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Matchups to target for Week 12 in fantasy football

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Week 11 of the NFL season is just about in the books, and if you faced Jonathan Taylor or Austin Ekeler in your fantasy football leagues, you likely started looking ahead to Week 12 early.

With Thanksgiving on the horizon, Week 12 is going to be a wild one. Here are a few favorable matchups to consider as you prepare. 

 

 

Broncos RBs vs. Los Angeles Chargers

Sure, the Chargers just slowed down Najee Harris and the Steelers running game. However, despite how talented Harris is, we often see this ground attack stifled due to the poor offensive line. I see Denver being able to establish the run in this game and given how good the Chargers secondary has played when healthy, I think that is what the Broncos will want to do. Of course, the backfield still remains a split between Javonte Williams and Melvin Gordon, which does complicate things a bit. On the season, Gordon has handled just over 47% of the carries, while Williams is at around 42%. Gordon has logged 53.5% of the snaps, while Williams has been on the field for just over 46%. It is risky starting either running back as anything more than a flex option because unless the Broncos are dominating a football game, it is possible that Gordon and Williams combine for 15-17 carries. But this matchup is so favorable, especially for Williams. The Chargers invite teams to run the football, surrendering 4.7 yards per carry, while 40.8% of the yardage allowed by this defense has come on the ground, the highest rate in the NFL. Los Angeles also leads the league in missed tackles (76), which bodes extremely well for Williams, who continues to break tackles at an impressive rate. Only Nick Chubb and Jonathan Taylor have forced more missed tackles than Williams this season (44), while his 3.67 yards after contact per attempt is the fourth-best mark in football.

Brandon Aiyuk vs. Minnesota Vikings

Don’t look now, but Brandon Aiyuk has returned to being a trustworthy fantasy wide receiver. He once again led San Francisco in snaps (64), routes run (23) and targets (7) on Sunday, resulting in seven receptions for 85 yards and a touchdown. Over the last four weeks, Aiyuk has logged 91% of the offensive snaps, while seeing a healthy 24% target share during that span. He has been rejuvenated as of late and gets another favorable matchup with a beatable Minnesota secondary that just allowed both Davante Adams and Marquez Valdes-Scantling to eclipse the 100-yard mark on Sunday, while scoring three total touchdowns. The Vikings are bottom-five in fantasy points per game allowed to opposing wide receivers and Aiyuk has done enough as of late to warrant consideration as your WR3. 

Darnell Mooney vs. Detroit Lions

The Bears were without Allen Robinson Sunday, which helped vault Darnell Mooney to a massive 48% target share against the Ravens. He handled 16 of the 33 Chicago targets, though he only hauled in five. Still, Mooney made up for it by taking off for a 60-yard touchdown off a screen. With Robinson not practicing at all during the week ahead of a Thursday game against the Lions, it’s possible the veteran doesn’t return for this contest. If that is the case, Mooney would be on the WR3 radar, as he’s already led this team in targets in almost every game he’s played alongside Robinson anyway. A matchup with the Lions is favorable, meanwhile, as Detroit is allowing the second-most air yards in the NFL, as well as a 5.6% passing touchdown rate this season, the fifth-highest mark in football. 

 

 

Dallas Cowboys RBs vs. Las Vegas Raiders

Dallas hosts the Raiders on Thanksgiving Day, but the Cowboys offense will be short-handed. Already without Amari Cooper, the Cowboys will likely be without CeeDee Lamb, who suffered a concussion on Sunday. Michael Gallup and Dalton Schultz will obviously see more targets, but it might just lead to a ton of work for both Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard. Elliott hasn’t been fantastic as of late, but this is a get-right spot. The Raiders just allowed over 120 rushing yards and a pair of touchdowns to Joe Mixon in Week 11 and on the season, they are coughing up 132.1 rushing yards per game, the fourth most in the league. They have also struggled in the red zone, allowing opponents to score touchdowns on 76.2% of their trips on the year, the second-worst rate in the NFL. You are obviously starting Elliott, but I think Pollard is a very sneaky flex play this week, too.

Cam Newton vs. Miami Dolphins

Cam Newton was in this article last week, but I am going right back to him in Week 12. We just watched him score 26 fantasy points, throwing for a pair of touchdowns and adding nearly 50 rushing yards and an additional score. Phillip Walker did not end up playing, and with another week of practice under his belt, Newton will be even more prepared than he was Sunday when he looked pretty good. Miami’s defense has been a bit better as of late, but they did struggle a bit against the Jets Sunday. On the season, they are bottom-10 in terms of fantasy points allowed per game to opposing signal callers. Miami also plays a ton of man coverage, which tends to favor quarterbacks who present rushing upside. 

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