With fantasy football playoffs fast approaching in Week 12, owners can’t afford many mistakes setting their starting lineups. There are some tough decisions about which players to start and which players to sit this weekend, too.
In particular, there have been some up-and-coming fantasy football players putting up big numbers—some of whom will keep the good times rolling in Week 12, and others who will stumble.
There’s no way to predict the future for these players with absolute certainty. The human element is always a wild card when it comes to fantasy football. Sometimes, players rise up and crush expectations against an opponent that should have been a bad matchup.
However, given the information available at this time, it’s possible to come up with an educated guess you can feel good about when setting your starting lineups. With that in mind, here’s your start ’em, sit ’em advice for a few rising fantasy stars.
Note: All point totals for standard-scoring leagues (ESPN). Points against stats (ESPN). The Buffalo Bills, Philadelphia Eagles, Cincinnati Bengals and Seattle Seahawks are on bye.
Start: Mike Glennon, QB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers appear to have a keeper at the quarterback position with rookie Mike Glennon out of North Carolina State. Of all the rookie quarterbacks, he’s the one putting up the best numbers—both in fantasy football and in real life.
Since Week 6, after the Bucs came back from their bye, Glennon has thrown 10 touchdowns and two interceptions, and he’s turned the ball over just three times in six games.
Thanks to his strong arm and gunslinger’s mentality, Glennon has been getting receiver Vincent Jackson much more involved in the passing game, and the entire offense has been flowing better as a result.
Glennon and the Bucs will be in Detroit this weekend to take on the Lions, which feature the league’s 20th-ranked fantasy defense against quarterbacks. Ben Roethlisberger went off for 31 points against this team last weekend, and Glennon should have similar success on Sunday.
Projected Stats: 260 total yards and three touchdowns.
Sit: Andre Ellington, RB, Arizona Cardinals
Andre Ellington was a hot target on the waiver wire earlier this year, and deservedly so. The rookie out of Clemson made his name known to fantasy owners in Week 2, totaling 12 points in his second career game.
Three weeks later, he showed up with a 14-point outburst against the San Francisco 49ers, and then he went off against the Atlanta Falcons two weeks later, scoring 21 points.
Ellington clearly has a bright future ahead of him, and he’s undoubtedly going to put up big fantasy numbers in the weeks and years to come. However, he’s been shut out to the tune of seven points in his last two games, and this weekend’s matchup against the Indianapolis Colts isn’t particularly favorable.
Indianapolis has allowed 20-plus points the past two games to the St. Louis Rams and Tennessee Titans, but both of those teams feature run-first offenses. Arizona struggles to run the ball consistently, and that won’t change as Carson Palmer duels Andrew Luck on Sunday.
Projected Stats: 50 total yards and zero touchdowns.
Start: Zac Stacy, RB, St. Louis Rams
Speaking of rookies making a monumental fantasy impact this season, look no further than Zac Stacy, who has emerged as a top-10 running back.
Stacy took over as the featured running back for the Rams in Week 5. He had two decent games in a row, posting scores of seven and eight points, respectively, before popping off four straight double-digit games in a row before St. Louis’ bye in Week 11.
The Rams have been feeding Stacy the ball with regularity since quarterback Sam Bradford was lost for the season, and he’s going to see plenty of action this weekend against Chicago, which features the league’s seventh-worst fantasy defense against running backs.
Projected Stats: 125 total yards with one touchdown.
Sit: Keenan Allen, WR, San Diego Chargers
Rookie receiver Keenan Allen out of California has been as good as advertised during the pre-draft process for the San Diego Chargers this year. He first showed up on the fantasy radar in Week 4 against the Dallas Cowboys, catching five passes for 80 yards.
Allen has eclipsed 100 yards receiving three times this year already, catching a touchdown in each to earn 16, 17 and 18 points for fantasy owners in those games. As a result of his emergence as a fantasy star in the making, he’s owned in well over half of ESPN.com fantasy leagues.
But owners would be smart to sit the rookie this weekend, as San Diego is traveling to Kansas City for a date with the Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium.
Kansas City features the league’s No. 12-ranked fantasy defense against receivers. Furthermore, the Chiefs will be playing with a huge chip on their shoulders after losing their first game of the year to the Denver Broncos last weekend.
Projected Stats: Four catches for 60 yards and zero touchdowns.
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