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Should You Start Cam Akers vs. the Chiefs? Fantasy Outlook for Rams Running Back



In the space of three weeks, Cam Akers’ fantasy football value has increased massively. The Los Angeles Rams went from trying to trade Akers to having him as their lead early-down back in less than a month. With that in mind, is Akers a player that fantasy managers should be looking to start in Week 12, or could he be in for a tough game?

Cam Akers’ Fantasy Outlook

Last week saw Akers record his highest number of carries since Week 2 of the 2022 NFL season. Akers led the Rams’ backfield in terms of touches, even if he was behind Kyren Williams when it came to offensive snaps.

Akers dominated the workload on early downs, seeing around 75% of the usage in those situations. However, Akers was in on just one third-down play, with Williams handling the rest, as well as serving as the primary back in two-minute drills.

Therefore, it seems as though the Rams’ RB roles will split as Akers being the back on early downs, with Williams as the pass-catching back. The key determination of their ceilings will come down to who stakes a claim on the short-yardage and, therefore, goal-line work. Last week they split the short-yardage work evenly, with no goal-line opportunities.

MORE: Week 12 Fantasy RB Start/Sit Recommendations

Therefore, how the fantasy value of those two breaks down will very much depend on the projected game script. If the Rams appear set to be in tight games, we could see a lot more of Akers. In contrast, if it looks like the Rams might be chasing the game in the second half, then Williams could be the biggest beneficiary.

Should Fantasy Managers Start Akers in Week 12?

This week looks like it could be a tough one for Akers in terms of playtime. The Rams are 15-point underdogs on average across sportsbooks and around 10-point underdogs in the first half alone. Therefore, we could see a lot of Williams in the second half if the Rams are left chasing the game.

While Akers might see a majority of work in the first half, he could end up getting phased out of the game as it progresses. That presents a significant issue to both his floor and ceiling outlooks in Week 12.

The matchup itself is also not a slam-dunk one for the Rams. The Chiefs have allowed over 20 fantasy points to opposing backs in two of the last three games. However, in the third game, they held the Jacksonville Jaguars and Travis Etienne to less than 10 fantasy points.

MORE: Should You Start Kyren Williams vs. KC in Week 12?

In the two games that the Chiefs gave up more than 20 fantasy points, the lead running backs were Derrick Henry and Austin Ekeler. Akers and Williams are far from the level of those two backs, so it would be optimistic to expect the Rams’ RBs to significantly outscore the Chiefs’ average of allowing 19.91 fantasy points to opposing backs on average.

If you start Akers this week, you are ultimately hoping he finds the end zone in order to be a starter in 12-team leagues. With just six targets all year, Akers is going to struggle to produce the minimum of 10 fantasy points required in half-PPR formats to be a locked-in 12-team starting option unless he scores.

Accordingly, Akers is the RB36 in Tommy Garrett’s half-PPR RB fantasy rankings for Week 12. Personally, I am actually a touch lower on Akers even than that. This matchup appears to favor the role Williams plays in the offense, so I would lean toward him having the better chance to provide starting-level output for fantasy managers. Either way, neither is an ideal 12-team starting consideration this week, and Akers even concerns me in 14-team leagues.

Additionally, Akers is a player I may even look to fade in Underdog Fantasy Best Ball leagues this week. After he led the backfield in touches last week, he will likely require a higher investment than Williams. Even if they are at a similar value, Williams is the player I am looking to take a chance on in Best Ball leagues this week, especially in PPR formats.

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Do You Need To Start Jonathan Taylor, Derrick Henry, and Jaylen Warren?




The 2023 NFL season continues to move forward and fantasy football managers have plenty of tough start/sit decisions ahead of them for Week 12.

With four games already complete after Thanksgiving and Black Friday, who do you need to be looking to start confidently this weekend?

Here are my latest Week 12 RB rankings to help guide you as you set your lineups. All rankings are in 1QB and half-PPR scoring formats.

Which RB Should You Start in Fantasy Football?

More Positional Rankings From Tate: QB | WR | TE

1) Christian McCaffrey | SF (at SEA)
2) Austin Ekeler | LAC (vs. BAL)
3) Alvin Kamara | NO (at ATL)
4) D’Andre Swift | PHI (vs. BUF)
5) Travis Etienne Jr. | JAX (at HOU)
6) Breece Hall | NYJ (vs. MIA)
7) Jonathan Taylor | IND (vs. TB)
8) Jahmyr Gibbs | DET (vs. GB)
9) Saquon Barkley | NYG (vs. NE)
10) Kyren Williams | LAR (at ARI)
11) Isiah Pacheco | KC (at LV)
12) Derrick Henry | TEN (vs. CAR)
13) Josh Jacobs | LV (vs. KC)
14) Bijan Robinson | ATL (vs. NO)
15) Raheem Mostert | MIA (at NYJ)
16) Jerome Ford | CLE (at DEN)
17) Rachaad White | TB (at IND)
18) Gus Edwards | BAL (at LAC)
19) David Montgomery | DET (vs. GB)
20) Tony Pollard | DAL (vs. WAS)

21) Javonte Williams | DEN (vs. CLE)
22) Jaylen Warren | PIT (at CIN)
23) James Conner | ARI (vs. LAR)
24) Zach Charbonnet | SEA (vs. SF)
25) Brian Robinson Jr. | WAS (at DAL)
26) Rhamondre Stevenson | NE (at NYG)
27) Joe Mixon | CIN (vs. PIT)
28) Kareem Hunt | CLE (at DEN)
29) James Cook | BUF (at PHI)
30) Najee Harris | PIT (at CIN)
31) Alexander Mattison | MIN (vs. CHI)
32) AJ Dillon | GB (at DET)
33) Khalil Herbert | CHI (at MIN)
34) Chuba Hubbard | CAR (at TEN)
35) Devin Singletary | HOU (vs. JAX)

MORE: PFN’s FREE NFL Playoff Predictor

36) Dameon Pierce | HOU (vs. JAX)
37) Keaton Mitchell | BAL (at LAC)
38) Ty Chandler | MIN (vs. CHI)
39) Tyler Allgeier | ATL (vs. NO)
40) Zack Moss | IND (vs. TB)
41) Royce Freeman | LAR (at ARI)
42) D’Onta Foreman | CHI (at MIN)
43) Tyjae Spears | TEN (vs. CAR)
44) Latavius Murray | BUF (at PHI)
45) Rico Dowdle | DAL (vs. WAS)
46) D’Ernest Johnson | JAX (at HOU)
47) Jaleel McLaughlin | DEN (vs. CLE)
48) Miles Sanders | CAR (at TEN)
49) Jerick McKinnon | KC (at LV)
50) Roschon Johnson | CHI (at MIN)

51) Kenneth Gainwell | PHI (vs. BUF)
52) Ezekiel Elliott | NE (at NYG)
53) Samaje Perine | DEN (vs. CLE)
54) Joshua Kelley | LAC (vs. BAL)
55) Justice Hill | BAL (at LAC)
56) Dalvin Cook | NYJ (vs. MIA)
57) Elijah Mitchell | SF (at SEA)
58) Chase Edmonds | TB (at IND)
59) Mike Boone | HOU (vs. JAX)
60) Matt Breida | NYG (vs. NE)
61) Clyde Edwards-Helaire | KC (at LV)
62) Chris Rodriguez Jr. | WAS (at DAL)
63) Tank Bigsby | JAX (at HOU)
64) Pierre Strong Jr. | CLE (at DEN)
65) Keaontay Ingram | ARI (vs. LAR)

66) Raheem Blackshear | CAR (at TEN)
67) Trayveon Williams | CIN (vs. PIT)
68) Ameer Abdullah | LV (vs. KC)
69) Zamir White | LV (vs. KC)
70) Kyle Juszczyk | SF (at SEA)
71) Leonard Fournette | BUF (at PHI)
72) Israel Abanikanda | NYJ (vs. MIA)
73) Kene Nwangwu | MIN (vs. CHI)
74) Alec Ingold | MIA (at NYJ)
75) Jashaun Corbin | CAR (at TEN)
76) C.J. Ham | MIN (vs. CHI)
77) Jordan Mason | SF (at SEA)
78) Dare Ogunbowale | HOU (vs. JAX)
79) Craig Reynolds | DET (vs. GB)
80) Boston Scott | PHI (vs. BUF)

The Top RBs To Start in Week 12

Jaylen Warren, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers

Pittsburgh Steelers RB Jaylen Warren has been on an absolute tear over the last three games.

He has a minimum of 88 yards rushing — which includes two straight 100-yard rushing performances — and has two rushing scores in consecutive games.

The Cincinnati Bengals offense may struggle to sustain drives with the loss of QB Joe Burrow under center, which could open the door for a favorable game script for the red-hot Warren in Week 12.

Jerome Ford, RB, Cleveland Browns

It wasn’t pretty for Jerome Ford or the Cleveland Browns offense in Week 11 against the Steelers, but he did manage to find pay dirt for the first time since Week 7 to save his fantasy day in a winning effort.

Ford has seen 10+ carries in all but two games this entire season and continues to be a focal point of the Browns’ offensive game plan on a weekly basis. While the Denver Broncos defense has certainly been much better over the last three weeks, Denver has still given up over 170 rushing yards in two consecutive games, which means Ford is still a quality RB2 option for Week 12.

Looking to make a trade in your fantasy league? Having trouble deciding who to start and who to sit? Setting DFS lineups? Check out PFN’s Free Fantasy Football Trade Analyzer, Start/Sit Optimizer, and DFS Lineup Optimizer to help you make the right decision!

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A Look Back at the Dolphins’ Blockbuster Deal With Rams




The Miami Dolphins made a blockbuster trade in the 2023 offseason, trading for the services of superstar cornerback Jalen Ramsey. As one of the premier defensive backs in the NFL, what did Miami have to give up to get their man?

Revisiting the Jalen Ramsey Trade

The Rams had made it clear in the 2023 offseason that Ramsey was available for trade. After going all in to win Super Bowl LVI, they found themselves in cap hell. Los Angeles decided they had to give themselves a clean slate now, which meant suffering from a massive amount of dead cap in 2023, to free up money for the future.

Ramsey was one of those stars available for trade on March 12, 2023, it was announced that he was being traded to the Dolphins.

The trade was a huge move for one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL and was meant to elevate Miami’s defense to the next level. However, Ramsey suffered a torn meniscus in preseason, which put his 2023 season in jeopardy.

Nevertheless, he was able to make a speedy recovery, returning to action in Week 8. Now back on the field, Ramsey’s proving why the Dolphins were willing to complete the trade.

Dolphins received:

Rams received:

  • 2023 third-round pick
  • TE Hunter Long TE

As for the compensation, the Dolphins were happy to send a third-rounder (from the Patriots in their trade for DeVante Parker) and Hunter Long. The Rams, meanwhile, turned that third-round pick (77th overall) into edge rusher Byron Young, who is having a good rookie season, with five sacks in his first 10 games.

Long, unfortunately, found himself on injured reserve after suffering a thigh injury in September.

Ramsey in Miami

It is expected that Ramsey had a hand in his chosen destination and was thrilled to end up in Miami. Speaking to Cameron Wolfe from NFL Network, Ramsey said, “I feel great, man. This is something I was praying about for a long time.”

Ramsey knew how much hard work he needed to put in if he was to continue his success in Miami, telling Wolfe, “It’s going to be fun, it’s going to be exciting, but we gonna get to work though, for sure.”

MORE: Tyreek Hill Trade Details — Who Won the Dolphins and Chiefs Trade?

On why he was so excited to join the Dolphins, Ramsey said, “The goal is to try to get back to the Super Bowl and win the Super Bowl.”

In 2016, Ramsey was the fifth overall pick to the Jacksonville Jaguars and quickly established himself as one of the top corners in the NFL. However, in 2019, with the Jaguars not close to competing, the Rams went all in to secure his services, sending two first-round draft picks and a fourth-rounder Jacksonville’s way in exchange for Ramsey.

Ramsey’s Contract

By trading for Ramsey, the Dolphins had to open their checkbooks and give the star corner a contract extension.

According to Spotrac, Ramsey’s contract extension is for three years, worth $55 million — netting him an average annual salary of just over $18.3 million. Of that money, $35.5 million was guaranteed, and the contract also included an $8.8 million signing bonus.

The contract structure means that Ramsey is on the books for just $4.1 million in 2023. However,, the cap hit skyrockets in 2024, where he’ll cost $28.4 million against the cap. In the final year of the contract extension, Ramsey’s cap hit will drop but will still cost the Dolphins against the cap to a sum of $22.4 million. The contract also includes a void year in 2026.

The cap hit in future years could well be a bitter pill to swallow for Miami. But the Dolphins could do some cap magic and restructure Ramsey’s contract again in the offseason. Over the Cap has Ramsey’s overall contract worth $100 million, making him the third-highest-paid corner in the NFL.

Plus, there is scope for Miami to also decide on Ramsey’s future in the offseason. Should the Dolphins, for whatever reason, want to cut him after the 2023 season, then that will cost them a staggering $28.4 million against the cap. However, such is the magic and mysteries of the salary cap, if Miami were to move on from Ramsey after June 1, then that cap hit would drop down to just $2.9 million.

Want to predict the rest of the 2023 season with our FREE NFL Playoff Predictor? Looking for the most up-to-date NFL standings? What about a breakdown of team depth charts or the NFL schedule? Pro Football Network has you covered with that and more!

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Team To Be Without 2 Starters Against Steelers




Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins and cornerback Cam Taylor-Britt will not play Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

This will be the third consecutive game Higgins has missed due to a hamstring injury he suffered in practice on Nov. 8, leaving quarterback Jake Browning without one of the top offensive weapons for his NFL starting debut.

Cincinnati Bengals Are Taking It Slow With Tee Higgins

Bengals head coach Zac Taylor shot down the suggestion that Higgins, who is not under contract beyond this season, is not playing due to any sort of business decision.

“He did this two weeks and two days ago. That is not that long,” Taylor said. “I think he’s on a good track. I’m encouraged to where’s he progressing to. It feels like it was a long time ago. It was not. He did this on a Wednesday of (Houston) Texans week, that was 16 days ago.

“For a receiver, we just want to be mindful. So we got to the sense we didn’t feel good about him going this week, so let’s not push him at practice,” Taylor continued. “He’s pushing himself in the rehab process, but there was no reason to integrate him into practice and risk a setback with him doing something away from the trainers.”

Asked if he gets the sense Higgins wants to be on the field as much as possible, Taylor said, “Yes, I have. All the time. Tee’s really been a good communicator in terms of some guys you don’t have a great feel for what they’re feeling or if they’re gonna practice. Tee’s pretty clear. You can go and be direct with Tee, and he’s gonna give you good feedback. At the end of the day, that’s what you ask for.”

Taylor-Britt has appeared in 23 consecutive games since making his NFL debut in Week 7 last year. He played through a quad injury earlier this season but reaggravated it in the 34-20 loss to the Baltimore Ravens last week.

MORE: Folsom Prism Views — Prep Teammates Jake Browning, Jonah Williams at it Again With Bengals

Look for Chidobe Awuzie to get the start in his spot, with rookie DJ Turner making his seventh consecutive start on the opposite side.

On the positive side of the injury report, Taylor said defensive end Sam Hubbard is “good to go.”

Hubbard has missed the last two games with an ankle injury and will add a needed boost to the run defense against Pittsburgh backs Najee Harris and Jaylen Warren.

Starting linebacker Germaine Pratt missed Friday’s practice due to illness and is listed as questionable. The team will see how he progresses during the weekend, but it doesn’t appear to be anything that will keep him from playing Sunday.

Expectations are that rookie running back Chase Brown will be activated from IR to the 53-man roster, and quarterback Joe Burrow officially will be placed on IR either later today or tomorrow. Brown also is listed as questionable.

Burrow has been at practice all week, even going through stretches with his teammates. Surgery is expected to be scheduled soon, and Burrow will remain around the team as he recovers.

Backup offensive lineman D’Ante Smith is listed as doubtful with a knee injury suffered in practice Thursday.

Want to predict the rest of the 2023 season with our FREE NFL Playoff Predictor? Looking for the most up-to-date NFL standings? What about a breakdown of team depth charts or the NFL schedule? Pro Football Network has you covered with that and more!

Listen to the PFN Bengals Podcast

Listen to the PFN Bengals Podcast! Click the embedded player below to listen, or you can find the PFN Bengals Podcast on iTunes, Spotify, and all major podcast platforms.  Be sure to subscribe and leave us a five-star review! Rather watch instead? Check out the PFN Bengals Podcast on our NFL YouTube channel.

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