Welcome to week 12 of the NFL season! Each week, we’ll be previewing the main slate on DraftKings. Our philosophy with these selections is to provide you with solid floor plays with some upside to start your roster construction, with potential GPP pivots for even further upside in tournaments.
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If you're new to DFS, I'd recommend checking out our DFS 101 article before getting started, as it can give this column a lot more context.
If you'd like to see how I did in previous weeks, you can find that here:
Please note that the authors of this post are also players of daily fantasy sports, and the selections they make when creating their rosters may or may not include players listed below. You can find Derek Devereaux on DraftKings via the username DerekDevereaux.
This week’s lineup building beer of choice
Tried this red ale for the first time today. It has a real nice flavor to it, quite smooth at the front, then a nice hint of ginger immediately following it. While it's definitely branded as a holiday beer, I could see myself drinking this in rotation throughout the year.
All lines via Bovada, current as of Saturday evening.
Carolina at Minnesota -3, 50 total (opened at 50.5)
Tennessee at Indianapolis -3, 51.5 total (opened at 50.5)
Arizona -2 at New England, 49 total (opened at 48.5)
Cleveland -7 at Jacksonville, 48.5 total (opened at 50.5)
Las Vegas -3 at Atlanta, 54 total (opened at 53.5)
NY Giants -6 at Cincinnati, 44 total (opened at 45)
LA Chargers at Buffalo -4.5, 52.5 total (unchanged)
San Francisco at LA Rams -6.5, 44.5 total (opened at 45.5)
New Orleans -6.5 at Denver, 43 total (opened at 49.5)
Kansas City -3.5 at Tampa Bay, 57 total (opened at 51.5)
Favorite games to target
Let's talk about the elephant in the room.
We have a game that was postponed on Thursday night, then moved to Sunday, then moved to Tuesday, and now is literally just a shrug emoji on whether or not it'll even play.
We have a team that is literally not able to play a quarterback due to COVID restrictions, so they're theoretically turning to a WR who once played backup QB in college. They're going against a team that is playing a tight end/punt protector (according to some!) at QB.
We have a team that may or may not be faking a QB injury to rectify a mistake they may or may not have made earlier in the year.
We have a team starting Mike Glennon at QB thinking it might be an upgrade.
Welcome to 2020.
Kansas City and Tampa Bay feels obvious for exposure purposes, as it's turned into the highest total by far on the slate. It will be popular. I think Minnesota and Carolina will be popular too, especially on the Minnesota side due to injuries and Dalvin Cook being Dalvin Cook. Tennessee and Indianapolis will probably be the game over 50 that's underowned, but I also think that's probably a high total.
Josh Allen, $7600, BUF (vs. LAC)
Three of is last four games, Josh Allen has had 30 or more completions. Not attempts, completions. And he's had at least seven rushing attempts in five straight games. I like this high floor matchup against a beatable Chargers secondary in a game that's sure to shoot out. Cash game viable with the upside we're looking for in GPPs, although I do think he'll be popular enough that you'll need to find some lower owned pieces to pair with him and his stack.
Tom Brady, $6600, TB (vs. KC)
Yes, Patrick Mahomes is the better QB right now. But is he $1400 better? When Brady's at home? Coming off a terrible game? In a game script that the Bucs will likely have to throw a ton? In the first game after the "coach called me out in a press conference" situation to give him that #narrative? Is Brady really going to go overlooked? Please tell me he's going to go overlooked.
Derek Carr, $5700, LV (at ATL)
The Atlanta Falcons are bad at football. Derek Carr is an efficient passer. They're favored on the road. The total is high. Just checks all the boxes, but that also means it's probably a relatively obvious play. The problem is...in GPPs, who are you stacking with? Agholor? Ruggs? Waller? Renfrow?
Potential GPP pivots: Cam Newton ($6400, vs. ARI), Matt Ryan ($5900, vs. LV), Ryan Fitzpatrick ($5500, at NYJ)
Dalvin Cook, $9500, MIN (vs. CAR)
Easily the best raw points play on the slate, Dalvin gets an absolutely juicy matchup against a Panthers defense that has stopped literally nobody on the ground all year. At this high of a price, you need at least 100 yards and a score from a guy who doesn't catch balls out of the backfield, and that might not be enough, but there's really only three guys in this Vikings offense that will command the ball now with Thielen due to miss. The gamescript favors Cook. We'll see if he explodes again as chalk or not.
Josh Jacobs, $7200, LV (at ATL)
Speaking of juicy matchups and guys not catching balls out of the backfield, why not just repeat the above for $2300 less? Of course in Jacobs' case, it's entirely possible that the passing game, which is fully healthy, usurps all the yardage and touchdowns, so there's risk, but it's rare that Jacobs doesn't get his touches unless it's a really, really negative game script and they're behind by two or more scores. I don't think Atlanta is going to produce that.
Wayne Gallman, $5000, NYG (at CIN)
The game sucks, but 13+ touches in four straight games with five touchdowns in that timeframe does not suck. Still priced at a low $5000, I don't view Gallman as a high upside guy, but for cash games? Sure, why not.
Potential GPP pivots: James Robinson ($6300, vs. CLE), Kenyan Drake ($5400, at NE), Leonard Fournette ($4900, vs. KC), Brian Hill ($4000, vs. LV)
Stefon Diggs, $7600, BUF (vs. LAC)
There's no doubt who Josh Allen will be throwing the ball to. A lot of Diggs, some Beasley, and a sprinkle of a minimum priced guy that I'll list later. But even with John Brown active, Diggs gets double-digit targets regularly, and he's not getting them in short yardage bursts, either. If you believe in Allen, you believe in Diggs.
Justin Jefferson, $6300, MIN (vs. CAR)
The guy who took on the Diggs role in Minnesota, Jefferson might be the chalkiest wide receiver on the slate, and for good reason. As mentioned with Cook above, no Thielen further condenses the volume towards Jefferson, and most importantly, opens up the red zone opportunities that Thielen has virtually monopolized through the middle part of this season. This feels like such a smash spot that it's chalk we probably can't ignore.
Keelan Cole, $3600, JAX (vs. CLE)
He's the WR1 in Jacksonville and he's under 4K. Cleveland's defense is fine, but by no means elite. Plus Cole operates quite a bit out of the slot, which could be valuable given the QB situation. Can he catch 7 passes for 55 yards? Sure.
Potential GPP pivots: DJ Moore ($6200, at MIN), Davante Parker ($5900, at NYJ), Robert Woods ($5800, vs. SF), Gabriel Davis ($3000, vs. LAC)
Travis Kelce, $7000, KC (at TB)
Clear-cut tight end to pay up for this week. Three straight games with over 100 yards on double-digit targets, with a touchdown in two of those games. Would you play a wide receiver at this price? Well, he's outpaced Stefon Diggs in that time frame, and I called him the WR to pay up for.
Kyle Rudolph, $2800, MIN (vs. CAR)
Now let's go waaaaaaay down to Rudolph. We talked about Thielen missing, but Irv Smith Jr. is out for this game, too, paving the way for Rudolph to have his highest snap share of the season. He could, at minimum, have an expanded role in the red zone, and with more routes run, a boost to his target count is highly possible, too. I love the upside here.
Potential GPP pivots: Hunter Henry ($4800, at BUF), Gerald Everett ($3300, vs. SF)
I want to talk about the Saints defense quick. They're $3800. They're going against a team that does not have a QB. Here's the thing: While they're probably going to allow very few points, they also may not have that many turnovers or sacks, because this is going to be a run-heavy offense. So I'm not sure there's a ton of upside in playing them, although from a safety of getting some points side of things, totally fine, even for cash. Even when a defensive play seems obvious, it still goes back to the tried and true theory: Play whichever one you want, but don't prioritize it.
Good luck, and may your screens be green!