The first of the holiday weeks are in the books. Now we turn the calendar to the month of December, and visions of fantasy championships start dancing in our heads. The closer we get to Christmas, the more we need to start paying attention to game weather conditions. Fortunately, at The Huddle, you can find all of your gameday weather info on our actives and inactives article published every Sunday morning. Also, check my Twitter Sunday morning for any sleeper changes due to injury or weather concerns.
DFS: The Primetime Slate
I will be down in KC this weekend, but unfortunately, I will not be able to stick around for the Sunday night game between my Chiefs and the hated Denver Broncos. Rest assured, I will consume all of the BBQ before departing and will have the game live on Sirius on the way home. This game was flexed out of the afternoon to the evening, because nobody wanted to watch two flailing NFC West teams emulate the Kip and Napoleon Dynamite fight against each other. Teddy Bridgewater is still the starter in Denver, but he has hardly earned that title. Over his last four games, #Teddy1TD has thrown a total of three TDs. I may have to change that moniker to #Teddy3/4TD. The worse part is that this has come against three cupcakes and one decent pass defense. KC would’ve been considered a cupcake earlier this year, but they have held their opponents to seven passing TDs over their last six games. Do the math, and it means Teddy gets the QB4 slot this week.
After another dud in Week 11, Patrick Mahomes now has four of his last five games with one passing TD or fewer. This does not make me feel all warm and fuzzy. It gets particularly disturbing knowing that the Chiefs are about to face off against a very good Denver pass defense. In seven career starts against this defense, Mahomes has only two games with more than one passing TD. Still, his three best starts against Denver have come at home, so here is to hoping that he gets a bellyful of BBQ or Whataburger before this contest. None of the QB matchups this week are great, so Mahomes will still be QB2 even with some questionable trends working against him.
Javonte Williams and Melvin Gordon continue to split carries for Denver. Gordon leads in every category except receptions and receiving yards but the Broncos don’t want to commit to one or the other, which really stunts both of their potential output. This is a rough slate for RBs with four committees in action. Gordon might get RB1 designation by default, but he’s 50-50 to play with hip and shoulder injuries. Just know that this is ugly and probably where you will have to mix and match to build lineups. I’ll give Javonte the RB4/5 designation here if Gordon starts, but he acends close to RB1 if not.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire returned a couple of weeks ago and immediately assumed a 3-to-2 opportunity advantage over Darrel Williams. If we knew that CEH would get a similar usage this week, I would label him the RB1 here since Denver has struggled badly against RBs since Week 5. As it stands, I will have him battling evenly with Gordon/Javonte Williams for that honor. Williams slides all the way to RB6 and his outlook is much cloudier.
Jerry Jeudy is back as the top target for Bridgewater. Normally this would be a positive, but KC has been stingy against WR1s since Week 5. I’m not sure he would even be my first choice on his team this week. At best, he will finish at WR6 on the slate. Courtland Sutton was the alpha while Jeudy was out earlier this year. He is probably a safer play than Jeudy this week, but not by much. Tim Patrick is the WR that I love to start in Showdown contests. He has been consistent all year regardless of the health of the other receivers. This week, I could easily see using him as a lower-priced WR3.
Tyreek Hill is the WR1 on this slate. His matchup isn’t elite this week, but the other premier WR on the board, Stefon Diggs, has an equally tough matchup. Hill’s receiving numbers have been so-so for his career against Denver, but he has scored four TDs in the last four games against them. Mecole Hardman and Byron Pringle have split the WR2 role the last few weeks. In a better matchup, I would consider either of them at WR3. This isn’t a great matchup, so I’d pass on both of them. The same goes for depth WRs Josh Gordon and Demarcus Robinson.
Kansas City has struggled mightily all season against TEs. This sets up Noah Fant as a great TE2 on this slate and a perfect double-TE play on a loaded slate for the position. This is arguably the best position to mine value this week. So, if you want to take a shot at double-TE strategy, this is the slate to do it. Albert Okwuegbunam is even in play at TE6.
As is tradition, Travis Kelce is the TE1 here. With most of the positions having schlock to choose from, you might as well pay up here.
I feel better about both of the defenses on MNF, but the Chiefs could be a cheap option here if you need to save some dough. As for Denver, Mahomes has made his share of errant throws this year, so you could take a flier on them. I wouldn’t, but you can.
On Monday, we get the AFC battle between New England and Buffalo. It hasn’t been the same with the departure of Tom Brady to Tampa, but it does feature two solid young QBs facing two above-average pass defenses. Mac Jones earns a huge break in that Tre’Davious White is out for the year. This takes an elite pass defense and makes them only plenty good. As much as I like Jones as an asset going forward, he is no better than QB3 on this board.
Josh Allen gets the top QB slot on this docket. This comes despite facing a pretty solid NE defense. I’m not expecting a huge output here, but he should finish with more points than any of the other options.
Damien Harris has been playing hurt but has continued to put up solid lines, including scoring in six of his last seven games. On a sketchy RB board, he could challenge for a top-three finish. Rhamondre Stevenson has also been dealing with some minor dings and bruises, but he, too, has produced reasonable numbers in a complementary role. He should finish at around RB6 this slate and makes a decent FLEX play. Brandon Bolden has taken on most of the passing game work vacated by James White’s injury. This makes him always a play on DK at FLEX. Still, I can’t rank him higher than RB8, unless one of the top two backs is out.
Zack Moss was a healthy scratch on Thanksgiving. I guess we can remove him from the musical backfield for Buffalo. That still only slightly reduces the headache this group produces. If Moss suits up this week, just ignore this whole convoluted mess. Devin Singletary has a lot of talent, but Buffalo refuses to let him be an every-down back. The Patriots were just gouged by the Titans’ fourth- and fifth-string backs last week. If we knew that Singletary would get a full tableau of carries, he could be the top option on this slate. Instead, we have to look at him as no better than RB4 and possibly RB5. His workload will be reduced because Matt Breida has emerged like a phoenix from the ashes. Well, actually, he has emerged more like a dung beetle from a sewer, making something stinky, even stinkier. Breida will likely finish as the RB6/7 here and can be considered as a FLEX if you don’t start Singletary.
Kendrick Bourne has established himself as the WR1 for the Patriots. That didn’t take much effort since their WR room is severely lacking consistent talent. With no Tre’Davious White, he can be used comfortably at WR3. I also like Jakobi Meyers, who has averaged 7.5 targets on the year. Counting on him to score a TD is stupid, but a 6-60 floor is always in play. Nelson Agholor always scores when I predict that he won’t. So for Agholor owners, I will do you a favor and predict that he is held out of the end zone. You can now officially start him knowing that he will score a TD (or did I just create a paradox there)? I wouldn’t ever rely on him for receptions or yardage though. Apparently, N’Keal Harry is still on the Patriots’ roster. Coulda fooled me.
Stefon Diggs has been white-hot recently despite facing off against some tough defenses. This defense is also stingy, but with so few quality plays on this slate, you need to play him. I’d actually pay up for both him and Tyreek Hill. I mean, who else are you going to pay up for in this muck? Cole Beasley has been playing through injury and his numbers show it. Still, the numbers are slowly growing back up. In a better spot, I might recommend him at WR3. I just don’t see enough points to go around here. The same goes for Emmanuel Sanders. If I was choosing between them, I would probably select Beasley due to his reception-count advantage. Both of them have actually been outplayed by Gabriel Davis of late. If you need a punt WR3/FLEX play, he should be on your mind.
Jonnu Smith returned last week. He had a nice revenge game against Tennessee with Hunter Henry playing through a knee injury. Unfortunately for Jonnu, Henry has outplayed him all year. Buffalo hasn’t faced many quality TEs this year, but the ones they have faced have fared well against them. If one of these two were to miss the game, the other would be a solid play. With both of them active, Henry gets the TE4 assignment and Jonnu will be TE5.
All Dawson Knox does is score TDs. I thought that Diggs’ return to relevance would coincide with Knox falling off the face of the Earth. He didn’t. In this slate, he is the TE3, but I love using him in the double-TE with Kelce and even in the triple-TE alongside Fant, too.
Playing the Buffalo defense will probably be the popular choice. I tend to agree with the play, but think KC could be an interesting pivot. The Patriots are strong enough to be considered as well – despite facing an elite offense.
The Main Slate: My recommended DFS lineups
At DK: $5.3k for Tyrod Taylor. $9.2k for Jonathan Taylor. $8.1k for Joe Mixon. $5.9k for Brandin Cooks. $4.4k for T.Y. Hilton. $3.4k for Josh Reynolds. $4K for Logan Thomas. $6k for Eli Mitchell at FLEX. $3.6k for the Philadelphia Eagles defense.
At FD: $6.9k for Tua Tagovailoa. $9.4k for Mixon. $7.6k for Mitchell. $6.9k for Jaylen Waddle. $6.7k for Cooks. $5.7k for Hilton. $5.2k for C.J. Uzomah. $6.5k for Jamaal Williams at FLEX. $4.9k for the Los Angeles Rams defense.
At Fanball (SuperFlex – includes Sun Night): Tom Brady, Kirk Cousins at SF, Mixon, and J. Taylor, J. Williams at FLEX, Justin Jefferson, Hilton, and Elijah Moore, and Uzomah.
Weekly strategy – Tom Brady get another cakewalk game. Let’s hope that he doesn’t just hand off all day like last week. Kirk Cousins, Carson Wentz, and Derek Carr are the other options that I am considering. If I punt the position, there are three “T’s” that I like. Taylor Heinicke, Tua Tagovailoa, and Tyrod Taylor. The sick degenerate in me really wants to give Mr. Longneck, Mike Glennon, a shot.
Tom Brady, Buccaneers @ ATL
($7,200 DK, $8,100 FD)
Atlanta has played better against the pass in recent weeks. That said, they still aren’t better than the middle-of-the-pack against the QB position. Brady has owned the Falcons in recent meetings, posting 1,065-11 over his three encounters as a Buccaneer.
Kirk Cousins, Vikings @ DET
($6,500 DK, $7,700 FD) No Dalvin Cook means more Cousins. Detroit is equally inept against the pass and the run, so Captain Kirk will be just fine. In their last five meetings, Cousins has three games with three or more passing TDs, and he has averaged 321 passing yards per game.
Matthew Stafford, Rams vs. JAX
($7,300 DK, $7,800 FD) Jacksonville has been sneaky good against the pass of late. A lot of that can be accredited to teams just running all over them. Still, know that they aren’t as bad as you might think they are. With Odell Beckham finally up to speed on the playbook, the Rams looked a little more adept last week. They couldn’t have been worse than they had looked in the few weeks prior. Cooper Kupp is pricey, so consider stacking Stafford with Beckham, Van Jefferson, or Tyler Higbee. I also like the game stack run-back with either Laviska Shenault or perhaps revenge game Tavon Austin.
Jalen Hurts, Eagles @ NYJ
($7,000 DK, $8,000 FD)
I really do not trust Hurts any week (especially when he is nursing an ankle issue), but this week the matchup is just too easy that even he cannot screw it up. Hurts says that he will be good to go, but will the ankle slow down his running? If Hurts is downgraded later this weekend, Gardner Minshew suddenly becomes a fabulous punt play. Of course, if Hurts doesn’t hurt, it won’t hurt for him to hurt the Jets. That sentence makes my head hurt.
Tua Tagovailoa, Dolphins vs. NYG
($5,500 DK, $6,900 FD) The Giants have looked very good against the pass in recent weeks. They have only allowed four passing TDs over their last five games (and this includes games against Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes). I still call fraudulency on their pass defense. They haven’t suddenly turned the corner from the poor decisions they were making earlier this year. They simply got lucky and faced some good QBs in odd spots where they were down (or just featuring their running attack). Tua has been efficient the last two weeks, completing 54 of 64 passes. Against this defense, a similar performance should produce even more points than he had in those two starts.
Tyrod Taylor, Texans vs IND
($5,300 DK, $7,000 FD)
I’ve been hooked on playing Tyrod all season, despite the lack of yardage he has produced. He does have two total scores in four of his five starts, so achieving 3x on DK should be fairly easy. That FD price is too high, but Indy is more than generous against the pass.
Weekly strategy – If I punt every other position, I could stuff Jonathan Taylor, Austin Ekeler, and Joe Mixon into each of my lineups. In reality, I am going to be forced to choose one of them, maybe two if I am very cost-conscious elsewhere. If I want to save a little I could go with one of them and either Leonard Fournette or Saquan Barkley. They could even make an interesting low-ownership pivot pairing. Eli Mitchell (on DK only), Jamaal Williams, and Antonio Gibson (if J.D. McKissic is out) are each second-tier options that I like for either RB2 or FLEX. The only real punt plays that I like are “Pick-an-Eagle-of-the-Week” and maybe Kene Nwangwu.
Jonathan Taylor, Colts @ HOU
($9,200 DK, $10,500 FD)
Taylor continues to get the Christian McCaffrey pricing structure, but his performance this year suggests he deserves it. Remember earlier this year when we were all furious with Indy’s coaches for rotating Nyheim Hines and Marlon Mack constantly? This is no longer an issue. That said, Houston is so bad against the run they will each get some valuable garbage time touches, too, provided the latter is not a healthy scratch.
Joe Mixon, Bengals vs. LAC
($8,100 DK, $9,400 FD) Mixon has eight scores in his last four games. This is despite facing only one team in the bottom half of the league against the run during that stretch. At this point, every analyst (myself included) that doubted Mixon this offseason is eating their words. The Chargers are the third-worst team in terms of total touchdowns allowed to the RB position. Mixon will get a pair of scores for a fifth straight game.
Austin Ekeler, Chargers @ CIN
($8,300 DK, $9,000 FD) Austin 3:16 says Ekeler just scored another TD on your ass. Only Jonathan Taylor has more total RB scores this season than Ekeler. Meanwhile, Cincy has allowed the second-most RB receptions this year. We all know that Ekeler eats through the air. This week, he will finish with a floor of 7-75-1 through the air, and any groundwork is gravy.
Leonard Fournette, Buccaneers @ ATL
($7,300 DK, $7,700 FD)
So, no one could’ve predicted Fournette going ham against one of the best run defenses in football last week. Prior to the four-TD performance laid upon them by Uncle Lenny, the Colts had given up only six total RB scores all year. Atlanta, on the other hand, has allowed 11 RB scores on the season. One of the backs they held out of the end zone was Fournette, back in Week 2. Of course, in that game, Leonard had to deal with Tom Brady throwing the ball 36 times as well as splitting touches with both Ronald Jones and Giovani Bernard. Neither of those two scares me from a vulture standpoint anymore. Hindsight being what it is, I should’ve had more shares of Fournette in a counter-correlation stack with regards to last week’s game. I won’t ignore that play two weeks in a row, even though I again expect huge things from Brady here.
Antonio Gibson, Football Team @ LV
($5,700 DK, $6,200 FD) This ranking is primarily predicated on J.D. McKissic missing this game after being carted off last week. McKissic was seen in the locker room after the game, so his absence isn’t set in stone yet. That said, while he was laying on the field, J.D. resembled Wile E. Coyote after falling off a cliff and being smashed by an ACME boulder. How he even stood up later confounds me and makes my head hurt further. Maybe I should be in the concussion protocol after wrapping myself around that one. Over their last four games, Vegas is allowing 153-1 with seven receptions per game to opposing backfields. This could be all Gibson’s this week.
Jamaal Williams, Lions vs. MIN
($5,400 DK, $6,500 FD)
Unlike McKissic possibly playing, D’Andre Swift is already unofficially doubtful for this week’s contest, and it is highly unlikely we see him on the field again before the fantasy playoffs. This means that Williams will get all he can eat against a Minnesota defense with several holes in their front seven. Jamaal actually made a living posting FLEX-worthy numbers as a backup RB with Green Bay when facing Minnesota. Now, he gets to be the headlining act. Anything short of 125-1 would be an egregious error in offensive strategy by Detroit. Of course, this is Detroit, so I wouldn’t put a bumbling of this beyond them.
|Amon-Ra St. Brown||$4,400||$5,400|
Weekly strategy – I continue to be flummoxed when choosing between Tampa receivers. This week, the trend points toward Chris Godwin. Godwin has owned Atlanta since Tom Brady’s arrival. I will use either him or Justin Jefferson as my WR1. I like Jaylen Waddle a lot. I don’t like that his price is approaching WR1 territory. His PPR value alone keeps him startable here, though. Brandin Cook and Hunter Renfrow are the two cheap options I would consider at WR1 (or the expensive options at WR2 if I go that route). Other WR2s to consider are Michael Pittman, Elijah Moore, and Brandon Aiyuk. At WR3, I like Russell Gage, Laviska Shenault, and Rashod Bateman. That said, if I don’t play Pittman, I have to play T.Y. Hilton against a Texans defense that he has clowned over the years. The punt options that I like this week are DeSean Jackson, Josh Reynolds, Jauan Jennings, or one of the Giants.
Justin Jefferson, Vikings @ DET
($8,200 DK, $8,000 FD)
Detroit has contained Adam Thielen throughout his career. Jefferson, on the other hand, has averaged over 100 yards per career game against them. He has not scored against the Lions yet, but with Minnesota featuring the passing game after the loss of Dalvin Cook, a touchdown or two is in play.
Cooper Kupp, Rams vs. JAX
($9,000 DK, $9,000 FD)
The price is slowly starting to slide back into the palatable territory. Of course, Kupp also has to put up with Odell Beckham now. Cooper has now gone three straight games without a score, but he does have 29-313 over that stretch on 36 targets. This could easily be a get-right game for Los Angeles, which would imply a big output for Kupp.
Keenan Allen, Chargers @ CIN
($7,500 DK, $7,300 FD) I’m not sure how Cincy has allowed only seven WR touchdowns this year. It feels like they have gotten into more shootouts than that. What Allen has going for him is that Cincy is giving up a lot of receptions to the position. Since Week 8, Allen leads all receivers in receptions. He is also second in targets and receiving yards. If he can finagle his way into the end zone with one of the catches this week, he will be golden.
Chris Godwin, Buccaneers @ ATL
($6,600 DK, $7,600 FD)
In the three games that Godwin and Brady have faced Atlanta, the receiver has scored four TDs. If you include a little further back into the pre-Brady days, Godwin has nine scores against Atlanta in their last six meetings. This should be easy, but so should’ve been last week.
Hunter Renfrow, Raiders vs. WFT
($5,800 DK, $6,400 FD)
Only twice this season has Renfrow not finished with five or more catches. In PPR points alone that puts him on track to easily hit 3x on DK. If he scores, it will be even better. That is certainly in play since Washington has no clue what to do with opposing WR1s.
T.Y. Hilton, Colts @ HOU
($4,400 DK, $5,700 FD)
In 14 of 19 career games against Houston, Hilton has 70 or more receiving yards. Among those 14 games, eight have featured more than 100 receiving yards and three have more than 175 receiving yards. Let’s just say it, Hilton rents a room in the minds of the Texans coaching staff, no matter the regime.
Weekly strategy – Kyle Pitts, Rob Gronkowski, and George Kittle are the only three expensive TEs that I like this week. Still, I don’t see me using any of them except maybe in a double-TE lineup. The reason is that it is going to be nearly impossible to fade Logan Thomas, C.J. Uzomah, or Foster Moreau. The punt options that I like this week are Brevin Jordan, Jack Doyle, and Ryan Griffin.
George Kittle, Niners @ SEA
($5,900 DK, $6,300 FD)
It is seldom that you find Kittle below $6k. With no Deebo Samuel, Kittle should definitely see more targets and catches. Plus, he immediately returns to being the primary target in the red zone. Seattle has been middle-of-the-pack against the position all year, but they appear to be phoning it in at every spot right now.
Rob Gronkowski, Buccaneers @ ATL
($5,300 DK, $7,000 FD)
Speaking of teams phoning it in, Atlanta has all sorts of issues on offense. What they have found, however, is improved pass defense. Still, Gronk scored twice in their earlier meeting and is coming off a 7-123 performance last week. With Antonio Brown now suspended, then Gronk should have another huge game.
Kyle Pitts, Falcons vs. TB
($5,600 DK, $6,200 FD)
As I just stated above, Atlanta is a white-hot MESS on offense right now. Pitts has only 14 receptions over his last four games. Fortunately, he has topped 50 yards in two of those games, giving him six such games on the year. Due to his recent struggles, Pitts will have minimal ownership this week. Use that to your advantage and lock him in against a defense that has allowed the third-most receptions to the position.
Logan Thomas, Football Team @ LV
($4,000 DK, $5,600 FD)
Those that listen to the @BlitzedPodcast got the early news this week that Thomas is a potential league-winning FAAB pickup this week. His playoff cakewalk schedule gets an advance screening this week against the Raiders. Vegas has allowed the fourth-most receptions and receiving yards to the position and the third-most TDs. This includes allowing an average of 6-61.5-1 to the position over the last four weeks. If J.D. McKissic misses this game, Thomas should have even more passes thrown his way in his second week back from injury.
Foster Moreau, Raiders vs. WFT
($2,700 DK, $5,000 FD) Darren Waller
is doubtful to play in this week’s game due to the knee injury he suffered last week. The last time Waller missed a game, Moreau posted 6-60-1 against the feeble Eagles. Washington isn’t allowing many TDs to TEs this year, but they have given up a middling amount of receptions and receiving yards. If Moreau gets into the end zone 3x is a lock. Even without the score, it won’t take much for Moreau to foster a reasonable point total.
C.J. Uzomah, Bengals vs. LAC
($3,200 DK, $5,200 FD)
The Chargers rank just above the Eagles in their incompetence versus opposing TEs. Heck, they have actually allowed more scores to the position over the last four weeks than even Philly has. That is bad. They have been especially inept inside the red zone lately, allowing six of their last nine targeted passes to TEs to go for touchdowns. Uzomah hasn’t done much recently (mostly due to Joe Mixon hoarding the TDs), but his big body is an easy target inside the red zone.