Fantasy football start ’em, sit ’em: Week 12

Check out the starts and sits in fantasy football for Week 12.

Thanksgiving has come and gone, which means we were able to stuff our faces with food and show gratitude as we tilt our faces off with three games to begin the week. There’s no other way fantasy football managers would want it in Week 12.

Though no teams are on a bye, this week is a bit unique with the three games being played Thursday. Now, fantasy managers have the tough decisions to make with the remaining games left in Week 12.

Doing start/sit articles can be a little challenging. The players featured on the list below should not be taken as “must starts” or “must sits.” Instead, these are more suggestions on what we believe managers should do with fringe players heading into the weekend. The choice is ultimately up to the manager.

Just because a player is listed as a “start” doesn’t mean he should be put in the lineup over the secure, bona fide studs. Vice versa for the “sits.” If there’s no better option on the waiver wire or the bench, a manager shouldn’t automatically sit the player. That’s why these can be tricky waters to navigate.

You also can check out our start and sit bench list for Week 12:

5 Falcons to watch in Week 12 vs. Commanders

We’ve picked five Falcons to watch for Sunday’s game against the Commanders.

The Washington Commanders [6-5] host the Atlanta Falcons [5-6] Sunday from FedEx Field in a battle with potential playoff implications.

Washington currently sits a half-game out of the final playoff spot, currently occupied by the Seattle Seahawks. The Falcons are a half-game behind the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for first place in the NFC South.

Atlanta enters Sunday’s game without one of its top offensive players. Second-year tight end Kyle Pitts was placed on injured reserve with a knee injury after last week’s win over the Chicago Bears.

With Pitts out, who are some of the other Falcons that Washington should be concerned with in Week 12?

We’ve named five Falcons to watch for Sunday’s game.

Watch: Falcons QB Marcus Mariota finds Drake London in the end zone

Falcons Highlights: Marcus Mariota found Drake London in the end zone to give Atlanta a 7-0 lead over Chicago in the first quarter

After seeing NFL analysts speculate about his job for the past 10 days, Falcons QB Marcus Mariota marched the offense down the field on their opening drive and capped it off with a touchdown pass to rookie WR Drake London.

With nowhere to go with the ball initially, Mariota extended the play by rolling out to his left and finding London in the back of the end zone. The touchdown gave the Falcons a 7-0 lead over the Bears in the first quarter.

Chicago has since tied the game at seven.

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Falcons have two of PFF’s highest-graded rookies after 10 weeks

The Falcons have two of Pro Football Focus’ 10 highest-graded rookie players through the first ten weeks of the season.

After 10 games, the Atlanta Falcons have to be pleased with their 2022 draft class. With Drake London, Troy Andersen, Arnold Ebiketie and DeAngelo Malone all contributing, the future looks bright for this year’s crop of rookies.

Even Pro Football Focus approves of Atlanta’s draft class, ranking two Falcons players in their top 10. Here are PFF’s 10 highest-graded rookies after 10 weeks.

5 Falcons players to watch vs. the Bears

Here are the Falcons players we’ll be watching for when they face the Bears this weekend.

The Chicago Bears travel south to take on the Atlanta Falcons for their Week 11 matchup. The Bears (3-7) are looking to snap a three-game losing streak despite scoring more than 29 points in each of their losses. The Falcons (4-6) are also riding a losing streak, but are still within striking distance of the division lead and look to get back on track.

It will be a reunion of sorts for these two teams. Many former Bears players, coaches, and even front office members are now with the Falcons, including a couple starters. See which former Bears are worth keeping an eye on this weekend as we pick out five Falcons players to watch when these teams meet up.

Drake London scores Falcons’ first TD of the night vs. Panthers

After some truly bad offense in the first half, the Falcons finally scored a TD when Mariota found Drake London in the back of the end zone

After some truly bad offense in the first half, the Atlanta Falcons finally managed to score a touchdown in the third quarter of Thursday’s game against the Carolina Panthers.

Quarterback Marcus Mariota found rookie WR Drake London in the back of the end zone to cut Carolina’s lead to four points. Falcons kicker Younghoe Koo would miss the ensuing extra point.

The Panthers quickly responded with a touchdown of their own to take a 19-9 lead over Atlanta.

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5 bold predictions for the Falcons’ TNF matchup vs. the Panthers

Falcons vs. Panthers: 5 bold predictions for Thursday night’s NFC South showdown

The Atlanta Falcons can get their season back on track with a win over the Carolina Panthers in Week 10. Thursday night’s prime-time matchup will give the rest of the country a chance to see the Falcons try to reclaim first place in the NFC South.

Atlanta is currently a 2.5-point favorite over Carolina, but the Falcons secondary is banged up and left tackle Jake Matthews’ status is in doubt.

Here are five bold predictions for Thursday night’s game in Charlotte.

Everything to know from Chargers’ thrilling win over Falcons

Highlighting all the important stuff from the Chargers’ Week 9 victory over the Falcons.

You might’ve heard me say this before, but it wouldn’t be a Chargers win without doing so in nail-biting fashion.

And that’s what happened at Mercedes Benz Stadium on Sunday, as Los Angeles squeaked out a victory over the Falcons.

To recap the Bolts’ 20-17 win, here is everything to know.

Chargers vs. Falcons: 5 storylines to follow in Week 9

Here are five important things to watch during the Chargers’ matchup with the Falcons.

The Chargers return to the field after their bye week, as they’re on the road set to take on the Falcons.

Here are five storylines to watch for Sunday’s matchup.

Doing with what they got

The storyline leading to the trade deadline was if the Chargers were going to trade for a receiver, given that their top three at the position had been dealing with their perspective injuries and lacked speed. They did not.

Keenan Allen is out after he reaggravated his hamstring during the bye week. Mike Williams is out for the next few weeks with a high ankle sprain. Josh Palmer, who was out in Week 7 with a concussion, will play.

That leaves Palmer as the No. 1 wideout. DeAndre Carter is questionable. Behind them, it’s Michael Bandy, Jason Moore, and Keelan Doss, who was promoted from the practice squad.

While they are limited at the position, the Bolts could possibly get by, considering the Falcons are 30th in pass defense DVOA. They will be without starting cornerbacks Casey Hayward and A.J. Terrell.

How is Herbert?

Justin Herbert has not been the same since he injured his ribs against the Chiefs, and he will be dealing with this injury in some capacity for the remainder of the season. But when he takes the field on Sunday, it will be nearly two months since he fractured his ribs.

Therefore, it’s worth monitoring if Herbert can finally establish some comfortability in how he’s playing, whether it be taking hits, moving around inside and outside the pocket, and trusting his receivers to make throws down the field more often than not.

Can the run game come to life?

The Chargers have been inconsistent on the ground and are 28th in rushing offense DVOA. But, again, injuries have been a significant factor.

They have been without Rashawn Slater, who ruptured his biceps. Corey Linsley has been healthy for only three games. Trey Pipkins has been playing with a sprained MCL. The tight ends have been inconsistent as blockers. Further, they’re missing their most productive rusher in Joshua Kelley.

But something will eventually have to give if they want to avoid their offense from being so inefficient.

Austin Ekeler has been good, but he’s been more active in the passing game. Sony Michel has been effective as a short-yardage specialist but nothing more. Rookie Isaiah Spiller deserves more looks at this point, even if it means sacrificing his snaps as a pass blocker.

Finding the EDGE

Another position that the Chargers are very thin is edge defender. Joey Bosa has been out with a groin injury. But they will also be without Chris Rumph II, who has a sprained MCL.

Los Angeles will turn to Kyle Van Noy to start opposite Khalil Mack, with Derek Tuszka and recently acquired Jeremiah Attaochu serving as the rotational edge defenders.

After moving across the field, Van Noy will be a mainstay off the edge for at least the next couple of weeks. He is coming off his best pass-rushing performance so far, as he had four pressures against the Seahawks.

Eliminate the explosive plays

The Chargers have given up the sixth-most explosive plays of any defense in the NFL with 55 — 18 rushes and 37 passes. The big carries have come from not being gap-sound up front and defenders taking bad angles and missing tackles in open space. And there have been far too many busted coverages.

The Falcons have one of the better offensive units, ranking No. 10 in rushing offense DVOA. Further, they run a lot of play-action off the running game, where wide receiver Drake London and tight end Kyle Pitts each have six explosive receptions.

5 key things to know about Chargers’ Week 9 opponent: Falcons

To get you prepped for the Chargers’ Week 9 matchup with the Falcons, here are some important things to know about them.

Fresh off their bye week, the Chargers travel to meet with the Falcons on Nov. 6 at 11:00 am PT.

To get you prepped for the Week 9 bout, here are five key things to know about Los Angeles’ opponent ahead of the matchup.

New guy under center

The Falcons signed Marcus Mariota this offseason after trading away Matt Ryan to the Colts. Up to this point in the season, Mariota has been serviceable for Atlanta. Mariota has thrown for 1,432 yards, ten touchdowns and six interceptions with a passer rating of 92.7. But in the last three games, he’s had a passer rating of over 100. While he’s passed the ball well in recent weeks, Mariota has made his money running in the ball. He has 55 carries for 280 yards and three scores this season.

Cordarrelle could be back

The Falcons designated Cordarrelle Patterson to return to practice after he was placed on the injured reserve after Week 4. Before he went on the IR, Patterson was fourth in the NFL in rushing (340 yards). Patterson had a career year in 2021, leading Atlanta in rushing (618 yards), in touchdowns (11) and finishing third in receiving (548 yards). The 10-year veteran brings a unique skill set as he spent the first eight years as a wide receiver.

One-two punch

Even though the Falcons have missed their best guy in the backfield, they still got plenty of production on the ground with rookie Tyler Allgeier and second-year Caleb Huntley. Allgeier has 324 rushing yards, 3.9 yards per attempt and a touchdown. Meanwhile, Huntley is averaging 4.6 yards per carry, and has forced 13 missed tackles. Allgeier and Huntley establishing themselves as productive backs could also allow the Falcons to move Patterson around more if he returns.

Imposing presences along the interior

The Falcons’ defensive line has some studs up front with Grady Jarrett and emerging star Ta’Quon Graham. Jarrett has 25 pressures, 15 hurries and five sacks. Graham, on the other hand, has 12 pressures and the second-most quarterback hits (six). But along with their high-level ability to get after the passer, the two are forces against the run.

Suspect secondary

The Falcons could be heading into this week without some key pieces in the defensive backfield, starting cornerbacks Casey Hayward and A.J. Terrell. Hayward is on the injured reserve with a shoulder injury. Terrell remained out of practice on Wednesday or Thursday with a hamstring injury. If Terrell is out, Atlanta will field second-year Darren Hall and recently acquired via trade from the Chiefs, Rashad Fenton. Heading into Week 9, the Falcons have one of the league’s worst passing defenses, allowing the most yards per game (306.9), the second-most yards per attempt (7.7) and the third-most touchdowns (14).