NFL

Daily Fantasy Football Wide Receiver Primer: Week 12

The Week 12 main slate looks like another ideal opportunity to build around some high-priced superstar receivers who find themselves in friendly matchups on Sunday.

In this preview, I'll break down the wide receivers into three categories based on FanDuel's prices: players to build around, value plays, and players to avoid.

Players to build around are more expensive, but their ceilings are high enough that you should consider prioritizing them in your lineup. Value plays are cheaper options who usually come with some risk, but adding them to your lineup will help you afford the expensive stars. Players to avoid are guys you might normally consider at their price tag but have tough matchups and are unlikely to live up to their usual expectations.

All references to betting totals and spreads are from the FanDuel Sportsbook.

Receivers to Build Around

Michael Thomas, New Orleans Saints ($9,200) -- Michael Thomas has earned a permanent place on this list, having ranked among the top-25 receivers every week in which he's played this season. He's also riding a streak of four consecutive top-10 finishes. This week's opponent, the Carolina Panthers, are allowing the eighth-most fantasy points per game to opposing receivers. Given Thomas' ceiling and consistency, he's worth playing in cash games and tournaments.

Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons ($8,400) -- Julio Jones had been limited by a foot injury earlier this week, but he returned to practice on Thursday and appears on track to play against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Assuming Jones is healthy, he should feast on a Tampa defense that has helped produce a top-four fantasy output from a receiver in six of its last seven games.

Kenny Golladay, Detroit Lions ($7,800) -- This is a great spot for Kenny Golladay to bounce back after posting just 3.9 points against the Dallas Cowboys in Week 11. Golladay should frequently find himself matched up with Washington Redskins cornerback Josh Norman, who has struggled to defend downfield. According to Sports Info Solutions, Golladay sees 60.5 percent of his targets on throws at least 10 yards downfield. Meanwhile, Norman is allowing 2.6 fantasy points per target when in coverage 10 or more yards downfield, the second-worst rate in the league.

Chris Godwin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers ($7,800) -- Chris Godwin, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' primary slot receiver, draws a favorable matchup on Sunday against Atlanta Falcons' rookie cornerback Kendall Sheffield. According to Sports Info Solutions, since Sheffield became the Falcons' primary slot corner in Week 8, opposing quarterbacks are completing 75 percent of their passes targeted at Sheffield for an average of 7.8 yards per target. This game also carries the highest total of the week (51.5 points). The potential for a shootout increases Godwin's ceiling for this matchup.

Amari Cooper, Dallas Cowboys ($7,700) -- The New England Patriots favor man coverage, which could create an increased workload for Amari Cooper this week. According to Sports Info Solutions, Cooper sees a 28.9 percent target share when the defense is in man coverage, compared to just 19.6 percent versus zone coverage. Of course, there is some risk in playing Cooper against a strong Patriots defense. However, New England is known for shutting down their opponent's most valuable player -- which is probably Ezekiel Elliott in this matchup. If New England's goal is to shut down the Cowboys' run game, it could allow Cooper to do his usual damage.

Jarvis Landry, Cleveland Browns ($6,900) -- With Baker Mayfield struggling to connect with Odell Beckham, it appears as though Jarvis Landry has regained his status as the go-to weapon in Cleveland. Over the last four weeks, Jarvis Landry has seen 40 targets, third-most in the NFL, and has a 29 percent target share in that span. On Sunday, Landry will face a Miami Dolphins defense that is allowing 9.2 yards per target and 112.2 yards per game to receivers lined up in the slot, according to Sports Info Solutions.

Value Plays

James Washington, Pittsburgh Steelers ($6,100) -- With JuJu Smith-Schuster likely to miss Sunday's game due to a concussion, James Washington should have an increased role in the Pittsburgh Steelers' offense. Even with Smith-Schuster on the field, Washington has been Mason Rudolph's favorite downfield weapon in recent weeks. Since Rudolph returned from injury in Week 8, Washington leads the team with 10 receptions on 17 targets at 10 or more yards downfield. That usage bodes well for Washington's performance against a Cincinnati Bengals defense that is allowing a 57 percent completion rate on targets 10 yards downfield -- fourth-worst in the league according to Sports Info Solutions.

Trey Quinn, Washington Redskins ($4,700) -- If you're looking for an ultra-cheap tournament dart throw, Redskins slot receiver Trey Quinn looks like a good option against the Lions. Quinn has reached double-digit fantasy points just once this season, but he draws a favorable matchup against the Lions' struggling slot cornerback Justin Coleman. According to Sports Info Solutions, over his last six games Coleman has allowed 70.3 fantasy points (11.7 per game). Coleman is also allowing 11.3 yards per target to slot receivers in that span, the worst rate in the league. Given Coleman's issues, it would make sense for Washington to attempt to exploit this matchup, potentially leading to a breakout game for Quinn.

Anthony Miller, Chicago Bears ($4,600) -- It's tough to trust anyone in the Chicago Bears' offense other than Allen Robinson, but given Anthony Miller's price tag and recent usage, he may be worth a dart throw against the New York Giants. Miller saw a career-high 11 targets last week against the Rams, including a team-high six targets while line up in the slot. If that usage continues, he should turn in another strong game against New York. According to Sports Info Solutions, the Giants are allowing an NFL-worst 10.5 yards per target to slot receivers this season.

Players to Avoid

Courtland Sutton, Denver Broncos ($6,800) -- Courtland Sutton has reached double-digit fantasy points in six of his last eight games, but he draws a tough assignment against Buffalo Bills cornerback Tre'Davious White. Buffalo has allowed a top-15 fantasy performance from a wide receiver just twice this season. This matchup also carries the lowest total of the weekend at just 38.5 points.

Golden Tate, New York Giants ($6,400) -- In Sterling Shepard's absence, Golden Tate has been productive, but Shepard practiced in full on Thursday and is expected to return to the field on Sunday. A healthy Shepard is likely to cut into Tate's workload -- he had a 24 percent target share without Shepard. Additionally, the Chicago Bears' defense has been stingy against wide receivers. In 5 of 10 games, the highest scoring receiver against Chicago has ranked 36th or worse among all receivers in that given week.



Ryan McCrystal is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Ryan McCrystal also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username cfbfilmroom. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his/her personal views, he/she may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his/her personal account. The views expressed in his/her articles are the author’s alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.