DraftKings Daily Fantasy Football Helper: Week 12
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The purpose of this article is not only to help you understand some of the more popular plays on the slate, but also to highlight some overlooked ones that pop in our projection models and might go otherwise overlooked on Sunday. There's usually even more clarity provided to the context of the slate on Saturday night and Sunday morning. But, overall, many of the main decision points become clear by Thursday afternoon and Friday evening, giving you ample time Saturday to build your lineups with useful information.
With many of Week 11's chalk plays failing miserably (Brian Hill, Mohammed Sanu, & Miles Sanders to name a few), the cash lines were much lower across all contests. This week appears to have a similar feel to last week, but without many of the early chalk plays and "free squares". Let's dive in to Week 12 and see what sticks out.
Matt Ryan ($6,800): In the game that currently boasts the highest total of the slate (51.0, according to FanDuel Sportsbook) against a team that ranks second in most DraftKings points allowed to opposing quarterbacks, Matt Ryan stands out above all the rest of the quarterback plays this weekend. His matchup and game environment set up beautifully in this one, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers still remain the biggest pass funnel in all of the NFL. Even with the loss of stud tight end Austin Hooper, Ryan still has elite weapons in Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley to utilize. Though his last two games have been slight disappointments in terms of DraftKings points totals (16 and 19), this is a prime ceiling game spot for Ryan, who torched Tampa Bay last year in two contests for 63 total DraftKings points.
Derek Carr ($6,100): Speaking of pass funnels, Derek Carr gets the New York Jets' defense, which ranks fourth versus the run, per our metrics, but 27th in defense pass rank. Carr's targets in emerging stud Darren Waller, burner Tyrell Williams, and physical enigma Hunter Renfrow are all viable as pass-catching options against this Jets defense. Carr should have plenty of time to throw as his offensive line is sixth in adjusted sack rate and the Jets' defensive line ranks as a mediocre 19th in adjusted sack rate, per Football Outsiders. We haven't really seen a ceiling game from Carr in, well, frankly, a couple of years, but this seems like as good a spot as any for Carr to shine.
Baker Mayfield ($5,900): Speaking of quarterbacks who haven't hit their ceilings lately, Baker Mayfield's season in both real life and fantasy has been one of the biggest disappointments in recent history with respect to his pre-season hype. That being said, the offense has started to click a little bit more lately. Against a couple of pretty tough defenses in the Buffalo Bills and Pittsburgh Steelers, Baker put up 18 and 22 DraftKings points, respectively. And this week, well ... I'm not a baseball player, but I imagine this week for Baker will feel similar to what a hitter feels when we swings the bat a few times with the weight on it in the on-deck circle, and then takes it off to smash a 450-foot home run. He gets the Miami Dolphins, who just allowed Josh Allen to go hog wild for 33.84 DraftKings points in Week 11. With elite weapons in Odell Beckham (see below) and Jarvis Landry, Baker offers excellent upside in Week 12.
Alvin Kamara ($8,200): Despite holding Week 11's bust of the week, Brian Hill, to 4.8 points, the Carolina Panthers continue to struggle against opposing rushing attacks. They're dead last against the run by our numbers and pop on the DFS Matchup Heat Map. The last person they want to go face is a running back like Alvin Kamara, who is currently boasting a 91st percentile broken tackle percentage (16.5%) and is tops in the entire league in PlayerProfiler's juke rate metric. And, oh, by the way, he's averaging a cool 8.8 targets per game in the last four contests. Playing 70% of the snaps behind and offensive line that ranks number one in adjusted line yards, per Football Outsiders, Kamara is a great play this week.
Derrick Henry ($6,800): Playing a running back who doesn't catch passes on DraftKings is always risky with the PPR format. But for some reason, in November and December, Derrick Henry transforms into a hybrid cross between Superman and Godzilla and becomes impossible to tackle for opposing defenses. It'll be particularly challenging for the Jacksonville Jaguars this week as the Jags have struggled against the run this season, coming in at 26th versus the ground game, per our numbers. Last week, Marlon Mack was well on his way to breaking the slate before he broke his hand, but regardless of his exit, the Indianapolis Colts, as a team, put up more than 225 rushing yards on the ground. And in case you need reminding, last year Henry hung 238 yards and four scores on the Jaguars in an island game that gave him a 50 burger of DraftKings points. Henry was already on a roll with 24 and 36 DraftKings points before his bye this season. And now that he's rested, well ... good luck, Jacksonville.
Phillip Lindsay ($5,200): Coming out of their bye, there was much talk of the Denver Broncos transitioning to more of a "Phillip Lindsay-heavy" backfield than the running back by committee approach they'd implemented throughout the season. Turns out it wasn't just talk. Lindsay played 64% of the snaps (as opposed to his season average of 48% before that), handled 16 rushes to Royce Freeman's 8, and tacked on a couple of targets to boot. At the bargain price of $5,200, he takes his heavy usage to Buffalo, where the Bills have gotten absolutely smashed by running backs in the past four weeks. They're allowing 112.8 rush yards, 6.8 receptions, and 46.8 receiving yards to opposing running backs over that span, good for sixth worst in the league. There's good floor here as well as an appealing ceiling, making Lindsay a good cash and GPP play.
Odell Beckham ($7,000): We just keep impatiently waiting and waiting for the Odell Beckham breakout game with Baker Mayfield at the helm like a spoiled kid waiting for presents on Christmas morning, only to continually open the metaphorical pair of socks from Grandma week after week. But if there was ever a get-right week for Odell, Baker, and the Browns' offense, this is the spot. They get the Dolphins in Cleveland after a couple of nice wins against Buffalo and Pittsburgh. Despite OBJ's underwhelming DraftKings point totals the past several weeks, the volume has been there. He's averaging 8.8 targets per game over his last four weeks and leads the team in target share (26%) and air yards market share (38%) on the season. The Dolphins just gave up a huge game to speedster John Brown in Week 11. No more socks this week; we're getting one of those Lincoln town cars with a bow on top of it from Odell on Sunday.
D.J. Chark ($6,400): If you find yourself in this range of wide receiver searching for a cash play with the leftover salary you have from all of your other plays, you can feel good about clicking the green plus sign when plugging in D.J. Chark. Even after a 33-point outing against the Colts, DraftKings elevated his price only an extra $200 dollars, which makes him an excellent value given that his target count over the last four weeks. He's averaging 10 targets per game from two different quarterbacks, signaling his solid role in the offense, with offensive coordinator John DeFilippo clearly scheming to get him involved as much as possible. The Tennessee Titans have given up the third most points to wide receivers over the past four weeks and rank 29th against wideouts, per our DFS Advanced Stats. A solid floor for cash games and achievable ceiling in GPPs makes Chark an awesome play this week.
Taylor Gabriel ($4,200): What stands out about Taylor Gabriel this week among the other cheap plays on the slate is his relatively high floor in the last four games. He's seen 7.3 targets per game in that time and averaged 54.5 yards per game. That's great volume for a guy at $4,200, and if you're a math nerd, you know that his targets per salary dollars is a very nice $69. -- how can you fade that? In all seriousness, though, he's got a sweet matchup against a struggling New York Giants secondary that's second to last this season in points allowed to opposing wide receivers. He gives you a really solid floor you can count on but also upside that was flashed in Week 3, when he went for 32 DraftKings points. The Chicago Bears' offense is undoubtedly struggling, but Gabriel has still been consistently solid and offers excellent salary relief on a slate with no (current) free squares.
Zach Ertz ($6,000): In Week 6 through Week 8 of this season, Zach Ertz was on the backside of a milk carton instead of on the field producing for fantasy owners. And yet, out of nowhere he appears in Week 9 and drops 28 DraftKings points on the Bears and has been pretty darn good since. The Philadelphia Eagles have been running a ton of plays with two tight ends on the field since Week 8, and it has really bolstered both tight ends' production and fantasy numbers. Ertz is averaging 11 targets over his pat two and gets an incredibly juicy matchup against a Seattle Seahawks defense that is ranked in the bottom 10 against the tight end position this year. With the receiving corps still pretty banged up for the Eagles, we can expect the volume for the tight ends to continue.
Dallas Goedert ($3,700): Speaking of tight ends on the Eagles (I'm short on segues this week), this play is basically an echo chamber on all of the stats above for Ertz. As smart as the Eagles coaching staff is, it's a bit surprising that they didn't catch on to the fact that having an athletic freak like Goedert on the field is part of the "get your best players on the field as much as possible" plan. And the results over the past four or five weeks have really shown us that Goedert's floor as a cheap tight end is quite viable when we are looking to pay down. He's up a little bit this week to $3,700, but the matchup is still good, the volume has been solid (five targets and 41.5 receiving yards per game over the last four weeks), and he adds value to a position this week that is, quite frankly, a dumpster fire.
Pittsburgh D/ST ($4,000): Every once in a while this season, it has made sense to pay up for a defense. In the first half of the year, it was mostly the New England Patriots' D/ST that was worth getting up to because of their tendency to break slates with defensive touchdowns. This feels like one of those spots for the Steelers. Their ownership will most likely be depressed because of their abysmal outing against the Cleveland Browns last week and the fact that they are the most expensive defense on the slate. But even with last week's stinker, they are still averaging 3.5 sacks and 1.5 interceptions per game over their last four. And the last time they played the Cincinnati Bengals? 19 DraftKings points and 8 sacks. Not much has changed from Week 4 to Week 11 for the Bengals -- except their quarterback, which is seeming more and more like a big downgrade. My biggest worry here is that the Bengals go back to Andy Dalton to find a spark, so that's sayin' something.
Philadelphia D/ST ($2,500): The way this matchup lines up for the Eagles is what entices me about them as a play this weekend against the Seattle Seahawks. Yes, Russell Wilson is playing MVP-caliber football. But this Eagles defense, especially their secondary, has performed much better lately. Their run defense is a top-10 unite, per our metrics, and we know Seattle's go-to game plan is to run the dang ball. With that likely stuffed, they'll have to rely on a banged up Tyler Lockett, rookie D.K. Metcalf, and new addition Josh Gordon to make plays, and if this Philly secondary can hold up like it has, the Eagles have a good chance to shut down this Seattle offense.
Justin Manuel is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice Justin Manuel also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username JMIZZLE08. 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.