Best, worst Week 12 matchups

Look to start Case Keenum, Andre Brown; avoid Philip Rivers, Ray Rice

Updated: November 20, 2013, 12:48 PM ET
By Scott Kacsmar | Football Outsiders

Andre BrownJim McIsaac/Getty ImagesGiants RB Andre Brown looks like a good play this week against the Cowboys.

If you are still looking to make one big trade before the deadline, or just want to have some general knowledge of the remaining weeks to prepare for the playoffs, below is a chart that outlines the easiest and toughest remaining schedules for Weeks 12-16.

Quite a bit has changed from when we looked at this in Week 9, but the eight toughest run schedules are still very similar and the Packers still have the easiest pass schedule, which is why I have a logical suggestion this week for replacing Aaron Rodgers. Case Keenum (Houston has the third-easiest pass schedule) probably still works out too, but Gary Kubiak needs to keep him in the game.

The teams that really stand out here are the Bengals, Bills and Giants. They are set to play defenses that are by and large poor on both sides of the ball. So if you want to trade for a top-tier receiver like A.J. Green or Victor Cruz -- or snatch up Andre Brown or Marquise Goodwin -- then here's some support for that.

Cincinnati especially gets a favorable outlook with the Chargers, Colts, Steelers and Vikings. Andy Dalton has looked awful in recent weeks, but he still has 21 touchdown passes in 11 games and a bye week to iron out the mistakes.

The offense to sour on could be in San Diego. Philip Rivers has fallen off after his hot start, Danny Woodhead and Ryan Mathews have been frustrating fantasy starts and rookie Keenan Allen may hit a wall with tougher defenses on the horizon.

Things change quickly in the NFL, but here are the best and worst fantasy matchups for Week 12:

(Note: References to defensive rankings for the pass and run are based on Football Outsiders' DVOA metric, explained here).

Quarterbacks


Alex Smith (plus-4 points)

He was not as good as NBC's Cris Collinsworth gushed in Sunday night's broadcast, but Smith did produce 22 fantasy points thanks in part to 52 rushing yards. Now Smith gets a home game against San Diego's 30th-ranked pass defense, which allows the fourth most fantasy points to quarterbacks. Andy Reid's offense has faced a lot of criticism this season, but this is the worst defense it will face at home all season.


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Scott Kacsmar

Football Outsiders
Scott Kacsmar is an Assistant Editor at Football Outsiders.