DraftKings NFL: Week 12 Breakdown

DraftKings NFL: Week 12 Breakdown

This article is part of our DraftKings NFL series.

Sunday's slate includes 11 games and features some of the lowest totals we've seen all season. The Chargers-Cardinals game has the highest at 48.5, which is part of the reason it will be the most popular target for stacks. The Raiders-Seahawks game is really the only other matchup with reasonable potential to shootout. I'd expect people will look to the Dolphins and Chiefs as well considering both have implied totals around 30. Looking at the slate as a whole, there is a ton of cheap value at running back. Jeff Wilson ($5,900) and Rachaad White ($5,100) will be chalky and rightly so as they're significantly underpriced. I wouldn't think twice about pairing them together in cash games. For tournaments, it will be important to find leverage, especially this week as the cheap chalk will condense rostership. 

Note: All prices listed come from DraftKings, but most of the logic can be applied to other sites across the DFS industry. Discussion is limited to players from the "main slate" of games kicking off at 1 p.m., 4:05 p.m. and 4:25 p.m. EDT on Sunday. The strategy below is meant for large-field tournaments, where payouts typically are limited to ~20 percent of lineups, with the majority concentrated at the very top.

The Games

Over/UnderRoad TeamRoad 
Implied Total
Home TeamHome 
Implied Total
42.5Tampa Bay Buccaneers23Cleveland Browns19.5
43.5Baltimore Ravens23.75Jacksonville Jaguars19.75
43.5Cincinnati Bengals23Tennesse Titans20.5
47Houston Texans16.5Miami Dolphins30.5
36Denver Broncos19Carolina Panthers16
40.5Atlanta Falcons18.25Washington Commanders20.25
38.5Chicago Bears16.25New York Jets22.25
48.5Los Angeles Chargers25.5Arizona Cardinals23
47.5Las Vegas Raiders22Seattle Seahawks25.5
43New Orleans Saints16.75San Francisco 49ers26.25
42Los Angeles Rams13.25Kansas City Chiefs28.75

Point-Per-Dollar Value

These are the players with the best projections relative to their salaries — good plays both for cash games and large-field tournaments. While we don't want our GPP lineups to look like cash-game lineups top to bottom, there's nothing wrong with using a few chalky plays. These players, combined with passing-game stacks, tend to form the core that remains fairly consistent throughout my lineups.

Wilson is coming off his best game of the season last week when he rushed for 117 yards and a touchdown. He also added two catches on five targets for 24 yards. He's clearly established himself as Miami's top running back and this week gets a matchup against the worst defense in football. Also consider that his backup, Raheem Mostert (knee) is listed as questionable and might not play which would mean even more volume for Wilson. Regardless of whether Mostert plays, Wilson will be among the most popular plays on the slate.

Allen returned last week and caught five of eight targets for 94 yards. His salary has fallen much too far since being out injured. Now healthy, he projects as among the top value at WR and is likely to be the most popular in cash games. Keep an eye on the status of Mike Williams (ankle). If he were to miss, Allen would become an even better option. I plan on rostering him either way.

Other Cash-Game Options

QB Justin Fields at NYJ ($7,400)

QB Kyler Murray vs. LAC ($6,800)

QB Joe Burrow at TEN ($6,700)

QB Geno Smith vs. LV ($6,000)

RB Josh Jacobs at SEA ($7,700)

RB Kenneth Walker vs. LV ($6,900)

RB James Conner vs. LAC ($6,600)

RB Jeff Wilson vs. HOU ($5,900)

RB Rachaad White at CLE ($5,100)

RB Latavius Murray at CAR ($5,000)

WR Tee Higgins at TEN ($6,900)

WR Keenan Allen at ARI ($6,100)

WR Chris Godwin at CLE ($6,000)

WR Terry McLaurin vs. ATL ($5,800)

WR Joshua Palmer at ARI ($5,400)

WR Greg Dortch vs. LAC ($3,100)

TE Mark Andrews at JAX ($6,500)

TE Foster Moreau at SEA ($3,400)

TE Hayden Hurst at TEN ($3,300)

D/ST Kansas City Chiefs vs. LAC ($2,800)

Passing-Game Stacks

Stacks are the centerpiece of most tournament lineups, seeking to take advantage of positive correlations between players. It rarely makes sense to use a quarterback without one or two of his pass catchers, even if the player in question scores a decent portion of his fantasy points with his legs. Ideally, a stack also includes a pass catcher from the other side of the game, hoping to take advantage of a back-and-forth shootout. (Implied team totals are listed in parentheses.)

Los Angeles Chargers (25.5) at Arizona Cardinals (22.5)

CHARGERS

This would be my choice if I could pick only one game to stack. It's likely to be played at a faster pace than the others, which gives it a good chance to have the most combined plays. The Chargers rank first in situation-neutral pace and second in average play-clock remaining. Justin Herbert ($7,000) had one of his best games of the season last week against a tough Chiefs team and gets an easier matchup here against a Cardinals defense that's allowed 30-plus points in four of the last five games. Herbert's improved performance no doubt had something to do with the return of Keenan Allen ($6,100). Allen made his first appearance since Week 7 and caught five of eight targets for 94 yards. With his salary having fallen all the way to $6K, he projects among the best point-per-dollar value at WR. The status of Mike Williams (ankle) will be important to monitor as he's yet to practice this week. If he misses, Joshua Palmer ($5,400) would likely benefit most. Palmer has been really good this season filling in for both Allen and Williams at times. He's drawn 10-plus targets in three of the last four games and could see that type of volume against if Williams is out. Gerald Everett ($4,400) would also get a boost in that case and he already has a great matchup as the Cardinals are notoriously bad against tight ends. I'm likely to fade the running game this week. Mostly because Austin Ekeler ($8,500) is expensive and the pass catchers aren't. That doesn't mean Ekeler is a bad option, of course. He's shown a massive ceiling this season, topping 34 fantasy points three times and could offer nice leverage in GPPs if paired with Kyler Murray in Cardinals stacks. 

CARDINALS

Arizona games have average the most combined plays this season and they lead the league in no-huddle rate. Pretty much everything points to this being the fasted-paced game on the slate. The Cardinals will get a much needed boost from the return of Kyler Murray ($6,800), who has practiced fully and is without an injury designation this week. He looks like a nice bargain as this is the first time all season we've seen him priced less than $7K. His top wideout, DeAndre Hopkins ($7,700), continues to see big volume. He's drawn at least 12 targets in four of five games this season and looks like one of the best options on the board at WR. Malcolm Brown ($5,300) is expected to be activated from IR and is likely to be on a "pitch" count. His salary has dropped quite a bit though and he could pay it off in two plays. Brown's return is even more welcome because Rondale Moore (ankle) is expected to be out after injuring his ankle last week. His absence provided the opportunity for Greg Dortch ($3,100) to have the best game of his career as he caught nine of 10 targets for 103 yards. He's an appealing option this week because his near-minimum salary would offer a lot of relief and flexibility. So is Trey McBride ($3,100), who's been seeing the majority of time at TE in place of Zach Ertz (knee). McBride caught all four of his targets last week and caught also benefit from the absence of Moore. This looks like a really nice spot for James Conner ($6,600). The Chargers defense is bad against the run and teams have been targeting it. Conner has three rushing TDs in his last two games and should be involved in the passing game too, having drawn at least five targets in two of the last three. 

  • Favorite Chargers Stack: QB Herbert + RB Conner + WR Allen + WR Palmer or TE Everett
  • Favorite Cardinals Stack: QB Murray + WR Allen + WR Hopkins + WR Dorth or TE McBride

Houston Texans (16.5) at Miami Dolphins (30.5)

TEXANS

There really isn't much to like in terms of game-stacking options this week as no matchup has a total above 48 points. The appeal for this one is all about the Miami side, with the Dolphins having the highest implied total for a great matchup against the worst team in football. Houston, however, does have a few decent options to use as runbacks in Dolphins onslaught stacks. Most  will have soured on Dameon Pierce ($6,100) after a second consecutive disappointing game, but that serves to make him a better option in tournaments if he's going to be less popular. I'm willing to chalk last week's dud up to a tough matchup and it's nice that his salary has come down a bit. Brandin Cooks ($5,200) is the cheapest he's been all season. He's drawn at least six targets in all but one game and it wouldn't be that surprising to see him finally take one to the house. I have more interest Nico Collins ($4,100), who's drawn 17 targets the last two games and seems to have more upside than Cooks for significantly less salary. 

DOLPHINS

Fresh off a bye, this is a "smash" spot for Miami. Tua Tagovailoa ($6,800) has been exceptional recently as he's thrown three TDs and no picks in three consecutive games. He's scored at least 23 fantasy points in all of them and has a great chance to better that against a rather helpless Texans defense. Tyreek Hill ($8,800) leads the NFL in catches and receiving yards. His ceiling is as high as any player on the slate and he might not be as popular as he normally is. Jaylen Waddle ($7,300) is almost always a good leverage option and that's true again this week. His volume has been down, but he still has three TDs in his last three games and we've seen him hit big ceilings twice in 10 games. Considering the potential for a blowout, I'd expect more people to target the running game instead. Specifically Jeff Wilson ($5,900), who's coming off his best game of the season last week when he rushed for 119 yards and a TD. Keep an eye on the status of Raheem Mostert (knee). If he misses, Wilson would look like one of the best options on the slate and be quite popular as a result. 

  • Favorite Stack: QB Tagovailoa + RB Wilson + WR Hill + WR Collins

Other Stacks to Consider

QB Lamar Jackson + RB Travis Etienne or WR Christian Kirk + TE Mark Andrews

QB Justin Fields + WR Garrett Wilson + TE Cole Kmet or WR Darnell Mooney

QB Joe Burrow +  WR Ja'Marr Chase +/- WR Tee Higgins + RB Derrick Henry or WR Treylon Burks

QB Geno Smith + WR Davante Adams + WR DK Metcalf and/or WR Tyler Lockett

QB Tom Brady + WR Chris Godwin + WR Mike Evans + WR Donovan Peoples-Jones

QB Derek Carr + RB Kenneth Walker + WR Davante Adams +/- WR Mack Hollins

High-Priced Heroes

This is the cheapest we've seen Andrews priced since Week 2 and the drop hasn't necessarily been warranted. He'd been dealing with injuries the last few weeks, but he's healthy now with the Ravens in a favorable spot against the Jaguars. There is enough value and RB and WR to make spending up at TE more viable than usual. It's something that many people don't like to do and hopefully that tempers his popularity. 

Plenty of WRs will be more popular than Adams this week. That's also been the case each of the past three weeks that he's scored 30-plus fantasy points. Adams has been on tear, topping 126 yards in three consecutive games and drawing 13-plus targets in each. That's a crazy amount of volume and the Raiders likely will have to rely on him again against the Seahawks. 

Honorable Mentions: WR Tyreek Hill ($8,800); WR De'Andre Hopkins ($7,700)

Fading the Field

Every week we see at least one or two players who are popular without the backing of a top point-per-dollar projection. In some cases it even makes sense to fade a player with a strong projection, particularly when there are good alternatives at the same position and price range

Ekeler has one of the higher projections on the slate and rightly so as he does everything for the Chargers, who are playing in what's arguably the best matchup to target this week. It's not that I don't like Ekeler, but he's going to be relatively popular and I just prefer to target the passing game instead now that Keenan Allen is back. I also think there's chance that Allen's return means a couple less targets for Ekeler. There are plenty of good options at RB in the mid-range and I'd rather use the salary elsewhere. 

The Smash Spot

(Players in favorable spots to significantly outperform their salary.)

McLaurin was one of the chalkier options at WR last week and let a lot of people down after just four catches for 55 yards. Hopefully that keeps a few people off of him this week because it's an even better spot and he's $100 cheaper. Washington didn't need to pass against Houston, who has the worst run defense in the league. Sunday's matchup against Atlanta is the opposite. The Falcons are decent against the run and rank near the bottom against the pass. It's great spot for McLaurin to put up 100-plus yards and score. 

Honorable Mentions: WR Greg Dortch ($3,100); RB Rachaad White ($5,100)

The Bargain Bin

QB Geno Smith vs. LV ($6,000)

QB Jimmy Garoppolo vs. NO ($5,600)

RB Rachaad White at CLE ($5,100)

RB Latavius Murray at CAR ($5,000)

WR Drake London at WAS ($4,900)

WR Donovan Peoples-Jones ($4,800)

WR Mack Hollins at SEA ($4,400)

WR Garrett Wilson vs CHI ($4,300)

WR Treylon Burks vs. CIN ($4,200)

WR Nico Collins at MIA ($4,100)

WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling vs. LAR ($4,000)

WR DeAndre Carter at ARI ($3,700)

TE Trey McBride vs. LAC ($3,100)

TE Logan Thomas vs. ATL ($3,000)

Injuries to Monitor 

Mixons (concussion) has been ruled out. Samaje Perine ($5,600) will get the majority of the work but DraftKings priced him up and there is better value at the position for cash games. Perine makes sense in GPPs. 

Moore (groin) has been ruled out. Greg Dortch ($3,100) will play the slot role and is a viable option in cash games based on his near-minimum salary.

Williams (ankle) has been ruled out which means a boost for Joshua Palmer ($5,400), who becomes viable in cash games. Keenan Allen and Gerald Everett could also see a bump in target share.

Weather

  • Keep an eye on the weather in Cleveland. It's likely going to be windy, with gusts up to 30-plus and a chance for rain. That's enough to impact the passing games. I'd be worried about rostering Tom Brady and his WRs. 

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ryan Belongia
Ryan is the top-ranked DFS soccer player on RG, reigning King of the Pitch Champion at DraftKings and 2021 finalist for FSWA's Soccer Writer of the Year.
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