Predicting studs and duds for NFL Week 12

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Awesome Thanksgiving Day matchups and more.

Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

NFL Week 12 will kick off in grand form with three awesome Thanksgiving Day matchups. This will eventually be followed by 12 more exciting games for fans to soak in over the holiday weekend.

Starting the festivities off, three divisional showdowns will take place on Thursday. The game in Dallas is always a holiday tradition. This tilt is a crucial one for the Cowboys as they attempt to claw their way into first place in the NFC East.

On the AFC side, the New England Patriots will be trying to rebound from an absolutely horrific loss prior to their Week 11 bye. They will be aiming to improve on their 7-3 record which just so happens to be a tie with the first-place Houston Texans in the AFC South.

With many things to be thankful for not just now — but always — here are our stud and dud predictions for NFL Week 12.


Stud: Russell Wilson, quarterback, Seattle Seahawks

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Suddenly, Wilson and the Seahawks are trending up in the NFC while their Week 12 NFC opponent is trending down. That opponent would be a Carolina Panthers squad that should allow Wilson plenty of opportunities for a glowing performance. The Panthers are allowing a 66.6 pass completion rate and have also let 12 passing touchdowns slip by in their last four games. This is the second-most of any team in the league over that four-game stretch. Wilson should thrive as a result.


Dud: Aaron Jones, running back, Green Bay Packers

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Just as head coach Mike McCarthy finally realized it was a smart idea to get Jones more carries, the running back might tumble back reality in Week 12.

Jones faces a Vikings run defense that is yielding only 3.6 yards per carry and has given away only five rushing touchdowns all year. Plus, Minnesota has produced a league-high 11 forced fumbles on rushing plays. Ouch. If for some reason this game ends up being a higher-scoring affair, Jones’ production might suffer.


Stud: Tom Brady, quarterback, New England Patriots

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In Brady’s last game before his Week 11 bye, the veteran quarterback looked like he needed to be put out to pasture. Following an embarrassing face plant and all, Brady should return revitalized. Pats fans can only hope. Fortunately, Brady will play a New York Jets defense that last allowed Bills backup quarterback Matt Barkley to throw for 232 yards and two touchdowns. Brady is obviously all kinds of an upgrade over Barkley. Thus, he is due for a major bounce-back game with the AFC Playoff picture beginning to take shape.


Dud: Theo Riddick, running back Detroit Lions

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Riddick, as well as fellow back LeGarrette Blount, will fill in for Kerryon Johnson who is very likely to miss Week 12 with a sprained knee. But this does not mean Riddick or necessarily Blount will easily go into cruise control without their rookie teammate on the field. The Lions face a Chicago Bears team that’s defense is absolutely brutal against the run. To date, running backs are scoring the least fantasy points when it comes to playing Chicago. Just ask a Vikings rushing attack that last managed only 22 combined yards against the Bears.


Stud: Michael Thomas, wide receiver, New Orleans Saints

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This might be stating the obvious, but Thomas is slated for one of his exceptional performances when the Atlanta Falcons arrive in Week 12. The last time Thomas played the Falcons was on the road in Week 3 when he caught a perfect 10-of-10 targets for 129 yards. As of recent, Thomas has scored five touchdowns in his last three games. He is bound to keep it rolling while he faces a Falcons defense that has ceded the fifth-most fantasy points to its opposing wide receivers on the season.


Dud: Carson Wentz, quarterback, Philadelphia Eagles

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Sadly, if we have to pick a quarterback that might flounder in this upcoming Eagles and Giants matchup, it could easily be Wentz. Wentz last got destroyed by a New Orleans Saints pass defense that is currently giving up the sixth-most passing yards per game on average. Somehow, Wentz did not get that memo. Now, the third-year quarterback will face a Giants defense that has actually yielded the fourth-fewest passing touchdowns on the season.


Stud: Nick Chubb, running back, Cleveland Browns

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When Chubb returns from his bye, he has a dream matchup awaiting him. The rookie his Browns head to Cincinnati to play the Bengals. This is a squad that has yielded the most fantasy points to its opposing running backs. It should be a cakewalk for Chubb to bulldoze over a defense that has given away 171.5 total yards to running backs on average per contest. Furthermore, it has ceded 15 total rushing back touchdowns. This clearly means Chubb is primed for another magnificent performance.


Dud: Larry Fitzgerald, wide receiver, Arizona Cardinals

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Fitzgerald really deserves better in this league. Following his two-touchdown performance in Week 11, poor Fitz looks to be set up for failure in his next game. This takes place in Los Angeles against the Chargers. The Chargers might have lost last week, but they held Denver Broncos quarterback Case Keenum to only 205 passing yards and zero touchdowns. The same defensive treatment could easily be in store for Fitz’s rookie quarterback Josh Rosen. Hence, the crickets may be chirping in Fitzgerald’s camp.


Stud: T.Y. Hilton, wide receiver, Indianapolis Colts

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Hilton heads into Week 12 after a phenomenal showing that saw him catch 9-of-9 targets for 155 yards and two touchdowns against a stout Titans defense. Now, Hilton and his dime-throwing quarterback Andrew Luck next host the Miami Dolphins. The Dolphins sport an offense getting a potentially rusty Ryan Tannehill back. If the Colts’ defense can take advantage, it will give Hilton and his offense plenty of short fields and ample time to produce another spectacular game.


Dud: Adrian Peterson, running back, Washington Redskins

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Peterson was a gem in his last game, waltzing in for two rushing touchdowns against the Houston Texans in Week 11. Though Peterson finding the end zone might be a different story when the Redskins head to Dallas. The ‘Boys defense has been stellar against the run as of late and it has surrendered only one rushing touchdown and a total of 221 rushing yards in its past four contests. With a Washington backup Colt McCoy in place, the Redskins should hardly be in position to feed Peterson the ball all day.


Stud: Darius Leonard, linebacker, Indianapolis Colts

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This stunning rookie selected by the Colts at 36th overall in the 2018 draft leads the league with 104 combined tackles. And, we can bet that Leonard easily builds on his numbers in nice home clash against the Dolphins. We touched on the team starting Tannehill, who has not played since Week 5. There is no guarantee he returns and the Dolphins offense runs like a fine-tuned watch. Leonard should be able to swoop in and cause all kinds of chaos. Perhaps the rookie even adds a second interception, building on his first one last week.


Dud: Kirk Cousins, quarterback, Minnesota Vikings

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Captain Kirk returned from his bye and was putrid at times in a losing performance against the Bears on prime time television. And it doesn’t look like he’ll have an easier go of things when the Green Bay Packers arrive on Sunday evening. With both teams in desperation mode, the Packers should be the more solid of the two as each attempts to better their NFC North standing. Both teams’ passing defenses rank within the top six, but it should be Aaron Rodgers at the end of the evening who is primed to outperform Cousins.


Stud: DeAndre Hopkins, wide receiver, Houston Texans

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By Hopkins’ standards, he had kind of a down game, producing only 56 yards against Washington in Week 11. There was a touchdown, however. And, the scoring looks to continue when the Titans head to Houston for a prime time Monday Night Football tilt. Tennessee’s defense last got completely thrashed by T.Y. Hilton who caught two of Andrew Luck’s three passing touchdowns. Now, it must face Deshaun Watson and Hopkins who should see plenty of field time. This is taking into account either a banged-up Marcus Mariota or backup Blaine Gabbert will be under center. Fun!


Dud: Evan Engram, tight end, New York Giants

Evan Engram

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Engram had himself a pretty sweet game when he turned two catches in to 66 yards against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. However, similar production might not be in order when the Giants head to play the Eagles. The Eagles have all kinds of woes going on, but they are decent in defending tight ends. To date, the Eagles have surrendered the third-fewest fantasy points to Engram’s position. This equates to Philly’s defense giving up only 37 yards on average per game and two touchdowns all season to opposing tight ends.


Stud: Lamar Jackson, quarterback, Baltimore Ravens

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Ravens fans are surely clamoring for another dose of their mobile rookie quarterback in action in Week 12. And, if Joe Flacco is not able to suit up or even splits time with Jackson, the latter would benefit from a soft matchup against the Oakland Raiders. The Ravens’ defense should easily create trouble for that bumbling Raiders offense, allowing plenty of opportunities for the Ravens offense to move the sticks down the field. The Raiders’defense ranks 25th in overall yards allowed, which should present a breeding ground for Jackson and/or Flacco to thrive at home in this game.


Dud: Antonio Brown, wide receiver, Pittsburgh Steelers

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It took like what seemed forever for the Steelers offense — including Brown — to get jump-started in Week 11 against the Jaguars. And while Brown finally finished the day with 117 yards and one touchdown, he caught only 5-of-13 targets with Ben Roethlisberger being intercepted twice when targeting him. With Big Ben potentially under pressure with the likes of Von Miller and Bradley Chubb chasing him around, the Steelers may find running the ball more successful. Plus, AB has a headache of a matchup ahead with cornerback Chris Harris covering him.


Stud: Matt Breida, running back, San Francisco 49ers

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Knock on wood that Breida keeps healthy for his awesome Week 12 game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. This is because Breida should explode, in perhaps similar form to that of what Saquon Barkley last accomplished against Tampa Bay. Barkley produced 152 total scrimmage yards and scored twice. Since the Bucs have given up the sixth-most total yards on the season and an astounding 32.9 points per game, Breida and the 49ers should take full advantage.


Dud: Jared Cook, tight end, Oakland Raiders

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It seems at times that Cook is the only guy that quarterback Derek Carr can rely upon to catch touchdowns. This is just as Cook did in his previous game against the Cardinals. Though, Week 12 presents the Raiders with a potentially ugly showdown against a Ravens defense which is quite legit. This defense has yielded the fewest total yards on average per contest and only three tight end scores all year. It is safe to say the Raiders will struggle per the usual, while Cook’s efforts could easily get washed down the drain by the Ravens’ secondary.


Stud: Kenny Golladay, wide receiver, Detroit Lions

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This matchup against a feisty Bears defense should see Golladay receiving plenty of targets. And while we last saw the Bears beat the Vikings, their defense still allowed a total of 20 catches for 192 yards and one touchdown to Minnesota’s top two wideouts. Golladay should be plenty involved on a Lions offense missing its starting running back and possibly Marvin Jones again. It is worth noting that Golladay has garnered 27 targets over his past two games.


Dud: LeSean McCoy, running back, Buffalo Bills

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McCoy last looked like his old self in a favorable game script prior to his bye. This is when Shady shockingly put pedal to the medal and tallied 113 rushing yards and two touchdowns with Matt Barkley under center. Now it’s back to reality check time. The Bills will likely be reverting to rookie Josh Allen in a Week 12 matchup against the Jaguars. While the Jaguars defense has regressed somewhat, it last held Pittsburgh Steelers running back James Conner to a total of only 49 yards and zero touchdowns. Surely, the Bills’ offense could fall apart here.


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