Start Em Sit Em

NFL Fantasy 2022 Start 'Em, Sit 'Em Week 12: Wide receivers

You have lineup questions. We have answers. At least we hope. Start 'Em & Sit 'Em has helped fantasy managers for years make those pressing lineup decisions. And you know what is a good decision? Starting Patrick Mahomes. But that's too obvious, so you won't see that here. Instead here are some of the most-pressing questions. And, if you can't find a player you are looking for, please check out latest NFL Fantasy lineup rankings right here.

Start 'Em

Amon-Ra St. Brown
Detroit Lions · WR
Buffalo Bills
2022 · 7-3-0

St. Brown has seen at least eight targets in four straight games. He has a 38% target share in three games without T.J. Hockenson -- the second-highest in the NFL in that span behind only Davante Adams (40%). St. Brown scored at least 15 fantasy points in two straight games. Plus, his schedule is about to open up in a big way. He faces three teams in the top nine in terms of fantasy points allowed to receivers in the last month. Some fantasy managers might be scared when they see a matchup against the Bills, but I promise you, don’t be. In the past month, the Bills have allowed 36.6 fantasy PPG to receivers, which ranks ninth in the NFL in that span. Buffalo has been beaten badly by Justin Jefferson and the duo of Amari Cooper and Donovan Peoples-Jones. The Bills are very banged up, and it has shown, leading to a bunch of fantasy points for opposing receivers as of late. Plus, this could easily be a game where the Bills jump out to a lead, and the Lions have to pass, which means more safe volume for the Sun God. Continue to ride with St. Brown.  

Terry McLaurin
Washington Commanders · WR
Atlanta Falcons
2022 · 5-6-0

McLaurin has just been a better player with Taylor Heinicke than Carson Wentz. Since Heinicke took over in Week 7, McLaurin has had a 32% target share and 52% air yard share. That is the third-highest target share and highest air yard share in the NFL. He has averaged 16.6 fantasy PPG on nine targets, six catches and 92.5 yards per game with Heinicke. Compare that to 11.1 fantasy PPG, 6.2 targets, 3.7 catches and 61.2 yards per game with Wentz. Last week was the first time he did not score double figures with Heinicke, reaching just 9.6 fantasy points. That shows a safe floor, but he also has a higher ceiling. All of that bodes especially well for this week when Scary Terry faces the Falcons, who have allowed the second-most fantasy PPG to receivers on the year (41.8) and in the past month (47.7). McLaurin is a must-start this week.  

Michael Pittman
Indianapolis Colts · WR
Pittsburgh Steelers
2022 · 3-7-0

Pittman managed to put up 13.5 fantasy points in a very tough matchup against the Eagles, enough to make him a top-24 wide receiver on the week. He saw only seven targets, his fewest in a game started by Matt Ryan since Week 4. That shows how much safe weekly volume he has been getting. On the year, Pittman is averaging 10 targets per game, 7.3 catches, 75.4 yards and 15.97 fantasy PPG with Ryan. The yards and fantasy points are cut nearly in half in the games where Ryan did not start. But those no longer matter! Plus, this is a great matchup against the Steelers, who have allowed the most fantasy PPG to receivers this season (42.7). In the last month, they have allowed 36.97 points per game, which is still inside the top 10, showing that they have struggled against receivers all year long. Pittman continues to be in play as a WR2 with an upside. For a bonus start, you can continue to ride with Parris Campbell, who shows that he brings a safe floor and high ceiling with Ryan.  

Darius Slayton
New York Giants · WR
Dallas Cowboys
2022 · 7-3-0

Slayton scored 13.6 fantasy points, catching five passes for 86 yards against the Lions last week. He has now topped 11 fantasy points in five of his last six games. Since Week 5, Slayton is averaging 12.5 fantasy PPG. Since that span, Slayton has a 21% target share and 36% air yard share. He has dominated downfield targets on the Giants, but now he could get even more underneath stuff, as the Giants are super thin at receiver. Wan’Dale Robinson tore his ACL last week, leaving the Giants with Kenny Golladay, Richie James and Isaiah Hodgins as their other top options. Slayton should see a lot of volume moving forward, which means good things for fantasy purposes, especially this week against the Cowboys. Trevon Diggs will likely line up opposite of Slayton often, and we know he is always a big play threat, but he gives up a lot of production while trying to make the big play. Do not be surprised if Slayton beats him downfield a couple of times. Dallas has allowed 38.2 fantasy PPG to receivers over the last month, which ranks sixth in the NFL in that span. Slayton should come in as a WR2, but even with no teams on bye, he is a strong WR3 or flex option with upside.  

Sit 'Em

D.J. Moore
Carolina Panthers · WR
Denver Broncos
2022 · 3-7-0

Moore was originally a sit because of Baker Mayfield. I actually wrote that fantasy managers with Moore should hope to see a change to Sam Darnold, and hooray it has happened! Moore fared much better last year with Darnold than he has this year with Mayfield. But even with Darnold, there were high highs and low lows. While I feel better about him with Darnold moving forward, this is still an extremely tough matchup this week against the Broncos. Denver has allowed the second-fewest fantasy PPG to receivers this season (26.9) and the fewest in the last month (21.9). With the combo of tough matchup and poor QB play, paired with the fact that there are more receiver options available with no byes, I would play it safe and sit Moore this week. 

Diontae Johnson
Pittsburgh Steelers · WR
Indianapolis Colts
2022 · 4-6-1

Johnson was a sit last week, and he responded with four catches for 21 yards, finishing with 6.2 fantasy points. Johnson is now averaging just 8.7 fantasy PPG in games started by Kenny Pickett, compared to 14.2 per game with Mitch Trubisky. Earlier in the season, you at least could hang your hat on the fact that Johnson was seeing safe volume, but he has just five targets in each of his last two games. He has just a 16% target share and 18% air yard share in the past two weeks. Add in that he has only twice topped double figures with Pickett, and his high game is 11, and you see that there is just no upside here at all with Johnson. If you start him, you are likely looking at single-digit fantasy points, and if he hits, you are looking at low double figures. There is just no reason to start him right now, especially with no teams on bye. Add in that he faces the Colts, who have allowed the fewest fantasy PPG to receivers at 25.1 per game. Stay far away from Johnson this week.  

Darnell Mooney
Chicago Bears · WR
New York Jets
2022 · 6-4-0

Mooney has been putting up better fantasy results as of late. He has topped 12 fantasy points in three of his last four games. It is an encouraging sight to see from a receiver that we know is very talented. However, he has still just topped 15 fantasy points once all season and never reached 20. That shows that even while he has been playing better, the fantasy ceiling is not super high. Additionally, the Bears run the ball on 50% of their plays, the second-most in the NFL. That’s why Mooney has just one game with over five targets in the past month. He needs to be efficient with his targets, or he will have a bad fantasy day, and that is exactly what could happen this week against the Jets. The Jets have allowed the fifth-fewest fantasy PPG to receivers this season (28.1). And there is a strong chance that we see a lot of Sauce Gardner on Mooney. You do not want your fantasy lineups to be Sauced! Given that Mooney has such a tough matchup, with a banged-up QB, on a team that already runs a ton -- it’s a week to get away from Mooney.  

Adam Thielen
Minnesota Vikings · WR

Thielen was a sit last week, and he responded with just 4.5 fantasy points. He has now scored single-digit fantasy points in three straight games -- which just so happens to be the three games that T.J. Hockenson has been a member of the Vikings. Thielen is averaging just 5.7 targets, 3.3 catches and 47 yards per game in that span. Not only is Thielen losing targets to Hockenson, but he is losing the most valuable ones: red zone targets. In the last three weeks, Hockenson has six targets inside the red zone -- the same number as Justin Jefferson. Thielen has just two. Thielen was always the apple of Kirk Cousins’ eye in this portion of the field. It's sad to see him be replaced in real time, but Father Time comes for us all eventually. Thielen has long been a candidate for touchdown regression, and it is hitting him in a big way this season. Not only that, but he also has a tough matchup this week against the Patriots, who have allowed the third-fewest fantasy PPG to receivers this season (26.95). That includes a league-low four receiving touchdowns allowed to the position. I would rather drop Thielen than start him at this point.  

Follow Michael Florio on Twitter @MichaelFFlorio.

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