NFL DFS Deep Dive: Week 12

Week 11 Review

Right folks, hope you’ve all recovered from the fun of Thanksgiving DFS. Personally, I was slightly relieved after going to bed in a bit of a hole and waking up to see Diggs and Knox had dragged me to some min-cashes. Before we go too deep though let us check back in with week 11’s picks. Quarterback was a barnstormer with all four picks returning three times value on their salary, with Jimmy (QB14), Tua (QB10) and Siemian and Cam Newton tying for QB4, whilst honourable mention Joe Flacco was QB9 and even won someone brave a million dollars. Running back was a mixed bag with D’Onta Foreman’s usage taking a tumble and he only picked up five points. A.J Dillon scored 15.7 to do okay as a chalky play. Myles Gaskin was the RB9 with 18.6 points, which was a lot better than Jeff Wilson’s poor showing of 6.8. It’s worth noting that Jimmy G overthrew him as he was wide open on what would have been a walk-in touchdown. Mark Ingram returned a healthy 16.3 points to round out the position. At receiver Hunter Renfrow and Rashod Bateman, both had disappointing days with single-digit returns. Hopefully, you saw the updated blurb on Bateman cautioning against using him with Lamar out. The headline of the position was Marquez Valdes-Scantling as the WR5 at just $3700. Love that man. At tight end, the favourite of the column, Dan Arnold was consigned to running exercise routes with a big fat zero, but Adam Trautman scored 16.8 points to be the TE4 on a $3300 cost. For the season that leaves us here:

Great plays (3x$) – 63 (46%)

Good plays (2x$) – 39 (27%)

Bad plays (<2x$) – 39 (27%)

Week 12

On we roll, and it looks like an interesting slate. There are not many elite plays in the early games, so build your teams with late-swaps in mind and have a plan.

Quarterbacks

Jimmy Garoppolo $5700 Vs Minnesota Vikings – 49.5 over/under

This season has pained me in many ways. The many Ravens injuries, the lack of a good GPP win and yet nothing hurts me more than having to write up Jimmy Garoppolo as a good play. By this point of the season, I hoped Trey Lance would be coasting through an easy part of the schedule as my most drafted quarterback and we’d both be smiling as we tucked ourselves up at night. In fairness to Jimmy, he came back fighting after missing a game due to injury and if it wasn’t for Trey Lance’s knee injury after his one start, perhaps I’d be living in a happier world. Since that Trey Lance injury, Jimmy G has the highest PFF QB rating and has done very little wrong. It’s hard to see his points return tipping much past 20, but Minnesota has allowed the most QB fantasy points in the last five weeks and there’s no reason to not consider Jimmy for your player pool.

Cam Newton $5600 @ Miami Dolphins – 41.5 over/under

$5600 seems cheap considering the floor Cam Newton brings to the table. In one full game, Cam scored 26.16 points against Washington and in the previous game rushed for one touchdown and threw for another in minimal playing time. That’s back to back games with rushing touchdowns. I find it hard to stack Cam with anyone at this point, but if I did it would probably be CMC. Miami’s defence is finding some of the form that made them a team to worry about in 2020. The Panthers meanwhile boast a terrible offensive line and should be concerned about how much pressure could be heading towards Cam. Quick passes and QB rushes could help mitigate it and at this price, it’s too good to turn down. 

Honourable Mention

Zach Wilson $5100 @ Houston Texans – 44.5 over/under

Down at the bottom of the barrel, we find Mr Wilson finally earning another start when the Jets ran out of other options. With Mike White and Joe Flacco on the Covid list, Wilson gets a friendly matchup against the Houston Texans. On paper the Texans don’t look awful, only giving up the 15th most points to quarterbacks, but in reality, most games against the Texans haven’t required a quarterback to throw all day to beat them. The Jets, however, might find themselves in a closer game script. The Jets lean passing heavy when they score, with 15 passing touchdowns to 6 rushing. Wilson should be out to prove a point and start erasing the bad memories of his first five starts where he had a 4TD:9INT ratio. If you hate the idea of this, just remember somebody won a million dollars last week playing Joe Flacco.

Running Backs

Darrell Henderson $5800 @ Green Bay Packers – 47.5 over/under

Henderson isn’t a man who seems to enjoy a clean bill of health too often but I’m pinning my hopes on him feeling refreshed after a bye week and ready to head away from the warmth of California to the cold weather of Green Bay. When the weather gets cold, the backs see more carries. The Packers defence has improved in recent weeks and they’ve given up the eighth-fewest points to running backs in the last five games. If Henderson isn’t able to get it going on the ground I’m still interested in his receiving side, as the Packers have allowed 18 targets in the last four games and Henderson averages 2.6 targets per game. Whilst that might not sound incredible it’s more than Mixon, Sanders or Chubb. If you’re looking for a different way to attack this game, Henderson is a nice piece to play individually or as part of a stack. 

Melvin Gordon $5300/Javonte Williams $5200 vs LA Chargers – 48.5 over/under

The Chargers defence has been a run funnel all season, practically begging opponents to run at them whilst they try to take away the passing game. The defence may be improving recently but I still fancy Denver to seek to establish the run in this game. Both Gordon and Williams are in play here, depending on which narrative you prefer. Gordon has been used on 53% of snaps in comparison to Williams 46%, and Gordon has also seen more touches and red zone work, but Williams keeps making explosive plays and catching the eye. Williams explosive big run rate is 6.8& against Gordon’s 1.69%. Both players average 2.9 targets per game. Many people will try to stay away from this backfield claiming it’s too murky, but if you can build a solid lineup projecting well, there’s a chance for these backs to pay off their salary nicely and whilst Williams is picking up breakout talk, Gordon is projected for far less rostership and yet similar points total. Gordon is very much in play for me in tournaments.

Slightly Disgusting Mentions

David Johnson $4500 Vs New York Jets – 44.5 over/under

It’s yucky, but the Jets are very, very, very bad. There is no team worse against the run than the Jets and only three teams have allowed more targets to running backs than the Jets 88. With Phillip Lindsay out of the way, Johnson may still struggle to see all of the work, but there’s a clearer path at least. 

Ty Johnson $4300 @ Houston Texans – 44.5 over/under

Whilst the Jets may be terrible against the run, so are Houston. This really is the creme de la creme. Ty Johnson should see the majority of the workload with Michael Carter injured and even if Tevin Coleman eats into the workload slightly, expect Johnson to see more of the pass-catching work, he averages 3.8 targets per game whereas Coleman has seen 1.2. Over the last four weeks, Ty Johnson has seen 24 targets, which is second at the position, only behind Michael Carter. 

Wide Receivers

Brandin Cooks $5800 vs New York Jets 44.5 over/under

I’m not happy about how many times I’ve mentioned a player of two of the worst teams in the league so far, and I can’t stress enough that it’s probably negative EV to play too many of them. We know what Cooks is and we know what the Texans passing game adds up to. If it’s not Cooks, it’s not much good. On the season, Cooks has had four games with 11 or more targets and whilst the yardage and touchdowns aren’t there, in PPR formats like Draftkings, receptions will do. The Jets have allowed the second-most points to the position in the last five weeks.

Mike Williams $5700 @ Denver Broncos – 48.5 over/under

$100 cheaper than Cooks is Big Mike Williams whose price has really slumped in recent weeks. Perhaps if Williams hadn’t have played in the Sunday Night game against the Steelers we’d have seen an increase, as it is he played well and saw 5-97-1td, narrowly missing out on a hundred-yard bonus but still returning 20.7 points and finishing as the WR12 in DK scoring. Denver is a top ten pass defence but they’ve given up two top ten QB performances in their last two games and if Herbert gets there, I’m betting that Mike Williams stands a good chance too. 

Michael Pittman $5600 vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers – 53.5 over/under

If I asked you what the Buccs defence did well there’s a good chance you’d answer ‘stopping the run’. Many teams abandon it completely against Tampa and with good logic. The Colts are coming into this game off a career game for Taylor and whilst he’s better than most, I can’t see him having a similar day to last week. If the Buccs manage to take the run away Pittman will be primed for a good volume game against the Buccs defence that has allowed the fifth-most receiver targets (216). Pittman leads the Colts in red-zone targets and if the Colts are forced into a pass-heavy script, look for him to easily return value.

Marvin Jones $5300 vs Atlanta Falcons – 45.0 over/under

Things aren’t going well in Jacksonville… for a change… but this matchup against the Falcons might be enough to keep some people in jobs for the second year of this regime. The Falcons allow the 11th-most points to receivers and Jones leads the team in targets (7.0 per game), routes run (83.9%) and yards (486), as well as leading the team in red zone targets. In the Falcons last two games they gave up an above-average day to Agholor (15 points) and a big day to CeeDee Lamb (28.6). Days like that have happened often enough that Atlanta gives up an average of 1.4 touchdowns per game, the second-highest in the league.  There’s no pretty option here but Jones veteran usage may have to be relied upon even heavier now that Agnew is lost for the season. If you can talk yourself into Shenault you’re a braver person than me.

Marquez Valdes-Scantling $4100 vs L.A Rams – 47.5 over/under

Well, well, well, how the turntables. I caught a few comments for going back to the well on MVS last week but Marquez and I had the last laugh. It did seem like Rodgers was struggling to connect with MVS early in the game but he kept targeting him and retaining trust, and Valdes-Scantling ended up leading the team in targets on his way to a 4-123-1TD game. Against the Rams, MVS will manage to avoid Jalen Ramsey who has been playing predominantly in the slot and will more often match up with Adams. We’re all hoping this one turns into a shootout and if it does no Green Bay receiver sees more deep shots than MVS. 

Titans Pass Catchers @ New England

** SUNDAY UPDATE ** I’ve seen a few people tout various Titans players as worth a punt with A.J Brown ruled out. Golden Tate hasn’t been added to the slate so your choices are really Nick Westbrook-Ikhine ($4000) and Dez Fitzpatrick ($3200), whilst Chester Rogers ($3500) will play the slot. Whilst Westbrook-Ikhine has seen more volume I would lean towards the more dynamic Fitzpatrick if I had to play one, but in honesty, this is a game I’ll avoid.

Honourable Mentions

Van Jefferson $4900 @ Green Bay Packers

OBJ is going to integrate more but Stafford and McVay have been effusive in praise of Van Jefferson and the Rams lead the league in percentage of throws to receivers with 72.7%. Only four teams allow more targets to WR’s than Green Bay’s 225. 

Elijah Moore $5600 @ Houston Texans 

We’ve covered this matchup enough, I’m sorry. Moore looks great playing all over, with snaps both in the slot and on the outside. Led the team in target share in recent games. We’d be gambling his production continues with Zack Wilson. Possibly better plays at the price with Mike Williams just $200 more expensive.

Tight End

Pat Freiermuth $4300 @ Cincinnati Bengals – 45.0 over/under

The Muth was getting loose over recent weeks even before Eric Ebron sustained an injury but now it’s going to be very hard to put Postman Pat back in the box. The Bengals have allowed fourth-most points to the position in the last five games. Despite playing 60% or fewer snaps in his first six games, through ten Freiermuth leads the Steelers in red-zone targets with 14.

Evan Engram $3800 vs Philadelphia Eagles – 44.5 over/under

We’ve all heard of the Post-Adam Gase Bump, well what do you reckon to the Goodbye-Garrett narrative? Engram is not a bad player, merely a victim of a bad team and bad coaching. The Eagles are stone cold last in virtually every metric against tight ends. So far this season they have allowed 809 yards to the position, 113 more than any other team, whilst allowing a league-leading 98 targets. If you’re looking to go even further off the board, Kyle Rudolph ($2800) is second on the team for red-zone targets (8).** SUNDAY UPDATE ** Multiple Giants pass catchers have been ruled out and Kyle Rudolph is listed as doubtful. This play has become far chalkier now, but for the reasons listed above, it’s still in play.

Josiah Degura $2600 vs LA Rams – 47.5 over/under

I’ll forgive you if you’re not familiar with Degura. He’s hardly a household name, but he is starting to make us take notice as he sees an increased workload with Robert Tonyan out for the year. Degura has led the remaining TE’s in targets since week 9 and whilst this is a very speculative play if you’re attacking this game in stacks, adding Degura is a low-risk play. 

STACKS QUICK HITTERS

Between the two big deep dive’s this week I haven’t had time for my usual Stack article, so instead here’s a couple of quick hitters that I like.

Budget

Tyrod Taylor – Brandin Cooks – $11100 (22.2% of salary) – expect it to be chalky, so build contrarian correlations elsewhere.

Pricey

Kirk Cousins – Justin Jefferson – Adam Thielen $21300 (42.6% of salary) – The Vikings are frequently one of the lower owned but more productive stacks to play. We know where the production goes in this offence and frequently it’s through these two.

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