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Fantasy Football 2013: Broncos at Patriots Week 12 Preview

Denver Broncos (9-1) at New England Patriots (7-3)

Sunday, November 24, 2013: 8:30 PM (ET)

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The Week 12 edition of “Sunday Night Football” should be another great matchup in a string of recent primetime successes for the NFL. It will feature two of the best quarterbacks in the game, as Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos head east to visit Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. The Broncos (9-1) are coming off a big win over their division rival Chiefs in Week 11, while the Patriots (7-3) took a controversial last-second loss to the Panthers on “Monday Night Football.”
As you’d imagine, there are all sorts of big-time fantasy players in this one, and the game will have a heavy hand in league matchups everywhere. Let’s take a look at a few key names on both sides so we can try to get a feel for what we should be expecting on our rosters.

Peyton Manning, QB, Denver Broncos: Manning didn’t have a bad game against the Chiefs, but he failed to put up the mind-boggling numbers we’ve come to expect. He posted 323 yards on 24-of-40 passing, but managed just one touchdown. That’s the first time this season he’s thrown less than two. Still, fantasy owners can’t complain about anything Manning has done so far this season, and he’s a no-duh start against a potentially vulnerable New England defense.

Fantasy Football 2013: Broncos at Patriots Week 12 Preview

Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Tom Brady, QB, New England Patriots: Brady’s fantasy owners are probably in the camp that says his team should have been given another chance at the end of the Panthers game, thanks to the pass-interference no-call that stalled the Pats’ last drive. That said, he finished with one touchdown, which seems to be par for the course this year. He’s only surpassed one TD once since Week 4. Brady deserves a start this week, however, as this could very easily shape itself into a QB duel.

Knowshon Moreno, RB, Denver Broncos: Here’s the good news: Moreno got 27 carries against the Chiefs, which marked the first time all year he’d had more than 20. The bad news? He ceded red-zone work to Montee Ball, who reaped the benefits in the form of a pair of TD runs. Still, Moreno came up with 79 yards on the ground, so it wasn’t a total wash. The most unsettling thing, however, was his total of zero receptions in the game. We expect the numbers to be a little more balanced against the Pats.

Stevan Ridley, RB, New England Patriots: Ridley had an up-and-down game against the Panthers. The good news: he got 48 rush yards and a TD. The bad news: he lost another fumble, which got him benched for 18 straight snaps in favor of LeGarrette Blount. Also hurting Ridley’s value this week is Shane Vereen, who was activated shortly before the Carolina game and led the team in receiving. It’s tough telling how things will be divvied up from here on out, so Ridley carries some significant risk now.

Demaryius Thomas, WR, Denver Broncos: Of all the extremely valuable fantasy commodities on the Broncos offense, Thomas has been the most productive lately. He’s on a hot streak right now, capped off by his 121 yards against the Chiefs. Even with the huge yardage total, it was something of a disappointment when he failed to get into the end zone for the first time in three weeks (he posted five scores in that span). Regardless, Thomas is an automatic fantasy start and should serve you well on Sunday.

Rob Gronkowski, TE, New England Patriots: Gronkowski has had only one bad game since being activated five weeks ago. He posted another nice outing against the Panthers, resulting in 59 yards and a TD. Brady was looking his way on the final play, but the throw just wasn’t there. Gronkowski now has 40 touchdowns in his career, and he’s the fastest TE to reach that mark in NFL history. Expect him and Brady to hook up often against the Broncos.

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