Fantasy football: Six must-start QBs for Week 12

Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow (C) throws against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday at Acrisure Stadium in Pittsburgh. Photo by Archie Carpenter/UPI
1 of 5 | Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow (C) throws against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday at Acrisure Stadium in Pittsburgh. Photo by Archie Carpenter/UPI | License Photo

MIAMI, Nov. 23 (UPI) -- Joe Burrow and Geno Smith are among my six must-start quarterbacks for Week 12 of the 2022 fantasy football season.

Each of my must-start passers ranks inside the Top 14 in my Top 20 weekly rankings, meaning they should be started in leagues with at least 14 teams. My full Top 20 weekly rankings are listed below.


Lamar Jackson is another high-end QB1 play this week. My list of six must-start quarterbacks also features some streaming options or injury fill-ins.

Jackson, Justin Herbert, Patrick Mahomes, Burrow and Josh Allen make up the Top 5 of my weekly rankings. Smith, Tom Brady, Justin Fields, Dak Prescott and Jalen Hurts also are inside my Top 10.


No teams are on bye this week, so you have plenty of streaming options available at the position.

Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson throws against the Carolina Panthers on Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore. Photo by David Tulis/UPI

Lamar Jackson

Jackson was the top quarterback in fantasy football earlier this season, but struggled to provide similar production over the last two months.

I think he is set up to rebound down the stretch. This week, Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens will face the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Jaguars allowed the 10th-most fantasy points per game to quarterbacks through 11 weeks. They also just surrendered 333 passing yards, four passing scores and 39 rushing yards to Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes.

Look for Jackson to find the end zone for at least three total scores. I also expect the Ravens star for run for more than 80 yards and finish the week as the top quarterback option.

Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow is among my elite fantasy football plays in Week 12. File Photo by John Sommers II/UPI

Joe Burrow


Unlike Jackson, Burrow started with mediocre fantasy football statistics, but is red hot as of late. The Cincinnati Bengals quarterback threw for 355 yards and four touchdowns in Week 11. He also accounted for at least two total scores in nine of his 10 starts in 2022.

This week, the Bengals will battle the Tennessee Titans. The Titans are known for a strong run defense, but allowed the most yards and sixth-most fantasy points per game to quarterbacks through 11 weeks.

The Titans surrendered at least 286 passing yards and/or two touchdowns in each of their last three games. Look for Burrow to eclipse both of those marks in a Bengals victory.

Burrow also could be getting wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase back from his injury hiatus in this matchup, which should boost his fantasy football ceiling.

He is my No. 4 option.

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith is the No. 6 player in my Week 12 rankings. File Photo by Jon SooHoo/UPI

Geno Smith

Smith threw at least two touchdown passes in seven of his nine starts this season, including in each of his last four appearances. The Seattle Seahawks quarterback also totaled 275 passing yards in each of his last two games.


This week, the Seahawks will face the Las Vegas Raiders. The Raiders own one of the worst defenses in the NFL this season. They allowed the sixth-most yards through 11 weeks. They also totaled the fewest sacks (13) and surrendered the third-most fantasy points and seventh-most passing yards per game to quarterbacks.

Smith is a near lock for at least 300 passing yards. I also expect him to find the end zone at least twice. He is my No. 6 play.

Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (4) is just inside the Top 14 of my Week 12 fantasy football rankings. File Photo by Mike Goulding/UPI

Derek Carr

Carr and the Raiders offense might not be fun to watch, but the veteran quarterback can provide low-end fantasy football QB1 value in good matchups.

Carr threw two touchdown passes in each of his last three starts. He also averaged 271.3 passing yards during that time frame.

This week, the Raiders will face a Seahawks defense that allowed the 11th-most fantasy points per game to quarterbacks through 11 weeks. They also allowed two passing scores in three of their last four games.


Look for the Raiders to trail in this matchup, which will lead to more Carr passing attempts. I also expect the Raiders quarterback to find the end zone at least twice.

Carr is my No. 13 option for Week 12.

Cleveland Browns quarterback Jacoby Brissett (7) is a fringe fantasy football QB1. File Photo by David Tulis/UPI

Jacoby Brissett

Brissett is in the only-use-if-you're-desperate category, but he could finish Week 12 as a Top 14 play. The veteran quarterback will lead the Cleveland Browns against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday in Cleveland.

The Buccaneers boast a strong defense, but just surrendered 275 passing yards and two scores to Geno Smith in Week 10, before their Week 11 bye.

I also believe the Browns will get behind in this matchup, resulting in more production for Brissett. This week marks the veteran quarterback's final start this season, as suspended passer Deshaun Watson is expected to get the nod in Week 13.

That motivation and the fact that Brissett is coming off his best performance of the season (324 yards and three scores vs. BUF) could result in another stellar showing. Brissett is my No. 15 option for Week 12.

Washington Commanders quarterback Taylor Heinicke is my No. 16 fantasy football option in Week 12. File Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI

Taylor Heinicke

Heinicke is a low-end streaming option in Week 12, but should only be in your lineup if you are desperate for a starter.

The Washington Commanders passer accounted for at least two scores in each of his first three starts, but failed to find the end zone in each of his last two appearances.

I expect him to get back on track this week against the generous Atlanta Falcons defense. The Falcons allowed the third-most yards in the NFL through 11 weeks, including the fourth-most passing yards.

I expect Heinicke, my No. 16 option, to total at least 200 passing yards. He also has a chance to find the end zone at least twice.

Week 12 fantasy football quarterback rankings

1. Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens at JAX

2. Justin Herbert, Los Angeles Chargers at ARI

3. Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs vs. LAR

4. Joe Burrow, Cincinnati Bengals at TEN

5. Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills at DET

6. Geno Smith, Seattle Seahawks vs. LV

7. Tom Brady, Tampa Bay Buccaneers at CLE

8. Justin Fields, Chicago Bears at NYJ

9. Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys vs. NYG

10. Jalen Hurts, Philadelphia Eagles vs. GB


11. Jimmy Garoppolo, San Francisco 49ers vs. NO

12. Tua Tagovailoa, Miami Dolphins vs. HOU

13. Derek Carr, Las Vegas Raiders at SEA

14. Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings vs. NE

15. Jacoby Brissett, Cleveland Browns vs. TB

16. Taylor Heinicke, Washington Commanders vs. ATL

17. Russell Wilson, Denver Broncos vs. CIN

18. Trevor Lawrence, Jacksonville Jaguars vs. BAL

19. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers at PHI

20. Matt Ryan, Indianapolis Colts vs. PIT

This week in the National Football League

Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce sheds Los Angeles Chargers safety Derwin James Jr. and gets to the end zone for the winning touchdown during the second half at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Calif., on Sunday. The Chiefs beat the Chargers 30-27. Photo by Mike Goulding/UPI | License Photo

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