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Don't be discouraged by recent slumps for Welker, Sproles

Scott Engel of highlights some interesting numbers and key players as you prepare for Week 12 of the fantasy football season.

High times: These players have some positive statistics accompanying them into Week 12. Are the numbers a true reflection of what's ahead?

Cedric Benson, RB, Cincinnati
Stat: In his past two games vs. the Browns, Benson has 271 rushing yards and two TDs.
Analysis: Benson is a very strong RB2 start this week against Cleveland's 29th-ranked rushing defense. He is coming off a two-TD outing in Week 11 and should score at least once against Cleveland.

Steve Smith, WR, Carolina
Stat: In his past four road games, Smith is averaging 116.5 yards per game and has three total TDs.
Analysis: Smith is one of the best WR starts of Week 12. The Colts have allowed a league-high 19 TD passes. Most experienced fantasy owners would not bench Smith this week, yet any stats that further enhance the outlook are comforting if you face a must-win situation.

Santonio Holmes, WR, New York Jets
Stat: Holmes is looking for his third consecutive game against Buffalo with a TD catch.
Analysis: Bet on Holmes finding the end zone again in this upcoming matchup with Buffalo. The Bills have allowed 17 TD passes and are falling apart everywhere, so the Jets should easily impose their will.

Beanie Wells, RB, Arizona
Stat: Wells rushed for a TD in his last game vs. St. Louis.
Analysis: Not an impressive number when compared to some others you usually see in this section, but worth noting considering how Wells has looked lately. The Cardinals should move the ball efficiently enough to put Wells into position for a short-range score this week.

Chris Johnson, RB, Tennessee
Stat: In 14 career games vs. the NFC, Johnson has averaged 101.3 rushing yards per game.
Analysis: Johnson has his best fantasy outlook of the year this week, because he has shown some signs of life recently and the Buccaneers have looked bad against the run lately. Johnson faces a defense that allows 133.5 rushing yards per game and is a must-start option in all formats.

Earl Bennett, WR, Chicago
Stat: Bennett is aiming for his fourth consecutive game with 75-plus receiving yards.
Analysis: The assumption is that Bennett will see a statistical drop-off with Jay Cutler out. But Caleb Hanie needs a reliable safety receiver, so do not give up on Bennett just yet. Do not start Bennett this week, but keep him rostered and monitor his production.

Willis McGahee, RB, Denver
Stat: McGahee rushed for 125 yards on 16 carries in his last game vs. the Chargers.
Analysis: McGahee has four rushing TDs in his past four games vs. the Chargers. San Diego will surely load up against the run this week, and McGahee did not run well in his last game, so do not hesitate to reserve him if you have another option of similar value to choose from.

Marques Colston, WR, New Orleans
Stat: Colston had eight catches for 166 yards and a TD in his last meeting with the Giants.
Analysis: Colston is shooting for his third consecutive game with a score against the Giants. Darren Sproles could terrorize the Giants the most on Monday night, but Colston should also be very productive on key downs and should reward his owners with a TD catch even if he does not register 100 receiving yards.

Cool runnings: These players are looking to put some disappointing trends behind them in Week 12.

Joseph Addai, RB, Indianapolis
Stat: Joseph Addai has averaged 42.8 rushing yards per game this season.
Analysis: Addai (hamstring) has not played since Week 7, but it is looking like he could return to action this week. He is a good flex start against Carolina's 30th-ranked rush defense, a unit that made Kevin Smith look reborn last week.

Sam Bradford, QB, St. Louis
Stat: Bradford has one TD pass and five interceptions in three career games against Arizona.
Analysis: Arizona ranks 27th against the pass, but Bradford has battled adversity all year long while struggling to get on any sort of consistent track. The Cardinals have looked very vulnerable in the air all year long, but Bradford does not have the momentum or overall weaponry needed to take advantage of the matchup, in case you were considering him at all.

C.J. Spiller, RB, Buffalo
Stat: Spiller has averaged 16.6 rushing yards per game in his career.
Analysis: Spiller will likely prove again that opportunity does not always lead to production. He does not have the tenacity or makeup to be a No. 1 RB at this time, and could quickly lose a lot of reps to Johnny White. Do not start him in Week 12.

Wes Welker, WR, New England
Stat: Welker has 68 receiving yards in his past two games.
Analysis: You can't keep a superstar down for very long. There is no reason to stop considering Welker a must-start regardless of matchup. The Patriots will devise some ways to get him the ball this week, you can bet on it.

Ryan Mathews, RB, San Diego
Stat: Mathews has rushed for 71 yards in his past two games.
Analysis: Mathews is battling knee issues and fumbled twice in his last start. You should look elsewhere for your RB2 choice this week.

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Rashard Mendenhall, RB, Pittsburgh
Stat: Mendenhall has one 100-yard game in 2011.
Analysis: The Chiefs rank 28th against the run, and their defense will spend a lot of time on the field this week. Mendenhall should approach the century mark and is a fine RB2 start.

Toby Gerhart, RB, Minnesota
Stat: Gerhart has averaged 17.6 rushing yards per game in his career.
Analysis: Gerhart is expected to get the start this week in place of the injured Adrian Peterson, but that does not mean you should use him. The Falcons have the NFL's second-best run defense and Gerhart is a stiff, pedestrian sort who will not offer much statistically if the matchup is not right.

Darren Sproles, RB, New Orleans
Stat: Sproles totaled three yards from scrimmage in his last start, Week 10 against Atlanta.
Analysis: He could take his frustrations out on the Giants, who have much difficulty defending versatile RBs. Look for Sproles to be one of the top fantasy performers of Week 12.

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