Week 12 Review
In a historically low scoring week for DFS, or at least it felt like that looking at the contest winners, it was clear that the plays I and most others liked, weren’t great. QB play as a whole seems to have a lower floor this year and some weeks you’re cashing with 120 points. No need to dwell on it, it happens. We had five bad plays with Cam Newton, Tyn Johnson, Degura, Mike Williams and Marvin Jones all performing below par. Jimmy G, MVS, Michael Pittman and Evan Engram all scraped together enough points to double their salary/$ cost and the great plays were headlined by Javonte Williams, Darrell Henderson, Van Jefferson and Pat Freiermuth. Onto the next one…
Great plays (3x$) – 69 (44%)
Good plays (2x$) – 46 (30%)
Bad plays (<2x$) – 42 (26%)
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There’s a lot of middle ground to be found upon first looking at this slate. As usual, I won’t write up the highest price backs, as you don’t need me to tell you they’re good plays, but in the tier below the top plays people like Alexander Mattison, in particular, stands out. With Cook’s injury coming early enough into the game that Draftkings could price up Mattison it’s spared the slate from mega-chalk but doesn’t lessen Mattison’s great matchup. My instinct is to pay for a higher priced QB and RB, pay down at WR and TE but hopefully squeeze in a high priced WR if possible.
As my day job gets crazy busy in the run-up to the end of a contract, I’m no longer able to find the time to put out my separate stacks article on my site, so instead, I’ll keep putting a short selection at the bottom of this one. As always, I’m happy to chat lineups in the DM’s on Twitter @bestballuknfl, and anything I can do to help, let me know.
Derek Carr Vs Washington – $6000 –
Sometimes I’ll be looking at the following weeks prices before a slate even ends, and Sunday was one of those kinds of days as my GPP lineups went up in flames. The first matchup that caught my eye was Washington travelling across the country after playing Monday Night Football, to take on a well-rested Raiders who last played on Thanksgiving. Whilst the Raiders may be without Darren Waller, the matchup against Washington is soft enough that I don’t believe it matters for fantasy purposes. As the excellent @UKDFS points out, Washington surrenders a league-high touchdown rate of 6.6%. Further to this over the last five games, they’ve allowed the fifth-most points to the position. By now you should be aware of Derek Carr’s aggressiveness this season, only behind Tom Brady in pass attempts of 15+ yards (84-88). My only concern would be Washington’s habit of trying to kill the game through their time of possession, but the Raiders play fast and should be able to overcome this. The ceiling may be lower for Carr than some options, but through 12 weeks he’s had six games over 23 Draftkings points.
Gardner Minshew @ New York Jets – $4000
** SUNDAY MORNING UPDATE**
As of Sunday morning, it sounds likely that Jalen Hurts will be ruled out of this game and Minshew will take his place. I was by no means swept up in ‘Minshew Mania’ during his time starting in Jacksonville, but against this weak Jets team, he’s a fine play at $4000. In 22 career starts Minshew has averaged 16.79 fantasy points, which would do us just fine here. The Jets have allowed four top 12 QB performances in the last six weeks, only behind New Orlean’s five. This Eagles offensive line will be better than any Minshew played behind in Jacksonville and it’s clearly a favourable matchup, once you put Minshew into your lineups you’ll like what it affords you to elsewhere.
Antonio Gibson @ Las Vegas – $5700
My best ball exposure to Gibson was higher than Jay & Silent Bob, and much like the 2019 Reboot, this looked to be a mistake. Fortunately for me, Gibson has emerged from the bye week rejuvenated in a way I didn’t expect from a man carrying a stress fracture in his leg. Since the week 8 bye Gibson has averaged 90 rushing yards per game. Whilst it was annoying to see the ever-impressive McKissic vulture two touchdowns from Gibson, that might not be a problem he encounters this week. McKissic left the game with a concussion and has missed all practices through Thursday and it would be unusual for him to play at this point. It’s worth reiterating that Gibson was a wide receiver in college and comes into this game after a career-high in targets (7). The Raiders are a run funnel team, allowing the fourth-most points to the position on the season and over the last five weeks. During the last few weeks they’ve been hurt badly by Joe Mixon and the Dallas backs, there should be no reason for Gibson not to see similar success.
Jamaal Williams Vs Minnesota Vikings – $5400
Another potentially chalky running back who might be benefitting from injuries is Jamaal Williams. After annoying Aaron Jones fantasy managers for several years, many expected Williams to do similarly in Detroit, but it hasn’t really materialised. Now, with Swift nursing a shoulder injury, Williams should have the clear opportunity to be the RB1 in Detroit. Minnesota’s defence allows the 10th most fantasy points to the position during the last five games and with Detroit’s offence so reliant on backs to this point, it would be a surprise to see things change.
Miles Sanders @ New York Jets – $5200
$5200… How did Miles Sanders end up costing less than the replacement running back of the Detroit Lions? Well, perhaps it’s down to Sanders lack of a 100-yard rushing game this year? Or maybe it’s down to having just two double-digit PPR games all season. By now you’re asking why am I reading about this chump, well Miles gets an early Christmas gift of a trip to New York City and much like Kevin made his family disappear, injuries to Jalen Hurts might have made Sanders competition for rushing yards disappear. Hurts is adamant he will play on Sunday but it’s fair to question how keen he’ll be to rush if he’s not at 100%. Sanders should be able to have an effective game against the worst rushing defence in the league. It seems like some people are scared off Sanders due to Scott out-snapping him in week 12, but on the season Sanders has been the preferred option for both passing down and rushing and I’m betting on the usage to regress to the mean.
Rex Burkhead vs Indianapolis Colts – $4800
** SUNDAY MORNING UPDATE **
David Johnson looks set to miss out leaving Burkhead and Royce Freeman as the only available running backs, but this isn’t a play I’ll be looking to do. The Colts have allowed the sixth-fewest points to RB’s this season and there are other plays around this price with way more juice. You’re on your own if you decide to go with this one.
Hunter Renfrow Vs Washington – $5800
With Darren Waller looking unlikely to play due to an I.T strain(?), Renfrow is unequivocally the best pass-catching option in Vegas until Waller’s software is updated… Sorry. Whilst it’s easy to run the ball on Vegas, it’s equally as easy to pass the ball on Washington, who allow the fourth-most adjusted fantasy points to the position and allow 1.3 touchdown’s per game to receivers, the second-highest rate in the league. No other Raider has more than Renfrow’s nine red zone receptions and with Waller out the picture, I feel strongly that Renfrow will pick up hype amongst the DFS streets and be quite chalky. Not that that means he’s a bad play, just be mindful.
Michael Pittman @ Houston Texans – $5700
Pittman was close to being the perfect bring-back to Lenny F in week 12, but couldn’t quite get there. This is reflected in ranking third in expected PPR points for week 12. On another day he’d have got there, and perhaps this is our ‘another day’. Over the last five games Houston is 31st in points allowed to the position and the eight-most yards to receivers (1912). No player on the Colts has more red zone targets than Pittman, and this feels like a huge get-right spot for the young receiver.
Brandon Aiyuk Vs Seahawks – $5600
Hopefully, Kyle Shanahan was prepared for the eventuality that your star wide receiver might break down if you give him 784 touches per game and with Deebo out, Aiyuk will have a chance to be featured in his place. Whilst it’s likely that George Kittle gets plenty of usage Aiyuk has crawled through a tunnel of shit the likes of even Andy Dufresne hasn’t seen, in order to get himself out of the Shanahan dog house. In the first seven weeks of the season Aiyuk averaged 69.2% of snaps and a measley 2.7 targets per game and a target share of 8.6%. Faced with this Aiyuk had a simple choice, get busy living or get busy dying (not really, but I’m deep in Shawshank subtle references here). Since week eight those targets have jumped to 6.4 per game and the target share has almost quadrupled to 24.4%. With Deebo out, against a Seahawks defence ranked 18th against the position, don’t be afraid of using a good man to get your project on wheels.
Van Jefferson Vs Jacksonville Jaguars – $5600
This game feels like the kind of game the Rams could really do with. Smash a hopeless team and put to bed questions for another week at least. The Jaguars Josh Allen has been a problem for some quarterbacks but Matthew Stafford throws behind the best pass protection in the league and does so at a pass rate over-expectation that ranks fifth-highest in the league over the last five weeks. Van Jefferson ran 100% of routes in last weeks game and it’s clear he’s going to be an important factor heading forward. Odell Beckham Jr. continues to deal with injuries and his current status is up in the air according to Rapsheet. Regardless of Beckham playing, I’ll be playing Van Jefferson against this Jaguars team who give up 22nd most points to the position.
Josh Reynolds vs Minnesota Vikings – $3400
Yes, the Lions are gross, but without Swift they will have to look for alternative plays, and if you’re not feeling Jamaal Williams I like the idea of going to the passing game. Since Reynolds started his career with Goff in 2017, on games that he’s played 80% of the snaps or more, he averages 11.3 PPR points across 19 games. In Detroit the receiver room is so depleted Reynolds should see as much action as he can handle and. The Vikings frequently find ways to make life hard for themselves and in the reverse of this fixture only won by a field goal. Minnesota gives up the most points to receivers league wide, and have allowed the third-most yards to the position (2082) along with 1.3 touchdowns per game.
DeVante Parker vs New York Giants – $3900
**SUNDAY MORNING UPDATE**
Parker was activated off I.R in time for this game and with Will Fuller still out Parker should see a high percentage of snaps against this Giants defence that has given up the 11th most points to the position in the last five games. Tua and Parker have only played together for nine full games and in those games, Parker has averaged a healthy 12.94 PPR points.
Bears Receivers vs Arizona Cardinals
Both Allen Robinson ($5000) and Darnell Mooney ($5600) are interesting despite the tough matchup. The Cardinals should be able to put the Bears in a pass-heavy game script and Dalton has shown good chemistry with both players at times this season.
Kyle Pitts Vs Tampa Bay Buccanneers – $5600
Pitts has seen a fairly typical start to a tight end’s career. There are arguments that he’d have had an easier time of things if Calvin Ridley was around, but if you’re an elite tight end with an elite tight end ADP, you need to do elite things. Unless of course, you’re a rookie, when those kinds of things shouldn’t be expected of you and the ADP was too high, to begin with. Despite all this, Pitts has the fifth most TE targets in the last five weeks (25) and faces a Buccs defence that ranks 23rd against the position. The Falcons lean towards the pass in the red zone, with the seventh-highest pass rate over expectation. Pitts hasn’t been efficient in the red zone but Ryan continues to throw to him and positive regression should be in store soon.
Pat Freiermuth Vs Baltimore Ravens – $4200
The Ravens season-long figures against tight ends are somewhat inflated by playing the true elites of the position, and whilst the defence is improving, teams with little choice but to use their tight ends have still enjoyed moderate success at times. David Njoku’s touchdown (that clearly hit the grass), was the first tight end touchdown the Ravens have allowed since Week 7. The Muth however, is getting targetted at an elite rate and could be a problem for the Ravens. Over his last three games Postman Pat has seen the third-most TE targets (26) and delivered an average of 10.7 DK points.
Logan Thomas @ Las Vegas – $4000
The Raiders allow the 30th most points to the TE position and have given up 723 yards on 96 targets this year, whilst allowing the second-highest TD rate to the position (0.7). A lot of people seem to be interested in Foster Moreau ($2700), who at his price is a solid option. In tournaments I like the leverage of playing a TE who plays nearly every down when healthy. Thomas was eased back in on MNF but I like him to bounce back here at a tenth of the rostership levels.
Stacks, Correlations and Contrarian thoughts.
I’m very high in particular on the Brown and Johnson combo.
Justin Herbert and Keenan Allen ($15.5k)
Tua Tagovailoa and Jaylen Waddle ($13.8k)
Marquise Brown and Diontae Johnson ($13.3k)
Terry McLaurin is an excellent pivot of Moreau and Gibson who figure to be very chalky.
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