5 NFL FanDuel Value Plays to Target in Week 12
Studs with sizable salaries are frequently an integral part of winning money in daily fantasy football at FanDuel. However, to fit them under the salary cap, it's imperative to locate under-salaried players who over-deliver.
A good place to start when attempting to unearth undervalued players is our projections tool. The tool offers a value option for sorting, showcasing who offers the most bang for your buck. In addition to matchups impacting projections, injuries do as well. On that note, players replacing injured starters are often among the top values. So, staying abreast of injury news and inactives until the start of games is a must with that in mind.
With the tone set for this piece, let's move on. The following quintet of players is among my favorite cap-friendly options in Week 12.
Darrell Henderson Jr., RB, Los Angeles Rams ($7,300)
Following a two-game losing streak, the Los Angeles Rams are looking to turn things around out of their bye. It won't be an easy task, though.
They're on the road against the Green Bay Packers. Nevertheless, according to our heat map, the Rams are 1.0-point favorites with a rock-solid implied total of 24.00 points. I agree with the expectation of a close game that the narrow spread sets.
A close game should allow the Rams to lean on feature back Darrell Henderson in a superb matchup. According to our snap count page, Henderson has played the third-highest percentage of snaps (68.03 percent) among running backs.
The third-year back is doing an excellent job of parlaying his playing time into production. He is averaging 65.9 rushing yards, 2.6 receptions, and 17.1 receiving yards per game with 7 touchdowns.
Further, as I noted, the matchup is great for success, too. According to our power rankings, the Packers own the sixth-worst run defense.
Finally, Henderson is aided by a tremendous run-blocking line. According to Football Outsiders, the Rams are fourth in adjusted line yards. So, I love Henderson in all game types in Week 12.
Joe Burrow, QB, Cincinnati Bengals ($7,100)
Unfortunately, Joe Burrow has let down daily gamers who have used him the last couple of weeks -- such as myself. Burrow has passed for only 430 yards, 1 touchdown, and 2 interceptions over his past two games.
Still, it's important to forgive in daily fantasy and look at the bigger picture. Doing just that reveals a pass-happy trend that's worked out well for Burrow more often than not since Week 4.
According to Sharp Football Stats, when the Cincinnati Bengals' offensive scoring margin ranges from trailing by seven points to leading by seven points since Week 4, they pass at the fifth-highest rate (63 percent).
Additionally, during that seven-game stretch (Cincinnati was on their bye in Week 10), Burrow has passed for multiple touchdowns five times, passing for at least 259 yards in each of the multi-touchdown performances.
He has a mid-pack matchup with the Pittsburgh Steelers this week. However, his matchup might be easier than meets the eye. Joe Haden and T.J. Watt haven't been more than limited participants in any practices this week, at least casting doubt on how healthy and effective they'll be even if they're active this week.
Finally, Burrow efficiently picked the Steelers apart in Week 3, completing 14 of 18 passes for 172 yards and three touchdowns. Burrow is my favorite value quarterback this week.
Michael Pittman Jr., WR, Indianapolis Colts ($6,600)
Last week, Jonathan Taylor and the Indianapolis Colts steamrolled the Buffalo Bills. The supremely talented second-year back made Buffalo's elite run defense that ranks second in our power rankings look feeble.
So, I don't doubt Taylor's ability to pile up yardage in a challenging matchup. Nevertheless, he has another one on the docket this week. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are the fourth-best run defense in our power rankings, and they should be getting back run-stuffing nose tackle Tevita Vea after he returned to practice on Thursday.
Thus, it's possible the Bucs bottle Taylor up enough to force Indy to air it out more. Further, Tampa Bay's offense can hang points in bunches, forcing the Colts into a shootout. In that case, Michael Pittman Jr. would stand to benefit.
According to Sports Info Solutions, Pittman is 19th in target share (23.3 percent). In addition, according to Pro Football Focus, out of 72 receivers that have been targeted at least 30 times this year, Pittman is tied for 24th with 1.98 yards per route run.
As a result, the second-year wideout is nicely blending volume and efficiency. If the Bucs can force the Colts to throw more than they typically do, Pittman can pay off handsomely as a high-upside GPP selection.
Mike Williams, WR, Los Angeles Chargers ($6,600)
The 2021 season has basically been a three-story act for Mike Williams' usage on the Los Angeles Chargers.
According to Pro Football Focus, from Week 1 through Week 3, Williams had an average depth of target of 9.8 yards. Then, from Week 4 through Week 8, Williams' average depth of target exploded to 15.6 yards. Finally, in Weeks 9 through Week 11, his average depth of target plummeted to 7.4 yards.
The big receiver's production has wildly fluctuated with his usage changes -- and while battling a knee injury, for full disclosure. In the early part of the season, Williams was at his best, exceeding 80 receiving yards with at least one touchdown in four of his first five games. Then, he struggled mightily for a few weeks. Finally, however, he snapped out of it last week.
In Week 11, Williams hauled in 5 of 6 targets for 97 yards and a touchdown. I'm encouraged by his production last week coupled with his shallower target depth of late.
As a result, I'm willing to roll the dice on Williams playing closer to the level we've seen at his best this year. However, because his production has been up and down this year, it's probably not entirely accurate to call him a safe pick.
Nonetheless, I don't view him as a complete boom-or-bust option with his moderate target depth for most of this season. Still, he's best reserved for GPP usage.
Javonte Williams, RB, Denver Broncos ($5,700)
A funny thing happened before the Denver Broncos' bye in Week 11. For only the second time this year, Javonte Williams played a higher percentage of snaps than Melvin Gordon, 51.56 percent of the snaps versus 39.06 percent. Additionally, Williams set his single-game high for snap percentage in that game. Might the uptick in playing time be a sign of things to come? Maybe!
Unfortunately, it appears Gordon will be the starter this week. However, starting the game and earning the lion's share of the work are vastly different things. Also, Williams has a chance to help FanDuel squads even in his current shared-backfield role.
The Chargers are the worst rush defense in our power rankings. In addition, they're allowing the most rushing yards (1,199) to running backs at a robust 4.67 yards per rush attempt, per Pro Football Reference. Moreover, Williams is excelling as a runner in his rookie campaign.
According to Pro Football Focus, out of 55 running backs with at least 50 rush attempts, Williams is tied for fourth in yards after contact per rush attempt (3.67). Also, he's tied for eighth in 10-plus yard carries (18) and is third in missed tackles forced (38).
Williams is using his hard-charging, tackle-breaking running style to rush for 5.0 yards per rush attempt and 51.4 yards per game. Further, he's adding 2.4 receptions and 13.6 receiving yards per game.
Even a modest uptick in touches could be fantasy gold this week against the run-funnel Chargers. I'm enamored with Williams at his sub-$6,000 salary in GPPs.
Joshua Shepardson is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Joshua Shepardson also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username bchad50. 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.