It’s the week of Thanksgiving in an incredibly unprecedented 2020 season. I think we can all agree to be thankful that football is still in our lives as we head into the holiday season. But with all of the injuries this year, and the continual surprise of players being added to the COVID-19 list, you don’t want to make the wrong decisions going into a week with not one, but three, Thursday games. So which players have some unfavorable matchups that you should avoid going into Week 12 fantasy football? Here’s a rundown of the key players in the top three skill positions that you should stay away from this week as we arrive in the homestretch before the fantasy playoffs.
Week 12 Fantasy Football: Top Fade Players
“Fade” Quarterback of the Week: Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens
We all know that Lamar Jackson, as incredibly gifted as he is and continues to be on the football field, just hasn’t translated into the fantasy stud that everyone expected him to be this year. Jackson’s floor remains consistent and has the potential to “boom” almost anytime due to his running abilities, but this week just doesn’t look great for the 2019 Most Valuable Player. Playing their division rival Pittsburgh Steelers in a ‘must-win’ game, the Ravens have their work cut out for them against the league’s best defense on Thanksgiving evening. And now without his top two running backs, Jackson will have to step up his game to keep the struggling Ravens’ playoff hopes alive. While tallying one of his worst fantasy performances last time these two teams met in Week 8 (where Jackson turned the ball on four separate instances), expect the Steelers’ defense to force Jackson into uncomfortable situations all night. This is the week to shy away from Lamar and start that quarterback you may have been itching to throw in your lineup recently that has big “boom” potential (Taysom Hill, anyone?).
Other “Fade” Quarterbacks for Week 12 Fantasy Football: Carson Wentz, Ryan Tannehill, Jared Goff
One of these is not like the others. Carson Wentz has looked unfathomably lackluster as of late and until Philadelphia dials up something on offense, avoid Wentz like the grocery stores on Thanksgiving week during a pandemic. And yes, this advice stands even though the Eagles have an extremely advantageous matchup against a porous Seattle Seahawks pass defense on Monday night. Ryan Tannehill and Jared Goff, however, are different stories. With both coming off impressive performances where they led their perspective teams to huge wins this past week, many people are looking to throw this pair into their lineups (see the previous paragraph). However, while these two quarterbacks have shown their value earlier on in the season (especially Tannehill), the Week 12 matchups are not the best for either of these signal-callers. With Tannehill going up against a Colts team that held him to just 147 yards passing in Week 10, this matchup looks rather daunting for the Titans’ quarterback. And while Goff lit up the Buccaneers’ secondary on Monday night, the sample size is way too small to feel confident firing him right away this week against a 49ers defense that, while banged up, should bring Goff’s numbers back to earth in an intriguing division matchup.
Carson Wentz is officially BROKEN.pic.twitter.com/dbOrOfVsVv
— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) November 22, 2020
“Fade” Running Back of the Week: Miles Sanders, Philadelphia Eagles
It’d be nice to think that even in an offense that has dropped the ball as much as the Eagles have the past few weeks, that their explosive running back would at least be producing for your fantasy team. Yet, Miles Sanders seems to have fallen victim to dwindling fantasy value with the rest of Philly’s players the past few weeks as the Eagles struggle to establish any consistent offensive play. Expect head coach Doug Pederson to continue to put the ball in Wentz’s hands next week, presumably game-scripting Sanders out of a good chunk of his normal usage (which is baffling as he is far and away their best weapon), as they attempt to keep up with Russell Wilson and the Seahawks’ high-flying offense. With the powerful aerial attacks of Green Bay, New Orleans, and Arizona on the slate after Seattle, the Eagles are going to have trouble finding ways to get their star back involved as they quickly attempt to salvage any hopes of claiming that disastrous NFC East division.
Other “Fade” Running Backs for Week 12 Fantasy Football: Jonathan Taylor, Melvin Gordon, Clyde Edwards-Helaire
While all three backs had solid performances last week, expect the matchup to overtake their value in Week 12. While Jonathan Taylor earned some hard yards last week, Green Bay’s porous run defense isn’t a great measure of success going forward. Expect more of the Colts’ ‘back-by-committee’ to return against Tennessee next week. Melvin Gordon was able to sneak in two touchdowns against Miami in Week 11 (and also had a goal-line fumble that almost cost them the game), but Denver plays a Saints team next who haven’t allowed a 100-yard rusher since 2017. Look for more of a committee with Phillip Lindsay, and the passing game to take precedent in this one as the Broncos attempt to keep up with a red-hot Saints team. Clyde Edwards-Helaire looked great on Sunday night against Las Vegas. But when going up against Tampa Bay’s top-ranked rushing defense next week, Edwards-Helaire’s value will drop substantially. CEH is too touchdown-dependent, and with Bell starting to find his way into the mix (he snagged a goal-line touchdown last week), it leaves even more doubt in this already unfavorable matchup that will likely revolve around the two future Hall of Fame quarterbacks.
Melvin Gordon fumbles at the 1. He isn't good enough to be fumbling this much.
Already his 4th fumble on the season. pic.twitter.com/1vjoXviRPC
— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) November 22, 2020
“Fade” Wide Receiver of the Week: All Cincinnati Bengals Wide Receivers
As we all watched the unfortunate season-ending knee injury that first-round pick Joe Burrow sustained on Sunday afternoon (best wishes for a speedy recovery, Joe), we knew the lively Bengals’ offense would take a hit going forward this season. Until we have a bigger sample size of what Ryan Finley can do, the new target share percentages and production values among Cincinnati’s top three receivers are in question. I’m not looking to start Tyler Boyd, Tee Higgins, or A.J. Green (in particular) with any type of certainty this week.
Other “Fade” Wide Receivers for Week 12 Fantasy Football: Marquise Brown, Travis Fulgham, D.J. Chark
Arguably, all of these receivers are struggling due to weaker quarterback play than they have come accustomed to, but that is only part of the problem in most of these cases. While Lamar Jackson isn’t playing to his MVP level, Marquise Brown hasn’t done anything to help his case this season either, logging another terrible performance with zero catches this past week against the Tennessee Titans. After Travis Fulgham exploded onto the scene as the Eagles’ pass catchers dropped like flies earlier this year, he has done nothing with his steady target share the past two weeks (another fantasy value fading into the abyss due to Philadelphia’s horrid offensive attack). And without Minshew in the mix, D.J. Chark, who has had his fair share of up-and-downs with injuries and consistency this year, should definitely be downgraded for the foreseeable future as well.
Marquise Brown receiving TDs on throws 20+ yards downfield:
🟢 2019 – 4 (fifth most)
🔴 2020 – 0 pic.twitter.com/cg4sg1oJ3J
— PFF Fantasy Football (@PFF_Fantasy) November 22, 2020