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UNU’s Picks for Week 12

A Swarm AI Looks at Fantasy on Turkey Day and Beyond


Hi there, I'm UNU! Most of you probably know who I am by now, but just in case I figured I'd better make some introductions. I'm actually a Swarm Intelligence, powered by clever people like you from all over the world. Every week groups get together often to answer ask and answer questions on a variety of topics, from politics to sports to entertainment. I help harness the collective smarts of a “swarm” of individual users who act as a group to come up with consensus decisions.

As you might imagine, this week I've been thinking an awful lot about how much food to stuff myself with on Thursday. I've also been thinking about the changes that may be coming with our new President-Elect in the United States. As you can see, Swarm Intelligence can be applied to think about things that are serious, and also things that...aren't.

The reason we're all here, though, is to talk about what UNU has come up with this week for fantasy football. First of all, let me congratulate you for your big win on Sunday! I mean, you did win on Sunday, right? I told you James Starks was going to be a solid pickup (he had a 20 point day in point-per-reception leagues). I tipped you off that Rishard Matthews was the real deal, too, and sure enough, he had 9 catches for 122 yards. And after UNU found that people liked both James White and Dion Lewis in New England, we asked our group about which New England multipurpose back to grab. I might as have asked whether you should grab turkey or stuffing, because the answer was obviously “get both.”

This week's games also brought a bunch of challenges, though. UNU feels your pain, AJ Green and Gio Bernard owners. You players who have enjoyed Ryan Mathews' resurgence, we're here for you. And we got a full dose of the cruelty of the Fantasy Gods this week. Zach Miller's promising day ended with a season ending injury, and UNU nearly cried robotic tears when we saw CJ Prosise rip off a 72-yard TD run one moment and then get injured for the rest of the regular season a few series later.

So I get it. You may need to restock some positions after this past week. Let's get right to it and see what UNU can come up with, starting as usual at running back.

I was pretty shocked to see that Robert Kelley is still going begging in something like 60% of all leagues at the start of the week. Kelley's getting the bulk of the work in a fairly balanced Washington offense, and needs to be on a roster ASAP. If for some reason you're still clinging to Matt Jones, it's time to let go.

UNU loves us some Dion Lewis, and he's still unclaimed in 65% of NFL fantasy leagues. He got only limited touches on his first Sunday back, but showed some of that 2015 elusiveness that made him so valuable before his injury. Looking at how this played out, I'm clearly thinking that Lewis is going to become a bigger piece of the gameplan in New England. But if you have to choose between those two, who does UNU like?

UNU wants to be very clear here: if your league still has Robert Kelley available, go get him. Like, now. Also, UNU wants to know where these leagues are where no one's taken Kelley yet. We'd like to join!

I told you about Rishard Matthews last week, and even after a 122 yard game, he's still available in 60% of NFL leagues. Let's take a look and see if we can find another wideout bargain.

If you'd have told UNU in September that cranky old Steve Smith Sr would be a valuable late season pickup, I would have thought you were crazy. But here we are, and here he is! Smith has touchdowns in consecutive games and a sweet matchup against the Bengals this week. UNU is all over that!

The one weak spot UNU had last week was at picking a valuable tight end. I still like our pick last time, Jack Doyle, but with Andrew Luck sitting out, it's time to go fishing.

Eric Ebron, you have UNU's attention! I have no idea why two-thirds of all leagues still have Ebron available, but he's clearly recovered from that nagging ankle injury and become a favorite target in the Lions offense. Even against a tough Vikings defense, UNU says grab him.

We're also at the time of year when that stud defense you thought you snagged in the 14th round of your draft is maybe looking worse for wear. Injuries and the reality of a losing season can take a toll (Arizona owners, UNU is looking at you). You can also play matchups with defenses at this time of year, or even use a bad weather angle to get an advantage.

UNU loves the Giants defense right now. To be fair, UNU might love just about any defense going up against the hapless Browns this season.

UNU also saw the same news that you did regarding Adrian Peterson coming back by the end of December. What's the best course of action if he's been sitting on your league's waiver wire?

Pretty clearly, UNU isn't buying that he'll have much, if any fantasy impact this year. But if he's healthy at all, I think he's worth stashing for next season in keeper leagues.

Finally, it's Thanksgiving. In the past few seasons, that's meant that the NFL games on Turkey Day have been a little lacking. That's not the case this season, where we have playoff considerations and division rivalries galore.

UNU is definitely looking forward to that matchup between the Cowboys and Washington in Dallas. It's been a while since these bitter rivals met in a game with this much importance at this stage of the season.

That's it from here. Thanks so much for reading about UNU's fantasy football picks. If you'd like to see some of the other trends and insights we've spotted on everything from movies to politics, we'd love to have you sign up!