By Jay Hathaway, FFC Columnist
Hey there again, fellow fantasy dorks! We are now fully all up in week 12, which means for many of you that playoffs are right around the corner, and for others, well, I dunno, go outside and do something productive. I myself have a few teams that aren't going to be around much longer, so I have been trying to pay more attention to my 5-5ish teams, making last minute desperation moves in order to make the final cut. For example, I was severely lacking at RB for one team a couple of weeks ago, so I took a chance on Pats RB Benjarvus Green-Ellis while Sammy Morris was out, and it paid off, until last week, when my benched and forgotten Kevin Faulk got most of the run work. Very annoying. Anyway, I've dropped 'em both now in favor of Bucs RB Warrick Dunn, being that Earnest Graham is done for the season. Also, I can finally start Detroit RB Kevin Smith to fill in some voids as well. It only took 10 weeks for him to get going. Luckily, patience is one of my better virtues.
Anyway, I give you my rundown of week 12, from who to sit and start, to who to look for on waivers, to those who delighted/pissed me off last week. Why do I do all of this for you? Because I care. It's a tough job, but some schmuck has to do it, and I am that schmuck.
Thursday Night Preview
Thursdays are a bit of a sore subject with me, mostly because I can't get the NFL network through my @#&!ing cable company. For the $130 I give them a month, you'd think they'd throw me a bone, but no. Sigh. Anyway, I don't see this being a high scoring affair, but I do expect Steelers RB Willie Parker to regain some of that week 1 form against the Bengals. Nothing huge, just a decent night. Also, for those of you who were riding the Mewelde Moore train, I think this is your last stop. Please bench him in an orderly fashion. For those who have been desperately hanging on to Big Ben, you may finally get some points as well, with points being split between WRs Hines Ward and Santonio "I did inhale" Holmes. Pittsburgh's D/ST might also be a good play.
On the Bengals side, well, those of you who own Chad Johnson know what to do. I think WR TJ Houshmanzedeh may put up 60 rec. yards, and maybe a TD. RB Cedric Benson will have some carries, but don't look for a blockbuster performance. If you have QB Ryan Fitzpatrick starting, you just need to quit fantasy football and go rethink your life.
My score prediction: PIT 24 - CIN 10
Week 11 Gamers
Matt Cassel, QB, NE - What a ridiculous performance! TDs, passing yards, and 60+ rush yards for good measure! And most of you had him benched, didn't you?
Justin Gage, WR, TEN - So someone finally got ahead of the Titans and slowed down the flash n' bang run game. No problem, says QB Kerry Collins. This ain't his first rodeo, cowboy. Collins looked like he was still back at Penn State 50 years ago, hitting Gage for 147 yards and 2 TDs.
Shaun Hill, QB, SF - The newly first string Frisco QB had himself a gem of a game, hitting 2 TD passes as well as a rushing TD for himself. You've gotta love Coach Mike Singeltary's "win or I will punch you in the face and possibly take off my pants again" system of motivation.
Week 11 Shamers
Terrell Owens, WR, DAL - Again. No further elaboration needed. If you've got him, you know exactly what I'm saying.
Santana Moss, WR, WAS - Seriously, bro. I put a lot of faith in you. You let me down again. What's that? You're sorry? OK, I forgive you, man.
Starts and Pick-ups
Warrick Dunn, RB, TB - He may still be out there. Go get him and start him with big confidence against the Lions. You'll thank me later.
Marshawn Lynch, RB, BUF - He ran like a freight train last week, against a decent Browns defense. Think what he will do against the league-worst Chiefs run D. Since QB Trent Edwards seems a bit unsure of himself lately, the Bills ground game will be huge.
Justin Fargas, RB, OAK - Fargas is way overdue for a big day, and he faces Denver this week, followed by KC, followed by San Diego. Now is the time to use him if you are lacking a good RB option.
Ted Ginn, Jr., WR, MIA - I think I'm finally sold on the kid. His schedule the rest of the way has some weak opponents. He just might be a playoff sleeper. Go get him.
Sits and Drops
Tyler Thigpen, QB, KC - By all means, hang on to him, but take caution in starting him this week unless he's all you've got going in the QB slot. I just get that feeling that this isn't his week. But more blue skies are ahead, as Oakland and Denver are on young Thigpen's horizon.
Brett Favre, QB, NYJ - Sure, the Jets are riding high and confident, as they should be, but the Titans are looking to drop a whole lot of rain on Favre's parade. This is a great week to sit Brett.
Vincent Jackson, WR, SD - Chris Chambers is back, so if you haven't benched or dropped Jackson by now, get to it. There are bound to be better options out there.
Good luck, kids. Here's to a great playoff run! (raise that can of beer!) I leave you with my score projections for week 12. Swami's got nothing on me.
PIT 24 - CIN 10
TB 30 - DET 24
TEN 28 - NYJ 24
BUF 34 - KC 17
STL 21 - CHI 20 (upset pick)
NE 30 - MIA 24
JAC 21 - MIN 17
BAL 24 - PHI 10
CLE 21 - HOU 20
DAL 28 - SF 24
DEN 35 - OAK 21
WAS 21 - SEA 17
ARI 24 - NYG 21
ATL 28 - CAR 27
SD 30 - IND 28
NO 33 - GB 30