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Play At Your Own Risk

Five Players to Play At Your Own Risk in Week 12

by Lauren Carpenter
Updated On: November 24, 2022, 2:22 am ET

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We are heading into Week 12 which includes three matchups on Thursday for Thanksgiving. Luckily, there are no teams on a bye, but managers have to deal with another round of injuries sustained in Week 11. As we inch closer to the playoffs, here are five players to fade in Week 12.

Remember, these are player fades, not players you must sit. If you are in a position where one or more of these players are in your lineup, structure your roster with high-upside and safe-floor options.

D.J. Moore - WR Carolina Panthers

After a slow start, D.J. Moore got back into fantasy managers' good graces after 16.1 and 24.5 point performances in Weeks 7 and 8. Then he went right back to being all but absent. Over the last three weeks, Moore has yet to eclipse five fantasy points in half-PPR thanks to the abysmal quarterback play.

Couple that with the defense of the Denver Broncos and Moore has one big uphill battle in front of him. The Broncos are averaging 112.6 yards per game on 18.7 targets this season and have allowed the league's fewest points to the position. With terrible quarterback play and one of the stingiest defenses against wide receivers, Moore is a big-time fade for Week 12. 

Diontae Johnson - WR Pittsburgh Steelers

It's been a tough year for Diontae Johnson who came into 2022 under the relative safety blanket of the target volume in the Steelers' offense. As Pat Freiermuth dominates at the tight end position and George Pickens emerges as Kenny Pickett's go-to receiver, Johnson has been left out in the cold. He has yet to score a touchdown with Pickett under center and his biggest game was just 63 yards from four receptions. Those numbers have resulted in single-digit fantasy outings since Week 5. 

The Steelers will face the Colts in Week 12 who are the second-best against wide receivers behind the Denver Broncos. They have allowed an average of 113.5 yards per game to the position and six touchdowns on the season. Unless Johnson sees ten or more targets, he is fantasy irrelevant. With back-to-back showings of only five targets, it looks like Johnson will continue to trend down for fantasy, even without Chase Claypool

Kareem Hunt - RB Cleveland Browns

Kareem Hunt is one of those serviceable players that managers may have had to plug-in during times of desperation. Luckily, with no teams on a bye, Hunt doesn't have to live in the flex for Week 12. He has posted six or fewer rush attempts in four of the last five games and has seen a total of ten targets over that time. His last double-digit fantasy performance was in Week 5 against the Chargers.

The Browns are coming off of a road-road loss (The Browns-Bills game was moved to Detroit due to inclement weather) but their Week 12 opponent is nothing to sneeze at. The Buccaneers have had a week off since their victory in Germany and are heading into this week with a full head of steam on the top of their division. It's hard to believe that a 5-5 record puts a team at the top, but here we are. 

Tampa Bay's run defense is ranked third-best on the season despite allowing five losses. They have allowed just two touchdowns on the ground and three through the air to the position. While the Bucs can be exploited in between the 20s from a player like Nick Chubb, pass-catching backs like Hunt have struggled. Their 162 receiving yards allowed to running backs is the fewest in the league by 70 yards. 

The game script will also be an issue for Hunt. Tom Brady has finally started connecting with his receivers and a week off only helps them prepare for the game ahead. If the Buccaneers can run up the score, Jacoby Brissett will find himself throwing more often than not to keep up. 

Fantasy football guru Matthew Berry has joined the team and his two shows have you covered all season long. Spend weekdays at noon with the Fantasy Football Happy Hour and then, every Sunday at 11am getting ready for kickoff with the Fantasy Football Pregame. Watch both shows live on Peacock and catch replays for the weekday show on the NFL on NBC YouTube channel.

Clyde Edwards-Helaire/Jerick McKinnon - RBs Kansas City Chiefs

It's safe to say that Clyde Edwards-Helaire should be faded not only because he is hurt, but also because he has fallen behind both Jerick McKinnon and rookie Isiah Pacheco. It's obvious, but just in case he gets cleared prior to Week 12, he should still be firmly planted on managers' benches or dropped. 

With that out of the way, McKinnon is also a fade against the Los Angeles Rams. If you have to start McKinnon, do so only with extreme caution. As previously mentioned, Pacheco is considered the starter for the Kansas City Chiefs, but even that moniker goes only so far. This offense is led through the air with Patrick Mahomes' arm and the many receivers at his disposal. Even against a porous Chargers' run defense, McKinnon posted 0.9 fantasy points on six rush attempts and 24 yards. 

There is a very slight chance McKinnon can see some action if (let's face it… when) the Chiefs run up the score on Los Angeles and Andy Reid decides to split carries between his backs. Even then, McKinnon's ceiling is severely capped. 

Adam Thielen - WR Minnesota Vikings

Adam Thielen showed some signs of life early in the season with double-digit fantasy points in Weeks 3,4, and 6, but has been mediocre to poor outside of those games. Last week's performance against the Dallas Cowboys was so embarrassing that CBS abandoned the game in favor of the Bengals-Steelers. Hopefully, that terrible showing was an outlier for the Vikings and they can forget all about it and look ahead to the Patriots.

Unfortunately, New England isn't exactly the defense a team wants to face when looking for a bounce-back win. Their defense is stout against wide receivers and running backs and Minnesota will have their hands full passing and running the football. Luckily, they have stars like Dalvin Cook and Justin Jefferson who are able to save the day. While Thielen has seen a decent target share in the offense with seven or more since Week 2 (save Week 11), he has yet to do much with the opportunity. He has not surpassed 67 receiving yards this season and is touchdown-dependent for your fantasy scoring against a staunch defense in the Patriots.

Lauren Carpenter

Lauren Carpenter (@stepmomlauren) is a St. Louis native, graduate of the University of Missouri's Journalism school, and all-around fan of sports. She is a fantasy football analyst and writer who enjoys communicating about sports and fantasy football, but will not inflate your vanity or listen to condescension. Let's all be kind to one another.