The playoff push is upon us. Performance-driven breakouts and injuries have opened up some opportunities for players who could shine in Week 12. Here are 17 under-the-radar options from various positions that you might want to take a look at for your starting roster. Some of these may be waiver claims. Others may be players on your roster that may finally be worthy of a start this week.
Matt Ryan, IND vs Pittsburgh *SuperFlex* - The Colts offense is a better performing unit with Matt Ryan under center than Sam Ehlinger. This week's opponent, Pittsburgh, has allowed the second-most passing yards per game this year (284.1), with an additional 2.1 touchdown passes per game allowed.
Mac Jones, NE at Minnesota *SuperFlex* - New England has been on a roll lately, winning five of their last six games. Their ground game has been the main force, but this week, that could change. Minnesota had their bubble pop last week in a loss against Dallas, and their pass defense has been suspect lately, allowing three 300-yard passing games in their last four games. Even Dak Prescott topped 275 yards last week, coasting to an easy win in the second half. Could Jones and the Patriots exploit this weakness? Bill Belichick is all about exploiting weaknesses. 240 yards and two scores seem doable for Jones in a "good matchup" situation in Week 12.
John Wolford, LAR at Kansas City *Last Resort* - In case of emergency, break the glass. Nobody wants to start John Wolford and the hapless, Kupp-less Rams against Kansas City, but if you have no choice, there is a silver lining. Kansas City has allowed the 5th most fantasy points to quarterbacks this year, averaging 270 yards allowed per game with 2.1 touchdown passes. The situation is bleak, but the matchup isn't horrible.
Samaje Perine, CIN at Tennessee - This is a lukewarm play due to the opponent, but the opportunity is there for Samaje Perine to see increased volume IF Joe Mixon (concussion protocol) is unable to return from the protocol. If Mixon plays, Perine is not recommended. Tennessee is second in run defense behind only San Francisco, averaging a paltry 82 yards rushing allowed per game. Don't force yourself into starting Perine but the expected volume, if Mixon is out, could result in a semi-respectable double-digit PPR performance.
Antonio Gibson, WAS vs Atlanta - After five straight games of trailing Brian Robinson Jr in carry share percentage, Gibson took the majority of carries in Week 11. Is that a sign of things to come? Even if not, Gibson is the clear favorite receiving target in the backfield catching at least three passes in eight of eleven games this season. Atlanta has allowed at least one rushing touchdown by a running back in every game but two.
Najee Harris, PIT at Indianapolis - After a challenge-filled first half of the season, Najee Harris has turned it up recently with two 90-yard rushing games in his last two, including a two-score game in Week 11. Has he finally overcome the preseason Lisfranc injury? It is not the best matchup. The Colts have allowed only one rushing touchdown to a running back since Week 6, but if Harris has turned the corner, and he is also an option in the dump-off game of Kenny Pickett (4 receptions last week), consider him a decent start in Week 11.
Latavius Murray, DEN at Carolina - Denver has cut ties with Melvin Gordon III, plus Mike Boone and Chase Edmonds are on IR. That leaves Latavius Murray as the primary ball carrier. This week's game at Carolina is likely low scoring, with the first team to 16 winning the game. Aside from the four-touchdown effort from Joe Mixon, Carolina has not allowed a rushing touchdown to a running back since Week 6. Only six different running backs have scored a rushing touchdown against the Panthers in 11 games. Murray saw 17 carries last week and should be used to that degree again in Week 12.
James Cook, BUF at Detroit - Last week, also in the friendly Ford Field dome, James Cook made the most of his 25% of offensive snaps en route to an 11-carry game that totaled 86 yards. Is Buffalo finally starting to see that Cook has the skills to be a playmaker on offense? Cook is a stretch to insert as a flex this week, but perhaps this may be the start of a strong second half of the season. He has performed well when his name is called - the problem is his name isn't called that often. Maybe that changes sooner rather than later?
Kyren Williams, LAR at Kansas City - The Rams recently released Darrell Henderson, leaving Cam Akers and Kyren Williams atop the depth chart. Williams is a decent receiving back, and he could see an abundance of touches this week against the Chiefs, especially targets in the second half. Los Angeles will want to know what they have in the young running back. A three+ catch game is in the cards this week.
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