We would have a smaller Week 12 slate thanks to our typical primetime games and the Thanksgiving day games. Fortunately, there are no bye weeks this week. We also currently get Baltimore vs. Pittsburgh moved to the Sunday player pool on DK. It remains to be seen if FD decides to add those players, but as of publishing they had not.
Historically, I’ve found that casual players tend to get their Thanksgiving weekends’ tied up with shopping and family and travel. That of course won’t be an issue this year, as shopping and travel and family have all been canceled by the ‘VID. It remains to be seen if we see some tourneys facing overlay on Sunday morning. Just don’t let the leftover turkey cause you to oversleep.
DFS: The Primetime Slate
Chicago Bears @ Green Bay Packers
This rivalry game seems pretty one-sided for this season. Yes, Chicago has a very good defense. This is Aaron Rodgers in primetime though. Expecting him to not throw for 325-2 is outrageous. Even against the other solid defenses that he has faced, Rodgers has produced floor games that most QBs would envy. As for Chicago, we don’t even know who will be under center in this game. The team was in the catbird seat in the division earlier this season when Mitchell Trubisky was the starter. Still, his errant play got him benched for Nick Foles. Foles hasn’t done much better, but will the team bite the bullet and go back to Mitch? Making matters worse, both QBs are dealing with injuries. Rodgers will finish as either QB2 or QB3 on the slate (depending on Carson Wentz’s play), but whoever starts for Chicago will finish as the clear worst starter this week.
Perhaps surprisingly, Chicago is only middle-of-the-pack against opposing RBs. This means that barring a miraculous return from Chris Carson this week, Aaron Jones still gets to be RB2 on this slate. Unfortunately, there is not enough meat on the bone for Jamaal Williams to be considered a safe play. I’ll leave him for Showdown slate play. As for Chicago, David Montgomery should return this week. He hasn’t done a ton this year, but he does catch passes and Green Bay is atrocious at stopping the run. I actually like Montgomery as RB3 on this slate, and he makes a nice FLEX play. Ryan Nall did nill while Montgomery was out, so ignore him here.
Davante Adams is a stud. It doesn’t matter if he faces a good defense. He will finish as no worse than WR2 on this slate and he should be locked into your lineup card at WR1. If you do fade him based on his salary find a roster spot at WR3 for Allen Lazard or Marquez Valdes-Scantling. I wouldn’t go any deeper down the rabbit hole though. As for Chicago, Allen Robinson will face coverage from Jaire Alexander. It didn’t matter last season when he posted a pair of 100-yard games against Green Bay. I like him as the WR3 or WR4 here. He has fared well regardless of QB, so he is a sneaky roll it back option here if you also use Davante and Rodgers. Anthony Miller has seen more targets of late, but I can’t trust him as more than a WR3. Cordarelle Patterson could be a punt WR3 option, as he will get a few carries to spell the returning Montgomery. I like Darnell Mooney in dynasty, I just don’t see enough usage for him this week. He is no better than WR8 on this slate and likely lower than that.
Robert Tonyan has seen his usage decrease as Green Bay’s WRs have returned to health. Rodgers expects all of his weapons to be healthy this week, so I’m not jumping to start him, even in an ok matchup. He will be no better than TE2 on the slate. I’m definitely not reaching for Marcedes Lewis or Jace Sternberger. As for the Bears, Jimmy Graham was shut out by the Vikings. Yuck. Cole Kmet isn’t used enough to be considered here, but Graham could rebound since both QBs have targeted him regularly. Graham will still not be better than my fourth option here though. Amazingly, Chicago will be the DEF2 on this slate and Green Bay will be the DEF1.
Seattle Seahawks @ Philadelphia Eagles
This game should have some fireworks. You have two offenses capable of putting up points going up against two defenses that have already phoned it in. The Seahawks are allowing a league-worst 355 passing yards per game – the next closest team is Atlanta at 313 passing yards per game. The Hawks are giving up even more yardage on the road. Carson Wentz has been maligned all season despite having AAF castoffs, converted TEs, and scat backs playing WR earlier in the year and despite having a piecemeal offensive line held together by duct tape and chewing gum. Despite all of this, Wentz still has multiple TDs in eight of ten games. What hasn’t been there is the yardage. That won’t be a problem this week though. Your QB2 will be either Wentz or Rodgers, don’t be surprised if it ends up being Wentz. As for Russell Wilson, he is second in passing yards. He leads the league in passing TDs and total TDs. He even ranks fourth among QBs in rushing yards. Oh yeah, he has also failed to tally three scores in only three games this year. That said, two of those three subpar games have come in the last two weeks. I’m not worried here at all though. Every talented QB to face Philly has done well. Their pass defense numbers look better on paper due to games against C.J. Beathard, Ben Dinucci, Dwayne Haskins, and Deep Fake Baker Mayfield. Wilson is a lock for three scores, 350 total yards, and the QB1 rank on this slate.
Philly is most thankful this holiday weekend to have Miles Sanders back. He is averaging just under five yards per touch in his two games back. He only has one score to show for it, but against this defense, he still nets the RB1 slot. Boston Scott is also in consideration at FLEX since Seattle has actually allowed multiple fantasy-relevant RBs in four of their last six games. The Seahawks will also be thankful to welcome back their top RB from injury. Chris Carson is projected to start Sunday after missing four weeks with a foot injury. Carson also averaged just under five YPC before his injury, but it remains to be seen if he is limited at all in his first game back. He may see a slightly reduced carry-load, with decent backups like Carlos Hyde and DeeJay Dallas able to spell him. His scoring shouldn’t suffer though as he is the back best suited for use at the stripe and he is averaging a score per game played this season. Plus, Philly has allowed a league fifth-worst ten RB rushing touchdowns. Assuming a mildly reduced role, I have him alongside David Montgomery at RB3. Either make a decent FLEX play. Hyde would be RB4 if Carson has a setback this week. Dallas and Travis Homer won’t see enough work to merit DFS usage.
Jalen Reagor has slowly begun to eat into the WR1 status of Travis Fulgham. I think deep down inside we all knew it was inevitable since talent does rise to the top. Fulgham does still have 12 targets over the last two games despite facing a pair of very good corners so all is not lost for him. Seattle has zero good cornerbacks, so both Reagor and Fulgham are in the WR2/3 conversation. Basically, every team has posted two or three high-end WR outputs against Seattle this season. I like both to approach 100 yards and score. Even Greg Ward deserves consideration as a punt WR3. Seattle can also bring it 3-deep, and Philadelphia has also allowed multiple fantasy-worthy WR starters in more than half of their games. This means that both DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett should be in the conversation with Davante Adams for WR1 on the slate. The Eagles have split their struggles between speedy receivers, slot possession guys, and big-bodied high-pointers all season, so there is no favorite play between them this week. In what should be a shootout, David Moore is also usable as a punt WR3.
Zach Ertz is not guaranteed to return this week, if he did I’d be hesitant to play him as anything more than a variance play for exposure in this game. I’m actually hoping he remains out as this will secure TE1 status for Dallas Goedert. Seattle has been so bad against WRs that opponents haven’t had to throw the ball to their TEs against them. Goedert is basically a bulky slot WR for Philly though. I love him this week as the likely third passing TD for Wentz. Due to his red-zone usage, Richard Rodgers is also in play as a punt TE if Ertz sits. Greg Olsen is done for the foreseeable future and possibly his career. This means we get the return to prominence of early 2019 fan-favorite Will Dissly and late 2019 fan-favorite Jacob Hollister. Either TE would approach 5-50 in this game if the other wasn’t there. The presence of both means they will probably split 6-60 making neither a great play. Outside of Goedert, there isn’t another sure thing TE on this slate, so feel free to try your luck with one of them. Each has the receiving chops to be successful. I like Dissly a bit more and wouldn’t be surprised if he catches a short TD. Neither defense is very good, but you could consider Seattle’s defense in hopes that Wentz continues his turnover fest, sack-filled season.
The Main Slate: My recommended DFS lineups
At DK: $8K for Patrick Mahomes. $9.5K for Dalvin Cook. $4.3K for Frank Gore. $7.8K for Tyreek Hill. $5.1K for Curtis Samuel. $4K for Hunter Renfrow. $3.1K for Irv Smith. $5K for Wayne Gallman (Assuming Devonta Freeman is out) or $5.1K for Salvon Ahmed (assuming Myles Gaskin remains out) at FLEX. $3.1K or $3.2K respectively for either the Browns’ or Giants’ defenses.
At FD: $9K for Mahomes. $11K for Cook. $5.2K for Gore. $5.9K for Samuel. $5.7K for Michael Pittman. $5.1K for Renfrow. $8K for Travis Kelce. $5.7K for Gallman at FLEX. $4.3K for the Giants’ defense.
At Fanball (SuperFlex – includes Sun Night): Mahomes, Derek Carr at SF, Cook, Ahmed, Hill, Renfrow, Samuel, Kelce, and Gallman at FLEX.
Weekly strategy – Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen are the clear top options this week. Choosing one of them will put you light years ahead of the competition. Tom Brady would be the only pivot that I’d seriously consider. Teddy Bridgewater is still not a sure-thing starter. If he gets the start, it is a revenge game. Derek Carr and Daniel Jones are both a great value option. I also don’t mind Matt Ryan on DK. The only punt play that I would consider is P.J. Walker if Bridgewater sits.
Fantasy Four Pack
Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs @ TB ($8000 DK, $9000 FD)
Last week, Jared Goff proved the all too obvious truth that Tampa Bay is bad against the pass. Now they have to deal with Patrick Mahomes in a likely shootout. Mahomes will throw for at least three TDs as KC realizes that they cannot move the ball on the ground against the very strong Buccaneers’ run defense.
Josh Allen, Bills vs. LAC ($7600 DK, $8600 FD)
The Chargers aren’t giving up a ton of yardage to opposing QBs but they have allowed the seventh-most passing TDs and the fourth-most total TDs to the position. Meanwhile, Josh Allen has the third-most rushing TDs among all QBs and only seven other QBs have more passing TDs than him. Justin Herbert has the tools and weapons to keep this game somewhat competitive, which should force Buffalo to keep their foot on the accelerator.
Tom Brady, Buccaneers vs. KC ($6600 DK, $7900 FD)
We know Kansas City will be throwing all game. Fortunately, Tom Brady also has the skills and weapons to stay competitive. Unlike Herbert above, Brady isn’t traveling west to east for an early game. Brady also has three elite-level weapons compared to Herbert who has Keenan Allen and a couple of good but not great secondary options. This game will be high-scoring and while the rest of the pool is on Mahomes, Brady provides exposure to the game for less cost.
Kyler Murray, Cardinals @ NE ($8200 DK, $9100 FD)
Kyler Murray has the combination of running and passing skills that everyone expected Lamar Jackson to feature this year. New England has some solid cornerbacks and Murray may be limited slightly by his shoulder, but that shouldn’t completely take you off of him. Murray can score via his feet or arm from any point on the field. I also highly doubt that Kliff Kingsbury will let him play this week if the injury is a legit concern. I’m going to pass on pairing him with DeAndre Hopkins who will likely see a Stephon Gilmore shadow, but Christian Kirk, Larry Fitzgerald, Andy Isabella, and the RBs should give him enough potential value.
Derek Carr, Raiders @ ATL ($5700 DK, $7100 FD)
Atlanta has allowed the second-most passing yards, the second-most passing TDs, and the most rushing TDs to opposing QBs. Derek Carr has multiple touchdowns in seven of ten games and he is distributing the ball to a huge selection of receiving options (all of whom are finally healthy). I particularly like pairing Carr with his tight end Darren Waller or his possession receiver Hunter Renfrow.
Daniel Jones, Giants @ CIN ($5500 DK, $7200 FD)
Cincinnati has allowed 15 passing touchdowns over their last five games. Now that they no longer have their franchise QB, the likelihood that the team might start to phone it in grows. Meanwhile, Daniel Jones has all of his passing weapons (except Saquan Barkley) healthy and on the field for basically the first time in his career. It’s not quite as safe of a value as Carr, but barring something crazy with the weather I like Jones to hit 3x.
Weekly strategy – FD has pushed Dalvin Cook over the $11K figure. That is crazy. It is also still a safe 3x target for Dalvin. He remains the safest big-dollar play on the slate. Nick Chubb and Josh Jacobs are the only clear pivots anywhere near this price range. Giovani Bernard (if he plays) and Todd Gurley are my top RB2 options. If I don’t use one of them, I will go with the Miami starter, the Giants’ starter, James White, Nyheim Hines, or Frank Gore. I will also use one of those five at the FLEX position. If Bernard does not play, Samaje Perine could have some punt appeal.
Fantasy Four Pack
Dalvin Cook, Vikings vs. CAR ($9500 DK, $11000 FD)
Even at $11K, Dalvin Cook is safe to hit 3x value. Carolina has been one of the historically worst run defenses for approaching two seasons now. Since the start of 2019, Carolina is allowing an average of just under 150 total yards per game and just over 1.5 total TDs per game to opposing RBs. Cook will blow by both of those benchmarks.
Nick Chubb, Browns @ JAX ($7100 DK, $8400 FD)
Nick Chubb cannot truly be considered a pivot when his price is $2.5K less than Dalvin. Still, he is the next highest-priced player who was most likely to hit 3x. Jacksonville is allowing just under 140 total yards per game to opposing RBs. Chubb will split touches with Kareem Hunt, but Chubb is averaging 6.2 yards per carry since his return from injury.
Josh Jacobs, Raiders @ ATL ($7200 DK, $8000 FD)
Josh Jacobs gets to face an Atlanta defense that has been brutal against the pass, but actually pretty solid against the run. Still, Jacobs has been scoring at will of late and Vegas is not afraid to give him 25+ touches in a game.
Alvin Kamara, Saints @ DEN ($8200 DK, $8600 FD)
The presence of Taysom Hill under the center produces a potential vulture at the stripe for Alvin Kamara. Even with a reduced number of touches in the last few weeks, Kamara has five scores over his last three games. Taysom will find him in the passing game eventually. Over the last four weeks, Denver has allowed the second-most total yards and total TDs to the position. New Orleans should have a big lead this week, so expect Alvin and his running mate Latavius Murray to get a lot of clock management carries in the second half.
Todd Gurley, Falcons vs. LV ($5500 DK, $6900 FD)
All Todd Gurley does is score TDs. This is essential to know because only two teams have allowed more RB scores. Gurley (as always it seems) is nursing a knee injury, so watch his status. If he cannot go, Brian Hill could be a slate-breaker.
Wayne Gallman, Giants @ CIN ($5000 DK, $5700 FD)
If you told me at the start of the year that Wayne Gallman would be on an active NFL roster at this point in the season, I would’ve laughed. Now, not only is he the starter for the Giants. He is poised for a huge performance. Cincy has allowed the fourth-most rushing yards to opposing RBs and more than 5.2 YPC. Obviously, keep an eye on Devonta Freeman’s practice status. His ankle injury return will be soon. If he plays this week it takes away a lot of Gallman’s luster.
Weekly strategy – Up top you are going to want at least one of Tyreek Hill, Stefon Diggs, or Michael Thomas. Fitting two of them under the cap will be next to impossible, but feel free to try. Both Calvin Ridley and Keenan Allen can be lesser-owned pivots. Any of the Panthers’ WRs makes a nice WR2. I am leaning Curtis Samuel. I also like Justin Jefferson in that same game and Chris Godwin on DK. For WR3, I am leaning towards one of the Raiders, one of the Giants, one of the Colts, or maybe Emmanuel Sanders in a revenge game. Hunter Renfrow and Michael Pittman are my favorite twosome from that group.
Fantasy Four Pack
Tyreek Hill, Chiefs @ TB ($7800 DK, $8600 FD)
Running the ball against the Buccaneers is a mistake. It isn’t like KC likes to run the ball anyways. It helps that Tampa has an offense that can keep this game competitive. That means that KC won’t be encouraged to run out the clock in the second half. We should get a full game of four-wide for Mahomes and Company. That should equate to a huge game fromt he best stack of the week Mahomes-Tyreek Hill-Travis Kelce. Sammy Watkins may be back healthy this week too and he could be a sneaky way to get access to this game while fading Hill.
Michael Thomas, Saints @ DEN ($7400 DK, $7700 FD)
So, Apparently Taysom Hill likes targeting Michael Thomas. I mean that sort of usage was what I expected with Drew Brees under center. The last four weeks, Denver has allowed the fourth-most WR touchdowns. Three of those scores went to opposing WR1s. I expect Emmanuel Sanders to have a good game as well since this si a revenge game for him.
Stefon Diggs, Bills vs. LAC ($7600 DK, $7900 FD)
WR1s have eaten all season versus the Chargers thanks to the depleted secondary. Meanwhile, Stefon Diggs has 85 yards and/or a touchdown in every game but one. That sort of consistentcy is what you dream of in DFS.
Calvin Ridley, Falcons vs. LV ($7100 DK, $8100 FD)
Vegas’ pass defense is better than we ever expected. They still are allowing a fair amount of points to opponents WR1s. It ultimately comes down to whether or not Julio Jones is limited or out this week. I’m not sure that Atlanta can support two big performers against this defense, but whoever ends up being the #1 this week should have a solid game. Right now that is trending towards being Calvin Ridley. He is used to being the center of attention, drawing seven or more targets in seven of nine games this year.
Curtis Samuel, Panthers @ MIN ($5100 DK, $5900 FD)
Minnesota’s pass defense has been deservingly maligned all year. Simply put, they are young and mistake-prone. They will grow into their clothes over time, but for now when they battle three-deep WR corps, they have no prayer. Curtis Samuel has been very active for Carolina, both catching the ball and acting as a C-O-P back to both Christian McCaffrey and Mike Davis. His swiss-army nature has helped him net five scores over his last five games. Another is coming here.
Michael Pittman, Colts vs. TEN ($5000 DK, $5700 FD)
Tennessee has allowed the fourth-most receiving yards to opposing WRs. They have especially struggled with big-bodied WRs like Michael Pittman. One of the bigger games they have allowed recently went to Pittman back in Week 10 as part of a 7-101 receiving line, where he also added 21 yards on the ground.
Weekly strategy – We finally have the week where you want to spend up at TE. Travis Kelce and Darren Waller are the two highest-priced and they are both primed to produce the best numbers of the week at the position by a lot. The second-tier options have some upside, but none truly feels safe. I’d say if you don’t go with one of the big two, I’d just punt down to Trey Burton or Irv Smith (especially if Adam Thielen is out).
Fantasy Four Pack
Travis Kelce, Chiefs @ TB ($7000 DK, $8000 FD)
Travis Kelce leads the TE position in every meaningful fantasy category. Even if you just look at the last four weeks (which includes Kelce’s bye week), Kelce leads in each of those categories. Tampa has allowed the sixth-most TE touchdowns despite facing only a couple of high-end options there. Kelce will approach
Darren Waller, Raiders @ ATL ($6000 DK, $7000 FD)
Darren Waller is second to Kelce in receptions, targets, and receiving yards, and he trails only four TEs in TDs. There is a decent option for using both of them this week. Atlanta has allowed the most TE scores, the second-most TE receiving yards, and the fourth-most TE receptions
Evan Engram, Giants @ CIN ($4500 DK, $5600 FD)
Prior to Week 10’s stinker, Evan Engram had 29 targets over his previous three games. That actually led all TEs over the span of Weeks 7-9. If you include his rushing yards, he would’ve finished third among all TEs during that span. Cincy has played better of late, but they have given up some big performances early in the year to similar-level TEs like Hunter Henry, Zach Ertz, Mark Andrews, and Trey Burton.
Hunter Henry, Chargers @ BUF ($4800 DK, $5900 FD)
No team has allowed more receptions or receiving yards to opposing TEs. They also have allowed the sixth-most TDs to the position. Hunter Henry has scored in back-to-back games and he has six or more targets in all but two games. With Tre’Davious White shutting down one of the WRs, Justin Herbert will have to lean even more on his big tight end.
Mike Gesicki, Dolphins @ NYJ ($4300 DK, $5600 FD)
Mike Gesicki started the season on an upward trajectory with Ryan Fitzpatrick under center, but once Tua Tagovailoa took over his targets took a tumble. He still isn’t seeing a ton of looks, but he has topped 40 yards receiving in three straight games. Tua will be back under center Sunday so hopefully, this new trend continues. A Gesicki TD is also in play as New York ranks fourth-worst in terms of TE scores allowed, this includes a pair of scores to Gesicki’s running mates (Adam Shaheen and Durham Smythe) back in Week 6.
Irv Smith, Vikings vs. CAR ($3100 DK, $5200 FD)
Currently, Adam Thielen is questionable to play this week due to COVID. If Thielen misses the game both Kyle Rudolph and Irv Smith will act as option B in the Vikings’ passing game. Irv is actually built like a large WR, so he may even be on the field in three WR sets. You can move the ball on the Panthers with TEs, they have allowed the second-most receptions and the third-most receiving yards to the position.