Week 12 Prime Picks

Each week I’ll bring you a mix of DFS value plays that I like for cash and tournament games. I won’t be focusing too much on the elite plays such as Christian McCaffery, Lamar Jackson and Michael Thomas instead, I’ll look for value in matchups that have the potential to be high scoring and return good points to dollar ratio. If we can find that we can open up our lineups to be built better. Through the season I’ll also review my previous weeks plays so you can judge for yourself how good my takes are. 

Tom Strachan

@BestBallUKNFL

Week 11 Review

Week 11 was a tricky slate to navigate and even if you hit on some players it seemed there were enough duds out there to potentially ruin your lineups. I got very lucky with my cash game lineup and squeaked into the paid places by about 1-2 points in most places. That was partly down to my homer based belief in Lamar Jackson when I should have followed the chalk and taken Taysom Hill. Still, profit is profit!

The column showed out well with just the one terrible play in Hayden Hurst. Hurst picked up a stone-cold zero in a matchup that looked to be okay. Not managing a catch on either of his two targets. Thankfully returns of triple points to dollar ratios put Andy Dalton, Mike Davis, Antonio Gibson, Justin Jefferson, Curtis Samuel and Mark Andrews all into the excellent play awards. I also mentioned how much I liked Adam Thielen whilst talking about Jefferson, so hopefully, you kept that in mind. Alex Smith, James Conner, Damien Harris, Salvon Ahmed and Will Fuller all hit around the 2x points to dollar ratio, which isn’t terrible and at their prices hopefully didn’t destroy your lineups. Austin Hooper fell victim to the neverending bad weather in Cleveland and thankfully they have back to back road trips in warmer areas for the next two weeks to keep him playable. 

Plays so far (based on price to points ratios):

Great plays: 44

Good plays: 38

Bad plays: 26

Week 12 Main Slate

Before we get into the quarterbacks, I feel obliged to mention Josh Allen ($7600) and Justin Herbert ($7200) are incredibly attractive plays in their matchups. I try to keep my value picks under the $7000 mark, but they’re worth considering in what should be a high scoring game with an awful lot of stacking potential. If you can’t find the money for them, let’s take a look at who you might be able to afford.

The Ravens and Steelers game will be off the slate, as it’s been moved, at the moment to Tuesday. I’ve left the write ups in case you choose to play a Showdown slate on that day, but who knows what the team news will be by then.

Teddy Bridgewater – $6300 @ Minnesota Vikings

Under/Over 51.5. 

Vikings -3.5 favourites.

I’m writing this on Thursday evening when the belief is that Teddy will play. He came close to playing on Sunday before being deactivated at the last minute. P.J Walker stepped in and did a nice job against the pathetic Lions defence, but I haven’t heard any suggestions that this won’t be Bridgewater’s backfield, the moment he’s healthy. For years the Vikings were known for having good defences but this year’s iteration is far from frightening. Beat up in the secondary and lacking pass rush. They give up the 7th most yards per game through the air (260.7) and the 10th most per game on the ground. Meanwhile, the Panthers have managed to be fantasy relevant at all positions on offence, apart from the tight end. 

Favourite stat: The Panthers are the only team in the league to have three wide receivers in the top 32 of PPR scoring. (Moore, Anderson and Samuel).

Derek Carr – $5700 @ Atlanta Falcons

Under/Over 54.0

Raiders -3 favourites

Carr isn’t normally a quarterback you look to in DFS, with his two 30+ point performances coming against the Chiefs he’s been far more average in softer games against Cleveland (14pts) and Denver (8.7pts). For the season he averages 18.4ppg, which at his price is pretty attractive. Regular readers of my column will know that I like to target this Atlanta defence. They give up the second-highest yardage per game to the position (313.10), the 2nd most touchdowns per game to the position (2.20) and the most fantasy points per game (29.40). Atlanta’s high passing frequency offence should push Las Vegas into a similar position and I have no worries about playing Carr here.

Favourite stat: Of Quarterbacks with more than 4 starts, only Patrick Mahomes (2) has fewer interceptions than Derek Carr (3).

Baker Mayfield – $5300 @ Jacksonville Jaguars

Cleveland -6 favourites.

I’m not a big Baker Mayfield fan and I have a feeling that in a couple of years we’ll be looking at him much like most fans looked at Joe Flacco in his last couple of seasons in Baltimore. I think this week presents an opportunity to play him in a matchup against by far one of the league’s worst defences. The Jaguars give up 25.8ppg to the position, ranking 3rd worst. They rank bottom 7 in defence against all offensive positions. In Cleveland’s last three games they’ve dealt with adverse weather in Ohio. Now they get a trip to the warmer climates of Florida. The Browns favour a run-first approach, but with a possible playoff push on the horizon, it wouldn’t be the strangest thing to see Stefanski try and get Baker in rhythm. It’s a dart throw play for GPP’s that will catch low ownership, definitely not a cash play. 

Favourite Stat: The Jaguars defence allows a combined average of 411.3 yards per game (3rd worst).

Brian Hill – $4000 Vs. Raiders

Raiders -3 favourites

With Todd Gurley being ruled out for Sunday’s game against the Raiders, Hill becomes the next man up and the potential ‘free square’ of your lineup. Ito Smith (also $4000) sits behind him and has just 13 rush attempts on the year compared to Hill’s 60 and 16 receptions. Hill will be a popular play and particularly in cash might be the key to unlocking the big players. In terms of matchup he faces a Raiders defence that is ranked 29th against the run and also fairs poorly against pass catching running backs. It’s entirely possible the game goes through the air, but at this price it’s hard not to play him and expect a reasonable return. 

Kareem Hunt – $5600 @Jacksonville Jaguars

Cleveland -6 favourites

Now if I can’t tempt you with Mayfield, maybe this play is more appealing. Averaging 15.3 points per game Hunt has been everything we expected him to be, coming into the season. Again we have to see past the poor games that were affected so badly by the weather in recent weeks, but if we look at weeks 1-8 Hunt was averaging almost 3 receptions per game for around 20 yards. This safe floor of 5pts, on Draftkings always gives pass-catchers an appeal. Hunt also continues to see all the work in 2-minute drills. The Jaguars allow the 4th most receptions to RB’s in the league (6.30), whilst if we remove pass-catching plays for backs, they rank 19th in the league against the position. This gives Hunt a small potential edge over Chubb at a $1500 discount. Don’t be surprised if both backs score highly, but in looking for value, I like Hunt. 

Favourite stat: Only seven RB’s average more points per game than Hunt (15.3).

James White – $4500 Vs Arizona Cardinals

Under/Over 49.5

Cardinals -3 favourites

The Patriots backfield can sometimes be a minefield to navigate. It became a little easier when Rex Burkhead was sadly ruled out for the season after tearing his ACL. Outside of White, the other backs on the roster (Damien Harris and Sony Michel) have rarely been used as pass catchers in their time on the roster. White meanwhile has a 19.7% target share from weeks 6-11. In basic terms, this means almost one in five throwing attempts are sent his way. In those six games, he has caught 23 receptions for 170 yards. This week he matches up against a Cardinals defence allowing the fifth-worst yards per catch to running backs (8.43). The Cardinals are expected to be slight favourites on the road and we’ve seen how explosive they can be. If the Cardinals jump out to a lead, White could be forced into the game more. 

Favourite stat: Only two running backs have a higher team target share in the last 6 weeks. Alvin Kamara (22.9%) and J. D McKissic (23.4%).

Clyde Edwards-Helaire – $6400 @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers 

Under/Over 56.5

Chiefs -3 favourites

This is a real leverage play in my opinion. Coming in as the 7th highest priced player CEH might find himself in a situation where people choose to pay up for the high priced or pay down for the budget players. To add to this the Buccaneers seem like a tough matchup for running backs on paper, ranking a very respectable 5th overall against the run. However, they rank a much worse 25th against receptions to running backs. Edwards-Helaire has seen a solid floor of three receptions per game and the Chiefs could lean on him in that respect in this game against a team allowing the 3rd worst average of 6.36 yards per catch to the position. After a few games since Lev Bell’s arrival, we have a clear picture that this is CEH’s backfield first and foremost. 

Favourite stat: Edwards-Helaire has the 5th most receptions at the position (45), only behind Zeke, Mike Davis, J.D McKissic and Alvin Kamara. 

espn.com

Wayne Gallman – $5000 @ Cincinnati Bengals

Under/Over 44.5

Giants -6 favourites

Since Freeman went to IR Gallman has established himself as the clear RB1 in the Giants backfield, with over 60% of the touches. In that period only four running backs in the league have more touches inside the 10-yard line. If you’re looking for budget backs to pair with a more expensive option Gallman has a very appealing matchup against a poor Bengals defence giving up a bottom four average of 120.6 yards per game. They also allow the league’s second-worst yards per carry total of 5.24, which is a full .5 more than the next nearest team. 

Favourite stat: Gallman has five touchdowns in his last four games. 

Antonio Brown – $5700 Vs Kansas City Chiefs

Under/Over 56.5

Chiefs -3 favourites

I was sceptical Brown would find his way back into the league this year, but here we are. Through three games Brown has seen 26 targets for 18 catches totalling 157 yards. In that time he’s been slightly overshadowed by Godwin and Evans, who have combined for four touchdowns. Godwin ($6000) and Evans ($6100) have seen similar targets but due to their recent touchdowns have picked up higher pricing than Brown. It seems very apparent Brady wants to make Antonio Brown a thing in 2020 and sooner or later the touchdown is coming. The points total is set at a large 56.5 and if this game shoots out as expected, there could be plenty of touchdowns to go around. 

Favourite stat: In his three games for the Buccs, Brown has seen an increase in targets and catches in each of them. 

Sterling Shepard – $5100 @ Cincinnati Bengals

Under/Over 44.5

Giants -6 favourites

I can’t quite work out why Shepard’s price is so low here. Since his return from injury in week 7, Shepard has seen 26 receptions on 32 targets. Taking them for 219 yards and a touchdown. Shepard is more often than not the first read on play-action plays and has out targeted all other skill positions since his return. It’s clear from this that Danny Dimes views him as one of his most reliable targets and even though the touchdowns haven’t been there so far, he gets a matchup against the 3rd worst defence for touchdowns to wide receivers per game (1.40). Slayton at $4900 is a fine play, with possibly a higher ceiling, but Sterling Shepard is a more reliable bet to get you around 15-18 points.

Favourite stat: No stat required, he faces the Bengals!

Tee Higgins – $4700 Vs New York Giants

Under/Over 44.5

Giants -6 favourites

On the other side of that game is a pretty grim picture for Bengals fans. With Joe Burrow ruled out for the season Higgins price has dropped $1200, and that’s directly correlated to a potential drop off in production. When Burrow exited the game Ryan Finley took his place and it wasn’t great, now the Bengals have decided to start Brandon Allen for this week and he’s a much more functional quarterback. During 2019 as a backup in Denver, Allen targeted Courtland Sutton 17 times for 10-169-1TD. As a quarterback, he isn’t afraid to let it fly. This should be low ownership, high upside play for GPP’s only. If Higgins can make it up to his season average of 15.3ppg, we’ll be pleased with this price. 

Favourite stat: Higgins averages 8 targets per game. More than any other rookie receiver. 

Nelson Agholor – $4900 @ Atlanta Falcons

Under/Over 54.0

Raiders -3 favourites

I didn’t expect to be writing about Nelson Agholor in 2020, but it’s a strange year and we must adapt to the world we live in! As we talked about with Derek Carr, this matchup is expected to be high scoring, with the current price total set at 54. The Falcons have an awful defence and they currently rank 30th against the position, giving up an average of 28.8 points combined to receivers. Agholor has capitalised on what used to be a narrow pass game, to see himself become one of Carr’s favourite targets after Darren Waller. On Sunday Agholor saw a massive 31% of the team’s targets, which puts him in a similar area to Tyreek Hill and Terry McLaurin. Over his last five games, he’s averaged over five targets a game and has also scored three touchdowns. In a potential shootout game, this play has a definite upside. 

Favourite stat: Since Vegas’s week 6 bye, Agholor has 27 targets, compared to Hunter Renfrow’s 17 and Henry Ruggs 15.

Willie Snead – $4300 @ Pittsburgh Steelers

Under/Over 45.0

Steelers -5 favourites

Since week 8 Snead has seen a higher target share (22.48%) than Marquise Brown (14.45%) and also seen more RedZone targets (5-1) since week 9. Snead sees 82% of his targets in the slot, a position the Steelers struggle to cover more than other areas on their defence. The Ravens are a hot mess and figure to start their 3rd choice at center but if Lamar is forced to throw it’s become clear Snead is a player he trusts. This play might attract if you plan on playing a Steelers receiver and are looking for correlation. 

Favourite stat: Snead has produced as many 20+ yard gains plus touchdowns, combined, as Hollywood, but on 19 fewer targets.

Hunter Henry – $4800 @ Buffalo Bills

Under/Over 53.0

Bills -5 favourites

Henry’s season has included a few disappointing dips as well as red zone targets finding their way to former XFL “star” Donald Parham. Over his last six games, Henry has caught at least four passes in five of them. It’s a solid floor in PPR formats like Draftkings at a position group which is a nightmare, each and every week. The Bills defence has taken a step back as their offence steps forward and they struggle badly against the position allowing the most yards per game to tight ends (64.20). In a game where the quarterbacks figure to be high owned pieces and let the game descend into a shootout, I like Henry’s chances of putting up a high score. 

Favourite stat: Only two teams allow more fantasy points to the position than the Bills (9.2), they are the Jaguars (9.8), and the Falcons (10.8)

Eric Ebron – $4100 Vs Baltimore Ravens 

Under/Over 45.0

Steelers -5 favourites

Baltimore has a strong defence against wide receivers but they’re more susceptible to tight ends, ranking 20th in the league against the position. So far this season they’ve allowed five touchdowns to the position. Ebron meanwhile is the current TE7 in PPR and has four double-digit games in his last 5. The Steelers players all seem particularly angry about this game being moved back from Thanksgiving and I’m sure they’d like to make a statement. whilst I imagine people will be drawn to the receivers thinking they’re good plays I think Ebron has a much clearer path to returning a good value. 

Favourite stat: Ebron averages 6.25 targets per game over his last five. 

Irv Smith Jr. – $3100 Vs Carolina Panthers

Under/Over 51.5. 

Vikings -3.5 favourites.

Smith is carrying a couple of injuries so it’s worth keeping an eye on the injury reports for this one, but I like his chances here against an average defence. Adam Thielen currently sits on the Covid19/Reserve list and it’s unclear if he’ll be available for Sunday. So far Thielen has one positive test and one negative. If he can’t play then Irv Smith has a clear route to a larger percentage of targets. Thielen has a 23.7% target share over the last six weeks and those will need to go somewhere. In Irv Smith’s last fully healthy game he scored two touchdowns against the Lions and if all these caveats fall into place, he could be the super cheap piece that opens up your lineup.

Favourite stat: Sorry folks, nothing really to glean here. He’s just a cheap play that could work out! 

Gerald Everett – $3300 Vs San Francisco 49ers

Under/Over 44.5

Rams -6 favourites

Tyler Higbee didn’t practice on Thursday due to an elbow injury. He’s struggled recently but played through. The last time he didn’t play, week 7, Everett went 4-28-1TD. These aren’t spectacular numbers but if you’re looking for a tight end in this price range, you’re probably after some savings. The 9ers have a good defence against the position so I wouldn’t expect many people to flock to this selection, and if Thielen sits for the Vikings I probably prefer the Irv Smith play. Everett has seen 35 targets on the season, which shows us he’s a consistent part of the game-plan.

Favourite stat: Last time Higbee sat, playing Everett won me a lot of money! 

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