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Fantasy Matchups

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Week 12 fantasy football matchups for NFL 2021 season

Hope everyone had a Happy Thanksgiving! After three games hopefully your fantasy team is sitting in a good position, but even if not, the week is far from over! But one thing about having three early games is it can actually help you set your lineup. If you played a team that had multiple big performances and put up a large number and now you look like a big underdog, it is best to take an upside shot or two, rather than playing a safe floor type of play. Of course, you are not sitting your usual starters, but if you are debating between two players, that can be what helps you decide. Speaking of helping with lineup decisions, this article along with the Week 12 fantasy rankings should be everything you need to set those lineups!

Best QB matchups

Russell Wilson at Football Team: Its been a rough go for Russ ever since he returned from his finger injury. In his last two games combined, he has fewer than 15 fantasy points. But he has a get-right opportunity this week against the Football Team, who allow the most fantasy PPG to QBs (23.65). Since Week 2 every QB but two (Tom Brady, Teddy Bridgewater) has topped 22 fantasy points against the Football Team. Wilson can be started once again this week due to the matchup, but if he flops, to the bench he goes.

Trevor Lawrence vs. Falcons: The Falcons defense has given up the second-most fantasy PPG (20.32) to QBs this season. That includes an average of 251 passing yards and two touchdowns per game. That would be a great game for Lawrence, who has not thrown multiple passing TDs since Week 1. He has twice topped 250 passing yards. It's been a rough year for the rookie, but this is a nice spot. He is a streaming option in two QB leagues.

Other favorable QB matchups: Mac Jones vs. Titans, Cam Newton at Dolphins, Tom Brady at Colts.

Best RB matchups

David Johnson/Rex Burkhead at Jets: The Jets' struggles against running backs have been no secret this season. They have allowed by far the most fantasy points (37.46), yards (182.6) and touchdowns (2.1) to running backs in the NFL. They also give up the second-most catches per game (7.2). Last week, both Johnson and Burkhead had at least 15 touches in a game the Texans won. This projects to be a competitive game, as well. Both backs are in play as streaming options, but Johnson is the preferred add as he sees passing-game usage.

Antonio Gibson/J.D. McKissic vs. Seahawks: Gibson had a strong performance against the Bucs of all teams two weeks ago after the bye and looked like he was back and fully healthy. But then this past week, he scored single-digit fantasy points for the fourth time in five games. He has a chance to get right against Seattle, who has allowed 30.23 fantasy PPG to RBs, the second-most in the NFL. Good news for McKissic: Seattle has allowed an average of seven catches and 72.6 receiving yards per game to backs. He is a strong flex option this week -- but as always he is a little game-script dependent.  

Other favorable RB matchups: James Robinson vs. Falcons, Miles Sandersat Giants, Najee Harris at Bengals, Saquon Barkley vs. Eagles.

Best WR matchups

Jakobi Meyers/Kendrick Bourne/Nelson Agholor vs. Titans: The Titans have struggled against receivers since the beginning of the season, giving up the most fantasy PPG to the position (43.31). The only issue is it's hard to know which Patriots receiver will be the top option. Last week, Agholor was the top scorer, but we have seen Bourne playing better as of late and Meyers has been the most consistent this season. For this week, rank them Meyers, Bourne, Agholor with Meyers being in the WR3 range and the others being flex options.

D.J. Moore at Dolphins: Moore is the only player to see seven targets in all 11 games this season. After a hot start he was struggling to turn that volume into much fantasy production, but last week with Cam Newton starting he scored 16 fantasy points, the most he scored in a game since Week 4. The quality of targets is just better. Plus, Moore has a fantastic matchup against the Dolphins, who have allowed the second-most fantasy PPG to WRs (42.35). He can be trusted as a WR2 with upside.

Other favorable WR matchups: Deebo Samuel/Brandon Aiyuk vs. Vikings, DK Metcalf/Tyler Lockett at Washington, Mike Evans/Chris Godwin at Colts, DeVonta Smith at Giants.

Best TE matchups

Evan Engram vs. Eagles: This one is purely about the matchup. The Eagles have allowed by far the most fantasy PPG to tight ends (19.83). That includes the most catches (7.4) yards (73.7) per game, while being tied for the most touchdowns (nine) allowed to the position. Every tight end -- except Nick Vannett -- who has recorded a target against the Eagles since Week 7 has topped 10 fantasy points. Engram is a strong streaming option this week. If he cannot take advantage of this matchup, we should not trust him again.

Noah Fant vs. Chargers: The Chargers have allowed 17.15 fantasy PPG to tight ends, the second-most in the NFL. That includes nine touchdowns, tied with the Eagles for the most in the league. Fant has been up and down this season, but he has at least six targets in three of his last four games. Safe volume in a favorable matchup means he can be started this week.

Other favorable TE matchups: Austin Hooper at Ravens, Rob Gronkowski at Colts.

Toughest QB matchups

Ryan Tannehill at Patriots: Tannehill was super consistent in his first year and a half as the Titans starting QB. But he has been anything but this season. He has only topped 20 fantasy points twice and has scored fewer than 15 fantasy points more often that he has topped it. It's been a disappointing year, and this week is not the week to expect it all to change. The Patriots allow the second fewest fantasy PPG (11.56) to QBs this season. Bill Belichick will be game planning to take away his top weapon in A.J. Brown as well. This is a week to go with another option.

Justin Herbert at Broncos: Denver has given up 14.98 fantasy PPG to QBs this season, the fourth-lowest in the NFL. That includes giving up just 233 passing yards per game and 1.3 passing touchdowns. The Broncos are a defense that you ordinarily try to avoid, but Herbert is no ordinary QB. We know that Herbert brings a lot of upside weekly given his arm and the pieces he has around him. But last week he introduced the world to his rushing ability, running nine times for 90 yards. If that becomes a consistent part of his game, he takes his fantasy value to a new level. Herbert is matchup proof at this point.

Other tough QB matchups: Tua Tagovailoa vs. Panthers, Teddy Bridgewater vs. Chargers, Jalen Hurts at Giants.

Toughest RB matchups

Leonard Fournette vs Colts: Fournette has been a consistent fantasy option for the past two months, seeing 16 or more touches in all but on of his last seven games. He faces a Colts defense that has given up the fewest fantasy PPG (18.19), including just five touchdowns to backs all season. Still, given the consistent volume, Fournette is an RB2 who should be started even in this tough matchup.

Myles Gaskin vs. Panthers: Last week, Gaskin faced the Jets and had the top matchup for a running back, now he faces the Panthers who have allowed the second-fewest fantasy PPG to RBs (18.44). The Panthers are tough against the run and limit back's usage in the passing game as well. Gaskin has seen enough volume as of late where you can still use him in this matchup, but this is a situation where if you have another option you like, take it.

Other tough RB matchups: Damien Harris/Rhamondre Stevenson vs. Titans, Austin Ekeler at Broncos, Jonathan Taylor vs. Buccaneers.

Toughest WR Matchups

Jerry Jeudy/Courtland Sutton vs. Chargers: The Chargers have been tough against receivers all year. They have given up the second-fewest fantasy PPG (28.66) to receivers. That includes giving up just 137.2 yards per game and five touchdowns all season. Jeudy has seen eight targets or more in the last two games. That volume makes him a safe start candidate, even in a tough matchup. As for Sutton? He has averaged three targets and 4.3 fantasy PPG in games with Jeudy. He is a firm sit.

Kadarius Toney/Kenny Golladay vs. Eagles: This will be the first game with new Giants play-caller Freddie Kitchens. While I am not ready to say you can trust the Giants receivers, they need to prove that, at least there is now the chance for improvement. Toney saw 12 targets last week, which is a great sign. He brings upside, so he is the Giants receiver to trust the most. Sterling Shepard has been safe, but he remains unlikely to play. Golladay saw just two targets last week and really one good fantasy game all year. Avoid him this week against the Eagles who allow the third fewest fantasy PPG to receivers (28.71).

Other tough WR matchups: Jaylen Waddle vs. Panthers, A.J. Brown at Patriots, Cooper Kupp/Van Jefferson/Odell Beckham Jr. at Packers.

Toughest TE Matchups

Jared Cook at Broncos: Denver has given up just 7.91 fantasy PPG to tight ends, the second-fewest in the NFL. They are the only team not to allow a touchdown to the position this season. Cook has five targets or fewer in each of his last four games, so it's not like you can rely on volume. Plus, the Chargers have been getting Donald Parham involved. This is a week to avoid Cook and the Chargers tight ends.

Hunter Henry vs. Titans: Henry has been great as of late, but it's largely because of all the touchdowns. Henry has a TD in all but two games since Week 4 -- but in those two games he has fewer than five fantasy points, showing he has been TD dependent. This week could be tough as the Titans have only allowed three touchdowns to tight ends all season. Henry is a low-end TE1, but he brings a very low floor.

Other tough TE matchups: Anthony Firkser at Patriots, George Kittle vs. Vikings, Tyler Conklin at 49ers.

Notable Receivers with the Best WR/CB Matchups (*per PFF*):

  1. Terry McLaurin
  2. Justin Jefferson
  3. Cooper Kupp
  4. Keenan Allen
  5. Deebo Samuel
  6. Tyler Lockett
  7. Tyler Boyd
  8. Davante Adams
  9. A.J. Brown
  10. Courtland Sutton
  11. Deonte Harris
  12. Adam Thielen
  13. DK Metcalf
  14. Tim Patrick
  15. Chris Godwin
  16. Brandin Cooks
  17. Tee Higgins
  18. Ja'Marr Chase
  19. DJ Moore
  20. Brandon Aiyuk

Notable Receivers with the Toughest WR/CB Matchup (*per PFF*):

  1. Zach Pascal
  2. Deevin Duvernay
  3. Darius Slayton
  4. Sammy Watkins
  5. Randall Cobb
  6. Rashod Bateman
  7. Jamison Crowder
  8. Marquez Valdes-Scantling
  9. Kadarius Toney
  10. Jerry Jeudy
  11. Nico Collins
  12. Russell Gage
  13. T.Y. Hilton
  14. Laviska Shenault Jr.
  15. Van Jefferson
  16. Jaylen Waddle
  17. Michael Pittman Jr.
  18. Nelson Agholor
  19. Jarvis Landry
  20. Kenny Golladay

Make sure to follow Michael F. Florio on Twitter and Instagram.

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