Week 12 is upon us and already kicked off with three great games on Thanksgiving Day (well, at least for Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson owners). Sunday had it's share of winners (Adrian Peterson, Sammy Watkins) and losers (Todd Gurley, DeAndre Hopkins) too. But we're not out of the woods just yet. With the fantasy playoffs starting in two weeks in most leagues, wins are becoming more and more precious as teams vie for a spot in the big dance. Well, fear not, as we're here to help. Below we've gone player-by-player for each of the final Week 12 game on Monday night to give you the best insight on whom to start and sit in order to set a winning lineup.
Baltimore Ravens at Cleveland Browns, 8:30 p.m. ET on ESPN
Welp. This is what we'll have to get used to for the rest of the season. The Ravens offense has been completely decimated by injuries this season. Schaub takes over under center for Baltimore, but by no means does he warrant a fantasy start in any format. For Pete's sake don't do it man! Hopefully though, he can do enough to keep some of the other Ravens' skill position players relevant ... We'll see.
Aiken is the de facto No. 1 receiver in Baltimore. In his last two games he's collected 22 targets and turned them into 12 catches for 123 yards and a score. That's not amazing, but it's ... something. The Browns have struggled mightily against wideouts recently, allowing an insane 38.63 fppg to the position in the last four weeks, the most in the NFL. That includes 10 receiving touchdowns allowed in their last three games which bodes well for Aiken's potential on Monday night. Just hope Schaub can get him the ball.
With Justin Forsett done for the year with a broken arm, Allen takes over as the Ravens No. 1 back. In a feature role last week, the rookie saw 27 touches and gained 115 total yards in a tough matchup against the Rams. He was a hot waiver wire pickup this week, and since he should continue to see a high volume workload with only Terrance West and Raheem Mostert behind him on the depth chart, Allen makes for a solid flex play on Monday night for fantasy owners in need of running back help.
With Johnny Manziel's season in turmoil because of off-field shenanigans, McCown was again named the starting quarterback for the Browns. In terms of the Cleveland pass-catchers, McCown represents an upgrade in fantasy value (especially Gary Barnidge) and if you're really desperate, we're not against using McCown as a streamer this week. Baltimore's pass defense is not good so it's a decent matchup.
The Barn Yard Dog is holding steady as fantasy's No. 3 tight end with 667 receiving yards and seven touchdowns. He leads his team in targets (67) and receptions (46) and with Josh McCown back as the team's starting quarterback, we're confident in calling Barnidge a TE1 for the rest of the season, including on Monday night.
Travis Benjamin is the only wideout in Cleveland that you can consider starting in fantasy. The only problem is that he hasn't gotten into the end zone in seven straight games. He did have 113 yards in Week 10 and is always a threat for a deep score, but now that all of the bye weeks have passed we suggest looking elsewhere for wide receiver fantasy points until Benjamin strings a few strong performances together.