After two weeks of dumpy performances, I got a few combinations right last week. It was good. I hope you found similar success thanks at least in part because of something you read here.
I also had a decent Thanksgiving. I’m not ready to retire, but the numbers went up and I only had a few dollars in play. I hope that bodes well for this weekend’s slate.
Our formula is not perfect, but it’s pretty good. I feel like I’m on the cusp of a huge win because some part of my research always pushes me toward one unconventional play or two.
One of these weeks it’s all going to fall in line. I hope you feel the same way and I hope it pays off for you as well.
However it’s important to keep a few things in mind:
- Only play 10% of your bankroll. Your bankroll is the amount you are going to play with this year. Wagering more than 10 percent sets you up to go bankrupt before the end of the season. Only wager more if you play a lot of cash games and have found success there.
- Always follow rule No. 1, unless you find some serious overlay. And even then, don’t go overboard. We’re all going to have bad weeks, even when we do everything right. Don’t spend so much that you can’t recover from it the following week. This allows us to brush off a bad week and move on to the next.
OK, let’s get to this weeks sleepers and values at FanDuel. I will reference Defense-adjusted Value Over Average a lot, it is a Football Outsiders’ metric which can be a better predictor of future success than fantasy points allowed. All team rankings and yards allowed to receivers are referenced from Football Outsiders’ Defense Efficiency page.
Week 12 daily fantasy: Draft Kings sleepers | FanDuel sleepers | Thanksgiving special
Blake Bortles, JAC vs. SD, $7,300 — Bortles burned most of the industry in a great spot a few weeks ago. That means some people get a little indigestion when they see his name. That’s good news for you, because it’s another great spot for Bortles. The Jaguars throw the ball in the red zone too much and San Diego has been too bad on defense for us not to have some exposure to Bortles.
Brian Hoyer, HOU vs. NO, $7,100 — The Saints probably made a couple careers — or at least a couple big contracts — this season. They’ve been epically bad against just about everyone on defense. That bodes well for Brian Hoyer, who throws to the best wide receiver in the game.
Carson Palmer, ARI at SF, $8,100 — Palmer is essentially matchup proof at this point. Even though he’s on the road, we should still consider him. On the road against a rancid 49ers defense, it should be huge spot for Palmer even though the projected score indicates a blowout. The only real concern here is if Arizona overlooks SF, but even then I’m not sure the 49ers will be able to take advantage.
Eli Manning, NYG at WAS, $7,700 — If this game was at home, an advantage for Hoyer and Bortles, Eli would probably be my most owned quarterback this week. It still should be a fine game against the Redskins, who are seventh-worst in the NFL against the pass, according to DVOA, but I can’t go all-in here.
Josh McCown, CLE vs. BAL, $6,300 — McCown is the starter because Johnny Manziel is a dunce. It’s also worth noting McCown is at home and that he torched the Ravens for 457 yards and two passing touchdowns and a rushing touchdown in Baltimore earlier this season. McCown has been better than a lot of people realize and he may slip under the radar.
Russell Wilson, SEA vs. PIT, $7,600 — Pittsburgh has been torched by No. 1 and No. 2 receivers this season. Their defense funnels to the passing game. Seattle isn’t a pass-happy offense, but they may be forced to throw more than usual. Wilson isn’t as great a value at FanDuel, but he’s still one of the top options expected to produce a fantasy total at least worthy of his price.
Kirk Cousins, WAS vs. NYG, $6,700 — There are only three sub-$7,000 quarterbacks on this list and Cousins is our second. This is a huge spot for Cousins’ tight end, Jordan Reed. Passing to Reed alone might be enough for Cousins to pay off his salary at this low level, but DeSean Jackson has returned as a deep threat and WR Jamison Crowder and RB Matt Jones are emerging as weapons for the Redskins as well. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Cousins popped a 400-yard, 3-TD game this week. He, of course, is also capable of throwing three picks in a game, so use him sparingly in GPPS.
Matt Hasselbeck, IND vs. TB, $6,400 — Hasselbeck has been serviceable as a backup to Andrew Luck this season. He’s more of a game manager than anything else, but he doesn’t need much to pay off this price point. He also has some insanely good weapons to throw to.
T.J. Yeldon, JAC vs. SD, $6,500 — He’s not quite as good a value at FanDuel, but Yeldon still provides great salary relief compared to the top tier of RBs. Yeldon is in a potentially huge spot against the worst run defense in the NFL, according to DVOA. The biggest issue is Jacksonville’s reliance on the pass in the red zone.
Thomas Rawls, SEA vs. PIT, $6,300 — The Seahawks expected to win at home is a recipe for a huge running back week. Pittsburgh has been decent at stopping the run, but Rawls should get more than enough action to pay off his meager price.
Mark Ingram, NO at HOU, $7,400, — It’s no guarantee, but this could be a bounceback game for Ingram against a Texans defense that has been significantly better at defending the pass than the run.
Danny Woodhead, SD at JAC, $6,100 — Much has been written about the Chargers woeful running game and about how they use short passes to Woodhead and the tight ends as a running game. Jacksonville allows 55 receiving yards per game to running backs, one of the highest averages in the NFL. Philip Rivers and the pass-heavy San Diego offense should take advantage.
Javorius Allen, BAL at CLE, $6,300 — Speaking of opportunity, Allen has loads this week after Justin Forsett broke his arm. Of course, there’s always a chance Allen could drop a stinker on us. I, however, will have a good mix of Allen in my daily fantasy lineups this week, against one of the worst run defenses in the league. There’s just so much value.
Giovani Bernard, CIN vs. STL, $6,300 — Bernard is so low-priced and has been so much better than Jeremy Hill we have to consider him every week. This week, however, the Bengals are favored by a large margin at home against an uncommon opponent, the kind of team QB Andy Dalton has torched so far this season. Bernard is effective as a runner and as a receiver, which means he’ll get run whether they need to run or pass.
Shaun Draughn, SF vs. ARI, $5,600 — Any time we can roster a starting running back for less than $6,000 at FanDuel, we have to consider it. Draughn has an eight-catch game this season and has proven serviceable for a downtrodden 49ers offense. It’s not a great matchup, but Draughn is at home and is practically the only thing going in SF.
Doug Martin, TB at IND, $7,500 — I just can’t figure Martin out. On the weeks I want to play him he does squat. The weeks I avoid him he goes bananas, like last week. Indianapolis is one of the tougher run defenses in the NFL, according to DVOA, but we have to consider Martin following last week’s performance.
Alfred Blue, HOU vs. NO, $5,900 — Like we said in the Draughn blurb, a running back at sub-$6,000 is a must-consider regardless of talent. Blue also has the advantage of playing the Saints, who are 26th in the NFL against the run, according to DVOA.
LeSean McCoy, BUF at KC, $7,600 — McCoy’s price is far more deflated at Draft Kings, proving how much more of a value he is on that site.KC’s DVOA does suggest it could be a rough week for McCoy, but I’ll consider him in tournament games this week. Opportunity is more important than matchup when it comes to running backs.
Frank Gore, IND vs. TB, $6,400 — We have a lot of running backs in this mid-$6,000 range that we should consider. Tampa Bay is the fifth-best team in the NFL against the run, according to DVOA. That’s a bad matchup, however, our formula considers the experts’ consensus at fantasy pros, so if they’re all on him we should consider him despite the matchup. The thinkings is that the team will give Gore extra work with Hasselbeck under center. Like I said just a few lines ago, workload is more important than matchup when it comes to running backs.
Antonio Andrews, TEN vs. OAK, $5,700 — Oakland’s defense has been bad in both phases, but they’ve allowed 64 receiving yards per game to running backs, one of the highest totals in the NFL. Andrews has been a good PPR option this season and we’d have to consider him this week. But on top of the matchup, Dexter McCluster is likely to miss 2-3 weeks, which means Andrews should get more touches.
Lamar Miller, MIA at NYJ, $7,200 — The Jets have been No. 1 in the NFL against the run, according to DVOA. Again, this indicates that the experts think Miller will rise above that matchup because of the volume of touches he expects to get.
Chris Ivory, NYJ vs. MIA, $7,000 — Miami is 22nd in the NFL against the run, according to DVOA, that’s on the lower end of the middle-of-the road, so it’s a decent matchup. The experts must expect Ivory to get extra volume and bounce back after a huge disappointment last week.
Julio Jones, ATL vs. MIN, $9,300 — As I’ve said in the past, we use a couple formulas and sort a couple different ways to come up with our value rankings. The spreadsheet just spits out players expected to produce well based on their price. Jones fits the bill almost every week because he is so much better than most of his peers. Minnesota is not a great matchup for No. 1 wide receivers, but they don’t often face top teams who scheme to get their top WR 14 targets a game. Jones is actually $100 cheaper at FanDuel than at Draft Kings, that’s nearly unheard of, making him a near must-play.
Larry Fitzgerald, ARI at SF, $7,400 — I expect him to score a notch below Julio and Hopkins this week, making his salary — $2,000 less — an extreme value. the 49ers have allowed 99.4 yards per game to No. 1 wide receivers, most in the NFL. Fitz is the same price at FanDuel and Draft Kings. Like we said with Jones, this represents a colossal value because FanDuels’ pricing is typically much higher.
Steve Johnson, SD at JAC, $5,500 — Johnson disappointed a lot of people last week, underperforming as the Chargers No. 1 wide receiver. Jacksonville’s defense funnels to the passing game, which likely means more pass attempts for Philip Rivers and more targets for Steve Johnson. Because of his poor performance last week, don’t’ be surprised if Johnson goes underowned this week.
DeAndre Hopkins, HOU vs. NO, $9,400 — Another salary-buster at the top, but another absolute beast of a wide receiver. If Hopkins is playing he’s a threat to score multiple touchdowns, regardless of quarterback and matchup. This week he gets the Saints defense, the worst in the NFL against the pass, according to DVOA. I’m surprised he didn’t come in first.
Kendall Wright, TEN vs. OAK, $5,300 — Not only is it a great matchup for Marcus Mariota this week, but he gets back his No. 1 wide receiver Kendall Wright. Mariota’s favorite target has been Delanie Walker, but Wright’s return should open up the passing game even more in a game where they probably won’t need much help opening up.
Demaryius Thomas, DEN vs. NE, $7,700 — This is one of those situation where you’ll likely never see this wide receiver this low-priced ever again. Thomas is uber-talented and Brock Osweiler has breathed new life into the Broncos passing attack. The one big concern here is that Patriots coach Bill Belichick is known for taking away a team’s top weapon, and DT is that for Denver.
Amari Cooper, OAK at TEN, $6,800 — It’s absurd someone with Cooper’s talent should be below $7,000. Tennessee is eight-best in the NFL against the pass, according to DVOA, but Oakland’s passing offense has been pretty potent. It’ll be interesting to see which side comes out on top. The poor matchup means Cooper should be considered mostly in GPPS.
Jeremy Maclin, KC vs. BUF, $6,200 — This is not a great matchup, but Maclin’s price is so deflated we have to consider him here. He just missed the cut at Draft Kings too.
Marvin Jones, CIN vs. STL, $5,400 — As we’ve mentioned a couple times, prices are much higher at FanDuel than at Draft Kings, so when you can find a starting wide receiver in an offense with one of the highest point totals of the week for a mid-$5,500 price, he becomes an instant consideration.
Michael Crabtree, OAK at TEN, $6,500 — Crabtree has been better than teammate Cooper in PPR leagues over the last few weeks. He’s been getting a ton of target volume and has been able to convert. He may have a rough go against the Titans, whose only real weakness has been against tight ends.
Doug Baldwin, SEA vs. PIT, $5,300 — Here’s another top passing option in the mid-$5,000 range. Baldwin gets to face a Steelers team that has allowed 82 yards per game to No. 1 wide receivers and 75.9 per game to No. 2 receivers. Those are two of the highest totals in the NFL.
Chris Givens, BAL at CLE, $4,500 — We’ve been touting that $5,500ish range as the value train this week, but Givens comes in $1,000 less at minimum price. He showed elite talent as a rookie with the Rams but hasn’t done too much since. This week, the Ravens have a new quarterback — raising volatility and the likelihood Givens could be used more. The Browns also allow 65.1 yards per game to No. 2 wide receivers, one of the highest totals in the NFL.
Tyler Eifert, CIN vs. STL, $6,200 — Eifert had a big bounceback last week, now he faces the Rams, whose only weakness in the passing game has been the tight end — 67.1 yards per game, one of the highest totals in the NFL.
Antonio Gates, SD at JAC, $5,200 — This one’s a tournament only play. He only had one catch last week and played in only half the offensive snaps. He is probable this week with hip and knee injuries. However, if he’s healthy he should rack up plenty of fantasy points because the Chargers passing offense is so depleted.
Jordan Reed, WAS vs. NYG, $5,800 — Like Mariota, Kirk Cousins’ fate usually hinges on the matchup for his TE, Reed. The Giants are worst in the NFL (79.9 yards per game) at defending the position.
Jimmy Graham, SEA vs. PIT, $5,500 — This isn’t a particularly great matchup, and Graham hasn’t done much this season, but his price has dropped so much he has become a low-priced option with huge upside. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if this game turned into a shootout. If that happens, Graham would likely see more targets than he has in most games this season.
Travis Kelce, KC vs. BUF, $5,800 — Like Maclin, Kelce just missed the cut at Draft Kings and it’s not a particularly great matchup. The Chiefs are at home and facing an uncommon opponent late in the season. It’s still a tournament-only play for me.
Delanie Walker, TEN vs. OAK, $6,100 — If it’s a Marcus Mariota game, it’s a Walker game. Or maybe it’s the other way around. Either way, you want both of them in at least one tournament lineup this week.
Stephen Gostkowski, NE at DEN, $5,200
Chandler Catanzaro, ARI at SF, $4,700
Nick Novak, HOU vs. NO, $4,500
Chris Boswell, PIT at SEA, $4,500
Dustin Hopkins, WAS vs. NYG, $4,500
Blair Walsh, MIN at ATL, $4,700
Kansas City Chiefs vs. BUF, $4,500
New York Jets vs. MIA, $4,500
New England Patriots at DEN, $4,600
Cincinnati Bengals vs. STL, $4,800
Minnesota Vikings at ATL, $4,400
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at IND, $4,300