HomeThe ShuffleNFL Week 12: 6 Players to Watch

NFL Week 12: 6 Players to Watch

During the NFL regular season, some underrated players stepped into elite roles, while a few stars had slower seasons. Whether you’re a fantasy football GM or a player prop frequenter, here are the biggest names to watch heading into Week 12.

Heading into the end of the NFL regular season, let’s look at six players who dominated this year and size up their prospects for Week 12.

We’ll start with the MVP favorites. Three quarterbacks stand out as top dogs at this point.

  • First, Deshaun Watson. The former Clemson University star QB has improved greatly throughout his young NFL career and seems near his peak this season. Watson is third in the MVP race at minimum right now, but not necessarily due to his own play. His Houston Texans have a 6–4 record despite Watson’s 2,601 passing yards to go along with an 18-6 TD-INT ratio and a 103.3 passer rating. The Texans will host the Indianapolis Colts and the team’s solid defense this week, but look for Watson to continue his strong play in a very winnable game.
  • Russell Wilson has spent most of the 2019 season as the MVP favorite. After an unbelievable start, the Seattle Seahawks QB came back to earth in three of the past four weeks, allowing the rest of the field to catch up. He’ll face a recovering but still weak Philadelphia Eagles secondary this week. Expect him to light up the stat sheet and get back on his pre-established pace.
  • Then there’s Lamar Jackson, QB for the Baltimore Ravens. The former Heisman Trophy winner has beaten the two aforementioned studs as well as perhaps the greatest to ever play the position, the New England Patriots’ Tom Brady—and all in the past four weeks. Jackson has taken the league by storm and moved himself into pole position in the MVP odds. No one can slow him down right now, and it doesn’t seem likely the struggling LA Rams will change that. Buy any and all stock left on LJ.

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Outside the MVP race and QB position, there are a few other players definitely worth keeping an eye on heading into this weekend. Unfortunately, we’re going to start by picking on Carolina. The Panthers’ defense has been struggling lately, and they’re getting ready to head to New Orleans to face the Saints, a team that just got its offensive firepower back.

  • One Saints player to watch in this matchup won’t come as a surprise. Michael Thomas has been the best wide receiver in the NFL, statistically and consistently, this season. Even without future Hall of Fame QB Drew Brees for a good chunk of the season, Thomas put up no fewer than 16 fantasy points in a game this year. He’s been targeted fewer than eight times in a game once this year, so the volume and production have both been consistently elite. With the Saints’ offense finally back to full strength, expect Thomas to go off this week and for the remainder of the 2019 campaign.
  • Thomas’ fellow offensive weapon Alvin Kamara is another big name to look out for this week. Kamara has been a top-tier, dual-threat running back ever since he arrived in the league a few years ago, but in 2019 had to deal with the injury bug. He’s missed two games and been limited in two more, cutting deeply into his usual workload. But Kamara is back and he’s healthy. Against the previously mentioned struggling Carolina defense, he should receive plenty of carries as well as targets, making for a big Week 12.
  • One final player of note this Sunday: the Atlanta Falcons’ WR Julio Jones. It’s been a strange year for the Falcons, and for Jones. The team has greatly underachieved, and the longtime star receiver’s workload has consequently taken a hit. Recently, however, the Atlanta offense has started to pick it back up, and Jones has benefitted from this trend. He made 33 catches in his past five games for 523 yards, returning to his usual target share. Watch him to maintain the trend this week against one of the league’s worst defenses in Tampa Bay. Expect a huge day out of Jones.

A total of 1,378 players will be active in this week’s games. We say pay attention to these six. This season, the spotlight shone brightest on individuals, and this has become the way to watch the NFL. Don’t expect it to change any time soon.

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Justin Epifanio is a sports journalist who studied TV and digital media at Montclair State University, and majored in sports broadcasting and journalism. Justin is a sportsbook writer at Rivers Casino Philadelphia (formerly SugarHouse). In addition to sportsquare, Justin has contributed to online publications including WiredJersey.com, SportsArePhilly.com and Great.com.

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