Bring in the Backups: Bench Players You Can Start in Week 12 Fantasy Football

Max Staley
Seattle Seahawks v San Francisco 49ers
Seattle Seahawks v San Francisco 49ers / Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

After Jonathan Williams catapulted into fantasy football relevancy when he ran for 104 yards on 26 touches on "Thursday Night Football," fantasy owners might be more open to starting some lesser-known options this week.

If you're looking to make a change to your starting lineup, here are three players, that are all normally bench options, you can feel comfortable starting in Week 12.

1. Jaylen Samuels, Pittsburgh Steelers (Started in 59% of Yahoo! Fantasy Football Leagues)

With James Conner officially ruled out, Jaylen Samuels could be in for a monster game in Week 12. When Conner was out in Week 9 and Week 10, Samuels averaged 21.0 opportunities (11.0 carries plus 10.0 targets). His per-game numbers weren't particularly eye popping, averaging just 61.5 yards from scrimmage, but he draws a fantastic matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals this weekend. The Bengals are allowing the fourth-most fantasy points per game to opposing RBs (23.0), putting Samuels in the RB2 conversation.

2. Hunter Renfrow, Oakland Raiders (Started in 8% of Yahoo! Fantasy Football Leagues)

Jason O. Watson/Getty Images

You likely won't feel confident in starting Hunter Renfrow, but he's quietly become an extremely effective receiver. Over the last four weeks, Renfrow is averaging 4.8 receptions, 62.5 receiving yards and 0.5 touchdowns per game. Derek Carr is playing his best football since his impressive 2016 campaign, and the Oakland Raiders will take on the New York Jets in Week 12 – a defense that has surrendered the second-most PPR points per game to opposing wideouts (41.0).

3. Josh Gordon, Seattle Seahawks (Started in 21% of Yahoo! Fantasy Football Leagues)

Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

There's plenty of reason to be skeptical about starting Josh Gordon this week. He has yet to post a game with more than 83 receiving yards this season, and he didn't do much in his first game as a Seattle Seahawk (two catches for 27 yards). However, the Philadelphia Eagles' secondary has been absolutely atrocious this season. Philadelphia has surrendered the fourth-most fantasy points to opposing WRs, making Gordon a boom-or-bust option in Week 12.

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Max Staley is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Max Staley also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username mstaley1212. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.