Henry John @HankTimeSports
BANK IT! A Week 12 that is filled with marquee matchups carries plenty of weight on the Fantasy Football landscape as well. With the Fantasy Playoffs just two weeks away, outcomes this week could make or break many owners. Hank’s Bank is here to help you pull all the right strings for both Week 12 and beyond.
Cash: Worthwhile Start
Deposit: Bench for Future Weeks
Invest: Free Agent Acquisition
Stash: Fantasy Playoffs Depth
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The Broncos don’t have the flashiest of offenses, but they have quietly been one of the better teams in the NFL when it comes to running the football. Sunday’s road matchup against the Buffalo Bills pits Denver’s 10th ranked rushing offense against Buffalo’s 27th ranked rushing defense (according to Football Outsiders’ DVOA rankings). Phillip Lindsay has had the upper hand in carries over Royce Freeman all season, including a 16-8 advantage last week. That was one of the largest discrepancies we have seen all year. While he likely won’t be the lead back again Sunday, I’m banking on enough carries to go around for Freeman to have an impactful Fantasy outing.
With the Chiefs, Chargers, and Vikings all on bye this week, there are plenty of Fantasy teams searching for a stop plug at the tight end position. Interestingly, some of my favorite tight end plays this week are sparsely rostered in many leagues. Of the bunch, Ryan Griffin comes in as my favorite. There is no New York Jets fan bias about this call either. With Chris Herndon officially landing on IR, the tight end job is Griffin’s for the rest of the season. Recently, Sam Darnold has made it a habit of looking his way. 16 of Griffin’s 25 receptions have come in the last four games. Add in an Oakland Raiders’ defense that is allowing the fourth most Fantasy points per game to tight ends (14.56) and Griffin could be in line for a second straight monster showing this week.
Had he not been going up against one Mitchell Trubisky last week, the struggles of Jared Goff likely would’ve drawn much more attention. Goff failed to throw a touchdown, and his 173 yards and 1 interception led to a QBR of 69.9. On the season, Goff has now had a QBR below 80 in five games. To their credit, the Rams did adjust a very disappointing offensive line last week, and Todd Gurley was able to rush for 97 yards and a score against a stout Chicago Bears defense. Whether that will translate into better pass protection remains to be seen. Despite a return to the lineup looming for both Robert Woods and Brandin Cooks, I am unwilling to trust Goff against a Baltimore Ravens defense giving up the fourth fewest Fantasy points per game (14.60) to the quarterback position.
As Bears fans continue to be up in arms over the horrific play of the also injured Mitchell Trubisky, a good Fantasy Football owner will look to make the most of a rough situation. The best way that I can see to do that right now is to roster Taylor Gabriel. Outside of a one-catch showing against the New Orleans Saints five weeks ago, Gabriel has been quite consistent of late. The only time he failed to go over 40 yards receiving in the last four weeks, he more than made up for it as far as Fantasy is concerned with a touchdown. His 75-yard, 3-score game against the Washington Redskins back in September showcased his boom potential. Amidst all the inconsistency on the Chicago offense, Gabriel might just have a FLEX-worthy floor you can count on heading into the Fantasy Playoffs.
Yes, you read that correctly. Hank’s Bank is recommending the winless Cincinnati Bengals as a defensive streamer option for Week 12. Before you roll your eyes and call me crazy, consider the matchup against the AFC North rival Pittsburgh Steelers this week. Mason Rudolph has done nothing to make me feel confident that the Steelers will pile up a ton of points. In fact, the defense for either team could easily be the top scoring unit in this game. James Conner and JuJu Smith-Schuster will both be out Sunday. The Bengals showed last week that they aren’t just going to fold up and accept a winless season, playing the Raiders tough through four quarters out west. The defense will have to key any win Cincinnati might get, and an undermanned Steelers squad at home serves as a prime opportunity to force some turnovers and thrive from a Fantasy perspective.
With the Fantasy Playoffs looming, now is the time to start constructing your roster and bench depth to be in the best position to win a league championship and not necessarily a weekly matchup. Running back handcuffs are a huge part of this. While there are several sparsely owned handcuff options available, Tony Pollard is my favorite of the bunch. Should an injury befall Cowboys lead back Ezekiel Elliott, Pollard would step into a massive volume role. But even with Elliott in the mix, there is some potential for Pollard to have value as a pass-catching back. Last week against the Detroit Lions, he hauled in 4 receptions for 44 yards and a score. Pollard is widely available, owned in just 11.9% of ESPN leagues. Other handcuff backs to target include Alexander Mattison (18.1%), Ryquell Armstead (1.8%), and Ty Montgomery (2.2%).