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Week 12 is upon us, and it's now or never in many folks drive for the fantasy football playoffs. Who should you be playing? Who should you be sitting? Who has a matchup you might be able to exploit? Should you be starting a fella you've depending on all year or is the matchup not advantageous? We'll try to answer many of those questions in this week's matchup column.
A WEEKLY FANTASY BATTLE
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BYE: BUF, CIN, PHI, SEA
* All references to points below refer to a PPR setup.
WEEK 12 MATCHUPS
Le'Veon Bell has scored three times in four games on the road. He squares off against the Browns who have allowed less than 100 yards rushing a game this season though they have permitted nine scores in 10 games.
Anquan Boldin has scored the last three times he's faced the Redskins. Unfortunately he's scored only once in his last six games this season. The 'Skins have allowed 11 scores to wideouts this season. Which trend will win out?
Dwayne Bowe had seven catches for 107 yards an a score the last time he faced the Chargers at home. Bowe only has one game with more than five catches this season and none with even 70 yards. Still, he's averaged six catches and 62 yards the past two weeks which is actually an improvement on his early season work.
Andre Brown has scored nine times in his last 11 games. The Cowboys have allowed 11 rushing scores this season.
Dez Bryant has scored 18 times in his last 18 games. He's scored 29 times since 2011, tied for 2nd most among wideouts.
Reggie Bush is 5th in the NFL with 113.3 yards per game from scrimmage this season. The Bucs are middle of the pack against runners though they have allowed an average of 5.4 receptions and 40 yards a week to RBs.
Jordan Cameron has averaged a mere 7.5 points a game over his last three contests, literally half of his season long average of 15.5 points a game. He faces a Steelers club that has allowed only three scores to tight ends this year while allowing the 12th fewest weekly points to tight ends.
Jamaal Charles has a career YPC mark of 5.5, the highest in NFL history for a player with 750- carries. This season he doesn't have a single game in which he has reached his career mark, not one. The Chargers allow 4.8 YPC on the year the third worst mark in football.
Marques Colston has awoken the past two weeks and he's long had success against the Falcons with four scores in the last five games.
Jerricho Cotchery has scored five times the past three weeks. Still, he's only caught five balls for 79 yards the past two weeks, and with Emmanuel Sanders apparently healthy enough to play it's pretty hard to trust Cotchery to have a big week.
Vernon Davis has scored six times in his last seven games. The Redskins have allowed seven scores to the tight end.
Harry Douglas has really stepped up the last five games for the Falcons. He's scored only twice, but 35 receptions and 535 yards is damn impressive.
Andre Ellington has carried the ball an average of 11 times a week the past three contests. Unfortunately his yardage totals have gone from 154 to 55 to three. The Colts can be beat on the ground allowing the 4th most yards in the league per game, 126.1, and they've allowed eight scores in 10 games.
Coby Fleener set career bests last week in receptions (eight) and yards (107). This week he faces a Cardinals club that is the worst in football at holding the tight end down, and that includes per game averages of 6.5 receptions, 88.6 yards yards and one score.
Matt Forte has 230 yards on the ground and three TDs in two games against the Rams. On the year the Rams allow an average of 114.5 yards a game on the ground while permitting 11 rushing scores.
Chris Johnson has run for four scores in his last three games. He also averages 104 yards a game on the ground in the month of November for his career. The Raiders allow just 97.6 yards a game on the ground, so it's not exactly a cushy matchup for CJ2K. And yes, I'm still calling him that.
Pierre Garcon has caught at least five passes each game this season. He's also hauled in at least six passes in each of his last four games.
Antonio Gates has scored 13 times against the Chiefs, his most TDs against any club. The Chiefs have allowed only one score this season to tight ends an allow the fewest points to the position of any team in the league.
The Giants' offense had a field day in Week 1 against the Cowboys. Look at the numbers. Eli Manning threw for 450 yards and four scores. Victor Cruz caught five balls for 118 yards and three touchdowns. Hakeem Nicks caught five balls for 114 yards. Rueben Randle caught five balls for 101 yards. On the year the Cowboys are last in the NFL allowing 313 passing yards a week and their 20 passing scores allowed is tied for third worst.
Mike Glennon threw at least 43 passes in his first four NFL starts. In his last three starts he's failed to throw 25 passes. Still, he's been very effective for a rookie signal caller tossing eight scores and just one interception over his last five outings. The Lions are allowing the third most passing yards in football, 284 a week, and 19 scores in 10 games.
Josh Gordon needs 55 yards this week to surpass his rookie receiving total of 805 yards. Even though he missed the first two games of the season he's still the 18th highest scoring wide out. The Steelers are the 9th best D at holding wideouts down this season.
Garrett Graham has one of the best games for a tight end in Texans history last week as he caught seven balls for 136 yards an a score. This week he faces a Jaguars team that allows the second most points of any defense to tight ends.
Jimmy Graham's foot isn't 100 percent but he always has success against the Falcons with six scores in six games.
Robert Griffin III is the #1 scoring QB in fantasy football the past two weeks. The Niners have a reputation for being a great defense and they have been solid against QBs allowing the 5th fewest points to quarterbacks this season so the matchup isn't going to be a cakewalk.
Maurice Jones-Drew has scored in his last two games on the ground. The Texans have allowed seven rushing scores and are a bottom third defense allowing 119 yards a game on the ground.
Chad Henne threw for 354 yards and four scores the last time he faced the Texans. Too bad he's thrown for four scores over his last eight games. How awful is that Jaguars offense? They're so bad that I would rather sit in a morgue smelling rotting flesh than be forced to watch all of their games from start to finish in one seating.
The last two times that T.Y. Hilton has faced and NFC club he's gone for 140 and 130 yards. The Cardinals are just below middle of the pack allowing 243.5 yards through the air, but the 18 scores they've permitted through the air are enticing for Hilton owners.
Santonio Holmes can't be trusted with Geno Smith under center but he has scored seven times in his last seven games against the Ravens. Who knew?
Chris Ivory is averaging 118.5 yards a game the past two weeks on the ground. He's also gone for at least 98 yards in three of his last four games. He faces a Ravens club that is allowing only 103 yards a game on the ground, but more importantly they've allowed only one rushing score.
Vincent Jackson is 12th in total points. He has four games with 110 yards, and three with at least 135. He's also had games of 27, 34, 11 and 28 yards. He faces a Lions team that has been torched all year long by wideouts allowing the second most points in the league and 14 scores in 10 games.
Rashad Jennings is averaging better than 113 yards a game on the ground the past three weeks. Over those three games Jennings is, get this, the #2 runner in fantasy football in points (he's tied with LeSean McCoy). He faces a Titans club that has allowed a league worst 15 scores on the ground.
Andre Johnson has 19 games of 10 catches and 100 yards in his career, the most ever. The last time he faced the Jags he went nuts for 14 receptions and 273 yards. The Jags are middle of the pack in fantasy points to wideouts but they have allowed 12 scores in 10 games.
Just bonkers. Look at the last four games of Calvin Johnson: 35 receptions, 746 yards and seven scores. No one can stop him.
James Jones has scored in his last two outings against the Vikings. On the year the Vikes have allowed WRs to score 11 times in 10 games.
Eddie Lacy leads the NFL with 645 yards on the ground since October 1st. The Vikings are right in the middle of the pack allowing 112 yards a game on the ground but they have been beaten for 11 rushing scores. Teammate James Starks has scored in 2-straight against the Vikings.
Don't worry about Brandon Marshall as he has 18 receptions for 288 yards and three scores in his last three games. Meanwhile, teammate Alshon Jeffery has been nails the past seven games with an average of nearly six receptions a game while he's gone for 102 yards a contest. They should have success against a Rams club that has allowed 11 scores to wide receivers.
Ryan Mathews ran for 127 yards last week, his third 100 yard game in five outings. Tough sledding this week against the Chiefs though as they have allowed only four rushing scores. They are allowing 117 yards a week on the ground, the 12th worst mark in the league.
Rishard Matthews has caught 15 passes for 172 yards and two scores the past two games. The Panthers have allowed wideouts only two scores this season an are permitting the 2nd fewest points to WRs.
Lamar Miller is average 5.5 YPC on 44 totes this season at home. Unfortunately he's been given the rock a total of 11 times on the ground the past two weeks as the Dolphins continue to do whatever they can to torpedo their offense. Even as a flex option in a 14 team league Miller is a massive risk against the stout Panthers' defense.
Knowshon Moreno is average 93.6 yards from scrimmage this season. He's only scored once in his last three games, and over his last five he's averaged 54 yards a game on the ground. The Patriots allow the 16th most points a game to runners this season.
Alfred Morris has run for 541 yards and two scores in his last five games. The Niners allow 104 yards a game on the ground and have allowed nine rushing scores.
DeMarco Murray has averaged 132.5 yards from scrimmage the past two two times he's faced the Giants. The Cowboys are 11-0 when they get Murray 18 carries in a game.
Jordy Nelson has scored five times in the last four matchups with the Vikings. Though Aaron Rodgers was under center Nelson had seven catches for 123 yards and two scores early this season versus the Vikes.
Carson Palmer has thrown six scores against only two interceptions the past three weeks. The Colts have allowed only 14 passing scores this season.
Adrian Peterson isn't at 100 percent physically. We all know that. In 14 matchups with the Packers A.D. has averaged 114 yards a game while scoring 10 times. The Packers have been a middle of the pack run defense allowing 104 yards a week and eight scores on the ground on the year.
Stevan Ridley fumbles, twice in the last two weeks, and that's a concern. The return of Shane Vereen is another level of concern. There's also this. Over his last five games Ridley has scored seven times. The Broncos have allowed nine rushing scores in 10 games.
Philip Rivers is 10-4 against the Chiefs in his career and he has nine scores an only two interceptions in home starts this season. He's also thrown a total of six scores in his last five games. The Chiefs have allowed 10 passing scores while intercepting 12 passes.
Ben Roethlisberger has faced the Browns 16 times in his career throwing for 24 scores and 10 interceptions. Coming off a game in which he threw for four scores Big Ben faces a Browns club is ranked 13th against the pass in fantasy circles.
The last four times that Tony Romo has faced the Giants he's thrown for 12 scores and three interceptions.
Matt Ryan has thrown only one interception in his last four homes starts against the Saints while he has tossed six scores. The Saints are allowing only 191 yards through the air, the third lowest mark in the league. They have also allowed 11 scores versus 10 interceptions on the year.
Cecil Shorts called out his QB and coaches after a second straight two reception effort. He's totally right. Coming off 23 targets in Weeks 7-8, the Jags lost Justin Blackmon to suspension yet Shorts is being utilized more than ever. In his last two games Shorts has a total of nine targets. The squeaky wheel often gets greased, right?
The last two times that Steve Smith has faced the Dolphins he's gone nutso for 18 receptions, 257 yards and four scores. This year the Fish have been tough against wideouts allowing only one score and holding WRs to the fifth fewest points per game.
Torrey Smith has scored in each of his last two games, and he's now 71 yards from setting a career-high. Don't look now but the “blah” season of Smith currently has him 17th at the position in points. The Jets have frequently been beaten by wideouts this season allowing the 8th most points and 12 scores in 10 games.
Zac Stacy has run for 323 yards and three scores in his last three games. The beaten up Bears' defense has been manhandled on the ground this season as the worst rush D in the NFC (133.9 yards a game) while allowing 11 ground scores.
Kenny Stills has four TDs in his last five games. He hasn't caught more than three passes in any of those games.
Ben Tate has 22 carries in his career against the Jaguars leading to 142 yards which is good for a 6.5 YPC mark. The Jags are allowing 4.3 YPC this season but their total of 139.1 rushing yards a game is worst in the NFL.
Demaryius Thomas has 2-straight games with 100 yards receiving. In his last two games against the Patriots he's gone over 100 yards. Over his last five games this season he's gone for at least 75 yards in each game.
Pierre Thomas has scored seven against the Falcons. The Falcons are the 8th worst D at holding down running backs this season.
Mike Tolbert is supremely hard to trust cause his entire value is wrapped up in whether or not he gets into the end zone. He's done that a lot late with five scores in his last six games. The Dolphins have allowed 12 scores to RBs this season an allow the second most fantasy points to RBs of any team in the league.
Shane Vereen caught seven balls for 58 yards in Week 1. He didn't return to the field until Week 11 when he caught eight balls for 65 yards. The Broncos have allowed the 12th fewest receptions to running backs this season.
Kendall Wright caught nine passes last week, a career best. Wright is up to 22nd at the wide receiver position in points this season and he's surging with Ryan Fitzpatrick under center as he's caught 16 balls for a 158 yards the past two weeks.
Ray Flowers can be heard daily on Sirius/XM Radio on The Fantasy Drive on Sirius 210 and XM 87, Monday through Thursday at 7 PM EDT & Friday's at 9 PM EDT. For more of Ray's analysis you can check out BaseballGuys.com or the BaseballGuys' Twitter account where he tirelessly answers everyone's questions.