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FANTASY FOOTBALL: Studs, duds, sleepers Thanksgiving weekend edition

10:40 AM, Nov 21, 2012   |    comments
Chad Henne had a monster performance in week 11, but are you willing to gamble he’ll repeat it in week 12? (Courtesy: US Presswire)
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There is plenty to be thankful for heading into Week 12, including the fact that bye weeks are in the rearview for good. A few regular studly names are likely to keep you smiling as you stuff your face this week.

Studs

QB Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons: Matty Ice has cooled off of late, and he's averaged exactly one touchdown per game in the last month. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will help him get back on track, though. They allow the sixth-most points to quarterbacks (21.3) and a league-worst 323 yards a game.

RB Marshawn Lynch, Seattle Seahawks: Lynch is a workaholic in Seattle's offense, mainly in order to take pressure off rookie slinger Russell Wilson. Lynch is second in the NFL in carries (212), behind only Arian Foster (249). The once-respectable Dolphins' defense is suddenly vulnerable, too -- averaging over 100 yards rushing and 5.33 receptions a game to backs over the past three weeks.

WR A.J. Green, Cincinnati Bengals: This one is a no-brainer. Oakland's secondary has been shredded in recent weeks, and Andy Dalton is more than capable of dissecting even a mediocre defense. Green's size and athleticism makes him a weapon every week, but this week he'll feast on Silver and Black.

TE Jason Witten, Dallas Cowboys: After Witten's eye-popping 22-target Week 8, he's seen at least eight looks in the last three weeks. Those numbers are additionally appetizing with Washington allowing the most receptions to tight ends (6.40) in the league. The dinner bell is ringing and Witten will come calling.

WR Danny Amendola, St. Louis Rams: Amendola regressed a bit last week after going for 102 yards in his first game since returning from injury. He was still targeted 11 times in Week 11, though, and expect double-digit looks to continue. Arizona is allowing 24.5 points, 161.5 yards and 1.50 touchdowns per game to wideouts in the past month.

Duds

RB Trent Richardson, Cleveland Browns: The rookie tandem of Richardson and QB Brandon Weeden has been a pleasant surprise. However, they're about to run into the brick wall that is the Pittsburgh Steelers defense. The Steelers have yielded only 13 fantasy points a game to backs in standard scoring. Don't expect much offense from the Browns in this one.

TE Heath Miller, Pittsburgh Steelers: Miller had a season-low two grabs with Byron Leftwich running the show last week. Expect a continued lack of production with anyone other than Big Ben under center. The Steelers figure to lean heavily on the running game against Cleveland, too.

QB Matt Schaub, Houston Texans: It would be hard for Schaub to avoid placement in this section coming off a 43-completion, 527-yard, five-touchdown day. The Texans have avoided using Schaub through the air as much as possible: Before last week, he hadn't attempted over 37 passes or thrown for more than 300 yards in any contest.

WR Vincent Jackson, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: V-Jax has had a fine first season with the Bucs, and he's been held out of the end zone in only four games. There's a good chance the Falcons make that five. Atlanta has been able to keep opposing receivers in check, so Week 12 could end up being the Doug Martin show.

RB Mikel Leshoure, Detroit Lions: Detroit will struggle to run the pigskin on Turkey Day. Houston is allowing the fewest points to running backs (9.3) and a measly 74.5 yards per game. It clearly looks like more famine than feast for Leshoure.

Sleepers

WR Kendall Wright, Tennessee Titans: As Schaub showed last week, the Jaguars struggle to stop aerial assaults. This week, they'll also have to account for a resurgent Chris Johnson. Wright saw more targets early in the year from Jake Locker, and the two youngsters could gain more chemistry down the stretch.

QB Chad Henne, Jacksonville Jaguars: Can he keep it up? For the rest of the season, unlikely, but the Titans present a decent opportunity to allow Henne to at least hold off Blaine Gabbert (elbow) for another week. Tennessee hands opposing QBs 20.6 fantasy points per game to go along with 276.1 yards and 2.00 touchdowns.

TE Tony Moeaki, Kansas City Chiefs: It's tough to endorse Chiefs players these days, especially when facing off against a very stiff Denver Broncos defense. However, the Broncos' one glaring weak spot is the TE; they allow the most fantasy points to the position (10.7) per game by surrendering 5.70 receptions and 66.6 yards. Mr. Checkdown Brady Quinn is a realistic option to start, meaning Moeaki's prospects look good for consistent targets.

RB JonathanStewart, Carolina Panthers: J-Stew - and any of the Carolina backs for that matter - have been frustrating plays all season. Despite dealing with an ankle injury last week, though, Stewart scored his second touchdown and had his second-most carries (15). He faces a Philly defense that has been chewed up on the ground in the last month (18 fantasy points, 107.3 yards a game).

Carolina Panthers defense: The Philadelphia Eagles are a hot mess right now. Their offensive line stinks, their biggest playmaker, LeSean McCoy (concussion), may not suit up and they have a rookie quarterback at the helm. Nick Foles tossed two interceptions, was sacked four times and fumbled three times last week. It's a good week to pick up and ride the Panthers.

USA Today

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