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Patriots fantasy football week 12: Start & sit

Time to grind out the home stretch and lock up your playoff spot.

New England Patriots v Tennessee Titans Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

For most of you guys this week, it’s time to put up or shut up.

Unless you’re either undefeated or a one-loss team at this point, this one’s to stay alive in the playoff hunt. Also, if you are undefeated, odds are you either play in a league of casuals, or you just drafted the entire Kansas City Chiefs roster. Which, if so, your boldness should be respected.

Although if you did draft all the Chiefs, you’re most likely already writing this week off as an L, since they’re on bye. That’s the price you pay for your Faustian pact with the second-best barbecue city in the country.

All right, enough nonsense, we’re all jonesing to get back to Patriots football this week, and odds are you’ve got at least a few Patriots in your lineup. New England’s also coming off that teabagging in Music City USA that, as bad as it was in real life, actually turned out to be a halfway decent day for a few Pats, fantasy-wise.

Oh, and it’s Jets week. In Jersey. The Jets D/ST is actually the 14th-ranked unit in fantasy as of right now, so don’t give them the credit of being the Jets of the early ‘10s. Like they say in that Ataris cover of the Boys of Summer, those days are gone forever, you should just let ‘em go.

As we do, let’s start with the running backs.

(FYI, for positional rankings, I’m going off Fantasy Pros, which aggregates a whole bunch of expert rankings. You probably knew that already, and if you didn’t, congrats, Pats Pulpit just made you smarter. You’re welcome.)

Running Backs

James White, RB

Standard Scoring Rank this week: 17th in running backs

PPR Scoring Rank this week: 9th in running backs

One of the great simple pleasures this season if you were lucky/smart enough (AHEM *points to myself*) to draft James White has been checking your scores after the Pats wrap up and seeing something like this:

8 attempts, 15 rushing yards, 15 points.

Those sweet, sweet receiving yards from Sweet Feet. They add up. Quicker than a bar tab, I might add. This is the James White that put the Pats on his back in the Super Bowl and has earned every dime of his post-28-3 contract extension as an all-around offensive weapon. Even if White only gets a half-dozen carries a game, his Rocky-montage training has turned him into just as trusted of a threat as Kevin Faulk back in the day. Did we mention he’s actually the 9th-highest scoring RB in fantasy this year? I don’t need to tell you to start him. You’re smart enough to know that. And you know what? You’re pretty darn good-looking too!

Sony Michel, RB

Standard Scoring Rank this week: 19th in running backs

PPR Scoring Rank this week: 19th in running backs

You know what those rankings tell you? The experts don’t think Sony’s gonna be catching balls like Matt Forte out there, and that’s OK. After a lot of us thought New England rushed him back from injury last week, Michel coming off a bye will be a sight for sore eyes for some of you that probably spent a high draft pick on him and may have been struggling and playing backup scrubs while Sony rested up. Unless you’re like one guy in one of my leagues that drafted Leonard Fournette, Kareem Hunt, AND Ezekiel Elliott, Michel’s probably one of the best shots you have, so take the reinforcements with a smile.

Rex Burkhead, RB

Not eligible to play this week because of IR rules. Don’t be fooled just cause he practiced this week.

Wide Receivers

Julian Edelman, WR

Standard Scoring Rank this week: 15th in wide receivers

PPR Scoring Rank this week: 12th in wide receivers

There’s really two types of fantasy players at the end of the day: ones that live and die by the boom or bust players, and those of us that value consistency over, say, 25 points from DeSean Jackson one week and 2 the next. You want consistency? Check out Jules’ stat line since he came back in week 5:

5.7 points vs the Colts

12.1 points vs the Chiefs

9.6 points vs the Bears

11.7 points vs the Bills

11.4 points vs the Packers

10.6 points vs the Titans

Edelman is matchup-proof at this point, and while the odds of him breaking off a 20-point game are somewhere between slim and none, 10 basically guaranteed points a week is nothing to sneeze at.

Josh Gordon, WR

Standard Scoring Ranking this week: 14th in wide receivers

PPR Scoring Ranking this week: 17th in wide receivers

Hey, did someone say “boom or bust!”

That’s what everyone thinks Flash is, right? The jump-ball dude, the long bomb guy, the one that when the Patriots traded what we here at the Pulpit like to call a bag of peanuts everyone went “OF COURSE THEY DID”? This may surprise you: Gordon’s hit double-digit points in 3 of his last 6 games, and he even racked up 8 points in that miserable Titans game.

Also, with the Patriots having 2 wide receivers AND 2 running backs ranked top-20 at their positions this week, everyone’s pretty clearly expecting this one to get out of hand pretty quickly.

Cordarrelle Patterson, WR (sort of?)

Standard Scoring Ranking this week: 95th in wide receivers

PPR Scoring Ranking this week: 94th

According to our pint-size pal Field Yates, you can now play Patterson at wide receiver OR running back....

....which, that being said, if you’re doing either of those things, odds are things are not looking great for you at the moment. Our condolences.

Aside from the Miami and Green Bay games, Patterson’s only gone above 4 points once. You’re (hopefully) better than this.

Chris Hogan, WR

Standard Scoring Ranking this week: 73rd in wide receivers

PPR Scoring Ranking this week: 74th in wide receivers

Hahahaha, good one. Nope.

Phillip Dorsett, WR

Standard Scoring Ranking this week: below 100 and I’m too lazy to see how much lower

PPR Scoring Ranking this week: see above

Like the highlights-machine Twitter feed of Fear the Beard says, #FreePhillipDorsett. Till then, you shouldn’t even be thinking about this.

Tight End

Rob Gronkowski, TE

Standard Scoring Ranking this week: 3rd in tight ends

PPR Scoring Ranking this week: 5th in tight ends

Here’s how much of a wasteland the tight end position is in fantasy these days: Gronk hasn’t played in 3 weeks (counting the bye), clearly wasn’t himself before sitting a few weeks out, put up zero fantasy points against the Bears, and has hit double-digit points just once all year.

He’s still the 13th-highest scoring tight end in all of fantasy.

Go ahead and play him, cause New England wouldn’t be putting him out there if they weren’t confident he can resume doing Gronk things. GRONK READY.

Dwayne Allen, TE

Dwayne’s out this week, so save your how-many-points-is-blocking-worth jokes for another day.


Tom Brady, QB

Standard Scoring Ranking this week: 9th in quarterbacks

OK, yes, I saved this until last on purpose, because if the last few weeks are any indication, this year’s Festivus is going to have a full airing of grievances when it comes to TB12. Here’s the deal: unless you picked up someone like Mitchell Trubisky (who’s out this week anyway), you most likely don’t have anyone better. Brady hasn’t been his normal top-5 fantasy badass lately, but it’s worth noting, like our fearless leader Bernd Buchmasser did earlier this week, that Brady’s almost never had Gronkowski, White, Edelman, Michel, and Gordon on the field at the same time this year. Think about that like the scene in Deadpool where they’re shoving clips of ammo into Wade’s Hello Kitty backpack:

“That’s about 3,000 rounds”

“Well, we all know what I can do with 12”

(Warning: *extremely* NSFW)

And if we’re lucky, what the Patriots will do to the Jets on Sunday afternoon will be extremely NSFW as well.

Good luck and enjoy the game.