It’s never easy benching one of your top players, but smart fantasy football owners know when to start and sit their players, depending on the matchups from week to week.
For instance, benching Fred Jackson last weekend against the New York Jets proved to be the right move, even though he’s been a remarkably consistent producer for most of the season. New York features one of the league’s top fantasy defenses against the run, and Jackson has been banged up.
Like we saw with Jackson and others last week, there are some star players with questionable matchups in Week 12 that must be examined thoroughly. With that in mind, here’s a closer look at two players you must start and two you must sit.
Start: Jamaal Charles, RB, Kansas City Chiefs
Jamaal Charles was one of the most dependable fantasy players at any position throughout the first half of the season, scoring no less than 11 points through his first eight games.
However, Charles has been held to single digits in his last two contests, and he faces a tough opponent this week in the San Diego Chargers.
San Diego ranks No. 11 in the NFL in fantasy defense against running backs, allowing just 13.8 points per game. The Chargers have allowed nine points or less three times this year, and this team was solid against Miami and Denver the past two weekends.
The Washington Redskins recently went off against San Diego, though, scoring 39 points in Week 9. Kansas City features a run-first offensive approach, just like Washington, and you can expect Charles to return to form this Sunday at home.
Projected Stats: 130 total yards and two touchdowns.
Sit: Robert Griffin III, QB, Washington Redskins
Despite the turmoil surrounding Washington this year, Robert Griffin III has remained a top-10 fantasy quarterback this season.
He’s scored 20-plus points four times—two of which have occurred in the past two weeks—and has hit double-digit point totals in all but one game. After Sunday’s contest against the San Francisco 49ers, however, it’ll likely become two games.
San Francisco features the league’s No. 6-ranked fantasy defense against quarterbacks, allowing just 12.4 points per game. The 49ers have allowed 15-plus points just three times this year, and this team held Houston to zero points back in Week 5.
Even the mighty Drew Brees was held in check to just 14 points last weekend.
The 49ers enter this contest having lost two games in a row to two of the best teams in the league. With this extra chip on the team’s shoulder, nobody should be surprised if Washington is completely shut down on Sunday.
Projected Stats: 200 total yards with one touchdown and two turnovers.
Start: T.Y. Hilton, WR, Indianapolis Colts
The Indianapolis Colts are on the road in Week 12 to take on the Arizona Cardinals, and the Cardinals have been downright rude to opposing receivers this season on a few occasions. Arizona features the league’s No. 7-ranked fantasy defense against receivers, allowing just 16.7 points to opposing receivers on a weekly basis.
Making matters worse for T.Y. Hilton fantasy owners, the receiver has been incredibly unpredictable this year (six games of four points or less), and he struggled last weekend, catching five passes for 44 yards and zero touchdowns.
That said, Hilton has also exploded for a few monster games this year, and Arizona has been susceptible to getting burned a few times, allowing 20-plus points four times.
Given Arizona’s propensity for shutting down opposing rushing attacks (No. 2 in the NFL, allowing 81.4 yards per game), you can expect Andrew Luck to pass the ball with regularity on Sunday. He’s targeted Hilton heavily since Reggie Wayne’s season-ending injury, and the second-year receiver will have a huge game against the Cardinals.
Projected Stats: Seven catches for 130 yards and one touchdown.
Sit: Dez Bryant, WR, Dallas Cowboys
Sit Dez Bryant?
Before you head straight to the comments section to express your dismay, read on for a few ticks and discover why sitting Bryant is actually the smart move in Week 12.
The Dallas Cowboys are in New York this weekend for an NFC East battle with the New York Giants. New York has held Bryant to 217 yards in the past three games, and the explosive receiver has failed to catch a single touchdown in those contests.
Back in Week 1, Bryant was held to just two fantasy points, catching four passes for 22 yards.
Furthermore, teams have recently utilized a strong double-team approach to defend the formidable receiver, and the strategy has worked to perfection. He’s been held to just 10 fantasy points in his last two games, catching seven passes for 108 yards and zero scores.
Projected Stats: Five catches for 50 yards and zero touchdowns.
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