I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving and finished in the money if you decided to play the Thursday only slate.
Week 11 was the week that could have been. All week I had Kirk Cousins, David Johnson, and LeVeon Bell in my lineup together. Of course I changed that late Saturday and it burned me. We had a lot of good plays last week, and you could have put together a dang good lineup with them if you had the right combination. Unfortunately I ended up on both AJ Green and LeSean McCoy and it burned me. I still feel like they were solid plays, you just can’t predict injury.
Another note before we get to this week’s plays. Each week I actually play the players I recommend. If there someone I end up with come Sunday and he wasn’t in this article, I do send that out in the twitterverse to let you know. Case in point last Sunday. I found myself on Dez Bryant and the Lions defense on Sunday morning, but they weren’t in my write-up. They ended up being around 6% and 3% owned and combined for 42 points. That was the perfect example of why I encourage you to follow me on twitter here: @mrclutchdfs. If I had only paired those two with Cousins and Johnson (whom I didn’t play), and Bell (who I did play), we would have been looking at north of 130 points, still with four other roster spots open. As I said in my opening sentence – it was the week that could have been…
Week 12 NFL FanDuel Plays
Let’s put Week 11 behind us and move on to Week 12. Due to the holidays and time constraints, I’m going to try and be short and to the point this week. I’ll just list my plays with a little explanation and try to not get into too many stats, etc.
At first glance this week, my immediate thought was that I have to lock Russell Wilson ($7,500) into my lineup. He’s finally healthy, has three straight games of 24.78 FanDuel points or more, and he’s taking on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Seahawks run game is in shambles after CJ Prosise went down, and it looks like Thomas Rawls is banged up too. Wilson will be relied on to do all the heavy lifting here. He may be chalk, but it’s too good to pass up.
There are some other decent options this week, but nothing I really see that is enough to get me off of Wilson. There is only one guy I may pivot too, simply because of price and opportunity. That guy is Josh McCown ($6,400). McCown is super cheap by FD standards, and the guy has been a consistent source of 250-300 yards and two touchdowns for the better part of two years. I don’t love his matchup, but his consistency and price, along with how much I expect him to throw the ball, force us to consider him.
Running back is pretty bland this week with some big name studs playing on the Thanksgiving day slate. It all starts at the top, but he’s expensive. David Johnson ($9,500) has proven that as bad as the Arizona Cardinals offense is, he’s still good. The Atlanta Falcons have given up the 3rd most FanDuel points to opposing running backs, and more importantly they are dead last in receiving yards to opposing running backs. We know that Johnson excels in the pass game and is a threat for 100 yards rushing and receiving. I’ll make that my bold call this week. He tops the 100 yard mark in both categories. Chances are, he also scores. Fade at your own risk.
Jay Ajayi ($8,400) gets the juiciest of all running back matchups against the San Francisco 49ers. I don’t love paying this price for him, but I think most people will skip over him despite the matchup, considering his last two games. Those were against respectable run defenses. I think we can expect him to get back to 20+ carries this week and top the 100 yard plateau.
If we get word that Thomas Rawls ($7,000) is fully healthy going into Sunday, I do have interest in him, even paired with Wilson. He did look pretty good in his first game back and he will get targets in the passing game. This is a wait and see situation.
The Giants rode Rashad Jennings ($6,600) in Week 11, and he gets a better matchup this week. It’s hard to trust this backfield, but the Browns are very generous on the ground, giving up the second most FD points to running backs. If we knew he was getting 21 carries and six targets again, he would be a 100% lock in every lineup.
I want to watch this a little more, but I’m very intrigued by Devante Booker ($6,300). He’s been a roller coaster to roster. Just when everyone thought he was going to lose his work share, he received 24 carries and two targets before the bye. Kansas City struggles to stop the run. I’m not sure if I’ll be on him yet, but I will be keeping a close eye on this situation.
It’s definitely a Odell Beckham Jr. ($9,000) week, but I worry about the same thing that concerned me last week with Antonio Brown. Do the Giants really need to throw the ball a lot to win this game? If the answer is no, then see Rashad Jennings above. If we think that the Browns can keep it close, Beckham should have a field day.
You haven’t seen me mention Amari Cooper ($7,800) in a few weeks, but that’s just because he had a bye and a Monday night game. I will be back on him this week for sure. The Panthers struggle in coverage and I don’t see any way they can cover Cooper. He’s the main receiver I’m eyeing.
Doug Baldwin ($6,800). That’s all you need to know, Doug Baldwin. His price won’t go up, and you should play him, with or without Russell Wilson. But play him with Wilson.
My eyes keep gravitating to Michael Thomas ($6,400). He’s been somewhat quiet the past two weeks, but that was to be expected against the Broncos, and in another game on the road where Drew Brees is not nearly as good as he is at home. A date with the Kansas City Chiefs (who are the 5th most generous defense to opposing wide receivers), at home (where his QB is much better, making his ceiling much higher), may be just what Thomas needs to bounce back.
I know he’s old, but you can’t deny what Steve Smith Sr. ($6,300) has been doing. He’s cheap, and he’s going to see upwards of 10 targets. Not the most outstanding matchup, but he’s not usually the kind of guy I worry about in less than stellar matchups. He finds ways to get open and catches the ball.
Sterling Shepard ($6,100) is an excellent play. He saw 11 targets last week and has caught a touchdown in each of his last three games. At this price we don’t need to have the same worries that I mentioned with OBJ above.
Tyler Eifert ($6,400) was quiet in Week 11, but we know that Andy Dalton trusts him an we’ve seen first hand that his ceiling is a two touchdown game. I can’t see a scenario where the Bengals don’t focus on getting him involved to help fill the void that A.J. Green’s injury will leave.
It’s time to take C.J. Fiedorowicz ($5,200) seriously. The guy is a staple in this offense and saw a season high 10 targets in Week 11. At this price, give me 8-10 targets and I’m happy.
Gary Barnidge ($4,800) was a favorite target for Josh McCown last year, and with McCown under center again this week I expect him to rely on Barnidge. The price here is perfect to roster him.
The Buffalo Bills ($4,800) are playing the Jacksonville Jaguars and Blake Bortles should be the quarterback. If he is, I like any defense against the Jags (see Detroit Lions last week).
The Tennessee Titans ($4,500) are probably my go to for now. Matt Barkley is making the first start of his career.
See how much salary you have left over and find the most consistent guy, in the highest total, preferably indoors… if possible. I think my favorite guy is Brandon McManus ($4,600). He hasn’t had less than eight points in his last seven games. He’s also kicking in Denver which helps the ball travel further. I just want to make sure there’s not any weather issues here.
Week 11 Stay Aways
I probably don’t have to warn you, but I’m staying away from Matt Ryan ($8,700). Arizona is still an elite pass defense, and I don’t see this turning into a shootout. There are better options that won’t cost you near as much.
Cam Newton ($7,800) is all over the place. While he’s got elite upside, his floor is too low for me right now. Just save the $300 and take Wilson in a better matchup and actually know what you’re getting.
I think some people will be tempted to play Jeremy Hill ($5,900) because of his price and Gio Bernard’s injury. I would love to jump on that train too, but against the elite Baltimore run defense – I’ll wait another week.
Don’t play Kelvin Benjamin ($7,000). He’s got a very small range of outcomes right now, and while you’ll probably get around 10 points, you can’t reasonably expect much more. You can pay less for Baldwin and have tourney winning upside.
Some people are probably going to want to play Eddie Royal ($5,400), and while I can understand it because of his price, I just can’t do it. This offense has been bad all year, and if you add in Barkley in his first career start, it’s a recipe for disaster all around.
Well, that’s it for this week. Be sure to follow me on twitter at @mrclutchdfs if you want to get any updates from me on which way I’m leaning on some of these plays once Sunday gets here.
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