Fantasy football Week 12: Start 'em and Sit 'em

947081.png

Fantasy football Week 12: Start 'em and Sit 'em

Well once again, Tony and Scott weren't able to gain any ground on Mark, who remained our leader after Week 11. Mark sat Bowe, which gave him a five-spot. Scott's move of starting Stephens-Howling paid off and Tony's choice of sitting Andre Johnson...well we won't go there.

With bye weeks over, you now have a full array of players to use each week. As the season winds down, the waiver-wire may be the best place to find a player to stash on your bench for the stretch run.

Just a reminder for those keeping score at home (though we'll do it for you), for players who each analyst starts, these are the points they will receive:

Start 'em:
 
5 points if a player scores 25 points
4: 20-24
3: 15-19
2: 10-14
1: 5-9
0: negative-4

Sit 'em:
 
5 points if a player scores negative points to 4 points
4: 5-9
3: 10-14
2: 15-19
1: 20-24
0: 25

Without further adieu, here are our picks for Week 12. Good luck!

Tony Andracki (Week 11: 9 points; Season total: 120)

Yeah...so last week didn't go well for my startsit. Bush was awful, Smith was nothing special and Freeman was good again. And then there was Andre Johnson. He must have read what I said about him or something. That was arguably the best game of his career.

With three holiday games, check out my StartSit for Week 12's action. But, given my luck the past two weeks, might want to start the guys I tell you to sit and sit the guys I tell you to start.

Start 'em

Matthew Stafford, QB -- DET (vs. HOU)

Stafford is finally on the same page with Calvin Johnson, as the duo has combined for 479 and three scores over the last three weeks. That and the fact that Chad Henne -- yes, Chad Henne -- just tore up the Texans secondary means you should have no issues in starting Stafford tonight.

Jamaal Charles, RB -- KC (vs. DEN)

The Broncos have been really good against the run this season, with the only real blemish on their resume a horrible Week 5 against the Patriots, when they allowed 253 yards and two scores on the ground. But the Chiefs have been making Charles the focal point of their sad, struggling offense of late, and he has responded with back-to-back good games. It's a gut call, but I think Charles responds again Sunday.

Wes Welker, WR -- NE (@ NYJ)

With Rob Gronkowski hurt, Wes Welker should re-emerge as the focal point of the Patriots' offense. The game's best slot receiver hasn't topped 80 yards since Week 6, but he's been solid in PPR leagues and should have a big impact this week against the Jets, especially in the redzone.

Sit 'em

Philip Rivers, QB -- SD (vs. BAL)

The Ravens have given up plenty of passing yards this season, but have only allowed eight scores through the air in 10 games. Even with a banged up unit, Baltimore has only allowed a passing TD in half its games so far, and opposing quarterbacks have put up 20 or more points just once. That all doesn't bode well for Rivers. Sit him on the bench this holiday weekend.

Alfred Morris, RB -- WAS (@ DAL)

The worry with Morris was if he would stick as the main running back in the offense of the indecisive Mike Shanahan. He's been the workhorse (at least 13 carries every week this year), but hasn't performed of late. Morris hasn't scored since Week 6 and hasn't topped 76 yards the last three weeks. He also hasn't scored more than 17 fantasy points in a game since Week 1. All that adds up to a risky play this week. But knowing my luck, he'll have a Doug Martin-esque game.

Denarius Moore, WR -- OAK (@ CIN)

The Bengals have been pretty good against opposing WRs this season, limiting them to just 16.8 points per week combined. Moore had just one catch for nine yards last week against the horrendous Saints defense, but did put up four touchdowns in the previous five weeks. He may have an impact this week, but not much of one. Go with a better option if you have one.

Mark Strotman (Week 11: 16 points; Season total: 134)

I'm starting to open up a bit of a lead on Scott and Tony, so I'm going out on a limb with my starts this week. A couple of my starts didn't hit this week (thanks a lot, Nick Foles), but I'm going right back to a youthful tandem this week. I can barely see Scott and Tony down there, and with only five weeks left in the fantasy season these picks could put me over the top. Make sure they put you over the top, too.

Start 'em

Colin Kaepernick, QB -- SF (@ NO)

Jim Harbaugh and I talked earlier this week and decided the Niners' best option for success was with Colin Kaepernick. Harbaugh said he'd start him if I did, so it's only right that I hold up my end of the bargain. The second-year dual-threat QB looked calm in the pocket against a tough Chicago defense and has plenty of weapons to use, the best of which may be Frank Gore's legs. I like to ride the hot hand in Kaepernick, who should be a nice play as a back-end QB1.

Michael Crabtree, WR -- SF (@ NO)

Kapernick's arrival isn't the only reason I like Tom's long-lost brother this week. Michael has scored a touchdown in three straight games and will get plenty of targets from Kaepernick against a struggling New Orleans secondary.

James Starks, WR -- GB (@ NYG)

Alex Green's time in Green Bay is just about up, and that means more repetitions for James Starks, who looked fine last week against the Lions (25 carries for 74 yards). I think he could have another nice week against a good Giants defense, but one that is going to try and stop Aaron Rodgers and the Pack's wideouts. Starks is a sneaky play to find the end zone on Sunday night.

Sit 'em

Ryan Mathews, RB -- SD (vs BAL)

This fantasy experiment has to be over soon. Mathews began the year injured and, while he was a perfect buy low candidate, just hasn't gotten it done. In his last five games, Mathews has scored in between 7 and 9 points. He's consistent but you can find a better upside option to use, especially if you're desperate for a win to secure a playoff berth. I was an admitted Mathews fan in the preseason, and even after the injury thought he could turn it around, but I was wrong. Don't make the same mistake.

Danny Amendola, WR -- (@ ARI)

Amendola was great in his return two weeks ago, grabbing 11 passes for 102 yards. But last week he had just 41 yards on seven catches, and Sam Bradford will have his work cut out for him against a Cardinals' secondary that forced Matt Ryan into five interceptions. I'm looking elsewhere for a WR2 andor Flex, though Amendola is a nice stash since his targets are always high.

Shonn Greene, RB -- NYJ (vs. NE)

I've been a fan of Greene this year, who is in the midst of a nice fantasy rebound season, but Bilal Powell scored twice last week and looks to be a thorn in Greene's side. You might have to start Greene if you don't have any better options, but be very wary of Powell's ability to score around the goal line. If you have a better option, wait a week before seeing how this running back situation in New York will really pan out.

Scott Krinch (Week 11: 16 points; Season total: 129)

I had a decent week, but wasn't able to inch any closer to Mark's lead as we finished with the same total in Week 11. For an odd reason, I started Sam Bradford. Fail. I started Jordy Nelson. Another fail. My gut feeling pick of the week was LaRod Stephens-Howling and he blew up with a 19 point game in ESPN standard leagues. My sits were the area that helped me out last week. Let's see if I can find some consistency this weekend.

With three games on Thanksgiving, you can sit back enjoy your brunch and listen to my picks this week because I'm feeling a big week from my guys.

Start 'em

Andy Dalton, QB -- CIN (vs. OAK)

Dalton has got to be thrilled to have the opportunity to go up against an atrocious Raiders pass defense on Sunday. Oakland has allowed 67 fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks the last three weeks. And since the bye week, the red-headed gun slinger has thrown seven touchdowns to just one pic. He's an absolute must start going forward.

Matt Forte, RB -- CHI (vs. MIN)

It's been and up and down season for the former first-round fantasy running back. With the offensive line having problems protecting the quarterback, I see the Bears feeding Forte the rock all game. No. 22 is averaging 89.3 yards per game against the Vikings in his career. If he hits that mark and finds pay dirt, I'd say that's a productive 15 point fantasy day.

Cecil Shorts, WR -- JAC (vs. TEN)

Justin Blackmon is getting all the publicity in Jacksonville this week, but people are forgetting how good Mr. Shorts has been. Double-digit fantasy points in four out of his last five games. Tennessee, more than likely, will focus on shutting Blackmon down which will help Shorts' value. Also, it seems that Henne has quite the connection with the young wide receiver. If he's available in your league, pick him up now! And insert him in your starting lineup. You'll be smiling with a win this week if you do.

Sit 'em

Eli Manning, QB -- NYG (vs. GB)

It's been over a month since Eli has thrown a touchdown. Yes that may change this week, but I don't see him having a spectacular fantasy performance against Green Bay's defense, who just shut down Matt Stafford and the Lions. You've got to have a better option on your bunch or go ahead and pickup somebody off the waiver wire this week. For example: Chad Henne.

Chris Johnson, RB --  TEN (@ JAC)

CJ2K is back and what better than a game against the lowly Jaguars. One problem. Somehow the Jaguars were able to shut down arguably the best running back in the league in Arian Foster. Who says they can't do the same against Johnson this week? I don't know why, but I just have hunch that both quarterbacks are going to air it out on Sunday, diminishing Johnson's value. For my sake, let's hope I'm right.

Reggie Wayne, WR -- IND (vs. BUF)

The elder-statesmen on the Colts' roster hasn't been as productive in fantasy terms as of late with only one touchdown in his last six games. Luck's go-to-guy lately has been rookie T.Y. Hilton. I don't know why, but I just don't see Wayne having a big game on Sunday against an improving Buffalo defense.

Ryan Hartman returns for Blackhawks vs. Penguins

Ryan Hartman returns for Blackhawks vs. Penguins

PITTSBURGH — Ryan Hartman has played on the right side of that line for most of this season. Now back in the lineup, he knows he has to stay on it.

Hartman will play after missing Monday's game as a healthy scratch when the Blackhawks face the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday night. Hartman took a few bad penalties, including an unsportsmanlike conduct, against the Florida Panthers last weekend, so he sat vs. the Tampa Bay Lightning. The rookie knows he has to get back to the more disciplined hockey he's played most of the season. 

"I don't change my game. I think you take the message and deliver the message," Hartman said. "Obviously, no one likes to not play, everyone wants to play games and no one likes to sit out games. It's definitely something that I took to heart. I'm just going to go out there and just try to play like I've been playing and get on the scoresheet. Just stay off it for the wrong reasons."

Coach Joel Quenneville said Hartman has to stay on the right side of the line.

[VIVID SEATS: Buy Blackhawks tickets]

"Know there are boundaries and sometimes you get watched a little bit more," Quenneville said. "The way they're calling the game, the way it's being officiated, be respectful. You still have to be hard to play against and find that limit, how far you can push it but you get a good feel on that early in games."

The Penguins are on a three-game winless streak (0-2-1) and are dealing with some injuries. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that, while Evgeni Malkin (shoulder) is close to returning, he won't play against the Blackhawks.

Broadcast information

Time: 7 p.m.
TV: NBCSN
Live stream: NBC Sports app
Radio: WGN 720 AM

Blackhawks lines

Nick Schmaltz-Jonathan Toews-Richard Panik
Artemi Panarin-Tanner Kero-Patrick Kane
Ryan Hartman-Marcus Kruger-Marian Hossa
John Hayden-Dennis Rasmussen-Tomas Jurco

Defensive pairs 

Duncan Keith-Niklas Hjalmarsson
Johnny Oduya-Brent Seabrook
Brian Campbell-Trevor van Riemsdyk

Goaltender

Corey Crawford

Injuries 

Artem Anisimov (left leg)

Penguins lines

Conor-Sheary-Sidney Crosby-Bryan Rust
Chris Kunitz-Nick Bonino-Patric Hornqvist
Scott Wilson-Carter Rowney-Phil Kessel
Tom Kuhnhackl-Oskar Sundqvist-Josh Archibald

Defensive pairs

Brian Dumoulin-Justin Schultz
Ian Cole-Chad Ruhwedel
Cameron Gaunce-Mark Streit

Goaltender

Marc-Andre Fleury

Injuries

Evgeni Malkin (shoulder), Trevor Daley (knee), Daniel Sprong (shoulder), Jake Guentzel (concussion), Olli Maatta (hand), Kris Letang (upper body), Carl Hagelin (foot), Ron Hainsey (upper body)

Cubs finalize Opening Day 25-man roster

Cubs finalize Opening Day 25-man roster

Matt Szczur or Tommy La Stella on the Cubs Opening Day roster?

How about both?

Theo Epstein said Wednesday morning the Cubs plan to keep both Szczur and La Stella on the Opening Day 25-man roster with relief pitcher Brian Duensing headed to the disabled list.

Duensing, 34, has been hampered by a back issue this spring.

Szczur is out of minor-league options, meaning the Cubs would have had to either keep him on the 25-man roster or place him on waivers, which would almost assuredly mean they'd lose him to another team.

La Stella has options left and already told manager Joe Maddon this spring he would head down to the minors if asked (something La Stella was unwilling to do in August last year when he refused assignment).

The move makes the most sense for the Cubs, as the need for eight relief pitchers is not as imperative in April when the team has five off-days in the first month of the season.

Of course, the Cubs still have four days left of exhibition action, but assuming nothing else changes, here's how the Cubs roster will look Opening Night in St. Louis Sunday:

Catchers

Willson Contreras
Miguel Montero

Infielders

Anthony Rizzo
Ben Zobrist
Javy Baez
Addison Russell
Kris Bryant
Tommy La Stella

Outfielders

Jason Heyward
Albert Almora
Jon Jay
Kyle Schwarber
Matt Szczur

Starting pitchers

Jon Lester
Jake Arrieta
John Lackey
Brett Anderson
Kyle Hendricks

Relief pitchers

Mike Montgomery
Justin Grimm
Carl Edwards Jr.
Pedro Strop
Hector Rondon
Koji Uehara
Wade Davis

The Cubs figure to eventually make room for Duensing on the roster as the bullpen could use another left-handed pitcher, but those decisions often take care of themselves with either health problems or trade options, etc.

Remember, there is a 10-day disabled list this year in the MLB, so placing a guy on the DL doesn't guarantee losing him for more than two weeks anymore.