Editor’s note: The players listed below are NFL stars who were drafted in virtually every Yahoo Fantasy league. That said, this column is not an endorsement to bench them in Week 12. You’re in control of your roster; every league size and shape is different. What we are trying to explain is that expectations should be lowered this week compared to usual for some of the NFL’s biggest stars. Aside from examining this week’s matchups, this can also serve as a reminder not to overreact if one of your high draft picks disappoints in Week 12.
Alvin Kamara @ San Francisco 49ers
Kamara has averaged just 12.0 touches over the last three games, including zero opportunities inside the 10-yard line. He’s yet to score a touchdown on the road this season. Now, he’ll travel to San Francisco to face a 49ers defense allowing the second-fewest fantasy points to running backs this season. They haven’t let a running back reach 60 rushing yards (or 50+ receiving yards) in a game this season. SF has also ceded an NFL-low 3.4 YPC — the next lowest is 3.8. It helps explain why 49ers opponents have an NFL-high 70.5 percent pass rate in Levi’s Stadium this year.
New Orleans is dealing with multiple injuries along its offensive line, while San Francisco’s defense is yielding the second-fewest yards per play this season (and just 4.2 YPP over the last three weeks). You’re not benching Kamara, but he’s not a strong DFS play this week and another finish outside the top-20 RBs is likely in store.
D’Onta Foreman vs. Denver Broncos
Foreman has definitely impressed at times since Christian McCaffrey was traded, but most of his production has come in two games against the Falcons. Foreman also saw just one-third of the snaps after the first quarter last week when Chuba Hubbard played more. This week the Panthers get a tough Broncos defense allowing the third-fewest yards per play and points per game this season. Denver opponents have the fourth-lowest run rate, and this matchup features one of the lowest under/unders (36.0) of the entire season. Carolina’s offense is in such trouble, they are willingly turning to Sam Darnold.
Depending on your alternatives, Foreman is a bench candidate this week.
David Montgomery @ New York Jets
Montgomery put up a strong fantasy performance and acted as Chicago’s workhorse as expected with Khalil Herbert out last week, but he gets a much tougher defense Sunday. The Jets are ceding the fourth-fewest yards per play this season — and are only getting better. Moreover, Justin Fields will either miss this game or will be compromised while playing through a painful (non-throwing) shoulder injury (his backup is Trevor Siemian).
It’s possible Montgomery is given more carries thanks to Fields’ injury, but Chicago’s offense is going to suffer either way. In fact, this game has a lowly total (39.5 points) despite one of the league’s worst defenses being involved (the Bears have one of the lowest implied team totals this week). Temper expectations for Montgomery.
Greg Dulcich @ Carolina Panthers
Dulcich has been helpful at an ugly fantasy tight end position but his production has been greatly boosted by a couple of busted coverages. The rookie is also saddled with a Broncos offense averaging the fewest points per game and led by a quarterback who’s on pace to throw fewer touchdowns than the number of bathrooms in his house.
Russell Wilson has especially struggled when targeting TEs and RBs this season and has a league-worst TD% in the red zone, but at least he’ll only be a $55.4 million cap hit in 2025 when he’s 37 years old.
Panthers opponents have the sixth-lowest pass rate this season, and Sam Darnold is unlikely to produce many points against the Broncos defense. Dulcich’s projected usage should be way down this week in a matchup with a hideous 36.0-point total.