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Week 12 fantasy matchups


Here's a look at key fantasy matchups for Week 12:

Titans at Bengals
Tennessee head coach Jeff Fisher has a history of success against Cincinnati, and it doesn’t hurt that QB Vince Young is starting to really come on. Young has had two strong passing games in a row. Still, the Titans will run the ball often against the Bengals’ 30th-ranked run defense. They should get good production from both RBs LenDale White and Chris Brown, who has posted good numbers in his last two games against Cincinnati.

For Cincinnati, considering that DT Albert Haynesowrth should be back for the Titans, don’t expect anything from the running game. That means a heavy dose of QB Carson Palmer and WRs Chad Johnson and T.J. Houshmandzadeh.

Bills at Jaguars
With RB Marshawn Lynch still injured for Buffalo, you’ll probably see 30 carries from Anthony Thomas – but don’t expect much yardage against the Jacksonville run defense. QB J.P. Losman and WR Lee Evans are the only plays for the Bills, for what it’s worth.

Jacksonville doesn’t throw the ball much but at least QB David Garrard won’t hurt you with mistakes. The Jaguars average close to 140 rushing yards per game but it is split evenly between RBs Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew. Both can be productive here but keep in mind that Jones-Drew is starting to get more of the goal-line opportunities.

Raiders at Chiefs
Oakland QB Daunte Culpepper passed for 344 yards last week and hooked up with WR Ronald Curry. You can play those two along with RB Justin Fargas, but it is tough to run on Kansas City and this should be a low-scoring game.

For Kansas City, I like WR Dwayne Bowe and RB Kolby Smith, mainly because the Chiefs don’t have anybody else. The Chiefs have won nine straight over Oakland.

Seahawks at Rams
Seattle QB Matt Hasselbeck has been putting up good numbers in recent weeks, so you will probably get more of the same here. WR D.J. Hackett had a career-best game last week and Deion Branch will play this week. The Rams, meanwhile, have a hard time stopping the run, and RB Maurice Morris has been playing well.

For St. Louis, you can stick with the usual suspects, who have been playing better in recent weeks, – QB Marc Bulger, RB Steven Jackson and WR Torry Holt.

Redskins at Buccaneers
I like Washington QB Jason Campbell, though I’m not sure who his main targets will be with Santana Moss and Antwaan Randle El both hurting. TE Chris Cooley is probably the best bet. Meanwhile, RB Clinton Portis could have a hard time here because it's hard to run on Tampa Bay.

For the Bucs, the combination of QB Jeff Garcia and WR Joey Galloway have a better chance here with Washington’s secondary still missing S Sean Taylor. RB Earnest Graham has been playing well but Washington’s run defense is pretty tough.

Texans at Browns
With QB Matt Schaub and WR Andre Johnson both back and healthy, the Texans could put up good numbers against a Cleveland defense that ranks 32nd in the NFL. I would also like RB Ahman Green if he plays, Ron Dayne to a leser extent if he is the main back.

Since the Texans should put points on the board, that means the Cleveland offense will be revved up for a shootout – so keep on riding the trio of QB Derek Anderson, WR Braylon Edwards, and TE Kellen Winslow. Cleveland is third in the NFL in scoring. Last year, the Browns had 15 TD passes all season; they have 20 through 10 games this season. They’ve also got seven games with 27 or more points, after scoring that many a total of six times in the previous four seasons.

Saints at Panthers
For New Orleans, I like QB Drew Brees and WR Marques Colston to hook up here. You have to be concerned about RB Reggie Bush running the ball here, but he should remain a factor in the receiving game. He's quietly got 76 receptions this season – good if you get points for receptions, though his yardage total is not great.

For Carolina, RB DeShaun Foster is really the only play here – and with Saints DL Charles Grant out, that could be big for Foster. Don’t expect much from QB Vinny Testaverde, especially since WR Steve Smith looks like he's out.

Vikings at Giants
Minnesota RB Chester Taylor is coming off a terrific game and is worth playing here – but just keep in mind that the Giants only allow 91 rushing yards per game and will have an 8-man front most of the day. Still, Minnesota averages 5.9 yards per rush, which is on pace for the best single-season mark ever.

For the Giants, all you have to know is that Minnesota has the top-ranked run defense and 32nd-ranked pass defense. And considering that RBs Brandon Jacobs and Derrick Ward are both banged up, you can really only play QB Eli Manning, WR Plaxico Burress, and TE Jeremy Shockey here.

49ers at Cardinals
If you have RB Frank Gore, you have to play him, but San Francisco is 32nd on offense. The only thing the 49ers have going here is that they beat the Cardinals, 20-17, earlier this season. WR Arnaz Battle was a factor in that game, getting the ball on a reverse near the goal line.

Arizona, meanwhile, has been playing very well and could be making a playoff run – so you’ve got to stick with the Cards’ quartet of QB Kurt Warner, RB Edgerrin James and WRs Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin.

Ravens at Chargers
Baltimore RB Willis McGahee should be a good play here, as everyone seems to be able to run on the Chargers these days. QB Kyle Boller has been improving each week, but each week it's a different receiver making plays. Last week it was Devard Darling – can you bank on that happening again?

Until San Diego can break out of its season-long inconsistency, there’s not much to recommend here – though RB LaDainian Tomlinson and TE Antonio Gates remain must-starts.

Broncos at Bears
With the way they’ve played in recent weeks, you’ve got to play QB Jay Cutler and WR Brandon Marshall for Denver. The Broncos will probably be able to run the ball as well, though you never know how the Broncos will split the carries between RBs Selvin Young, Travis Henry, and now Andre Hall. Remember, it’s not unusual for teams to struggle on the Sunday following a Monday win -– especially on the road.

For Chicago, RB Cedric Benson showed a spark last week and now he faces a Denver defense that allows 149 rushing yards per game. I like QB Rex Grossman and WR Bernard Berrian a little here. TE Greg Olsen caught seven passes for 42 yards last week, so he could be a factor.

Eagles at Patriots
It will be interesting to see what New England head coach Bill Belichick has planned to slow down Philadelphia RB Brian Westbrook. Still, Westbrook is clearly the best bet for the Eagles.

For the Patriots, it’s the usual suspects. QB Tom Brady has 38 TD passes -- 10 better than his previous career best and four more than what Peyton Manning had at this point when he broke the single-season TD record in 2004. After Brady, I like, in order, WR Randy Moss, WR Wes Welker and RB Laurence Maroney. If the Pats win, they will be only the fourth team in the NFL since 1978 to clinch a playoff spot this early. Of the previous three, one team won the Super Bowl, one lost the Super Bowl and one lost in the conference title game.

Dolphins at Steelers
Normally you’d say it’s impossible to run on Pittsburgh, but Thomas Jones and the Jets changed that a little with their win last week. And since the Dolphins average 115 rushing yards per game, you might be able to get something here from RB Jesse Chatman. It certainly doesn’t hurt that S Troy Polamalu is out for the Steelers.

For Pittsburgh, look for RB Willie Parker to come back with a big game here, as he always plays better at home. After Parker, I like QB Ben Roethlisberger, WR Hines Ward, and WR Nate Washington, in that order.