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Fantasy Insider: Value Plays & Strong Starts For Week 12

Scott Engel of RotoExperts.com is in his seventh season of Fantasy Football analysis on seahawks.com. Scott is an inaugural member of the Fantasy Sports Writer’s Association’s Hall of Fame and a former FSWA Fantasy Football Writer of the Year Award Winner. He can be heard on FNTSY Radio every morning and seen on FNTSY Sports Network daily on CenturyLink’s sports package and Dish Network.


The bye weeks are over, but there are still essential decisions to be made as the Fantasy playoffs loom. At this point, you know the core of your starting lineup, but will always need to stream a few players, too. Unless there are injuries, you pretty much know who are your must-start players by now. But not every lineup spot presents an easy decision, and the pressure of the approaching Fantasy postseason is on you. So we help you make those all-important decisions that could make the ultimate difference in a pivotal late-season Fantasy matchup.

Quarterbacks

*Marcus Mariota vs. IND: *He is a prime streamer this week, as the matchup is very exploitable and Mariota has good weaponry, including promising rookie Corey Davis, who could bust out soon. The Colts have allowed 2,874 passing yards to opposing QBs, the second-highest total behind New England, which has tightened up defensively in recent weeks. Mariota passed for 306 yards in the last meeting with Indianapolis.

*Tyrod Taylor vs. KC: *One of the more underrated QBs in Fantasy Football, Taylor reclaims his staring job in time for a fine matchup, and may be out to prove he should remain the No. 1 QB for Buffalo the rest of the way. He’s inside the Top 10 at QB in my Week 12 Lineup Rankings on RotoExperts.com. The Chiefs have allowed 2,639 passing yards to opposing QBs, the fourth highest total in the AFC.

Andy Dalton vs. CLE: If you have been getting by streaming QBs, Dalton makes for a fine one week play in an obviously tasty matchup. The Browns have allowed 20 TD passes, the fourth most in the NFL. In the past five meetings with Cleveland, Dalton has thrown for 13 TD passes with no interceptions, including a four-TD, no-pick performance earlier this season.

Running Backs

*J.D. McKissic vs. SF: *The nifty Seahawks all-around threat is going to be a very popular flex play this week. The 49ers have allowed 23.71 Fantasy Points Per Game to opposing running backs, the highest total on NFL.com. They have also allowed a league-high 617 receiving yards to opposing RBs, making McKissic even more of an alluring play this week. McKissic runs hard and has explosive gears when he gets to the second level of defenders and could have his best game of the year against San Francisco.

*Tevin Coleman vs. TB: *He’ll be asked to carry a significant load again this week, and Coleman will be ready. He can score from anywhere on the field and is reliable near the goal line. The Buccaneers have allowed 486 receiving yards to opposing RBs, fourth most in the NFC. They have also allowed seven rushing TDs to RBs, third most in the conference. Coleman will be aiming for his fourth consecutive game with a rushing TD.

*Jay Ajayi vs. CHI: *Ajayi is still adapting to his new surroundings and a new playbook with the Eagles, but it’s just a matter of time before he becomes Philadelphia’s clear No. 1 RB, especially for Fantasy purposes. The progression should continue this week against the Bears, who have allowed eight rushing scores to RBs, second most in the NFC. Ajayi already has 164 rushing yards in two games with the Eagles, while functioning as part of the Eagles’ recent committee approach at RB.

*Duke Johnson vs. CIN: *He has been a regular quality PPR contributor, and has been a frequent part of the game flow for the Browns. The Bengals have allowed 62 receptions to opposing running backs, fifth most in the NFL. Johnson  is one of five players with more than 400-plus receiving yards and 200 plus rushing yards this season. In his past five road games, he has averaged 85.4 yards from scrimmage.

Wide Receivers

Jeremy Maclin vs. HOU: The Texans’ secondary has been a regular target of opposing offenses, and Maclin is a good bet to be Baltimore’s most productive receiver this week. Houston has allowed 25.55 FFPG to opposing WRs, third most in the league on NFL.com. Maclin has a TD reception in two of his past three home games.

*T.Y. Hilton vs TEN: *Hilton’s three big games this year have come at home in friendly matchups, and he gets another one this week. The Titans have allowed an NFL-high 15 TD receptions to opposing WRs. His 20.1 yards per catch rank second in the league. Hilton is capable of a big game at any time, and it seems he is in a good position to do so again.

*Cooper Kupp vs. NO: *With leading WR Robert Woods out, the nifty rookie has a chance to step forward and play an even larger role. Goff has displayed an affinity for Kupp in the passing game since the preseason, and while the New Orleans defense has been much improved this year, Kupp will be Goff's clear go-to guy and can now get strong starting consideration in any matchup.  Kupp's 481 receiving yards rank second among all NFL rookies this year.

*Devin Funchess vs. NYJ: *He has clearly become the No. 1 WR on an offense that appears to be hitting its stride. With the return of Greg Olsen, the Panthers offense can continue to rise, and the Jets have allowed 121 receptions to opposing WRs, fifth most in the AFC, along with 11 TDs to the position. Christian McCaffrey and Olsen will draw a lot of defensive attention, leaving Funchess more room to roam.

Tight Ends, Defense/Special Teams & Kickers

Jared Cook *faces a Broncos defense that allows 11.78 FFPG to opposing TEs, most in the AFC. … *Tyler Kroft is a viable play vs. the Browns, who have allowed an AFC-high eight TD passes to opposing TEs. … Carolina should continue to surge with a good defensive outing vs. the Jets. … More on the Seahawks defense as a top stream below… Ryan Succop and Josh Lambo can be utilized as quality kicker options.

Seahawks Fantasy Focus

This is a great week to rely on Seahawks players to propel you to an important win late in the Fantasy regular season. … Russell Wilson is the No. 1 QB in Fantasy Football this week again, as the 49ers allow 19.36 FFPG to opposing QBs, second most in the NFC on NFL.com. … Doug Baldwin is an elite Fantasy WR option again, and Paul Richardson, who has scored in three of his past five games, is a good bet to find the end zone again. … Jimmy Graham has been an unstoppable TD force and could be good for more than one scoring catch. … The defensive line will be led by Michael Bennett, who has 5.5 sacks in his past five games vs, the 49ers. San Francisco has allowed 32 sacks, fourth most in the league. The Seahawks defense is in the range of a Top 5 Fantasy start this week.


For more lineup recommendations and insights from Scott Engel and his team, register now for the Xclusive Edge In-Season Fantasy Football package at rotoexperts.com/discount. Seahawks.com readers get five dollars off with promocode “seahawks” at checkout.

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