defense.
Anthony Miller, Chicago Bears [ESPN Own: 56% / Start: 18%]: Darius Slay is back for Detroit which will limit Chicago’s offensive production, but Anthony Miller should still benefit as Allen Robinson will get Slay’s coverage. Miller dominated two weeks ago against Detroit and is a great FLEX play in Week Twelve.
Tre’Quan Smith, New Orleans Saints [ESPN Own: 32% / Start: 5%]: Tre’Quan Smith is the second to last man standing with Michael Thomas in New Orleans. Smith is still questionable, but if he plays is a good bet to against bring in 5-7 receptions as there is little competition in this high volume offense. If Smith is ruled out on Thursday, look to Keith Kirkwood.
Sit: Wide Receivers
DeSean Jackson, Tampa Bay Buccaneers [ESPN Own: 81% / Start: 40%]: As Tampa Bay’s offense has erupted and collapsed erratically, so too has DeSean Jackson‘s production. Jackson had three touchdowns in the first two weeks with only one since and has not eclipsed 70 yards receiving since Week Six. Jameis Winston is back at the helm and is a toss-up with his high propensity to throw interceptions.
Start: Tight Ends
David Njoku, Cleveland Browns [ESPN Own: 68% / Start: 11%]: David Njoku has seen a massive share of Cleveland’s targets, but has not been able to capitalize most weeks. The production is there if he can bring in a few more targets a game is a good bet for several red zone looks. Cincinnati has let up five touchdowns to tight ends this year.
Sit: Tight Ends
Kyle Rudolph, Minnesota Vikings [ESPN Ownership: 81% / Start: 33%]: Kyle Rudolph has scored only double-digit fantasy points once this season and has recorded less and less production as the season has progressed. He has not had a touchdown since Week Three and is a riskier touchdown-or-bust tight end.
Dallas Cowboys D/ST [ESPN Own: 36% / Start: 19%]: Colt McCoy is the starting quarterback for Washington with Alex Smith‘s season-ending injury. Washington’s risky offense makes for a solid Dallas play.
Arizona Cardinals D/ST [ESPN Own: 60% / Start: 48%]: Arizona has had a consistent defensive unit all season, but only have one turnover in the past four weeks. Los Angeles should run the ball and run the ball with Melvin Gordon leading the way – this is a risky unit in Week Twelve.