Week 13 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 12 Review

Between the Thanksgiving slate and the normal main slate, the column identified a lot of great plays. I worked a bit differently for Thanksgiving giving confidence ratings in advance and we struck perfectly on the likes of Deshaun Watson, Will Fuller, Kerryon Johnson, Amari Cooper and Antonio Gibson. I missed on Adrian Peterson, describing his outlook as murky and I also expected better games from Schultz, Alex Smith and Mckissic. I correctly called out a string of busts that weren’t worth rostering and was right on Zeke Elliott and Andy Dalton being players to avoid. All in all, that set went pretty good. 

The main slate brought great ‘great plays’ and some really bad ‘bad plays’. As always the bad plays eat me up and as someone who played a lot of Derek Carr and Antonio Brown in tournaments, nobody regrets those picks more than me. Thankfully, Baker Mayfield, James White & Tee Higgins were all smashing plays at low ownership. If you follow me on Twitter (BestBallUKNFL), you’ll also have seen some of the suggestions I made on there that I didn’t have time to write up for the column, as injuries and availability changed. Those plays included Ryan Fitzpatrick, Latavius Murray and Nyheim Hines.

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

Great plays: 68 (44%)

Good plays: 53 (34%)

Bad plays: 35 (22%)

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Week 13 Picks

Kirk Cousins – $6400 Vs. Jacksonville Jaguars

Vikings -10 favourites

52.5 over/under

Since the Vikings bye in week seven, Cousins has been playing well. Most of the focus goes to Dalvin Cook having an outrageous season, but his performance ties into what’s worked for Cousins. The Vikings use play action at one of the highest rates in the league and are very good with it. This matchup isn’t remotely intimidating, against a Jaguars team seemingly intent on claiming one of the top 2 picks in next year’s draft. They surrender on average the fourth-most passing yards per game (284.18) and the third-most fantasy points per game (24.73). Last week we attacked them with Baker Mayfield. A quarterback from a run-heavy team and this week I see no reason not to do the same. Mix in the return of Adam Thielen from the Covid reserve and it’s clear to see why the Vikings are 10 point favourites. 

Taysom Hill – $6300 @ Atlanta Falcons

Saints -2.5 favourites

45.5 over/under

Regular readers will remember a couple of weeks back on Taysom Hill’s debut that I wasn’t sure about the play, even at $4800. That week he scored 25.2 against the Falcons and gave me confidence in him going forward. It’s tricky to play Hill’s surrounding weapons but he has shown through his carrying of the ball he retains a solid floor. In both his starts he’s had over 40 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns per game. Those numbers might regress a bit, but he’s still in play against an awful Falcons defence that gives up the most points per game to the quarterback (27.27) and average a terrible 5.83 yards per carry to rushing quarterbacks. I won’t be looking to stack Hill, but I like the idea of playing him solo and bringing it back with Calvin Ridley ($7200) or Julio Jones ($6600) if he’s healthy enough to play.

Ryan Fitzpatrick $6000 Vs. Cincinnati Bengals 

Miami -11.5 favourites

42.5 over/under

This play hinges on Tua’s availability as he recovers from a thumb injury. If Tua is fit I don’t mind playing him at $5900. Bookies don’t expect a competitive game, as we can see in the huge 11.5 favouring Miami. It’s also a relatively low points total and Miami could potentially have both Salvon Ahmed and Myles Gaskin return. I would expect a lot of people to be drawn to Fitzmagic’s price and recent performance against the Jets (19.3pts) and for me, it’s only a tournament play but you can stack Fitz and Parker for $12’400 which is a very nice starting point.  

Derek Carr $5800 @ New York Jets

Raiders -8 favourites

46.5 over/under

Last week’s suggestion of Derek Carr went down in flames and very nearly cost me a playoff spot in my season-long home league but here we are again, ready to embrace the lower ownership that a poor performance will bring. The Jets are a full-blown disaster and their secondary is banged up with Poole, Austin and McDougald all currently on IR. The Raiders meanwhile might be without Josh Jacobs for this matchup and that could lead to more passing game work, particularly to Darren Waller ($6100), as he matches up against the worst defence in the league when it comes to defending the tight end. Derek Carr is primed for a bounce-back as he quietly boasts the 6th highest rate of deep ball in the league. 

Running backs

Miles Sanders $6700 @ Green Bay Packers

Packers -7.5 favourites

46.5 over/under

Speaking of bounce backs, Miles Sanders finds himself taking on the 3rd worst team in the league at defending the RB. All season teams have been able to pick on the Packers on the ground, regardless of game script. In recent weeks they’ve surrendered big games to James Robinson (16.2), Jonathan Taylor (15.4) and David Montgomery (28.3). On top of this, it’s pretty clear Wentz is struggling through the air and hoping for success on the ground might be their best bet. 

Chris Carson $6300 Vs. New York Giants

Seahawks -10 favourites

46.5 over/under

Carson seemed to be eased back into things on Monday night against the Eagles being out-touched 10-17 in favour of Carlos Hyde. Despite that Carson’s touches were more productive, 59 yards and a touchdown versus 29 yards. Carson was limited Wednesday in practice and that remains a situation to keep an eye on, but if he can play he is worth consideration. The Giants will be starting Colt McCoy at QB and with the Seahawks heavy favourites at home, we could see a large involvement from the running game as Pete Carroll reverts to type. 

Kenyan Drake $5700 Vs L.A Rams

Rams -2.5 favourites

48.5 over/under

Since Drake’s return from injury in week 10 he’s shown some of his most consistent form of the season, averaging 18 points per game in that stretch and showing that despite Chase Edmonds ability, this is still his backfield. Over his last two games, he’s also seen an increase in his usage in the passing game, which in PPR formats like Draftkings makes him a more attractive play. I still expect Edmonds to be involved and the Rams are a good defence against the run but there’s plenty to like about a player running hot.

cardswire.com

Devontae Booker $5500 Vs New York Jets

Raiders -8 favourites

46.5 over/under

We’re a little Raiders heavy this week and I’m not advocating playing them all in a stack, I’d suggest looking at the pieces you like the most and going either with the passing game or the running game. Both parts of the offence should be able to reach fantasy relevance however and if Josh Jacobs misses out, I’ll be interested in Booker as a potential budget play for cash. When Booker has received a workload he’s been effective and he could easily have a game script on his side if the Raiders find themselves running down the clock with a lead. 

David Montgomery $5500 Vs Detroit Lions

Bears -3 favourites

45.0 over/under

I’ve never been in on the Montgomery experience. He’s a steady runner but for me, he lacks the explosive plays that I hope for from a back. This year he’s had all the opportunity in the world with Tarik Cohen heading to IR early in the season. It’s fair to say he hasn’t turned that opportunity into an outstanding season as he sits at RB15 in PPR. However, he comes into this cupcake matchup off his highest points total of the season (28.3), also catching his most receptions since week 7 (5). The Lions are the worst defence in the league against the position, ranking last in touchdowns allowed (1.27), fourth-worst in yardage to the position (116.27) and also last in fantasy points per game allowed (26.64). For one week only, I’ll embrace Montgomery as a play. 

Damien Harris $5200 Vs L.A Chargers

Chargers -1 favourites

47.0 over/under

The Chargers have allowed top 24 fantasy outings on ten of their twelve matchups this year and rank third worst in yards per carry allowed (4.99). Harris has established himself as the clear RB1 in this backfield with James White mixing in for throwing downs and in negative game script. As a clear run-first team it’s easy to project Harris for a heavy workload every week until we see otherwise. Despite positive reports during training camp about his receiving ability, we’re yet to see him have more than two targets in a game. If that starts to become a bigger part of his game we could be looking at a real pot of gold, but for now, this is the kind of play I’ll be making in tournaments, particularly on the back of a disappointing 4.7 points, which will see his ownership decrease.

Cam Akers $4500 Vs Arizona Cardinals

Rams -2.5 favourites

48.5 over/under

This isn’t a play I’m particularly hot on. Sean McVay is exactly the kind of coach who could revert to the three-man committee at any point. This column’s mission is to find you value though and I’d hate to not point out a $4500 running back who seems to be getting into his best form of the season as we get further along. Akers saw one fewer snap than Henderson (9-10) but managed 84 yards to Henderson’s 19. The Cardinals are an average run defence and not one I’d avoid, but this play just doesn’t quite seem to be good enough for me to have a lot of confidence in it. 

Wide Receivers

Allen Robinson $6700 Vs Detroit Lions

Bears -3 favourites

45.0 over/under

Generally speaking, I try to find slightly cheaper players than this but it’s a strange slate and I feel that it’s important to anchor your value strongly this week. The Lions finally put Matt Patricia on the job seekers list and you could make an argument that the team might bounce back but even if they do I find it hard to believe they can contain Robinson. Despite dealing with two way below average quarterbacks, Robinson is the WR9 in PPR and averages 17.3 DraftKings points per game. The Lions are still missing Jeffrey Okudah and recently placed Trufant on IR. 

DeVante Parker $6400 Vs Cincinnati Bengals

Miami -11.5 favourites

42.5 over/under

This play is a stronger one with Ryan Fitzpatrick under centre as nearly all of Parker’s best weeks have featured the Havard graduate throwing the ball. In those games, Parker hit 13 points or more in 80%, whereas, with Tua in a limited three-game sample, Parker has gone over that amount just once. The Bengals have allowed 10 wide receiver 1 or 2 performances and Miami’s pass game comes down to Parker and Gesicki. If Miami is to put up points, which frankly we all expect, there’s a good chance Parker will be involved. 

Brandin Cooks $5600/Keke Coutee $3500 Vs Indianapolis Colts

Colts -3.5 favourites

50.5 over/under

I’m hurting deeply from the news that Will Fuller will be suspended for the rest of the season, due to a performance-enhancing drug infraction. Much of my fantasy goodness this year has involved the now suspended wideout. Life moves on though and so will his target share. Through week 12 Fuller had accumulated 67 targets, only trailing Cooks on 73. With Randall Cobb on IR Cooks and Coutee are the last reliable targets for Watson to throw to. This isn’t a matchup that I would target normally, with the Colts ranking top 7 against both Quarterback and Receivers. This play is about opportunity and cost. Coutee has seen seven targets in the last two games and Cooks averages 6.75 over his last four games. Since Bill O’Brien’s firing, Cooks has been consistently reliable, with only one game under 10pts. That game took place in Cleveland in adverse weather and Cooks scored 9.9. I view Cooks as a solid cash play and Coutee as a tournament option.

Denzel Mims $4100 Vs Las Vegas Raiders

Raiders -8 favourites

46.5 over/under

Mims has put together three games in a row with double-digit scoring, despite having to catch the ball from Joe Flacco and Sam Darnold. In those three games, Mims has gone over 60 yards in each. Still awaiting his first NFL touchdown Mims has been consistent with targets, with only one three target game dipping below his otherwise steady average of seven. I don’t like counting on much from the Jets and I’ve been burned before, but as a correlated play to Darren Waller or Devontae Booker this could work out in tournaments. 

Tight Ends

T.J Hockenson  $5000 Vs Chicago Bears

Bears -3 favourites

45.0 over/under

Over the last four games, Hockenson is the TE2 in PPR. Only behind Travis Kelce. He’s only had two games this season surpassing 16 points, but in a wasteland of a position, his average of 12pts can be plenty serviceable. The Bears are a tough defence but vulnerable to tight ends, ranking fourth-worst in the league and giving up an average of 8 targets per game to the position they’ve been on the end of six tight end one fantasy performances. 

Robert Tonyan $3700 @ Philadelphia Eagles

Packers -8 favourites

47.0 over/under

The Eagles find themselves in freefall with another tough matchup coming to town. The Packers have one foot in the playoffs and need to keep winning if they are to surpass the Saints for a first-round bye. Aaron Jones hasn’t looked quite as dominant on the ground lately but the Packers have continued to throw the ball well resulting in back to back games of 15 points or more for Tonyan, hauling in all ten of his targets in that time. The Eagles have been on the receiving end of six top 12 tight end performances this year and I see no reason that number won’t increase this week. 

Jordan Akins $2900 Vs Colts 

Colts -3.5 favourites

50.5 over/under

Back to the Texans for one more good value play. On Thanksgiving Akins had two end zone targets that should have been caught for touchdowns. After the game, Watson said he had to do a better job of getting the ball to Akins in those situations. With Fuller gone for the rest of the year, Akins opportunity will increase and through the year we’ve seen him be used all over the field for targets. The Colts rank 2nd in the NFL against the position, but at this price 3/30/1 would return three times value. I have no problem with this play in cash or tournaments.

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