Week 12 was a great week with all three lineups cashing with some real smash hits and only two real whiffs. By the end of the week, our average FanDuel scores were 138. I scratched one lineup that scored 179 points because I played Christian McCaffrey, whom I switched for James Conner in last week’s picks, so I did not use that lineup when calculating my average of 138.
We chose four quarterbacks and only one was more than $5,700 on DraftKings with the lowest scoring quarterback putting up 21 points (Drew Brees). Baker Mayfield led our quarterback picks with 27 while Lamar Jackson and Russell Wilson both had 22. Our running backs also did great overall. Melvin Gordon was off to a hot start with 20 points until he was carted off early in the second half with an injury. James Conner disappointed us with 10, but Nick Chubb turned out our best value performance by putting up 26 points and costing only $6,300 (DraftKings).
Our receiver picks were boom and bust, as Michael Thomas was ignored in the Thanksgiving nightcap. JuJu was our big boom, as he put up a massive 31 points on the road. Tyler Lockett was the best value receiver pick of the week as he scored 19 points and cost a mere $5,200 (DraftKings). Tight ends were tricky, as they always are. Kittle was a bit of a letdown with 9 points, but Cameron Brate — priced around $4,500 between DraftKings and FanDuel — scored 10 points, including a touchdown. Both defensive picks scored 9 and the Flex selections turned out to be solid across the board. Marlon Mack (10), Gus Edwards (12), Dalvin Cook (15), and Matt Breida (16) were all consistently solid performers last week.
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A look ahead to Week 13
This week, the plan is to shade the tight ends and the elite quarterbacks. Our success at quarterback this season has been largely due to some pretty favorable matchups, versus going with the big names. Streaming quarterbacks has been seemingly more predictable this season, though there have been plenty of weeks with one or two letdowns. Overall, we have been crushing it at the position this season and this week offers more great matchups for our second and third-tier quarterbacks. Tight ends have been largely unpredictable, so we are focusing more on the sure bets at receiver and running back.
Honorable Mentions that didn’t quite make the cut this week to fill in your roster: Phillip Lindsay and the Packers Defense.
Have a lucky Week 13.
|Colin's Picks For Week 12|
|QB||Jared Goff (DK-$6,400/FD-$8,400)||Deshaun Watson (DK-$6,100/FD-$7,900)||Jameis Winston (DK-$6,000/FD-$7,500)||Lamar Jackson (DK-$5,900/FD-$7,500)|
|RB||Kareem Hunt (DK-$7,800/FD-$8,900)||Christian McCaffrey (DK-$8,800/FD-$8,800)||Aaron Jones (DK-$6,700/FD-$7,600)|
|WR||DeAndre Hopkins (DK-$8,200/FD-$8,800)||Robert Woods (DK-$6,900/FD-$7,300)||JuJu Smith-Schuster (DK-$7,500/FD-$7,200)|
|TE||Zach Ertz (DK-$6,600/FD-$7,600)||Cameron Brate (DK-$3,700/FD-$4,900)||Matt LaCosse (DK-$2,500/FD-$4,700)|
|Defense||Broncos D (DK-$2,700/FD-$4,500)||Chiefs D (DK-$2,500/FD-$4,300)||Rams D (DK-$2,600/FD-$4,100)|
|Flex||Tyler Lockett (DK-$5,800/FD-$6,700)||Matt Breida (DK-$5,800/FD-$6,400)||Gus Edwards (DK-$4,800/FD-$6,400) ||Austin Ekeler (DK-$5,400/FD-$5,400)|
Jared Goff (DK-$6,400/FD-$8,400)
Jared Goff is an interesting play this week and I’ll explain why he’s likely a sneaky-good start. Though the Lions technically are 13th in passing defense, their recent performances are what we need to focus on. They have been surprisingly stout, as of late, against running backs. Since Week 2, the Lions have only surrendered four rushing touchdowns to opposing backs. Though it’s likely that changes due to Todd Gurley, opposing teams are only attempting 15 running back carries per week the past three weeks. This is possible due to the recent struggles in the Lions secondary and passing defense in general.
Chase Daniel carved up a Thanksgiving feast against the Lions just a week ago, and Vegas has the line at 55 and the spread only 9.5 in favor of the Rams. That means the expected total points by LA are about 32. I think the Lions will be set on stopping Gurley and Goff will have a smooth time going through his progressions. Vegas also has Goff around 350 yards passing this week and between three to four passing touchdowns. I see a great one here for Goff.
Deshaun Watson (DK-$6,100/FD-$7,900)
It’s been easy to avoid Deshaun Watson in DFS this season. The truth is that there have been so many better options this season; it’s not like I had anything against Watson, he just hasn’t been nearly amazing as many thought he’d be this season. Over the past four games, Watson has at least 20 points in three and is coming off one of his best games this past week against the Titans. This week’s opponent, Cleveland, hasn’t been able to stop anyone on offense lately. Although the Browns can apply pressure at times, I believe this will work to the advantage of Watson.
Last week, the Titans pressured Watson and flushed him out of the pocket multiple times, only to be burned to the tune of 70 rushing yards and a touchdown. Watson looked healthier than he has all season in the Titans game, so it’s likely he will be able to keep the momentum rolling this week against the 29th ranked passing defense.
Jameis Winston (DK-$6,000/FD-$7,500)
Since Week 2, the Panthers have given up at least two passing touchdowns each week in every week aside from Week 11 (Detroit – 1 TD). This week, the Bucs host the same Panthers team they tossed four touchdowns against in Week 9. Even though it was Fitzpatrick who did the damage, it’s probably even better the Panthers have to prepare for a quarterback they have yet to see this season. Winston was hot last week in the victory over San Francisco.
Since regaining the starting job, Winston has over 500 yards passing and a 4:1 touchdown to interception ratio in just six quarters of play. The Panthers are 22nd against the pass, but 27th against opposing quarterbacks this season. This speaks volumes to their inability to stop quarterbacks who can scramble. With a 56-point over/under, Winston is a high floor and high ceiling play.
Lamar Jackson (DK-$5,900/FD-$7,500)
Lamar Jackson has been solid in his two starts this season. Although the competition was pretty terrible, Jackson has been running wild since assuming the starting gig. His passing still has a long way to go, but Jackson has another ideal defensive matchup this week with the 26th ranked passing defense, Atlanta. Atlanta looked defeated last week. To be honest, it was such a routine performance by the Saints, it’s hard to assess the Falcons and their lame performance. I will say: when the Saints are against the wall, they turn to their two best weapons, Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas. The two combined for less than 150 yards and zero touchdowns in last week’s rout, which should tell you the Falcons were completely lost in the sauce.
Vegas has Jackson as a favorite to toss at least two touchdowns, so there’s faith by the oddsmakers. When you factor his high rushing floor, Jackson is an attractive start this week. For the Falcons defense, this week should feature a simplified game plan that focuses on plugging holes and challenging Jackson to beat them through the air. Since Jackson is easily one of the most unproven quarterbacks in football right now, he will have opportunities and throwing lanes when the Ravens take the field this Sunday.
Kareem Hunt (DK-$7,800/FD-$8,900)
The Raiders are 28th against opposing backs in fantasy points this season. The only thing scarier than facing the Chiefs offense is facing Pat Mahomes with no pass rush. Though I rank McCaffrey and Jones over Hunt this week in my hierarchy, Hunt should have his way with the half-dead Raiders. Even if the Raiders manage to keep it close in the early stages, it’s difficult to see Hunt not getting a load of touches. I expect this game will turn into the Raiders selling out on plays to attempt to create turnovers, but I have a strong suspicion Hunt will have one or two monster plays via the screen pass in this contest. Hunt’s Vegas line is 95 yards rushing, so it’s nice to get even more reassurance on this easy pick.
Christian McCaffrey (DK-$8,800/FD-$8,800)
Christian McCaffrey was cut out of my Week 12 picks and sadly, I missed out on the best running back DFS performance of the season. Christian McCaffrey had over 30 points the last time he faced Tampa. His 160 total yards and two touchdowns are exactly why I want to play him this week. Since the Panthers are in desperation mode for their playoff hopes, I expect a heavy workload, accompanied by great success in week 13. In the past five weeks, McCaffrey has nine touchdowns. That’s pretty remarkable, but also very likely the trend continues against the 27th best defense versus opposing running backs.
Aaron Jones (DK-$6,700/FD-$7,600)
Aaron Jones has averaged over 24 points per week over the past three weeks with FanDuel scoring. The Arizona Cardinals are 31st this season against opposing running backs and just came off a week in which the Chargers two primary backs combined for over 40 points. The Packers are heavy favorites (-14) and will be eager to host the struggling Cardinals at Lambeau. Expect the Packers to not hold back in this one. Aaron Rodgers wasn’t himself a week ago, and Jones still managed a solid game. Vegas has Jones around 90 yards rushing this week and a big favorite (-175) to score a rushing touchdown. Take it to the bank.
DeAndre Hopkins (DK-$8,200/FD-$8,800)
Hopkins will face the 29th ranked passing defense this week, Cleveland, who ranks 21st against opposing receivers. It’s fairly well-known that Hopkins might be the most matchup-proof receiver in the NFL. Alas, Hopkins was largely utilized as a decoy last week against the Titans. It’s hard to see Hopkins struggling two weeks in a row, especially with the emergence of Demaryius Thomas and the strong play of Lamar Miller.
The Browns will have to focus more attention on the rest of the team, as last week proved the Texans are much more than a one-man offense. Vegas has lines varying around 100 yards for Hopkins this week. He’s also in the top five amongst receivers favored to score a touchdown this week (-180). Hopkins is worth the investment.
Robert Woods (DK-$6,900/FD-$7,300)
Vegas currently has Woods at 85 yards, just behind Brandin Cooks; so I can’t sit here and tell you I have the scoop and Goff told me during breakfast at Denny’s he’s going to get Woods more looks this week. I’m speculating just as most would speculate between Diggs and Thielen. The point is, Jared Goff is expected to throw for close to 350 yards and four touchdowns and the Rams do a pretty good job spreading it amongst four guys. The important thing for you to do here is to stack — Goff and Woods or Cooks.
You could even make a case for both. If you honestly want a safe play and an easy DFS slam dunk this week, stack Goff, Woods, and Cooks in your lineup and you should have at least 50 points between the three. I’ll check back on this next week and I’ll either say, “I told you so” or I’ll be apologizing profusely about the Lions shutting down one of the best offenses of all-time.
JuJu Smith-Schuster (DK-$7,500/FD-$7,200)
JuJu made me look really good last week, again. This guy has done it for me all season in DFS and my season-long league. JuJu will luckily be avoiding the Casey Hayward shadow this week as the focus will undoubtedly be on Antonio Brown. This formula has worked great in 2018 because JuJu is far too talented for opposing teams’ second cornerbacks. Lately, the Steelers have fallen into their old habits of completely abandoning the run, so the likelihood of JuJu’s big games occurring is more than most think.
In a game with a 53-point over/under, Sunday night’s showdown between the Chargers and Steelers might not be the shootout the Chiefs and Rams gave us, but Vegas certainly believes it will be close. JuJu’s line is around 100 yards this week. He’s also a favorite to score a touchdown.
Zach Ertz (DK-$6,600/FD-$7,600)
I realize the Eagles have looked pretty awful lately. I also noticed the Redskins were completely shredded by the Cowboys through the air last week. Though the matchup doesn’t look great on paper for Ertz (Washington is 5th vs tight ends), the Skins have not faced Gronk, Kelce, Olsen, or any of the other truly elite tight ends. If you want to consider Eric Ebron an elite tight end, that’s fine. The Skins gave up a touchdown to Ebron early in the season. It is a defensive unit not accustomed to defending against able tight ends. Vegas has Ertz close to 90 yards in this game. He’s as solid as they get this week. Proceed with confidence.
Cameron Brate (DK-$3,700/FD-$4,900)
I left out Brate last week because Evan Engram seemed like a better idea. Ultimately, Engram got injured during pre-game warm-ups and I plugged Brate into a lineup and salvaged the spot. Oh wait, I actually didn’t because Engram wasn’t listed as injured until the first quarter. Regret aside, Brate found the end-zone almost immediately last week. In this high-volume passing offense missing OJ Howard, Brate is a good bet this week against the 32nd ranked defense against opposing tight ends.
Matt LaCosse (DK-$2,500/FD-$4,700)
LaCosse fit right in following the Week 12 injury to Jeff Heuerman. LaCosse had three catches and a touchdown and looked dangerous in the offense. This week, LaCosse is going against the Bengals, who are 29th against opposing tight ends. LaCosse is the perfect roster-fill for a team who would rather spend big money on the more consistent positions.
Seriously, he costs $2,500 on DraftKings. I can’t believe he’s that low. LaCosse probably won’t set the world on fire this week, but he shouldn’t set your roster on fire either.
Broncos D (DK-$2,700/FD-$4,500)
The Broncos are hot and are headed to Cincy to face a quarterback making his first professional start. There’s a lot going wrong for the Bengals right now as they’ve been embarrassed at home twice in the past three weeks. This isn’t a good time for a quarterback to make his first start. The Broncos are an ideal start this week.
Chiefs D (DK-$2,500/FD-$4,300)
The Chiefs are playing the Raiders. Seriously, there shouldn’t be much else I need to say about this. The Chiefs are multiple touchdown favorites (-15) on the road. There will be blood. The Chiefs are my top choice this week among defenses.
Rams D (DK-$2,600/FD-$4,100)
Detroit has been turning over the ball like crazy this season. The turnover-forcing Rams defense is rolling into Detroit, rested and ready to attack the hobbled Lions offense. Detroit is also without Marvin Jones and likely Kerryon Johnson. Yes, things aren’t looking good for Detroit this week. Start the Rams if you value points via pressure.
Tyler Lockett (DK-$5,800/FD-$6,700)
Lockett was a slam dunk last week and I feel very strongly about him this week as well. The 49ers are 24th against opposing wide receivers. The really interesting part about Lockett this week is his touchdown probability. Lockett is the overwhelming Vegas favorite at (-240) to score a touchdown this week among wide receivers. That’s the highest I’ve seen this season from a receiver, but the other interesting part is the yardage total. Lockett is expected around 45 yards receiving this week, which seems insanely odd when we consider his touchdown likelihood. Either way, for the price and amazing matchup, Lockett is worth a value gamble this week.
Matt Breida (DK-$5,800/FD-$6,400)
The Seahawks are 20th against opposing backs. In addition, since reassuming the bell cow role in San Francisco, Breida looks healthy again (fingers crossed). His explosiveness looks like it has returned, and Breida has been ripping off long runs more recently so he should get a heavy dose of work this week against the favored Seahawks. The 49ers quarterback situation is in flux, but Breida should remain heavily involved in the offense. Though risky, he could be an amazing value play this week.
Gus Edwards (DK-$4,800/FD-$6,400)
Gus came through last week. He looks very solid aside Lamar Jackson in the backfield and this week’s matchup is especially appealing for the young running back. Gus has now gone over 115 yards in both starts this season. Edwards will face the 29th ranked rushing defense this week with Atlanta. For seemingly low variance, Gus is a very cheap, very safe option this week.
Austin Ekeler (DK-$5,400/FD-$5,400)
Ekeler is strangely low-priced this week. I feel as if this could be a set-up. Justin Jackson will likely split carries this week against the Steelers, so Ekeler’s ceiling isn’t quite Melvin Gordon, but it’s worth noting Ekeler is a small, explosive athlete who is very capable at making big plays. At a cost of $5,400 on FanDuel, he’s worth the gamble to fill out a roster.
If you want an upgrade for your fill-in, check out Phillip Lindsay and his matchups against the worst rushing defense in the NFL. Lindsay isn’t too much more expensive.
Collin is a former Army Intelligence and Logistics officer who got a little too into Football analysis. Since leaving the Army, he’s practically the Jack Ryan of football analysts. But he spends most of his days with his wife and two daughters, so he is clearly a better father than Jack Ryan.
Follow Collin on Twitter @CollinHulbert