A.J. Hoffman

NFL fantasy football rankings for Week 12

Melvin Gordon (left) comes in at No. 2 this week at RB. Photo via Los Angeles Chargers/Facebook

QB 

  1. Drew Brees vs. ATL
  2. Andrew Luck vs. MIA
  3. Matt Ryan @ NO
  4. Cam Newton vs. SEA
  5. Aaron Rodgers @ MIN
  6. Russell Wilson @ CAR
  7. Kirk Cousins vs. GB
  8. Lamar Jackson vs. OAK
  9. Carson Wentz vs. NYG
  10. Jameis Winston vs. TEN
  11. Philip Rivers vs. ARI
  12. Tom Brady @ NYJ
  13. Deshaun Watson vs. TEN
  14. Baker Mayfield @ CIN
  15. Ben Roethlisberger @ DEN

RB (standard scoring)

  1. Ezekiel Elliott vs. WAS
  2. Melvin Gordon vs. ARI
  3. Alvin Kamara vs. ATL
  4. Saquon Barkley @ PHI
  5. Christian McCaffrey vs. SEA
  6. Nick Chubb @ CIN
  7. James Conner @ DEN
  8. David Johnson @ LAC
  9. Joe Mixon vs. CLE
  10. Mark Ingram vs. ATL
  11. Aaron Jones @ MIN
  12. Leonard Fournette @ BUF
  13. Marlon Mack vs. MIA
  14. James White @ NYJ
  15. Phillip Lindsay vs. PIT
  16. Dalvin Cook vs. GB
  17. Sony Michel @ NYJ
  18. Adrian Peterson @ DAL
  19. Matt Breida @ TB
  20. Tarik Cohen @ DET
  21. Gus Edwards vs. OAK
  22. Josh Adams vs. NYG
  23. Tevin Coleman @ NO
  24. Peyton Barber vs. SF
  25. Chris Carson @ CAR
  26. Lamar Miller vs. TEN
  27. Duke Johnson @ CIN
  28. Jordan Howard @ DET
  29. Jalen Richard @ BAL
  30. Dion Lewis @ HOU

WR (standard scoring)

  1. Michael Thomas vs. ATL
  2. Julio Jones @ NO
  3. Odell Beckham Jr. @ PHI
  4. Antonio Brown @ DEN
  5. DeAndre Hopkins vs. TEN
  6. Adam Thielen vs. GB
  7. Stefon Diggs vs. GB
  8. Davante Adams @ MIN
  9. TY Hilton vs. MIA
  10. Mike Evans vs. SF
  11. Keenan Allen vs. ARI
  12. Kenny Golladay vs. CHI
  13. JuJu Smith-Schuster @ DEN
  14. Josh Gordon @ NYJ
  15. AJ Green vs. CLE
  16. Julian Edelman @ NYJ
  17. Alshon Jeffery vs. NYG
  18. Emmanuel Sanders vs. PIT
  19. Tyler Boyd vs. CLE
  20. Calvin Ridley @ NO
  21. Doug Baldwin @ CAR
  22. Tyler Lockett @ CAR
  23. Jarvis Landry @ CIN
  24. Amari Cooper vs. WAS
  25. Allen Robinson @ DET
  26. Mohamed Sanu @ NO
  27. Tre’Quan Smith vs. ATL
  28. Larry Fitzgerald @ LAC
  29. Corey Davis @ HOU
  30. Courtland Sutton vs. PIT
  31. DJ Moore vs. SEA
  32. Golden Tate vs. NYG
  33. Sterling Shepard @ PHI
  34. Anthony Miller @ DET
  35. Marquez Valdes-Scantling @ MIN
  36. DeSean Jackson vs. SF
  37. Keke Coutee vs. TEN
  38. Chris Godwin vs. SF
  39. Christian Kirk @ LAC
  40. Devin Funchess vs. SEA

TE (standard scoring)

  1. Zach Ertz vs. NYG
  2. George Kittle @ TB
  3. Rob Gronkowski @ NYJ
  4. Greg Olsen vs. SEA
  5. Trey Burton @ DET
  6. Cameron Brate vs. SF
  7. Austin Hooper @ NO
  8. David Njoku @ CIN
  9. Jordan Reed @ DAL
  10. Jack Doyle vs. MIA
  11. Eric Ebron vs. MIA
  12. Evan Engram @ PHI
  13. Vance McDonald @ DEN
  14. Jared Cook @ BAL
  15. Benjamin Watson vs. ATL

D/ST

  1. Ravens vs. OAK
  2. Bears @ DET
  3. Texans vs. TEN
  4. Jaguars @ BUF
  5. Bills vs. JAX
  6. Chargers vs. ARI
  7. Cowboys vs. WAS
  8. Patriots @ NYJ
  9. Colts vs. MIA
  10. Steelers @ DEN
  11. Panthers vs. SEA
  12. Titans @ HOU
  13. Redskins @ DAL
  14. Lions vs. CHI
  15. Vikings vs. GB

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Good news for Jose Altuve. Photo by Harry How/Getty Images.

One never knows how things will play out but of the known General Manager candidates, Jim Crane nailed it in hiring Dana Brown out of the Atlanta Braves' organization where he was Vice President of Scouting. The 55-year-old Brown's scouting and development pedigree is stellar. The Braves have been a talent-producing machine in recent years. Obviously all the credit isn't Brown's but his four years with the Braves preceded by a productive pipeline he was part of in Toronto speak highly of him. Not that it was or should have been the guiding principle to Crane's decision-making, but the Astros now have the only African-American General Manager in Major League Baseball (Ken Williams is Executive Vice President of the Chicago White Sox).

Brad Ausmus is a super-smart guy, but if had he gotten the GM gig it would have been in large part because he was teammate besties with Jeff Bagwell. While “It's not what you know it's who you know” plays a role in many, many hires, it would have been a poor rationale for tabbing Ausmus. Maybe Ausmus would have done a great job. Maybe Brown does a lousy job. Brown was the much more strongly credentialed candidate. While Bagwell has moved way up Crane's confidante list, Brown played college baseball with Craig Biggio at Seton Hall.

Speaking of Halls…

If I could tell you as absolute fact that exactly two members of the 2023 Houston Astros will someday make the Baseball Hall of Fame, who are you picking? Jose Altuve isn’t a lock just yet but he is obvious pick number one. So for the second spot are you going with Alex Bregman or Yordan Alvarez? We’ll get back to this a couple of paragraphs down.

As was basically a given, former Astro (and Phillie, Met, Red Sox, and Brave) Billy Wagner was not elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame this week, but as I suggested last week the voting returns were very favorable toward Wagner making the Hall next year, or if not next year in his final year of eligibility on the Baseball Writers Association ballot for the Class of 2025. “Wags” in the Class of ’24 is looking good. Wagner jumped from 51 percent to 68 percent “put him in” votes. The only guy this year to get the necessary 75 percent for election is worthy third baseman Scott Rolen. Two years ago Rolen got 53 percent of the votes needed, last year 63 percent, before getting the call to Cooperstown with 76.5 percent this year. Wagner going from 51 to 68 to 75-plus looks likely. Of course it’s not as if Wagner can pad his case with a good 2023 season, but this is how the process works. The other ballot returnee well positioned to make it next year is former Colorado first baseman Todd Helton. Unlike this year there’s a sure-fire first time ballot guy going in next year. Third baseman Adrian Beltre will undoubtedly wear a Texas Rangers cap on his plaque.

As expected Carlos Beltran didn’t come close to election in his first year of eligibility, but drawing 46 percent of the votes sets him up well to eventually get the Cooperstown call. Beltran was a fabulous player and his Hall credentials are solid. However, no one reasonable would argue that Carlos Beltran was as good or better than Barry Bonds. In his first year of eligibility back in 2013 Bonds garnered 36 percent of the vote. There has been some turnover in the voter pool over the last decade, but it's clear that Beltran’s central role in the Astros’ sign stealing scheme was not held against him to the extent that PED use (actual and/or suspected) was held against Bonds and Roger Clemens. And Alex Rodriguez. And Sammy Sosa. And Manny Ramirez. And others. Foremost right now that’s encouraging for Beltran, but it’s also encouraging down the line for fellow Astros of 2017-18.

What does this mean for Jose Altuve?

If Jose Altuve retired today (perish the thought!) he’d have a good case for the Hall. He had superstar seasons in 2016, 2017, and 2022, and has five other seasons that while not in the realm of his three best certainly rate as excellent. If you judge a player by his five best seasons, there aren’t 10 second basemen in the history of the sport who’d rank ahead of Altuve. Among those who clearly would: Joe Morgan, Rogers Hornsby, Eddie Collins, and Nap Lajoie. Among those four only Morgan played more recently than 1937. Then there’s a group of arguable guys like Jackie Robinson, Ryne Sandberg, Roberto Alomar, and yes Craig Biggio. Altuve has had the prime of a Hall of Famer. What sort of final numbers will he accrue? In late May or early June he should reach the 2000 hit plateau. How many more prime years does Altuve have left before inevitable decline? His career batting average is .307. Four years ago it was .316. Will Altuve retire a .300 hitter?

Bregman or Alvarez? Bregman gets extra points for being an everyday third baseman as opposed to a left fielder-designated hitter, but by age alone Yordan is the better play. Bregman turns 29 on opening day this year. Yordan doesn’t turn 26 until late June. When Bregman was 25 (2019 season) he put up a season more valuable than Alvarez’s tremendous 2022. In the three years since Bregman hasn’t approached that level, though his big second half last season could be a springboard back to that stratosphere. Yordan is in that stratosphere and figures to stay there for a while if his health holds up.

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Stone Cold ‘Stros is the weekly Astro-centric podcast I am part of alongside Brandon Strange and Josh Jordan. On our regular schedule it airs live at 3PM Monday on the SportsMapHouston YouTube channel, is available there for playback at any point, and also becomes available in podcast form at outlets galore. Such as:

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