April 24, 2024

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Fantasy Football Today: Tracking Week 12 injuries, Thanksgiving players to watch and previewing every game

No long intro here. You need to make sure your lineup is set before that 12:30 p.m. ET kickoff for the Lions and Bears game. For your sake, I hope you aren’t relying on that game too much either way, but still, let’s make sure you’ve got everything you need to know.

That starts with my game previews, where I go over every game on the schedule for Week 12, looking at every relevant injury plus my thoughts on every single team. You’ll also want to make sure you check out Dave Richard’s <em>Starts and Sits, Sleepers and Busts</em> column, where he offers his thoughts on the toughest Fantasy lineup decisions for every game. And Jamey Eisenberg’s Start ‘Em & Sit ‘Em column offers even more lineup advice for you to consume before you consume copious amounts of turkey. 

Get ready for Week 12 with all of our preview content here:  

And here’s what the rest of today’s newsletter has in store to help you get ready for Week 12.

  • Week 12 Game Previews: Vegas notes, lineup decisions, and injury updates

Week 12 Game Previews

There’s something to watch in every game on the NFL schedule every week, even if you have to squint to see it sometimes. This week, however, there are so many unanswered questions that it’s hard to settle on just one thing for each game. Here’s a look ahead at every Week 12 game, with some notes on what Vegas is expecting to see, some lineup help and one thing to watch for from each game:

Kim Klement / USA TODAY Sports

All odds are via Caesars Sportsbook. 

Bears at Lions

  • Thursday, 12:30 p.m. ET
  • Line: Bears -3; 41.5 O/U 
  • Implied totals: Bears 22.25-Lions 19.25

This would be a hard game to get excited about even if both teams had their starting quarterbacks. Tim Boyle vs. Andy Dalton isn’t exactly the matchup that’s going to bring America together to kick Thanksgiving off. 

  • Injuries: Justin Fields (ribs) — Fields is out for Week 12, so Dalton will start in his place … Allen Robinson (hamstring) — Robinson is doubtful for this one after missing practice all week. He missed last week’s game and Darnell Mooney had a 47{cfdf3f5372635aeb15fd3e2aecc7cb5d7150695e02bd72e0a44f1581164ad809} target share in his absence … Jared Goff (oblique) — Goff looks on track to start, despite being listed as officially questionable for the game. If not, Tim Boyle will lead the way again. He had 77 passing yards on 23 attempts last week. 
  • What we’re watching for: I mean, you really would love to see Goff play, because Boyle really was that bad last week. T.J. Hockenson is someone you probably need to keep active no matter who is in at QB, but you’d rather see Goff out there for sure. It’s been nice to see the Lions get D’Andre Swift going on the ground over the past few weeks, and he still played 73{cfdf3f5372635aeb15fd3e2aecc7cb5d7150695e02bd72e0a44f1581164ad809} of the snaps even with Jamaal Williams back. He’s a bona fide stud for Fantasy. On the Bears side, the hope is that Andy Dalton can continue to get Darnell Mooney involved. The two connected for a 60-yard touchdown on Dalton’s first throw to Mooney — then he was just two nine from that point on. You love the target share, and if they can be more efficient, Mooney could be a star. 

Raiders at Cowboys 

  • Thursday, 4:30 p.m. ET
  • Line: Cowboys -7.5; 51.5 O/U
  • Implied totals: Cowboys 29.5-Raiders 22

The Cowboys enter the game short-handed and banged up, but the line doesn’t reflect any concerns. Fantasy players are probably less confident, what with Ezekiel Elliott slumping of late, Amari Cooper out and CeeDee Lamb’s status in question. 

  • Injuries: CeeDee Lamb (concussion) — Lamb did practice on a limited basis Wednesday, and the hope is he’ll be cleared to play Thursday. As of now, that isn’t guaranteed, but it seems possible, and you’d have to start Lamb if he’s active, even with some risk coming back so soon.
  • What we’re watching for: With Cooper out, there’s room for another receiver to step up, here — Dalton Schultz is the only guy who even came close in the 19-9 loss to the Chiefs in Week 11. If Lamb plays, I probably wouldn’t start either Gallup or Wilson, but if he’s out, Wilson becomes an intriguing play — he figures to see more snaps in the slot if Lamb doesn’t play. On the Raiders side, they’re still searching for a replacement for Henry Ruggs and what he brought to the team; Derek Carr has reached 8.6 intended air yards per attempt just once in his past four games, after being above that in five of the first six games. It’s impacted his play and made this offense a lot less dynamic.  

Bills at Saints

  • Thursday, 8:20 p.m. ET
  • Line: Bills -6; 45.5 O/U
  • Implied totals: Bills 25.75-Saints 19.75

The Saints are no strangers to surprise upset wins against great offenses, as they’ve got wins over the Packers and Buccaneers where they picked off Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers twice each. They’ll need to limit possessions and big plays, and the Bills offense has been a bit off lately, scoring 15 points or fewer in two of their past four games. 

  • Injuries: Alvin Kamara (knee) — Kamara is set to miss his third straight game due to the injury, and given that he didn’t practice at all this week, it’s not entirely clear whether he’s at all close to returning … Mark Ingram (knee) — And his backup isn’t 100{cfdf3f5372635aeb15fd3e2aecc7cb5d7150695e02bd72e0a44f1581164ad809} either. It’s not clear whether Ingram is likely to sit out Thursday’s game, as Wednesday was his only practice of the week, and he was limited. He’s been a strong Fantasy producer in Kamara’s absence, with 36.1 PPR points in two games. If Ingram can’t play, Tony Jones would likely be in line to start and would be an intriguing RB3, albeit against an especially tough matchup. 
  • What we’re watching for: On the Bills side, it’ll be interesting to see if they can take the top off the Saints defense, which has been an issue for them of late as teams have focused on limiting the deep ball and forcing Josh Allen to make plays underneath. In theory, that should make their running game more effective, but with Zack Moss and Devin Singletary failing to do much of late, that hasn’t come to fruition. It seems like Matt Breida has a chance to earn a bigger role moving forward, but this isn’t really an offense I’m all that interested in chasing for running backs. On the Saints side, well, the running backs have been the only reliable Fantasy options, and I don’t expect that to be different against this defense. 

Buccaneers at Colts 

  • Sunday, 1 p.m. ET
  • Line: Buccaneers -3; 53 O/U
  • Implied totals: Buccaneers 28-Colts 25

Jonathan Taylor has reached Derrick Henry territory, where it just doesn’t seem like any defense can slow him down. He had his best game of the season against the Bills in Week 11, so should we really be worried about a matchup with the Buccaneers? I’ll just say this: The Colts defense keeping Tom Brady in check is probably as important as anything for Taylor’s production. 

  • Injuries: Antonio Brown (ankle) — Brown didn’t practice Wednesday and seems unlikely to play this week yet again. Head coach Bruce Arians told reporters he hopes Brown can return in Week 13 against the Falcons … Mike Evans (back) — Evans didn’t practice Wednesday and this is a new injury, so that’s something to keep an eye on. It’s not clear how serious the injury is right now, but have an alternate plan ready to go just in case. 
  • What we’re watching for: Taylor’s dominance has been bad news for Michael Pittman and the Colts passing game, but I’ll have a hard time going away from him in this matchup. For his sake, you’re hoping the Colts will be forced to throw a bit more — and given that Taylor has made Nyheim Hines largely irrelevant of late, that might not necessarily be bad news for Taylor, either. On the Buccaneers side, we’d like to see Leonard Fournette get going — he has just 29 carries over the past three games with no touchdowns, leaving him very heavily reliant on the passing game for production. 

Eagles at Giants

  • Sunday, 1 p.m. ET
  • Line: Eagles 24.5; 45.5 O/U
  • Implied totals: Eagles 24.5-Giants 21

The Giants fired their offensive coordinator this week, so maybe that’ll spark the offense. Daniel Jones actually looked pretty good early in the season, averaging 8.2 yards per pass attempt in the first four games, so maybe they’ll be able to get things going again. The Eagles have allowed just one game with more than 215 passing yards since making a switch to a run-first offense in Week 8, so it’s not exactly a great situation for that. 

  • Injuries: Jordan Howard (knee) — Howard is expected to miss this week’s game, which is good news for Miles Sanders, who could have a big role in the running game with less competition near the goal-line … Kadarius Toney (quad) — The Giants have just been snake-bitten, and especially Toney, who has seemed to come down with some kind of issue every time he’s showed some promise. He didn’t practice Wednesday, a bad sign for his availability … Sterling Shepard (quad) — Shepard was also unable to practice Wednesday, as he continues to recover from his multi-week injury. If he played, he would be an interesting WR option, but at this point, assume he won’t … Kyle Rudolph (ankle) — Rudolph hasn’t had much of a role this season (17 catches in 10 games), but his potential absence could open up a bigger role for Evan Engram against what has been the worst defense in the league against tight ends. Rudolph didn’t practice Wednesday. 
  • What we’re watching for: On the Giants side, it’ll be interesting to see what, exactly, changes with Freddie Kitchens taking over playcalling duties. He comes from the Bruce Arians school of deep passing, so maybe Kenny Golladay has a chance to get going. Not that you can even think about start him coming off a two-target game. The only Giants players I would be comfortable starting are Saquon Barkley and Evan Engram, and the latter is just a bet on the Eagles’ complete inability to cover tight ends — they’ve given up 18.8 PPR points per game to tight ends, 3.7 points per game more than the second-worst defense. On the Eagles side, Jalen Hurts is a borderline elite Fantasy QB in my eyes, and I think this could be a very, very good game for Miles Sanders. He’s firmly in the RB2 territory. 

Falcons at Jaguars

  • Sunday, 1 p.m. ET
  • Line: PICK; 46 O/U
  • Implied totals: Falcons 23-Jaguars 23

The Falcons have scored just three points in their past two games and Matt Ryan is pretty banged up right now. On the other hand, the Jaguars have scored just 44 points in four games since their bye — they are, somehow, getting worse as the season goes on. 

  • Injuries: Cordarrelle Patterson (ankle) — Patterson pushed to play on a short week last Thursday, so I would guess his chances of playing in Week 12 are pretty good assuming he avoids a setback. 
  • What we’re watching for: You probably have to hold your nose and start Kyle Pitts despite the fact that he is averaging just three catches and 41 yards per game over the past four games. And if Patterson plays, he’s the only other player you’re considering — my assumption is Qadree Ollison returns to being a non-factor if Patterson is active, though it’s possible he’s done enough to push Mike Davis aside for good. On the Jaguars side, with Jamal Agnew gone, is it finally time for Laviska Shenault to break out? Shenault’s issue has been performance as much as volume, so I’m not counting on a breakout until I see it. I’m assuming Dan Arnold’s lack of involvement in Week 11 was just a fluke, and he and James Robinson are the only players worth using until someone — anyone — steps up. 

Jets at Texans

  • Sunday, 1 p.m. ET
  • Line: Texans -2.5; 44.5 O/U
  • Implied totals: Texans 23.5-Jets 21 

Stoppable force, meet moveable object. The Texans haven’t topped 22 points since Week 1, while the Jets have scored just 34 combined over the past two games after reaching 30 in consecutive games in Weeks 8 and 9. Zach Wilson is expected to return at QB with Joe Flacco and Mike White on the COVID-19 list. 

  • Injuries: Michael Carter (ankle) — Carter is expected to be out multiple weeks with his low-grade high-ankle sprain, so it’s no surprise he was unable to practice Wednesday. 
  • What we’re watching for: The Jets look like they may have a legitimate star on their hands with Elijah Moore, but Wilson will have to play better than he did prior to his injury to help Moore continue to ascend. That’ll be the primary thing to watch for the Jets. On the Texans side, I suppose it’ll be interesting to see if the release of Phillip Lindsay means they’ll continue to concentrate touches between David Johnson and Rex Burkhead, though I’m not sure it’ll matter unless you’re desperate for an RB. If you are, Johnson is probably the better option because he might at least catch a few passes. 

Titans at Patriots

  • Sunday, 1 p.m. ET
  • Line: Patriots -6.5; 44 O/U
  • Implied totals: Patriots 25.25-Titans 18.75

The Titans offense was a lot of smoke and mirrors in their first two games without Derrick Henry, and they got exposed in Week 11. Injuries have hit them hard, and it’s hard to see how things get much better against the Patriots. 

  • Injuries: Damien Harris (neck) — Harris was limited at Wednesday’s practice, which means this probably isn’t anything to worry about. However, with so much attention focused on the Patriots backfield, any injury is worth watching … Hunter Henry (neck)/Jonnu Smith (shoulder) — At this point, I’m assuming both will play. I’m also assuming both are just touchdown-or-bust options, with Henry having been more likely to find the end zone this season … A.J. Brown (chest) — Brown has been limited for much of the season with knee issues, but this is a new injury, one he suffered last week. Obviously, we’ll need to keep a close eye on this one throughout the week, so check back on his status Friday. At this point, I would assume he’s playing, but it’s obviously not a sure thing … Jeremy McNichols (concussion) — McNichols was held out of practice yet again Wednesday as he is continuing to deal with the issue. He was unable to play last week … D’Onta Foreman (triceps) — Foreman was limited Wednesday and I’ve seen no reason to think there is much to worry about, but it’s worth noting here. Dontrell Hilliard would probably be a top-24 RB if Foreman were to miss time. 
  • What we’re watching for: Will the release of Adrian Peterson make D’Onta Foreman a better Fantasy option? He and Peterson have combined for 50 carries in three games. Or, will Dontrell Hilliard see a role even if McNichols returns? I fear it’ll be a three-way split, a lot like New England’s on the other side. Rhamondre Stevenson may yet force Damien Harris out of the picture, but given the split in Week 11, it hasn’t happened yet. Given that split, I’m viewing both Harris and Stevenson as RB3s right now. 

Steelers at Bengals

  • Sunday, 1 p.m. ET
  • Line: Bengals -4.5; 45 O/U
  • Implied totals: Bengals 24.75-Steelers 20.25

The last time these two teams met, the Steelers managed just one offensive touchdown in a 24-10 loss, but that was before the Steelers dedicated themselves to really leaning on Najee Harris. If both sides had their druthers, we’d probably see Harris and Joe Mixon combine for 50 carries in this one. 

  • Injuries: There are no injuries we’re tracking for these two teams, which means Najee Harris didn’t have any lingering symptoms after being evaluated for a concussion Sunday. That’s great news. 
  • What we’re watching for: On the Bengals side, I’d really, really like to see Tee Higgins get going. I named him a buy-low candidate in yesterday’s newsletter, but I’d be lying if I said I was totally confident in that. On the other side, the hope is the Steelers can keep Chase Claypool going after his 93-yard performance in Week 11. He gives the offense another dimension with his ability to make plays down the field, and if he can remain a solid No. 2 option, it makes this offense a lot more interesting. Of course, that all depends on Ben Roethlisberger being able to get the ball to him consistently. He’s a risky WR3. 

Chargers at Broncos

  • Sunday, 4:05 p.m. ET
  • Line: Chargers -2.5; 48 O/U
  • Implied totals: Chargers 25.25-Broncos 22.75

The Chargers are coming off one of their best offensive games of the season, but the Broncos are looking like a legitimately tough test — they rank third in scoring defense, though they rank more in the middle of the pack in yards per play. 

  • Injuries: There are not any injuries we’re keeping track of as of Wednesday. 
  • What we’re watching for: Coming out of the bye week, the Broncos have a lot of Fantasy players’ eyeballs on them. We want to see if they start to really turn things over to Javonte Williams — he played a season-high 57{cfdf3f5372635aeb15fd3e2aecc7cb5d7150695e02bd72e0a44f1581164ad809} of the snaps in Week 10, and could be a big difference maker if he can get to, say, 65{cfdf3f5372635aeb15fd3e2aecc7cb5d7150695e02bd72e0a44f1581164ad809} of the RB touches. We’d also like to see Jerry Jeudy and Courtland Sutton going, and Sutton is especially concerning as he has just 12 targets in four games with Jeudy active. On the Chargers side, there isn’t much to watch for unless the Chargers start to use Mike Williams like they did early in the season. That hasn’t been the case for a month-plus. He’s just a boom-or-bust WR3 right now, which is more than you can say for Sutton. 

Vikings at 49ers

  • Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET
  • Line: 49ers -3; 48.5 O/U
  • Implied totals: 49ers 25.75-Vikings 22.75

These are two teams that just can’t figure out whether they are good or not. Which is to be expected when you’re talking about two .500 teams, I suppose. 

  • Injuries: Elijah Mitchell (finger) — Mitchell was limited at practice Wednesday, a good sign as he recovers from surgery to repair a fracture. He missed last week’s game but is at least trending in the right direction now. He’ll likely be the lead back if healthy, and figures to see 15-ish carries, while Jeff Wilson Jr. will likely be a factor as well. 
  • What we’re watching for: The 49ers are trying to strike a delicate balance that allows George Kittle, Deebo Samuel, and Brandon Aiyuk to get enough touches to be Fantasy relevant. The past few weeks, we’ve seen them use Samuel as a running back, allowing him to stay productive while getting just seven targets. Keeping all three of them involved while remaining a relatively low-volume passing game is going to be a test, and it might not take much for Fantasy players to lose faith in the experiment. On the Vikings side, we know how this offense is going to operate — it’s a lot of Dalvin Cook, Justin Jefferson, and Adam Thielen, and very little of anyone else. 

Rams at Packers

  • Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET
  • Line: Pick; 47.5 O/U
  • Implied totals: Rams 23.75-Packers 23.75

The line is surprisingly low for what many would have expected to be a shootout coming into the season. However Matthew Stafford has looked out of sorts in the past two games, the Rams are still figuring out how to incorporate Odell Beckham, and Aaron Rodgers is dealing with a fractured toe that he’s likely to play through but could impact his performance. Of course, it didn’t seem to be an issue when he passed for four touchdowns last week. I’d take the Over. 

  • Injuries: Aaron Jones (knee) — Jones was back as a limited participant in Wednesday’s practice, which is an improvement from last week. Whether that means he’ll play in Week 12 remains to be seen, but at least now we know there’s a chance … Aaron Rodgers (toe) — Rodgers confirmed Wednesday he is dealing with a fractured toe, but the assumption at this point is he’ll continue to play through it.
  • What we’re watching for: How the Rams use Beckham coming out of the bye will be key, obviously. He played just 13 snaps in Week 10, but they’d had a bye week to get him up to speed. I expect to see a lot more of him, but I have trouble trusting him as anything more than a boom-or-bust WR3 until we see him producing in this offense. On the Packers side, the biggest question for me is what Dillon’s role looks like if Jones is back. He’s been better than expected as a pass-catcher, and I wonder if we might see more of an even split when Jones is back. I’ll also be watching Marquez Valdes-Scantling after his 10-target game in Week 11. If he’s going to get more than a few deep shots per game, he could be an interesting Fantasy option. 

Browns at Ravens

  • Sunday, 8:20 p.m. ET
  • Line: Ravens -3.5; 45.5 O/U
  • Implied totals: Ravens 24.5-Browns 21

The Browns are really going to have to slow Lamar Jackson down with the way their offense is playing right now — they have 14 or fewer points in four of their past five games.

  • Injuries: Kareem Hunt (calf) — Hunt was designated to return from IR and was back on the practice field Wednesday, and it looks like he’s got a pretty good chance of making his return in Week 12 after missing five games. He would be a lower-end RB2, while Nick Chubb is a high-end RB2 either way … Baker Mayfield (left shoulder, foot, groin) — Mayfield is dealing with a bunch of injuries that he will, in all likelihood, continue to play through. He sat out Wednesday’s practice … Jarvis Landry (knee) — Landry didn’t practice Wednesday as well, and will also likely continue to try to play through his injury. If he gets healthy, Landry could be pretty useful for Fantasy, but he just isn’t 100{cfdf3f5372635aeb15fd3e2aecc7cb5d7150695e02bd72e0a44f1581164ad809} right now … Lamar Jackson (illness) — Jackson is back at practice and expected to start in Week 12 after missing last week’s game … Marquise Brown (thigh) — Brown was limited Wednesday, a good sign for his chances of playing in Week 12, though obviously that isn’t guaranteed by now. You’ll have to keep an eye out for his status Friday before we have a real sense of his chances. 
  • What we’re watching for: I’m not sure there’s much reason to hold out hope for the Browns passing game, given Baker Mayfield’s struggles, especially since he’s so beat up right now. How they use their backs if Hunt is back will be interesting to watch, but we pretty much know what to expect — they’re both starting caliber Fantasy options. On the Ravens side, it’s sort of frustrating that we didn’t get to see Bateman with Jackson healthy last week when Brown was out. I’m viewing him as a WR3 if Brown is out, but there’s upside well beyond that. 

Seahawks at Washington

  • Monday, 8:15 p.m. ET
  • Line: Washington -1; 46.5 O/U
  • Implied totals: Washington  23.75-Seahawks 22.75

Man, if Russell Wilson can’t get going in this matchup… 

  • Injuries: Rashaad Penny (hamstring) — Penny got the start in Week 11, rushed for 19 yards on two carries in eight snaps before suffering the injury. Pete Carroll downplayed the injury earlier this week, but that’s just what Pete Carroll does. Penny could overtake Alex Collins as the lead back if he ever stayed healthy, but you wouldn’t use him in Week 12 even if he does play … Logan Thomas (hamstring) — Thomas was officially designated for return from IR and could make his return this week. I’m not sure I would want to throw Thomas right into my lineup, but by all means, make sure he’s not already rostered in your league at the very least. 
  • What we’re watching for: On the Seahawks side, nothing really matters if Wilson isn’t playing well, but it will be interesting to see how the running back snaps are divvied up after DeeJay Dallas matched Alex Collins last week. On the Washington side, Antonio Gibson has seen an increased role over the past few weeks, and Week 11 looks even better if you take out the second quarter, when he was benched for fumbling — he played 64{cfdf3f5372635aeb15fd3e2aecc7cb5d7150695e02bd72e0a44f1581164ad809} of the snaps in the other three quarters.