Week 12 Fantasy Football Flex Rankings

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Top 75 Fantasy Football Flex Rankings

It’s a terrible thing to, one moment, be stuffing one’s face with turkey and pumpkin pie and then the next look up to find I am already down by 50 points.

Gulp. Swig of beer. Refresh smart phone. Sixty-two.

Thanksgiving saw more than it’s fair share of fantasy tour-de-forces- some notable, others quite unexpected. In all, between just three games, 202 total real-life points were scored. While that number seems abnormally high, even more impressive was that the six quarterbacks combined for 2,132 yards through the air, with every single one of them (even the overmatched Mark Sanchez) throwing for over 300 yards. What a start to the week.

That aside, I wanted to give a little insight into my rankings this week as well as how I approach fantasy lineup decisions in general. Particularly in the bottom half of my post-Thursday rankings, there are some very curious decisions. My belief has always been this: if you have a proven, consistent player, you must devalue circumstance. “Circumstance” is a loaded term which encompasses everything from matchup to injury to performance to emergence of backups or changes in the team’s offensive philosophy. I believe the value of circumstance diminishes in correlation to a player’s consistency and talent: the more talented and consistent the player, the less value one must place on circumstance when making a lineup choice. This season, particularly this week post-Thursday, there are very few talented players per position who have been consistent fantasy producers. To that end, I strongly value upside over players who are “logical” or “conventional” plays--- see, for example, my ranking of Michael Turner. I would rather take a shot on a guy who has a chance to win me my week than take the guaranteed 30-40 Turner yards and a maybe-score. You will see this philosophy reflected heavily in week 12 rankings: when fighting for a playoff spot, you have to throw out conventional wisdom and make sure you have your best lineup every week.

Week 12 Top-75

1. Adrian Peterson
2. Doug Martin
3. AJ Green
4. Frank Gore
5. Ray Rice
6. Roddy White
7. CJ Spiller
8. Chris Johnson
9. Trent Richardson
10. Matt Forte
11. Jamaal Charles
12. Reggie Wayne
13. Jimmy Graham
14. Marcel Reece
15. Tony Gonzalez

The Big Boys
I think this list is about to fall off a cliff. Yes, even through Tony Gonzalez I think you have solid, number one fantasy plays. But starting at number 17 (after Demaryius Thomas), things get questionable- and not the NFL injury report kind. Maybe I like Trent Richardson more than most but the guy gets all the work, catches passes, and scores touchdowns. Check, Check, and Check. The Pittsburgh defense has come on of late, but they’re not the Steel Curtain of old. Roddy White and the aforementioned Gonzalez get to go up against the worst secondary in pro football, and even if Julio Jones plays, I think he’s limited. Thus, spike all your other Falcons, including Jacquizz Rodgers. Jimmy Graham remains on a tier of his own, the only difference is now, with the injury to Rob Gronkowski, there’s no tier above him.

16. Demaryius Thomas
17. Brandon Marshall
18. Ryan Matthews
19. Ahmad Bradshaw
20. Fred Jackson
21. Vick Ballard
22. Randall Cobb
23. Victor Cruz
24. Jordy Nelson
25. Eric Decker
26. Marques Colston
27. Jordy Nelson
28. Steven Jackson
29. Vincent Jackson
30. Ronnie Hillman

The Jackson Three
Let’s face it: despite all of Spiller’s talent, Fred Jackson could still have the better fantasy day. It’s happened frequently, in fact. Steven Jackson is having a slight late-season re-emergence and should put up serviceable numbers against the Cardinals. Vincent Jackson could likely be involved in a shootout at home against the Falcons. Would it surprise anyone if this was one of those “last team with the ball” things? It wouldn’t shock me. I actually like Eric Decker quite a lot this week, and wouldn’t be surprised to see him get back to finding the endzone. Randall Cobb has been the most consistent Green Bay Receiver, while Vick Ballard has been the most consistent Buffalo Running Back. I think both have nice weeks. Ronnie Hillman is a very interesting play this week. I think he gets most of the work, and Denver might be up big and running often in the second half.

31. Vernon Davis
32. BenJarvus Green-Ellis
33. Bryce Brown
34. Denarius Moore
35. Hakeem Nicks
36. Jalen Parmele
37. Darren Sproles
38. Steve Smith
39. Danario Alexander
40. Cecil Shorts
41. Larry Fitzgerald
42. Jonathan Stewart
43. Steve Smith
44. Julio Jones
45. Jermaine Gresham

Week Twelve Questions
Firstly: welcome back, Vernon Davis. Bryce Brown getting 20+ carries against Carolina? Could be great. He and Jalen Parmele (20+ carries against Tennessee!) might both be too low on this list. Starting running backs have value, especially against bad defenses. Danario Alexander is clearly the number one receiver on the Chargers, for now, and also I think clearly a number 2 receiver on fantasy teams. Julio Jones, of course, could have a monster day. He finds himself this low because of his ankle. Jonathan Stewart is another interesting name this week. In a Monday night game that no one cares about, Stewart could get a lot of touches against a defense that has, for all intents and purposes, entirely quit.

46. Mike Wallace
47. Brandon Myers
48. Jonathan Dwyer
49. Antonio Gates
50. James Jones
51. Beanie Wells
52. Torrey Smith
53. James Jones
54. Michael Crabtree
55. Lance Moore
56. Reggie Bush
57. James Starks
58. Sidney Rice
59. Kyle Rudolph
60. Jacquizz Rodgers
61. Michael Turner
62. Mike Williams
63. Scott Chandler
64. Rashard Mendenhall
65. Justin Blackmon
66. Dwayne Bowe
67. Kenny Britt
68. Dwayne Allen
69. T.Y. Hilton
70. Andre Brown
71. Jeremy Maclin
72. Anquan Boldin
73. Josh Gordon
74. Brandon LaFell
75. Lance Ball

Shock Value
Yeah, I ranked Rodgers and Turner as such in part for shock value. But if I owned the two, I’d honestly play Quizz over Turner this week. Turner has only outscored Rodgers 35-24 since week six and while he remains more likely to find the endzone, Rodgers is more involved in the passing game against a very soft Bucs secondary. I like his chances to break one.

Obviously, despite whether Mendenhall is “starting” or not, it’s clear to this ranker that Jonathan Dwyer is a bigger, better running back. He simply doesn’t go down. Whether or not Mike Tomlin will figure that out is another thing. If there’s one player in the bottom 30 who I think could win you your week, it’s Rodgers or the Giants’ Andre Brown. While Ahmad Bradshaw does have a long history of playing through injury, I’d monitor his status closely. If he’s out, or even limited, Brown is a strong start.

Best of luck in week 12. As always you can tweet me @petethegreekff.