FanDuel Daily Fantasy Football Helper: Week 12
Welcome to our weekly FanDuel daily fantasy football helper, where we give you an overview of the Sunday main slate to help you get started on your research. As always, we recommend checking out all of 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. You also have access to numberFire's weekly projections, which can assist you in nailing down who might be the slate's top scorers and best values.
Now, let's run through some of this week's top plays on the FanDuel main slate.
Russell Wilson ($8,200 on FanDuel): With both Lamar Jackson and Deshaun Watson off this slate, and Dak Prescott in a brutal matchup against New England, the top of the quarterback ranks look a little different than usual this week, but we can still look to Russell Wilson, who always brings tournament-winning upside to the table, exceeding 28 FanDuel points four times this season.
Philadelphia ranks 15th against the pass in Adjusted Defensive Passing Net Expected Points (NEP) per play, so this is more of a neutral matchup, but this game's 47.5 over/under ranks second on the slate, suggesting the possibility of a back-and-for affair. However, it's worth noting these are two run-heavy teams that don't play especially fast, adding some potential risk.
Still, Wilson has been efficient this season, averaging an excellent 8.4 yards per attempt, and he can always add points on the ground, ranking fifth in rushing yards among quarterbacks and totaling three rushing scores. numberFire's projections peg him for the second-most FanDuel points at the position this week.
Matt Ryan ($7,900): Not only is Matt Ryan numberFire's top projected quarterback, but he's the highest projected overall player in terms of both raw points and point-per-dollar value.
This Falcons-Buccaneers contest has the slate's highest total (51.5 points), and despite only 68% of the bets picking the over, per oddsFire, a whopping 90% of the money is headed that way, suggesting the sharp money is banking on a shootout. Tampa Bay has allowed the second-most FanDuel points per game to quarterbacks and ranks just 24th in Adjusted Defensive Passing NEP per play.
Baker Mayfield ($7,500): Baker Mayfield hasn't been an especially exciting option this season, but a date with the Dolphins gives him the boost we need to take interest this week. Miami's defense ranks 32nd in schedule-adjusted pass defense and has allowed the fifth-most FanDuel points per game to quarterbacks. The Browns are also tied with the Saints for the highest implied total on the board (28.00)
Christian McCaffrey ($10,500): What more needs to be said about Christian McCaffrey? He's averaging more FanDuel points per game than anyone else on the slate (27.31) and has earned a spot on the FanDuel perfect lineup three of the past four weeks. He does draw a tough matchup against New Orleans, which has allowed the fourth-fewest FanDuel points per game to running backs, but we've seen McCaffrey handle other difficult spots just fine this year. He's projected for the most raw FanDuel points at the position this week.
Alvin Kamara ($8,300): Carolina's defense ranks 32nd in Adjusted Rushing NEP per play and has allowed the third-most FanDuel points per game to opposing backfields, setting Alvin Kamara up for a potential big week. Latavius Murray figures to steal some work again, but even with Kamara playing just 61.4% of the snaps in Week 11, he still racked up 13 carries and 10 targets. In numberFire's projections, Kamara ranks second among running backs in both raw FanDuel points and point-per-dollar value.
Nick Chubb ($8,200): The Browns are the only team favored by double-digits, and Nick Chubb should be the main beneficiary if they get out to a lead early. Kareem Hunt's passing-game role hurts Chubb's chances of seeing targets, but he's still tallied at least 24 opportunities in both of Hunt's games and has now logged at least 20 carries in seven of the last eight games. The Dolphins rank 26th in schedule-adjusted run defense.
Leonard Fournette ($7,000): Leonard Fournette is the slate's top running back value in numberFire's projections. He saw a decreased workload in a blowout loss last week, but head coach Doug Marrone said that was a "big mistake," giving us more confidence that Fournette will get back to the massive volume we've seen most of the season. He's averaged 24 opportunities per game this season (18.2 carries and 5.8 targets), and the only thing that's held him back is a surprising lack of touchdowns. The Titans may be a good run defense, but they rank 19th in Target Success Rate allowed to running backs.
Michael Thomas ($9,200): Michael Thomas continues to stands alone at wide receiver, projected for far and away the most FanDuel points at the position. Rarely can we count on a wideout's floor as much as Thomas has shown this season, scoring over 12 FanDuel points in every game, and he's now exceeded 21 in three straight. He owns a 32.2% target share and 39.7% air yards share, incredible usage that should help alleviate any matchup concerns, even if he's shadowed by James Bradberry.
Julio Jones ($8,400) and Calvin Ridley ($6,700): If Matt Ryan projects so well, that naturally means great things for his pass-catchers, too, and with Austin Hooper already ruled out again, we can hone in on Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley. With Hooper out last week, Ridley was the one with the huge performance, but both players led the team with eight targets apiece, so either one could go off against Tampa Bay. Julio naturally remains the safer bet, leading the Falcons with a 25.2% target share and 41.5% air yards share in the three games since the Mohamed Sanu trade.
As for the Bucs' defense, they rank 24th in schedule-adjusted pass defense and have allowed the most FanDuel points per game to wide receivers.
Odell Beckham ($7,000): Yet another Browns player, if ever there was a time for Odell Beckham to finally bust out for a huge game, it's this one against Miami. Despite carrying a 27.0% target share and 39.8% air yards share on the season, Beckham has been held to one touchdown and only has two 100-yard performances. Although the Dolphins' advanced metrics against wideouts aren't as terrible as you might think -- they actually rank 10th in Target Success Rate allowed to the position -- this is still a poor overall defense that's allowed 15 touchdowns to wide receivers, tied for the second-most this season.
D.J. Moore ($6,400): Dating back to Week 5, D.J. Moore has now seen at least eight targets in six straight games, hitting double-digits four times. That's amounted to a 29.7% target share and 39.4% air yards share over the span, volume that's easy to embrace at this price despite a tougher matchup against New Orleans, numberFire's 10th-ranked pass defense.
Furthermore, Kyle Allen has been forced to air it out in negative game scripts the last two weeks, leading to 50 and 43 pass attempts, which has helped Moore to a combined 26 targets. We should see a similar scenario play out against the Saints, who are 9.5-point favorites.
Zach Ertz ($6,100): Every time you think you've seen the ugliest tight end slate, another week comes around with even fewer palatable options.
That said, Zach Ertz projects as the top choice in both raw fantasy points and point-per-dollar value, and with both Alshon Jeffery and Nelson Agholor listed as questionable this week, he could see even more volume if either one can't suit up. Ertz has led the team with 11 targets in back-to-back weeks (Jeffery was out in Week 11), and Seattle's defense ranks an unimposing 17th in Adjusted Defensive Passing NEP per play.
Ertz and Darren Waller ($6,200) are the only two tight ends projected for double-digit FanDuel points on the slate.
Noah Fant ($5,100): It's a sizable drop-off after Ertz and Waller, but if you want to pay down, Noah Fant has emerged as a weapon for Brandon Allen and the Broncos. In Allen's two starts, Fant has seen a combined 14 targets, and even before that he was starting to get more looks, notching 9 targets in Week 8 with Joe Flacco. His snap rate has jumped over 80% in each of those last three games, too, further showing an increased team role.
New Orleans D/ST ($4,900): The Cleveland D/ST ($4,500) comes out on top in numberFire's projections against Miami, but as our own Jim Sannes points out, with this defense missing Myles Garrett and other key contributors, the Browns' pass rush may not be as potent as their season numbers would suggest. Cleveland is obviously still viable as a big home favorite against a shoddy team that will likely need to play catch-up -- it's just this may not be the total slam dunk spot that it would initially appear.
If that makes you wary of rolling with the Browns, then New Orleans' defense is an appealing alternative against Carolina if you can find the extra $400. The Saints are a top-10 defense in numberFire's metrics, and they're also sizable home favorites. Meanwhile, the Panthers' offensive line ranks just 27th in adjusted sack rate, per Football Outsiders, and we've seen Kyle Allen have meltdown performances a couple times this season. He tossed three picks and was sacked seven times against the 49ers in Week 8, and then just last week, Atlanta racked up five sacks and four interceptions against him.
Atlanta D/ST ($4,300): And speaking of the Falcons, do you believe in the sudden turnaround we've seen from this defense? Since head coach Dan Quinn relinquished play-calling duties after their bye, Atlanta hasn't allowed a touchdown in back-to-back weeks against the Panthers and Saints while accumulating a combined 11 sacks. Even if we question how much of this will stick, they don't have to be world-beaters to take advantage of Jameis Winston and his league-leading 18 interceptions.