Fantasy Football is all about the matchups. Even though you drafted your team with certain hopes and intentions, your weekly lineup decisions shouldn't be determined by the order you picked your players in. You need to check who your players play and make sure you've got the right guys in -- and the wrong guys out.
It's too early to be absolutely sure on which matchups will be easy and which ones will be tough, but we can take some educated guesses based on healthy personnel, defensive schemes, track records and key details of offenses. The things we know can help us minimize the impact of the things we don't know. This should lead to better decisions being made.
We'll go through every game and highlight the players who aren't obvious starts and sits (because you don't need to be told to start Christian McCaffrey). You should feel more comfortable starting or sitting players based on the information given, and feeling comfortable with your Fantasy lineup before the games start is the best feeling in the world.
It's also important to have a keen eye for matchups dictated by the remaining schedule. I am now updating my projected Strength of Schedule rankings broken down by position available on SportsLine. My objective is to break down how the schedule affects every Fantasy relevant player for the upcoming four weeks, the playoff stretch and the entire season. You'll also be able to find my key takeaways on which players you should buy low, sell high and more trade advice.
Editor's note: Today, we're going to break down the lineup decisions for the Thanksgiving and Black Friday games. Check back later this week on Friday for the rest of the Week 12 slate.
Green Bay has significant issues with the run on both offense and defense. Aaron Jones (knee) is expected to miss the game; in three games without Jones, A.J. Dillon had over 10 PPR points once and got there because he scored a touchdown against the Raiders. Seven Lions defenders including Aidan Hutchinson and Alex Anzalone were on the field for at least 69 snaps last Sunday and have to turn around to try and slow him down on the early Thanksgiving game. It's a test they should be competitive in, particularly with Dillon playing through a groin injury. Meanwhile, Packers linebacker De'Vondre Campbell (neck) isn't a lock to play, and if he's out then a tough matchup against the surging Lions run game will be even harder for the Packers to stop on a short week. The Lions should win the time-of-possession battle and dictate the game script.
Dallas averaged 39.7 pass attempts in blowout wins over the Rams, Giants and Panthers. Only in the Rams game did Dak Prescott not attempt at least 35 throws. Expect the Cowboys to operate similarly this week versus a depleted Washington defense that let Tommy DeVito look like Tommy Brady in Week 11. It should lead to the Cowboys dominating playing time, pushing a pass-heavy game script into Sam Howell's hands. Normally it's cool to trust Howell when he might throw 40-plus times, but the Cowboys pass defense has been raucous -- only three quarterbacks all year have posted 20-plus Fantasy points on them. I have a tough time trusting Howell to bounce back against an opponent who has defended the pass well and pressured the quarterback week after week.
In two games with Chase Young, the 49ers defense has racked up nine sacks on a 41.6% pass rush pressure rate and allowed 17 total points against the Jaguars and Buccaneers. This is what an injured Geno Smith will deal with on a short week without his most explosive running back in his backfield. Smith struggled under pressure both last year and this year and figures to focus on getting the ball out quickly on short throws. That's not ideal for a Seattle passing game that's had a knack for making splashes. If Seattle's offense is muted, it'll mean the Niners won't have to do too much to win on the scoreboard. Brock Purdy has three scores in each of his past two, all while throwing well under 30 times in each. He's a must-start because he can come throw on low volume but Seattle's secondary is feisty and could leave Fantasy managers a little disappointed with Purdy's totals.
To me, pivoting to Tim Boyle isn't just an admission that the Jets made a mistake with Zach Wilson -- it's a white flag on the season. Boyle has thrown 120 passes over five seasons, completing 61% of them for 5.1 yards per attempt with three touchdowns and nine interceptions. Worst of all he's 0-3 as a starter. About the only good thing about Boyle is that he threw to Amon-Ra St. Brown in those three starts and connected for good games (over 20 PPR points) in two of them. Maybe that's hope for Garrett Wilson, but I'm skeptical against this defense. They've been bringing good pressure lately and have the secondary to lock in on Wilson -- something they may be focused on after letting up numbers to Davante Adams last week. Maybe the Jets defense does its part to keep things relatively close, but they were on the field a lot against Buffalo and ultimately let up 32 points. It wouldn't be surprising if the Dolphins also took a little while to get rolling, but roll nonetheless.
SITS: Garrett Wilson (flex), Jets DST, Tim Boyle
SLEEPERS: Tyler Conklin