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The Hedge’s Start ‘Em, Sit ‘Em Week 12: NFL’s Studs and Duds

Andrew Hedglen
Contributing Writer

For most fantasy leagues, it is the final week of the regular season. The most anticipated week it may be, as it is a tight race to the playoffs. So, without further ado, here are the keys to success this week, and perhaps a trip to the playoffs:

Jonathan Dwyer (Steelers RB) – After Rashard Mendenhall’s demotion from the starting running back job, Dwyer will be the starting back heading into this week. Coach Mike Tomlin said that Dwyer has been the most consistent back over the course of the season.  Dwyer has certainly earned the starting job, rushing over 100 yards in both games that he started in earlier in the season. He’ll face a Ravens defense that has given up the 11th-most fantasy points to running backs and should be a great fantasy asset going forward.

Bryce Brown (Eagles RB) – LeSean McCoy is unlikely to play against Dallas this weekend, so Brown is in for another big workload. After watching him rush for 178 yards and a pair of touchdowns against the Panthers Monday night on just 19 carries, he should gallop all over the Cowboys this week.

Justin Blackmon (Jaguars WR) – The key to Blackmon’s recent and sudden success is simple – Chad Henne. He’s a more established quarterback with a stronger arm who had success in Miami. After Blackmon’s 236-yard monster game two weeks ago, and his 62 yards to go along with a touchdown this past week, the Jaguars will face the Bills, which have given up the 10th-most fantasy points to wideouts. The rookie sensation that we are just starting to see will bode well this week, and more than likely throughout the remainder of the season.

Pierre Garcon (Redskins WR) – Garcon has been back from a long aggravated foot injury for two weeks now, and was able to haul in five catches for 93 yards and a touchdown on Thanksgiving. He led the Redskins in targets, and while he isn’t 100 percent healthy, Garcon should continue to get his share. He also has a great match-up against the Giants, who have given up the sixth- most fantasy points to wideouts this year.

Here are some guys you don’t want to start this week:

Shonn Greene (Jets RB) – Greene has had many carries taken from him by Bilal Powell, and while Greene has a 32-23 carry edge over Powell during the past two weeks, Powell has scored three times. Greene hasn’t reached the end zone since Oct. 21. Not to mention the Jets play a stingy Arizona Cardinals defense. Stay away from Greene this week.

James Jones (Packers WR) – Jones has been a fantasy savior, while Greg Jennings has missed nearly the entire season due to surgery on his injured groin. However, Jennings will return this week. With the emergence of Randall Cobb, the return of Jennings, and Minnesota giving up the 11th-fewest fantasy points to wideouts, Jones sticks out much less in the Packers’ offense. He also wasn’t targeted once last week, partially due to the Packers’ woes on the offensive line and the pressure the Giants were able to bring.

Torrey Smith (Ravens WR) – He broke out last week after failing to surpass 70 yards receiving since week four, but they play the league-best Steelers’ pass defense. I would start Smith any week in a 12 team league, but not against the Steelers. The Ravens have shown that they can’t get the passing game going against great defenses.

Vick Ballard (Colts RB) – Ballard isn’t worth the start this week, unless you’re desperate, as Donald Brown steals carries from him, and the Colts rely on Andrew Luck’s arm more than anything else. The Lions have given up the 17th-most fantasy points to running backs.

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