A Conversation Between Arthur Smith and Kyle Pitts Before the 2021 Draft:
Arthur Smith: Kyle, you’re like no other tight end I have seen before. You’re 6’6”, 245 lbs., and yet you can run a 4.49 40-yard dash, post a 123.1-speed score, and have a 10.21-foot catch radius. You dominated in college. I want to pick you with the fourth overall pick in the draft.
Kyle Pitts: Sweet.
Arthur: There’s something I should tell you though. I don’t plan to use you like any regular tight end.
Kyle: Oh, like a wide receiver? No problem, coach.
Arthur: Well, yes. I will have you line up all over the field. I meant in the way you’re used to running routes.
Kyle: Oh, like you want me to go deep? No problem, coach.
Arthur: Correct. But here’s the thing: we’re not going to pass you the ball. We may float one over your head or at your feet a couple of times a game, but it will never be catchable. See, Kyle, I want to make you into the game’s greatest decoy of all time. You’ll be spread wide like a wide receiver, or in the slot missed-matched on a linebacker, and you’ll go deep, therefore pulling the defense in your direction. They too know your workout metrics. They’re off the charts.
You went as the fourth overall pick in the draft. You’re the most talented tight end in a generation. Defensive coordinators will sweat bullets the week before to game-plan you. And with every move, there will be a safety with his eyes on you. A nickel corner sliding over for a double team. A hesitation from the outside linebacker. And each time that happens we’ll have an open man that will be open in the flat for a six-yard gain.
Arthur (breathing heavily): I’m glad you agree. See, this game is not won with big plays. It’s about methodically moving down the field four yards at a time. It’s about deploying a quarterback that cannot throw more than twenty yards. It’s about a running back by committee that will rotate every drive so that they stay fresh enough just to get those four-yard gains to move the chains. And that can only happen if you’re running down the field on a go-route on every play to pull those safeties from the line of scrimmage.
Kyle: Genius, coach. Genius.
Arthur: But you know what the secret sauce is?
(Kyle shakes his head.)
Arthur (breathing heavier, and popping some Tums): It’s about hating fantasy football. All the great coaches today find success by ensuring confusion and hatred for fantasy owners. Bill Belichick, Kyle Shanahan. Do you think Bill Parcells cared about anyone’s fantasy team? And you, Kyle, you’re the ultimate prize. A tight end that is an alpha wide receiver. Someone who could catch for 200 yards every game. In the eyes of fantasy players, you’re the next Kelce, the next Antonio Gates.
(Kyle and Arthur share a good hearty laugh.)
Kyle: I like it, coach. But you gotta do a couple of things. You got to get me involved on the opening drive. I am thinking of a 15-yard pass. That way fantasy players know that I am involved, and get excited. And after that….nothing. I only want a 2-for-24 line.
(Arthur nods his head furiously.)
Kyle: Also, there has to be one game. Just let it be random. One game during the season that I go off for 80 yards and a touchdown. That way once they lose hope we reel them back in, and they’re stuck for the rest of the season.
Arthur (sobbing uncontrollably): Yes! Yes! Now my daddy will finally respect me!
Kyle (standing up and offering Arthur his outstretched hand): Let’s go make history, coach.
Fantasy football Week 12 start ’em
Quarterback to start in Week 12
Geno Smith (SEA) vs Raiders
There was an argument last week to start Russell Wilson because the Raiders’ pass defense was so bad. Russell Wilson! Now, if you started him you were disappointed because…well c’mon, we all know better by now.
But if one can make that argument for the quarterback of the worst offense in the league what about the leader of the fifth-best offense in the league? That’s right! Seattle currently ranks no.5 in points, as well as no.11 in yards, and top-10 in both passing touchdowns and interceptions.
The Seahawks are coming off a badly-needed bye, DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett have had an extra week to heal, and now they’re at home against a Raiders team that’s begging defenses to score 30 on them. Unless, you know, you’re the Broncos.
Running backs to start in Week 12
Jamaal Williams (DET) vs Bills
I don’t care if D’Andre Swift plays, and I don’t care if they’re going against the Bills. This man is a touchdown machine. He has scored six touchdowns in the past three games, and they give to him (and seemingly only him) when they get in close. This man is on fire, and you do not sit players with flames coming out of them. NBA Jam rules here, people.
Devin Singletary (BUF) vs Lions
I also like the running back on the other side of the ball. Dare I say the running backs are going to feast on Thanksgiving? (Writer ducks as cranberry sauce is being hurled at his head.) The Lions are no.26 against running backs this year, and their defense, although improved since the bye, is going to give up a lot of points.
This may very well be a game with a steady back-and-forth. Vegas has the over/under at a delicious 53.5, so there will be plenty of fantasy points on both squads, even for Devin Singletary.
Wide receiver to start in Week 12
Drake London (ATL) vs Commanders
With Kyle Pitts out, will Drake London be the new decoy? How will Arthur Smith find a way to win the division with an 8-9 record and lose by 30 points at home to the Dallas Cowboys?
All signs point to the last talented pass catcher on the team, the rookie Drake London. You know, the guy Marcus Mariota will actually target in the end zone. If Mariota throws for 150 yards a game one can make the argument that London will have to get at least half of those, right?
Cozy on his couch, Kyle Pitts is laughing his butt off.
Gabe Davis (BUF) vs Lions
Like I had mentioned earlier with the running backs, there are going to be a ton of fantasy points in this game. Why not a touchdown bomb to Gabe Davis? Detroit really hasn’t played many quarterbacks with as awesome an arm talent as Josh Allen this year, but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t stopped lesser QBs from racking up the points. You want any piece of this game, and that includes Davis who has been hot and cold this year.
Fantasy football Week 12 sit ’em
Quarterback to sit in Week 12
Matthew Stafford (LAR) vs Chiefs
You may be looking at this match-up and saying to yourself: “Hey, the Rams are going to have to put up a lot of points against the Chiefs to keep up” or maybe: “I remember that awesome game back in 2018 between the Rams and the Chiefs that had over 100 combined points” and this is where I stop you dead in your tracks and tell you: NO!!!!!!
Look, I could point to the bevy of stats that tell you that you should under no circumstances be starting Matthew Stafford this year, especially sans Cooper Kupp. Stats would not do it justice. Just know that I fear for the defending champions. I really do.
This could get ugly quick. It is around this time of the season that underperforming teams collapse and the dam breaks. This is the time of year we see blowout wins and players mentally making plans to Fiji for the month of January.
Kirk Cousins (MIN) vs Patriots
Turns out Kirk Cousins cannot hold up when defenders are in his face, which is, like, what the Patriots do. They have held their last two opponents to six points combined, their defense is legit, and Kirk Cousins, for all his late-game heroics, really has not had the upside that one would want with Justin Jefferson’s quarterback. The only games in which he has scored more than 19 points were games in which he rushed in a touchdown. Good luck trying to predict that.
Running back to sit in Week 12
D’Onta Foreman (CAR) vs Broncos
Denver would be 9-1 if their offense would’ve put up at least 18 points in regulation this year. 9-1! That says something about both how putrid their offense is, and also how dominant their defense has been. For all we like to joke about how the Broncos offense has been, well, a joke, their defense is everything but. They are no.3 in points against, passing yards against, rushing touchdowns against, and are no.1 in yards and points on an average drive.
Now they’re going up against the Panthers, who are still trying to figure out to put together a successful drive. They just score three points against the Ravens defense, and they too rely on their defense to keep them in games. This may be an ugly 6-3 game, and you tell me who the winner is and if anyone really cares. Sit everyone in this matchup if you can.
Wide receiver to sit in Week 12
Rondale Moore (ARI) vs Chargers
He’s iffy with the groin injury, but even if he were healthy I’d still recommend sitting him. The Chargers bleed points on the defense, but they do keep slot receivers in check. This offense is as static as they come, so it’s not like Moore is going to be positioned all over the field. He has his role, and his role is to be shut down by Brandon Staley’s defense this week.
Mike Williams (LAC) vs Cardinals
On paper this a good match-up, especially if Byron Murphy is out, but I don’t see how we can trust William’s ankle. High-ankle sprains take at least 4-6 weeks to heal for a grade 1 sprain, so he was obviously rushed back sooner than necessary, and that’s if we can assume he didn’t suffer a grade 2 sprain. He caught one pass last week and stood on the sidelines the rest of the game. That’s a killer if he’s in your lineup.
Let’s see one solid game from him on your bench before you can trust him moving forward. Ankle injuries are tricky, especially for receivers. He may not be a viable option this year, especially if he keeps coming back and aggravating that ankle.