The fantasy football playoffs are just around the corner, as there are only a couple more weeks until the stage is locked in. It heightens the level of importance towards a strong finish, which makes each decision in the starting lineup that much more critical. With that in mind, here are five options that should be in your starting lineup for Week 12 action.
5. Derek Carr
ESPN PROJECTIONS: 15.7 PTS
I know I know Derek Carr has become a constant on this list over the last few weeks, but it’s hard to pass up on another favorable matchup he has ahead of him this week. The Raiders are set to take on a New York Jets team that has struggled to find any consistent trajection defensively.
It also helps that opposing quarterbacks are tallying 18.7 fantasy points against them. That has seen each of the last four teams put up at least 17 points, with them breaking the 20-point mark three times over that span. Carr is coming off completing a career-high 86.2% of his passes against the Cincinnati Bengals, so expect him to keep up his level of play that could see him surpass 19 fantasy points for the third time in the last four weeks.
4. D.K. Metcalf
ESPN PROJECTIONS: 10.8 PTS
Entering his rookie campaign, there were plenty of questions about what kind of impact Metcalf could make in the passing game. He has far exceeded that as he has become a key part of the Seattle Seahawks‘ offensive game plan as a legitimate deep-ball threat.
Metcalf has a promising matchup ahead of him facing the Eagles’ secondary that has struggled against the pass. Philadelphia stepped up by limiting Tom Brady, but the Patriots do not possess a deep-ball threat like Ole Miss product. It also helps that the Eagles are ranked 28th allowing 33.0 fantasy points to opposing wide receivers.
3. Steelers D/ST
ESPN PROJECTIONS: 8.5 PTS
As the season has progressed, the Steelers have emerged with one of the top defenses in the league. That has translated to much success in fantasy football, ranking as the third-best unit through the first 11 weeks.
Pittsburgh has been as consistent as they come, including a six-week streak of double-digit outputs. They should be on mark to add another such performance against the lowly Cincinnati Bengals, whose opposing defenses are averaging 11.3 points per game against them.
The Steelers have already had success against them this season with 19 points in Week 4 behind eight sacks, an interception, and a forced fumble. In other words, there should be another big outing ahead of them in Week 12.
2. Tevin Coleman
ESPN PROJECTIONS: 13.2 PTS
In his first campaign with the San Francisco 49ers, Tevin Coleman has emerged as a highly dependable option out of the backfield. That has led to him putting forth some big outings, with four double-digit performances.
Coleman has dealt with injuries over the last few weeks, but he looks to be moving past those struggles. The 49ers have a promising matchup for their running game against the Green Bay Packers, who are 29th against opposing running backs, giving up 25.6 points per contest.
If there was ever a week where Coleman could get back on track, this is it against Green Bay’s porous rush defense.
1. Calvin Ridley
ESPN PROJECTIONS: 11.5 PTS
The Atlanta Falcons had high hopes for wide receiver Calvin Ridley in his second season after a breakout rookie campaign. Ridley has had his ups and downs but has shown much reason for optimism behind his play.
That was the case last week, lighting up the Carolina Panthers’ secondary by securing all eight targets for catches and a season-high 143 receiving yards with a touchdown. Ridley is set to face a struggling Tampa Bay Buccaneers secondary that has allowed the most points per game against opposing wide receivers at 39.2 points along with multiple touchdown passes in each of the last four games.
All this sets the table for both Ridley and Julio Jones to put up stellar outings for the suddenly streaking Falcons.