Week 12 Matchups:
Rachaad White Vs. D'Onta Foreman +2.5
There are a lot of similarities between White and Foreman. Both running backs are former 3rd round picks who have come on strong during this season to be in a position Week 12 to lead their respective teams in touches and running back fantasy points.
Rachaad White was selected near the end of the 3rd round of the 2022 draft, boasting a 98th percentile pass-catching profile & excellent speed, and burst at the combine, The Tampa Bay Buccaneers. White already boasts the 11th-best catch rate amongst RBs on the season and has seemingly been bumped up the depth chart into a 1A-1B role with Leonard Fournette. With Fournette listed as doubtful and not expected to play, White is in line for a hefty workload against the Cleveland Browns. When Fournette left early from the Seattle game in Munich, White rushed 22 times, ran 13 routes, and accumulated 105 total yards to finish as the RB24. The Browns allow the 2nd most fantasy points to running backs on the season, only behind the Houston Texans. There's not much of a worry for Ke'Shawn Vaughn to siphon off carries or touches from White as Vaughn only has 5 touches on the season.
Foreman's production, on the other hand, has been significantly impacted by game script. In the games where the Carolina Panthers have been either leading or in a competitive game, Foreman has averaged 24 carries and 131 total yards. With a low game total and CAR +1.5, this close game may mean a significant workload for Foreman even though Denver gives up 99 rush yards and 1/2 a TD on average to RBs on the season. It's not a tough matchup.
Final Pick: Rachaad White. I'll lean toward a higher game total and, coming off a bye, the Bucs will have prepared White to handle a large workload in a plus matchup.
Tee Higgins +4.5 vs. Tyreek Hill
When you think "tough pass defenses," you don't think of the Houston Texans. But the Texans allow the fewest targets, fewest receptions, and 4th fewest fantasy points to opposing WRs on the season. It's not that the Texans are tough, themselves, but when teams get up ahead of them the play-calling shifts to nearly exclusive running plays. That's why we need to temper expectations for Tyreek Hill. All Hill needs is 1-2 plays to make it into WR1 territory, but with MIA-14 at home, this game scripts to go heavy with Jeff Wilson (who is my RB5 on the week for the FantasyPros Accuracy Rankings contest). Hill is WR2 in fantasy points and WR3 in fantasy points per game-- but we've also seen WR72, WR25, WR23, and WR20 finishes from Hill this season.
Tee Higgins is coming off a big game where caught 9 passes on 13 targets for 148 yards and finished as the WR4 on the week against a susceptible Pittsburgh pass defense. Tennessee is also one of the most generous matchups against WRs, as they allow the 3rd most fantasy points, 3rd most receiving TDs, and 5th most yards to opposing WRs. There is pessimism about Ja'Marr Chase's availability for Week 12; even if Chase plays, he most certainly will be on a snap count, which wouldn't affect Higgins.
Final Pick: Higgins +4.5. There are many paths to success for Higgins, so I'll take the juice.
Travis Etienne Jr. +2 Vs. Kenneth Walker III
You know how the old saying goes, "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me." And perhaps the 2nd time is the charm on this prop. Last time I took Travis Etienne with Kenneth Walker getting the juice. That was then, this is now.
Travis Etienne is coming off a bye week. But, before then, he burned me with a "bust game" where he finished as the RB29 and didn't eclipse double-digit fantasy points for the first time since Week 4. Etienne is 14th on the season in fantasy scoring among RBs and has five games this season with 100+ scrimmage yards. This week, though, feels like a tough matchup. The Ravens are graded to have a 50% run block advantage over the Jacksonville Jaguars per PFF. And the Ravens haven't been a bastion of fantasy points for the RB position-- opposing running backs are only averaging 70 rush yards per game and give up the 3rd fewest fantasy points to the position.
Kenneth Walker has also ascended into his team's RB1 role, handling 16+ touches every game since Week 6. During that time, he's finished no worse than the RB24 and is coming off a game where he caught 6 passes on 8 targets for 55 yards despite getting bottled up. Week 12, however, does not project to be the same. The Vegas Raiders give up the 4th most fantasy points to RBs on the season, especially to receiving RBs. One of Walker's biggest questions coming out of college was whether he would be able to become a 3-down back and reliable pass-catcher. He, more or less, put those concerns to rest with his Week 11 game against Tampa Bay.
Final Pick: Kenneth Walker. In a game projected for one of the highest O/U on the week, Walker is in a smash situation.
Week 11 Update:
Amari Cooper +7 Vs. Stefon Diggs. Huge W. Cooper finished as the WR2 on the week and didn't need the juice to crush Diggs.
Terry McLaurin +2 Vs. Tee Higgins. Another W. Higgins finished with 19 fantasy points, McLaurin finished with 7. Needed another 10 points of juice to get even.
Josh Allen vs. Lamar Jackson +2. Josh Allen, in fact, was not in line for a ceiling week. That was saved for Thanksgiving. Tough L when Jackson finished as the QB15 on the week.
Running Season Record: 19-14.
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