DFS Optimal Values, Locks and Fades: Week 12
In this article, we walk through the process of constructing an optimal lineup that will dominate your cash games on the main slate of Week 12. We start with the optimal lineups for FanDuel and DraftKings determined by the Lineup Generator. Then, we identify the players that are irreplaceable and should be locked into your lineup. For the remaining players, we discuss the main alternatives that you can swap in to make a winning team that best fits your own style.
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FanDuel Week 12 Optimal Plays
Jimmy Garoppolo ($6,500) is our top value play at quarterback. He's thrown multiple touchdown passes in three straight games and gets a matchup against the Vikings who rank 27th in schedule-adjusted fantasy points allowed (aFPA) to quarterbacks. The next best value play is Mac Jones ($6,800) who gets the ninth-best matchup for quarterbacks. Jones's upside is questionable, however, as the Patriots have the second-lowest passing rate over the last three games.
Deebo Samuel ($8,000) has been able to overcome a lack of targets due to his hybrid role. Despite only receiving seven targets over the last two weeks he's totaled over 100 scrimmage yards and scored a rushing touchdown in back-to-back games. I tend to fade incredible efficiency but it's tough when he's been able to find a way all season. Diontae Johnson ($7,100) has received double-digit targets in seven of the nine games he's played this season. The Bengals rank 13th in aFPA to wide receivers but have allowed the sixth-most passing yards per game over the last three weeks.
Fading Deebo for Johnson would allow you to fit in two more target hogs in Chris Godwin ($7,600) and Ja'Marr Chase ($7,700). Since Antonio Brown has been out, Godwin has received 23% of the team's targets and 21% of the air yards. The Buccaneers have scored passing touchdowns at the fifth-highest rate and the Colts are allowing the highest percentage of touchdowns to come through the air. Chase is the cover boy for our breakout receiver model article and has the fourth-highest share of air yards in the league this season. The Steelers are allowing the fifth-most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers.
Over the last four games, Pat Freiermuth ($5,300) is second on the Steelers in market share of targets. He's received at least six targets in five straight games and he leads the team in red zone targets. In a potential shootout environment, he gets a Bengals defense that ranks 22nd in aFPA to tight ends. Dan Arnold ($5,100) actually had a higher market share of targets and air yards than Freiermuth in the three games leading up to Week 11. Then he got shut out last week. I'd expect him to bounce back this week.
DraftKings Week 12 Optimal Plays
Cam Newton ($5,600) is our top value play at quarterback on DraftKings. In his first game as the starter, he threw two passing touchdowns and ran for 46 yards and a touchdown. This week he gets a Dolphins defense allowing the sixth-most fantasy points to quarterbacks. For additional salary, Tyrod Taylor ($5,300) is in a similar spot going up against the Jets who rank 28th in aFPA. Taylor struggled as a passer in bad weather last week but showcased his floor adding 28 rushing yards and two touchdowns.
Saquon Barkley ($6,300) hasn't had an explosion game yet but he has received six targets in three of the last four games. That's a positive for his potential workload, the Giants just have to stay in games to get his rush attempts up. The change at offensive coordinator could help as well. The Eagles are being run on at the ninth-highest rate and rank 24th in aFPA to running backs. Barkley will be popular because of his low price so if you want to differentiate James Robinson ($6,300) has a lot of the same things going for him this week. The Falcons are being run on at the league's highest rate when playing at home and they are allowing 158 rushing yards per game.
Michael Pittman ($5,600) had a rough day matching up with the Bills (first in aFPA) last week. Prior to that game he had posted at least 60 receiving yards in four straight games. With Jonathan Taylor going scorched earth over the last three weeks, the Colts have run the ball at the third-highest rate. The Buccaneers' pass funnel defense should lead the Colts needing to air it out more than they typically do.
It's starting to get tough to keep chasing Tee Higgins ($5,400) and his usage. There's no other way to say it, he's been disappointing. Although the high expectations probably make it seem worse than it's really been. Similar to Pittman, he had posted 60 receiving yards in three straight games before running into the Raiders who rank 8th in aFPA to receivers. He also still leads the team in red zone targets, he just hasn't scored since Week 2.
I talked about Deebo Samuel ($7,900) earlier but he pops as a value here as well. It's just tough to fit him in without paying way down for complete dart throws in the flex. Moving down from Samuel to a Diontae Johnson ($6,600) or Chris Godwin ($7,000) would open up salary for preferred values like Laviska Shenault ($4,400) or Marquez Valdes-Scantling ($4,100). Laviska could see an elevated role without Jamal Agnew and there's been some discussion about increasing his usage out of the backfield. We've seen what a hybrid role like that has done for Deebo Samuel. Valdes-Scantling has 34% of the Packers air yards in the six games he's played this year and is coming off of a game where he received ten targets. If Ramsey ends up shadowing Davante Adams, it could be another big day for MVS.