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Fantasy Football start/sit advice, Week 12

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We take a look at fantasy options in the 49ers-Dolphins matchup and other options around the league.

NFL: New England Patriots at San Francisco 49ers Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The San Francisco 49ers travel to face the Miami Dolphins in Week 12, with kickoff scheduled for 10:00 a.m. PST on Sunday. No teams are on bye this week but the Vikings, Lions, Washington, Cowboys, Steelers, and Colts all played on Thanksgiving. We’re back with some start/sit advice as you set your lineups while recovering from your food coma.


49ers-Dolphins: The Dolphins defense has done a decent job against the pass this year but are the third worst team against the run, allowing an average of 126 yards per game. Over the past three weeks Colin Kaepernick has thrown or run for multiple touchdowns and has passed for over 200 yards each week. Given his running ability and potential for rushing touchdowns Kap has been a solid fantasy start the past three weeks. Despite this being an early morning game across the country fantasy owners should continue riding Kaepernick. The 49ers pass defense has likewise been decent in the middle of the field but is tied for second worst in the NFL in passing touchdowns allowed, with 23. Ryan Tannehill has had an up-and-down season and has a 12-8 touchdown to interception ratio. Of his 10 starts Tannehill has failed to surpass 200 yards in half of his games. Tannehill has a favorable matchup but his inconsistency should give fantasy owners hesitation. Start: Colin Kaepernick; Maybe start: Ryan Tannehill.

Starts: This week, repeat everything I said about Marcus Mariota last week. He has been on fire and has thrown for multiple touchdowns over the past seven weeks. Over that span he has a 19-3 touchdown to interception ratio. The Bears are a middle of the road defense but Mariota should be able to make the most of his snaps. Derek Carr should have a solid outing against a struggling Panthers defense. The Panthers allow the seventh most passing yards and on the season, Carr has a 20-4 touchdown to interception ratio. Eli Manning struggled to start the season but has found success over the past three weeks. Manning faces the Browns this week so his matchup could not be any better. The Browns allow the most touchdown passes and Manning has thrown for nine touchdowns over the past three weeks.

Sits: Jameis Winston has been a consistent fantasy option this year but against the Seahawks defense fantasy owners should let Winston ride the pine. Winston has been great all year for fantasy owners except in two games, against the elite defenses of the Broncos and Cardinals. Only the Cardinals have allowed fewer touchdown passes than the Seahawks. Don’t expect Winston to be prolific against top tier defenses yet. Philip Rivers has a tough matchup against the Texans. In Rivers’ last outing, against the Dolphins, he lost four interceptions and the Texans allow the fifth fewest passing yards. Here’s an easy one, Alex Smith against the Broncos. Smith has been decent this year but his inability to consistently produce touchdown passes has been an issue. The Broncos are easily a top-5 defense and they should have no problem bottling up Smith and the Chiefs aerial attack.

Running Backs

49ers-Dolphins: Carlos Hyde looked more like himself last week and appears set to start again this week. As previously mentioned, the Dolphins allow a lot of rushing yards. Hyde should have plenty of opportunities this week and he should be a solid RB1/RB2. With Hyde regaining the majority of the backfield touches all the other 49ers running backs should be dropped to waiver fodder. Jay Ajayi has cooled off the past couple weeks, failing to find paydirt against the Rams and Chargers. The three weeks before that Ajayi had 529 yards and four touchdowns. Ajayi gets the benefit of facing the NFL’s worst rushing defense (by far) and he should have no problem breaking free with the 49ers ailing linebacker and defensive backfield injuries. Ajayi is in consideration for the fantasy player of the week. Start: Carlos Hyde, Jay Ayaji; Sit: everybody else.

Starts: David Johnson has been a workhorse all year and is third in the NFL in both rushing yards and rushing touchdowns. In addition, Johnson leads all running back with 510 receiving yards. He faces a Falcons defense that yields over 100 yards per game on the ground. Johnson has scored a rushing touchdown and receiving touchdown in back-to-back weeks and should be solid start this week. Fantasy owners should confirm his status for Sunday, but if he’s available Lamar Miller has a great matchup this week. Miller is coming off a 104 yard one touchdown day against the Raiders last week and faces a Chargers defense that has allowed the second most rushing touchdowns (14) in the NFL. If you drafted Todd Gurley you have probably been regretting that decision all year. Gurley may have been a bust so far this year but with the soft Saints defense this week he should help you as you make that playoff push. The Saints are tied for third worst (with the Browns and 49ers) in allowing 13 rushing touchdowns this year; and when you are tied with the Browns and 49ers for a defensive category that is not a good thing. If you are regretting drafting Gurley just hold out for the Championship matchup in Week 16 against the 49ers.

Sits: Devont’a Freeman has only scored in one of his last five games. Freeman has only broken 100 yards once this year (against the Saints of course). More bad news, Freeman faces a Cardinals defense that is allowing less than 100 rushing yards per game. Fantasy owners should find a better option this week. Mark Ingram is still going through the concussion protocol, has been losing touches to Tim Hightower, and will face a Rams defense that has only allowed six rushing touchdowns this year. Latavius Murray is still hampered by his ankle injury, rushed for a modest 33 yards last week, and will likely be bottled up by a Panthers defense that has allowed the 2nd fewest rushing yards and third fewest rushing touchdowns. Giovani Bernard has been likely ruled out for the season but Jeremy Hill faces the NFL’s best defense against running backs. The Ravens have stymied running backs all year and only yield an NFL best 76 rushing yards per game and an NFL best 4 total rushing touchdowns.

Wide Receivers

49ers-Dolphins: Torrey Smith sat last week and has not been cleared for a full practice yet. Jeremy Kerley had six targets last week and turned that into zero catches. Quinton Patton had five targets last week and managed to snag two catches for 17 yards. At this point in the season, if you own a 49ers receiver on your fantasy roster they should only be in a cheerleading role. On the other side of the ball, Ryan Tannehill has been mostly connecting with Jarvis Landry, Kenny Stills, and DeVante Parker. Landry is clearly the Dolphins top receiver and the one that most has Tannehill’s trust. Landry has 686 yards on the season to go with two touchdown grabs. On the downside, Landry has not broken 100 yards since Week 3 (against the Browns) and has only done so twice this year. Landry caught a touchdown pass last week but had not done so since, you guessed it, Week 3 against the Browns. Parker sees a lot of targets but has the same limitation as Landry. Parker has broken 100 yards only twice this season and he caught a touchdown pass last week, but before last week his only other touchdown occurred in, of course, Week 3 against the Browns, If you are wondering where the red zone targets are going, look no further than Stils. While Stills has fewer receiving yards than the other two wideouts, he has four touchdown receptions this year (none in Week 3). Since the 49ers allow too many passing touchdowns any of the three receivers could have a decent week. Start: Jarvis Landry; Maybe Start: Kenny Stills, DeVante Parker; Sit: everybody else.

Starts: The wily veteran, Larry Fitzgerald, is putting together another strong season. He has five touchdown receptions this year but hasn’t scored since Week 5, so he’s due. Fitz travels to Atlanta to square off against a Falcons defense that is allowing the most passing yards this season and is tied with the 49ers for allowing the second most passing touchdowns. Odell Beckham, Jr. is a top-10 wide receiver in fantasy land and he travels to Cleveland to face a Browns defense that has allowed the NFL’s worst 25 receiving touchdown per game. Rishard Matthews has been racking up fantasy points over the past two months, thanks in large part to Mariota’s success. Over the past seven weeks, Matthews has six touchdowns receptions and has 63 yards or more over the past three weeks. Matthews recent success coupled with a matchup against a mediocre Bears defense make him a must-start this week.

Sits: Tyrell Williams has scored in back-to-back weeks but fantasy owners should expect the Chargers entire passing attack to struggle. This week the Chargers face a Texans defense that is third best in passing yards allowed and tied for fifth best in passing touchdowns allowed. Tyreek Hill has made himself fantasy relevant this year but against the Broncos he should remain on the bench. The Broncos are one of only two teams to hold quarterbacks to under 200 yards per game and one of only four teams to not have allowed 10 touchdown passes this year. Terrelle Pryor continues to be an important part of the Browns offensive gameplan but this week he faces a Giants defense that has only allowed the same number of passing touchdowns as the Broncos. Additionally, the quarterback play in Cleveland is abysmal.

Tight Ends

49ers-Dolphins: Last week Vance McDonald had 46 yards and a touchdown and Kap missed him on another possible deep connection. Garrett Celek also contributed with 3 receptions for 41 yards. Celek still has yet to find the endzone this year so unless McDonald goes out with an injury Celek should remain on the waiver wire. McDonald has collected two touchdowns from each of the 49ers quarterbacks and sees a fair share of targets. Since the 49ers passing attack has not been fantastic there have not been enough points to go around for McDonald to put up decent fantasy points, unless he snags a touchdown. The Dolphins have been middle-of-the-road against tight ends this year. Since Jordan Cameron’s possible career-ending injury in Week 3 the Dolphins have not found an answer at tight end. Dion Sims appears to be the starter with MarQueis Gray and possibly Dominique Jones filling in also. Some 49er fans may remember Gray from his short stint here in 2013 as an undrafted free agent pickup. Sims, Gray, and Jones have combined for a depressing 270 yards and one touchdown on the season. Start: none; Maybe Start: Vance McDonald Sit: everybody else.

Starts: Greg Olsen has been the the best tight end in fantasy this year and has a favorable matchup against the Raiders. Jimmy Graham looks to be healthy this week and has finally gotten on the same page as Russell Wilson. He should have a decent fantasy output against the Buccaneers defense. Gary Barnidge finally caught his first touchdown pass of the year off a Josh McCown pass. McCown will start again this week in place of an injured Cody Kessler so hopefully Barnidge can continue to produce.

Sits: Despite catching three touchdowns over the past four games fantasy owners should not trust Cameron Brate against the seahawks this week. Coby Fleener is an afterthought in the Saints aerial attack and despite a touchdown catch last week, his inconsistent production coupled with a Rams defense that has generally held tight ends in check make Fleener a poor play this week. Antonio Gates has a touchdown in three straight games but with the return of Hunter Henry and a difficult matchup in Houston he should not be able to tie Tony Gonzalez for most touchdown passes by a tight end this week.

If you have other start/sit questions drop them in the comments below!