NFL Fantasy: Week 12 start ‘em, sit ‘em D/ST

Jacksonville is known for their pass defense, but their NFL fantasy run defense has quietly climbed to the middle of the pack. Dare we sit ‘em?


Sometimes in life, you have to say “what the heck!” When others say it, we know we crossed a line somewhere. Read to see where we crossed lines in this week’s start ‘em and sit ‘em, Week 12 version. 

Start these guys: LA Chargers at Dallas 

Now, I know what you’re thinking. The Chargers are not facing Nathan Peterman again this week. But the Chargers have shown the ability to take advantage of a weak offensive line and create turnovers all season. They are a no-doubt start ‘em if Tyron Smith sits out another week, but they are still a good play even if the Cowboys’ left tackle returns to action Thursday. 

Sit these guys: LA Rams vs New Orleans

This is the second week in a row I am sitting the Rams. New Orleans will find a way to put points on the board, probably by running it down the Rams’ throats most of the day. Since the Saints rarely turn the ball over and give up fewer sacks than most teams, there is no reason to think Los Angeles will fare any better this week than they did against the Vikings in Week 11. 

Start these guys: Bengals vs Cleveland

Cincinnati was a popular streamer D/ST against the Broncos last week. Their 11th-ranked finish wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t the windfall their owners hoped for. I mean, the only way their week could have been easier was to play the Browns. Hey! They play the Browns this week. That makes them a start ‘em again in Week 12. 

Sit these guys: Falcons vs Tampa Bay

Atlanta put up the D/ST-7 score against Russell Wilson and the Seahawks just a week after laying a D/ST-1 slap down on the Cowboys. Ryan Fitzpatrick is a far less mobile quarterback than either Dak Prescott or Wilson. For that reason, many prognosticators recommend streaming the Falcons again in Week 12. Don’t do it. 

Tampa Bay and Atlanta always put points on the board when they meet. Fitzpatrick doesn’t have the best offensive line in the league, but they are heading in the opposite direction of the messes Atlanta faced in Dallas and Seattle. The Buccaneers kept Fitzpatrick on his feet last week and will present a tougher challenge for the Falcons. Fitzpatrick plays it safe and picks the Falcons apart using tight ends and backs for the most part in a classic Atlanta-Tampa shootout. 

Start these guys: Patriots vs Miami

Not only is Miami totally dysfunctional and possibly playing with their third-string quarterback this week, New England’s defense is coming together. They put up another top-ten D/ST fantasy score in Week 11 and you can’t blame all of Oakland’s problems on the thin air of Mexico City. Look for the Patriots to continue their upward trend and start ‘em in Week 12. 

Sit these guys: Jaguars at Arizona

No… seriously. Arizona coach Bruce Arians had a classic Arians meltdown this week. After initially taking the blame for Sunday’s loss to the Texans, he changed his mind Monday. He blasted his team’s lack of execution, including a missed block on a momentum-changing fourth down attempt. He announced the Cardinals would try out new wide receivers to complement Larry Fitzgerald. Then, he cut running back Andre Ellington. 

One of two things will happen this week. The Cardinals will continue to shut out their over-bearing coach and mail in another game this week… or the professionals in Arizona will take over and put up a gallant effort against the Jaguars. Blaine Gabbert will be behind center again. I believe Fitzgerald and new tight end Ricky Seals-Jones will come down with enough contested balls to keep Jacksonville from racking up another top ten NFL fantasy performance in Week 12. 

Week 12 flash in the pan prediction:

The Jets’ defense knows their offense will not score many points against the Carolina Panthers, so they keep things interesting with a multi-sack, multi-turnover effort of their own. Whoever wins, it will be ugly to watch as the Jets’ D/ST scores more points than the Panthers. 

About last week: Ouch!

If a couple of my picks this week seem a bit insane, it’s because my sane picks of Week 11 failed me miserably. Only half my choices came through for me as Cincinnati and Tampa Bay made the first-string cut. Minnesota just missed as expected. But I also sat the top D/ST (Baltimore) and the #7 Falcons and started the Cardinals for a 50% result. This week, I’ll get back to my usual winning ways. 

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