By Stephen Dolan
Week 12 features a pared down Sunday schedule due to the full Thanksgiving slate on Thursday. We have your plays and passes for Sunday and Monday.
Play: Marcus Mariota (vs. OAK)
Mariota had a strong performance on Thursday night against the Jaguars, completing 62.9 percent of his passes for 231 yards while doing damage with his feet as he rushed five times for 29 yards and a touchdown. Since his four-touchdown performance against the Saints, Mariota has not thrown a touchdown in each of his last two games, but that could change on Sunday. He had an extended week to prepare for an Oakland pass defense ranked 30th in the NFL. Play Mariota.
Play: Jameis Winston (vs. IND)
The only man selected ahead of Mariota in the 2015 NFL Draft had his best game as a professional on Sunday. Winston thrashed the Eagles defense in Philadelphia on Sunday, throwing for 246 yards and five touchdowns with no interceptions. The rookie threw four touchdowns in the first half and snapped a string of three consecutive poor starts. Winston gets a favorable matchup on Sunday as the Colts are allowing 279 passing yards per game. Play Winston.
Other Good Plays: Russell Wilson (vs. PIT) for $7,600, Carson Palmer (vs. SF) for $8,100, Philip Rivers (vs. JAC) for $8,000
Pass: Ben Roethlisberger (vs. SEA)
It has been an up-and-down year for the Pittsburgh quarterbacks. Injuries have ravaged them and Ben Roethlisberger has gone down twice. Landry Jones started two weeks ago to give Roethlisberger extra time to recover, but Jones went down with an injury forcing Roethlisberger back into action. All he did was throw for 379 yards and three touchdowns in relief. It’ll be difficult on Sunday against the Seahawks and their secondary, the Legion of Boom. Who knows how healthy Roethlisberger is and Seattle can really put pressure on opposing quarterbacks. Pass on Big Ben this week.
Other Passes: Derek Carr (vs. TEN) for $7,400, Drew Brees (vs. HOU) for $8,200
Play: Chris Ivory (vs. MIA)
Ivory had a quiet week in Sunday’s 24-17 loss to the Houston Texans. He rushed eight times for 36 yards and was held to just one catch for nine yards. It was a far cry from his 18-carry, 99-yard performance a week prior against the stout Buffalo Bills defense. Things get a little easier for Ivory this week as he is facing a Miami rush defense that ranks 31st in the NFL and was torched by the Cowboys as they rushed 38 times for 166 yards on Sunday. Ivory is a sound play.
Play: Doug Martin (vs. IND)
Martin enters Sunday’s game in Indianapolis with a head of steam. He had a monster game on Sunday against Philadelphia as he rushed 27 times for 235 yards, including a breakout 84-yard run displaying an excellent mix of power and speed. His big game now gives him the second-most rushing yards in the NFL at 941 behind only Minnesota’s Adrian Peterson. The Colts rush defense is allowing 113.4 yards per game and nine touchdowns on the season. Play Martin.
Other Good Plays: Melvin Gordon (vs. JAC) for $5,900, Mark Ingram (vs. HOU) for $7,400, Chris Johnson (vs. SF) for $6,800
Pass: Ronnie Hillman (vs. NE)
Hillman posted his third 100-yard rushing game of the season on Sunday rushing 21 times for 102 yards in a victory over the Chicago Bears. Hillman is now getting about two-thirds of the carries in the Denver offense as C.J. Anderson’s play has dropped off this season. New England features a tough rush defense that ranks second in the NFL allowing just 88.2 yards per game and have only allowed four rushing touchdowns all season. Pass on Hillman this week.
Other Passes: Adrian Peterson (vs. ATL) for $9,000, Lamar Miller (vs. NYJ) for $7,200
Play: DeSean Jackson (vs. NYG)
Jackson pretty much defines the “all-or-nothing” option for fantasy owners and he is at risk of sitting out every week. Last Sunday, he caught a huge 56-yard touchdown pass from Kirk Cousins against a tough Panthers defense, proving it only takes one pass to make playing Jackson worth it. He caught five passes for 87 yards in total on Sunday and it should be much easier this week. Jackson and the Redskins take on a Giants defense that has struggled this season, especially in the secondary, allowing a league-worst 310 passing yards per game. No other team allows more than 293 per game. Play Jackson.
Play: DeAndre Hopkins (vs. NO)
Hopkins has established himself as one of the elite wide receivers in the NFL. The third-year receiver caught five passes for 118 yards and two touchdowns on Sunday giving him four touchdown receptions in his last three games. He has not let fantasy owners down this season despite suspect quarterback play. Hopkins is facing a New Orleans secondary that has been picked apart all year as they are allowing opposing quarterbacks to post a rating of 116.6 and have allowed a league-worst 28 passing touchdowns with just four picks. It should be a good day for Hopkins.
Play: Mike Evans (vs. IND)
Evans is beginning to emerge as a big-time fantasy receiver with the weeks he has put up of late. He caught eight passes for 150 yards against the Giants on November 8 and followed that up with eight receptions for 126 yards on November 15 against the Redskins. His tear through the NFC East continued on Sunday against the Eagles as he caught four passes for 63 yards and a touchdown making it a solid fantasy performance. The Colts secondary is going to struggle to slow down the big target. Play Evans.
Other Good Plays: Brandon Marshall (vs. MIA) for $7,800, Allen Robinson (vs. SD) for $7,900, Larry Fitzgerald (vs. SF) for $7,400
Pass: Martavis Bryant (vs. SEA)
Bryant is a big-play wide receiver who has been good to fantasy owners in his five games this season. He caught six passes for 178 yards and a touchdown his last time out against the Cleveland Browns, giving him a touchdown caught in four of his five games this season and five total touchdowns on the year. Unfortunately, he will be facing the Seahawks defense that makes it tough on opposing receivers. Bryant might break free to put up some big numbers on Sunday but it is not a great matchup to expect that. Pass on Bryant.
Other Passes: Jeremy Maclin (vs. BUF) for $6,200, A.J. Green (vs. STL) for $8,200
Play: Delanie Walker (vs. OAK)
The Titans’ leading receiver this season had a big game in the spotlight of Thursday Night Football last week against Jacksonville. He caught eight passes for 109 yards, giving him 53 receptions for 617 yards and three touchdowns on the season. He is taking on an Oakland defense that is allowing 291 passing yards per game and 268 receptions on the season. Play Walker.
Other Good Plays: Rob Gronkowski (vs. DEN) for $8,400, Gary Barnidge (vs. BAL) for $6,500
Pass: Garrett Celek (vs. ARI)
Celek might be building a solid relationship with new quarterback Blaine Gabbert but there isn’t much fantasy potential there. Celek has not caught more than three passes in a game and his 35 receiving yards on Sunday are the second most on the season. San Francisco’s offense doesn’t have a ton of weapons and, even then, Celek isn’t an integral part of the offense. Against a tough Arizona pass defense on Sunday, pass on Celek.
Other Passes: Tyler Eifert (vs. STL) for $6,200, Vernon Davis (vs. NE) for $5,200
Play: Justin Tucker (vs. CLE) for $4,900
Play: Connor Barth (vs. IND) for $4,800
Play: Blair Walsh (vs. ATL) for $4,700
Pass: Matt Bryant (vs. MIN) for $5,000
Pass: Cairo Santos (vs. BUF) for $4,900
Pass: Phil Dawson (vs. ARI) for $4,800
Play: Cardinals (vs. SF) for $5,300
Play: Bills (vs. KC) for $4,600
Play: Browns (vs. BAL) for $4,600
Pass: Broncos (vs. NE) for $4,700
Pass: Rams (vs. CIN) for $4,800
Pass: Texans (vs. NO) for $4,700
QB: Marcus Mariota (vs. OAK)
RB: Chris Ivory (vs. MIA)
RB: Chris Johnson (vs. SF)
WR: DeAndre Hopkins (vs. NO)
WR: Larry Fitzgerald (vs. SF)
WR: DeSean Jackson (vs. NYG)
TE: Delanie Walker (vs. OAK)
K: Blair Walsh (vs. ATL)
D/ST: Cardinals (vs. SF)
Steve Dolan is an MBA student at Villanova University and a graduate of the Haub School of Business at Saint Joseph’s University. Steve co-founded Whiz Wit Sports, a Philadelphia-centric sports blog, in March 2011 growing the site to win PHL 17’s Best Local Blogger on the Philly Hot List in 2013.