Fantasy Football Sleepers: Week 12
Fantasy Football Sleepers: Week 12
The 2023 fantasy football season rolls on during Thanksgiving weekend, with three games already in the books. Only three more weeks separate us from the start of the fantasy football playoffs, meaning it's go time for every fantasy manager. Fortunately, due to the holiday, the NFL has scheduled all 32 teams to compete this weekend. Injuries are a continuous obstacle to overcome at this point in the season. Divisional races and coaching hot seats are beginning to heat up, giving fantasy managers a lot of offensive urgency to capitalize on.
The goal of this Sleepers article is to highlight players who find themselves in favorable matchups or usage roles. Whether it's a player's developmental growth, injuries, or continuous usage opportunities due to the offensive scheme and belief from the coaching staff, it's up to us in the fantasy football community to seek out which prospects are being slept on or undervalued moving toward the fantasy football playoffs.
Last week, Zach Charbonnet, Devin Singletary, and Romeo Doubs were a few of the Week 11 sleepers analyzed, paying off if they were added off of waiver wires or plugged into fantasy lineups. Now, six more sleepers are on tap as we set our lineups in preparation of the final 13 games remaining on the NFL Week 12 slate. NFL fantasy analyst Matt MacKay provides his latest analysis in this article using half-PPR scoring to review each fantasy football sleeper candidate to pursue before other league members add them to their roster.
Ty Chandler (RB - Vikings)
Although Alexander Mattison outsnapped Ty Chandler 48-23 in Week 11, the Vikings' increasing reliance on a balanced offense with Josh Dobbs under center benefits Chandler, who was a fifth-round draft pick in 2022. Chandler handled 10 carries for 73 yards in a 21-20 loss to Denver in Week 11, while hauling in all four targets for 37 receiving yards. Mattison averaged 4.5 YPC compared to Chandler's 7.3 YPC, while seeing half the amount of targets in the passing attack, so Chandler is an intriguing RB3 with RB2 upside heading into three consecutive top-15 matchups against the Bears, Raiders, and Bengals. Just remember Chandler and the Vikings go on Bye in Week 13.
Samaje Perine (RB - Broncos)
After watching Javonte Williams handle 20-plus carries in back-to-back games, Sean Payton opted to deploy a three-headed running back by committee against Minnesota in Week 11. Samaje Perine factored heavily into this scheme, playing on 36 percent of snaps, while handling a solid 21.9 percent target share. Russell Wilson favors his running backs heavily in the Broncos' passing attack, resulting in Perine catching all seven targets for 60 receiving yards. He only logged one carry for seven yards, but as long as Perine is earning work in the passing game, he'll provide an RB3 floor. Perine has 10 red zone touches this year, so if he finds the end zone, RB2 production is within reach. An upcoming bottom-12 matchup against the Browns should keep Perine in RB3 territory but he's in line for better matchups against the Texans and Chargers in Week 13 and Week 14.
Demario Douglas (WR - Patriots)
Rookie Demario "Pop" Douglas was selected by the Patriots in the sixth round of the NFL Draft this offseason and has been elevated into a bigger role due to his talent and injuries decimating the Patriots' wide receiving corps. He showed out against the Colts despite New England's offense only scoring two fields goals, finishing with six receptions for 84 yards on nine targets. Douglas hasn't scored a touchdown yet in this anemic offense but he's an effective chain mover and could become the top weapon alongside Rhamondre Stevenson moving forward. A top-five fantasy wide receiver matchup awaits Douglas in Week 12 against the Giants, making him a viable WR3 to insert into fantasy lineups.
Josh Downs (WR - Colts)
The Colts' upcoming schedule is a fantasy wide receiver's paradise. Indianapolis' third-round rookie wideout Josh Downs was heating up prior to injury, but he should be healthier coming out of a Week 11 Bye. Downs has demonstrated strong rapport with Gardner Minshew, ripping off four consecutive double-digit fantasy outings before suffering setbacks against Carolina and New England across his last two games. Week 12 brings Tampa Bay's porous pass defense to the Colts, giving Downs a top-four fantasy football matchup to exploit, creating WR2 upside. Then, Downs faces the Titans (8th) and Bengals (16th) in Week 13 and Week 14, so add him onto rosters and insert him as a strong WR3 with WR2 upside into lineups starting in Week 12 against the Buccaneers.
Isaiah Likely (TE - Ravens)
The injury to Mark Andrews opens up a ton of opportunity for second-year tight end Isaiah Likely to put on a strong performance in the upcoming weeks. Likely didn't manage any meaningful fantasy production in Week 11, earning one target and turning it into a five-yard reception, but he did play 49 snaps compared to 11 for Charlie Kolar. Likely scored last season, so we know he's capable of finding the end zone, plus Lamar Jackson likes to target his tight ends, especially in the red zone. The Chargers are a top-two fantasy tight end matchup in Week 12, so don't be afraid to take a chance and plug Likely into lineups off of waivers for a potential TE1 outing on Sunday Night Football. He's at least worth stashing on benches ahead of the Ravens' Week 13 Bye, followed up by another top-eight matchup against the Los Angeles Rams in Week 14.
Kenny Pickett (QB - Steelers)
Yes, not all of Pittsburgh's offensive woes can be blamed on former OC Matt Canada. Kenny Pickett has not looked good in the last few weeks, throwing for 160 yards or less in four consecutive games, while only recording one touchdown during this 2-2 stretch. However, we should invest in the situation Pickett and the Steelers find themselves ahead of a big Week 12 divisional road game against the Bengals. Interim OC Eddie Faulkner has spent time in college and with the Steelers specializing in running backs, tight ends, and special teams. Expect Pickett to be motivated to prove his value without any more scapegoats like Canada to pass blame to. We've seen clutch plays from Pickett, including flashes of arm talent, but the inconsistency and decision-making lately have been less than ideal. The Bengals are a top-12 fantasy football matchup for quarterbacks this season. In 2022, despite playing under Canada, Pickett went 25-42 for 265 yards and one touchdown against the Bengals, finishing with 16 fantasy points. Investing in the urgency of the Steelers' playoff hunt, combined with Pickett's new play caller in a favorable matchup, makes the struggling second-year quarterback worth a flier in most one quarterback leagues. Arizona in Week 13 and Indianapolis in Week 15 are also top-14 matchups for Pickett, which is key for the return of Bye Weeks.
Other Recommended Reads
- 10 Surprising Fantasy Stats Heading Into Week 12
- NFL Power Rankings Week 12
- Black Friday Underdog Fantasy Picks: Dolphins at Jets
Matt is an avid writer and enjoys analyzing the game within the game that is fantasy sports. Music is another constant in his daily life. Matt loves spending time with his fiancé and three pets, which typically involves some type of outdoor exercise or adventure. He likes to read, listen to Podcasts, and is constantly motivated to create the most accurate and engaging content in the fantasy sports industry. Pat McAfee is a massive inspiration to Matt, along with his parents and friends. He is guilty of ordering the same menu item at restaurants.