Welcome to Fantasy Football Start ‘Em, Sit ‘Em Wide Receivers for Week 12 of the NFL season. This edition features the position’s third-highest scorer over the last two weeks looking to keep his stellar play going. Plus, an underperforming rookie could break out with a dream matchup on deck.
* Reminder: Start ‘Em, Sit ‘Em is intended to present you with the non-obvious choices for your fantasy lineup. We dig deep into player matchups, scoring trends, and other factors to best help you with your fantasy decisions. Superstars such as Michael Thomas will not be found in this column. If you’re looking for players of their caliber check out our weekly fantasy football wide receiver rankings.
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WR: Start ‘Em
Start of the Week: Terry McLaurin at DAL
McLaurin may not carry the same national recognition as some of the bigger named wideouts in the league, but that’s not to say he doesn’t deserve it. The league’s 4th-leading receiver has a dream matchup on deck against the Cowboys. Dallas surrendered a combined 209 yards and three TDs to Adam Thielen and Justin Jefferson a week ago. They’ve allowed nine TDs to WRs since Week 6.
*NOTE: McLaurin is listed as questionable with an ankle injury, but practiced in full on Wednesday. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reports that the expectation is the WR plays on Thursday.
DeVante Parker at NYJ
Parker has been a bit hit-or-miss this season. However, the volume is there, as he’s been targeted a total of 23 times over the last three weeks. Parker takes on a dreadful Jets secondary in Week 12 who, over the last four weeks, has surrendered the most fantasy points to WRs to go along with the second-most receiving yards and (t) second-most TDs.
Sterling Shepard/Darius Slayton at CIN
Shepard has proven himself as one of the more reliable high-volume PPR plays at the position. Since returning from injury in Week 7, the wideout has caught no fewer than six receptions in any game. The Bengals have surrendered the third-most TDs to WRs this season. Over their last four games, four WRs have eclipsed 100 yards receiving. The latter stat certainly makes Slayton an intriguing play, as he’s the lone Giants pass-catcher to surpass 100 yards in a game this year.
Sleeper: Damiere Byrd vs. ARI
Byrd scored his first career receiving TD a week ago and due to recent trends, he could find himself visiting the end zone yet again this coming Sunday. The Cardinals allow the sixth-most receiving TDs to WRs this season. Over their last three games, six opposing WRs have scored a TD. Byrd has seen seven-plus targets in two of his last three games.
Deep Sleeper: Henry Ruggs III at ATL
Typically, a reigning No. 12 overall pick wouldn’t be categorized as a “deep sleeper.” However, that’s what happens when you’ve scored in single-digits in all but one of your eight career games. Ruggs can change that narrative in Week 12 against a Falcons defense that allows the second-most receiving yards and third-most fantasy points to WRs. Furthermore, they surrender the most yards per play in the NFL, which could mean big things for the explosive Ruggs.
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WR: Sit ‘Em
Sit of the Week: M. Valdes-Scantling vs. CHI
A sit ’em occupant for the second consecutive week, Valdes-Scantling saw a major dip in production a week ago, racking up just 6.5 points. The silver lining here is that last week also marked the second consecutive game that he saw six targets. With that said, Allen Lazard will likely eat into those targets as he gets back to full strength. MVS has essentially been TD or bust, which isn’t great news when you’re facing off with a Bears defense who allows the (t) fewest TDs to WRs in the NFL (5).
D.J. Chark vs. CLE
Gardner Minshew could return this week, which would clearly give Chark’s playability a bump. For now, we’ll proceed with the idea that Jake Luton will remain under center. Chark has scored in single-digits in three of his last four games, hauling in no more than four receptions and zero TDs in those three games. While the Browns have allowed 12 TDs to WRs this year, only one has come over the past three games.
Buyers Beware: Diontae Johnson vs. BAL
Johnson’s target share has been absolutely absurd of late, likely forcing his way into fantasy owners’ lineups this week. Fresh off a 16 target outing, Johnson has now seen 10-plus targets in all but one of his last five games. That one lone game? A Week 8 matchup with the Ravens where he caught just one of his three targets on the day. While Johnson has eclipsed 110 receiving yards in back-to-back weeks, the Ravens allow the seventh-lowest receiving yards in football.