DraftKings Daily Fantasy Football Helper: Week 12
The daily fantasy football games offered on FanDuel and DraftKings have many similarities, but one distinct difference is that DraftKings uses full PPR scoring. Much like you would in season-long leagues, that means we must evaluate players slightly differently on each site. In this space, we'll help you on the DraftKings side of the equation.
Be sure to pay attention to inactives prior to Sunday's games. Similar to late scratches in the NBA, injuries can have a huge impact on playing time, and great values can open up for you at the last minute. At a position like running back, a low-priced backup can suddenly find his way into a feature role and become an excellent play.
Also, check out numberFire's premium tools at your disposal. In particular, the heat map is a great way to get a general overview of the slate's implied totals, and every team's strengths and weaknesses.
Now, let's run through this week's top plays on the DraftKings main slate.
Russell Wilson ($7,000): Tom Brady is almost always a strong play, and this week is no different against the woeful Miami Dolphins. However, if you're paying up, it's Russell Wilson who arguably has the better shot to be the top-scoring quarterback, and he costs $700 less. He gets a similarly enticing matchup against the San Francisco 49ers, who rank 28th against the pass by numberFire's schedule-adjusted Net Expected Points (NEP) metric. And with just about every Seattle Seahawks running back either injured or ineffective, Wilson is practically the entire offense, accumulating the bulk of the rushing yards himself, adding to both his floor and ceiling. He's second among quarterbacks in rushing yards (375), accumulating over 75 rushing yards in two of the last three games.
Marcus Mariota ($6,300): In the mid-range, we have guys like Andy Dalton and Tyrod Taylor in soft matchups, but for just a little bit more you can get to Marcus Mariota, who faces our old DFS friend, the Indianapolis Colts. The Colts rank 31st against the pass according to numberFire metrics and still hold the dubious distinction of allowing the most points per game in the NFL (28.0). Mariota is coming off a tough game against the Pittsburgh Steelers and hasn't run as much since recovering from his hamstring injury, but he did garner 51 rushing yards in Week 10 against the Cincinnati Bengals and rushed for a touchdown against Pittsburgh. Considering the Titans defense isn't so hot themselves, there's some sneaky shootout potential, too.
Paxton Lynch ($4,400): Oh dear, what are we thinking? Yes, the Denver Broncos offense has been a bit of a mess just about all season, and judging from his handful of performances last year, there isn't any indication that new starter Paxton Lynch will be the answer. Still, if ever was a time to succeed, it would be against the Oakland Raiders, who rank last against the pass by our marks, along with being last in Football Outsiders' adjusted sack rate. At this price, he really doesn't have to do much to hit value, and we saw smokin' Jay Cutler go off for 311 yards and 3 touchdowns against these Raiders in Week 9.
Todd Gurley ($8,800): Todd Gurley is expensive, but only Le'Veon Bell exceeds him in team market share of carries and targets (39.2%). Gurley is coming off an underwhelming performance against a tough Minnesota Vikings defense, but he still managed to get 18 touches in a lopsided loss, showing how secure his workload is. Regardless, he shouldn't have any trouble finding volume this week, with the Los Angeles Rams sitting as 2.5-point home favorites over the New Orleans Saints in a game with the slate's highest over/under (53.5). The Saints have proven to be a formidable defense, but still rank just 31st against the run according to numberFire.
Kareem Hunt ($8,000): Hunt continues to disappoint us, but truly, if it's going to happen, it's against the Buffalo Bills, who have been getting absolutely shredded on the ground since trading away Marcell Dareus. The Bills now rank last against the run, and with the Kansas City Chiefs favored by 10 points at home, game flow should favor Hunt. In Kansas City victories, Hunt has averaged 23 touches a game with a season-high of 32 in Week 5 against the Houston Texans.
J.D. McKissic ($3,700): On Monday, Mike Davis was the latest Seattle running back to go down, leaving J.D. McKissic to lead the backfield in touches (12) and snaps (68%). Davis isn't expected to suit up against the San Francisco 49ers, and with both Eddie Lacy and Thomas Rawls failing to take the reins, this could be McKissic's chance to shine. Even with just a modest workload increase, his normal pass-catching role gives him a reasonable floor at this price. The 49ers have allowed the most receiving yards to running backs this year, which also doesn't hurt.
Julio Jones ($7,700): A.J. Green may be in a stellar spot against the lowly Cleveland Browns, but don't sleep on Julio Jones. Against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Jones has a great opportunity to finally have that massive game we keep waiting for. The Bucs have allowed the most DraftKings points per game to wide receivers, and despite only scoring 1 touchdown this season, Jones leads the Falcons in red zone targets (11). Over the last five games, he's also seen a 32.2% market share of the team's targets and 50% of the air yards. Keep the faith, fellas.
Brandin Cooks ($7,100): Chris Hogan still isn't practicing, and in the two games he's missed, Brandin Cooks has been the main beneficiary, averaging 10 targets and seeing a whopping 54% of the air yards. Coming off a monster game against the Raiders, it's hard to see the 30th-ranked Miami pass defense stopping him. The Patriots have a slate-high 32.0-point implied team total.
Dede Westbrook ($3,600): Maybe Dede Westbrook didn't have the debut he was hoping for, but he had a promising 6 targets in his first real NFL game despite playing only 45% of the snaps. But against the Arizona Cardinals, Marqise Lee is expected to have his hands full with Patrick Peterson, giving Westbrook a chance to make his mark. You're obviously banking on an increase in playing time, which is risky, but Allen Hurns looks unlikely to play, and Westbrook already took a chunk out of Keelan Cole's snaps in just one game. Westbrook led the preseason with 288 yards and could have some intriguing upside at a basement-level price.
Jared Cook ($4,600): The Broncos have proven to be susceptible to tight ends, allowing the second-most DraftKings points per game to them. Jared Cook is averaging a solid 6.0 targets a game and has even shown some upside with two 100-yard games.
Tyler Kroft ($3,900): Playing tight ends against Cleveland has paid dividends all season, and even Marcedes Lewis continued this trend by getting in the end zone last week. Kroft sees inconsistent weekly targets, so you probably need a touchdown for him to pay off, but the Browns have allowed the second-most touchdowns to the position. Kroft also had 2 scores against them earlier this season.
Jacksonville D/ST ($4,100): Jacksonville is numberFire's top-ranked defense, and they lead the league with 40.0 sacks. It's a hefty price, but their 14.9 DraftKings points per game blows away all other defenses on the slate. There's little reason to think they can't keep it going against Blaine Gabbert and the Cardinals.
New England D/ST ($3,400): The Patriots still don't generate the sacks we like to see, but they've scored at least 9.0 DraftKings points in each of their last three games. A laughing stock earlier in the year, most of their season stats still look poor, but they haven't allowed over 17 points in six straight games. Even without the sacks, the lopsided scores of their recent games have forced teams to try and play catch-up, leading to turnover opportunities. Expect more of a same against the Dolphins, who are 16.5-point underdogs.
Kenyatta Storin is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Kenyatta Storin also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username yatters. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in his articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.