Let’s be honest about something. Without fantasy football this season would suck, at least in comparison to recent years. Last week offered a reprieve from what had been mostly bad match-ups but unfortunately Week 12 brings the mismatches back. Outside of New England and Denver and arguably Dallas and the New York Giants, good luck finding a game that is objectively enthralling on paper.
But we have our comfort — soul mates in the form of our best possible fantasy starting lineups. As usual, the Startability Index is chockfull of players you are tinkering with starting. I know this because most of the guys listed came from reader requests. I grade them on a scale of 1-10, providing at a least a sliver of analysis and you use the information accordingly. Pretty simple.
Robert Griffin III vs. San Francisco (7): The Niners boast one of the league’s top secondaries but are known to give up the big play here and there. This is where Griffin excels. At home in the relative cold, look for a decent game out of Mr. Third.
Colin Kaepernick at Washington (4): Since Week 1 Kaepernick has thrown for over 200 yards just once. Washington is supposed to help opposing quarterbacks revive their fantasy careers but until Kaepernick shows confidence in the pocket I’d be skeptical.
Ben Roethlisberger at Cleveland (6): The Browns have yet to allow a 300-yard passer this season. Will Big Ben be the first? Probably not, but he could certainly sneak in a touchdown or two for a respectable fantasy day.
Ryan Tannehill vs. Carolina (4): Not sure if you’ve heard but Carolina’s front is ferocious and Ryan Tannehill is known to take the occasional sack. This could be a very ugly game for the young Dolphin’s QB.
Andre Brown vs. Cowboys (7+): Brown hasn’t been flashy but he’s put up respectable fantasy numbers the past two weeks and will likely continue in Week 12. Dallas is one of the league’s worst team’s against he run, yielding 127 yards a game.
Zac Stacy vs. Chicago (8): The Bears have allowed an opposing RB to gain at least 95 yards in every game since Week 6.
Ben Tate vs. Jacksonville (8): Jacksonville is the worst rushing defense in football. Most opposing running backs, especially those with 15-20 carries a game, have a shot at a great fantasy day.
Shane Vereen vs. Denver (5+): Vereen is obviously more viable in PPR leagues. Denver has a tough front, but not an impossible one to penetrate. Look for a nice combo of screens and other passes to Vereen in this one.
DeAngelo Williams at Miami (6-): Williams did little on Monday night and isn’t the fantasy workhorse owners would like. But with Miami yielding 122 rushing yards per game, Williams has a good shot at a decent fantasy week.
Tavon Austin vs. Chicago (8): Austin doesn’t boast consistent numbers but wow, this is a nice matchup. With Charles Tillman on IR and the Bears’ inexperienced middle, there will plenty of opportunities for Austin to shine in this one.
Anquan Boldin at Washington (5+): Despite a quarterback in Colin Kaepernick who rarely tops the 200-yard passing mark, Boldin could easily sneak in a touchdown or two against a weak Redskins secondary. Outside of Seahawks’ games, the 49ers usually perform on the big stage.
Jarrett Boykin vs. Minnesota (7-): Boykin is thriving in the Scott Tolzien Era, especially for PPRers. There is no reason he can’t continue his 8-10 reception, 90-100 yards pace in this one.
Josh Gordon vs. Pittsburgh (7): Gordon has thrived in recent weeks. As long as his targets remain high, which they will, look for another game bordering on a 100 yards and a score.
Cecil Shorts at Houston (6+): Chad Henne vows to get Shorts more target sand there’s no reason to believe he’s lying. Still, it’s hard to go into the 7+ range when Shorts only has four receptions over his last two games.
Wes Welker at New England (8): Welker still must be cleared by an independent neurologist but he did return to practice, a good sign he’ll play. (UPDATE: Welker has been cleared to play.) Peyton Manning will do what it takes to win this one but if he can incorporate Welker more than normal and rub some salt in the Patriots’ wounds, you bet he will.
Jordan Cameron vs. Pittsburgh (5): So many requests for Cameron this week. The reality is he’s the odd man out with Jason Campbell under center. Until that changes, and it might this week, proceed with caution.
Vernon Davis at Washington (5+): Davis’s numbers are so inconsistent but he is one of the few reliable targets for Kaepernick . Davis is from the DC area and will be clamoring for more action than usual in this one.
Garrett Graham vs. Jacksonville (7+): Graham comes off a 136-yard performance in Week 11 and now faces a Jacksonville team which yields 70 yards to opposing tight ends. I like Graham’s chances for a nice encore.