DRAFT Week 12 Breakdown and Top Plays
Thanksgiving week is here, and that means three games on Thursday, a decent slate on Sunday and the usual Monday night contest. The good news is we get different matchups, along with a fresh set of players primed for your DFS lineups. I'm going to provide two sets of suggestions this week, a Turkey Day slate and one for the remaining Week 12 games.
DRAFT's weekly fantasy contests are not your typical salary cap format. Instead, they offer a series of snake-style draft contests with differing team amounts. You can choose from head-to-head, 3-team, 6-team, 8-team, or 10-team contests, with varying dollar amounts per contest. With each draft, players must select five position players: 1QB, 2RB, and 2WR/TEs. There are no salaries, no ownership percentages, and no large tourneys.
Below I will take a look at some of the best plays of the week, according to league size. You will see multiple references to aFPA, which is our schedule-adjusted fantasy points allowed metric. By using aFPA, we remove bias so that we can level the playing field and compare matchups in an "apples-to-apples" manner. One more note: remember that DRAFT is a snake-style format, so you must plan accordingly in larger contest sizes.
With only two drafters involved, your cumulative score just has to be higher than that of your opponent. Since only 10 players are involved, stick to the elite DFS chalk here.
When you enter a contest with only three teams, you’re either picking two players at a time, or you’re in the middle of two drafters doing just that. Same studs apply here; draft accordingly.
6, 8 or 10-Person Draft
Below you’ll find a few more recommendations for Week 12 starters to assist in filling out five-player rosters when more players are involved. You’ll need to dig a bit deeper into the rankings to find a player or two who will out-produce the players your opponents draft.
Thanksgiving Day Extravaganza
Case Keenum (MIN) @DET
The Lions rank 18th versus opposing QBs, but Keenum has so much talent to target that he's atop the Thursday QB hill. He'll hit Adam Thielen, Stefon Diggs, and Kyle Rudolph enough to make him a worthy starter in your DFS lineups. He is projected to drop 15.40 DRAFT points on Detroit, so grab Keenum, a plate of food, and go.
Kirk Cousins (WAS) vs NYG
Cousins is the highest-projected QB on DRAFT for Thursday's slate of games, with 19.40 points. He's racked up over 25 points in his last two contests on DRAFT and faces the 27th-ranked defense versus the pass this week. Washington has the highest implied team total on the slate, so without worrying about ownership percentage, he's your chalk.
Philip Rivers (LAC) @ DAL
Last week, Rivers carved up the Bills' secondary for 251 yards and 2 scores and is on a fantasy hot streak. He's posted an average of 15.96 DRAFT points over the past three weeks and faces a soft Dallas secondary on Thursday. He's a solid option when your opponents grab Matthew Stafford and Dak Prescott first.
Melvin Gordon (LAC) @ DAL
Always chase volume and Gordon certainly has it. He averages 20.2 touches per game and 15.98 DRAFT points a contest. Dallas ranks 25th in RB aFPA this season. Linebacker Sean Lee's absence could allow even more than the aFPA of 24.9 PPR points surrendered to opposing backfields.
The Vikings backfield is producing this season, with both McKinnon and Murray fantasy relevant. McKinnon is the guy I'd grab first as the primary runner out of the backfield, but Murray is certainly draftable in larger contests for his red zone work. Both should see 12-18 touches on Thursday and you'll be thankful you selected them.
Samaje Perine (WAS) vs. NYG
WIth both Rob Kelley and Chris Thompson on the shelf, it's the rookie's time to shine. Perine had 24 touches for 126 yards and a touchdown last week and gets the 26th-ranked defense when it comes to RBs in Thursday's matchup. He's projected to score 10.1 DRAFT points, so makes a decent, less-chalky choice for this three-game slate.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Adam Thielen (MIN) @ DET
Thielen has been thrown at the most per game in the NFL since Week 6, among WRs. The volume is there, and so are the points. He's second to only Antonio Brown in PPR points in that same time frame with 103.5 over the past five games. DRAFT ranks him as the second-highest scorer this week with a projected 13.40 DRAFT points. He's a beast; draft him.
Keenan Allen (LAC) @ DAL
Allen had a monster Week 11, dropping 34.20 DRAFT points on the Bills. While he may not see that high of a number again, it's obvious Philip Rivers is thankful to have his No. 1 WR back this season. The Cowboys sit 25th in WR aFPA, allowing an average of 35.7 PPR points to opposing wideouts. On this small, three-game slate, Allen is a guy you should certainly draft when available.
Vernon Davis (WAS) vs. NYG
We all know why Davis makes this list. New York is the tight end touchdown capitol of the world or something like that. Look for Davis' TD celebration dance Thursday, as he eats against the 31st-ranked defense.
Evan Engram (NYG) @ WAS
Washington isn't great versus TEs, in fact, they are the fourth-worst at defending the position in the league this season. Engram is averaging 9.57 DRAFT points per game and should fare well this week as Eli Manning's only real solid weapon.
Sunday & Monday Showdowns
Tom Brady (NE) vs. MIA
Always roster Tom Brady. He's currently doing a bang-up job fleecing father time, as he boasts the second-highest fantasy point total among QBs this season. He's projected to score 21.9 DRAFT points this Sunday, against the 28th-ranked defense in aFPA versus QBs.
Russell Wilson (SEA) @ SF
As usual, Wilson is coming in hot as the season progresses and finds himself first in total fantasy points after 11 Weeks. He laid 31.92 DRAFT points on Atlanta Monday night and gets the 49ers Sunday, whose defense is ranked 20th when it comes to the pass. He finds a way to make plays happen and is now a reliable fantasy QB in all formats and contests.
Cam Newton (CAR) @ NYJ
Speaking of on fire, Newton slayed the Dolphins in Week 10, putting up 35.66 DRAFT points in a 254-yard, 4-touchdown performance. He gets the Jets on Sunday, a defense allowing an average of 19.1 PPR points per game to enemy QBs this season. Newton is a threat with his arm and legs, and it's tough to stifle him for too long.
LeVeon Bell (PIT) vs. GB
Another guy here who is perennial chalk. Draft him often and always. Bell is projected to score 18.4 DRAFT points (most at the position on the Sunday slate).
Todd Gurley (LAR) vs. NO
With the bust comparisons to Trent Richardson safely behind him, Gurley is a bonafide stud. He leads all RBs in fantasy points this season, averaging 20.26 DRAFT points per contest. He's projected to drop 17.8 on the Saints this weekend, so go ahead and grab him whenever you can.
It's rare to suggest two guys from the same backfield in one "breath" but these two are worthy. You can take one or even grab both for your DRAFT rosters this week. They are crushing opposing defenses as a tandem and are actually ranked one after another (RB5, RB6) in our rankings this week. The Rams sit 28th against opposing backfields and are no threat to these RBs' production this week.
Christian McCaffrey (CAR) @ NYJ
Here's a not so chalky suggestion for the larger contests this weekend. The rookie RB is uber-talented and presents a threat not only out of the backfield but in the slot as well. McCaffrey has scored over 17 DRAFT points two games in a row. With fresh legs from a bye week, he should eat all game long against a mediocre Jets defense.
Carlos Hyde (SF) vs. SEA
Hyde is a guy with little fanfare but gets the job done from a fantasy perspective. He averages 13.16 DRAFT points per game and is projected to put up 13.4 against Seattle. He's a guy to target in later contests when your opponents are taking DeMarco Murray or Lamar Miller.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Antonio Brown (PIT) vs. GB
Doug Baldwin (SEA) @ SF
I hope you heeded my advice last week and drafted a Wilson/Baldwin stack. They killed it and should produce again on Sunday against the 49ers. Baldwin is projected to put up 12.2 DRAFT points and is a sure-fire WR1 in all contests.
Julio Jones (ATL) vs. TB
If there's ever a week for Jones to finally break out this season, this is it. Atlanta gets a home tilt against the Buccaneers—a defense ranked dead last against opposing wideouts. If you still carry the love for Julio, grab him, but we understand if you're a bit skittish.
Brandin Cooks (NE) vs. MIA
With Chris Hogan still sidelined, Cooks is in play again this week. He dropped 23.90 DRAFT points on Oakland in Mexico City last Sunday and gets the Dolphins at home in Gillette Stadium in Week 12. Brady has him dialed in this season and should connect with the young WR often.
Travis Kelce (KC) vs. BUF
The Bills are a mess, and their offense may not be on the field for too long on Sunday. Kelce leads all TEs in fantasy points this season with 133 DRAFT points through 10 games. He's a must roster this season in any contest, so feel free to snag him early, late, or whenever you see fit.