The premise behind this article is simple. Identifying fantasy football land mines — a guy you’re probably thinking about starting, but here’s why he might be a land mine that explodes your starting lineup — for the upcoming week.
Proceed with caution, and don’t be afraid to pivot to another option — preferably a higher-ranked option from my Week 12 fantasy football rankings.
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Alvin Kamara (RB – NO)Alvin Kamara has been seeing all the backfield opportunities for the Saints over the last 3 weeks, seeing opportunity shares of 76%, 92% and 89%.
However, the usage has translated into just 29 carries for 98 rushing yards (9 for 33 per game) and 13 targets for 10 catches and 98 receiving yards.
He hasn’t scored over that span amid matchups against defenses that all rank top-7 in the fewest rushing yards allowed per game.
His fantasy prospects won’t get easier versus the San Francisco 49ers defense in Week 12.
They rank first in the fewest rushing yards allowed and second in the fewest fantasy points allowed per game to running backs.
Per PFF’s OL/DL matchup chart, no offensive line is at a bigger disadvantage than the Saints when they decide to run the football.
SF also ranks 1st in DVOA versus running backs in the passing game.
Samaje Perine (RB – CIN)Samaje Perine
stepped up BIG for an injured Joe Mixon to the tune of 3 receiving TDs. He finished the game with 11 carries for 30 yards, in addition to 4 catches for 52 yards (including the 3 scores).
70% snap share. 55% route participation. 11% target share.
As a popular waiver wire pickup with Mixon potentially out due to a head injury, Perine might be in a lot of starting lineups.
However, it will be a very tough matchup versus the Titans in Week 12.
Their defense ranks second in the fewest rushing yards allowed per game to RBs (65) and first in the fewest rushes per game faced inside the 5-yard (3.0). They also rank second in the fewest rushing yards allowed before contact per attempt.
Don’t anticipate Perine to do much of anything (especially scoring) on the ground in this brutal matchup.
The Titans have allowed the league’s lowest rushing TD rate (9.5%) and faced the league’s highest pass rate.
Ergo, the Bengals are much more likely to let Joe Burrow sling it after they finished Week 12 at +9% in pass rate over expectation. Especially if Ja’Marr Chase comes back.
Perine figures to offer something as a receiver – Titans have allowed most targets to RBs per game this season – but expecting him to score multiple times is extremely bullish.
Dameon Pierce (RB – HOU)
Another tough matchup for Dameon Pierce
The Dolphins are allowing just 3.7 yards per carry to opposing RBs (2nd-best)
Since Week 6, they have allowed just 70 rushing yards per game.
Pierce still has a solid floor because of the volume he will earn –
no other Texans RB had a carry in Week 11 – but his ceiling is likely pretty limited.
The Texans are 12.5-road underdogs.
Cordarrelle Patterson (RB – ATL)
. That boy FAST. Not only did he lead the Falcons backfield in carries (10 for 52) but he scored a kick return TD, breaking the record previously held by Josh Cribbs.
C-Patt totaled 12 touches (2 targets, 49% snap share) toTyler Allgeier
‘s 9 (1 target, 55% snap share).
However, Patterson’s opportunity share of 52% and 42% route participation (same as Allgeier) wasn’t great so I’d strongly consider fading him because his efficient play without backed-up volume will give him a dangerously low fantasy floor. Marcus Mariota is always a threat to take TDs in the red zone, making Patterson that much tougher to rely on weekly.
His matchup versus Washington is also brutal. The Commanders rank first in run defense EPA.
Christian Watson (WR – GB)Christian Watson
does it AGAIN. The Packers rookie wide receiver followed-up his three-touchdown performance with two more scores in Week 11. His usage was similar to the week prior, running as the No. 2 WR – 78% route participation.
But Allen Lazard ran the most routes (98%) and dominated the opportunities. He saw a 30% target share (11) and 165 air yards (46%), the most in Week 11.
returned from IR and was immediately thrown into a big role. 65% route participation catching all 6 of his targets for 73 yards. He saw as many targets as Watson despite running fewer routes.
The fact that Cobb (88%) and Lazard (40%) both play more snaps from the slot than Watson (20%) will prove problematic versus the Eagles.
The Eagles rank 7th-best vs boundary WRs on the season.
In the four games they have played without starting slot cornerback Avonte Maddox , the Eagles have allowed an average of just 8.9 fantasy points per game allowed to the perimeter. That would rank 4th-best compared to season-long rankings.
At the same time, they have been roasted from the slot without Maddox…to the tune of 23 fantasy points per game. That would rank 5th-worst based on season-long averages.
Curtis Samuel (WR – WAS)Curtis Samuel earned just 2 targets and caught 1 pass for 10 yards in Week 11. But he scored a rushing TD. But be aware that rookie Jahan Dotson leap-frogged him in snaps and routes run. In his last four games, Samuel is averaging just 3.5 targets.
George Kittle (TE – SF)
The New Orleans defense is a “no-fly-zone” for tight ends.
No. 2 in fewest fantasy points against, despite facing 7 targets per game to the position
53.2% catch rate allowed ranks 1st. No. 1 in DVOA versus the position. George Kittle doesn’t have the projected volume or efficiency metrics to overcome the matchup
Over the last two weeks, Kittle has just a 14% target share, which puts him fourth in the target pecking order among the 49ers elite group of pass-catchers.
The burly tight end’s 1.77 yards per route run is his lowest average since his rookie season.
If you want to dive deeper into fantasy football, be sure to check out our award-winning slate of Fantasy Football Tools as you navigate your season. From our Start/Sit Assistant – which provides your optimal lineup based on accurate consensus projections – to our Waiver Wire Assistant – which allows you to quickly see which available players will improve your team and by how much – we’ve got you covered this fantasy football season.